bus 410 Express

July 19, 2011

…or how to do more with less

the bus route 410 in red, and a suggested express route, 411 in yellow


The route 410 linking New Westminster (22nd station) to Richmond is one of the most popular suburban route [2]. That is, it achieves several goals in addition to link two suburban communities:

  • provide service to largely residential area of Queensborough neighborhood
  • provide service Along Cambie road in Richmond, mixed residential and industrial areas
  • provide service Along Railway to Stevenson in Richmond

Thanks to its patronage, the route has seen an increase in service which is as frequent as 7/8mn weekday, much better than other local bus routes in Richmond. Since the route is quite long, average trip length is 1h03mn, with numerous stop, and the vehicle requirement is quite high [1].

number of bus 410 on the street according to the time of the day (1)

Obviously, the local service, thought useful, makes the more regional New Westminster-Richmond center connection painfully slow.
The table below gives you an idea of how much longer time it can take between the Hwy 91 exit at Westminster highway in Queensborough and Richmond Brighouse (number from Translink for an arrival at 9am weekday at Brighouse), consider you have good chance to have to do the ride in a standing room only 410 bus!

route
bus 410 40mn
bus 301 22mn
car 15-20mn

Not only, the current option makes for a long and unappealing trip for the rider, it makes also for a low productivity route!

As the frequency of other local Richmond bus route suggest, the enhanced service on 410 is mostly justified by regional transit…that is boarding per operating hour is probably nothing to celebrate.

The 411 Express

What we suggest is an express route between New Westminster and Richmond, let’s name it the route 411, marked in yellow on the map above (it is an express route stopping only at selected stop suggested in white circle).

  • The route could follow the route 301 (dashed yellow line), but we could prefer the solid yellow line thru road number 6 and westminster highway, since the exit of Highway 91 at Road 6, allows the route to connect with the eastearn part of Richmond (current route 410, and C96) with no real significant penalty time, considering the final destination
  • Like the 301, The route 411 stop at Westminster highway in Queensborough, to provide connection with this community
  • We assume the route above involve a ~30mn trip versus 50mn with the current bus 410

That is a 411 run could be 30mn versus 1h03 with the 410. In clear:

  • for the cost of one 410 run, you could have 2 411 runs.

The strength of the proposition:

Considering that

  • the most busy locals route in Richmond have in the vicinity of 165 runs weekday,
  • and that a frequency of 7/8mn (as currently on 410) versus 10mn will make no noticeable difference in term of user experience.

A redeployment of some runs from the 410 toward a 411 could not affect adversely the local bus service be in Richmond or Queensborough, but indeed could dramatically improve the regional connection.

without adding on operating cost, you could dramatically improve the New Westminster-Richmond connection in term of speed and offered seat, and de facto increase the buses productivity

We suggest a 411 peak hour express route, running every 20mn during peak hour:

  • that is 3 run per hour, requiring 4 vehicles

That can apriori be bought by reduction of service on route 410 from 8 run/hour (7-8mn frequency) to 6 run/hour (10mn frequency) per direction.

In fact, with 211 runs versus 184 runs for the second most frequent 400 serie bus route (route403), around 54 hours of operating hours could be redeployed to a route #411, and still keeping the route 410 at decent frequency standard. That could be enough to provide a full day 20mn frequency rapid transit service between Richmond and New Westminster:

It is not necessarily the tradeoff we recommend but it illustrates that there is lot of room for an express route funded by reallocation of bus 410 operating hour, this without compromising the integrity of the later:

The Suggested 410 and 411 route service

An express route, even if peak hour only – like the route 44 used to be – could be enough to attract new choice customer and make happier current one, this on a route able to relieve Queensborough bridge congestion, and more generally congestion in New Westminster.

