Bus service on routes like 49 will be key to upcoming transit investment decisions

It was no surprise that my blog/tweet last week about the proposed service cut on bus route 49 UBC/Metrotown drew a quick reminder from Mayor Greg Moore of Port Coquitlam (@GregMooredotca) that his city’s residents have been the target of several rounds of such “service optimization” efforts by Translink.

Those efficiency drives by Translink, intended to increase ridership on busy routes, are allowing ridership to keep rising across the system while entire neighbourhoods see service reductions. Yet riders on routes like 49 are still experiencing pass-ups and crowding.

So it’s clear that future bus investments will be a critical element of any 10-year transportation investment plan proposed by the new subcommittee of the Translink Mayor’s Council now meeting weekly under Moore’s leadership. (And yes, those routes will need to support region-serving investments in new Skytrain or light rail capacity.)

Moore’s group is driving to an early deadline to propose such a plan to the entire Mayor’s Council for consideration as the basis for the upcoming transit referendum, the exact date and nature of which remain to be determined.

In the meantime, it’s important to maintain the service we do have. That’s why I’ll be proposing the following motion at Vancouver’s upcoming March 11 meeting:

Proposed service cuts on Translink Bus Route 49 UBC/Metrotown Station
WHEREAS Translink is considering changes to the 49 UBC/Metrotown Station bus route under the Service Optimization Program that would eliminate long-standing service to Champlain Heights and 14 stops in that section of the route; and
WHEREAS this community, which includes a high proportion of seniors, young families and people with disabilities who rely on transit service to work, go to school and complete essential daily tasks, has had service on this route since the 1970s;
WHEREAS the Route 26 Joyce Station/29th Ave. Station, the only other route through the area, has already seen service reductions, has much less frequent service and does not serve most of the affected area; and
WHEREAS more than 150 residents turned out to a Translink consultation on Feb. 18 to oppose the changes;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT council direct staff to advise Translink that the City of Vancouver opposes any reduction of service to the Champlain Diversion neighbourhood and recommends that service be increased on Route 49 to reduce pass-ups and overcrowding.