TransLink is cancelling the West Coast Express TrainBus, as of Dec. 30.
In its place, commuters will have to take two SkyTrain lines and two bus links to get back to Maple Ridge, part of the changes that follow the Dec. 2 opening of the Evergreen extension SkyTrain line in Coquitlam.
The TrainBus is a Greyhound-type bus that offers mid-day and evening eastbound runs on weekdays, when the West Coast Express isn’t running.
For Pitt Meadows resident Tina Antonio, the end of the TrainBus means a longer commute if she has to work late and misses the last West Coast Express train.
“I just thought that it was rather cheeky because it was so quietly done,” she said Monday.
TransLink tells people of the changes under a link called “Bus Route Changes” on its main page. Clicking on that link requires then clicking on another, the West Coast Express TrainBus – 701, where they’re told that on Dec. 30, the West Coast Express TrainBus will be discontinued.
Letters will also be left on the seats of the TrainBus before the service is cut.
Currently, TrainBus runs five times a day, eastbound from Vancouver. Two westbound TrainBuses also leave from Maple Ridge in late mornings. About 20 people are on each bus.
“It’s a little bit longer. The trade-off is a little bit more flexibility in terms of timing,” said Chris Bryan of TransLink.
With Dec. 30 being the last day for the TrainBus, Antonio will now have to take the Expo line out of Vancouver, then transfer to the Evergreen line to Coquitlam Central station, then catch a No. 701 bus from there to Pitt Meadows.
But she wonders about those who have to go farther, into Maple Ridge or Mission.
“I’m not going to take two SkyTrains and a bus,” to get to Pitt Meadows.
“All this hype about this great Evergreen line and people in the farther reaches get messed up with.”
She added that TransLink should have waited until the B-line bus service from downtown Maple Ridge to Coquitlam is in place. But that won’t be available until 2019.
According to TransLink’s Trip Planner, if someone was leaving downtown Vancouver’s Waterfront station at 8:30 p.m., they would have to take the No. 22 Knight bus to VCC-Clark SkyTrain station, then take the Millennium Line Evergreen Extension SkyTrain to Coquitlam Central.
From there, they would take the No. 701 bus to Haney Place Mall and catch the C34 community shuttle to Port Haney (West Coast Express) station on River Road.
Arrival time would be 10:44 p.m. – more than a two-hour trip.
Another option is to take the Expo line SkyTrain from Waterfront and transfer to the Millennium line Evergreen extension at Lougheed Town Centre SkyTrain station to Coquitlam Central station.
From there, people would catch the No. 701 to Haney Place Mall and then catch the C34 to Port Haney Station. That would take 2:17 – three more minutes than the first route.
What seems to be the simplest route, taking Expo line SkyTrain to King George station and transferring to the Millennium Line Evergreen extension to Coquitlam Central, then taking the No. 701 to Haney Place Mall and catching the C34 to Port Haney station, is a trip of 2:20.
Taking the TrainBus from Waterfront currently takes only 1:18.
Taking the West Coast Express would take only 54 minutes.
However, the last eastbound West Coast Express train leaves at 6:20 p.m.
Some of the No. 701 routes will be extended to Mission to provide the same service and frequency as the TrainBus.