Increased ridership on the West Coast Express was part of an overall record increase in transit use across the region. (THE NEWS/files)

West Coast Express boardings rise 10 per cent in Maple Ridge

TransLink’s annual review shows record transit ridership

Transit ridership reached an all-time high of 437.4 million boardings in 2018, and that included a seven per cent increase in people hopping on the West Coast Express, according to TransLink. 

The latest data from the transportation authority showed boardings were up 7.1 per cent overall, which is the largest annual increase.

Bus boardings were up the most at eight per cent, while SkyTrain boardings rose 5.7 per cent and SeaBus six per cent.

West Coast Express boardings rose to 2.49 million in 2018 from 2.32 million in 2017.

Average daily boardings for the 68-km train ride from Mission to Waterfront Station in Vancouver rose to 9,900 from 9,200 year over year.

Between the three local stations in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, there was an average of 1,540 West Coast Express boardings daily from Monday to Friday.

The busiest, Maple Meadows Station, saw annual boardings rise 9.8 per cent to 163,400.

Port Haney Station had the biggest increase in boardings at 10.6 per cent, rising to 125,000 boardings.

Pitt Meadows Station boardings rose by 1.2 per cent to 97,500.

The increases follow a dip in West Coast Express ridership in 2017.

The 2018 Transit Service Performance Review measures ridership, cost, reliability, on-time performance and crowding across all transit modes.

The findings inform upcoming service changes and identify opportunities to improve service.

TransLink has identified 52 routes with overcrowding and is adding service hours to 32 of them before July.

It will add 620,000 bus service hours to improve frequency and increase capacity over the next three years, and roll out more than 350 additions to the bus fleet, including four electric buses, 32 double-deckers and 56 HandyDART vehicles.

It will also add 56 SkyTrain cars to Expo/Millennium and 24 cars to Canada Line to increase capacity.

“The release of this Performance Review is a matter of transparency for TransLink,” said TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond. “We want the public to see the numbers for themselves and understand where we need to invest even more in transit services. We are improving data reporting with the first HandyDART interactive summary, a breakdown of ridership data for each municipality, and a refreshed data dashboard. Thanks to the support of the region’s mayors, the province of B.C. and the federal government, we are investing more than ever to accommodate the growing number of customers who rely on our system every single day.”

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