Edited after Stephen Rees comment
At the 1995 Fall

  • Up to 1987, the 9 was the only cross-town service along Broadway. and started to have runs to UBC only after University Bld got Trolley wires in 1988.
  • Before, 1987, UBC was reached from the Broadway corridor by the bus 10 (nowadays route 14), which had been extended to UBC in fall 1968 (then it was working in combination with the Hasting express bus)
  • With the advent of the Expo line in 1986, BC transit will start an express service from Commercial (now Commercial-Broadway) to UBC, in fall 87, numbered 81 the first year, then 31:
    • The bus 31, was a typical rush hour only express service with pick up only at all local bus stop East of Oak, for the West bound direction (and drop off only for the east bound), then non stop to UBC.

1996, Introduction of the 99 B line service on the Fall

The original B line Logo – credit flikr user: mag3737

It is the first time Broadway has an uninterrupted service from Boundary to UBC, and service extendining on Lougheed Hwy up to Lougheed.

      The preliminary service is weekday only, but is running all day long (without evening serice), and receives a special branding: the “Bee Line” logo.

      express route 31 is discontinued

      The line will reach the UBC loop after enlargment of it, in the spring 1997. The Clark stop will be added at the same time

      Sasamat is added in the Fall 1997

The service is an instant success, and the offer needs to be reinforced as soon as Nov 1996, where peak morning frequency is already at 4mn between Commercial and UBC [2]

.

1998: Full deployment in the fall

The bus b8025, in its original B line livery.

The bus b8025, in its original B line livery. The 99B route featured Low floor buses which were a novelty in 98 in Vancouver. the special livery was also new and came unspoiled by advertising. buses were coming with a bike rack what was also new – This bus (b8025) was part of a second order to face increased demand) credit photo Peter MacLaughlin, 2000

A new fleet of 21 low-floor articulated buses with a distinctive B-Line paint scheme and bike rack was deployed. All that were novelties on the Vancouver bus system in 1998. Service is extended on week-end and evening [2]. The Brentwood-Boundary loop route (109) is then discontinued.

The ridership increased by 20%, prompting an order for 5 additional buses

Bus bulges are installed at the Sasamat bus stop, in May/June 1998 [5], as a demonstration project: Besides it, the 99B line never benefited of any BRT like fixed infrasrtucture

2002 and after: the SkytrainMillenium line days

  • The Skytrain line replaces the B line east of Commercial in 2002
  • In 2003, Translink introduces non stop bus between COmmercial and UBC (99 Special) to handle additioan demand generated by the introduction of the U-Pass
    • The students, continued to board the first 99 showing up, rather than waiting for the 99 Special, which was then not alleviating crowding. the 99 special service has been discontinued with the introduction of the route 84:
  • In Jan 2006, the opening of the VCC-Clark station allows the opening of a new route from it to UBC (#84), supposed to relieve crowding on the Broadway corridor
  • Fraser, and Arbutus stop are added in 2009
Transit service along the Broadway corridor

Broadway99Broadway10 Transit service along the Broadway corridor, in 1995, 1999 and 2010

Ridership evolution

year daily ridership
Oct 1997 8,500 [2]
Nov 1997 10,000 [2]
1998 16,000 (*) [7]
1999 20,000 [7]
2002 26,000 [7]
2007 45,000 [8]
2011 54,350 [9]

(*) The Original BC Transit estimate was 12,000 [2]

The line is extremely busy, with long line up before boarding at several stop, as Commercial pictured here. People line-up on 3 queues (one per door).

The line is extremely busy, with long line up before boarding at several stops, as Commercial WB pictured here. People line-up on 3 queues (one per door) – credit photo Vancotybuzz

Some reasons for the success.

It is worth to notice a great emphasis on the marketing side, and its technical limitation [6] :

  • A distinctive product:
    • The B line branding is applied to any aspect of the bus service: bus, bus-stop, map and schedule
      It is worth to mention that the bee line logo copyright has been challenged by an individual: the controversy did some stride in the mediaa, bringing exposure to the product itself
      The buses looking “different” don’t get unnoticed by drivers.
      The line has his dedicated bus stop
      The accessible low floor buses has been a disruptive point in the industry (same has occured with trams in the 90’s)

But one, must not forget the “geometry” fundamental of the line:

  • Where it was ~37 bus stop between Commercial and Alma (route 9), the 99B was offering only 6 (now 8) along the same 8.5km segment.
    • The time gain is especially consequent (up to 40% time gain)
  • The strong Central broadway anchor (before not directly accessible from the Lougheed corridor
  • At the exception of Allison and Heather (Vancouver General Hospital), All stop connect with other network bus lines:
    • The B line, especially in its eastern part (pre millenium line), is conceived as to be feeded by local buses.
      The B line runs on as much as of the entire corridor broadway-Lougheed, making it very legible
      In practice service east of Commercial was relatively limited, but people coming from the Lougheed corridor, was able to board on a fast service offering limited stop service in Vancouver

The route 44 (limited stop from down town to UBC), having replaced the express route 85 (local on the downtown peninsula, then non stop up to UBC) participate from the same philosophical approach as the 99B.

