TransLink service changes, Summer 2011Posted: 23 June 2011
Normally, the summer is not a very busy time for service changes at TransLink, seasonal services exempted, but the sheet effective June 20 has a few interesting items, a lot of it centred on the North Shore:
- The 239’s frequency has been beefed up to become part of the Frequent Transit Network.
- The 246 now operates to/from Downtown Vancouver seven days a week.
- The 290 and 292 have been discontinued, but the 210 and 211 are taking up the slack, with each having 15-minute service in PM peak.
- Late-night services that operated as 242 now run as N24. The 242 essentially becomes a Sunday early-morning service.
The one that intrigues me most is the improvements to the 2 Macdonald-16th Avenue, particularly the bit where its schedule will be coordinated with the 22 Macdonald. TransLink’s press release indicates that such coordination will only occur during peak hours. I’m more concerned with the not-so-coordinated scheduling that will continue for the 2 and 22 outside peak hours.
On a spreadsheet, I compiled all the departure times for the 2 and 22 during the 2’s hours of service at two locations: northbound Macdonald at Broadway, and southbound Burrard at Davie. I then combined them into a single column and calculated the length of time it requires to wait for the next bus. Focusing outside of peak hours, there is clearly some improvement needed to provide better coordination along the shared corridor between Kitsilano and Downtown Vancouver.
The root cause is the different headways of the two routes: the 2’s is 15 minutes, but the 22’s is 12 minutes. On a very simple level, if two buses are scheduled to depart at 12 noon, then during the hour, buses will appear at 12:12, 12:15, 12:24, 12:30, 12:36, 12:45, 12:48, then two buses appear again at 1:00pm. Not very coordinated, is it? It gets ugly for service to downtown after 5:30pm. The northbound 2 and 22 depart Broadway within 5 minutes of each other, meaning there can be as much as a 14-minute wait between buses at that stop, for two routes each with 15-minute headways.
The same also applies on weekends, in both directions, because the midday frequencies are the same as Monday to Friday. Even when the frequencies match, as on Sunday, southbound, between 4:00 and 5:00pm, the buses leave Burrard at Davie at essentially the same time.
The only reasonable compromise to ensure a coordinated schedule during the midday is to increase the headway of route 2 to 12 minutes, thus guaranteeing 6-minute service along the shared corridors on Macdonald, Cornwall, and Burrard. Given TransLink’s current service optimization program, that might not happen right away. If nothing else, some coordination of the two routes should at least happen when they have the same headways. TransLink has started improving the busy Kitsilano corridor, but it’s far from finished.