You might be one of the many people who are skipped by full buses during the rush hour painfully waiting for the next one to arrive that can fit more passengers. You might also be thinking to yourself, “I’ve never seen it this busy before”. Today I thought the same and looked deeper into the problem.
I spoke with a representative to make a request for more buses on my route. After some chit-chat, he revealed to me that Metro-Vancouver buses are unusually packed. Transit schedulers are currently aware of the situation but are having difficulties coping. Why? Two main reasons:
1. This September Translink introduced a truly universal U-Pass. Rush hour is packed with more students attending post-secondary institutions that were not previously a part of the program
2. The City of Vancouver halted expansion of the transit system in October 2009. They instead opened up revenue-generation options for Translink, but this has bottlenecked the recent increase in ridership without enough buses to accommodate. http://www.translink.ca/en/About-TransLink/Media/2009/October/Mayors-Council-approves-Funding-Stabilization-option.aspx
Without any ability to purchase more buses in the short-term, Translink is searching for ways to cope with the difficult rush hour. This might explain the recent push for projects like the SFU Gondola as reported by the Buzz, which will free up a large amount of buses that Translink wants to use for the rest of Vancouver. The recent expansion of bike lanes around Vancouver, including the proposed Hornby bike lane, will be a strong alternative to crowded buses near the downtown core.
Translink Customer Relations is very helpful and friendly, and if you feel that your route requires more service do not hesitate to call them at 604-953-3333. They are currently moving buses from low-travelled routes to areas with higher demand.
Photo credit: paulkimo90@flickr