The 98B line
The line opened on August 7, 2001, after a 4 1/2 month transit strike

At the time of the introduction of the 98B, the B line logo has changed, and Translink color are blue and yellow (instead of red and blue, former BC transit color)


The 98B line will capitalize on all the 99B lessons, but will add some BRT like features:

  • Dedicated Right of Way (number 3 road in Richmond), and bus lanes in Vancouver (Marpole)
  • Specially designed bus shelter, with real time information system
  • premeption of traffic signal (at least in Richmond)
    • The system was originally deployed to accelreate fire department response: it was not clear it was very efficient for transit operations

It is possible that Translink, could have liked to discontinue all direct services from Richmond, to having them feeding the 98B line…In fact rush hour direct services has been preserved, but the 98B line replaced a rather confusing array of bus routes (401, 403, 406 and 407) with a legible, direct, and frequent service, between Vancouver and Richmond Center. The line has been discountinued in fall 2010, as being replaced by the Canada line


[1] The Buzzer, BC Transit 1987 Aug 28

[2] The Buzzer, BC Transit 1996 Nov 29

[3] The Buzzer, BC Transit, 1998 Aug, 21

[5] TCRP Program report 65: Evaluation of Bus Bulbs, National Academy press, Washington D.C., 2001

[6] Vancouver’s BLine Experience, Jeffrey Busby, TRB Annual Meeting 13 January 2013.

[7] TCRP report 90: Bus Rapid Transit Volume 1: Case Studies ( Annex B Bus Rapid TransitVancouver British Columbia, Translink #98 and #99 B lines), National Academy press, Washington D.C., 2003

[8] “Planning of Vancouver’s Transit Network with an Operations-Based Model“, Ian Fisher, May 1 2009, Translink

[9] “Bus System Performance Review”. May 31, 2012 – Translink

Cyclist beware: We are talking of the most dangerous road in whole Canada.

According to many maps, there is a separated bike lane able to make your trip safer, shielded from street-racer (Knight street is a favorite spot for that), armada of container trucks barreling down Knight street and other intimidating traffic. Here we go:

KnightBikeLaneNarrow

If you bike can fit into the bike lane, you will have to find your way among debris and other waste, courtesy of Richmond city

The bike lane, not much wider than a bike handle bar, is supposed to be bi-directional, and shared with pedestrian:

Entering or exiting the bike lane, can be challenging:

It is hard to get on the mandatory cycle track


The bike lane is mandatory, says the sign, posted 350 meter after the beginning of the concrete barrier (in black on map): Does cyclists are really expected to jump onto the barrier?

Some cyclists will prefer to use the roadway, but most will try to use the bike lane:

The concrete barriers start at Richmond Bridgeport interchange-No indication provided to cyclist-to be on the right side of it, suppose to cycle on the Richmond sidewalk: that is not allowed!

The concrete barriers start at Richmond Bridgeport interchange: to be on the right side of it, suppose to cycle on the Richmond sidewalk: that is illegal!

  • beside jumping onto the concrete barrier, the only other option is to ride illegally the Bridegport sidewalk in Richmond

The later option is the one usually preferred by the cyclists, what tends to irate pedestrians and transit riders waiting their bus there:

  • The Bridegport sidewalk is narrow, and has bus stops

Exiting of it, is also a bit of challenge in itself too:

East side bike lane, merging to Knight Street in Vancouver: Welcome to the real world !- Where the handrail stands is the entrance of a trail joining 64th avenue: cyclists are discouraged to use it.

East side bike lane, merging to Knight Street in Vancouver: Welcome to the real world (the most dangerous intersection in Canada say the medias)!- Where the handrail stands is the entrance of a trail joining 64th avenue: cyclists are discouraged to use it.

Did you know that bike are not allowed in bus lane in BC? following the sign is both illegal (breaking with solid lane) and pretty unsafe on this exit ramp.

Did you know that bike are not allowed in bus lane in BC? following the sign is both illegal (breaking solid lines) and pretty unsafe on this exit ramp.

Riding along the bike lane is not a breeze either:

KnightBikeLaneMitchellExitW

Most cyclists fail to dismount their bike and disobey the law regarding using crosswalk (BC MVA 183.2.b ) at ramp crossing, but they still tend to stop for obvious reasons:

narrow entrance at ramp crossing, with bumper, or kerb, are the rule on Knight Bridge

That makes the ride much more cumbersome, and not any safer: gaining momentum from a standing position, require lot of energy, and attention, which is then not focused on traffic as the cyclist in the above picture illustrates.


