Posted: 20 November 2012 Filed under: Transit | Tags: bus routes, open house, public consultation, service changes, translink
Earlier this year, I blogged about the poor scheduling coordination between routes 2 and 22 through Kitsilano. I suggested that the frequencies for the two routes be made equal to allow for improved coordination. It appears that TransLink might be taking steps to improve that, with an additional step that is long overdue.
2/22 Service Refinement
This PDF document has background on TransLink’s service optimization and details on the various services that may be affected. Page 7 covers routes 2 and 22; a screenshot is posted above. Looking at the entire corridor, not just Kitsilano but also in the east side, where demand is just as heavy, TransLink is considering upping the frequency, and introducing short-turns in the east side to Knight and Kingsway, very close to where I live. Headways between Macdonald and 16th and Knight and Kingsway (shown in pink above) can be as low 10 minutes in midday, seven days a week.
The additional step that I mentioned is folding route 2 back into the 22. This part of the service change proposal was the one that really caught my interest and excitement. Once upon a time, there was a single route 22, some of whose trips operated between only downtown Vancouver and Macdonald and 16th. In 1997, those short-turned Macdonald-16th trips had its other terminus moved to the emerging Yaletown district. To distinguish it from the main-line 22, it was given the route number 2. (Source: Buzzer from June 13, 1997 [PDF]) The Yaletown experiment was short-lived (truncated to its current terminus at Burrard Station in the early 2000s), but the route number remained as 2. I’ve always wondered when the Cornwall and Macdonald corridor will be served once again by a single route number. If TransLink goes ahead with what they are proposing, expect to see a “22 Macdonald to 16th Avenue” (and “22 Knight to Kingsway”) starting next fall.
If you live in the Vancouver region, visit the service optimization website to check on changes that may affect you. You can fill out the brief survey online or at any of the open houses that are being offered throughout the region. While the list of open houses identifies affected routes for the specific city, there is the opportunity to speak to TransLink planners about any of the changes that aren’t for your specific city. That was what I did earlier today at the first open house at the Roundhouse in Yaletown.
Posted: 1 September 2012 Filed under: Transit | Tags: bus routes, schedules, translink
[Full details of changes in September Buzzer PDF]
A couple of things of note with the fall service changes, which, when you remove the usual upticks in services to post-secondary institutions, are rather light.
There is some inconsistency with how TransLink is notifying customers of these changes, particularly with decreases in headways. Example: the C26 in midday is “adjusted to one trip per hour (from two trips/hour) between 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.” But other routes whose headways have changed are still expressed in minutes, such as with the increased frequency for the 395: “service will improve to every 20 minutes between 3-7 p.m.”
For those who still pick up paper timetables (like me), I noticed that the maps have been updated to the new format, which also emphasizes the Frequent Transit Network (current system map available as a PDF; the maps for the timetables are based on this map). However, the editing and formatting for the rest of the timetables seem to have slipped, especially for the September edition. Look at the N19, which appears on multiple timetables. And yet in all of them has the stopping procedures for the 135, which is irrelevant for all but the Burnaby timetable. The standalone PDF for the N19 schedule has it as well. Is this a one-off event? I’ll wait until December before passing judgment.
Posted: 11 June 2012 Filed under: Transit | Tags: bus routes, postaweek2012, translink
[Full details of changes in June Buzzer PDF]
North Vancouver gains, while Richmond loses in this round of seasonal service changes. The two major routes from North Van to downtown Vancouver, the 210 and 240, receive frequency increases, while the Lonsdale corridor joins the Frequent Transit Network. Unfortunately, SeaBus service is not increased to match that on Lonsdale; that might not occur until 2013 at the latest.
Thanks to ongoing service optimization, where one area gains transit service, another inevitably must lose some service. That is the case in Richmond, where three routes have had their frequencies reduced. One in particular, the 404, has 30-minute headways in peak periods. But it’s not all bleak in Richmond, as the inter-regional 410 sees slight increases in peak-period frequencies.
Vancouver has a mixed bag, as several routes (including the 25) see increased headways, while the 26, 27, and 29, serving east and south-east Vancouver, have their headways reduced during the midday. Elsewhere, there are other slight additions for improved SkyTrain connections and adjustments to conform to the new Frequent Network guidelines.
