Big bus costly on lightly-used route between Langley and White Rock
Editor: I have been provided with the figures for the 531 Coast Mountain bus route, which runs between Willowbrook and White Rock. It began running eight months ago.
The bus makes 30 complete runs per day, from 5:40 a.m. to 8:40 p.m. It does this seven days per week.
The regular fare is $2.75 per trip. Some people have passes or pay less. The bus used is not a shuttle bus, which holds 24 passengers, but the full-sized bus which carries 77 passengers.
For the entire round trip, the average daily load is 110, according to TransLink. The average passenger count leaving Willowbrook terminus is two.
Any genius can see that these sad ridership figures don’t justify running the bus at all. Sure, TransLink says the numbers will some day grow.
However, this bus make its parking stops, for half an hour intervals, on our street next to Superstore. We have lost out on 10 parking spots, and it stings all of the businesses in this area.
Why is a bus that seats 77 used on a route that would be better suited to a taxi van? That would be far less costly.
Add up the numbers. The bus route is a dud, and TransLink is bleeding money. Income from ridership is pitiful and the run is not popular.
It costs well over $4,000 a day to run this bus, with income at less than one-quarter of the costs. This run is costing TransLink and its taxpayers over $1 million in losses each year.
Downsize the route. Put a smaller vehicle on it. Reduce the carbon footprint. A large bus is not justified at all.
Reduce the space they need for their leisure time parking.
The current bus takes up 10 parking spaces. We need it restored. Then move the terminus to a proper bus terminal and loop. Streets like ours that house homes and businesses were not planned to accommodate bus terminals.
Get bus terminals off our well-used residential and business streets.
Dr. James Findlay,