Better practice from Lyon, France:

The example below is at the Bd Irene Joliot Curie and Bd Pheripherique Laurent Bonnevay intersection (redone when the tramway T4 has been built):

  • Cyclist are not required to stop, at each crossing, even less to dismount, what allows them to spend less time in hazardous zone, and still proceed safely:
LyonExitRampBikeLane

Lyon, FR: entry ramp: Motorist yields to cyclist and pedestrian - exit ramp: cyclist yields to motorist. The bike path hook, provide line of sight on incoming traffic. There is no bike path discontinuity


In the meantime, authorities spare no money to upgrade the roadway for motorists, and cyclist have usually to cope with that:

Sign on Knight bridge, at Mitchell Island interchange, resting in the middle of the pathway, also advertised as a bike lane.

Sign on Knight bridge, at Mitchell Island interchange, resting in the middle of the pathway, also advertised as a bike lane.

The sign had been placed by a City of Richmond’s contractor, and Translink took action to get it removed after got noticed of it

Normal people will obviously give up in face of all those inconvenience (did I mention, the snow and ice on the uncleared bike path in winter?), and the “bike to work” week, will be just that: a week! It is too bad, since it is a bottleneck which deserve much greater attention that it has, and both cycling and transit can go a long way to increase the capacity of Knight Bridge to move people

Nevertheless one can still see either

  • hardcore cyclists, all renegade breaking the law in one way or another, as seen above, and admittedly, it is the only way to cycle decently on Knight bridge
  • or eventually lost cyclists on the bridge (also breaking the law), may be mislead by some cycling maps, presenting the Knight bridge cycle tracks are the same as the Stanley park bike path!

    Cyclist, beware, don’t trust the cycling maps!

    Cyclist could be seen may be also because, taking the bus here is even a worse experience:

    The arduous trail to the Mitchell island bus stop SB: muddy in winter, dusty in summer, slippy all the time!

    The arduous trail to the Mitchell island bus stop SB: muddy in winter, dusty in summer, slippy all the time!

As you probably know, The Translink commission is inviting comments from the public on the proposed fare increase, and particularly on TransLink’s efficiency (The deadline for sending them is February 15, 2012). This post is part of my contribution toward it, and I encourage you to share yours too.

optimize the network by pruning irrelevant, because redundant and lightly used, route segments

Translink has published a Transit plan for Vancouver in 2005 [1]. While many recommendations of it have been implemented, especially the good integration of the bus system with the Canada line, some others aiming at making the system more efficient have not been followed so far:

  • short turning of the route 3 (Main) at Main and hasting
  • short turning of alternate trip of route 20 (Victoria) at Commercial and Powell (instead to go thru Downtown)

The saving can be very dramatic, and in the case of route #3, it could have allowed a 30% reduction of the bus fleet.

One of the reason for that is expressed by the average speed diagram below.

Average operating speed of Transit(2)

Due to relatively low operating speed on the Hasting and Downtown segment, the buses tend to spend a considerable amount of time there. Below is an estimate of it (from 2010 Translink timetable)-and a recent reduction of posted speed on Hasting makes the matter only worse:

route number of runs fleet requirement total service hour hr on hasting/Downtown % of service hr on Hasting/Downtown
3 280 14 197 41 21%
8 317 16 196 34 17%
20 332 20 250 75 30%

This fact makes also for a low reliability route. The additional observation that most customers transfer to/from SkyTrain for downtown access and ridership in downtown and Hasting is pretty light-an observation corroborated by Translink ridership analysis [1]- complete the justification of the short turning of those routes South of Hasting (instead to head toward downtown).

Those route could then operate on a nearly pure grid system- Hasting street being served by route 14,16 and 135 among others on nearby parallel corridors. The lack of direct service to downtown is largely compensated by the Skytrain access: In that matter, those routes could not be treated more differently than the suburban bus routes (which have been short-turned with the advent of the canda line for similar reasons). Furthermore It is also worth to note the route 19 still ensures a direct connection between downtown and Main, north of Broadway.

Since we are talking of frequent route operated by 60 foot trolleybuses, the saving can be massive, not only in operating hours but also in bus fleet requirement, which can be also reduced significantly. Part of it can be redeployed to improve the network connectivity, on a model as below:

Toward a Vancouver network better connected to the South of Fraser one

The main idea, is to connect as much as possible Vancouver N/S bus routes at either Marine Drive or Knight bridge:


suggestion for bus route 3,16,8,20 and 100

suggestion for bus route 3,16,8,20 and 100, orange colored route (10,15,17 and 22) rest unchanged

The knight bridge Hub

This Hub allows connection with the Richmond network -route 405,407 and 430- [3], which legitimates the extension of route 8 and 20 toward it. Since there is no bus loop, and the number of runs on route 8 and 20 are roughly equivalent, the buses of route 8 could continue on route 20 in the same manner as buses operates on route 5/6.

