Thursday, May 26, 2022

South of Fraser and Industrial Area Routes Leading Transit Recovery

When I first got involved in the “Smart Growth” movement in Metro Vancouver more than a decade ago, people in the movement (who were primarily Vancouver-based) thoughts that the South for Fraser would be hard to serve by transit. They thought people in Delta, Surrey, White Rock, and Langley were not “transit people.” These Vancouverites also believed it was a fool’s errand to provide transit service through industrial areas. Who would take transit service to industrial areas?

Person on a bus

Some of these misconceptions even made their way to TransLink planning. TransLink believed that industrial areas wouldn’t support high-quality transit services for the longest time. The good news is that TransLink listened to the community and started improving transit service in a big way about a decade ago in the South of Fraser, including industrial areas.

TransLink recently released its 2021 Transit Service Performance Review. 2021 was a year of transit ridership recovery, and it was interesting to see two things.

The first is that transit ridership recovery was the strongest in the South of Fraser.

Ridership recovery by sub-region in Metro Vancouver at the end of 2021. Select map to enlarge.

The second is that ridership on some transit routes through industrial areas grew even beyond 2019 levels.

The 175, 418, and 531 transit routes serving industrial areas saw around 100% or greater ridership recovery in 2021. Select map to enlarge.

These insights show that there is still pent-up demand for quality transit service in the South of Fraser. It also shows that it makes sense to provide quality transit to industrial areas in Metro Vancouver. There is still one industrial area, Gloucester Industrial Estates, in the Township of Langley that doesn’t have transit service at all. I wonder if it is time to trial transit service to this area?

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