Vision Vancouver announces commitment to expanded transit service along Broadway Corridor
Vision Vancouver announced today that it would commit to expand public transit service in Vancouver, with a focus on the route along the 99-B-line on Broadway street.
“The Vision Vancouver team will continue our work with Translink and the Province to make the Broadway corridor the city's top priority for rapid transit," Mayor Gregor Robertson said in a press release. He added that Vision Vancouver would fight for more buses on busy routes and for improvement to late-night transit service.
"We've heard from the public is that bus options are not as preferred as rail options, as more rapid options,” commented Translink communications director Ken Hardie. He said that Translink has implemented many reviews and studies, but adding more buses along the Broadway corridor would be insufficient to meet current demand.
“I think that there's already sensitivity along that corridor to the number of buses ... the last time we did a check, there was a bus arriving at UBC every 20 seconds. So there are people who live or do business along the corridor who are concerned that we are already at a saturation point."
“Translink carried a record-setting 211.3 million passengers in 2010, and I keep hearing from transit-users who are tired of waiting in the rain as full buses pass them by,” said Tony Tang, a Vision Vancouver candidate for City Council. He said that with the demand for transit on the rise, his party would work on expanding transit in the priority areas.
“The 99-B-line is incredibly overcrowded. Every time I'm on it I feel like I'm in a sardine can,” commented Emilie Dierking, a West End resident who frequently uses transit along the Broadway corridor. “Construction for rapid transit would create problems, it always does, if you look what happened on Cambie. But I don't know the way around that if you will create more transit.”
Although Harding could not comment on Vision Vancouver's approach to expanding public transit, he said that sustainability would be a key focus of Translink in the upcoming expansion plan.
“(Translink) has paid a premium of a couple of thousand dollars per bus to get a hybrid bus rather than a diesel," he said.
"We also have been taking a really hard look at the efficiency of all the routes. We look at places where services are not being well used and put it in places that were being jammed. That's a sustainability issue as well as a customer service issue."
Vancouver's Greenest City Action plan cites a need for “high capacity, fast, frequent, and reliable rapid transit for the Broadway Corridor from Commercial Drive to UBC” as a “highest priority short-term action.” NPA mayoral candidate Suzanne Anton was the only member of council to vote against it.