  • Notice that the bus queue jumper on Knight bridge provide a natural advantage to the Richmond’s bus which could be more leveraged by providing a decent scope of connection on the Vancouver side from this Bridge
  • The Harison loop (bus 20), is then retired (and can be sold)

The Marine drive hub

  • All the runs of route 3 go to Marine drive: This is to encourage contra-flow riding, hence lowering the pressure on main flow
  • Observing that very few customers stay on the bus at Marine drive, route 100 is replaced by route 16 West of marine drive. Both route have similar number of runs, so it is roughly equivalent in term of operating cost but
    • It increases the number of destination accessible from Marine Drive
    • It replaces a diesel bus by a trolley can’t be bad!
    • It allows to retire the route 16 bus loop-as well as Marpole loop-which can be sold (what can probably pay all the work required for other operation suggested in this post).

Summary

The short turning of the routes at Hasting largely pays for the extension of all the 3,8 and 20 bus runs at either Knight bridge or Marine Drive:

route number of run cur fleet requirement cur total service hour proposed total service hour proposal bus requirement % hr saved
3 280 14 197 161 12 13.5%
8 317 16 196 178 15 9%
20 332 20 250 186 16 25%

While, the proposal improves significantly the connectivity of the network, the average daily operating hour saving-120hrs- could be still around 18% , what is probably worth $5 millions/years (assuming operating cost of $120 per vehicle.hr), leaving significant room to improve other part of the system.

It could be interesting to understand why Translink has chosen to not implement its own efficiency recommendation as stated in [1], but it occurs that it could be a good time to proceed forward on it


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

[2] Planning of Vancouver’s Transit Network with an
Operations-Based Model
, Ian Fisher (translink), Wolfgang Scherr and Kean Lew (PTV), 2009 ITE Quad Conference, Vancouver, 1 May

[3] See also our suggested Transit plan for Richmond (September 2, 2011).

The scramble intersection has been officially opened with much fanfare on November 15th, by Mayor Malcolm Brodie [3]

The pedestrian scramble sit at Moncton and Number 1 intersection, in Steveston

But, the real story is not so much the pedestrian scramble than the new traffic light which will have certainly consummed the bulk of the $600,000 budget allocated to this intersection “improvement[1].

The good

  • It is a raised intersection, usually signalling to the motorist it is entering in a pedestrian oriented environment
  • The treatment of the crosswalks and bollards shows careful attention intended to rise the profile of this intersection

Good attention has been given to some details. Notice the ropes as the main theme for the treatment of the improvments

The Bad

  • Not much consideration has been given to Wheelchairs and strollers, and the implementation of the traffic signals impedes seriously their movement on the sidewalk
  • The opportunity to improve the pedestrian experience, this by installing bulges, narrowing the roadway has not been taken.
  • When come the signal to reduce the motorist "confusion", all the good intentions are lost, and here it is basically not really possible for a wheelchair to stay on the sidewalk (left picture). The pedestrian realm could have extended on the parking lane (using a bulge): it didn't (right)

    The real story
    Before the traffic light, and its adjoined pedestrian scramble, it was a 4 ways stop:

    • both pedestrian and vehicular traffic could become fairly heavy in some summers week-end, but nothing comparable to what we can witness in Granville Island at anytime.
    • And like in Granville Island, most of the vehicular traffic is generated by parking lookers, and so most of the traffic is turning either right or left at the intersection…

    The consequence of the last observation is that right and left turn traffic can be impeded by the pedestrian traffic…The Richmond traffic engineers will have found, that blocking all pedestrians movement during vehicular movement was the best thing to do…and here is the rational for the scramble.

    It is sold to the public as follow: The previous configuration (4 ways stop), where politeness’rules applied (i.e. like in Granville island), was judged “confusing” by the Richmond traffic engineers [1].

    Conclusion

    If you believe that the lack of rules for pedestrian is creating congestion in Granville and makes it unsafe, you will cheer for the Richmond’s “traffic improvement” as a step in the right direction.

