Launch of some new B-Line routes could be delayed until 2020

Mar 19 2019, 7:15 pm

TransLink does not believe it can meet its original timeline of launching all three new B-Line routes in the region by September 2019, when bus schedules typically change annually.

According to a report, the potential delay of the launch of the new services is due to the narrowing window to perform the extensive road construction projects required to implement new bus-only lanes, queue jumpers, traffic signal priorities, and special B-Line bus shelters with real-time information displays.

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Procurement for private contractors to complete the street changes will begin this month, with construction anticipated to begin in late-spring 2019.

“Initial constructability assessments indicate that not all of the required works are likely to complete by September 2019,” reads the report.

“Furthermore, the construction market is currently very busy, and there is uncertainty about how many potential bidders will have the capacity to take this work on this year. TransLink staff will review implementation timing based on how the market responds to the request for proposals.”

The public transit authority says some or all of the new B-Line routes could see launch dates pushed to mid-November 2019, early-January 2020, or other dates in 2020.

The three routes being introduced are the 41st Avenue B-Line (UBC to Joyce-Collingwood Station), Lougheed Highway B-Line (Coquitlam Central Station to Maple Ridge), and North Shore B-Line (Phibbs Exchange to Park Royal only).

A fourth B-Line planned for Fraser Highway from King George Station to Langley was cancelled late last year after the Mayors’ Council approved a plan to accelerate a Fraser Highway SkyTrain project. The funds that were set aside for B-Line infrastructure on the Fraser Highway will instead be redirected to improving the 96 B-Line, which will be retained following the cancellation of the Surrey Newton-Guildford LRT project.

As for the West Vancouver portion of the North Shore B-Line, TransLink says it is continuing to work with the District of West Vancouver on “future opportunities to provide B-Line service further west along Marine Drive.” This follows the district council’s decision this month to halt the B-Line at Park Royal and further explore other options for a continuation of the B-Line route through the Ambleside and Dundarave areas.

TransLink also states that any unused funds that were set aside for B-Line infrastructure in West Vancouver will be redirected to other future B-Line routes elsewhere in the region.

“Regardless of that decision, due to timing, the initial launch will have a western terminus at Park Royal,” reads the report. “Any unused service hours, fleet, and infrastructure funds would be reinvested into the B-Line program to address existing unfunded B-Line priorities identified through the approved Investment Decision Framework.”

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