At a press conference earlier today, Translink CEO Kevin Desmond was joined by Metro Vancouver mayors and members of the provincial and federal government, to announce a list of service improvements that are being rolled out as part of the first phase of the Mayors' Council's 10-year vision.
Calling the move, "a milestone for Translink and Metro Vancouver", Desmond detailed the improvements, which include longer peak period service for the Expo and Millennium lines, an 11-percent increase in passenger capacity for the Canada Line during peak periods, more frequent SeaBus service on Sundays and holidays, and 45,000 additional HandyDart trips per year.
"These service improvements make room for approximately 185,000 more people on a weekly basis," he said.
Desmond also announced that in April, major improvements to bus services would begin, with more improvements happening every three months for the next three years.
These will include new B-line routes, as well as new services to areas of the region that are not currently serviced by buses.
Consultations for the much-anticipated Millennium Broadway extension and Surrey-Newton-Guilford LRT will begin next week, but those improvements are part of the second phase of the council's 10-year vision, and won't be rolled out for some time.
Both Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner called on the provincial and federal governments to make a "firm commitment" with regard to capital funding for those projects.
"Phase two is critical to our overall region and to bringing to fruition the real mayors' vision for the 10-year plan," said Hepner.
When asked about the planned routes for both lines, with specific regard to the decision to terminate the Broadway extension at Arbutus Street, Desmond told the Straight that the alignment and start and end points were, "a reality."
"I wasn't here when the decision was made to terminate it at Arbutus," said Desmond. "The real crush of demand on the 99 B-line now, is really to Arbutus. We have plenty of customers, students, faculty, and workers going out to UBC, but for this first phase, that's where we really need to get our resources....
"Will rail eventually get to UBC? I'd say that's probably a good chance. When? I don't know."
Mayor Robertson added that the planning for extending the line to UBC would begin in the final two years of the council's 10-year vision.
Robertson added that, with the planned development of the Jericho lands and the anticipated population growth, as well as the continued growth of UBC, improving transit service to that area needed to happen "sooner than later."
The first phase of the Millennium Line extension is set to include 6 kilometres of track extending from VCC-Clark to Arbutus under Broadway.
The first phase of the Surrey-Newton-Guilford Line, heading along 104 Avenue and King George Boulevard, will include 10 kilometres of two-way, street-level track, 11 LRT stops, and a new LRT operation and maintenance facility.
Public consultations for the Millennium Line extension to Arbutus will take place as follows:
Saturday, January 28 at Douglas Park Community Centre from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Tuesday, January 31 at the Croatian Cultural Centre from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Wednesday, February 1 at Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Public consultations for the Surrey-Newton-Guilford LRT Project will take place as follows:
Tuesday, January 24 at the Guilford Recreation Centre from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Wednesday, January 25 at Surrey City Hall from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Thursday, January 26 at the Newton Cultural Centre from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.