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April 2011 bus changes and the service optimization project: an interview with TransLink planning director Brian Mills

Changes for many riders' bus routes are coming on April 18, 2011!

Note: This is a scheduled post as I’m away this week, returning Monday April 11, 2011 to answer your questions. If you need to reach TransLink info or staff, see this post!

As you may know from the April Buzzer, the April 2011 bus service changes are taking place on Monday, April 18, and they’re part of a year-long TransLink service optimization project, aimed at making sure we’re using our transit resources efficiently and effectively.

There’s a lot of small adjustments to a large number of routes—but the overall amount of service hours won’t change, and many more customers will see service increases than service reductions. Some notable changes include:

  • The 14 trolley route is returning, picking up parts of the 10 and 17 routes! See a map of the new 10, 14, and 17 routes.
  • The 50 and 15 routes are now interlined, or linked together. The 50 will change to the 15 Cambie at Olympic Village Stn and head southbound to destinations including Cambie Village, Queen Elizabeth Park and Oakridge; northbound 15 buses will change to the 50 at Olympic Village Stn. See the new route map.
  • The 112 now terminates at New Westminster Station, and the C9, a new Community Shuttle route, will be added to pick up the New West–Lougheed portion of the 112 route.
  • The 351 improves its frequency from 60 to 30 minute service between 10-11 p.m.
  • The C19 will have 30 minute service between 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Sat/Sun/Holidays
  • The 480 will be truncating its service at Bridgeport Station instead of No. 3 Rd.

Read the full list of service changes here, and see this post for the Buzzer blog conversation on the service changes so far. But to give us all more background on April’s changes and the whole optimization project, I did an interview with Brian Mills, TransLink’s director of service and infrastructure planning.

Read on to find out why the project exists, its guiding principles, how we figure out what routes to focus on, and more!

Can you describe your role in the service optimization project?

My title is Director of Service and Infrastructure Planning. Service planning is one part of my responsibility and it covers, among other things, planning the networks of transit services we provide.

So can you give a brief overview of the service optimization project?

There are two parts to service optimization. First, we’ve committed to a project in 2011 with a specific target. And we’re also committed to managing our service on an ongoing basis.

We’re always managing our services so that we use our limited resources as efficiently and effectively as possible. However, we’re in a time where we don’t have new resources. So what we want to do is make sure that what we’ve got is used effectively. Some services have growing demand or are full to overflowing. On other routes and times we know (and even receive complaints) that the service is not well used. Service optimization looks closely at the system to see where we can reallocate, and we attempt do so in a way that is responsible, methodical and principled.

For the specific project through 2011, we’ve set a specific goal, which is to improve the revenue productivity by two per cent. And we’ve committed to continue reviewing service on an ongoing basis into the future.

What does that mean, to improve revenue productivity by two per cent?

I’m glad you asked that. Ken Hardie [TransLink’s director of communications] did a nice job of describing it in a letter to the Coquitlam Now:

[S]ome routes at certain times of the day are attracting very low ridership, sometimes under 10 people per hour while overcrowding and pass-ups continue on others. Even though TransLink cannot fund any further expansion of the system, we hope to attract two per cent more total riders by reallocating about 4.5 per cent of our hours of service to routes and times where they’ll be better used and where they will generate additional fare revenue.

So the target of increasing revenue productivity means that we need to increase the number of customers (and fare revenue) we serve in each vehicle hour. By increasing the proportion of service that has above average productivity, we can raise the overall productivity of the system. That improves TransLink’s efficiency.

Essentially, we try to make wise choices about how we use our existing resources, to provide service where it is needed, while also ensuring that basic services are also available.

So we’re basically dealing with the problem of scarcity.

Yes, and we have to prioritize. It’s important to have a set of principles as to how you manage low demand routes, and a set of principles about how to manage the high demand routes. And that’s where we begin with the service optimization project.

Right. The service optimization has a set of guiding principles published on our website. Why are they important and how did you develop them?

Guiding Principles for Service OptimizationTen principles will guide decisions on how we make the best use of bus service.

