TransLink rolls out 24-hour bus service to UBC, but no all-night SkyTrain on Fridays and Saturdays

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      TransLink is expanding its night bus program, which will include 24-hour service to UBC.

      For late-night patrons hoping to hop on SkyTrain during weekends, they’ll have to make do with bus.

      TransLink is not going to run SkyTrain all night on Fridays and Saturdays.

      The agency issued a media release Thursday (June 27) not long after the start of a meeting of the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation.

      The release stated that starting on September 2 this year, the N17 night bus from Downtown Vancouver to UBC will be “extended to run through the night until the start of regular service”.

      As well, trips will be added to the N19 night bus between Downtown Vancouver and Surrey Central Station in the fall to “address overcrowding”.

      Also, the N15 night bus on Cambie Street is being “simplified to provide more direct service to Vancouver International Airport”.

      In addition, service will be increased on “nine NightBus routes in 2020”. No details were provided.

      The media release noted that TransLink also reviewed other transit options.

      These include a “new NightBus express service that would give late-night customers a safe ride home along a predictable route”.

      The service would operate after SkyTrain stops running. This means there will be buses on a 24-hour basis.

      The service will follow the Expo and Millennium Line routes, and stop at select SkyTrain stations.

      “Early testing of a potential Expo Line route between the Granville entertainment district and Surrey Central Station shows bus travel time would be about 20 minutes longer than SkyTrain service,” according to the release. “Travel times could be reduced further by stopping at key stations only.”

      TransLink will start planning for the new service “once funding is secured”.

      Kevin Desmond indicated that the night bus express service will “make a difference”.

      “We can roll out relatively quickly and easily once funding is secured whereas running SkyTrain all night on weekends would negatively affect more customers than it helps due to the significant scheduling and cost trade-offs required,” Desmond said in the release.

       TransLink released the results of an independent technical study about operating SkyTrain all night Fridays and Saturdays.

      According to the release, extended service on Fridays and Saturdays would mean ending service an hour earlier from Sunday to Thursday to “make up maintenance hours”.

      Also, closures would be required on some statutory holidays for maintenance.