BC Transit bus route from Lougheed SkyTrain to Chilliwack launching this month

Mar 9 2022, 11:48 pm

Traveling between the Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley regions, across the Lower Mainland, by public transit will be much easier starting later this month.

The long-planned westward route extension of BC Transit’s existing No. 66 Fraser Valley Express (FVX) bus service will begin on March 27, 2022.

FVX runs along Highway 1, and currently its route spans between downtown Chilliwack and TransLink’s Carvolth bus exchange in Langley Township, with four stops in between — Vedder and Lickman in Chilliwack, and McCallum and Highstreet in Abbotsford.

BC Transit confirmed the launch of the extended and improved service today, which will result in the route’s western terminus relocated from Carvolth to SkyTrain Lougheed Town Centre Station in Burnaby.

ā€œPublic transit is about providing people with a safe, reliable and affordable connection to their communities,” said Erinn Pinketon, president and CEO of BC Transit, in a statement.

“Working with our local government partners and TransLink to provide transit riders with an integrated transit solution between the Fraser Valley and Metro Vancouver is an important step in making it easier for people to choose transit in the Lower Mainland.ā€

FVX’s new western terminus at Lougheed Town Centre Station’s bus exchange provides BC Transit bus passengers with more convenient SkyTrain access — both the Expo and Millennium lines — and transfers to a number of TransLink bus routes.

bc transit 6 fvx fraser valley express route map

Route and stop locations of the extended No. 66 Fraser Valley Express (FVX) reaching Lougheed Town Centre Station. Click on the image for an expanded version. (BC Transit)

fraser valley express route skytrain lougheed town centre station

Diagram of No. 66 Fraser Valley Express bus stops and connections to other bus services starting in March 2022, when it is extended to SkyTrain Lougheed Town Centre Station. (Fraser Valley Regional District)

The improved bus route will make 19 roundtrips each weekday — between 4:40 am and 7:10 pm for westbound trips starting in downtown Chilliwack, and between 6:26 am and 8:47 pm for eastbound trips starting from Lougheed. Weekday frequencies range from every 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the time of day.

On weekends, the service will start later and end earlier at reduced frequencies, with 10 roundtrips on Saturdays and eight roundtrips on Sundays.

The schedule includes two additional weekdays and two additional Saturday trips compared to FVX’s existing schedule.

The travel time between downtown Chilliwack and Lougheed is about 90 minutes, although this depends on road traffic conditions.

Passengers transferring between services at Lougheed are reminded that TransLink and BC Transit have separate fare systems.

ā€œBetter linking Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley through transit was prioritized in our Transport 2050 Strategy to better connect our communities and to make transit a more attractive option for commuters travelling in this corridor,” said TransLink CEO Kevin Quinn.

“The Fraser Valley Express is a major step forward for transit users, the economy, and tourism by creating a more convenient connection between downtown Vancouver and Chilliwack.ā€

bc transit 6 fvx fraser valley express

No. 66 FVX Fraser Valley Express bus. (BC Transit)

bc transit fvx fraser valley express bus

No. 66 FVX Fraser Valley Express bus. (BC Transit)

Fraser Valley Regional District is funding a portion of the annual operating costs for the additional buses needed to extend the FVX route, which is accomplished by increasing the number of buses from eight to 12.

The route extension was originally planned to begin in 2021, but it was deferred until this year due to the pandemic.

Since it was launched in 2015, FVX ridership has grown exponentially, rising from 72,000 boardings in its inaugural year to 253,000 in 2019. It has also seen a relatively high pandemic ridership recovery, rising to 60% of its normal volumes in September 2021. Regional planners state this is indicative of the ā€œstrong latent demand for this service.ā€

The regional district is planning for the long-term growth of the FVX, and has analyzed potential ridership growth scenarios. A high-growth scenario could see a tenfold increase to as many as 2.6 million annual boardings in 2040.

FVX’s speed and reliability is expected to improve in the future from the provincial government’s planned widening of Highway 1 between Langley and Abbotsford, which will include new bus-priority measures.

ā€œThis extension the Fraser Valley Express bus service to connect directly to the Lougheed Town Centre SkyTrain Station better meets the need of Abbotsford passengers looking to connect to Metro Vancouver,” said Abbotsford mayor Henry Braun.

“This valued expansion shows what can be done when communities and government agencies work together to improve transit options for Fraser Valley residents.ā€

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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