    …On the other side, if you believe in the shared space concept followed by a growing number of European towns, noticeably because “When you don’t exactly know who has right of way, you tend to seek eye contact with other road users” and “You automatically reduce your speed, you have contact with other people and you take greater care[2], you will eventualy consider that the roadwork at Number 1 and Moncton, is much closer to a 600K waste than an improvement…


    [1] No.1 Road and Moncton Street Intersection and Surrounding pedestrian crosswalk improvments Victor Wei, Transportation department, April 21, 2011, Richmond CA. Notice that this lst reference states that “based on the pedestrians and vehicles traffic volumes, a a traffic signal is warranted at this intersection” without substanciating those “volumes”. A reference is done to a mysterious study (Stevenson Village Traffic and parking improvement, Victor Wei, Transportation department, August 31, 2009) which didn’t provide any substance either.
    Pedestrian Crosswalk Improvement Project, Communication from Richmond CityHall, 2011.

    [2]European Towns Remove Traffic Signs to Make Streets Safer, Deutsche Welle, August 27, 2006

    [3] Beside numerous news report, there is generally a strong advocacy for scramble interest in some circle, like at vpsn, and, eventually via spacing Vancouver, you will find some opinion in the Vancouver Openfile blog (which in our viewpoint is misleaded by the fact it seems to fail to make the difference between Yonge and Dundas in Toronto center and the “Steveston village” context in Richmond) or InSteveston and a more critical appreciation by a Richmond’s blogger

    .

    The Richmond picture

    Thought number date of 2000, there are still good enough to illustrate the market potential for Transit in Richmond. a city characterized by a high ratio job/population source. (1)

    Translink, had drafted a transit area plan in 2000 for Richmond [1] and most of the ideas proposed in this plan have been implemented in the subsequent years. As mentioned in a previous post, the advent of the Canada line has left relatively untouched the local transit network in Richmond, even when some route, touted as express, like the 430 are now slower than other options using the Canada line. The short cutting of the 480 (terminus at Bridgeport instead of Brighouse) is the only noticeable exception.

    here after is some proposed improvements, which are budget neutral from a revenue operating hours perspective

    A suggested new bus network for Richmond

    To summarize

    • 401: no change
    • 402, ~90 runs are extended to Knight Bridge: that is a 50% service improvement on the 407
    • It allows a service every 30mn, instead of every hour midday, which more than compensate the lost of route 430. the route 402 is preferred to route 407, because it doesn’t need to make a detour to serve Brighouse

    • 403 terminate at Steveston instead of Riverport
    • That is part of a terminus swapping with route 407. It also apriori allows 403 to travel denser part of Steveston Hwy, making better usage of its high frequency along this corridor.

    • 404, ~40 runs are extended to the airport
    • 405, Terminate at Brighouse instead of Knight Bridge (could be transformed in shuttle route)
    • 407, Terminate at Landsowne instead of Knight Bridge and start at Steveston instead of Riverport
    • The route followed by 407 along Westminster Hwy allows it to connect with all other local routes, as well as route 301,411 so it doesn’t need to loop at Brighouse. We then prefer Landsowne since it increases the transit covered area.

    • 410, Along Railway to Moncton, instead of Garypoint
    • C92, no change
    • C93, no change
    • C94, no change
    • C96, Knight Bridge, Number 5, Cambie East, Number 6, Brighouse
    • So doing, the route C96 can offer a quick access to Number 6 road from Brighouse (10mn instead, of 23mn by the 410 or current C96) and able to contribute to relieve more efficiently the 410 (in association with the redesigned route 301 and 411).

    Some general principle leading the change

    Local Hub vs Regional Hub

    Most, if not all, of the Local Bus routes should be connected to a regional hub

    Richmond presents some challenges since we have to compose with a

    • An international hub, the airport
    • A regional hub, Bridgeport
    • A local hub, Brighouse

    To ensure a good connectivity between the regional and local hub, you would like merge the both, but that is also done at the expense of a good local inter-connectivity which occur in the center of Richmond. That said, a good connectivity of the local network with the regional one can be achieved by capitalizing on secondary hubs:

    Riverside hub

    A good connectivity of the local network with the regional one can be achieved by connecting as much as possible local route with the Hwy99 bus stop at Steveston: that is Riverside, a new hub Richmond has to capitalize on. It motivates the connection of route 401,404,405 407 and C93 to this hub

    Notice that the current Steveston interchange design doesn’t allow the buses to U turn. The loop at RiverPort costs 4mn returns, which can amount to a significant expense (30hrs if all the route named terminate at RiverPort instead of Riverside) so some roadwork improvements could be required here.

    Knight bridge hub

    At this time, it connects Richmond with Vancouver routes 22 and 100. The connectivity could be much better by extending Fraser route 8 and Victoria route 20 to Knight Bridge, but that involves numerous challenge, so at this time it is a secondary hub in waiting to be developed.

    A Grid oriented network
    For each major axis, one bus route.

