37 TransLink bus routes to see service cuts starting January 2022

Dec 13 2021, 9:45 pm

Changes to service levels are coming to dozens of TransLink bus routes starting on January 3, 2022, as part of the seasonal change in services to adjust to fluctuating ridership demand.

A total of five bus routes will see improved services, including the conversion of the No. 84 UBC/VCC-Clark Station express to the use of 60-ft articulated buses instead of the regular 40-ft buses.

The No. 310 Scottsdale/Ladner will also be upgraded to a 40-ft bus instead of a community shuttle. Its operating hours will be extended by two hours daily, running later into the evening.

No. 321 White Rock/Newton/Surrey Central Station will see its route extended from the current terminus of Surrey Central Station to Scott Road Station during both the morning and afternoon peak hours.

Passengers can also expect higher frequencies during certain periods of the day on No. 323 Newton Exchange/Surrey Central Station and No. 640 Ladner Exchange/Scott Road Station.

However, the vast majority of the forthcoming service changes will be reductions in frequencies, albeit all of the changes are relatively minor, resulting in longer intervals of generally between two to three additional minutes.

“I am optimistic about this new normal and our recovery in the months ahead, but that said, I am also a realist,” said TransLink CEO Kevin Quinn during a Mayors’ Council meeting earlier this month, in explaining the forthcoming service reductions.

He said there is a need for a “right-sizing” of bus services, given that TransLink was providing far more capacity on some routes than what the depressed ridership justifies.

Currently, ridership is about 60% of pre-pandemic levels across the entire transit system and is expected to grow to as much as 80% of pre-pandemic levels in 2022.

The service cuts also allow TransLink to slow down its fiscal bleed, given that near-normal service levels during the pandemic have to date been made possible by subsidized by Safe Restart Funding provided by the provincial and federal governments. However, the senior governments have yet to indicate they will extend the subsidies to cover ongoing pandemic-related revenue shortfalls.

“Making these small bus service adjustments will also help us manage costs over the next year. We will be reducing frequency on a small number of routes with lower ridership while protecting the busiest routes,” said Quinn.

A total of 37 routes will see their frequencies reduced, but the public transit authority maintains that 98% of bus service will remain untouched. As well, SkyTrain and SeaBus will continue to provide 100% of pre-pandemic service levels, while the West Coast Express will continue to see the suspension of Train 2.

There will be cuts to 99 B-Line service on weekends, with buses coming every six to eight minutes instead of five to six minutes during most times of Saturdays. Frequencies will also be lowered on Sundays/holidays, with slight reductions during daytime and three to four additional minutes during evenings.

Cuts are also coming to four RapidBus routes — R1 King George Boulevard, R2 Marine Drive, R4 41st Avenue, and R5 Hastings Street. The R4 will see its cuts limited to only Sundays/holidays, while the other three RapidBus routes will see cuts on weekdays and weekends. The R1, for instance, will see its frequencies reduced to every 15 minutes during certain periods of each day.

Slight frequency reductions for the No. 25 UBC/Brentwood Station and No. 49 UBC/Dunbar Loop/Metrotown Station are isolated to weekends only.

Almost all of the major trolley bus routes will at least see frequency reductions during weekdays.

Here is the complete list of bus services that will see frequency cuts:

  • 2 Macdonald/Downtown
  • 3 Main/Downtown
  • 5 Robson/Downtown
  • 6 Davie/Downtown
  • 8 Fraser/Downtown
  • 9 Boundary/Commercial-Broadway/Granville/Alma/UBC
  • 10 Granville/Downtown
  • 14 Hastings/UBC
  • 16 29th Avenue Station/Arbutus
  • 17 Oak/Downtown
  • 19 Metrotown Station/Stanley Park
  • 22 Knight/Downtown
  • 23 Main Street/Beach
  • 25 Brentwood Station/UBC
  • 49 Metrotown Station/Dunbar Loop/UBC
  • 99 Commercial-Broadway/UBC (B-Line)
  • 103 Quayside/Victoria Hill
  • 104 22nd St Station/Annacis Island
  • 106 New Westminster Station/Edmonds Station
  • 116 Edmonds Station/Metrotown Station
  • 119 Edmonds Station/Metrotown Station
  • 123 New Westminster Station/Brentwood Station
  • 130 Metrotown/Pender/Kootenay
  • 210 Upper Lynn Valley/Burrard Station
  • 240 Lynn Valley/Downtown
  • 319 Scott Road Station/Newton Exchange
  • 321 White Rock/Newton/Surrey Central Station
  • 401 Richmond Brighouse Station/One Road
  • 403 Bridgeport Station/Three Road
  • 406 Richmond Brighouse Station/Steveston
  • 410 Richmond Brighouse Station/22nd Street Station
  • 430 Metrotown/Brighouse Station
  • 555 Carvolth Exchange/Lougheed Station
  • R1 King George Boulevard
  • R2 Marine Drive
  • R4 41st Avenue
  • R5 Hastings Street

TransLink has indicated the No. 32 Dunbar/Downtown, No. 258 UBC/West Vancouver, and No. 480 UBC/Bridgeport Station routes continue to be suspended due to lower ridership on the system.

The next seasonal change in bus service levels is scheduled for April 2022, when post-secondary institutions end their semester.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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