It’s disappointing that some areas have reductions in frequencies, but that’s the reality of the fixed hours TransLink has to allocate for the entire region. Without additional funding beyond what’s already there, the transport authority is stuck with having to re-allocate service hours to where it’s needed most. Hopefully the situation changes sooner rather than later.
Posted: 28 April 2012 Filed under: Transit | Tags: bus routes, postaweek2012, translink
Buzzer Blog post covering Spring 2012 service changes
Most of TransLink’s service changes for spring are related to the rollout of the Frequent Transit Network [PDF map], and most of them are to cut down on the weekend early-morning service before the 15-minute frequency kicks in at 7:00am on Saturday and 8:00am on Sunday. (Prior to this, the 15-minute guideline applied from 6:00am to 9:00pm, 7 days a week.) It’s interesting how some routes that appear to be frequent enough (I’m thinking 337, 401, 403) do not make the cut, according to the guidelines.
The other big piece to the changes is the introduction of the long-awaited connection between White Rock and Langley. A few TransLink planners managed to board the new 531 on opening day. But why was the 531 made to terminate in Willowbrook, instead of the bigger hub of Langley Centre?
The 531 could be the only piece of new or improved transit services for a while. In an action-packed April, the independent commissioner for TransLink has released his review of TransLink’s application for a fare increase, followed by TransLink’s response, which effectively suspended most of the items on last fall’s Moving Forward Plan. I’m disappointed that such a decision had to be made, which only places a glaring spotlight on the major disconnect among TransLink, the cities, and the province. And with a provincial election a year away, I’m not expecting any movement between now and then.
Posted: 17 September 2011 Filed under: Transit | Tags: buses, postaweek2011, real time, translink
TransLink stop 52417
Same stop info, with map zoomed out.
Earlier this month, TransLink updated its mobile website. While portions of it are in beta mode (which I tested a week before the general release), and with more functionality to come, the big new feature is real-time tracking of buses serving a particular stop.
When you load the next scheduled arrivals at a particular bus stop in a map, the map displays that stop’s location, as well as the location of all the active buses on the route at the moment. In the example above right, you can see there are three buses on route 106 that are about to pass through stop #52417. If I zoomed out the map further, there could be one or two more, going back to the 106′s origin at Metrotown. At the moment, buses update their position every two minutes. A “refresh” button can be tapped to, well, refresh the position of the bus(es).
Knowing where the bus is (within a two-minute delay) is the game changer for me. Before this info was provided by TransLink, I gave myself a leeway of as much as 5 minutes before the bus is scheduled to leave a stop, or 10 minutes from when I leave my place. Now with real-time info, I can track the bus as it approaches my stop and leave my place accordingly. No more unnecessarily long waits at a stop because I didn’t know a particular bus was delayed. It gets more important now that summer is well and truly over, and waiting for a bus in the rain is never a pleasant experience.
Have you viewed TransLink’s new real-time info yet? Has it been helpful so far? Are you looking forward to any new functions from the mobile website?
PS. I have updated this blog’s theme (Clean Home), as part of much-needed house-cleaning. Comments and suggestions welcome!
Posted: 9 April 2011 Filed under: Transit | Tags: bus routes, postaweek2011, translink
This bus might not be coming out of storage, but the "14 Hastings" is.
Detail of service changes, effective 18 April, on TransLink site
April 2011 Buzzer detailing same [PDF]
When a print Buzzer devotes most of its print issue on the upcoming service changes, you know it’s important. Thanks to TransLink’s Service Optimization program, under-performing segments of the bus schedules have been re-allocated to other segments that really need it. The system is essentially working within its own service-hours constraints and attempting to get the most bang for its buck.
I won’t repeat all of the changes; they’re in either of the top links. I’ll just offer an opinion on the ones I found interesting.
- Creation of 14 Hastings/UBC from the relevant sections of the 10 and 17: this brings back the classic routing (although it makes the full run between UBC and Kootenay Loop only during the daytime). What makes it interesting is that TransLink did not change the NightBus number for the service between UBC and downtown; it remains as N17. Hopefully that will be rectified very soon. Here is a Buzzer Blog interview with a TransLink planner that includes many historical photos of the 14 Hastings in its various incarnations.
