Five new RapidBus routes are coming to Metro Vancouver, with the first ones set to be launched in January 2020.
According to TransLink, they'll be able to move 12,000 customers per hour during rush hour at a 20 percent faster rate than local bus service.
That's because there will be fewer stops, all-door boarding, queue-jumping capacity at intersections, signal priority, and, of course, bus-only lanes to accommodate these vehicles.
Today, the regional transportation authority unveiled the names of the first five routes, noting that they will be available every 10 minutes during peak times.
- R1: King George Boulevard (Guildford Town Centre to Newton Exchange) – upgraded 96 B-Line
- R2: Marine Drive (Park Royal to Phibbs Exchange)
- R3: Lougheed Highway (Coquitlam Central Station to Haney Place)
- R4: 41st Avenue (UBC to Joyce–Collingwood Station)
- R5: Hastings (SFU to Burrard Station) – upgraded 95 B-Line
These vehicles will be easily identifiable by their colours—mostly green with some blue.
They will replace B-Lines and eventually serve 11 communities.
Two more RapidBus routes will be added in 2021 in Surrey, Delta, and Richmond, with five more planned for phase three of the regional transportation plan.
"The B-Lines have served us well over many years, but we’ve taken the new RapidBus service to the next level," TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond said in a news release. "RapidBus will deliver a faster, more frequent service with new customer amenities.”
The 99-B line, which runs mostly on Broadway between Commercial-Broadway Station and UBC, will remain in service until the opening of the Broadway subway, expected in 2025.
It's TransLink's second major announcement over the past week promising improved bus service.
The regional transportation authority recently released photos of new double-decker buses, which will offer more seating to passengers on long-haul routes from the outer suburbs of Vancouver.
Meanwhile, the TransLink Mayors' Council will deal with a staff report on Thursday (July 25) regarding a proposed $1.6-billion SkyTrain line from King George Station to the Fleetwood area of Surrey.
Opponents of SkyTrain projects have often said in the past that they cannibalize bus service because they're so expensive.
The recent announcements by TransLink may be a way for the transportation authority to blunt those criticisms if they come up at the mayors' council meeting.