Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Boardings and cost per boarding stagnant for Langley Community Shuttles

TransLink released its 2017 Transit Service Performance Review for bus routes in Metro Vancouver. The transit agency runs two types of fixed-schedule bus service. One type provides service where there is demand. The other type of service provides basic coverage to areas, even when there appears to be little demand for transit.

People are more likely to take transit if a certain set of conditions are met. Transit routes that are frequent and run in straight lines attract more riders than routes that are infrequent and are milk runs. Land-use also plays an important role. Areas that sprawl generally have lower transit ridership.

Yesterday, I posted about the success of Langley transit routes that are designed to attracting riders. Today, I wanted to look at TransLink’s basic coverage routes which used to be called “Community Shuttles.” TransLink is in the process of removing the “Community Shuttle” brand, dropping the “C” from these routes in Langley. For example, the C60 is now the 560. To see these routes, you can download the Langley transit routes map from TransLink’s website.

Annual Boardings and Cost per Boarding for the C60 bus route. Select chart to enlarge.

Annual Boardings and Cost per Boarding for the C61 bus route. Select chart to enlarge.

Annual Boardings and Cost per Boarding for the C62 bus route. Select chart to enlarge.

Annual Boardings and Cost per Boarding for the C63 bus route. Select chart to enlarge.

Annual Boardings and Cost per Boarding for the C64 bus route. Select chart to enlarge.

As shown, Langley’s former “Community Shuttle” routes underperform compared to other transit routes. These routes have seen little growth and are highly subsidized. The only exception might be the C62 which runs in straight lines between Langley City, Fort Langley, and Walnut Grove.

There is some good news. With phase two of TransLink’s Ten Year Vision fully funded, Langley’s former “Community Shuttle” routes will be restructured to provide more service and better coverage.

As I noted yesterday, a boarding is counted every time a person taps a Compass card, pays with another means, or uses a transfer. Service cost per boarding is the operating cost of the route divided by the annual boardings.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Boardings up, cost per boarding down for Langley transit routes

TransLink recently released its 2017 Transit Service Performance Review. The review includes detailed information about all bus routes in our region. Langley bus routes are of interest to me, so I thought I would create some charts of the major routes in our communities using the performance review data. The two statistics I looked at were annual boardings and service cost per boarding. A boarding is counted every time a person taps a Compass card, pays with another means, or uses a transfer. Service cost per boarding is the operating cost of the route divided by the annual boardings.

One of the trends for bus routes that service Langley is that ridership is trending up, while cost per boarding are trending down. This is a good thing as it shows that transit routes are serving areas where there is demand. Compass card bus fare is $2.30 today. Based on that number, most bus routes in Langley are subsidized.

Annual Boardings and Cost per Boarding for the 501 bus route. Select chart to enlarge.

Annual Boardings and Cost per Boarding for the 502 bus route. Select chart to enlarge.

Annual Boardings and Cost per Boarding for the 503 bus route. Select chart to enlarge.

Annual Boardings and Cost per Boarding for the 509 bus route. Select chart to enlarge.

Annual Boardings and Cost per Boarding for the 531 bus route. Select chart to enlarge.

Annual Boardings and Cost per Boarding for the 555 bus route. Select chart to enlarge.

Annual Boardings and Cost per Boarding for the 595 bus route. Select chart to enlarge.

I want to call out two things. The 502 ridership dipped in 2014 because it was split into two routes with the creation of the 503 to service Aldergrove. The 595 was also changed to service the 208 Street corridor in the fall of 2016.

Route maps for the 501, 502, 503, 509, 531, 555, and 595 are available on TransLink’s website. Tomorrow, I will be looking at the community shuttle bus routes in Langley.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

July 9, 2018 Council Meeting Notes: $1.5 million from TransLink, a new Community Standards Bylaw, plus a summer of improvement projects and events.

On Tuesday, I posted about redevelopment matters. I posted about new, faster transit service coming to Langley City on Wednesday. Today, I will post about the remaining items covered at Monday night’s Langley City council meeting.

Langley City council gave first, second, and third reading to three bylaws relating to a new Community Standards Bylaw. The new Community Standards Bylaw consolidates three previous bylaws. It focuses on the upkeep and maintenance of properties, including the securing of unoccupied building from unauthorized entry. While mainly a housekeeping matter, the new Community Standards Bylaw makes it easier for the City to address problem properties. The Fees and Charges Bylaw and Municipal Ticketing Information System Bylaw were also amended as a result.

As capital projects move forward, more detailed costing becomes available. The City can also receive funding from the province, feds, or TransLink throughout the year. Because of these things, Langley City must amend its financial plan from time-to-time. One of the items that I wanted to highlight is that our community recently received a $977,000 grant from TransLink to help replace the Logan Creek Culverts under the Langley Bypass. Another highlight is that the City was awarded $284,000 by TransLink to support installing bike lanes on 208 Street, and $269,000 to support the installation of bike lanes on Glover Road. A full list of updates to the financial plan can be view on the City’s website. Langley City council gave first, second, and third reading to a bylaw that would amend the financial plan.

