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Translink Buzzer Blog

More about the December 29 bus service improvements

This is our biggest service improvement yet: 14.7 million extra trips were added to the Metro Vancouver region!

This is our biggest service improvement yet: 14.7 million extra trips were added to the Metro Vancouver region!

While you can find the full list of Dec. 29 bus service improvements in the print Buzzer, I also wanted to direct you to the full list of service changes on the TransLink website.

I’ve also got some more information about the overall service changes, and some highlights and further info behind many individual service improvements. Shall we?

Overall info

About this round of changes…

  • This is our biggest service improvement ever, adding another 100,000 annualized service hours to schedules across Metro Vancouver. (That tops the September round of service improvements, when we added 80,000 annualized service hours, the largest ever service increase at the time.)
  • Since 100,000 service hours can be hard to mentally visualize, you can also think of it as adding 14.7 million more transit trips to the region.
  • Or, as our CEO Tom Prendergast explains, it’s like taking the entire 98 B-Line service and adding that service into the mix around Metro Vancouver.
  • The extra service hours are possible due to the addition of more than 100 vehicles to the fleet in 2008—those include standard size, articulated and Community Shuttle buses. Our fleet now totals over 1,500 standard-size, articulated and Community Shuttle buses.

About this whole year of changes

  • These service increases are the apex of a year of aggressive expansion of transit service across the South Coast. All of the TransLink services (Coast Mountain Bus Company, West Vancouver Blue Bus, West Coast Express and various contractors) have delivered nearly 5.6 million annualized hours of service, an increase of 4.7 per cent over 2007.
  • Of CMBC’s new hours, nearly 40 per cent have gone to South of the Fraser and 12 per cent to the City of Vancouver, largely with the introduction of the #33 29th Ave. Stn / UBC.
  • On top of that, Custom Transit (HandyDART) service has increased by more than 9 per cent, to nearly 600,000 hours.

Watch out for more expansion in 2009

  • 2009 will see even more growth in service hours, including the opening of the new Golden Ears Bridge, the introduction of the third SeaBus and the first arrivals of the 48 new SkyTrain cars now on order to be in full service by the 2010 Winter Olympics.
  • Plus, there are more new buses arriving next year – including new low-floor hybrid-engine buses from Nova – to replace more aging buses and expand the fleet by an additional 104 vehicles.

South of Fraser area improvements (Surrey, Delta, White Rock & Langley)

Riders in Surrey will get three new bus routes starting December 29.

Riders in Surrey will get three new bus routes starting December 29.

Three new routes and more!

  • We’re continuing to deliver accelerated service expansion to the South of the Fraser area. The three new routes added to the region are probably the most prominent part of those improvements.
  • The three new routes are the #364 Langley Centre/Scottsdale, the
    #388 Walnut Grove/22nd St. Station and the #609 Tsawwassen First Nation/South Delta Exchange.
  • The #364 responds to the need identified during public meetings with stakeholders, for an east-west connection along 64th Street: it will run every half hour, Monday through Sunday. During discussions with residents and stakeholders in the development of the South of Fraser Area Transit Plan, bus service running within the area itself, rather than focused on commuting to Vancouver, was identified as a need to be addressed.
  • The #388 provides service to residential and industrial areas through Port Kells and Annacis Island and along 88th Avenue; initially, it will run Monday through Friday, during the peak times only.
  • The #609 connects the Tsawwassen First Nation with South Delta, providing hourly service seven days a week from Eagle Drive and Tsawwassen Drive to South Delta Exchange.
  • For other routes, the #502 Surrey Central Stn/Langley Centre/Aldergrove will increase its peak-period frequency and begin service from Aldergrove earlier (6:00 am) on Saturdays and Sundays. This is being done following growing requests for earlier weekend service to suit work times.
  • And, responding to ever-increasing demand and the phenomenal growth in the Fraser Heights area, the C74 Fraser Heights Community Shuttle will practically double its service to run twice as frequently during middays and on weekends.

Burnaby and New Westminster improvements

The new #125 route will mean less buses congesting the Metrotown Loop, where the #130 is currently heading!

The new #125 route will mean less buses congesting the Metrotown Loop, where the #130 is currently heading!

New route: the #125 Patterson Station/BCIT!

