TransLink launched the new RapidBus service on Monday that is expected to get commuters from downtown Maple Ridge to Coquitlam Central Station in just over half an hour.
Buses will be scheduled 10 minutes apart or better during peak travel times and every 15 minutes or better during non-peak hours.
Mayor Bill Dingwall rode the new RapidBus from Pitt Meadows to Coquitlam this morning for the launch event where he spoke on behalf of Pitt Meadows and the Mayor's Council. Learn more: https://t.co/rrMjdksj1U. pic.twitter.com/mmw9ZC1BX7
— City of Pitt Meadows (@citypittmeadows) January 6, 2020
The new service connects Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows to the Coquitlam Central SkyTrain station.
Pitt Meadows Mayor Bill Dingwall said of the four new RapidBus routes, the Lougheed one has the best time savings for travellers.
The other new routes announced Monday: Guildford Exchange to the Newton Exchange; UBC to Joyce-Collingwood Station; and SFU to Burrard Station.
Dingwall said key road and intersection improvements include five kilometres of new bus HOV lanes from the Pitt River Bridge to Maple Meadows Way and limited strategic stops.
“Starting today, a trip from Maple Ridge to Coquitlam Station will take just 35 minutes,” and from Pitt Meadows, he added, just 20 minutes.
He said it also allows cities to develop transit-oriented housing developments near RapidBus, including medium- to high-density and affordable housing, as well as that for seniors.
He also said it will mitigate rush-hour congestion and vehicle gridlock.
Selina Robinson, minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, said that with a million more people coming to this region, they need to be moved more efficiently.
“We all want affordable, comfortable and convenient options to get us where we are going. We want to get there quickly and we want to get there on time,” she added,
Robinson also said RapidBuses are larger and more comfortable than regular ones.
“There is 20 per cent more comfort in those seats.”
The four routes combined will have the capacity to move up to 10,000 people per hour during peak travel times.
New amenities for the RapidBus service will also include more space on 60-foot articulated buses, real-time digital signage and audio next-bus information at stops.
Sarah Ross, director of system planning at TransLink, said in Pitt Meadows there is a new HOV lane along Lougheed Highway to accommodate the buses.
In Maple Ridge, she said, the focus has been on getting new bus stops along the highway for the first time.
She also said TransLink will be working, “overtime” to mitigate the 203rd St. intersection as a point of delay and congestion.
“It’s a priority for both us and the City of Maple Ridge.”
Maple Ridge Coun. Kiersten Duncan thinks the new bus service will be fantastic for the community, adding that she has been advocating for such a service in the city for years.
“It’s really nice to see that dream come to fruition,” she added.
“Many of our residents feel that we are often left out of TransLink’s plans and it’s nice to finally feel that we are being taken seriously and that we are getting the service we deserve.”