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Fall bus service changes start Monday September 6

A lineup for the 99 B-Line when school is in session.

With September comes the start of the school year and a ramp-up for many businesses—so starting Monday, September 6, we’re making our quarterly bus service adjustments to reflect these changed travel patterns.

While I’ve already mentioned the trolley bus service returning to Granville Mall on September 7, there are also a number of other service changes which we’ve just posted on our website. So make sure to check out the full list of transit service changes to see if your route is affected!

Here are the major highlights:

  • The Capilano University Exchange on Monashee Drive is closed for construction. There will be temporary changes to bus pick-up and drop-off locations — check out this map.
  • We’ve reorganized the bus bays at New Westminster Station bus loop — here’s a map of the changes.
  • The C21 peak hour extension to Burrard Station is being discontinued, with service now terminating at Davie and Pacific. Customers travelling to or from Burrard Station should use the Canada Line or Burrard Street buses. Here’s a map of the changes! Edit: Btw, I’m told that resources saved from the discontinuation of the C21 peak extension to Burrard Station will be re-invested to help reduce peak period crowding on the Davie Street portion of the C23 Main Street Stn/Davie Community Shuttle. In case you were wondering!
  • And as I’ve mentioned, trolley buses are back on Granville Street starting September 7. Probably the biggest and most important change to know about!

We adjust bus service like this four times a year, reflecting major passenger ebbs and flows in April, June, September, and December. Look out for the next set of changes in December! And please pass this along to anyone who might find this useful!


44 Comments

  • By Matt, August 23, 2010 @ 3:27 pm

    After looking at schedules for the community shuttles in this New Westminster shake-up, what appears to be occurring is service hours are being removed from Quayside and given to Victoria Hill. During rush hour Quayside will now have 6 buses an hour between NW Stn and Quayside, and during non-peak hours we will have 4 buses per hour, as opposed to the current 8 buses per hour all day. And all this occurred without any community consultation. Full analysis of the changes from the Quayside Community Board (local residents association): http://quaysideboard.com/2010/08/23/wheres-my-bus-stop/

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, August 23, 2010 @ 3:32 pm

    Thanks Matt: I’ll pass this along and see if there is a response.

  • By Robert, August 23, 2010 @ 5:19 pm

    In the ‘transit service changes’ link, there is a link for Burrard Station and re-assignments of bus bays 1 and 4. Appears the #5 Robson is omitted from Bay 1 (true after December 2010 but not yet). Should there be the #5 Downtown on Bay 5 as well?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, August 23, 2010 @ 5:22 pm

    Robert: forwarding for a response!

  • By Rob, August 23, 2010 @ 6:52 pm

    How are they going to fit articulated buses on 49th route? I get dirty looks from drivers driving 40ft buses at Elgin st. because the stop is so narrow :)

    They should be running some of them off peak too, some of the worst passups I was getting were around 11-1pm.

  • By Jacob, August 23, 2010 @ 7:18 pm

    OMG!!!

    Why are they discontinuing the C21 to Burrard Station!!!
    I loved that route SO MUCH :(

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, August 24, 2010 @ 9:34 am

    Robert: I’m told that since the #5 reroute is only temporary, the loop map hasn’t been updated.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, August 24, 2010 @ 9:46 am

    Jacob: CMBC planning let me know what’s going on with the C21.

    After reviewing ridership, customer feedback and Operator feedback regarding the C21 peak extension to Burrard Station we determined that the resources used on the C21 peak extension would be more valuably used on the regular C21/C23 service (which regularly experiences peak period pass-ups along Davie Street). This is also in coordination with the success of the Canada Line which now provides a direct connection with Yaletown and the downtown core.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, August 24, 2010 @ 9:51 am

    Rob: Here’s what CMBC planning has said.

    CMBC is currently working with the City of Vancouver to extend all of the bus stops used by the #49 to accommodate the introduction of the larger vehicles in September.

  • By Gary, August 24, 2010 @ 10:04 am

    Hi Jhenifer (what an interesting way to spell your name): It looks like TransLink’s Service Rationalization Initiative is pitting one group of riders against another. For example, those travelling from Yaletown to Davie on the C23 receive better service while those who want the C21 to downtown are out of luck. And in New West, those in Quayside receive less service on the new C8, while those in Victoria Hill will receive new service on the C3. Can you ask your planners what the future holds? Will we have more tradeoffs? Will high ridership routes in Vancouver be reduced so that Surrey can have more service?

  • By David M, August 24, 2010 @ 12:13 pm

    HI Jhenifer

    Rationalisation of service is jargon for service cuts in one area to allow increases in another – in other words, no net increases in service hours. I would advise your planners and decision makers to please do not try to hide the service cuts – they’re important to those they affect and there should be adequate consultation in advance.

