37 stops axed on two TransLink bus routes in Vancouver starting Monday

Jan 12 2022, 8:09 pm

In an effort to speed up and improve the reliability of buses, TransLink is removing a combined total of 37 stops from two bus routes that run within Vancouver, including 13 stops that both routes share.

The major changes begin Monday, January 17, 2022, removing stops that are spaced too closely together on No. 4 UBC/Powell and No. 7 Dunbar/Nanaimo. Both routes use trolley buses.

On the No. 4, 15 stops will be removed eastbound and nine stops will be removed westbound, affecting about one in six stops on this particular route. The public transit authority indicates this route has some of the closest stops in the region, with 65% of the stops less than 300 metres apart — under two city blocks.

It is estimated 92% of No. 4 passengers will not need to change how they get to a stop, and the changes will lead to travel time reductions of over four minutes per round trip.

As for No. 7, TransLink will remove 19 stops eastbound and 15 stops westbound, with 87% of riders maintaining their existing way of reaching a stop. The stop removals will result in time travel reductions of over six minutes per round trip. Currently, 77% of the No. 7’s stops are under 300 metres apart.

Generally, for those affected, it is a short walk to the next closest bus stop, and the streets these routes travel through are pedestrian friendly.

TransLink expects these measures of “bus stop balancing” will reduce its operating costs by $215,000 or 1,700 weekday service hours annually, which could be redirected to improving other services.

While dozens of stops will be removed from both routes, TransLink is also adding six stops (four eastbound, two westbound) for the No. 4 and eight stops (three eastbound, five westbound) for the No. 7. When accounting for the shared stops between both routes, the net gain is eight new stops.

Bus bulbs, extensions of the bus stop’s sidewalk into the curbside lane, will also be installed at select busy stops. This reduces the travel time from buses having to leave and enter the travel lane to reach a bus stop.

TransLink expects these measures of “bus stop balancing” will reduce its operating costs by $215,000 or 1,700 weekday service hours annually, which could be redirected to improving other services.

Currently, both routes are amongst TransLink’s slowest travelling bus routes on the entire network.

In 2019, the No. 4 had an average speed of only 17.6 km/hr, ranking it 192 out of 216 bus routes in terms of speed. This is down from 18.2 km/hr in 2015.

The No. 7 has an even poorer speed performance, with an average speed of 16.3 km/hr in 2019 — down from 16.7 km/hr in 2015. It ranks 199th for average speed.

In terms of annual ridership in 2019, the No. 4 is the 26th busiest bus route, while the No. 7 is the 18th busiest bus route.

Over the last two years, TransLink completed bus stop balancing on No. 2 Macdonald/Downtown, No. 17 Oak/Downtown, and No. 25 Brentwood Station/UBC. It previously indicated it would conduct bus stop balancing on several problematic routes for stop spacing each year.

Editor’s note: the article has been edited to account for the shared number of stops that will be removed.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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