TransLink has increasingly sought to shuffle service hours between bus routes to carry more passengers without spending more money.

Losing bus routes eyed as TransLink shifts service

Best, worst runs flagged in transit performance review

A review by TransLink has flagged underperforming bus routes that may be targeted for “service optimization” to wring more efficiency from the transit system.

For a couple of years now, transit planners have strategically trimmed hours from some routes at times when buses roll by mostly empty and added more service to routes they think could carry more riders.

Beneficiaries have included the 99 B-Line in Vancouver, where a 10 per cent increase in service has been added to reduce overcrowding.

And an all-new White Rock-Langley route was also created to meet demand from passengers who couldn’t reasonably get between the two cities on transit.

Overall, TransLink says the strategy has helped it increase the number of of transit trips taken by 3.4 per cent while the average cost per trip dropped.

But while the system has gained, there have been winners and losers.

Richmond lost 5.5 per cent of its service hours – a change planners say is due to ongoing right-sizing to reflect the 2010 introduction of the Canada Line.

And the northeast sector lost 2.3 per cent of its bus hours.

The biggest gains were South of the Fraser (excluding south Delta) where 3.5 per cent more hours were added, the North Shore (up 3.4 per cent) and Vancouver (up 1.9 per cent).

According to the review, some of the lowest performing individual bus routes are in south Delta, where the average cost to carry a passenger is $2.67, the highest in the region and nearly double the Metro average of $1.34.

The per passenger cost was $2.13 in Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows, $1.92 in the Tri-Cities and $1.84 South of Fraser (North Delta-Surrey-Langley-White Rock.)

Vancouver had the lowest costs of $1.08 to carry the average passenger.

Most of the 25 poorest performing suburban bus routes are served with community shuttles, and include two in Ladner, two in Tsawwassen, two in Richmond/Queensborough and one each in Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows and Lions Bay.

The top performing routes are mainly in Vancouver and Burnaby.

According to TransLink planner Peter Klitz, poorly performing routes typically are in lower density areas where residents are more car-dependent and sometimes suffer from circuitous routes or the lack of a strong anchor destination at each end.

There are already plans to make more changes to some of the underperformers in September or December, he said.

Should residents in car-dependent areas with underperforming bus routes expect further frequency reductions, making transit an even worse option?

Klitz said that could happen in some areas but the best solution is working harder to ensure local land-use planning supports transportation.

“We need to organize where we put people and jobs to maximize the effectiveness of the transit network.”

TransLink says its strategy of right-sizing routes to try to serve more riders with the same amount of money has also generated more fare revenue – an increase of $15 million or 3.5 per cent last year.

“Our expectation is we will continue to look for opportunities to optimize our service in the coming years,” Klitz said.

The province has so far refused Metro Vancouver mayors’ requests for more money so TransLink can expand.

But Klitz argued service optimization is a good strategy, whether or not TransLink remains at a funding standstill.

Just Posted

Fort Langley’s boarded up buildings ‘filthy, unsightly,’ says health inspector

Eric Woodward says buildings will remain boarded up, following letter from Fraser Health

The Circus is coming to Aldergrove

Great Benjamins Circus is coming to thrill fans of high-wire derring-do in Aldergrove in May

VIDEO: Family asks for help finding remains of Surrey man missing for 10 years

Police suspect foul play in Kellen McElwee’s disappearance a decade ago

SLIDESHOW: Titans take down Griffins

Photos of Langley Fundamental Titans senior girls soccer team 4-0 victory over North Delta’s Burnsview Griffins

Game not over for Langley teen just yet

Standout basketball player James Woods weighing his options on both sides of the border

Shania Twain visits Canadian Armed Forces base in B.C.

Canadian country icon thanks members of CFB Esquimalt for their service

Countdown is on to the 2018 B.C. Summer Games

Cowichan Valley hosts on July 19-22

Driving Change: A B.C. man’s charitable trip across Canada

A Kelowna man, his bus, and his mission for positive change across our country

Case of teacher secretly filming teens reaches top court

Acquittal of teacher, Ryan Jarvis, who secretly videoed teens ‘dangerous,’ top court told

Why a 14-year-old will lead the charge at annual marijuana protest on the Hill

Marijuana enthusiasts have long been circling April 20 on their calendars as annual day of cannabis

B.C. communities await marine spill compensation years after incidents

The government maintains a Ship Source Oil Pollution Fund to compensate Canadians

RCMP say too early to know what happened in Broncos crash

RCMP Assistant Commissioner Curtis Zablocki said collission very complex

Conservative MP wants feds to close loophole for illegal border crossers

Immigration advocates call on government to suspend Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement

Alberta university criticized for honouring David Suzuki

University of Alberta plans to bestow environmentalist with honourary degree

Most Read