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Translink Buzzer Blog

Winter bus service changes coming on Mon Dec 13, 2010

The reindeer bus is out and about for 2010! Photo thanks to David Lam. (Click the picture to see his full Reindeer Bus gallery!)

Our regular winter bus service adjustment is coming soon! Starting December 13, 2010, some bus service will be changed to improve efficiency and productivity on high-demand routes.

Make sure to check the full list of transit service changes to see if your route is affected. Here are some of the major highlights as well:

  • Increased service during different periods on the 2, 16, 49, 100, 410, 620, 791 and more
  • The 32 Dunbar/Downtown will now serve all local stops between Macdonald/4th Ave. and the Burrard Street Bridge, to relieve congestion along this corridor.
  • The C28 Coquitlam Stn./Port Moody Stn. will use conventional buses instead of shuttles during morning and evening rush periods, to address capacity.
  • For the 99 B-Line, selected eastbound Monday to Friday morning deadhead trips will be converted into full-service trips, in response to morning capacity issues. (This will be at the discretion of the transit supervisors based on the day’s conditions.)
  • The 125 BCIT will get its own bay at Patterson Station (woo!)
  • Various other routes have some reductions in service, with slightly less trips in the early morning, midday, or super late at night. It’s hard to summarize them all in a pithy way though, so please have a look at the the full list and make sure you know if your route is affected.

Again, 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 April 2011, and please pass this along to anyone who might find this useful.

And of course, feel free to ask questions—I will try my best to get you answers!


  • By Shaelon Dawson, November 29, 2010 @ 4:52 pm

    Dissapointed in the service reduction on the 136. It just makes it more tough to get home to get ready for work. The 106 changes are nice however; and will be looking forward to utilizing its late night rush.

  • By Renee, November 29, 2010 @ 5:44 pm

    More #41s from UBC in the evenings? BLESS YOU. I’ve been left shivering watching “BUS FULL” go by – and a half-hour wait ahead of me – more than once.

    The #17 morning increase is nice, but really the problem has never been capacity with the #17, at least not where I catch them – they’re half-empty – it’s more that you can never trust when one will show up. Sometimes they just… don’t. Sometimes two in a row… I’ve actually heard STRANGERS walking by talking about how bad it is; and we don’t rely on it anymore, we walk across to Granville instead and get the 10 if anybody in my house really needs to get somewhere. It’s that bad. :(

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, November 29, 2010 @ 5:48 pm

    Renee: Definitely, service reliability is something we struggle with! There is a Service Optimization Initiative going on over the next year or so to increase productivity, so hopefully there will be some solutions found through that project. Some of it is a bit out of our hands (traffic, unforeseen obstacles, etc), but if there’s something we can do, I believe we are trying to address it!

  • By Renee, November 29, 2010 @ 6:02 pm

    (Haha my husband just chimed in: “I know if I stand out there and wait a 17 will *eventually* come. I just leave half an hour early and if it’s on time, it’s like a Christmas present and I arrive early for my appointment. If not, well, at least it’s not an Ottawa winter.”)

  • By Allison Koberstein, November 29, 2010 @ 7:27 pm

    Egad! Seeing something like this on the street would totally make my day. :)

  • By Jake, November 29, 2010 @ 8:25 pm

    I don’t like the new way of presenting the bus schedule. Before, each row was a bus trip and each column was a bus stop; this has been reversed.

    As an end user, I am not interested in the time for a trip to reach each and every stop. I have a few that I will go to frequently, but I want to know when trips will be running throughout the day.

    Because of the new change, I can only see about 12 trips at a time, which is pretty useless if the trips run fairly often.

    Please restore the schedule table to how it was. If it wasn’t broken, why “fix” it?

  • By David M, November 29, 2010 @ 9:32 pm

    Jhenifer – this makes no sense to me:

    99 b-Line
    Selected Mon. – Fri. a.m. eastbound trips will be converted into full-service trips in response to eastbound a.m. capacity issues.

    What, exactly does that mean?

    Also – there are a lot of late night service reductions – I understand the need to rationalise service based on demand, but some of those frequencies are really low for a built urban environment like Vancouver. However, the increases are certainly welcome.

  • By Ms. Anonymous, November 30, 2010 @ 1:30 am

    The reindeer bus looks very nice, but I’m wondering how can cyclists attach their bicycles to the bus when there is a big shiny red nose in front of it?
    (I would hate to be a cyclist that has to wait another 15 min for the next bus in this cold weather!)