- Interline of the 15 and 50: with the 17 Oak returning to the Cambie Bridge, the 15 is truncated to Olympic Village Station and merged with the 50 False Creek South. This is a very interesting move. As someone has commented on the Buzzer Blog, it paves the way for this combined route to be given a single number, to which I commented that it should be given the 15, because of its long association with the Cambie Street service. Here is one lament for the soon-to-be truncated 15 Cambie.
- 209 Upper Lynn Valley/Vancouver: not actually new, but renumbered from the 4. The impact might not be so bad, but I can see all sorts of confusion, such as from those wanting to catch the 4, but won’t board the 209 because they think it’s on suburban stopping procedures (like the 210).
- C19 becomes a weekend-only service. I don’t understand this, especially moving into summer, when weekday demand to the beaches on NW Marine could be justified. How about daily, half-hourly service from May to October, then daily, hourly service the rest of the year?
- 480 truncated at Bridgeport Station: A good start, but the buses could be better allocated to east-west services north of the Fraser to bolster those services to UBC.
This one isn’t listed, but it’s more of a follow-up to my past field reports on the poor reliability record of route 25. It looks like TransLink has paid attention, as the travel times for weekend midday service have been increased, in some cases by as much as five minutes. Oddly, the travel times appear only minimally increased for weekdays. See for yourself: here is the December 2010 timetable for the 25, and here is the one for April (both PDFs).
Unfortunately, there are casualties, with some routes, particularly in Burnaby and Coquitlam, having their late-evening frequencies dropped from 30 to 60 minutes. Even Vancouver isn’t spared, as routes 26, 27, and 29 suffer the same fate. I would like to know if this will adversely affect anyone, and what, if anything, TransLink can do about it.
(Photo credit: flickr @ sillygwailo)
Posted: 7 June 2010 Filed under: Transit | Tags: daytrip, translink, valleymax, west coast express
Did you know you can take public transit to the central Fraser Valley (Mission and Abbotsford) from Vancouver? Sure, West Coast Express has been around for almost 15 years in providing commuter-rail service to Mission, but there is also a south-of-Fraser option that’s been around since only 2007 [TransLink press release].
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: 5 September 2009 Filed under: Transit | Tags: bus routes, translink
Buzzer Blog post summarizing the changes (and this one).
The changes as detailed on the TransLink site.
I’ve written in December about how TransLink rolls out service changes every quarter, and the autumn version always takes place on Labour Day. With the Canada Line being put through its paces for three weeks, the real test begins when the 98 B-Line is discontinued and South-of-Fraser services terminate at Bridgeport Station instead of Downtown Vancouver.
Rather than point out what’s already been posted by Jhenifer or TransLink, I’ll do a quick analysis of some of the changes.
- Combining Commercial and Broadway stations into one: I have always considered it one station ever since the M-Line opened, so it’s good to have official confirmation of that. Thing is, I’ve always referred to it as “Broadway/Commercial Station”, and I’ll likely continue to do so for a while.
- “3 Main/Marine Drive Station”: It’s good to have this route extend to meet Canada Line, but it just looks awkward on the timetable. Maybe it’s about time to apply the street name on the bus display in both directions (ie. “3 MAIN to DOWNTOWN” and “3 MAIN to MARINE STN” or “403 THREE ROAD to BRIDGEPORT STN” and “403 THREE ROAD to RIVERPORT”).
- The 160 returning to suburban stopping procedures should be good for Tri-Cities commuters, but I’m expecting ill-advised passengers thinking they could still get out on Hastings eastbound through Burnaby, when that’s no longer the case. Although I’m still stumped as to why the 190 only gets one westbound trip.
No more 98 B-Line as of September 7!
- The big change related to Canada Line, of course, is the discontinuation of the 98 and 49x and truncating the South-of-Fraser services at Bridgeport Station. I suppose three weeks of transition are better than none, but it looks like it worked. This past Friday, I boarded a 491 from Burrard Station. Before Canada Line, these buses would be full leaving the bus stop. On the 491′s last day of service, there were no standing passengers.
