Maple Ridge is expecting to see bus service improved in September 2019, when a B-Line service starts up. (THE NEWS/files)

Maple Ridge is expecting to see bus service improved in September 2019, when a B-Line service starts up. (THE NEWS/files)

Candidates need to get up to speed on TransLink, says mayor

Workshops will review mayors’ 10-year transit vision

Maple Ridge’s new mayor and councillors will face a tough job after the Oct. 20 election, ensuring the city isn’t pushed to the bottom of the pile by its big-city brothers in TransLink, says outgoing Mayor Nicole Read.

So candidates need to get up to speed on TransLink issues and take advantage of an offer from the Mayor’s Council on Regional Transportation, Read added.

Following a request from the Mayors’ Council, TransLink is offering pre-election workshops to mayoralty and council candidates on the 10-Year Vision For Metro Vancouver Transportation.

Mike Buda, executive director with the Mayor’s Council, said the council made the request to conduct the workshops, which will be offered either region-wide or in each city, he added.

Maple Ridge has asked for a local presentation.

“For all of the candidates, it is one of the important issues for our city,” said Read. “If people aren’t knowledgeable on some of the challenges we’re facing around transit, and capable of really using their voices to advocate strongly on behalf of our citizens, that could be a huge missed opportunity and a big blind spot.”

“I think it’s going to be really important … whichever new mayor comes in, to handle this file in a pretty dedicated way,” Read said.

Read added she’s worried that Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows could be stuck with a downgraded version of a B-Line when the bus service starts running in September 2019, connecting both cities to SkyTrain in Coquitlam.

“We’re not asking for the Cadillac, but we don’t want the Pinto version either.”

There are variations in bus stop quality, for example, she added.

Pitt Meadows Mayor John Becker, though, said that he’s had no indication of any downgrading of the service.

As far as he’s concerned, there’s a “firm commitment” from TransLink to provide the service.

The B-Line from Haney bus loop in Maple Ridge will allow travel times of 40 minutes into Coquitlam Central SkyTrain with service every 10 minutes during rush hours and every 15 minutes in non-peak times.

After an initial delay because of a lack of existing bus stops on Lougheed Highway, TransLink has confirmed the bus will follow that route, instead of Dewdney Trunk Road.

The B-Line will have limited numbers of stops in order to speed travel time. Proposed stops are in Haney Place Mall, at Laity Street, 203rd Street and Harris Road on Lougheed Highway in Pitt Meadows. Future stops could be added at Meadowtown mall and 222nd Street.