Monday, July 9, 2018

South of Fraser sees largest percent growth in bus ridership in Metro Vancouver

The TransLink 2017 Transit Service Performance Review was recently released; transit ridership is continuing to increase rapidly in the South of Fraser. There were 43,311,000 annual bus boardings in 2017 which was up 8% compared to 2016. Even in South Delta, which includes Ladner and Tsawwassen, annual boardings was up 9%. Overall, bus transit ridership is growing faster in communities south of the Fraser River than anywhere else in Metro Vancouver.

Annual Bus Boardings by Sub-Region from 2013 to 2017. Select table to enlarge.

In the Performance Review, the 319, 363, and 96 B-Line were noted as seeing the strongest growth in the South of Fraser. As a daily user of the 502, I’ve noticed that this route has become somewhat less crowded. Due to more bus services along the route, the 502 is no longer in the top 10 most over-crowded routes in the region.

Top 5 Routes - South of Fraser Annual Boardings System-Wide Rank
319 - Scott Road Station/Newton Exchange 5,193,000 16
96 B-Line - Guildford Exchange/Newton Exchange 5,019,000 17
502 - Surrey Central/Langley Centre 2,833,000 31
321 - Surrey Central/White Rock 2,550,000 34
335 - Surrey Central/Guildford/Newtown Exchange 2,508,000 36

The 319 is the most utilities bus route in the South of Fraser, travelling along Scott Road. This corridor is in desperate need of B-Line service, and thanks to the recent approval of phase two of TransLink’s 10-Year Investment Plan, service is scheduled to start by 2021.

Annual Bus Service Hours by Sub-Region from 2013 to 2017. Select table to enlarge.

The performance review shows that there was a 23% decrease in bus ridership in the Northeast Sector. This was due to the 97 B-Line being replaced with the Evergreen Extension of SkyTrain.

All TransLink services saw an increase in ridership expect for the West Coast Express in 2017. This was due to the opening of the Evergreen Extension of SkyTrain. The following table shows that ridership at stations such as Maple Meadows, Port Haney, and Mission City increased in boardings. In fact, Mission City saw a 17% increase in boardings in 2017.

West Coast Express Average Weekday Boardings, Fall 2016 and Fall 2017. Select table to enlarge.

TransLink has been able to invest in improving bus service in Metro Vancouver over the last few years due to new funding being approved by local, provincial, and federal governments. “Build it and they will come” is certainly the case for transit service in Metro Vancouver.

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