Thursday, August 8, 2019

RapidBus: Better B-Lines for Metro Vancouver coming this winter.

While rail rapid transit gets most of the attention in Metro Vancouver, it is the bus system that moves the majority of people who use transit in our region. As part of TransLink’s 10-Year Vision, significant investments are being made to bus service in our region. This includes investing in higher-quality bus service.

Most people in Metro Vancouver know that B-Lines are limited stop bus routes. Limiting the number of bus stops on a route increases the speed of a route.

Another key to speeding up bus service is to provide bus priority measures such as bus-only lanes and bus priority at intersections. Today’s B-Line routes have limited and inconsistent application of bus priority measures.

As it rains a lot in Metro Vancouver, bus shelters are important. Not all B-Line stops have shelters today.

As part of the 10-Year Vision, TransLink will be rolling out more and better B-Line routes.

Some of the meaningful enhancements compared to today’s B-Lines include consistent and targeted bus priority measures along routes, all-door boarding, and articulated buses. Bus stops will also be better as they will have real-time next-bus info and shelters at all stops.

An example of a RapidBus stop post. Select image to enlarge.

Because these routes will be better than B-Line today, TransLink is calling this service RapidBus. The following will be the new RapidBus routes which will be launching in January:

R1: King George Boulevard (Guildford Town Centre to Newton Exchange) – upgraded 96 B-Line
R2: Marine Drive (Park Royal to Phibbs Exchange)
R3: Lougheed Highway (Coquitlam Central Station to Haney Place)
R4: 41st Avenue (UBC to Joyce–Collingwood Station)
R5: Hastings (SFU to Burrard Station) – upgraded 95 B-Line

Bus service on these routes will run every 3 to 10 minutes in peak times, and 8 to 15 minutes at other times of the day. TransLink has posted information about these routes and RapidBus in general on their website.

The following maps show the transit priority measures being implemented on these routes.

R2 - Marine Drive: Map of Transit Priority Measures. Select map to enlarge.

R3 - Lougheed Highway: Map of Transit Priority Measures. Select map to enlarge.

R4 - 41st Avenue: Map of Transit Priority Measures. Select map to enlarge.

Fraser Highway between Langley City and Surrey Central was supposed to get RapidBus service too. Because of the extension of SkyTrain to Fleetwood, this was put on hold. Instead, this corridor will be getting RapidBus Lite service starting this fall. From what I can tell, the only meaningful difference is the lack of bus stop amenities such as real-time info and shelters at all stops. As I will be taking the new Fraser Highway service daily, I will be posting about my experience.

More RapidBus routes will be launched in Metro Vancouver beyond these five as the 10-Year Vision continues to roll out.

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