Does it feel like you’re spending more of your life at bus stops lately?
There’s a good chance it’s not in your head. According to a TransLink report going to the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation this Friday (October 25), bus wait times across Metro Vancouver are getting longer.
“Eighty percent of the region’s bus routes are slower today than they were five years ago, due in large part to increased roadway congestion and lack of sufficient bus priority,” the report reads. “The negative effect on customers is not only longer and less reliable journey times, but also longer waits and increased overcrowding due to bus bunching.”
In addition to inconveniencing commuters, delays cost the Coast Mountain Bus Company (CMBC)—the TransLink subsidiary responsible for the Metro Vancouver—a surprising amount of money; $75 million each year, according to the report.
“Operating costs resulting from slowing and less reliable bus services are growing,” the report continues. “CMBC adjusts schedules quarterly to maintain on-time performance and ensure operator breaks in the face of growing roadway congestion, improving it on 61% of routes since 2014. Those schedule adjustments added $2.5M - $5M each year to CMBC’s annual operating costs over that same period. This is equivalent to the cost of adding a new RapidBus line every 1-2 years.”
The “2019 Bus Speed and Reliability Report” includes a list of the 20 Metro Vancouver transit corridors that experience the worst bus-service delays. The top five are King George Boulevard and 104 Avenue, Highway 99 between Richmond and Delta, East and West 41 avenues, Broadway, and East and West Hastings streets.
The report goes on to outline recommendations for how municipalities can work with TransLink to minimize delays.
Strategies that CMBC notes have worked in other cities include improving bus-stop management, tweaking traffic regulations, and expanding transit-agency policies that maximize efficiency such as all-door boarding.
The report emphasizes that pubic transit is increasingly popular across Metro Vancouver, with ridership currently growing at a rate of four percent per year.