Is the old #52 bus returning to give rides around Stanley Park? Transit lovers would be thrilled

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      Online is a copy of a 1995 summer issue of The Buzzer, the onboard publication then of B.C. Transit, from which a few laters was formed what is now TransLink.

      Among others, the edition reminded riders that they can enjoy going around Stanley Park on the seasonal bus service provided by the transit authority.

      It was called the 52 Around the Park. Regular fares apply.

      Based on what John Irwin knows so far, this bus route was discontinued sometime later during the 1990s.

      Irwin is a commissioner with the Vancouver board of parks and recreation, and he is interested to see a round-the-park bus service resumed in Stanley Park.

      Irwin is set to address the board of TransLink in its meeting Thursday (June 18) about this matter.

      On June 8, the park board approved a motion by Irwin, which directed staff to study the feasibility of reducing car traffic in Stanley Park.

      In an interview, Irwin indicated that it makes sense to increase bus service in the park.

      “We’re getting staff to explore reduced car traffic in Stanley Park, and we really can’t do that without introducing alternatives for people,” Irwin told the Georgia Straight by phone.

      Park board has closed the park to cars since April 8 as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

      On Thursday (June8), the board is holding a special meeting to take up a motion by commissioners Tricia Barker and John Coupar to reopen the Stanley Park to people with cars.

      According to Irwin, a number of people do not have cars, but are able to afford transit, especially those with elderly and disability discounts.

      “A bus around the park would increase access,” Irwin said.

      Nathan Davidowicz, a longtime transit advocate, remembers the bus that used to go around Stanley Park.

      "It was called Around the Park," Davidowicz told the Straight by phone.

      According to him, it’s a good idea to bring back the route.

      Davidowicz found online a 1987 spring edition of The Buzzer announcing B.C. Transit was once again operating its service around Stanley Park.

      Jill Drews, a spokesperson with TransLink, indicated to the Straight that there are a "few hurdles" regarding the addition of an around the park service.

      According to Drews, extending Route 19, which is the Metrotown-Stanley Park bus, would "require new operating funds, vehicles and operators".

      "Without new funding, TransLink would have to take service from somewhere else and move the resources to the park," the TransLink spokesperson wrote.

      Drews also noted that Route 19 is a trolley bus, "so extending it would also require significant infrastructure additions in the park".

      "The City of Vancouver would also have to remove on street parking in the park to provide adequate turnaround space at certain pinch points on the roadway," according to Drews.