Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I have been car free for about a week now. It has been good, but as I have been riding the bus more, there are some things that are very frustrating about the system out here in Langley that I am noticing. The first is bus routing.

You need a masters degree in transit timetable reading to figure out where the 501 [Langley Centre]/590 [Langley South] (this is the same bus route, BTW) goes.

From the timetable:

+ Operates as a 590 Surrey Central Station.
x When school open, routes from 200th St. via 72nd Ave., 202A St., 80th Ave.,
200th St.; then regular route.

– 501 (both directions)
Operates locally at all stops for pick-up and drop-off between Langley
Centre and Surrey Central Station.
– 590 to Surrey Central Station
Stops for pick-up and drop-off are made at all local stops up to and
including Guildford Exchange. Beyond this point stops are made for
drop-off only at Surrey Central Station.
– 590 to Langley South
Stops for pick-up only at Surrey Central Station and 104th Ave. at 150th.
Starting at Guildford Exchange stops are made for both pick-up and
drop-off at all stops to their termini.

Sometimes the 590 [Langley South] only goes to Walnut Grove (which is really North Langley), so figure that out…

Case in point: This weekend the bus driver on the 501 wasn’t sure which routing he was suppose to take on a trip. He spent 5min looking at HIS routing information.

I’m sure Translink could fix this (and other) route's timetable/signage/numbering and make it less confusing for all parties.

To give Translink some credit, the 502 has three different termini, but the timetable and bus signage make it pretty easy to figure out where you’re going.

The second easy fix for Translink is to put the bus route and destination on ALL their bus stop. More often then not, you’ll just get a sign that says “Bus Stop.” This is a throwback to the BC Transit days. The transit systems in Edmonton, Calgary, Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco (to name a few), all put the bus routing number and destination on their signs. From personal experience, it really sucks to be on the wrong side of the street when a bus comes every 30min – 60min.

Bad Sign

Better Sign

Calgary Sign

Translink’s new SMS texting service is great, but it too doesn’t tell you the route’s destination.

Anyway, that my rant and I believe both of my concerns could be addressed for a minimum amount of money ($200k-$300k). In 2007, Translink spent $200k to spruce up Main Street bus service. Surely they could spent the same and spruce up the whole system.

A confusing transit system will not help attract new riders to the system.

Translink Photos from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/paradigm4/
Calgary Transit Photos from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/missvincci/


Unknown said...

The 320 is bad as well. It has or had 5 different routes, and has been subject to reroutes a few times these last 2 years. Last I checked the schedule the route information was totally confusing!

Also "395 Willowbrook" is misleading when most 395 drivers will tell you it technically doesn't go there... they even say it doesn't go to Langley. Or does it?

Nathan Pachal said...

That is the mystery of the Translink South Fraser bus network... Only those of purest heart and virtue can read the timetable. :-p