The majority of bus routes around Metro Vancouver are slower today than they were five years ago, according to a study released by TransLink.
The report attributes the slowdown to “increased roadway congestion and lack of sufficient bus priority,” and says the delays reduce the public’s desire to take buses.
“The negative effect on customers is not only longer and less reliable journey times, but also longer waits and increased overcrowding due to bus bunching,” the report notes.
The report estimates that if 1,500 passengers are each delayed by just four minutes, it leads to an overall waste of 100 hours for riders.
The report outlines the top 20 worst bus corridors for passenger delay.
At the top of the list is Surrey’s King George Boulevard and 104 Avenue route, followed by Highway 99 through Richmond and Delta, East and West 41 Avenue in Vancouver, Broadway, Hastings, and Scott Roads and 72 Avenue.
TransLink said delays hurt its bottom line. It estimates that more than $75 million a year, or 700,000 service hours, is spent because of roadway delays.
The Coast Mountain Bus Company, which operates TransLink’s fleet, spends $2.5 to $5 million adjusting its workers’ schedules for increasing roadway congestions.
“This is equivalent to the cost of adding a new RapidBus line every 1-2 years,” the report notes.
TransLink said the responsibility for fixing the issue has to be shared with local and provincial governments and it recognizes that “prioritizing transit – like any mode – requires examining trade-offs between users of the roadway.”
The report outlines that stop locations, boarding policy and route design are under TransLink’s control but that additional bus lanes, bus-only signals and other infrastructure improvements are tasks for local and provincial governments.
The Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation is expected to discuss the report on Thursday.