A new centralized bus loop for Richmond City Centre has been planned for more than a decade. It was initially anticipated that the new loop next to Richmond-Brighouse Station would be built soon after the opening of the Canada Line in 2009.
That clearly did not happen as quickly as expected.
But after years of delays, how transit passengers get around on buses from the SkyTrain station is finally about to change.
TransLink spokesperson Jill Drews told Daily Hive the public transit authority is in the early stages of working with the City of Richmond on an agreement to proceed with plans for the new bus loop.
It will be located between No. 3 Road and Buswell Street, immediately south of the recently completed Mandarin Residences building and the new Scotiabank – just outside the entrance into the station.
Design work is slated to be completed at the end of the year, and construction will be finished in late 2018.
Previous municipal government staff reports indicate a bus mall concept on a new public street with pedestrian integration was preferred by City officials.
City staff wrote their reasons in a 2006 report: A traditional suburban-type, off-street bus loop would create “a negative appeal to the City Centre and is sterile use of the land” and “degrades the pedestrian environment around the station.”
At the time, the bus loop proposed by Canada Line Rapid Transit Inc. was estimated to cost $6 million.
Nevertheless, a new bus loop is needed to reduce vehicle congestion on No. 3 Road and increase the area’s bus parking capacity before bus services can be improved in Richmond. This includes increasing the frequencies of existing routes and the possible implementation of a B-Line service between Metrotown and Richmond-Brighouse Station.
It would also improve customer experience and connections between SkyTrain and the buses; in lieu of a bus loop, there are currently 10 bus bays at surrounding streets around the station, and some of the bays require crossing No. 3 Road and are nearly 300 metres away from the station entrance.