Of course, the circumstances change starting the day after Labour Day, so it helps to have patience as commuters get used to the changes and traffic patterns. The Buzzer Blog even has a post of tips to get you through September with some sense of sanity.
Photo credit: flickr @ Boris Mann
Posted: 9 December 2008 Filed under: Transit | Tags: bus routes, buzzer, translink
Buzzer Blog: More about the December 29 bus service improvements
PDF of current Buzzer
I have recently complimented Jhenifer Pabillano in person about the great work she has done with the print Buzzer and its online persona. Under Jhenifer’s watch, the Buzzer, the public’s source for onboard transit-related information and reading material for more than 90 years, has recently resurrected the quarterly update of service changes, which for me was always a thrill to find and read.
I have been a longtime transit commuter, supporter and fan, particularly in the routes, maps, and timetables aspect of it, and that’s why it was (and still is) exciting to learn about the service changes and, when most timetables were still published quarterly, to pick them up.
(detail of bus shelter ad that details various ways to look up schedule information)
Sorry, but I’ve still got a foot in that analog world: I still pick up the paper timetables, and refer to them when I’m at home, but most of time I do use the myriad of ways to access transit info: the main site (expect an update in the new year), the mobile-phone site, and next-bus info by phone (604.953.3333) and txt (stop number to 33333). Also in the new year, it is expected that real-time next-bus info will be rolled out.
In the past, when I had far more time on my hands, I would spend part of a day just riding transit. I would use the timetables and write out an itinerary on an index card. I would plan it such that I can maximize the number of routes I can take, while leaving enough breathing space for a proper transfer: I wouldn’t want to be stranded in the middle of nowhere just because I had cut it close at this out-of-the-way intersection! I had done this so extensively that I must have ridden at least once more than half of the routes in the system.
Even though I rarely have time to do such travels now, the ones I can squeeze in are an event. And that’s where the new routes come in: in between composing the draft for this post, I’ve come up with a trip that take in the new routes 364 and 388.
But all these changes and additions to transit service can be for nought, as the latest we-have-no-money update (and here) could leave TransLink in the red, and service cutbacks are one way to avoid or mitigate this. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that, as we would just end up in a lose-lose situation. TransLink surely hasn’t built up all that service for nothing.
Posted: 27 February 2008 Filed under: Transit | Tags: amt, go transit, new routes, transit fares, translink, west coast express
Background: Metro Vancouver Transit Fares
I just came back from a Toastmasters meeting in which I evaluated a speech that supported the fare increase. It was a battle just to stay objective. Speaking with the speaker afterward, it turned out that he doesn’t like the increase either, but he made some persuasive arguments nevertheless.
Well, it’s been two months since the increase, and the former GVTA still has to fight the accusations of the highest fares in the country. OK, so the $2.50 is still lower than Ottawa’s $3.00 or Montreal’s $2.75. I guess the $5.00 three-zone fare that the MSM picked up most often led to that line of thinking.
I’m more concerned with the 80-km commute comparison. It is not fair to compare the Toronto and Montreal examples with the trip from Langley, because I’m guessing the Toronto and Montreal trips shown are by commuter rail. And AMT doesn’t go to Repentigny, yet (wiki). Knowing that, and using West Coast Express from Maple Ridge instead, these are what I looked up:
- GO Transit, Aurora to Toronto-Union: $12.30 return
- WCE, Maple Meadows to Vancouver-Waterfront: $15.50 return
- AMT, Mont-St-Hilaire to Montréal-Centrale: $16.00 return
At least now an orange is an orange is an orange. The bottom line: transit fares are high everywhere, whether you take conventional bus or commuter rail.
Aside: I dropped in at West Point Grey Community Centre earlier this week to see Coast Mountain’s proposals for two new routes. The first one, #33, will travel between 29th Avenue Station and UBC via East 33rd and West 16th Avenues (see map). I’ve known this one for a while, and there’s no change. The second one is a new shuttle, the C19, between UBC and Broadway/Alma via NW Marine. This would probably be popular in the summer, seeing as it serves Spanish Banks and Jericho, but I believe it won’t be implemented until September 2008 at the earliest, so there’s a missed opportunity to test this route.
AMT photo: mystery..110@flickr
WCE photo: Stephen Rees@flickr
GO Train photo: gbalogh@flickr