Council gave final reading to a new Business Improvement Area Bylaw which I posted about previously. Final reading was also given, and a development permit approved, for a townhouse complex located at the intersection of 56 Avenue and 196 Street which I also posted about previously.

Council received an update on our recreation programming over the summer. There is something happening pretty must every weekend. More information is available on the City’s website.

Council also received an update on parks and other capital projects on the go in our community. Some of the highlights include:

  • A new zip-line at Brydon Park that can support a person up to 250lbs
  • A renovated sports field at City Park
  • A replacement pedestrian bridge in the floodplain near 203 Street that recently opened
  • A replacement pedestrian bridge in the floodplain near 201A Street that is under-construction, and due to open at the end of August
  • A renewed Douglas Park playground that is under construction
  • A new washroom at Penzer Park which will be completed this summer
  • A new sewer main under 48 Avenue which is under construction

There are many other projects in our community that have been approved by council. You can see a list and maps of projects in a previous post.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Fraser Highway B-Line to cut travel times almost in half with transit priority measures

On Monday night, TransLink’s Daniel Freeman who is the manager of Rapid Bus Projects, presented to Langley City Council on the future Fraser Highway B-Line which will run from Surrey Central SkyTrain to the Langley Centre bus loop on Logan Avenue. There will be a B-Line bus every 8 minutes during peak travel periods, and every 10 to 15 minutes during the rest of the day and night. Real-time next bus information signs will also be installed at all B-Line stops along the corridor.

Proposed Fraser Highway B-Line Stops. Select image to enlarge.

Fraser Highway is a significant transit corridor in Metro Vancouver. Around 27,000 transit passenger a day travel along Fraser Highway. 25% to 33% of people that travel along Fraser Highway between King George and 203rd Street do so on public transit; this is a significant number.

Congestion on Fraser Highway is extreme in the afternoon/evening peak travel period. From personal experience, my commute on transit between Langley and SkyTrain can take double the time in the afternoon compared to the morning. This is reflected in TransLink’s data about the corridor.

Transit and private vehicle travel times today, and with B-Line service in 2019, during the peak PM travel period. Select image to enlarge.

Transit can take between 58 to 69 minutes in the afternoon today. With the introduction of B-Line service, TransLink wants to speed up transit service. The agency has made funding available to install bus priority measures along the Fraser Highway corridor which if approved by Surrey, Langley City, Langley Township, and the BC Ministry of Transportation, could double the speed of transit during the most congested parts of the day.

According to Freeman, TransLink completed an extensive public consultation. He stated that TransLink found that 77% of people, whether in Surrey or Langley, supported adding transit priority measures along Fraser Highway.

Some of the measures that TransLink would like municipalities to consider are queue-jumper lanes (like on King George Boulevard), traffic lights that are timed to speed up buses, bus-only lanes, and HOV lanes. TransLink is also willing to pay for 100% of the costs to implement these measures to speed up transit.

TransLink is looking for Langley City to support adding queue-jumper lanes, HOV/bus lanes, and signal prioritization in our community as shown in the following map.

Transit priority measures under consideration in Langley City. Select image to enlarge.

One of the busiest sections of road in Langley City is Fraser Highway between the Langley Bypass and 200 Street. Our transportation system should be about moving people and goods in the best way possible. I asked Freeman how TransLink was going to ensure that the number of people and goods travelling through that section of road would be able to increase, especially given the at-grade rail crossing.

Freeman stated that they are looking into the advanced train warning system that is currently being installed which will direct people to the 204 Street and 196 Street overpasses when trains are coming. He also noted that Translink will be doing further research to ensure that there is adequate capacity for all modes of travel whether by transit, biking, walking, or driving along the Fraser Highway corridor.

I am looking forward to transit priority measures being implemented along the Fraser Highway corridor as it will give people a way out of congestion, getting people to where they need to be faster.

Langley City council unanimously passed the following motion:

  1. THAT Council receive the Translink presentation (delegation at July 9 meeting), ‘Fraser Highway B-Line Consultation Results & Transit Priority’; and
  2. THAT Council endorse the Fraser Highway B-Line & Transit Priority concept in the City of Langley; and
  3. THAT staff be directed to continue to work collaboratively with Translink and stakeholders to maximize B-Line opportunities for transit priority, assess traffic and possible parking impacts, and address concerns arising from the implementation of the project; and
  4. THAT staff report back with further details of recommended transit priority measures and the implications for all transportation users along the corridor.

Yesterday, I posted about development proposals in our community. Tomorrow, I will be posting about the remaining items covered at Monday night’s Langley City council meeting.