Where service is underused, decisions will be made to:

  • Maintain service, to the greatest degree possible, for transit dependent customers
  • Maintain services which are strategically significant for network connectivity
  • Minimize service reductions in areas where there are no other transit alternatives
  • Minimize impacts to existing infrastructure
  • Protect growing markets, where ridership or productivity is substantially improving

Where we reinvest services and resources, decisions will be made that are expected to:

  • Generate higher ridership and/or address overcrowding
  • Generate increased revenue ridership in proportion to increased service levels
  • Maximize use of existing transit infrastructure
  • Increase revenue ridership
  • Support TransLink’s long-term goals and objectives for the regional transportation system

Guiding principles are important because we want to be transparent. We developed ten principles and consulted on them through the Transportation Fairs in fall 2010. We also consulted throughout TransLink and our operating partners, such as with bus drivers at their depots. We wanted people to have the opportunity to say this was a reasonable way to do things.

The principles speak to some of the fundamentals in service. We have a role to provide basic services in communities where people don’t have alternatives. So we’re not going to randomly go in and take away services.

We’re also providing a network, so if we go in and make changes that make that network not work anymore, then we’re not serving anybody’s interests. We say it right up front: we’re not going to do that.

We also will look at areas where there are many services with some overlap and look for ways, say, to combine those services. Perhaps we’ll reach that point where we need to make changes on services without duplicate service—but that’s not where we’ll look first.

As well, with infrastructure: when we’ve built it, we’ve committed to continuing to service it.

And we also recognize that some of the markets are only just beginning, so we’re going to continue to watch them to make sure they’re growing and give them time to become established.

The principles guide how we reinvest service. We’ve talked about some of these already, growing the revenue ridership, and addressing overcrowding are the easiest ones to understand. We will also invest in growing markets that show promise of having above average demand and we’ll continue to increase the use of existing infrastructure that we’ve invested in.

How do you figure out which routes are performing and which are underperforming? Where do you get the data?

We collect a lot of data and information. One of the most important is that we count people who get on the buses and trains.

How do we do that? Does someone go down there and count them?

Fortunately, we live in an era where there’s technology to help us. A share of our buses have automatic passenger counters, which count every single person who gets on and off. They have an invisible infrared beam at the doors, which produces a record that says someone got on or off, and the place and the time. So we can then construct a profile of the route and look at the patterns of ridership.

We also go out and count at the SkyTrain stations, and SeaBus customers are always counted through the turnstiles. And we also have supporting information like the trip diaries, and regional screenline surveys, and the census. As well, we have an ongoing dialogue with the companies, like Coast Mountain Bus Company and British Columbia Rapid Transit Company that run the service every day and can tell us about issues they see. The discussions we had with drivers in the fall were great. They produced lots of great ideas that we were able to put in the project for consideration.

So after that, how did you decide which routes to focus on?

We started by sorting the data to see the most productive services in the system and the most unproductive. Then we broke it down into pieces. A particular route might be very productive on average, but it might have an unproductive segment or time of day. Likewise on the busy end, some services are very busy but only at certain times.

So we were very targeted. What were the busiest places and times? What were the least used places and times? And then we identified for each of those how significant is the issue. When we identified possible options we also developed and used a set of evaluation criteria, and I can bore you to tears with that stuff. But basically they related to the things that are important to us and to our customers, like crowding, what types of impacts there would be on the network, the change in revenue we would expect, and so on. Using those criteria, we tested to see which possible options made sense. We ranked them, and pulled out ones that made sense that we developed further.

How do you test these assumptions about the routes?

The evaluation criteria are the primary way of doing that. Several years ago we developed a set of Transit Service Guidelines that set thresholds of acceptable levels of crowding and acceptable levels of productivity, and bus stop spacing and route spacing, and a whole bunch of different criteria to guide what makes a successful public transit system. So in service optimization, we’re looking at the routes, or segments or times that don’t meet the guidelines. And even among those, there’s lots of nuance. They might be underused for a short period of time, or overcrowded for a short period of time, and we examine them quite closely, sometimes making trip-by-trip adjustments. On the bus side, CMBC’s planners have been very involved in our joint team, working through an evaluation of every route in the system and bringing forward lots of the potential initiatives.

Given all that criteria: how would you characterize the April 2011 service changes?

Well first, it’s hard to see any one of the quarterly changes in isolation from the others. Remember I said that CMBC planners have been working through all the routes in the region? That takes time, so not all the initiatives are at the same stage of development. There are also some practical issues, like the desire to balance how the resources are deployed in each depot in any one change.

So April’s changes are one part of a bigger story.

