A map showing ridership recovery in sub regions of TransLink. (TransLink/Special to The News)

A map showing ridership recovery in sub regions of TransLink. (TransLink/Special to The News)

West Coast Express ridership mostly lost to pandemic

Lougheed RapidBus boosted boardings in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the West Coast Express has been the hardest hit mode of transportation offered by TransLink.

The commuter train that stops twice in Maple Ridge and again in Pitt Meadows on its way to Vancouver’s Waterfront Station has recovered just 17 per cent of its ridership compared with 2019. The report notes that most of these riders are office workers in downtown Vancouver. Average daily boardings dropped to 2,000.

Five daily trains are still cut down to just three, and they are running with fewer cars. All transit use has been reduced by both public heath restrictions, and more people working from home.

TransLink spokesperson Jill Drews said the West Coast Express is regarded as a vital service for the customers still using it, and the transit authority believes ridership levels will climb again.

“We’ve heard a good portion of them are essential workers, many in health sciences,” she said. “The provincial government has made it clear we must maintain normal service levels to support these workers.

“We project ridership will return as the vaccination rollout continues and restrictions are lifted.”

READ ALSO: West Coast Express has been running for 25 years

The 2020 Transit Service Performance Review showed TransLink continued delivering more than 620,000 boardings every weekday. Even at the lowest point of the pandemic, approximately 75,000 people still relied on transit every day, including many essential workers.

Overall, in Metro Vancouver, transit ridership in early fall 2020 recovered to 41 per cent of early fall 2019 levels.

With ridership at 44 per cent of 2019 volumes, the highest ridership retention and recovery was on the bus network. All modes combined recovered 41 per cent, the Expo and Millenium SkyTrain lines 39 per cent, and the Canada Line 32 per cent. Seabus was at 30 per cent, and HandyDART 37 per cent.

READ ALSO: B.C. pilot study to allow e-scooters to operate legally in 6 cities

The 701 maintained its position as the route with the highest boardings in Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows and the new R3 RapidBus generated new ridership demand.

The 701 provides a key east-west connection between Maple Ridge and Coquitlam, along with important local service within Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge.

The RapidBus, which is an express link to the Coquitlam SkyTrain station, had the second-highest boardings in Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows, generating new ridership demand in the sub-region, said the report.

TransLink said the increase in bus service hours provided by the new R3 RapidBus service played an important role in the strong ridership recovery for the Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows sub-region.

Depending on vaccination schedules and regional community immunity, the transit authority projects overall system-wide ridership will return to 70-90 per cent of pre-pandemic levels at some point in 2022.

TransLink secured one of the highest ridership retention rates among the 10 busiest systems in Canada and the United States. TransLink retained 48 per cent of its ridership in 2020, second only to Los Angeles.


Have a story tip? Email: ncorbett@mapleridgenews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

maple ridgePitt MeadowsTransitTransLink

Just Posted

UPlan, the Youth Planning Table subcommittee, decorated downtown Maple Ridge in honour of this years grads. (The News files)
Grad parties being planned by parents in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

Four COVID-safe events being held at Pitt Meadows Golf Club

Valerie Miller met a small child at the vigil at the Maple Ridge bandstand, and found it an uplifting encounter during a dark time. (Special to The News)
LETTER: Encounter at Maple Ridge’s orange shirt memorial a bright spot

A small child showed the relentless optimism of kids

Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or in writing.
LETTER: Fond memories of a promising student

Former teacher recounts Olympic kayakers other feats as a child

Flyers are being distributed around the Albion area in an effort to protect the young bear.
Young bear in Albion needs help to survive

Maple Ridge Bears asks public to remove attractants

Jackie Brittain demonstrated her artistic talents when conceiving an idea and sketching out an award-winning advertising campaign for Golden Meadows Honey Farm. Her efforts have earned her back-to-back industry accolades, including a gold medal win at the BCYCNA Ma Murray Awards Thursday night.
VIDEO: Honeycomb sketches turn into back-to-back industry accolades for News

A honey ad and a quarterly lifestyle magazine produced by The News were lauded by B.C. news media

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

Most Read