Potential Changes to VanCity Transit

1) Extend the “C23” and begin the “C21” from VCC Station.

My proposal: service the rapidly expanding Terminal Street Industrial Corridor, and provide a quick connection of Downtown and the Millennium line. Alleviate transferring pressures onto the Expo line at Commercial, and allows downtown headed passengers to take the new route via VCC.

According to my Bus Schedule and Google Maps Analysis, it would add 5 minutes and 2.7 km to the current 11 minute 4.0 km C23 route and 17 minute 4.8 km C21 Route.

This Change would boost ridership (and maybe call for standard buses) thereby eliminating the need for the 22 to run along Terminal.

2) Interline and eliminate the downtown detours of the 8 and 20.

The current sections of the 8 and 20 into downtown are hideous, counter-productive, and inefficient.

Confusing, Inefficient Mess

The ridership of the “8 Downtown” is halved at Main St. Station, and is extremely low when it turns left on Hastings. Passengers of the 8 that need to go downtown should get off at Main St. Station (and save 7 minutes), or transfer to the 3, 7, 19 14, or 16.

In theory, the branch of the 8 from Hastings at Main to Waterfront should only take 6-7 minutes, or ~14 minutes in total. In Practice it takes ~17 minutes, putting the buses behind schedule.

The excess of buses going on the same part of Hastings Street: 3, 8, 14, 16 & 20 results in buses that block buses (since trolleys can’t pass). Do we really need 5  buses on the same stretch of road?

The ridership of the “20 Downtown” peaks at Commercial Station, and dwindles to almost nothing by Hastings Street. At Main Street, the majority of the few riders are not from Commercial.

Similarly to the 8, according to the schedules, the 20 should take 7-8 minutes to get from Main  @ Hastings to Richards @ Seymour and 8-9 minutes back, with a total time of ~16 minutes. In Practice, it takes ~20 minutes, again putting the buses behind schedule.

It is worth noting that the 20 and 8 have almost identical schedules (except on weekends).

Solution:Short turn and interline the 8 and 20 at Main at Hastings;

More Clear, Efficient, Simple and Cost-Effective.

One problem may be requiring left turn and right turn wires from Hastings onto Main and oppositely respectively.

Travelers can take the skytrain to Main Station and Commercial to catch the 8 and 20 respectively, or transfer from the 3, 4, 7, 14 or 16.

3) Eliminate the 44 bus. Maybe a stretch, but the 4, 84, 258 and 44 overlap. Taking the 4, or transferring from the 84 to the Canada Line may be a little inconvenience, but it should result in better service.

The 44 was put in during the 98 BLine Era, before the “10 Lane” Canada Line was able to whisk people through downtown. It is a fact that the 84 + Canada Line will save you 3-6 minutes traveling downtown.

Don’t like the inconvenience of transferring? Take the #4 bus that has almost 2X the frequency that will only take 3-4 minutes longer.

Do you take a bus often and have improvements? What do you think? I’m looking forward to your comments.

* * *

Unrelated, but interestingly, 3 of the 10 most productive routes in terms of “Cost per Boarded Passenger” run to UBC.

Top 10 Metro Vancouver Bus Routes in terms of “Cost per Boarded Passenger”:

1) 99
2) 44
3) C23
4) 145
5) 20
6) C20
7) 3
8) 312
9) 8
10) 41

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4 thoughts on “Potential Changes to VanCity Transit

  1. Wouldn’t there be an overlap between BRT and Skytrain from Cambie to Arbutus? Maybe this would be justified given the number of people who would be transferring from the Canada Line to go to UBC. The Translink study felt that BRT did not have enough capacity to meet transit demand through 2041, though this may have been on the Central Broadway section of the route, not on the Arbutus-UBC section.

    I agree that Translink needs to invest in more transit south of the Fraser River. The 96 B-Line will start running in Surrey in September, it will be interesting to see how well the service is used and how much demand it builds. In the past, the B-Lines built ridership as a precursor to Skytrain. Surrey doesn’t seem to want more Skytrain because the think the elevated guideways are ugly, so they have asked for LRT instead. I agree that if you build it now that Surrey is growing, more people will get used to using it.

    Nothing seems to encourage new ridership like Skytrain, though. If you want people to get out of their cars you have to get them out of traffic.

    The gondola to SFU is an interesting proposal. It seemed that it just missed being financially feasible compared to running buses. As more people live on the hill, that calculation might change in the project’s favour.

    Other projects that have merit are a Hastings B-Line from SFU to Downtown, and a B-Line on 41st Avenue to UBC (though improvements on Broadway might negate the need for this).

  2. In my opinion, Rapid Transit on Broadway is long overdue. But more urgent is getting rapid transit in Surrey, where a generation of growth is being shaped right now. The best solution would be skytrain all the way to UBC, but the cost would be very high. My solution would be skytrain to Arbutus, and Bus Rapid Transit from Cambie to UBC. We must note that VCC to Arbutus is slightly more than half the distance of VCC to UBC. Bus Rapid transit is much cheaper, and when done well, only slightly slower than skytrain. The upgrade to skytrain (or an extension) can take place at a later date. Other priorities should be a gondola up SFU, skytrain to langley, and a possible extension of the Canada Line to the North Shore.

  3. If they put in some form of rapid transit on Broadway (LRT or SkyTrain), you could eliminate the #44, #99, terminate the #14 at Granville & Broadway instead of UBC, eliminate every second #9, and reduce the #84 to 15 minute service.

    What do you think of the three options proposed for rapid transit on Broadway? I think that SkyTrain to Granville at a minimum is justified, given that half of the trips in the corridor terminate in Central Broadway and the volume on that section is comparable to the Canada Line. I say they should do a modified combo option and run SkyTrain to Granville and LRT from Granville to UBC, eliminating the LRT spur from Arbutus to Main Street Station to save some money.

  4. @Dennis: Yes, my proposal would have overlap between Arbutus and Cambie, but would greatly increase connections between UBC and Canada Line. That is also the busiest portion of the 99B, so extra service is warranted. We all can agree that transit is desperately needed in Metro Vancouver to shape growth.

    RE Hastings B line: To me, that B-Line doesn’t make as much sense as it used to before the addition of the Millennium line. The 135 is pretty frequent, and is express in Vancouver. The time shaved off with express stops in Burnaby is minimal, so the main change to establish it as a B-Line is to increase frequency. This isn’t a top priority considering Translink’s tight budget.

    RE SFU gondola: It seems that you’ve done more research than me. What translink never considers in its transit studies is the effect on Tourism. That isn’t translink’s responsibility, but the Province should definitely put that into account. Also, the amount of jobs created for construction should also create a high ROI. The time saved by transit commuters is also substantial. It is sad that the time that transit riders lose is discredited compared to the calculation of the “costs” of road congestion. If this was the case, the Massey Tunnel replacement and the Hwy1 Port Mann project would be nowhere near financially feasible. Translink only gets to calculate saved transit costs in its equation and therefore cannot justify the project financially.

    I am not to optimistic about the 96B. The problem is that all the surrounding service in surrey is terrible. Taking a slow bus to connect to a BLine won’t be very popular. Even light rail projects in other cities: LA, pheonix, houston etc. have extremely low ridership because the surrounding service is so bad. In simple words, most destinations and origins don’t lie right beside the 96B. You need to take a bus to get to the 96B, and that step is simply too slow.

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