TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond announced four new B-Lines that will serve Surrey, Langley, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Vancouver, the North Shore, Burnaby and the Tri-Cities. (Katya Slepian/Black Press)

TransLink to roll out four B-Lines as ‘prelude to rail’ by 2019

Surrey, Langley, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Vancouver, Coquitlam and the North Shore will benefit

Residents of 11 Metro Vancouver communities will have faster access to the region’s SkyTrains by 2019.

TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond announced B-Lines in Surrey, Langley, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Coquitlam, Vancouver, the North Shore as part of phase one of TransLink’s 10-year-vision on Tuesday.

The Surrey-Langley route will connect Surrey Centre to Langley Centre along Fraser Highway, the Main-Marine route will connect Dundareve to Phibbs Exchange, the 41st Avenue route will connect Joyce-Collingwood Station to UBC and the Lougheed Highway route will connect Coquitlam Central Station to Haney Place.

The four buses will cost $17.2 million per year to operate.

“Those are the preludes to rail in the future,” said Coquitlam Mayor and Metro Vancouver chair Greg Moore.

The B-Lines are designed to “build up ridership and density along those corridors… so that when you’re looking to the future to convert a B-Line bus that’s at capacity or over capacity, the next place to go is to have rail,” Moore said.

“This is that first phase to getting there.”

READ: Corrigan ‘confident’ B.C. budget will help mayors fill 15% transportation funding gap

This is not the first that TransLink has spoken about these B-Lines; they are part of the first phase of the 10-year-vision which includes five new B-Lines across Metro Vancouver. The fifth, the 95 B-Line which connects Downtown Vancouver to SFU’s Burnaby campus along Hastings Street, launched in 2016.

Altogether, the five B-Lines will cost TransLink $125 million, a figure accounted for in phase one of the 10-year-vision.

TransLink will bring in four new B-Line routes by the end of 2019. (TransLink)

The buses will run at least every 10 minutes during peak periods and every 15 minutes during off-peak times.

“As a bus rider, I can tell you that if you don’t have to memorize a bus schedule because you know a bus is going to come every five, seven or 10 minutes, it makes using transit that much more usable for everyone,” said Moore, noting that this will allow far-flung suburban dwellers to commute throughout the region without owning a car.

READ: Delta’s mayor fights for light rail out to Chilliwack

“They will deliver high-frequency transit service within walking distance of some 330,00 jobs and residents,” Desmond said.

The new routes will more than double TransLink’s current routes, which include the 99 B-Line in Vancouver, the 96 B-Line in Surrey and the 95 B-Line in Vancouver and Burnaby.

Although TransLink has focused heavily on new SkyTrain lines like the Evergreen extension and light rail out to Surrey and Langley in recent times, Desmond said that B-Lines were an “integral part” of a “multi-modal future.”

Desmond said that while the new routes were set to go ahead by the end of 2019, TransLink officials would be liaising with city councils to secure more exact stop locations.


@katslepian

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