  • The new #125 route addresses heavy demand along Willingdon between Metrotown and BCIT. It will go into service on a trial basis, beginning with the first day of BCIT classes on January 5.
  • This bus will operate during the Monday to Friday peak periods for those going no farther than BCIT and create a “pressure valve” to relieve congestion at the Metrotown bus loop. This will open up more space for customers travelling to other destinations such as Brentwood Town Centre, Simon Fraser University and other points in the region.
  • Why is it on a trial basis? Good question. The key issue is that there is bus congestion at the Metrotown loop. With the #125, we are trying to give BCIT riders another option to connect to the SkyTrain line, and reduce the number of buses going to Metrotown. But if it turns out that the bus isn’t popular, we’ll look for another solution.
  • Fun fact: the #125 was established partly due to the suggestion of our operators.

Other improvements: SFU routes, #169 improvements, N19 to New Westminster

  • To alleviate crowding, we’re increasing the frequency of the #144 and the #145.
  • The #144 Metrotown Stn/SFU will run every 12 minutes in midday, rather than every 15 minutes.
  • On the #145 Production Way Stn/SFU route, the additional buses, used as an option since the fall, will become a permanent part of the schedule.
  • The #169 Coquitlam Stn/Braid Stn will join the Frequent Transit Network, with increased frequency on weekends and holidays. (Buses on the Frequent Transit Network provide service at least every 15 minutes, from 6am to 9pm seven days a week.) More and more people are on this route, particularly making connections from Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, so the improved weekend service will help reduce passups and crowded buses.
  • The #100 Airport Stn/22nd St. Stn will run more often during the morning rush hour, while the evening trips that currently stop at Marpole Loop will run all the way to Granville and 70th Ave.
  • The #104 Annacis Island/22nd St. Stn will run more often between 4pm and 7pm, giving more options for people who work in the industrial parks and other businesses along that route.
  • The new #388 Walnut Grove/22nd St. Station will also help those working in industrial parks in Port Kells and Annacis Island, providing morning and afternoon peak hour service at half-hour intervals, Monday to Friday.

Vancouver improvements

Updates to the #33, #3, #17, #25, #41

  • Customers have asked for longer operating times on the new #33 29th Ave. Stn/UBC route. So, we’re expanding to include weekend service and more eastbound trips during the morning rush hour. When it was started in September 2008, the #33 only ran between 6am and 7:30pm, Monday through Friday.
  • The #3 Main will once again run all the way into downtown Vancouver, via Hastings, Seymour and back along Cordova to Main. The route had been shortened in 2005, turning in Chinatown, but there have been steady requests, particularly from seniors, to keep it going right into the downtown area.
  • The #25 UBC/Brentwood Station, #17 Oak/UBC, and #41 UBC/Joyce Station will all join the Frequent Transit Network owing to high demand, which means their service will run at least every 15 minutes, from 6am to 9pm seven days a week.

North Shore improvements

North Vancouver service will see a boost, thanks to Capilano University joining the U-Pass program in January 2009.

North Vancouver service will see a boost, thanks to Capilano University joining the U-Pass program in January 2009.

Capilano University joins the Vancity U-Pass program

  • New buses and extended routes will enhance service on the North Shore, particularly for students at Capilano University, which becomes part of the Vancity U-Pass program on January 1, 2009.
  • The #130 Metrotown/Kootenay Loop/Phibbs Exchange will run additional trips to Cap U when classes are in session.
  • In November, West Vancouver Blue Bus inaugurated the #255 Dundarave/Capilano University – an extension of the #255, which formerly terminated at Lynn Valley. The route will provide half-hourly service seven days a week and 15-minute service on weekday afternoons.

63 new low-floor buses for North Vancouver!

  • North Vancouver transit customers are also benefiting from the arrival of 63 new Nova low-floor accessible buses. These coaches, purchased with funds under the Federal Government’s Gas Tax Revenue Transfer Program, will help bus service improve accessibility in North Vancouver.
  • The North Vancouver Transit Centre, which is now over a century old, wasn’t equipped to accommodate low-floor accessible buses, and at many stops it was impossible to use the lifts on high-floor buses to accommodate wheelchair users safely on steep grades. Now, following extensive renovations, maintenance work can be done on the low-floor buses at the Transit Centre.
  • Even so, while the North Vancouver fleet is accessible, not all the stops are. TransLink and Coast Mountain Bus Company are continuing to work with the City and District of North Vancouver to provide greater accessibility.
  • PS: Another 26 high-floor accessible buses – with wheelchair lifts – are still in service in North Vancouver.

Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows improvements

  • The #701 Coquitlam Station/Haney Place/Maple Ridge East will add another trip late Sunday night, leaving Coquitlam Station at 1:07 a.m. This responds to requests from numerous transit customers, asking for later bus service along that route, since other routes serving Coquitlam Station are still running at that time.

The rest of the service improvements

There are many more improvements than those listed here – you can find the full list of service changes on the TransLink website, or in the print Buzzer. This blog post was just to cover many of the highlights found in these changes, and give you a bit more information behind certain route changes!


  • By C. Cassidy, December 5, 2008 @ 8:52 pm

    As great as all of this looks Translink is still miles behind for bus service in the South of the Fraser region.

    -Surrey Central Station is packed with buses with no space to park
    -Almost all of the routes leaving Surrey Central are packed leaving, having to pass up passengers
    -502’s to Aldergrove are some of the busiest trips in the SOF region. and unless you wait for 20min at Surrey Central you won’t make the bus which runs every hour!
    -320’s to Langley are also packed and run frequently late
    -501’s during the rush hour are full standing loads going BOTH directions
    -Drivers are getting more and more stress put onto them when they are to deliver more service with less buses, how does this work? I don’t know.

    Now speaking of buses maybe someone would care to explain how Translink is retiring buses at such a fast pace but yet STC is running short buses everyday having to cancel pieces of work. This puts less buses to deal with growing passenger loads meaning even MORE pass ups. Now this isn’t just a Surrey problem, I have heard VTC is also having to cancel work due to lack of buses.

  • By David, December 5, 2008 @ 9:00 pm

    Thanks Jhenifer for the details.

    I keep hearing about the “Frequent Network” – it would be good for Translink to publish a map showing these routes, even if it only published on the website.

    Same goes for the night bus network -there used to be a separate timetable and map of the night buses and I think it would be great for this to return.

  • By Eugene T.S. Wong, December 5, 2008 @ 9:47 pm

    I totally agree with you, David. I came here to write that very suggestion about the Frequent Network. I also agree that the Night Bus Network is worth mapping. I would also put a comment on the maps to indicate when the first buses depart and when the last buses depart.

  • By Stephen Armstrong, December 9, 2008 @ 8:37 am

    I agree with everything said before me.
    I live and work on the surrey area. What used to take me 30 min on the bus now takes me over an hour. And to drive it only takes me 23 min. Translink really needs to increase bus service on these popular routes in order to keep people like me convinced that transit is a better alternative. I am a single parent who believes using transit is a great choice but now I must rethink how much time I have taken away from my son during the week (over 5 hours now from last year at 2.5 hours) what will next year offer me? Another 2 hours a week added on to my traveling time?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, December 9, 2008 @ 2:00 pm

    Ask and ye shall receive!

    Herewith I present the 2009 FTN map and the 2040 conceptual FTN map, both in PDF format. (Watch out, they’re enormous.)

    2009 FTN map (2.5MB)
    2040 FTN map (8.8MB)

    You can actually see the 2040 map in our Transport 2040 30-year plan document (5MB PDF). As I’ve said, though, don’t take the 2040 map as written in stone: the specific corridors will be developed in the future in conjunction with communities. So, it’s just a tentative sketch, nothing solid.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, December 9, 2008 @ 2:01 pm

    PS: I couldn’t locate a Night Bus network map though, sorry.

  • By Eric, December 9, 2008 @ 8:33 pm

    I think the NightBus map is still published in the paper system map that you might find at bus shelters. I don’t see it on the TL site anymore either. That and the FTN should be good PDFs to include with the other maps.

    And is there any consideration on publicizing the fact that route x is part of the FTN? Portland identifies a frequent-running route right on the stop marker.

