Vancouver Downtown Transit network: the regional and city view

March 26, 2014

Grounded on principle previously exposed, we present here some more concrete ideas of what could look an ideal transit network in downtown. In a top down approach, we naturally ensure that the regional and city transit lines are optimized: that is the main purpose of this post

The regional transit network:

The regional bus network: the extension of the North sore bus route to the Main street Station

The regional bus network: the extension of the North sore bus route to the Main street Station

The Hasting buses (named HSB) such as bus 135 are considered as regional bus, as well as all buses heading to the North Shore (named NSB for the one using the Lions gate Bridge).

A major change is with the North shore buses.
All routes coming are extended to Main terminal:

  • The actual connection with the Granville station is preserved, but patrons will eventually find that Stadium or Main will provide better transfer: that will reduce crowding pressure at the Georgia#Granville stop
  • Georgia street, sometime called a traffic sewage, is where some want hide Transit and its users: it is not without creating challenges.

    Corwding at Georgia#Granville bus stop is reduced by the extension of the north shore buses to Main station

  • It resolves North shore bus layover issues in the downtown core: there is ample space at The Main/Terminal
  • It provides a direct connection with the Main street bus routes (3,8, and 19)
  • it provides a direct connection with the train and intercity buses station.

A potential extension to the future Broadway line station, at Great Northern Way# Fraser, could be doable too


City Bus routes:

the city bus network

the city bus network

A major change on the main street corridor:

Bus #3 and #8 are short-turned at the north end of Main. It is a result of an observation: most of the patron of those routes, transfer onto the Expo line at main terminal, leaving bus #3 and #8 wandering empty in the downtown core. It is also a follow up of a previous Translink recommendation [1].

  • The saving in term of operating cost is tremendous, and it helps to address bus congestion (mainly at bus stop) on the hasting corridor

Bus 19 can preserve a direct connection between the downtown and the Main Corridor.

The route 22 toward the Knight street corridor
In the context of the 2013 Bus service optimization consultation, we came up with a “counter proposal” to improve the bus 22 and C23 route (then proposed to be extended to Terminal Avenue) which has been discussed in comment section of the buzzer blog:

proposed extension of route C23 (in blue) and rerouting of bus 22 (in red) to serve the Terminal avenue area, and provide a good connection with the Expo line

The bus is permantly routed thru terminal avenue (instead of Prior and Gore).

  • it improves the connection to the expo line (for people using its East branch)
    • to avoid a left turn at Main street(preventing to have a bus stop in direct connection with the Expo line), the route 22 is routed thru Columbia and Quebec street.
  • The actual 22 use Pender street, but Hasting could be a superiori choice (direct connection with hasting bus corridor, and closer to Waterfront):
    • Toward it a section of Columbia (North of Pnder) could need to be reverted as a two-way street.

The Bus 17

It is used to provide a North south service East of Granville from Waterfront (bus termini on Cordova). Due to the street layout, Cambie street is the only reasonnable choice:

  • Beatty closer to the Staidum station end up at pender, is often closed to traffic with special event at Canada place.
  • Hamilton and all western choice, are to too far away of the Statdium station, and roverlapping too much with the Granville corridor.

The route 50 case.

This aim of this route is to provide some transit service to Granville island and on the South False Creek slope. That said, the routing of this route make it of little value for too many people:

We redesign this route as a peripheral one, linking Broadway#Granville, Granville Island, Olympic station, Main street station and Main#Hasting:

bus 50 as a peripheral route connecting Main#Hasting to Bradway#Granville via Main station, Olympic station and Granville Island

bus 50 as a peripheral route connecting Main#Hasting to Bradway#Granville via Main station, Olympic station and Granville Island

Among other benefits: Such alignment allows to improve the transit offer in the South East Flase Creek area, and remove one diesel bus route of the Granville Mall.

The inconvenience of this design is the eventual lost of a direct connection between Downtown and Granville island: The implementation of an elevator between granville island and the Granville bridge span could be a good solution, which could be part of the Granville Bridge greenway proposal

The route 15 is then prolonged to downtown, following the alignement of route 17, able to provide a more consistent bus service on the peninsula section of Cambie

The Hasting bus corridor

We include the bus serving Powell in this corridor (essentially route #4). Even with the removal of bus #3 and #8, there is lot of bus service redundancy (#7,#14,#16,#20): The rationalization of it should be the object of a study focusing on this corridor rather than a down town study.

The Burrard bus corridor

At this time, it consists only of bus 22 and 44. If the Broadway subway is designed to terminate at Arbutus, it is expected that this corridor will see much more bus traffic, and a revamped route 44 -using Broadway to connect with the subway line- could see a level of service similar to the actual bus 99.


[1] Vancouver/UBC Area Transit Plan , Translink, July 2005.

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7 Responses to “Vancouver Downtown Transit network: the regional and city view”


  1. I kind of liked your C23/22 proposal at first glance, but right now I’m seeing a massive problem with it.

    I commute into downtown during the PM rush every day and boy, is that lineup of eastbound cars on the Terminal Avenue overpass just west of Clark everyday so entertaining.

    Routing the 22 on Terminal will destroy the Knight Street commute for bus riders. The Terminal Viaduct is just not a reasonable corridor at this moment for a through bus service during the peak hours at this time. If the structure could be expanded to include a 5th eastbound lane serving as a dedicated right turn lane onto Clark, I might say differently – but at the moment, doing that would pain riders and make them refuse the new bus service.

    This would also have to do with why the C23 is not extending to VCC-Clark Station. I think you really have to think about what this delay could do to C23 commuters on Davie and Pacific.

