Left Coast By Design

The Express Bus

Many years ago, the powers that be at Translink (or Coast Mountain Bus Company – I’m never too sure who thinks these things up) decided that Richmond would be better served by having the 98 B-Line and a number of peak hour commuter buses deliver the masses to and from Vancouver instead of a number of suburban (or would that be interurban) routes. With this change, the powers that be also decided to allow both the pick-up and drop-off of passengers, albeit through a limited stop service, throughout Vancouver to assist with ridership in the city. However, two routes were left as express routes and therefore would “typically” be drop-off/pick-up only in and out of town.

And that’s what has me ranting tonight.

On your marks - get set -

On your marks, get set… – courtesy of Stephen Rees

For as long as I have taken either the 488 Burrard Station/Garden City and 492 Burrard Station/Two Road buses there have always been people who get on the bus in Vancouver thinking that the bus will stop and let them off before we reach Richmond. Although I feel for many as they simply have grown accustomed to most buses in Vancouver taking them as close to their front door as the yellow lines on the road allow, it causes quite a bit of conflict with the transit operators, the transit schedules and people like me who avoided the other choices to Richmond in the hope that we might get home a touch quicker. It doesn’t seem to matter that the bus will have “Express” flash on the front display, nor does it seem to matter when the operator mentions the matter to those boarding. There just always seems to be the one guy who “didn’t know,” and pulls the cord to get off at the “next stop.”

Now maybe it’s the cold I have talking at this point, but there is always a part of me that just wishes the bus kept going. Teach the person a lesson and give them a discounted tour of South Vancouver and North Richmond. How dare they slow me down on my regular commute home from work! I’ve never really counted, but how many different options did this person have to get where they were going in Vancouver, but chose the “quicker” option of a suburban bus? It’s not like it wasn’t going in their direction in the first place, right?

That’s just the problem.

It used to be a common understanding that if the bus was going to Richmond and you didn’t want to get there, you didn’t get on it. There was always that odd exception where someone who truly didn’t know the system or how it worked got on by mistake, but it was so infrequent that it didn’t bother a soul. But now it’s nearly every day. People see that the bus heads down Oak St. and think that it’s okay to inconvenience the majority. Courtesy is tossed to the side of the road. And if the bus doesn’t stop, heaven have mercy on the operator who gets and earful from the person who feels they have a right to do whatever they want.

And Chris sits there. Pissed off and motion sick.

Categories: Local Interest, Slash Rant

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  1. One hundred percent agree with you on this Chris! I take the 488/492 to Richmond from Downtown most of the time and am so fed up with people doing this. It’s not as if these are newly introduced routes that might confuse commuters. It’s been years now and almost daily someone wants off on a Vancouver stop. I actually did have a driver once who refused to let someone off at 70th – that was quite amusing!

    Another thing is the local buses along Oak always seem so packed and so slow, they probably figure the time saved by getting onto one of these buses outweighs the risk of being forced to go to Richmond.

    We’ll have to see what happens when the Canada Line starts up and if they keep these routes going – I’m guessing not and everyone will have to pile onto the new fancy Skytrains, but that’s a rant for another day!

  2. I agree that the local bus along Oak can get packed, but it’s something like 10 or 15 minute service. 🙂

    As for the Canada Line, from what I’ve heard “all” commuter buses south of the Fraser will terminate at River Rock or something like that to ensure ridership on the Canada Line (this was done when the Expo line first opened with buses between Burnaby and Vancouver). I don’t necessarily mind a packed SkyTrain though as I’ll be riding from terminus to terminus and it’s gonna be quicker even if it’s packed.

  3. It is always great to find a local blog!

    I am not a bus rider by any means, yet I have a U-Pass. I am surprised to hear that the bus actually stops for the person who pulls the line to get off at the next stop, rather than the Express bus doing what it should be doing, which is Express to Richmond.

    The times that I do take the bus is typically at night time when heading downtown on the weekend with friends, and we always double and tripple check that we are on the express so we can “get there faster”

    I hope the Canada Line works out properly, and I’m hoping it can get me to school faster than Transit can at the moment (going from Central Richmond to Langara) it takes me an hour and a half during rush hour, which makes me 30min late for class as I only have an hour from when I get off work until Class starts….

  4. I use to bus all the time when I worked in Vancouver(kits). I too hate it when people would want to get on and off the bus as they pleased. Which sometimes made me late for my 2nd bus on 4th. But then again I could walk 20 minutes before I saw a bus on 4th.

    But since the strike I drive everywhere since its faster for me to drive then bus to where I need to go.

    I really do hope the Canada Line is gonna really help like they say its gonna. I don’t see why they had to put it in the middle of 3road, when no park and rides are near by. If it was near the 99, it would have made a bit more scene then head down 3road.

    “Daydreamz.net (Aidan) sent me!”

  5. Aidan and Kimm – thanks for stopping by!

    I think the Canada Line will help those in Richmond wanting to get into Vancouver (especially those who need to get to Langara), but not sure what people in South Surrey and Delta will think when they get dropped in Richmond to take the Canada Line the rest of the way to Vancouver.

    Anywho, to answer your question Kimm about why No. 3 Rd was chosen, it has to do with business and ridership. If you build it they will come as they need to get to the store/mall/restaurant.

  6. I worked at Lansdowne for a bit when it was 1st being built and seeing where the stops are vs a lot of stores. You’ll have to trek a while before you can get your Timmys for example. But who take transit are fit (or should be)

    If it went down 99 to park and ride (other then that park and ride is useless) then have it cut over to 3road and then down to city hall (so surrey bums can hang out there LOL)

    And yes I would HATE to having to skytrain back into Richmond from Surrey to head into Vancouver.

    But I also think what Canada Line did to Cambie in Vancouver was sooo uncalled for.

  7. I agree that having it swing by the Sexsmith Park and Ride would have made sense, but River Rock paid for it’s own station and as No. 3 Road has always been the desired route due to the business/ridership equation, it would have been tough to pull off.

    That being said, when I refer to the line being close to businesses, I’m simply referencing the fact that there is more to be had on No. 3 Road than Garden City, etc.

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