Construction of the new B-Line bus infrastructure through Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows to Coquitlam is already under way TransLink officials told councils from both cities on Thursday.
The regional transit authority was presenting council updates on the Lougheed B-Line implementation, and requesting their feedback on the area transit plan for the two cities. The plan will characterize transportation decisions over the next 10 years.
The B-Line, an express bus service from Maple Ridge to Coquitlam Central Skytrain station, is scheduled to launch in January 2020.
TransLink’s Sarah Ross, director of system planning, said construction on the B-Line route is under way in Coquitlam, and will progress to Pitt Meadows later in July.
TransLink billed it as the largest expansion to Ridge Meadows transit since the West Coast Express, because it will provide frequent, all-day service with never more than a 10-minute wait in rush hour, from 5 a.m. to midnight. It will be 19 minutes faster than the existing bus service, said TransLink.
Of the three B-Lines TransLink is launching in January 2020, the Lougheed B-Line has the best time savings because its route takes it primarily over a highway. A trip from Maple Ridge to Coquitlam Central Station will take 35-40 minutes.
There will be real-time information, so passengers can see when the next bus will be arriving.
The transit plan also calls for Sunday service on routes 719/722 and 743/744, and increased Saturday and weekday frequency on all routes. The changes are being made based on survey results and public outreach.
Ross told Maple Ridge council that Metro has seen the fastest transit growth on the continent, having increased 17 per cent in three years. She said the Metro region is the 24th largest urban population in Canada and the U.S., but is eighth in transit ridership.
Maple Ridge Coun. Ahmed Yousef told TransLink officials the city is expanding in its eastern and northern reaches, and more service is needed in those areas.
“Our population continues to grow, and we have a sizeable portion of our population that is commuting on a daily basis out of those neighbourhoods,” he said.
“Rather than having them come down to the corridor, to the B-Line, it would be prudent to have connections that would meet them where they are and bring them.”
Pitt Meadows Mayor Bill Dingwall said council is “absolutely thrilled” with the B-Line investment, noting 85 per cent of residents travel outside of the community for work.
He said council is working on developing the North Lougheed Study area at the corner of Harris Road and Lougheed Highway, and a B-Line stop would be useful for residential development there.
Pitt Meadows Coun. Anena Simpson asked for clarification about how late a passenger could access the B-Line to Pitt Meadows – could they board until midnight – and whether late-hour usage would be reviewed.
Ross answered that late-night service is clearly an issue for passengers, but exact schedules have not been set.
“We definitely heard loud and clear from mayors across the region an appetite for service that goes even later at night than we have in place today,” she said. “That’s something we are also looking at.”