Big changes are coming for Tri-City bus riders later this month.
Major schedule alterations will go into effect on Dec. 19 as part of an effort TransLink planners say will increase links to the newly opened Evergreen Extension and improve connections within the community.
“This is our largest change in service since the Millennium Line opening,” said Michelle Babiuk, the transit network manager. “It’s even bigger than the Canada Line.”
With the phase-out of the 97 B-Line, which follows the route Evergreen will travel starting today, 42,000 service hours are being reallocated within the Lower Mainland’s northeast sector; 22 routes are being changed, which will affect 46,000 trips per day.
While planners and TransLink officials have spent a lot of time working to ensure a smooth transition, Babiuk noted that they will be closely watching what happens on the ground in the coming weeks.
“We are going to monitor after opening day,” she said. “We adjust the network four times a year and the first opportunity to make changes is in April.”
But if an area in the schedule is not working, changes could be made even sooner in extreme circumstances, she said.
Some of the local changes:
One of the biggest changes is coming to the 160 route, which currently takes riders from Port Coquitlam to Coquitlam Central Station to downtown Vancouver via the Lougheed and Barnet highways before turning onto Hastings Street in Burnaby.
After Dec. 19, the 160 will be mainly used to connect Tri-City commuters with the Evergreen Extension and north Burnaby. It will also loop up to Pinetree and Guildford ways to catch passengers who used to take the 97 B-Line in Coquitlam’s City Centre.
Even with a transfer from the 160 to the SkyTrain, Babiuk said it will be 15 minutes faster to take rapid transit downtown rather than the single bus.
For those who use the 160 to get into Burnaby, there will be more frequent stops and the line will end at Kootenay Loop in Vancouver. Those who want to keep going toward Vancouver to stops near Playland, Nanaimo Street or Commercial Drive can do so by transferring to the 95 B-Line, which will now run between downtown Vancouver and Simon Fraser University.
Another major change will be the phase-out of the 97 B-Line. While the route closely follows the new SkyTrain line, there are points between Moody Centre and Burquitlam Station, including College Park, that many commuters, particularly Port Moody secondary students, travel to every day.
To serve these riders, TransLink has turned the C24 community shuttle into the 180, which has been upgraded to a larger coach and will have 15-minute service during peak times.
The route will start at Moody Centre Station and travel to Burquitlam Station via St. Johns Street, Cecile Drive, Glenayre Drive and Clarke Road.
Tri-City students heading to SFU can expect to see some changes to their daily commutes.
Currently, the 143 runs between Coquitlam Central Station and the Burnaby Mountain campus via Mariner Way, Como Lake and Gaglardi Way. After Dec. 19, the 143 will only operate between SFU and the new Burquitlam SkyTrain station.
Tri-City students heading up the hill will have to connect with the Evergreen Extension to Burquitlam Station to catch the 143, or they can head to Production Way Station and take a B-Line bus from there.
“We are going to be monitoring both of these and see which is more popular,” said Babiuk.
For Coquitlam SFU students who live between Coquitlam Central Station and Burquitlam Station, the 151, which will run between the two SkyTrain stops via Como Lake and Spuraway avenues, is the best option.
Burke Mountain has been a bus service black hole for years but that will change after Dec. 19.
TransLink is adding the 191, which will connect residents with Coquitlam Central Station and Lafarge Lake-Douglas Station via David and Princeton avenues, and Coast Meridian Road.
The current C38 will now be the 174 and will follow the same basic route while the C37 has been changed to the 172 and will now connect PoCo commuters, including those in the Dominion Triangle, with Coquitlam Central Station.
PLAN YOUR TRIPS
Tri-City transit riders can see how their commutes will change by going to tripplanning.translink.ca. You can enter your starting point and destination but should change the date to one after Dec. 19 to see how the bus schedule changes will affect them.