Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Major changes to bus routes in Langley as of yesterday

With Labour Day also comes changes to transit service in Metro Vancouver. In Langley, there were significant changes made to the transit network.

If you look at the following map from 1988, you’ll see that in Langley there has been very little change to the coverage of the transit network even though the population has dramatically shifted and grown.

1988 Bus Route Map of Langley

Over the past several years, TransLink has been busy optimizing the transit network by removing service were there wasn’t demand, reinvesting that service into other areas where there is demand.

Because of how transit service was designed back in the 1980s with a focus on coverage instead of frequency, there were sections of the 502 and 501/590 routes that were only serviced a handful of times per day. Because of this irregular service, ridership along most of these sections were poor.

TransLink recently deleted the limited-service Salmon River section of the 502, and as of yesterday also deleted the limited-service Brookswood section of the 502.

Also as of yesterday, TransLink merged the 501 and 590, and deleted all afternoon trips past Langley Centre from the route. TransLink kept the 501/590 Langley South morning trips for a trail period. My concern is that because the City of Langley is currently rebuilding 203rd Street from Grade Crescent to Michaud Crescent, ridership numbers during the trail might be lower than normal.

To improve access for people in Brookswood, TransLink has also added extra early morning trips to the 531 which will now go to Langley Centre as well.

The 531 now goes through Langley Centre. Select map to enlarge.

While these changes will negatively impact some transit customer (I will no longer be able to catch the 502 directly outside my apartment), these changes make sense and will actually result in a overall improvement in transit service in Langley.

The new route for the 595 along 208th Street. Select map to enlarge.

A major improvement in transit service is available to residents in Willoughby and sections of Walnut Grove with the 595 now moving from 200th Street to 208th Street. This simple change will result in transit service now being available to one of the fastest growing corridors in Metro Vancouver.

I just got back from New Zealand where they are doing a wholesale change to the transit networks in both Auckland and Wellington, their largest regions, due to decades of neglect. Having an agency that is constantly evaluating and tweaking the transit network to perform its best is a good thing.

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