  • By Matt, August 24, 2010 @ 1:56 pm

    Gary & David, you’re absolutely right. Because of the service hours freeze due to budget constraints, a growing region has no choice but to shuffle a finite number of service hours around. The idea that a growing region shouldn’t have a corresponding growing number of service hours is ludicrous.

    Personally, I grumble and am certainly not happy about this situation, but I do also understand Translink is doing what they can with what they’re given. I make sure when I see some of these Translink people in person I ensure they know I do respect the work they’re doing, even if I’m not happy with the situation and decisions they might make in some circumstances. The blame really lies with the politicians (particularly the province and feds) who refuse to give adequate and consistent funding for public transit. We’re the only western nation without a national public transit strategy. We have politicians who claim to care about global warming and mode shift, but won’t actually fund any action on these fronts.

    Until we do get the proper funding that public transit deserves this is a battle we’ll see in future sheets, neighbourhoods pitted against each other for finite scraps of service hours. And I personally feel no guilt in grumbling because I know every time I go to the ballot box I vote for candidates who would make transit a priority (true, some of those times that candidate is myself… :)

  • By Gary, August 24, 2010 @ 2:40 pm

    Matt & David (and Jhenifer), if they are going the rationalization route, I sure hope they only cut where ridership is low. What I fear is that they will transfer service hours out of a particular municipality where ridership is high (e.g. Vancouver or Burnaby) and transfer those hours to a newly developing area (e.g. Clayton in Surrey) where ridership will be low. That will just make a lot of people angry and upset. And David is right, why hide cuts? They are what they are. CUTS.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, August 24, 2010 @ 2:49 pm

    Gary, David M, Matt: I passed along Gary’s comments to the planning staff at TransLink, and here’s the response—it touches on some questions/concerns in all of your comments posted so far.

    Gary’s concerns are valid but be assured we are not trying to pit one sub-region against another when looking for opportunities to strategically re-allocate resources from lower productivity services to higher productivity services.

    The goal of the Service Optimization Initiative is to optimize current levels of transit resources in order to meet the needs of customers, communities and TransLink’s financial objectives. While overall service levels will be maintained across the region, some service resources will be redirected to the places and times where they are most needed: where crowding is most significant, where markets for transit service are developing and growing, and where higher revenue can be generated.

    TransLink is mindful that some parts of the region generate transit ridership in greater numbers than others; what constitutes a productive transit service in one area may look unproductive compared to another. Despite these sub-regional differences in system productivity, TransLink is aware of the need to protect services in areas that are experiencing substantial ridership and population growth. TransLink is also aware that to achieve our long-term goals and objectives for sustainable transportation in the region we must continue to make significant gains in areas which currently generate low transit mode share but have great potential for transit use. This inevitably means accommodating periods of lower productivity in some areas until people’s travel preferences change with changes in land use, population density and employment opportunities.

    Transit service levels will certainly be re-allocated within each individual sub-region (like both the C21/C23 and C3/C4/C8 projects) but our goal is to meet the objectives of the Service Optimization Initiative without significantly changing the sub-regional share of transit resources. To that end, the Service Optimization Initiative has developed some guiding principles for optimizing service. One of those principles is to the greatest degree possible reduce and re-invest service in the same sub-region.

    I’m not saying that transit resources won’t ever be re-allocated between sub-regions, only that we will try to minimize that as best as possible.

    Regarding public consultation on Service Optimization, TransLink will work to ensure that the local and regional stakeholders have timely and accurate information about the Service Optimization Initiative, and have ongoing access to such information. As well, TransLink will seek out and encourage the involvement of those who may be affected by the project locally and regionally, and solicit input from a broad range of local and regional residents and interests so that their input can help shape the project.

    Hope this helps…

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, August 24, 2010 @ 3:26 pm

    Matt: here’s the response to your questions about the C3/C4/C8 from planning at TransLink.

    Thanks very much for your inquiry. The New Westminster community shuttles were introduced in 2003 and have been very successful thus far. Over the past several years we have received requests for improved frequency, reliability, and better access in Fraserview.

    In response, we have changed routes and improved schedule efficiencies with the revised September shuttle services, while maintaining key connections. After monitoring ridership, we have created service frequencies that reflect demand. Overall, the new services do improve service quality at no additional cost. Here are some highlights about the new service:

    Frequency

    Current service on Quayside Drive:
    Every 15 minutes (in each direction)

    New service on Quayside Drive:
    Every 10 minutes (on one consistent route). Customers will not need to walk between bus stops to get good service. The C8 will have one of the highest service frequencies in New Westminster.

