Ridge shuttle routes survive, but people still want more
TransLink has heard from the public and listened. The rural bus routes throughout east Maple Ridge will remain, and could become even better, as the agency implements its optimization plans later this year.
“We definitely heard from a lot of people,” said TransLink spokesperson Derek Zabel.
During consultation this past fall, people told TransLink they wanted the C-48 and C-49 community shuttle routes preserved.
TransLink listened and gave up its plans to cut the southerly route of C-49, which runs down 272nd Street to Whonnock. It also agreed to keep the C-48 running along 100th Avenue in Thornhill, although it will add a portion to the route by hooking into Albion along McClure Drive and connecting to the Port Haney West Coast Express station.
That’s pleases bus driver Laurie Pedersen, who drives one of the shuttles in Maple Ridge.
“Now we just have to worry about C-41 [in Pitt Meadows] and Silver Valley.”
Pedersen recently finished collecting a petition, gathering 1,071 names while calling for preservation of the routes and better bus service throughout Maple Ridge.
Pedersen wants better bus service on Sundays in Maple Ridge, pointing out only two shuttle routes, the C-45 and C-47, are running, and those shut down early on Sunday.
She also wants buses to serve the new subdivision of Silver Valley, which has none.
As part of the review, the C-41 shuttle in Pitt Meadow will change. Instead of running one-way every 30 minutes, the C-41 will run hourly along Hammond and Bonson roads, in both directions, and connect with the new seniors’s centre.
According to TransLink, service optimization in 2011 helped provide 14 million new rides without added investment in service, increasing productivity by 3.1 per cent and generating a 5.5 per cent increase in revenue.
The smaller community shuttles also save TransLink money.
Pedersen said shuttle bus drivers make about $23 an hour, while drivers of conventional buses make $29 an hour.
“With the public’s help, we’re changing some bus service to better match travel demand, and make our system more efficient while meeting the needs of our communities,” TransLink’s Doug Kelsey said in a release.
Commuters looking for faster service out of town into New Westminster and SkyTrain connections may have to wait awhile, however, and make do with the No. 791 that runs through Pitt Meadows from Maple Ridge on the way to Braid SkyTrain station.
“There are currently no plans for an express bus [along Lougheed Highway], “ said Zabel.
However, such a project could be part of the update of the Northeast sector transit plan currently underway. TransLink is looking for members of the public to give feedback on the plan for the Coquitlam-Maple Ridge area.
Zabel added that, so far, use of the tolled Golden Ears Bridge, a TransLink project, seems unaffected by the opening of the new Port Mann Bridge, which is also tolled.
The number of vehicles using the Golden Ears in January is in the 30,000 to 40,000 range, about the same as last January, before the opening of the new Port Mann Bridge.