One thing most people will notice is that it looks like there aren’t as many projects where service is being reallocated to as where it’s being reallocated from. But that’s a bit of an optical illusion. One way that we’ve tried to make the initiative work as effectively as possible is by making a large number of fairly small reductions that limit the effect on customers. Then we’ve pooled those resources to make some significant increases in really busy places.

Many of the changes are changes to fleet type. The customer won’t see any changes in service level, but a different vehicle will show up. In some cases it will be a bigger bus because they need more capacity. In some places it will be a smaller bus that provides the same frequency at lower overall cost.

There are also changes in service frequency. So to address crowding, we’re running more trips, or to address underproductive service, we’re running trips less often. It’s a mix of both of those. A really important thing for me is that service optimization is understood as both reinvestment and reduction – a balance. Considering how many systems in North America have had to make deep cuts to transit service, we’re fortunate to be able to work with balanced resources.

That means there will be more changes in the upcoming year?

Correct. One thing we’ve been saying to people is that it does get harder. We’ve been working on the lower hanging fruit right now, and it will likely become more challenging as the year goes on.

Also, when we get into the fall, we’ll also get into those times when crowding builds up. Everybody knows what the return to school is like in September. Demand tends to peak in the fall. So we’ll be looking for ways to have resources available to address our customers’ needs.

If customers have feedback, how do they reach you?

I encourage them to use our feedback form. That’s the most productive way.

And… that’s all I had to ask! Is there anything more you would like to add?

This is a really important project, because it gives us a chance to serve the needs of the region. By providing services that more people can use so they don’t have to drive, that allows us to make better use of the resources they’ve entrusted us with.

Thanks Brian!

Again, if you haven’t seen them yet, here’s a few handy links on our April 2011 service optimization:

And note that I’m away until April 11: I’ll get answers to your questions after I’m back!


41 Comments

  • By Matt, April 5, 2011 @ 12:37 pm

    Unfortunately the logic of reallocating service from an underused route to an over-flowing route to increase productivity doesn’t directly hold true. Those 10 people on a lightly used route are likely connecting to an overused route somewhere in the system. Without their smaller community route (route, not shuttle) they’ll be limited in their access to the larger route and where they wish to go. Smaller feeder buses that get in to communities are just as important as the larger trunk routes, they get people where they actually need to go.

    In New West we’re none too pleased with some of the cuts and I know council and staff were actually caught off guard last night when I informed them of the pending changes, unfortunately they weren’t aware this was coming.

    http://www.tenthtothefraser.ca/2011/04/04/transit-cuts-coming-to-new-west/

    Of course as always I don’t blame Translink, they’re only doing what the politicians have mandated they do. It’s the politicians who throw money at road mega-projects (sometimes via Translink, like the UBE/NFPR) rather than giving Translink the resources to meet its stated goals – increased mode shift and lower car usage.

  • By Gary, April 5, 2011 @ 1:08 pm

    Yes, the system needs to be more productive and yes, money needs to be saved. What is worrysome about these changes is the move to hourly service late night throughout the region (for example, routes 26, 27 and 29). I ride the 29 late night, but I’m lucky that I can take the 41 instead. Other riders further south on the line are not so lucky. It’s even worse in Burnaby and Coquitlam where there are no alternatives in many neighbourhoods. This will only encourage people not to use transit and to get into their cars. That’s not a good thing as people drink and drive even though there are laws in place.

  • By Dave, April 5, 2011 @ 3:10 pm

    Sometimes I wonder if the people who make these changes take transit on a daily basis? Why do they think having hourly service is such a good idea? I can tolerate half-hourly service, but every 60 minutes is down right inconvenient, especially when most people are transferring from Skytrain or other buses. If you miss your transfer, your only option is to either walk or take a cab.

    Furthermore, I think a lot of UBC students won’t be happy that they will have to make an extra transfer just to take the 480, considering most of them take the 480 at Brighouse Station and not at Bridgeport.

  • By Eugene T.S. Wong, April 5, 2011 @ 3:48 pm

    @ Matt

    I obviously would not know what is going through their heads but I think that they have thought about the bigger picture. Before, the #340 would go to Newton Exchange. They put that “extension” on the #319, so that it would work well for the transferring riders, and it would also allow them to increase frequency on that extension, without increasing service on the underused portion. This shows that they have an awareness of riders connecting.