    Reliability

    The current service frequency is unreliable, meaning customers have to wait longer than they anticipate. Unreliable service also means more crowding on trips when the shuttle arrives late, and underutilized capacity when the shuttle arrives too early.

    The new service frequency will be more reliable. We have changed the routing and schedules so that the C8 Quayside service is not impacted by Pattullo Bridge congestion on the C3 and C4. Customers can now expect a shuttle every 10 minutes and consistent five minute travel times to/from New Westminster Station. TransLink will be monitoring the C8’s reliability and ridership to ensure that the schedule is effective and 10 minute service is appropriate for passenger levels.

    Improved Transit Access

    Scheduling and operating efficiencies are being re-invested into New Westminster’s Victoria Hill area, a growing neighbourhood with seniors’ residences and facilities, a daycare, and a hospital alongside townhomes and condominium developments. As well, improved service frequencies in Fraserview will reduce current crowding and pass-ups.

    Connections

    Quayside residents will still have direct access to services and shops at Columbia Square Plaza. The C8 will stop on Carnarvon between 10th and McNeely, and will also provide service to New Westminster Quay’s new grocery store opening in the fall.

    As well, if residents are travelling between Quayside and Uptown, they can stay on the shuttle. Some C8 shuttles will continue on to Uptown as a C4 after New Westminster Station. This schedule is fairly consistent, and TransLink’s trip planner < http://tripplanning.translink.ca/hiwire?.a=iTripPlanning&.s=%7b$SID%7d> , customer information (604.953.3333) and C8 shuttle drivers can assist customers if required.

    New Westminster Station

    Connectivity to New Westminster Station will change in September. TransLink has worked closely with the City to optimize access to curb space for transit services around the station during construction of the bus exchange on McNeely as well as the Plaza 88 and the City of New Westminster’s Civic Centre construction. We appreciate our customers’ patience during this time.

    Again, we would like to emphasize that these services have been changed to address identified service issues, and we will continue to monitor service quality of these routes and welcome your feedback as part of this on-going process. TransLink will be hosting two open houses on August 31, 2010. Please join us to learn more about the service changes:

    New Westminster City Hall
    511 Royal Avenue
    2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

    Fraser River Discovery Centre
    788 Quayside Drive
    5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, August 24, 2010 @ 3:29 pm

    Gary: just one more thing, here is a response from both CMBC and TransLink planning about the specific services you were asking about.

    In regards specifically to the question about the C21/C23, the goal is to make the best use of the existing resources while taking advantage of the improved access/network that the Canada Line provides. Similarly the C3 and C4 changes are also to more effectively shift the service within the same area to better reflect actual ridership profile and demand.

  • By Sewing, August 24, 2010 @ 4:08 pm

    Jhenifer:

    I don’t want to jump on the bandwagon here, but what’s the rationale for reducing frequencies on the 97 B-Line in the early evenings? There doesn’t seem to be any corresponding service increase on any other Tri Cities route.

    #97 buses are usually carrying full loads out of Lougheed Station at that time. (I’m often riding it home at that time if I didn’t make my 160 connection from Downtown.) Are more articulated buses going to be added to pick up the slack?

  • By Matt, August 24, 2010 @ 4:38 pm

    I see two things in that response regarding the C3/4/8. On one hand they’re saying the separation increases reliability because Quayside buses won’t get stuck in Pattullo Bridge traffic, fine, that’s a fair enough statement.

    On the other hand they’re saying runs will still be through routed to Uptown to maintain connections, in otherwords the bus going to Quayside will also be going uptown, effectively just a name route number change rather than a true segregation of the piece of the route.

    So which is it? Either the Quayside bus will be segregated from the Uptown segment, increasing reliability or it continues to through-route to Uptown maintaining connections (and getting stuck in Pattullo Bridge traffic). You can’t have it both ways.

    I suspect we’ll get the worst of both in this compromise. Buses will still get stuck in Pattullo Bridge traffic trying to get back to Quayside and 7.5 minute service from NW Station to Quayside will suddenly be 10 minute service during rush hour. In otherwords, increased overcrowding when buses are late.

    Worse, because the C3/4/8 didn’t follow the other buses to Carnarvon transferring will be harder for passengers (take out some more parking meters New West, actually commit to transit priority).

    A stop on Carnarvon between 10th & McNeely is not equivalent to a stop right out front of Columbia Square (I wonder if the merchants at Columbia Square know yet that the City has sacrificed them for the new Plaza 88) for those with mobility issues.

