Sunday, January 8, 2012

Abbotsford on Transit

For a few years now, there has been a connection between Metro Vancouver and Abbotsford via public transit. On Saturday, I decided to take a trip out to Abbotsford on transit and see how the experience was.
The 502 Aldergrove at Langley Centre Bus Exchange

In Aldergrove there was a 15 min layover to transfer from TransLink to ValleyMax (BC Transit). This is good as the bus only comes 9 times a day during weekdays and 4 times a day on Saturday.

The 21 Aldergrove Connector Bus in Aldergrove

The first thing I noticed was that the bus route was busy which is amazing for a bus that runs infrequently. In fact, it was the busiest bus of all the routes I took in Abbotsford that day. This leads me to believe that there is a demand for more frequent service. There even appears to be a 25-year plan to do this, but I think that it is warranted much sooner.

Future Inter-Regional and Regional Network Map. Click Image to Enlarge

I also noticed that the 21 goes to the Abbotsford airport, but only two times a day. With the demand for use of the Abbotsford airport from South of Fraser and Abbotsford users, that service could be upgraded too.

Information on bus stop at Bourquin Exchange in Abbotsford

As far customer experience goes, TransLink does a better job. With TransLink, you can find the next bus information by texting your stop number and even track the bus in real-time. On ValleyMax, there was no texting period and no schedule posted on most of the bus stop with most just saying “Bus Stop” which is not at all useful. Also, ValleyMax does not have the on-board stop announcements and display like on a TransLink bus. As I didn’t have a monthly pass for ValleyMax, it was very inconvenient to carry cash around for the bus. I’m sure this is what prevents some people from using transit. In this day and age TransLink and ValleyMax should be able to take the trappable Visa and MasterCard.

Bourquin Exchange in Abbotsford

Considering that ValleyMax is one of the worst funded transit agencies in BC, it does a good job of providing transit service though the service frequency of the 501/502 in Langley brings ValleyMax’s service to shame.

In Metro Vancouver, I see lots of different people in different social-economic positions taking transit. In Abbotsford, it seems like transit is only providing service for people that can’t afford a car. While Abbotsford has a good foundation for a great transit system, the City will need to invest more money into it if it wants to attract choice riders to the system.

On a side note, I left Langley Centre at 11:45am and got to the bus exchange at Sevenoaks Shopping Centre‎ at 12:45pm which is pretty good considering it takes 35 minutes to drive.


Unknown said...

thanks for this! needed to get out to abby for granny using trans and now i can!!! how much is bus fare for the 21 i wonder???

Nathan Pachal said...

Best bet is to visit the BC Transit website.

Teil said...

Hey Nathan, I seem to be having trouble figuring out which lines you took to get from Vancouver to Abbotsford. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

Nathan Pachal said...

I used the 502 and this

Unknown said...

Much like anything else this government tries to run I get mote information from yourself than what my tax dollars pay for in government information about the services that they are responsible for providing.