Tri-City residents care about their bus system, results of TransLink's public consultation show.
But when it comes to new routes, there appear to be more winners than losers as the regional transit authority rolls out new routes to connect people to the new Evergreen Line slated to open in 2017.
As many as 3,700 people responded to TransLink's transit network review last fall, a third of the 12,017 total, and there were at least two petitions submitted as well, to get officials to pay attention to their concerns.
Who got want they wanted? For the most part, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Anmore and Belcarra residents will benefit from the opening of the $1.4-billion rapid transit line, with many neighbourhoods seeing new routes and connections to stations along the route, according to the recommendations that will be rolled out in the coming months.
For example, there was plenty of support for new routes on Heritage Mountain in Port Moody, Westwood Plateau and the Mayfair industrial area in Coquitlam, and the Dominion Triangle in Port Coquitlam plus a new route to get Simon Fraser University students to campus faster from the new Burquitlam Station on the Evergreen Line.
Not everyone's wish list was fulfilled, however, according to the results of a public transit network review released Thursday. Port Moody Mayor Mike Clay is also worried about gaps in service when the well-used and consistent 97B Line is shut down when the Evergreen Line opens.
Clay said he was surprised TransLink released its recommendations without follow-up consultation with Port Moody council but acknowledged that perhaps the regional transit authority thought it had all the information it needed.
"I thought they had committed to that we would have another opportunity to discuss it," Clay said.
As to when the new routes will be rolled out, Clay said some will likely depend on the acquisition of new buses while others will depend on when the Evergreen Line officially opens.
"[TransLink] have been reluctant to put a date on anything until they get handed a key."
The public consultation — the largest in TransLink's history — also revealed some concerns.
For example, commuters headed to Vancouver are not happy with the removal of a one-seat, no-transfer ride on a bus, which is cheaper than SkyTrain. Because of their complaints, TransLink agreed to extend the 160 bus, which travels through Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam and Port Moody, as far as the the Kootenay Loop rather than Brentwood Station, and to include more local connections.
Missing in the new plan is service to the Burke Mountain area and night bus service to the Hard Rock Casino Vancouver on United Boulevard in Coquitlam. TransLink says it will continue to explore these options.
TransLink also promises to look further into whether bus service up Thermal Drive and Moray Street is safe and feasible after residents expressed concerns about buses traveling the narrow and winding hill.
Support for the transit changes ranged from a low of 39% because of concerns about the discontinuation of the 97B line and the 190 bus to a high of 58% where several new routes will be connecting to the Moody Centre, Inlet Centre and Coquitlam Central Evergreen Line stations.
The recommendations announced in the transit review will be rolled into service planning activities over the next two years. To read the recommendations, view the maps and see the results of the public survey for all six northeast areas, visit www.translink.ca/tnc.