Below is the suggested timetable for the 2 bus routes, 410 and 411 operating without increase in operating bus hour compared to the current situation (410 only)

bus 410 – 22nd station → Brighouse → Railway

22nd station → Brighouse travel time 35mn to 55mn
5h 6h 7h 8h 9h 10h 11h 12h 13h 14h 15h 16h 17h 18h 19h 20h 21h 22h 23h 0h
31 03 03 03 03 05 05 05 05 05 03 03 03 03 03 03 03 16 16 49
51 13 13 13 17 17 17 17 17 17 13 13 13 18 18 18 18 46 46
23 23 23 29 29 29 29 29 29 23 23 23 33 33 33 46
33 33 33 41 41 41 41 41 41 33 33 33 48 48 48
43 43 43 53 53 53 53 53 53 43 43 43
53 53 53 53 53 53

bus 411 – 22nd station → Brighouse

22nd station → Brighouse travel time 30mn
5h 6h 7h 8h 9h 10h 11h 12h 13h 14h 15h 16h 17h 18h 19h 20h 21h 22h 23h 0h
40 00 00 00 00 00 00
20 20 20 20 20
40 40 40 40 40

The exercise shows there is significant room for bus service improvement, even in financial restraint time…


[1] Compiled from Translink gtfs data weekday, April 2010

[2] According TransLink’s Regional Transit Model, Final Model Development Report – Phase B: 2007 and 2011, PTV America Inc. and Translink. vancouver December 2008: bus 410 were carrying more than 11,000 riders/day in 2007, second only to route 135 and 106 in suburban area, and noticeably more patronized than B line 97.

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9 Responses to “bus 410 Express”

  1. Rico Says:

    Seems like a reasonable proposal, did you email it to Translink?

  2. Voony Says:

    Yes, I should, especially when in its “Moving Forward” plan, Translink, is highlighting this bus route 410 for improvement (which is only qualified in term of more buses…not necessarily faster service as suggested above…).

    In fact I could call for a larger area transit plan update in Richmond…The bus network here behave like pre canada Line time…and could need a serious rehauling…

    ex: numerous people on the 410 (as well as the 301 Newton-Brighouse) are heading to the airport (major employment center), and the access to it from those bus route (like most other into Richmond) involve now 2 changes…

  3. JKKT Says:

    I would have to review this plan a bit more, and considering I don’t take that section of the 411 often, I can’t really offer evidence based comment, but I can give my 2 cents on the few times I take the 411 per year.

    -Is the 411 not a semi-express already? especially the portion on the highway, it is at least as fast as the 301. Compared to the car, it takes http://g.co/maps/rfdgc 18 minutes vs 40-45 min bus ride. This is a speed of about 30 km/h.

    -Would those 5-10 minutes saved off set the 5 minutes spent waiting for the express?

    -It might confuse people, and cause even fewer users.

    Overall, I think you have the right idea, but maybe in the wrong place. A better example of this would be the 239 in North Vancouver.


  4. [...] See our 410 express proposal Share this:EmailDiggTwitterPrintLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Posted by Voony [...]

  5. Voony Says:

    JKKT, I can’t comment too much on the 239, but the 410 is deviated through Fraserwood at peak hours (the hours the 411 Express could be operating), so the time saving can be much more significant.than 5-10mn. (up to 55mn vs 30mn).

    but the point is also that you offer more seat.km on a crowded route…You could do it by adding more buses (or putting articulated buses), but that impact negatively the operating cost.
    That is not the case of the 411 Express, which also addresses a specificity of the route: many “regional” users travel the route all the way 22nd Station Richmond (Canada Line)- I am not sure that is the case of route 239.

  6. Chris M Says:

    It is likely that most users of the 410 service do not actually ride it as a regional connection but hop on and off for parts of the line. Compared to the typical automobile route from Richmond’s city centre to the new westminster terminus, the 410 deviates two blocks north to catch some ridership in the industrial area on Cambie street before coming back down south. The queensbough detour adds time as well, but isn’t as much of a geographical deviation as the Cambie detour. So here we have a route that must travel a non-linear path in order to have strong ridership.

    Your plan sounds like a decent idea, especially if the express could be an all day frequent service. I don’t know if there’s enough demand for that though. And splitting one high frequency route into two might reduce the effectiveness of both.


  7. [...] that route 699B, and 411 have been previously [...]


  8. [...] local service demand, by providing express service, it is the case we do for the route #410, which in despite to show overcrowding symptom, and is a relatively poor performer (cost per [...]


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