Given that plans for street-level light rail transit (LRT) on the Surrey Newton-Guildford (SNG) corridor have been scuttled, there are now plans to implement bus-only lane measures along the 96 B-Line route to help boost the route’s speed and reliability.
TransLink and the City of Surrey are proposing to designate bus-only lanes along sections of King George Boulevard and 72 Avenue where B-Line buses experience high traffic congestion.
A city staff report bus-only lane sections include: 72 Avenue between King George Boulevard and Newton Exchange, King George Boulevard between 72 Avenue and 74 Avenue, 96 Avenue and 102 Avenue; and 102 Avenue between King George Boulevard and the approach to SkyTrain’s Surrey Central Station.
Painted markings and new signage on the curb lanes will designate the lanes for buses and restrict general traffic on entering the lanes, except for making right turns or entering a local business.
Planners are also contemplating the possibility of providing exclusive transit lanes through city centre, where such lanes would allow buses to operate in an exclusive right-of-way independent of general traffic.
These improvements are to be funded by the infrastructure funding previously set aside for the new Fraser Highway B-Line, which was cancelled given that the physical assets built for the route would have a short lifespan, after a decision was made late last year to expedite the Fraser Highway SkyTrain project.
However, as an interim measure until SkyTrain opens, TransLink plans to upgrade the existing No. 503 bus into a high-frequency, limited-stop express service on Fraser Highway between Surrey Central Station and Langley Centre. It will use articulated buses, but without the associated infrastructure investments it will be short of a full-scale B-Line.
Another major bus service improvement planned for Surrey is the implementation of a second new B-Line service in the city, running along Scott Road and 72 Avenue between Scott Road Station, Scottsdale Exchange, and Newton Exchange.
The existing No. 319 bus on Scott Road and 72 Avenue is the busiest bus route in the South of Fraser and the 11th busiest in Metro Vancouver. In comparison, the 96 B-Line ranks second busiest in the city and 15th regionally.
“TransLink and Surrey will work together to identify potential transit priority measures for this new B-Line to enhance bus speed and reliability for transit users along the corridor,” reads a city staff report.
The new Scott Road/72 Avenue B-Line, as well as a new B-Line from Richmond-Brighouse Station to Metrotown Station (via the Knight Street Bridge), will be funded by Phase Two of the Mayors’ Council’s plan. Both new routes are set to launch by 2021.
Additionally, the city staff report notes the No. 351 Bridgeport/White Rock Centre bus route will be switching to double-decker buses to reduce overcrowding, but this will necessitate splitting the route into two separate routes at White Rock Centre, located at the Surrey/White Rock boundary. Double-decker buses will be assigned to the split route between White Rock Centre and Bridgeport, which has the highest ridership, while a new community shuttle bus route will serve local stops for the remaining section between White Rock Centre and Crescent Beach.
TransLink’s new fleet of 32 double-decker buses, arriving later this year, will be assigned to longer-haul bus routes in the South of Fraser.