Thursday, September 8, 2016

The South of Fraser leads the region in bus ridership growth

TransLink released its annual transit service performance review yesterday. Unlike previous year’s reviews which only contained performance information on the bus network, this year’s review also includes SkyTrain, West Coast Express, and SeaBus performance information as well.

When it comes to investment in bus service hours, the South of Fraser has received the highest percent increase over the last 4 years with three percent growth. North Shore communities saw the second highest bus service hour growth at two percent.

Interestingly enough, the investment of additional service hours into the North Shore hasn’t resulted in an overall increase in bus ridership in that sub-region over the last 4 years.

Bus Service Performance by Sub-Region, 2011 - 2015. Select table to enlarge.

In the South of Fraser, transit ridership has grown 4 percent over the same period of years. In South Delta (Ladner/Tsawwassen) ridership has grown even faster with a 5% increase over the last 4 years. There is clearly a high demand for transit service in the South of Fraser. Because of limited funding for transit regionally, TransLink is unable to keep up with the demand for more transit service.

The following map shows the five busiest bus routes in each sub-region, and includes annual boarding values for each of those routes. This map is interesting because it shows were the core transit network is.

2015 Bus Boardings: Map of Top 5 Routes by Sub-Region. Select map to enlarge.

While 50% of the top 10 most over-crowed routes are in Vancouver, the 502 which runs along Fraser Highway and 319 which runs along Scott Road are also some of the top 10 most over-crowed routes for the entire region.

Over the years, TransLink has increased the amount of service hours on the 502 and recently created the 503, but demand for more transit service remains high along that corridor.

I take the 503 Aldergrove Express somewhat regularly, but I found anecdotally that its on-time performance is poor. As it turns out, the 503 is in the top 10 list for routes with the lowest on-time performance.

The 555 Carvolth/Loughead Station Express continues to perform well since its introduction in 2013. Unlike the money loosing Port Mann Bridge which the route travels across. Ridership has ballooned from 565,000 boardings in 2013 to 868,000 in 2015. The cost per boarded passenger was only $1.53 in 2015.

The 96 B-Line which runs along King George Boulevard and 104th Avenue which was also introduced in 2013 has seen its ridership grow from 2.9 million boardings in 2013 to 3.7 million in 2015.

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