    I too consider the #17 Oak bus to be extremely unreliable, particularly late afternoons and evenings. Sometimes a bus does not come at all, other times it will be 2 buses in a row. The bus schedule approximate times can be discarded for the #17 Oak, they are completely inaccurate!!

    p.s. enjoy your blogs, Jhenifer!!

  • By Eugene T.S. Wong, November 30, 2010 @ 1:44 am

    “Full-service” sounds exciting. I hope that it includes a continental breakfast. ;^P

    I hate to see reductions in service, but I actually appreciate 30 minute service more than 20 minute service, because it is much more predictable. 20 minute service bus route does not always connect very well to a 30 minute bus route. It is not as serious during rush hours, because many people will connect to SkyTrain, or a busy route, but on weekends, it can actually be problematic.

    Jhenifer, is there anything that we can do to reduce the #340’s bus service to 30 minutes, unless it is scheduled for 15 minutes?

    With 20 minute service, we now have to memorize 4 different schedules, per direction: 60 minute service, 30 minute service, 20 minute service, and 15 minute service. It extremely frustrating to not know when to catch the bus, and not know if it will connect at 22nd St Station.

    20 minute service probably makes more sense in the evening rush, for buses that are really that last connection of the day.

    20 minute service only really makes sense when there are too many people to fit into 30 minute service. With 20 minute service less people will be passed up. I hate the idea of 20 minute service to increase frequency, though, because it ruins connections.

    I agree with Renee about the #41 in the evening, because people are still getting off of work. I remember trying to catch those buses. It made me so mad that I had to cram onto a bus at night when there were plenty of buses not being used. Thank you, everybody so much for making the extra service happen! I do not need it anymore, but I’m happy for the people who still do.

    Sincerely, and with thanks,
    Eugene T.S. Wong

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, November 30, 2010 @ 11:06 am

    Jake: I’ve passed your comment along to the schedule folks. You meant the online schedules and not the paper ones, right?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, November 30, 2010 @ 11:09 am

    David M: Aha — it’s missing the word “deadhead” as I put in the post. I’ll let our web team know. What it means is this: right now there are 99 buses that are not-in-service and just deadheading eastbound to Commercial-Broadway to pick up all the UBC passengers. Well, starting Dec 13, some of those buses will be allowed to do the eastbound pickups when conditions require it, based on the discretion of the transit supervisor.

  • By Alan, November 30, 2010 @ 11:15 am

    Not impressed with the changes to the 340, it is hard enough for my wife to get to work downtown now, without having longer waits for buses to contend with. Disappointing, especially after the 311 was downgraded with the advent of the Canada Line. She loved being able to take one bus all the way to Burrard.

  • By Sewing, November 30, 2010 @ 11:25 am

    It’s been years since I caught a late night Broadway bus (#9), but on the 15-minute service headway, the route was designed to make timed connections with the half-hourly buses coming out of Downtown, at Granville, Oak, Cambie, Main, Kingsway, etc.

    On a 20-minute schedule, it would seem that some of those timed connections will get messed up.

  • By Sewing, November 30, 2010 @ 12:07 pm

    Okay, never mind my last comment.

    The net effect is the cancellation of one bus in each direction: the bus leaving Alma for Commercial at 12:25 a.m., and the bus leaving Commercial for Granville at 1:14 a.m. Going eastbound, the bus doesn’t make the key connections at Granville or Kingsway, anyhow.

    And it’s only one night a week, at a time of night when the 99 is also running.

  • By Gary, November 30, 2010 @ 2:06 pm

    HI Jhenifer: I noticed that the C28 is going to use conventional buses & shuttles. Can you ask your service planning people what other routes use this mix of vehicles? Just curious.

  • By keith, November 30, 2010 @ 2:26 pm

    gary i can say that there its one in surrey i know of its c74 fraser heights to surrey central stn. During rush hours its change to conventional then go back to shuttle in non peak rush hour times. That bus is very busy during rush hour too.
    I wish we get more night bus service soon. Like i work till 4am on weekends and i would need get someone drive me home. Can ya suggest a late night service on the 130 or 123 route and have late bus till 5am each day its be helpful

  • By snowystar, November 30, 2010 @ 2:38 pm

    Just want to say that the GTFS data provided to Google Map and developers it not able to distinguish between regular services and special services. For instance, in Google Map, if you try to go from Lions Bay to Downtown at 10:00pm tonight, they’ll tell you to take the C12. However, the last bus tonight departs at 7:15pm and that particular trip runs on Friday only! The GTFS data incorrectly include the 4 Friday trips into M-F service.

