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Fast bus lines announced in Surrey, Langley, Maple Ridge, White Rock, Burnaby

New routes will have dedicated lanes, pre-payed boarding, rail-style stations
A bus in Maple Ridge. Three new Bus Rapid Transit lines are moving forward, including lines in Surrey-White Rock and Langley-Maple Ridge, TransLink announced Thursday, Nov. 16. (Black Press Media files)

Langley and Maple Ridge will be connected by one of three fast bus lines announced by TransLink and local mayors on Thursday, Nov. 16.

The new local Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor will run from Langley City, likely up 200th Street, across the Golden Ears Bridge, and then east as far as Haney.

Exact routes have not been determined, TransLink’s announcement said.

The other routes include a King George Boulevard line running from Surrey Centre south to White Rock, and a corridor from Metrotown in Burnaby all the way to the North Shore.

The three corridors were selected based on ridership potential, feasibility of building the new infrastructure, and support from local governments.

Several mayors and councils in the areas, including in Langley and Maple Ridge, have been enthusiastic about the possibility of BRT service, with Maple Ridge actively lobbying just last month to be one of the first routes chosen to be built.

“We are thrilled about being announced as one of the first municipalities that is being awarded with Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) as planned in TransLink’s Access for Everyone plan,” Maple Ridge Mayor Dan Ruimy said, in a statement released by TransLink. “This means that the Langley – Haney Place, Maple Ridge line will be prioritized. From day one we have been working hard at both the staff and political levels to demonstrate that Maple Ridge is ready for more transit and will collaborate with our partners to get shovels in the ground.”

“As the largest municipality within Metro Vancouver without Rapid Transit service, the Township of Langley is long overdue for a significant investment in transit infrastructure from TransLink,” Mayor Eric Woodward of Langley Township said. “The Langley – Haney Place Bus Rapid Transit line is one of the best corridors to get going on right away, with so much growth, available right-of-way, and strong municipal support from us and Maple Ridge. TransLink has always had willing a partner for Bus Rapid Transit in the Township of Langley.”

“For Langley, this will be transformative, increasing access for people in urban Langley from the City to Walnut Grove,” Langley City Mayor Nathan Pachal wrote on his blog. “I’m excited to see BRT heading to downtown Langley City, connecting to SkyTrain.”

The next steps for the mayors would be to secure funding from the provincial and federal governments, and then to nail down the designs for the BRT, he said.

TransLink announced last year that it was planning up to double regional bus service over the course of a decade, and that BRT systems would be a major part of that project.

A BRT line uses a dedicated lane for buses only, down major transit corridors. Bus riders are expected to pre-pay before boarding what “rail-like stations” that will have shelters.

TransLink said last year that it planned to serve its BRT routes with zero-emission buses.

READ MORE: Maple Ridge council unanimously votes to move forward with BRT plans

READ MORE: Langley Township wants TransLink to make fast buses on 200th Street a priority

Once in motion, the buses will have their own lanes and will have priority at traffic signals.

Planning work for the King George Boulevard and Langley to Haney corridors will be advanced, TransLink announced.

The Metrotown to Park Royal corridor will be immediately extended and upgraded, the announcement said.

These are the first three of nine proposed BRT corridors.

Exact alignments of the routes and total costs have not yet been determined. TransLink will also be looking for money from senior levels of government to pay for the projects.

Last year, TransLink estimated BRT would cost around $15 million per kilometre to build, compared to the approximately $400 million per kilometre for SkyTrain extensions that are also about to start construction.

Richmond once had a BRT-style line down Number Three Road, but the service was discontinued after the SkyTrain extension was built there.

Matthew Claxton

About the Author: Matthew Claxton

Raised in Langley, as a journalist today I focus on local politics, crime and homelessness.
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