The popular No. 257 express bus route between downtown Vancouver and BC Ferries’ Horseshoe Bay Terminal will see a major upgrade starting on September 1.
According to TransLink, the key route to the ferry terminal will see frequency, consistency, and capacity improvements; its new operations will exclusively use a total of five 60-ft-long, three-door articulated buses. The smaller 40-ft-long buses will no longer be in use for the route.
This major change is made possible by a highly unique situation: TransLink is planning to take over the route, which is currently owned by the West Vancouver Blue Bus service.
The District of West Vancouver separately operates and funds its own municipal public transit system, and it contracts TransLink to operate its services.
But the Blue Bus’ operations and maintenance facilities in West Vancouver have become overstretched, which led the District to request TransLink to take over the No. 257 as its facilities cannot handle additional articulated buses.
Instead, the No. 257’s new articulated buses will be maintained and stored from TransLink’s Coast Mountain Bus Company’s bus depot in Burnaby.
TransLink says the changeover will be seamless for passengers, and it is welcoming eligible Blue Bus drivers affected by the transition.
The No. 257 saw 1.1 million boardings – an average of 3,150 boardings per weekday – in 2016.
On the opposite end of the region, the No. 620 route between Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal and the Canada Line’s Bridgeport Station also uses five articulated buses. Earlier this year, all of these buses were outfitted with a three-level luggage rack to make the ride more comfortable for the many luggage-carrying travellers.