  • Cambie is mainly serviced by route 410, but a significant portion of the corridor is also cuurently serviced by routes 405 and C96
  • While Route 405 connects Cambie with Knight Bridge, we can consider it is not the most efficient way to provide the connection due to the high level of redundancy between route 405 and 410 on Cambie, both going to Brighouse. The idea is to suppress the route 405 north of Brighouse – that translate in a saving estimated at 31hrs. The redesigned routes 301 and 411 addresses potential crowding problem on current route 410. A revamped C96 addresses the connectivity issue between the Cambie area, and more generally North Richmond and Knight Bridge.

  • Railway is mainly serviced by route 410…but not south of Williams where it is then by the C93
  • South of Williams, route 410 made a detour to service the residences at Garypoint. One has to consider that the cost of this detour by the very frequent route 410 has become prohibitive in regard of the served market. Also, so doing, the route 410 avoids the recently developed and now much more populous area along Moncton street, between Railway and route Number 1. That is the reason why we prefer to keep The route 410 along Railway down to Moncton- that translates in a saving of 7hrs. A slightly less frequent bus, 403, can still serve Garypoint.

  • Garden city (North of Westminster Hwy) is mainly serviced by the bus 407.
  • The useless detour to the disused Sexsmith Park&Ride is suppressed, the corridor is then serviced by route 402 for reasons previously stated

  • Bridgeport mainly serviced by the bus 407
  • The service on this corridor is pretty poor, with a bus 407 per hour most of the day, this in despite of an high job density along a corridor anchored by Bridgeport station. This corridor is serviced by route 402 for reasons previously stated. the detour along Vulcan becomes the main route, this to allow a connection with the route 630 (Ladner-Metrotown).

  • Westminster Hwy mainly serviced by “no” bus East of Number 3
  • That is kind of odd, since it is a main axis in Richmond. It becomes serviced by route 405 and 407.

  • Steveston Hwy
  • Today, it is partially serviced. East West travel along it is not really possible due to a “missing link” between number 3 and Gilbert. C93 along Williams provides the East-West connector in South Richmond. A swapping of terminus, between routes 403 and 407, provides a Transit continuity for people traveling along Steveston Hwy, and could call for a reduction of the C93 service if necessary, if not the complete discontinuing of this route. The swapping makes the route 407 a bit longer (+1mn per run), but the route 403 a bit shorter (-1mn per run): because the route 407 is less frequent that the route 403, it results in a total net operating saving.

    Connecting the local and regional Center of Interest

  • The Airport
  • It is one of the major weakness of the current local network: Richmonites can’t easily access the airport, a major source of employment for locals. To correct it, some runs of the route 404 are extended to the airport. One could have considered extending route 301 or 411 could have been more judicious since airport is also a regional destination, but here the route addresses also a local market (Bukerville access).

  • The Hospital
  • It is best serviced by route 407, this route hence is redesigned to serve primarily high density residential area, and so, loop in Richmond downtown to connect. Other route like 401 and an extended route 404 provide also good service to the hospital

  • North Richmond businesses park (Crestwood)
  • They are not well connected to Bridgeport, either the service is very poor like on Bridgeport, or requires 2 transfer from Bridgeport to access the Cambie corridor, which is oddly enough almost better connected to Knight bridge. Especially for the Bridgeport corridor, there is an untapped customer pool, which can be enticed by a better service, that is a bus route every 30mn all the day at minimum along Bridgeport

    The suppression of Cambie with a direct connection to Knight Bridge (405), is compensated by a revamped route C96 which service is increased to match the one of the current 405 – that supposes the adding of 8:30 hours service. We estimate that the high frequency of the route 410 along Cambie make the transfer less painfull here than elsewhere

    At the end, a better servicing of North Richmond motivates a rerouting of the 301 on Westminster Hwy (instead of Alderbridge)- this because it uses the exit of Hwy 91 at road number 6 (3mn per run, or 3hrs per day)- in order to connect it with local route C96 and 410. (proposed bus 411 follow same route)

  • Steveston
  • This area is very well connected to Brighouse, with a bus every 2-3mn in peak hours, but does this high level of service is visible to the transit rider?

    Nope… and that illustrates the problem already raised with the 699B: it is more often a lack of visibility of the level of service that a lack of service itself people will complain of, and in Steveston it is storytelling:

    4 bus routes connect it to Brighouse. That translates in 4 different bus stops in different directions along Chatham: here there is lot of room for improvement. A single bus stop -on the model of Marine Drive loop- is the obvious first step. A better location than Chatham for the bus terminus is the second step…

    operation
    The tabulation of operating hour transfer is given below

    route runs hours removed hrs added hrs
    401 181 123:21
    402 138 52:56 45
    403 184 114:33 3:00
    404 100 50:41 15:00
    405 69 51:44 31:00
    407 106 71:23 30:00 1:46
    410 200 211:51 7:00
    430 78 64:23 64:23
    C92 68 16:59
    C93 62 28:31
    C94 48 11:25
    C96 41 17:53 8:30
    630 78 64:23
  • Notice that route 699B, and 411 have been previously discussed
  • Political acceptance

    Modifying a bus network is always gonna to hurt some sensibilities, and the few riders affected by a bus change will always be more vocal than the more numerous new customers. That has been verified by the pruning of route 601 at Bridgeport, but it is not something undo-able.