    @ Gary

    I didn’t know that there were any buses 60 minute frequency buses in Vancouver. I genuinely sympathize, especially in light our heated argument. I don’t know if 60 minute service is justified, but I certainly feel for you. For what it’s worth, #340 and #329 are not changed for this schedule. The #329 frequency hasn’t improved once, since 1994, when I moved here. It probably hasn’t improved at all since it was made.

  • By Eugene T.S. Wong, April 5, 2011 @ 4:08 pm

    @ Dave

    I think that they do take transit. Whenever I ask them, they either have cars, or live near great transit. This allows them to commute by transit during the day, and use cars, when service becomes undesirable. Also, they seem to come from a school of thought that is a little difficult for me to understand. I think that they are looking at numbers and priorities, so that even if they are making a bad decision, they won’t know, because the diagrams and charts indicate that it is progress.

    I noticed another problem. Translink has been making a huge effort to bring on mothers with strollers, wheelchair users, and students. None of these people are ideal customers, because they take up more space, and they pay less than the full fare. I tried to figure out who the ideal customer is. I realized that the best customer is somebody skinny with nothing except clothing and full fare. Oddly enough, that’s me, but believe me, I’m not bragging. I guess that my point is that Translink should be encouraging those other people to use cars, and encouraging people without much baggage to come on board. That seems harsh, but a car is a car. Mothers would be happier with the space and the freedom, and we’d get better service. Assume that a mother with a stroller and skinny person are both going from point A to B. Why would we want her to cram her stroller and 3 kids on the bus, while we wait in the rain, and possibly miss out on this trip? If the kids are young, then she’s paying only 1 fare. It makes no sense.

  • By Robert Jackson, April 5, 2011 @ 4:46 pm

    Is there a moderator out there who can remove some of the angry and nasty comments? I’ve been following some of the posts. That Euguene Wong sounds like a really angry dude. He needs to get a life.

  • By Jacob, April 5, 2011 @ 5:34 pm

    I think that there is one problem that may happen. Developing communities with little transit may have already adjusted to car. to draw those motorists on transit would take more than a 60 minute frequency. With a 60 minute frequency, the only riders would be the car-less people, and already transit takers. The way to get those motorists out of their cars is to make a more frequent route (20 minutes). Though ridership at the beginning may be low, it would at least be a realistic alternative to car, and may result in motorists switching to a better commuting way. But, this would only work at places where people have to go places. For example, the Langley mayor recently said that about 10000 workers travel to Gloucester every day, but there are no buses there. That would be an example, where service can be added, but 60 minute service wouldn’t be sufficient. With 20 minute service, though ridership may be low at the beginning, at least it would be a good alternative to the automobile.

  • By David M, April 5, 2011 @ 8:32 pm

    There’s no easy answer. Nobody wants to pay taxes to support the service. We keep electing people that spend the tax money we have on roads (like the $3 billion on Port Mann).

    I think Translink is doing the best it can with the resources it has. Don’t like, let your elected representatives know – there is an election coming up in November. Get out and vote.

  • By Ric, April 5, 2011 @ 9:25 pm

    Why is the 480 now going to truncating its service at Bridgeport Station instead of No. 3 Rd?

  • By Joe, April 6, 2011 @ 5:01 am

    Ric because TransLink’s policy is if you don’t transfer at least 3 times to complete a trip they didn’t do their job. TRANSFER TRANSFER TRANSFER UNTIL YOU DROP. Also what really bugs me is all these routes that are practically 24 hours, but not quite, yet have usually nobody riding them. Ride a 123 after 10pm going Westbound. Nobody on it 90% of the time. Yet it runs until 2am. Eastbound trips have people on them right until the last one at 1am. Eastbound restarts at 4.30am (Monday-Saturday) and has lots of people riding the first bus. Yet Westbound doesn’t start again until almost 6 in the morning. At this point why not just make the route 24 hours and remove the pathetic 3.5 hour downtime it has? 2 more trips Eastbound, 3 more Westbound. 2am and 3am trip for East, move the 4.30am trip to 4, and 3 4 and 5am trip for West. I’m sure somebody will cry about budget numbers but how much do you think I like walking for 30 minutes from Brentwood every morning in an Industrial area at 3.30am because the first 123 starts 45 minutes after the last N9? If not the 123, Willingdon Avenue in general needs 24h service. Just like the 123, it has 21 hour a day service from the 130. Spend the little bit of extra money and make that 24 hours TransLink. We’re not a small city anymore, we need more 24h bus service. Look at Toronto, Montreal, etc.

