TransLink considering new express bus from North Shore to SkyTrain

Jun 27 2019, 2:32 am

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On Thursday, TransLink’s Mayors’ Council is expected to green light the reallocation of Phase Two transit expansion funding towards the creation of a new express bus route between the North Shore and the SkyTrain network.

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Currently, there is funding dedicated towards an expansion of the No. 231 Harbourside route — approximately 6,000 annual service hours — beginning in 2020 or 2021 to serve a new mixed-use community.

However, the progress of developing this new neighbourhood has been slower than anticipated, and it has been determined by public transit authority staff that the No. 231 route does not require additional service.

Instead, the funding would go towards a new express bus service from Phibbs Exchange to a SkyTrain station via the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge.

This reallocation of funds is also supported by both the City of North Vancouver and District of North Vancouver, and it was a recommendation in the findings of the Integrated North Shore Transportation Planning Project, which suggested starting with a peak hour-only service to determine ridership demand.

“An express bus service from Phibbs Exchange to the SkyTrain network may make transit more competitive and reliable,” reads a report. “TransLink and municipal staff have been working closely together to move this from a conceptual priority into an implementable service.”

“Currently, TransLink, city, and district staff are working to review potential route alignments and possible service levels within existing resources.”

The public transit authority is expected to start public consultation on the design of the proposed new route this fall.

Such a route could serve as a precursor to a new B-Line service; in 2018, TransLink identified up to six possible additional B-Line routes that could be introduced in the 2020s.

There could be two new B-Line routes across Burrard Inlet, between the North Shore and the Burrard Peninsula.

For the Second Narrows, one B-Line route could run across the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge, from Phibbs Exchange to Brentwood Station and Metrotown Station via Willingdon Avenue.

And on the First Narrows, another B-Line route could operate from downtown Vancouver to Lynn Valley via the Lions Gate Bridge. The City of Vancouver is already considering a redesign of West Georgia Street that could significantly improve the street for buses.

Earlier this year, the provincial government announced a separate feasibility study — in partnership with affected local municipalities — for a possible fixed-link rapid transit system between the North Shore and Vancouver. This study will include a thorough examination of the possibility of extending SkyTrain to the North Shore.

Later this summer, with the launch of a new additional SeaBus, TransLink is scheduled to increase its peak hour SeaBus service from every 15 minutes to every 10 minutes.

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Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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