    The Lyon transit agency in France did it this year, and one could argue that the budget neutral network reorganization is something sensible to do in time of fiscal restraint.

    • It helps the public to accept that not anything can be done and some thought choice need to be done
    • It helps also to prepare the network for future growth

    In the example, above, the efficiency found on some route like 410, are in direct relationship with bus frequency:
    The more frequent is the bus route, the more relevant is the route reorganization, but the more complex it becomes since the more customer habit it can hurt, so it is better to be done sooner than later.


    [1] Richmond Area Transit Plan Summary Report, Translink, September 2000

    Richmond local transit routes have seen little change with the advent of he canada Line. The network is essentialy geared toward the commuter traffic from Richmond to Vancouver. Richmond is not thought as a destination in itself in despite of its high level of jobs. As an incidence:

    • the Business parks along Knight Street remain generally inaccessible by people arriving from the South Fraser community (be by buses 351, 301, 601…)
    • For a Richomnite, it can be a challenge to get to the airport, involving in most of the case not less than 2 transfers (typically one at Brighouse and one at Bridgeport).

    The network could also take a more decisive advantage of the choke points surrounding Lulu Island. The proposition hereafter aims at correcting those issues, and we examine in this post the regional view first.

    In addition of the existing service, 301 and 351 (which are slightly altered to take the shortest route), the map below introduces the bus service already discussed in this blog

    • route 699B which has been previously discussed
    • route 411 which as also been previously discussed

    and a new one,

    The route 630: Ladner Exchange-Metrotown

    • This route replace the route 430 (Richmond Brighouse-Metrotown)

    The rational for it, is that since the advent of the Canada line, it is always faster to board on the Canada line and transfer along the way toward Metrotown, than to use the 430 from Brighouse. So it is reasonable to retire an “express route” which has been made obsolete by recent transit improvement (which is eventually illustrated by a relatively poor ridership). Nevertheless, if the route originate from Ladner, (or Riverside), it can offer a definitive advantage for rider travelling toward Metrotown or Knight street area:

    route option Ladner Exchange -> Metrotown travel time
    601+430 20+30mn
    630 est. 40mn

    The retiring of the 430 pay for the introduction of the 630, and a similar number of run per day can be proposed since, in despite of a longer route, the bus travel it at higher speed

    • The 630, starts at Ladner park and ride exchange, to connect with local shuttle route here, and proposes the service as an alternative to alleviate traffic queuing at the George massey Tunnel.
    • The 630 stops at Riverside (Hwy99 at Steveston Hwy), providing a good connection with the South East richmond network (401, 403, 404, 405 and C93), and also at Crestwood, where it offers potential connection with regional route 301 and 411 as well as local route 410, and C96, opening new access for people coming from south of the tunnel.
    • In Vancouver the route is identic to the one currently followed by the 430

    One would like to see the 630 service provided by highway coaches, since the patrons boarding this service are still aiming at a relative long journey.

    Proposed and existing regional Express Bus line (solid thin line) and existing and potential B line (in red dashed lines). Skytrain network in thick yellow line

    To summarize the service level on selected route segment

    route frequency Travel time
    699B Ladner-Bridgeport 15mn 20mn
    301 Newton-Brighouse 20mn 20mn
    411 22nd Station-Brighouse 20mn 45mn
    630 Ladner-Metrotown 20mn 40mn

    One will also notice that the combination of route 301 and 411 can provide an express service between Queensborough (Fraserwood) and Richmond every 10mn.

    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.

    BC building code has been changed in 2009 to go over 4 storey building, and Remy builder was taking advantage of it to build a 6 storey woodframe buildings complex along Cambie in Richmond [1]

    Remy Condominium under construction at Cambie in Richmond

    Was the Campbell government move to support the BC forestry industry done a the expense of the public safety?
    Richmond fire department had expressed concerns, Campbell had dismissed them…

    Still, tuesday night the yet to complete buildings were on fire…

    the 6 storey Remy Condominium development was under fire tuesday night

    …raising lot of questions.

    what left of the development the morning after


    [1] Timber line reaches new height with wood condos VancouverSun, march 24, 2011.

    The vancouversun has a story about a man claiming it is not clear enough to where you have to validate your ticket. He could have a point:

    Brighouse station: ticket vending machines are easy to spot, but where are the ticket validators machines?

