TransLink announces major service increases starting in September

Aug 19 2019, 2:08 pm

The upcoming September service changes to Metro Vancouver’s public transit system will result in one of the largest single seasonal increases in service in recent memory.

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TransLink announced this afternoon that there will be 24 new SkyTrain cars (six four-car trains) on the Expo Line and Millennium Line, a 50% increase in SeaBus ferry capacity, and 41,000 additional bus service hours starting on September 3, when systemwide ridership is slated to surge from the return of students and workers.

“We know that the first week of September is the busiest week of the year for commuters,” said TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond.

“That’s why we’ve timed these increases to do our part in reducing congestion. Whether it’s SkyTrain, bus or SeaBus, these changes will help reduce wait-times for our customers all across the region.”

The new wave of SkyTrain cars, part of a previous order of 56 new cars from Bombardier, will result in a 5% increase in Expo Line capacity and 9% on the Millennium Line during peak times.

During peak hours, weekdays from 7 to 9:30 am and 3 to 6:30 pm, SeaBus ferry service will increase to frequencies of 10 minutes. The service increase will be made possible by an existing old spare vessel, and a newly-arrived vessel is expected to go into service later this fall following the completion of its commissioning.

With the buses, TransLink is making 12 permanent bus service increases to a number of growing routes, effectively reducing overcrowding. This includes the following routes:

  • 99 B-Line Commercial-Broadway/UBC
  • No. 5 Robson/Downtown
  • No. 6 Davie/Downtown
  • No. 7 Nanaimo Station/Dunbar
  • No. 19 Metrotown Station/Stanley Park
  • No. 49 Metrotown Station/Dunbar Loop/UBC
  • No. 112 Edmonds Station/New Westminster Station
  • No. 116 Edmonds Station/Metrotown Station
  • No. 342 Newton Exchange/Langley Centre

Of special mention, the No. 503 Langley Centre/Surrey Central will be upgraded to a limited-stop express, with weekday service running every eight to nine minutes during peak times and every 10 to 15 minutes during daytime off-peak hours.

On the No. 301 Newton Exchange/Brighouse Station, weekday evening service will be added, and starting in October the route will be served by new double-decker buses.

For UBC students traveling during the overnight hours, the N17 Downtown/UBC NightBus will be upgraded to frequencies of 30 minutes until 5 am towards downtown and 30 minutes until 4:30 am towards the campus.

These new services and fleet acquisitions encompass a significant portion of Phase One of the Mayors’ Council’s 10-year transit expansion plan.

“We have expanded our service to reach people who were previously under-served by extending to communities like Burke Mountain, Clayton Heights, Morgan Creek, and Silver Valley,” added Desmond. “And more is coming soon over the next several years.”

Over the past three years, bus ridership has increased by 17%, and halfway through 2019 ridership has increased by 4%.

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Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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