  • By Scott, December 9, 2008 @ 9:06 pm

    Agreed with the first poster. I take transit to/from Cloverdale to work in Burnaby 5 times a week and Surrey is so poorly served. The 320 Langley Centre/Surrey Central Station is the worst major route out of all Translink routes. Hourly service after 7:30pm Westbound? Hourly service after 9:20 Eastbound? Translink doesn’t even start routes out with that poor of service anymore. I can’t remember the amount of times in the last two weeks that the bus has shown up late at my stop or not at all. It’s either late during the day (Usually by ten minutes) or it’s early at night and drivers don’t stop at the designated stop to get back on schedule.

    During rush hour you will be lucky to get home from Surrey Central in under 45 minutes because the bus is either late, crammed full or traffic is terrible. The removal of the 395 through downtown Cloverdale has given people who live in the area less options then we had before. All these improvements and nothing other then the silly C70 has happened for Cloverdale residents. Translink planners keep saying to me that it is because there isn’t enough demand in the area. There isn’t demand because the service quality is so poor. Why would a lot of people park their cars when the price of gas is coming down for service that is unreliable? It’s time Translink made the 320 into an FTN and had service that was never worse then every 30 minutes.

  • By Jason, December 13, 2008 @ 7:53 pm

    I have check on the New Flyer Website that the New Flyer Xcelsior Hybrid Bus is very good Flyer Bus to replace the older vehicles that was manufactured in 1991 or 1992. In addition, Xcelsior can also give passengers excellent experiences during the trip (see website).

    Hope Coast Mountain Bus will consider this model to replace aging vehicles after 141 Nova HEV Hybrid buses have come into Lower Mainland

    For more details, please look at:

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, December 16, 2008 @ 11:06 am

    @C.Cassidy, Stephen Armstrong, Scott:

    Hi all. I haven’t been ignoring you over the past week! I’ve actually been doing some research to find out more about the issues you guys have raised.

    To all of you:
    Really, thanks for taking the time to put your comments together for us. I know it doesn’t seem like it if you’re being passed up by the #501, but we are listening and working on the issues you’ve raised. The South of Fraser is and will continue to be a big priority for us, and it’s why we have consistently been adding service to your region for the last couple of years. (That’s 106,000 of 268,000 service hours in 2008 alone — about 40% of the expansion resources region wide.)

    I also want to highlight that we face some challenges in providing transit to the South of Fraser, but we are still working hard to make transit viable for you despite those challenges.

    A key issue is the region’s large geographical area and low residential and commercial densities. For transportation improvements to reach their full effectiveness and productivity, transit and land use must be linked. So, one of the things we’re currently working on with Metro Vancouver is a plan to focus high frequency transit corridors with intensive and mixed land uses along those corridors.

    All this isn’t to gloss over the fact that you have concerns and issues and want more service, though. I just wanted to highlight that we *are* doing something and we are paying attention to residents from your region. We care just as much as you do about getting the best service possible to the South of Fraser!

    Thanks for your notes. I contacted our manager out at the Surrey Transit Centre, and he wasn’t aware of any problem with bus shortages at their depot. In fact, he says that in 2008 to date Surrey Transit Center has provided its planned/scheduled services 99.63% of the time—so for every 1000 times we want to have a bus on the road we get it right 963 times. This is very very reliable compared to any large North American transit system. (Also, I’m told that it is generally it is a lack of operators, not buses, that results in cancellations.)

    With regard to Surrey Central: CMBC’s headquarters are located in Surrey, and the planners are able to keep a close eye on the Surrey Central loop. I don’t want to discount your observation that Surrey Central is busy, because it’s accurate–Surrey Central is a central hub of activity. But I’m just told that it actually doing okay with regard to handling its traffic. Loops like Metrotown are far busier, which is a chief reason behind the new #125 BCIT service.

    We’re very curious about the transit experience you’ve described in your comment. Could you tell me what routes you take? Send an e-mail if you don’t want to put it on the blog – the planners would like to know more about that situation and why the trip time has doubled.

    And everyone again: thanks for weighing in. It is good to hear from you and we really do want to bring you good transit service!

  • By Eric J, December 25, 2008 @ 11:24 pm

    I’m pretty happy about the new 364 route. For me it fixes almost everything that was wrong with transit in the area. (Now all I could possibly hope for is more express service down King George as to avoid the 25 or so bus stops between me and the skytrain.. Too bad the 394 doesn’t seem that popular as it is…)

Other Links to this Post

  1. New bus routes - oh the giddiness! « rickie rambles randomly — December 9, 2008 @ 8:47 pm

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