Monday, January 27, 2020

RapidBus Review: Rapid riding the R4 from UBC to Joyce-Collingwood SkyTrain

Earlier this month, my friend Paul Hillsdon and I spent a Saturday riding all of TransLink’s new RapidBus routes. You can read my reviews of the R3 Lougheed Highway, R5 Hasting Street and R1 King George Boulevard routes in previous posts.

Paul and I taking a selfie with a RapidBus sign. Select image to enlarge.

The R4 was created from the previous 43 bus route. Besides the standard RapidBus features such as green articulated buses and iconic real-time info bus stop signs, the R4 has significantly more service. Compared to the previous route which only provided frequent transit service during the weekdays, the new R4 has even more frequent service for longer periods of the weekday, and the weekend.

R4 Bus Stop at the UBC Bus Exchange. Select image to enlarge.

Like the R3 Lougheed Highway, significant improvements were made to get buses out of congestion. A majority of the R4 route on the UBC campus and in the City of Vancouver travels within dedicated bus lanes; these bus lanes speeds up service. Considering that around 50% of people travelling along 41st Avenue during the busiest times of the day use public transit, it was good to be able to zoom past congestion.

Bus lane on the UBC campus. Select image to enlarge.

Bus lane along 41st Avenue in the City of Vancouver. Select image to enlarge.

There were some areas where service slowed down. The bus needed to travel in general travel lanes which were congested in the Kerrisdale Neighbourhood commercial area. This section of 41st Avenue currently has on-street parking on both sides of the street, two eastbound travel lanes, and one westbound travel lane.

The City of Vancouver and TransLink may want to consider adjusting the layout of this section of street to ensure that transit service remains fast and reliable through this section. Re-configuring road layouts is never a simple task through commercial areas, but there are potential solutions. For example, a peak-only bus counterflow lane in the centre of 41st Avenue in Kerrisdale could be considered. This would not impact parking.

R4 layover at Joyce-Collingwood Station. Select image to enlarge.

All things considered, the R4 is a clear improvement over the previous 43 route due to the implementation of bus priority measures along 41st Avenue, and an increase in frequent service.

There is one more RapidBus route in the works for this year, the R2 Marine Drive on the North Shore. I’m sure that Paul and I will be doing a review of this route once it is in service.

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