Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The demise of the South of Fraser Area Transit Plan

In 2007, TransLink completed the South of Fraser Area Transit Plan. This plan outlined the long-term vision, and also a mid-term implementation plan for improving transit service in Surrey, Delta, White Rock, and Langley.

The implementation plan went until the end of 2013. With 2014 underway, I thought it would be interesting to see what was promised, and what was delivered.

According to the implementation plan by the end of 2013, the South of Fraser should have an additional 170 buses and associated operation staff. These buses would be used to increase transit service in the area. Some of the major projects to be completed should have been:

-Expansion of the frequent transit network
-Expansion of community shuttle service, including new service in Willoughby, in Langley
-New South Surrey/White Rock Transit Exchange
-New Newton Exchange
-New Langley Bus Exchanges at Willowbrook and Langley City to accommodate rapid bus service
-New median busway along King George Boulevard with B-Line service between White Rock, Surrey City Centre, and Guilford
-Well underway with the construction of a busway along Fraser Highway with B-Line service between Surrey City Centre and Langley
-Highway 1 busway including Carvolth Park and Ride

Map of proposed transit network to be implemented by the end of 2013. Click map to enlarge.

TransLink was able to expand the frequent transit network and also add new community shuttle service, but not at the service level envisioned in the area transit plan and with no new service in Willoughby and no frequent transit along 152nd Street.

TransLink was only able to add partial B-Line service along King George, but without a busway and not to White Rock. There is no busway along Fraser Highway and no B-Line service.

While the Carvolth Park and Ride was completed, TransLink was only able to add partial service between Langley and the SkyTrain with no service through Surrey, or service to Abbotsford.

While TransLink was able to implement many of the service improvements envisioned in the 2007 to 2010 timeframe, the implementation plan placed many of the major service improvements in the 2012/13 timeframe. This is the same timeframe when transit expansion was halted in the region by the province and the mayors.

The sad reality is that the implementation plan for 2007 to 2013, could also be the implementation plan for 2014 to 2020, as so many major projects were not completed.

With the upcoming transit referendum, the region may have the chance to vote to get transit expansion back on track, but if the referendum fails or the province continues to play games with transit, TransLink might as well put all of its service improvement plans in the recycling bin.

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