  • By Gordon, April 6, 2011 @ 7:49 am

    What will the service frequency be on the new #14 route?

  • By Eugene Wong, April 6, 2011 @ 9:37 am

    @ Robert Jackson

    Yes, there is a moderator, but she is away right now.

    Yes, I am angry. I’ve had a very difficult life in the last 4 years. I’m starting over, but I’m worse off than I was before.

    Reading about these ideas of removing service from the other cities just to focus on Vancouver only makes my life worse. Imagine trying to start your life over without any money available. Now imagine doing it without a car. Now imagine doing it with a car and without transit. It’s hard! So, of course I would be upset when transit is taken away.

    I’d appreciate any patience.

    Yes, I do need to get to get a life. That’s not going to happen without money and without transportation.

    @ All

    Just so that you know, I feel for the people in Vancouver, too. I recall correctly, I sent a message in, to increase service on late night #41 service.

    You can’t think of the traffic problem in isolation. If Surrey leaves and builds it’s own transit system, then will you allow us to transfer to your system for free? I doubt it. There’s no way that all of us are going to continue to use transit if we have to pay transfer penalties. So that means more driving. We’re all going to drive into New Westminster and Richmond. Both cities paid their dues, yet they would have worse traffic, but at least Vancouver gets better transit!

  • By Tim Choi, April 6, 2011 @ 10:58 am

    @Gordon: Just enter “14” in the bus schedule lookup and set the date for some date after April 18th =)

  • By Kelly Reaburn, April 6, 2011 @ 10:06 pm

    I disagree on the bus routes: 26 & 27 with every hour after 10. That means more waiting time hours & maybe more buildup on buses. Bus # 15 should be continuing to downtown, because many seniors like my mom don’t want to transfer on to the Canada line & it’s difficult. Bus # c19 should be a weekday service, but maybe do a weekday schedule when UBC is in session. Other services no one mentioned was the c76. On weekends it leaves every hour. I used to live in ladner for 10 years & none of the Translink department makes any changes to this route. Allot of seniors may want to get to the doctors because it’s too far away. Or many weekend commuters take it to scottsdale area for work or shopping. This schedule needs to be more improved.

  • By Ronald, April 7, 2011 @ 12:01 am

    I think the biggest problem I see as a commuter myself is that the 402 service cuts is actually pretty crazy. When I take the bus during the off peak hours (half hour service), the bus is pretty packed halfway, and as it nears 3/4 completion of its route, its is full. Standing room only (and sometimes not even!). so to remove the half hour service to make it one hour will just mean that there will be pass ups now…. How is it efficient? You’re better off riding a bike to your destination (maybe thats their hidden agenda)

  • By Ronald, April 7, 2011 @ 12:26 am

    My apologies on the 402 part, Misread the time (thought it said 10AM, rather than 10PM)

  • By Joe, April 7, 2011 @ 2:46 am

    Kelly, have you ever been on a 26 after 10pm? I have. Frequently you will be the only person on the bus, and usually the only person on the entire route. There won’t be any build-up, just more waiting.

  • By Eugene Wong, April 7, 2011 @ 1:18 pm

    @ Ronald

    You might have made a mistake with the time of day, but it actually gave me an idea.

    As it is, we are familiar with the #99 and other routes not going the full route distance. We are also familiar with bus routes not offering the same frequency in both directions in rush hours.

    Why can’t we expect the same from smaller routes at night? The bus routes that I take [i.e. #319 & #340] could use a similar treatment. The routes that depart from SkyTrain might be packed, because of people going home. Perhaps, the buses could end their trips at major intersections, and then turn around as “Not In Service”. This could allow a #319 to do a short trip and return to Scott Road Station in less than 15 minutes. So, with my suggestion 1 bus could make 3-4 trips *from* Scott Road Station, per hour, for most people, whereas with the current way of doing things, 1 bus could only make about 1-2 trips in an hour for everybody.

    This would be painful for those who have to go the longer distance, but it would be no more painful for them than what we have now.

    Also, it would allow some buses to be moved to places where people are being passed up at night due to capacity.

    As much as I hate to say it, I believe that we don’t need 15 minute frequencies in Surrey, for regular bus sizes, at night going *to* SkyTrain. Could somebody correct/confirm?

    We could name the routes differently, to indicate that the service is different. I recommend using the first letter of the most significant city for the relevant route. At least for Surrey, it would make sense to name the example route, S19. It would get messy with North Vancouver, but the rest of the cities should be okay [e.g. V26, R02, etc.].