    And the routing that services the new River Market goes the wrong direction for seniors trying to get their groceries home. It will take them there, but boarding at the market takes them to NW Station. And with this talk of through-routing of some runs, it could take them all the way Uptown before they get home with their groceries.

    As for the service rationalization in general, with any service level reduction, there becomes a point when the entire service loses viability. If you want to be a peak-hour only service provider, that’s fine, let people know that. But once you cut too much off-peak service and people can no longer depend on a route to always be there, they don’t. Its far better to provide fewer routes really well than more routes in a mediocre fashion. At least with the former residents know which neighbourhoods are good for transit usage and which neighbourhoods that be choosing to live there you should expect to live a car oriented life.

    Its a choice we’re going to have to make very clear in the future. If you select to live in a low density neighbourhood far from any amenities, the trade off is you will not have transit service. Nothing is free, you can not have your cake and eat it too. For those who have selected higher housing costs in higher density neighbourhoods transit becomes viable. If we are expected to give equal transit service to the sprawling sub-divisions of Langley and such that is a subsidy by the inner municipalities on the cheaper housing selected by those in the outer municipalities.

  • By Eugene T.S. Wong, August 24, 2010 @ 5:12 pm

    “Service rationalization” should be used when we reduce service in 1 area, and use the savings in another area. On the other hand, “cuts” should be used when service reduction isn’t compensated for.

    Maybe there isn’t a budget for a certain service, even though ridership is okay. Just because Translink will reduce service, it doesn’t mean that Translink will increase service in other areas.

  • By snowystar, August 24, 2010 @ 5:21 pm

    To Matt:
    Probably a bit of both. Pulling the schedule data from the GTFS feed, I found out that almost all buses are running in the C8(W) -> C8(E) -> C3/C4(E) -> C3/C4(W) -> C8(W) -> C8(E) -> … pattern, with layover/recovery point placed just before the start of most westbound C4 and westbound C8, and no recovery when eastbound C8 turned into eastbound C3 and C4 (as well as the turnaround at the end of the C3 run). That means most bus would have about 5~10min of recovery time before it begins the C8 service. It also means that returning trips to Quayside will not be interlined unless the operator allows you to stay on the bus during the recovery time.

  • By snowystar, August 24, 2010 @ 5:25 pm

    To Sewing:
    Again from the GTFS data, the cut on the 97 isn’t even close to be enough to compensate for the extra time the 177 and 791 takes to go around the construction site at King Edward…

  • By Jacob, August 24, 2010 @ 6:46 pm

    After looking at the C21/C23 map, does that mean that both peak hour and non peak hour buses will have the same route?

  • By Sewing, August 24, 2010 @ 7:04 pm

    Snowystar:

    Is that what it is–that one or two extra buses are needed to maintain schedule reliablity on other routes?

  • By Matt, August 24, 2010 @ 7:15 pm

    @snowystar:

    I did some quick greps and awks on the GTFS feed last week and noticed that, however I haven’t had time to fully familiarize myself with all the fields so I wasn’t sure if these runs were being interlined (side note, if you know any good tools to visualize GTFS data I’d love to hear about them, I saw on the transit-data Google group a new SQL parser was released last week).

    The main issue with reliability to Quayside during the PM rush has always been the current schedule assumes it takes the exact same amount of time to do a round trip on the C3 or C4 no matter what time of day it is. We of course all know that isn’t realistic, and if it wasn’t a contracted out service and had to pass through the CMBC sheet committee such unrealistic scheduling would never be allowed to pass.

    There were some simple solutions. They have a “rush hour express” that just does the southern half of the route, unfortunately this gets out of whack as well so you often get two shuttles in a row followed by a gap. The proper solution would have been to add this additional bus to the full rotation and increase the running time on the two routes.

    The other solution would have been to discontinue the IGA loop-back to NW Station during the PM rush just as they discontinue the Fraser River Discovery Centre branch during the peak hours. Some operators already do short turning themselves at Renaissance Sq when running late, one operator VERY consistently does this (I’ve just never said anything because he’s a nice guy and does deserve a relief). Consistently to the point I’ve given up on catching Quayside bound buses from the IGA during the PM rush and get my groceries elsewhere.

    Anyhow, in summary, there were solutions to the Quayside reliability issues. However they wouldn’t have addressed the need for increased service levels to Victoria Hill. But that should have been a separate debate, not taking from Peter to pay Paul.

  • By ;-), August 24, 2010 @ 7:20 pm

    I gladly welcome artics on 49 ave…. too many are left behind between Victoria and Cambie. It’s even worse with Canada Line now operating. We may need some bus only lanes at Cambie & Main, we well as approaches to Knight & Victoria intersections.