    There are only few CS routes that runs on M-Thurs, F, Sat, Sun schedule, so the error is probably less noticable. However, looking at the latest GTFS data (for December sheet), the error is going to get much worse. The data states that, the last C62 trips departs at 4:45am, 609 at 3:50am, 701 and C61 at 3:35am, 401 at 3:33am, 230 at 3:11am, 501 at 3:05am, …. I suppose they are New Years Eve-only services, but they are included on weekday schedule in the GTFS. Maybe they should be placed in a different schedule, just like 12/27 and 12/28 this year?

  • By snowystar, November 30, 2010 @ 2:43 pm

    Oh, just remembered, the GTFS (and Google Map) also includes the 1pm and 3pm WCE trains as regular M-F service.

    Gary, keith: The 214 and C30 are also mixed.

  • By Maxwell, November 30, 2010 @ 3:25 pm

    I really enjoy the 28 bus service increased for sunday, but would that affect the other routes like 26,27,and 29 on sunday because those routes also run 30 mins and now changed to 15 mins.
    Also, I would enjoy if the #29 Eillott/29th ave stn would be extended from the Eillott route to Marine Drive Station Canada Line for greater service.

  • By Sean (CMBC), November 30, 2010 @ 4:35 pm

    Gary: C92’s now use full size conventional buses in rush-peak hours… Mostly the highway Orions from #601’s/351’s….
    (Conventional) Bus routes #606 and 608 operate in rush hours along portions of the C86, 87 & 88’s… as well in rush hours: Conventional #601 and 603’s operate over routes C84 & 89’s too!

  • By Sewing, November 30, 2010 @ 6:59 pm


    It would be more historically correct to say that the C86 and C88 operate over the 606 and 608’s route, and that the C89 operates over the 603’s route!

  • By Eugene T.S. Wong, November 30, 2010 @ 8:36 pm

    Hopefully, they’ll bring back the old numbers, 1 day.

  • By zack, December 1, 2010 @ 8:40 am

    This would definitely be great for the 106 on weekends and afternoons on weekdays. Generally, everytime I catch the 106 from my home, it’s always on schedule. But on weekends and afternoons that’s when you really have to wait usually 20-30 minutes compare that to 10-15 minutes on weekdays. I’m also glad that the 323 will finally get increased service, it’s about time! Normally now it takes half an hour to wait, but hopefully the new service changes will change that.

  • By David M, December 1, 2010 @ 10:17 am

    Thank Jhenifer for clarifying that full service refers to the use of the deadheads – that makes a lot of sense.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, December 1, 2010 @ 10:28 am

    Some answers so far from CMBC planning…

    David M: (with regard to your note about reductions) The reductions in the late night are primarily on routes and during time periods where the demand is currently low. For example, the 3/8/9 reductions are only on Sunday/holiday nights. Therefore the impact should be minimal.

    Ms Anonymous: (about the reindeer bus) There is plenty of room for a bicycle on the sleigh that the reindeer bus is pulling… j/k. I think we try to put that bus only on routes with high frequency, so as to avoid this potential situation.

    Renee, Eugene: (on the 17 and its reliability, or lack thereof) CMBC is aware of the #17’s scheduling challenges, so for the December sheet change the #17 schedule was redesigned to improve the service reliability and better reflect current operating conditions.

    Eugene: (on your suggestion to drop the 340 to 30 minute service) On the issue of the #340, it was felt that reducing from 15 to 30 minutes was just too big of a reduction to implement ion this particular route. A 20 minute service better matches demand with capacity.

  • By Eugene T.S. Wong, December 1, 2010 @ 3:20 pm

    Jhenifer, thank you. I can’t believe how much work you put into all of this.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, December 1, 2010 @ 4:54 pm

    Jake: here’s an answer to your timetable question from our customer information department.

    Changes to the Bus Schedules module of the Trip Planner were made in December 2009 as a result of a comprehensive User Research Study Conducted initiated by TransLink.

    Here is the backgrounder:

    In December 2008, ADGi (Analytic Design Group Inc. – a well established user experience consulting firm) conducted a User Research Study on behalf of TransLink to gauge users’ experiences with the transit trip planning tools – Trip Planner, Next
    Bus, Bus Schedules. ADGi brought in several focus groups comprised of customers from different age groups and service areas. The Study determined that the Bus Schedules tool was troublesome for most customers in that:

    · Customers were unsure of what direction to select when using Bus Schedules. Solution – move the ability to select the bus direction from the search page to the results page. This way, customers would automatically get all bus stops for the default direction making it more obvious as to what direction they were looking at. At this point customers would be offered the option of switching directions.