    I think that the regular commuters would get used to this very easily, because they travel at regular times.

    I’d love to read some feedback on this from all of us who have been following the heated discussions.

  • By Dan Cooper, April 7, 2011 @ 2:27 pm

    The new 15/50 combination will work great for me. One bus all the way from where I live near Cambie to Granville Island and downtown and all the way to Chinatown? Cool! The only downside is that the main library is a little less accessible.

    I saw an article in the Courier (“Your Source For Articles About One Person With A Beef”) where one person was saying that the 50 no longer going down Broadway would make it hard for seniors and persons with disabilities to get to their appointments. Then again, the 50 went a grand total of 3 blocks along Broadway before turning back north, and if you were for example going to VGH you would have to then trek uphill anyway. I would think that while each person’s needs vary, for most having all of Cambie put within a single bus ride will be worth losing those three blocks.

  • By Donna (CMBC), April 7, 2011 @ 4:02 pm

    Kelly: The 15 WILL connect to downtown, in a way — it changes names to the 50 Waterfront, and will go downtown after it changes names. So if your mother is adverse to transferring, she doesn’t have to. :)

  • By Donald, April 7, 2011 @ 4:19 pm

    @Eugene T.S. Wong, That’s a horrible comment re: mothers with kids, my wife and/or I have every right to take my son (soon two) on transit as much as anyone else in this region. Yes I do have a car but I enjoy kicking back and interacting with my son on the way to/from our destination. I have to make sure he’s as accustomed to taking transit as I am because when he’s my age, transit will become the norm. I don’t travel with them during rush hour but what about the low-income parents who have no choice but to take transit? I sympathize with you being in a rough patch in life, I’ve been there, but to make a rash pretentious comment like that? Really?

  • By Eugene Wong, April 7, 2011 @ 5:27 pm

    @ Donald

    As harsh as my words were about mothers and others, I never meant any offense. I live without a car, partly because I think that this is ideal. I happen to think that it is ideal for everybody including mothers, fathers, and children. My point is that although Translink shouldn’t ban certain people, Translink should chase after the “best”.

    As for raising kids to ride the bus, that’s awesome. Period.

    Just to be absolutely clear, I think that it isn’t a zero-sum game. It isn’t about “you” vs. “me”, or Vancouver vs. Surrey.

    It’s really about prioritizing. Sometimes, we need to focus on other people more. To put it in another perspective, do we really need to accommodate wheel chair users, when they never/rarely use a particular route?

    Perhaps my message came across as pitting mothers and wheel chair users against me. That wasn’t the intent. In the latter rhetorical question, the question would apply to a “busy” route that is filled with passengers like me, and it would pass me up, because of capacity. A low floor bus is built for handicap people and mothers with strollers. Seniors benefit, obviously. The unfortunate consequence is that the total capacity of the bus is lowered. On that route, those groups would not be hampered by a high floor bus. It’s hypothetical, but it would be nice if Translink could provide ridership numbers.

    Then again, maybe providing numbers not worth while, in the grand scheme of things.

    It’s just frustrating for everybody when we all get passed up, for whatever reasons.

    By the way, thanks for sympathizing. I appreciate it. It also helps to clarify your perspective.

    Also, thanks for responding. I think that it gives me a chance to respond to objections.

    @ All

    1 thing that I noticed about these service change discussions is that it brings out the worst in us, as a whole group. We are like prisoners of war, fighting over 1 small French fry that 1 of us found in the bushes last week. Do we give it to somebody who is entitled to it, or do we give it to somebody who needs it? All of our problems just blow away, when we add more service and stop building highways.

    All of you just remember how divisive certain actions can be, next time somebody asks you, “What difference does it make?”, every time any issue arises. It always makes a huge indirect difference.

  • By ???, April 7, 2011 @ 11:58 pm

    Just wondering… how much does one really save renting a place in Surrey or Coquitlam…. compared to renting in Vancouver for a unit the same size?

    If you have a job in Vancouver…. would it not be simplier to stay in Vancouver, rather than commute in from the suburbs? Isn’t the ideal situation to live, work and play in our own immediate neighbourhoods, rather than commute all day?

    What about renting a place near one of the suburb Skytrain stations for transit? Would that not be practical?

  • By Eugene Wong, April 8, 2011 @ 1:42 am

    @ ???