    At times of cutbacks and restraints. I support redeploying under-utilized capacity onto high demand routes.

  • By Nick, August 24, 2010 @ 9:47 pm

    Articulated buses on 49th? Thank you. Thank you so much. The overcrowding on the 49 (especially one Friday where the bus was packed to the doors pretty much all the way from Langara to Metrotown) caused me to abandon it in favor of the 100 a few weeks into my first semester. That route has been in dire need of articulated buses…now really the only suggestion I have is to have the short-turns from Langara to Metrotown leave at 2/3:40 instead of 2/3:10 in order to better coincide with the end of classes, as most classes at Langara end at twenty past the hour rather than ten to.

  • By Sean (CMBC), August 25, 2010 @ 4:51 am

    Yes, articulated buses are coming to s-o-m-e- of the #49’s… I believe the initial number is 6 buses/runs will be articulated… Weekdays only… CMBC will “monitor” the service for the first few weeks of September, and add more buses if really needed…

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, August 25, 2010 @ 10:11 am

    Sewing: here’s the response from CMBC planning.

    The change to the #97, effective September 7, is to reduce frequency between Lougheed Station and Coquitlam Station to every 12 minutes from every 10 minutes, Monday to Friday between approximately 6:15 pm to 9:15 pm. A review of ridership has indicated that this change will have minimal impact for customers. Corresponding service improvements with the Coquitlam area are likely to occur later in the year.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, August 25, 2010 @ 10:18 am

    Robert: an update. It looks like owing to your request and that of many others, the loop map WILL now have the #5 shown on Bay 1. Yay!

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, August 25, 2010 @ 10:55 am

    Jacob: yes, you are correct about the C21/C23 routes.

  • By Sewing, August 25, 2010 @ 4:43 pm

    Thanks, Jhenifer.

  • By Shaelon Dawson, August 25, 2010 @ 11:15 pm

    I dont mind these changes, I wish the 130 Would start Articulated Bus Service as the line-ups at Metrotown Station are absolutely terrible, even with the 125 Operating. I believe the 130 would benefit greatly off Articulated Bus Service. Other thing I feel is needed is extended 15 Minute Service on weekdays, and throughout the weekends. (Make it a Frequent Transit Network Route, its highly needed)

  • By Shaelon Dawson, August 25, 2010 @ 11:16 pm

    On the 144 That is. (THE FTN POST)

  • By Jacob, August 26, 2010 @ 9:37 am

    After the 3 and 20 changes, are those buses still going to change to the other one when it gets to downtown?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, August 26, 2010 @ 2:08 pm

    Jacob: here’s the answer from CMBC planning.

    Nope. We’re splitting the 3/20 interline starting in September. This should improve the service reliability for both of those routes.

  • By ;-), August 26, 2010 @ 3:48 pm

    Yay!

  • By JMS, August 27, 2010 @ 10:21 am

    Any new routes coming out? I heard on Wikipedia that there’s going to be a B-line along King George Boulevard (399) in the future….

  • By Sean (CMBC), August 28, 2010 @ 3:53 pm

    To “JMS”, The funding for Translink has been frozen at 2009 levels for the forseeable future, meaning no new routes… Just “tweeking” of existing hours… Some of the least used hours of service may be reduced or eliminated and then put where they are most needed, such as U-Pass routes and busy routes like that… The #399 B-line will happen, but not until the funds are budgeted… Same as the planned new community route linking Langley with White Rock via the new Grandview Corners area of south Surrey… And the planned B-line along Hastings taht would repalce the #135… all on hold for now…
    I did notice that the planned new transit centre in the Hamilton area of Richmond was out to tender about 3 weeks ago? They want someone to plan, design and ultimately build a new depot in each Richmond…

  • By Jimmy, August 30, 2010 @ 12:36 pm

    What does Amber Alert mean? because yesterday every bus said “AMBER ALERT, LISTEN TO RADIO”.

  • By Jimmy, August 30, 2010 @ 12:37 pm

    on their destination signs.

  • By ;-), August 30, 2010 @ 1:04 pm

    @Jimmy… Have a look at http://www.amberalert.gov/

    Basically a child is in danger and law enforcement needs your assistance in tracking a vehicle or individual down.

    Here’s the history and how the program got it’s name. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMBER_Alert#History

Other Links to this Post

  1. The Buzzer blog » Open house for New Westminster Community Shuttle service changes, Tue Aug 31 — August 24, 2010 @ 9:01 am

  2. The Buzzer blog » The September 2010 Buzzer is now out! — August 27, 2010 @ 9:01 am

  3. The Buzzer blog » Tips for smooth travel during the first weeks of September — September 1, 2010 @ 9:01 am

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