TransLink's new RapidBus service on the North Shore is now running

Apr 6 2020, 2:39 pm

The coronavirus epidemic did not stop TransLink from launching the R2 Marine Drive RapidBus service as planned.

As part of a number of seasonal transit service changes that proceeded on April 6, the new east-west RapidBus service on the North Shore officially began operating today between Park Royal in West Vancouver and Phibbs Exchange in North Vancouver District via Marine Drive, 3rd Street, and Main Street.

The new arterial bus service has 10 stops, including a stop at Lonsdale Quay for connections to SeaBus and the waterfront bus exchange, which is now in the final stages of its renovation with improved aesthetics and a new layout.

R2 MARINE DRIVE RAPID BUS

R2 Marine Drive (TransLink)

The normal R2 frequencies on weekdays are set at every eight minutes during peak hours, 10 minutes during mid-day periods, and every 15 minutes late night. On weekends, frequencies are set at every 10 minutes during the day, and every 15 minutes late night.

It has the capacity to carry up to 1,650 people per hour, both directions combined. Like the other RapidBus routes, it uses a new fleet of articulated buses, and its stops are outfitted with special posts equipped with real-time next bus digital displays.

Extensive all-day bus-only lanes along much of the route help speed up the buses and improve service reliability, with an end-to-end travel time of about 50 minutes, depending on traffic conditions — up to 10 minutes faster than existing options. Travel times also benefit from all-door boarding.

The public transit authority delayed the launch of the R2 as there were delays with associated road construction work for the new bus priority measures.

The region’s first RapidBus-branded routes were launched in early January, including the new R4 41st Avenue and R3 Lougheed Highway services, and the conversion of the 95 B-Line into the R5 Hastings Street and the 96 B-Line into the R1 King George Boulevard.

TransLink originally planned for a RapidBus route on the North Shore that placed the service’s westernmost terminus at Dundarave, adding three stops west of Park Royal. But this planned route was ultimately truncated to end at Park Royal due to local opposition.

At least five new additional RapidBus routes are proposed for the 2020s, including two routes serving the North Shore. The Lions Gate RapidBus could operate between downtown Vancouver and Lynn Valley via the Lions Gate Bridge, while the Ironworkers-Willingdon RapidBus could run from Phibbs Exchange to the Millennium Line’s Brentwood Station and the Expo Line’s Metrotown Station via the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge and Willingdon Avenue.

All bus travel on the TransLink system is currently free until further notice, with a rear-door boarding policy implemented to promote physical distancing. As well, there is a ban on standing capacity, and posted signs reduce seating capacities on each bus by 50%.

Bus services have been reduced, specifically on routes that see very low ridership due to much of the population staying home. Total boardings on the entire transit system are down by 83%, including 82% on buses.

Several frontline transit workers, including bus drivers, have tested positive for the coronavirus.