    I kind of wonder about that, too. By saving on the gas, and transit, you could afford a better place.

  • By Robert, April 8, 2011 @ 8:29 am

    True if you are renting. Not so true if you are owning, as a quick look at mls.ca will show. So there will continue to be a decent demand for longer commutes on transit. Good regional planning puts many homes AND employment near transit hubs.

  • By Sandy, April 12, 2011 @ 11:55 am

    I really think they should keep the 480 as is or at least keep the morning schedule as is. As a current UBC student, I know that the morning rush is really packed. I would really hate waiting in line with all the UBC students in Richmond at that one Bridgeport bus stop in the morning.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, April 12, 2011 @ 1:07 pm

    Sandy: I sent your comment along to CMBC and here’s their response.

    As part of TransLink’s Service Optimization project, the 480 route has been permanently revised to terminate all trips at Bridgeport Station in Richmond. For more information on Service Optimization, click here http://www.translink.ca/en/Be-Part-of-the-Plan/Public-Consultation/Service-Optimization.aspx

    That being said, you may be interested to know that selected 403 trips will operate with articulated coaches to Bridgeport Station where they will continue as 480 UBC. In the afternoon, selected 480 trips will operate with articulated coaches to Bridgeport Station where they will continue as 403 Three Road. Both options will continue to provide bus service on Three Road to/from Bridgeport Station and in some cases may reduce the need to transfer.

  • By Kelly, April 12, 2011 @ 9:12 pm

    Thanks, Donna, but that means it takes longer to get there on Granville St. bridge rather than on Cambie St. bridge. & she hates long trips. As far as the #480 goes, I don’t like it 1 bit. Bus #43 should take over & use that route all day monday – friday. Not only bus #43 goes to UBC, it’s quicker than just taking bus #41 all the time with crouded people & traveling for a long time stop after stop after stop. Very frusterating!

  • By Bob, April 13, 2011 @ 2:51 am

    Eugene Wong, mothers, seniors, everyone pays taxes. Just because someone has a kid and a stroller doesn’t mean that they should go take a cab. You can’t “prioritize” and “pick favourites” on people who would make “ideal” passengers. Equality please. If you feel it’s too crowded, then go ride a bike. That’s why there are bike lanes, now use them, because my tax money is paying for that too.

  • By Eugene T.S. Wong, April 13, 2011 @ 7:15 am

    @ Bob

    You and the company are always going to “prioritize” and “pick favourites”, by forcing future generations out of transit. We’re all going to pay for it in taxes and with waiting in traffic.

    No, I won’t ride a bike from Surrey to downtown Vancouver.

    Did you notice that you just told me to get off of transit? What right do you have to use equality to tell me to not say what I’ve said, and then order me off of transit?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, April 13, 2011 @ 2:58 pm

    Whoa—let’s just take a step back from this right now! Don’t forget to stay cool and be respectful during this discussion, everyone.

    Bob, Eugene: at heart, you’re discussing one of the core issues that we try to balance as a public transit provider, which is that we try to provide services to *everyone* in the public—mothers and children and skinny people alike —but we also are challenged to generate revenue and keep our system paying for itself. These can be really tricky issues to balance against each other, and it’s something our service optimization initiative is trying to address.

  • By Ron, April 18, 2011 @ 6:59 pm

    So how do we know which 403 busses will become 480s?

  • By Angela, April 20, 2011 @ 2:11 am

    @Ron
    Maybe there will be a set schedule, sort of like how every other 480 bus went to Brighouse..

Other Links to this Post

  1. The Buzzer blog » Reminder: April 2011 changes to service — April 18, 2011 @ 7:01 am

  2. The Buzzer blog » June 2011 bus changes and the service optimization: an interview with TransLink planning director Brian Mills — June 20, 2011 @ 7:46 am

  3. The Buzzer blog » September service changes and optimization — August 24, 2011 @ 10:04 pm

  4. The Buzzer blog » The June 2012 Buzzer is out! — June 8, 2012 @ 8:01 am

  5. The Buzzer blog » All about managing the transit network: an interview with senior planner Peter Klitz — June 28, 2012 @ 11:03 am

  6. The Buzzer blog » Guiding themes for planning a transit network — July 13, 2012 @ 12:18 pm

  7. The Buzzer blog » Service optimization consultation starts November 19, 2012 — November 9, 2012 @ 1:24 pm

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