    I had a different idea which actually involved extending the 2 east from downtown via Hastings and then South on Clark from there – providing new service on a long stretch of Clark between Venables and Hastings that isn’t serviced – then turning left at N Grandview Hwy (pending some left turn infrastrcuture & Clark/Grandview) and connecting with Commercial-Broadway Station. This’d improve access to Clark industrial, improve service to coincide with a DTES revitalization, and give riders an alternative that isn’t so jam-packed with PNE riders in the summer. To compensate for the cost, the 20 and 3 interline at Hastings (downtown service on the 20 is cut).

    I have some other ideas (i.e. 8 takes Broadway to connect to Canada Line instead, relieving Expo and doubling local service on Central Broadway – with artics) that’ll probably be discussed on my blog at some point.

    • Voony Says:

      Daryl,

      I understand there is congestion on Terminal East bound, but it is also the case on Prior:
      In fact Translink already routes some 22 runs along terminal during peak hours: both routes take among the same time
      but the Terminal route, connecting to Main station, fast track the access to downtown.

      Having some run using a route while some other use another make the system unnecssary complicate.

      Keeping the 22 all the way on Knight/Clark down to Hasting is the natural solution from a grid viewpoint….but…
      VCC is illy located too much off Knight, so in practice unless VCC is not serviced anymore, it involves a frustrating detour significantly impairing the attractivity of a Knight/Clark route.

      That said, you are right: it should be a route connecting VCC to Hasting via Clarke.
      It should be a bus route serving 1st avenue too.

      Regarding the extension of the C23 or not to VCC-Clark
      (The Translink proposal was turning the C23 at Glen Dr):
      I have discussed that with a Transit Planner at the open house: it is something they didn’t really think off, but has been called for by many visitor of the open house

      In the context of a Broadway subway, the 8 as the 3 will connect to it at Main. and it will become little need to have more than the 9 for local service, but I admit your idea has some merits.


      • The 22 Terminal reroute seems to be happening in the inbound direction only and outbound during the AM peak. There is no outbound 22 via Terminal service during the congested PM peak – which pretty much proves my point, I guess.

        It’s interesting that one transit planner mentioned that it wasn’t thought of, but I still think that the lack of an extension there takes the congestion issue into account.

        Unless a setup would involve running the 22 on Terminal except during these times, but that would just complicate the route for riders.

        I think that at least terminating the 8 at Cambie & Broadway could have some serious merits. Apart from decongesting the Expo, outbound buses do not have to contend with a left turn from Main to Kingsway followed by a second onto Broadway. They go straight through and service is faster.


      • Another great idea I feel I have is to actually cut 17 (your proposal 15) service across Cambie bridge altogether in favour of an extension involving the C21. I remember one of the big reasons for the routing of the current 17 now is to connect VPL, but that’s close enough to Vancouver City Centre Station to be considered within its service range. I don’t know how well the 17 north of Broadway Stn is used, but I think that a more efficient setup – also providing new service – continues the present C21 arrangement from Yaletown-Roundhouse down Homer St to the library, then following the 17 routing across the bridge and terminating at City Hall. The cost saving could probably also fund the C21 extension into Stanley Park and improve the service freq. This’d create a direct, door-to-door bus link between City Hall and VPL, West End/Stanley Park to VPL…. all sorts of wonderful new links that fit to me and could be great for community access.

  2. mike0123 Says:

    One of the advantages of having a so-called cultural precinct is that its many blocks of long blank walls provide ample choice for one or more bus layover stops. I suspect the lines for West Van buses are caused more by scheduling buses in bunches, maybe as a remnant of the North Shore’s timed-transfer system, than by high ridership. The long lines might be solved better by providing more consistent headways on buses to and beyond Park Royal.

    Most of the North Shore bus routes are not longer than some of the longer bus routes entirely within Vancouver, even some of the routes of the Second Narrows. The Lions Gate buses, ferry express aside, are also the fastest and most direct local routes serving the West End. They might be treated like any other local route.

    The eastern end of the platform of VCC-Clark is only 60 m from Clark. I wonder if any redevelopment of the adjacent empty lot might include a walkway to connect to Clark.

    There are no residences within walking distance of the 50 that are not also within walking distance of some other route. With an elevator from a bus stop on the Granville Bridge to Granville Island, the 50 does not need to exist and some of the resources put into the 50 can instead be put into the 84.

    • Voony Says:

      North shore buses
      The north shore bus routes could be relatively short, but the average trip length is probably 7+ km (Park Royal-Vancouver Downtown):
      That is the reason I consider them as a “regional connection” (the aim of those buses is to connect a regional center to Downtown, not to provide a local transit along the corridor they incidentally serve).

      Note:Beyond addressing layover and bus stop crowding, the extension to Main of the North shore buses, is to provide a fast and direct connection with those buses, #3, #8, #19, #22, #c23 (all of them serving significant employment areas) as well as with bus station (Greyhound buses)

      bus 22
      After all, I think effectively a bus 22 serving Knight/Clark all the way to Hasting is feasible…once the Broadway subway come in place (and a east access to the VCC station avoiding a bus detour).

      That said, I also think, both Terminal avenue and Prior Ave need to be served by Transit (so seen from down town the map could not change significantly).

      bus 50
      One could consider that the bus 84 stop to far away of Granville island…and doesn’t connect with the expo line:
      That is the rational for bus 50…but I am OK with your proposal for it.


  3. […] Vancouver Downtown Transit network: the regional and city view […]


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