    · Customers had trouble using the full bus schedule that showed all stops as the large table offered with bus stops listed across the top was hard to navigate. Solutions – Do not display the All Stops schedule in a large, horizontally scrolling table. Instead display the bus stops in a vertical list to ensure that customers could easily associate times with stops. Offering only 10 trips at a time would not overwhelm customers with endless scrolling.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, December 1, 2010 @ 4:55 pm

    snowystar: I’ve passed your GTFS info on to our IT department. Hopefully they will be able to fix!

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, December 1, 2010 @ 5:04 pm

    Sewing and others who had concerns about route timing: here’s an answer from our CMBC planning folks.

    Our Schedulers have done their best to maintain all of the existing meets with the changes to late-night frequencies. If there is a particular meet that has changed that impacts you, please let us know.

  • By Mike, December 1, 2010 @ 9:16 pm

    With the C28 now officially using conventional buses during the rush hours, Translink should merge the 179 (rush hours only) with the C29. Shuttles are constantly full, and in the afternoon rush coinciding with the WCE several people get off at stops that are served by the 97, meaning people who actually have no choice but to take the C29 are left in the cold to wait for the next shuttle. Sometimes there is a “special” that follows the bus, but it’s not guaranteed, not reliable, and not every week day.

  • By Eugene T.S. Wong, December 1, 2010 @ 11:34 pm

    Personally, I like the current online bus schedule. It is way easier to use than the older version. I actually forgot about it, until Jhenifer told us the rationale for the change.

    On an unrelated note, 1 of these Recaptcha words is upside down: cousins

  • By Scott, December 2, 2010 @ 2:22 pm

    I sent in a suggestion roughly 2 months ago about buses in Surrey such as the 321/502 and 320 having poor timings at night (After 9:30pm) and never got a response. With the frequency of the skytrain and when it gets into Surrey at night, people often miss their 321’s or 502’s and sometimes 320’s. Instead of having them leave at 9:30, 10:00, 10:30, 11:00, 11:30, 12:00, 12:30, 1:00 etc they should leave at 5 past the half hour and hour to improve connections and have commuters wait less at skytrain to catch their bus. This could easily be implemented into the schedule and would save a massive run off the skytrain by passengers (Someone is bound to get hurt one day) and would improve connections. Please pass this on to planning and get a response back. Thank you.

  • By Taku, December 2, 2010 @ 9:57 pm

    Sigh, longer frequencies on the 15 when it is already off schedule so much? I understand that the ridership along the southern half is pretty low but, especially south of 49th, it seems to have this terrible tendency of being late or worse, early. Either I’m horribly unlucky or the 15 is just not a very punctual run. Just wondering if there are any stats to clear it up?

  • By David, December 3, 2010 @ 10:59 am

    Glad to hear the #17 schedule is being addressed. Buses leaving downtown between 4:30 and 5:15PM take anywhere from 10-20 minutes longer than it says on the schedule to reach 49th Ave.

  • By Where and When, December 3, 2010 @ 11:44 pm

    The last couple of 32 Dunbar runs each day are frequently well behind schedule, likely due to heavy afternoon traffic in the empty return runs. Extending the distance of local stop service will only exacerbate the situation. I used to occasionally ride it home for nearly the full run distance, but changing it from “limited stop” into “limited express” service makes it an even less useful alternative vis-a-vis the Canada Line + westbound bus.

    Furthermore, I fail to understand how buses remaining stationary more frequently will help to *ease* congestion along this stretch. If anything, more vehicles would be caught behind and/or attempt to pull out and around the bus more often because of the service change.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, December 6, 2010 @ 11:34 am

    Mike: here’s the response from CMBC planning.

    The change to the #28 schedule does not impact the service on the 26, 27, 29. The frequencies on these routes will remain the same. In regards to the extension of the #29 to Marine Drive Station, there are no plans to do so at this time.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, December 6, 2010 @ 11:36 am

    Gary: here’s the list of other conventional/shuttle routes from CMBC planning.

    The other conventional/CS routes are:
    #214 Blueridge/Phibbs Exchange
    C28 Port Moody Station/Coquitlam Station
    C74 Fraser Heights/Guildford/Surrey Central Station
    C92 Airport Station/Sea Island North

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, December 6, 2010 @ 3:06 pm

    Where and When: Here’s the response from CMBC planning about the 32 service.

    Our Scheduling and Analysis staff will be monitoring the #32 closely to ensure the revision to the service does not negatively impact the reliability.