    Whether you are a bit distracted, it can be very easy to find yourself without properly validated ticket on the train. Not only nowhere there is a physical line reminding you to validate your ticket, but ticket validators are rather hidden in some stations. without going to turnstiles, that doesn’t need to be as I have already mentioned here

    .

    smartcard access to the subway of Rennes, France, is done without turnstile. Nevertheless, notice how the smartcard readers are placed in proeminent position on the farepaid zone line. credit photo wikipedia

    Bridge Traffic

    December 1, 2010

    For purpose of illustration, below is a map overlaid with the traffic volume on the main bridges of the Vancouver area.

    Traffic on the Main bridges of the greater Vancouver area (click on the map for more detail)

    Some comments on it:

    Traffic

    • Traffic volume distribution is hourly, for weekday, and estimated when data is not available [3]
    • truck traffic on Knight bridge is estimated at 15% of the overall traffic
    • Red line indicate the capacity of the bridge, assuming a 1400 vehicle/hr capacity per lane
    • For bridge over the Fraser, A suggested Congestion pricing toll [5] has been added in yellow

    below is the tabulaton of weekday daily traffic, and source for the considered bridge

    Bridge Juridiction Lanes Traffic
    Arthur Laing Bridge YVR 4 84,000 [2]
    Oak Bridge Province 4 80,700 [1][4]
    Knight Bridge Translink 4 99,500 [2]
    QueensBorough Bridge Province 4 84,000 [2]
    George Massey Tunnel Province 4 89,500 [1]
    Alex Fraser Bridge Province 6 117,500 [1]
    Pattullo Bridge Translink 4 74,500 [2]
    Port Mann Bridge Province 5 116,000 [1]
    Iron Workers Bridge Province 6 127,400 [1]
    Lions gate Bridge Province 3 63,000 [1]

    Comments on the Congestion pricing data

    They come from the thesis of Peter Wightman [5], which is the most complete work I have uncovered on the topic applied on the Vancouver area, but still limited on the Fraser crossing bridges.

    • toll is applied once the traffic volume exceed the road capacity
    • Price elasticity demand is assumed at -0.2 peak hours, and -0.25 off peak, That is pricing evaluation has been done in 2006, assuming the transit option of the time, i.e. no Canada line and no transit over Port Mann bridge. Another study suggests a price elasticity demand closer to 0.35, in case of improved transit (i.e. Congestion regulation could be achieved with significant lower toll that those envisioned by [5], and revenue of congestion pricing too)

    For information, below are the estimated revenue of congestion pricing, in the case of all bridge crossing the Fraser tolled (this assuming the 2006 situation, and a relatively low elasticity of -0.2 peak, and -0.25 off peak period) according to [5].

    Bridge daily revenue (South dir) daily revenue (North dir)
    George Massey Tunnel 89,600 64,400
    Alex Fraser Bridge 126,000 67,200
    Pattullo Bridge 35,000 21,000
    Port Mann Bridge 271,600 90,300
    Total (daily) 765,100
    Total Annual 191,275,000

    It is worth to note that congestion pricing could apply only when bridge reach capacity. At the exception of the Port Mann bridge West bound, that is an average of only 4 hours per bridge (or put in other way, crossing a bridge could be free 20hours per day),… but still generating close to 200 millions of annual revenue only on the bridge crossing the Fraser river.

    it is also worth to notice that under a congestion pricing scheme as proposed by [5], the Port Mann bridge toll could have been lower than the one considered by the province (in green on the map above) most of the time…and the Pattullo bridge needs to be tolled less than 3hrs per day (per direction).


    [1] Number from BC MOT as of Sept 2010 (weekday average on the month

    [2] Number from Bridging the Infrastructure Gap, Get Moving BC, Sept 2008. Data are mostly from 2006

    [3] I got hourly distribution only for BC MOT bridge, hourly distribution is estimated for other bridge to provide an idea of level of congestion on them (and eventually pricing level/period). While data Provincial bidge are from 2010, and other bridge from 2006, it has been no noticeable increase in traffic in the interim, what is consistent with a longer trend already exhibited in a gateway program definition report of january 2006

    [4] There is a discrepancy with number from the MovingBC report[2] eventually due to the fact, that the authors of this report overlooked the fact that the traffic counter is installed south of the Sea Island exit ramp on the Highway 99 south bound. That explains why there is a traffic increase on that bridge

    [5] From Freeway to feeway: Congestion pricing policies for BC’s Fraser River crossing, Peter Wightman, Simon Fraser University, 2008

    [6] Estimating Commuter Mode choice: A discrete choice Analysis impact of road pricing and parking charge, Washbrook, Haider and Jaccard, Transportation, 2006.

    [7] Toll for new Port Mann Bridge will be $5.15 for casual users, Damian Inwood, The province, June 2010.

    Follow

    Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

    Join 42 other followers