Three new transit corridors will use frequent buses in dedicated lanes, TransLink and local mayors announced on Thursday, Nov. 16.
The new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridors are the first selected to move forward, with a King George Boulevard line running from Surrey Centre south to White Rock, a line from Langley Centre across the Golden Ears Bridge to Haney Place in Maple Ridge, and from Metrotown in Burnaby all the way to the North Shore.
The three corridors were selected based on ridership potential, feasibility of building the new infrastructure, and support from local governments.
Several mayors and councils in the areas, including in Langley and Maple Ridge, have been enthusiastic about the possibility of BRT service, with Maple Ridge actively lobbying to be one of the first routes created.
“Bus Rapid Transit is going to be a game-changer for the transit system in Metro Vancouver,” said Brad West, chair of the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation. “We’ve heard from communities across the region that they need better transit now. BRT will allow us to bring rapid transit to more communities faster, enabling sustainable transportation as our region continues to grow.”
“Bus Rapid Transit is the future of transit in Metro Vancouver,” said TransLink CEO Kevin Quinn. “With dedicated lanes, high frequencies, and premium stations – Bus Rapid Transit is the best possible bus service that can be deployed quickly for our rapidly growing region. We look forward to working with our senior government partners to fund these important projects.”
TransLink announced last year that it was planning up to double regional bus service over the course of a decade, and that BRT systems would be a major part of that project.
A BRT line uses a dedicated lane for buses only, down major transit corridors. Bus riders are expected to pre-pay before boarding what “rail-like stations” that will have shelters.
TransLink said last year that it planned to serve its BRT routes with zero-emission buses.
Once in motion, the buses will have their own lanes and will have priority at traffic signals.
Planning work for the King George Boulevard and Langley to Haney corridors will be advanced, TransLink announced.
The Metrotown to Park Royal corridor will be immediately extended and upgraded, the announcement said.
These are the first three of nine proposed BRT corridors.
Exact alignments of the routes and total costs have not yet been determined. TransLink will also be looking for money from senior levels of government to pay for the projects.
Last year, TransLink estimated BRT would cost around $15 million per kilometre to build, compared to the approximately $400 million per kilometre for SkyTrain extensions that are also about to start construction.
Richmond once had a BRT-style line down Number Three Road, but the service was discontinued after the SkyTrain extension was built there.