    The purpose of the #32’s change in stopping procedure is to accommodate as many customers as possible along the corridor. Our current analysis indicates that there is still available capacity on the #32 once it reaches the Burrard Street Bridge, whereas the #2 and #22 are usually at full capacity and regularly passing-up (especially along Cornwall). Converting the #32 to a local service along Cornwall will increase capacity to support the high transit demand in the area.

  • By Nick, December 10, 2010 @ 1:00 am

    I have noticed with these changes and the last few changes The info tubes at richmond centre/richmond brighouse and Bridgeport bus loops are taken down for approxamitly a week. I would like to find out why it takes about a week to place the new info on them since the old ones only needed a new sheet inside the tube. Also i find them confusing for me to understand when they say (Ex. “and then every 8-15 Miniutes untill”) I have also noticed that there is a bus stop roughed in on No 3 road south of Saba road that was put in with the Canada line but is not currently in use. I would find it easier to connect between the 410 Railway or 403 Three Road and 401 Garden City if the 410 & 403 were stopping there since i find it hard sometimes to carry my floor hockey gear 422 metres through a a busy sidewalk from Bay 7 to Bay 4 to catch the 401 to my Special Olympics floor hockey Practice.

  • By Joseph Bilac, December 13, 2010 @ 1:16 pm

    If there’s one suggestion I want to make, the 5:39am trip on the 123 from Brentwood Station needs to leave 2 minutes later. It always leaves JUST as the train is pulling in, forcing a sometimes 15 minute wait in the cold, longer if the next bus has issues in the yard. Even 5:40 would be better as that’d give machine to dash to the 2nd stop across the street from the loop.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, December 13, 2010 @ 1:18 pm

    Joseph: Thanks! I’ve passed this on to CMBC’s planning staff.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, December 13, 2010 @ 1:21 pm

    Nick: Here is the answer to the info tubes & 401/403 part of your comment… your question about the No. 3 Road stop is still awaiting a response, but it should be in soon.

    In fact you are referring to the “Infocubes”.

    Infocubes are part of the Wayfinding project. They were designed to provide more information than infotubes. Infocubes contain maps, walking instructions, stops along the route, etc. This customer will be happy to know that the Infocubes have been revised to include ALL times. No more compression of times, so he will no longer see the “8-15 minutes until” time bands!

    We’ve just received word from that most infocube schedule panels have been updated and are being installed by CMBC for the December service change. We can also provide electronic copies of the Infocube schedules should the customer wish to have copies on hand in .pdf.

    Regarding the connection between the 403/410 buses and the 401 Garden City, we have adjusted the transfer on the Trip Planner so that you will now be able to get off the 403/410 at the stop just after Westminster Hwy. And so you won’t need to walk as far to get to Bay 4 (changes will appear tomorrow).

    As for the roughed in Stop on No 3 Rd and Saba, according to our records, this stop (identified as #58624) was cancelled in September 2009. We don’t currently have any details as to the reasoning behind this.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, December 13, 2010 @ 2:32 pm

    Nick: here’s the follow-up regarding the stop on No. 3 Road.

    This stop was cancelled effective September 2009 sheet change right after opening of the Canada Line. At that time, we had many route changes around Richmond Centre to better serve the new Brighouse Sky-Train Station. Most, if not all southbound services on No 3 Road were scheduled to turn left (east) onto Saba Road and stop at two new bus stops on the south side of Saba. That arrangement eliminated potential jay-walking across No 3 Road from the former bus stop (58624) on No 3 Road far-side Saba to access the Brighouse Station.

    Since the opening day, many routes around Brighouse Station were revised and adjusted and this bus stop could now be probably well used. However, the jaywalking issue is still there, and the City and our safety committee are reluctant to put it in service until the jaywalking issue is addressed.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, December 14, 2010 @ 11:03 am

    Joseph Bilac: Hey, I just got word from CMBC’s scheduling department! They had a look and were able to move the 5:39 departure to 5:40 a.m. instead. It will be effective on Thursday!

Other Links to this Post

  1. Tweets that mention Winter bus service changes coming on Mon Dec 13, 2010 -- — November 29, 2010 @ 4:59 pm

  2. The Buzzer blog » The December 2010 Buzzer is now out! — December 3, 2010 @ 4:50 pm

  3. The Buzzer blog » Quick note: the 28 will be staying on Laurel Street come Mon Dec 13 — December 9, 2010 @ 11:43 am

  4. The Buzzer blog " Winter bus service changes coming on Mon ... — March 2, 2011 @ 5:54 am

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