TransLink is rolling out four new B-Line bus routes across 12 Metro Vancouver communities by the end of next year.
When launched, these B-Line routes will bring frequent, reliable service and shorter travel times within walking distance of a whopping 200,000 residents! Now’s the time to help shape these B-Line routes, and make sure they meet your community’s needs. The consultation period has been underway since April and will be closing on May 31.
What makes these B-Line routes special?
These B-Line bus routes will provide 10-minute-or-better frequency during peak periods, 15-minute-or-better frequency during off peak and operate 18 hours each day—some will be even more frequent. 41st Avenue is the second busiest bus corridor in the entire region (after Broadway), so its B-Line will have a bus every 3-6 minutes at peak times. All buses will be the longer bus with the bendy centre, which carry 50 per cent more people than a standard bus. The buses and stops will have special branding to make them stand out and easier to find.
What also makes these B-Line routes special is that streets will be changed to make sure buses don’t get stuck in traffic. This has the potential to be a big time saver, not only for B-Line riders, but also for people that use other routes along these corridors. We are working closely with municipalities and the B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to make such changes a reality.
How can I help design them?
We are currently running an online survey at translink.ca/bline. There are three major elements that need input from the public at this stage of the project:
Where do you want bus stops located?
A key feature of these new B-Lines is improved travel time. One of the main ways to improve travel time is to have fewer stops, so you spend more time moving—just like on a SkyTrain. The stops chosen should be located at the most important destinations and connection points along the corridor.
Together with municipalities in each of the four corridors, we’ve identified possible stop locations that provide the best access to key transit connections, major retail centres and growing neighbourhoods.
How can existing bus routes better serve your community?
The new B-Line routes are expected to attract a lot of riders from existing routes with more frequent, more reliable service and shorter travel times. That makes this a good time to review routes around the B-Line routes to make sure they’re providing the right levels of service. Some routes that connect to the B-Line can expect more riders, so they might need a boost in service. On routes where ridership is expected to drop, service may be reduced and reallocated to higher demand routes in the same community.
For example, on the North Shore, we’re proposing to extend the 240 to Lynn Valley and increase the frequency in the peak to address overcrowding. This would be a massive increase in service to Lynn Valley, despite not being on the B-Line route. In Vancouver, there’s an opportunity to convert the 41 to an electric trolleybus route.
How should streets be changed to keep buses from getting stuck in traffic?
As you can see from the map above, bus travel times on these corridors can be seriously impacted in peak times by congestion. By making changes to the streets the B-Line routes operates on, it could significantly reduce travel time and also help keep buses running on time. These changes will also offer the same benefits to many other bus routes that use the same corridor.
One of the most effective ways to keep bus riders moving is by introducing bus lanes. Other methods include adjusting the traffic signals so buses are more likely to avoid red lights, adding short bus-only lanes at intersections so buses can bypass traffic waiting at red lights, and introducing left turn restrictions to reduce delays caused by turning cars.
We’re working with municipal and provincial partners to examine how streets can be changed to ensure future B-Line routes don’t get stuck in traffic. What do you think? Which of these changes would you like to see in your community? Let them know through the survey.
What comes next?
We’ll be reporting back on the results of the consultation in a few months. Expect another round of consultation next year to discuss recommended changes to streets in more detail. This will guide construction work, happening throughout 2019, in anticipation of the launch in September of that year. Stay tuned!
Take the survey at translink.ca/bline through May 31.