TransLink to launch North Shore's Marine Drive RapidBus in April

Jan 30 2020, 8:48 am

Metro Vancouver’s North Shore municipalities will be served by TransLink’s new west-east, high-capacity, frequent arterial bus transit route starting on Monday, April 6.

The R2 Marine Drive RapidBus service will operate between Park Royal in West Vancouver and Phibbs Exchange in North Vancouver District via Marine Drive, 3rd Street, and Main Street.

There are 10 stops, including a stop at Lonsdale Quay for connections to SeaBus and the waterfront bus exchange, which is currently undergoing a significant overhaul to improve passenger comfort and establish a new layout that better accommodates RapidBus. Renovations to the bus exchange will reach completion this spring.

RapidBus on the North Shore will operate 6 am to 1 am daily and is expected to achieve an end-to-end travel time of about 50 minutes, depending on traffic conditions. This is up to 10 minutes faster than existing options.

Here are the R2 frequencies:

  • Weekday:
    • 6 am to 9 am and 3 pm to 6 pm: every 8 minutes
    • 9 am to 3 pm and 6 pm to 9 pm: every 10 minutes
    • 9 pm to 1 am: every 15 minutes
  • Weekends:
    • 6 am to 9 pm: every 10 minutes
    • 9 pm to 1 am: every 15 minutes

During peak hours, the R2 will have capacity to carry up to 1,650 people per hour, both directions combined. Like the other RapidBus routes, it will use a new fleet of articulated buses, and its stops are outfitted with special posts equipped with real-time next bus digital displays.

Extensive all-day bus-only lanes along much of the route will help speed up the buses and improve service reliability.

R2 MARINE DRIVE RAPID BUS

R2 Marine Drive. (TransLink)

As well, existing bus routes on the North Shore will see some modifications to better align with the R2.

This includes the discontinuation of the No. 239 to avoid duplication and reallocate its service hours into the R2. Currently, the No. 239 is a local service on the same route of the R2 and attracts 3.13 million boardings per year — including an average weekday ridership of 9,800 boardings. It is TransLink’s 30th busiest bus route.

Other changes entail higher peak frequencies and a route extension to Lynn Valley for the No. 240, and route alterations for the No. 255 to better serve 3rd Street West, Central Lonsdale, and Capilano University.

There will also be a new bus route between Phibbs Exchange and Capilano University, running every eight minutes during peak hours. This effectively replaces the discontinued easternmost portion of the No. 239 route.

Lonsdale Quay bus exchange renovations

Artistic rendering of the upgrades to Lonsdale Quay bus exchange in North Vancouver. (TransLink)

On January 6, TransLink launched the brand new R4 41st Avenue and R3 Lougheed Highway routes and converted the 95 B-Line into the R5 Hastings Street and 96 B-Line into the R1 King George Boulevard.

But the launch of the R2 was delayed due to complications with road construction when contractors discovered several unexpected underground utility works that required extra time to work around or relocate.

TransLink originally planned for a RapidBus route on the North Shore that placed the service’s westernmost terminus at Dundarave, adding three stops west of Park Royal. But this planned route was ultimately truncated to end at Park Royal due to local opposition.

At least five new additional RapidBus routes are proposed for the 2020s, including two routes serving the North Shore. The Lions Gate RapidBus could operate between downtown Vancouver and Lynn Valley via the Lions Gate Bridge, while the Ironworkers-Willingdon RapidBus could run from Phibbs Exchange to the Millennium Line’s Brentwood Station and the Expo Line’s Metrotown Station via the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge and Willingdon Avenue.