“Save this bus stop.” That was the message engulfing SFU’s residence bus stop late Thursday night before being taken down. But reduced service to that particular stop is not the only proposed change to transit that would affect SFU students.
TransLink conducted a consultation survey regarding the proposed 85 changes to existing routes, some of which would affect all three SFU campuses. The changes are meant to increase efficiency and decrease travel time for riders across all of Metro Vancouver.
Among the changes are plans to convert the 135 to a B-line, eliminate several stops in Burnaby, reduce the number of stops on Burnaby campus to allow for two-way flow for transit, and other proposed changes to a significant number of routes that may be utilized by SFU students studying at the Burnaby, Vancouver, or Surrey campuses.
Caitlin Maxwell, a first-year communications student living in residence who relies on TransLink to get on and off Burnaby Mountain, will be affected by the diminished service to the residence bus stop, which will only be serviced by the 144 and N35.
Despite the Simon Fraser Student Society’s (SFSS) attempts to raise awareness amongst students through leaflets and posters on campus, Maxwell told The Peak that she had no idea of the proposed changes.
“I was not aware of the specific changes that TransLink proposed, only that it was making some changes that students should know about,” said Maxwell. “Really, how many students are going to do full research online after infrequently seeing a poster on campus?”
One of the largest proposed changes to an SFU bus is the possible expansion of the 135 into a B-line. This means the route would lose stops in favour of decreasing the travel time between SFU and Burrard Station, a change TransLink says would save travellers 10 minutes.
“I don’t see how 10 minutes would benefit anyone in a full work day,” said Maxwell.
The survey, which has more than 8,000 responses at time of publication, is just another step in making sure that TransLink is able to implement changes that they feel will best benefit everyone riding, according to spokesperson Jennifer Morland. She said that the procedure they were following wasn’t any different to how it is usually done.
“We have shared publicly the dates for the survey, and we hope that people have taken the opportunity to take the survey so far,” Morland told The Peak days before it officially closed.
Kathleen Yang, SFSS VP External Relations, expressed her own worry that there was not enough time to reach out to all the students before the survey deadline to make sure they had their say.
“Do I think they gave us enough time? No, I don’t think so,” said Yang in regards to the opportunity the SFSS has been given to raise awareness. “They’ve said that they’ve been in consultation for a number of months now with the city, with other stakeholders, with regional planners, but what about the people who are literally going to be affected by these changes?”
She acknowledged that the proposed changes are very complex and that students may not realise how it will affect them.
“I think [students] need to know that there are a huge number of bus route changes,” she said. “I’d really encourage students to take a look to see what buses are going to be changed [. . .] and whether or not that is going to be good for them.”
Morland emphasized that the changes are still in their developmental stage, and should not be inciting the kind of worry that some students might feel. She hoped that students would fill out the survey to make their concerns heard.
“The important thing to stress here is that these are proposed changes, so there have been no final decisions made,” she said.
Proposed Route Changes:
All routes redesigned to allow for two-way traffic instead of functioning as a one-way loop, fewer stops on the hill, reduced routes servicing residence bus stop
135 Burrard Station/SFU
Turned into a B-line, number of stops reduced to decrease travel time by ten minutes from Burrard Station to SFU
143 Coquitlam Station/SFU and 144 Metrotown/SFU
Redesigned to act as one-way loops respectively
Reroute the 509 to Lougheed Station and reroute the 501 onto Highway 1 via 156th Street
Adjusted to provide year-round service on the route
Extended to include Yaletown-Roundhouse Station and Cambie Street
C23 Yaletown/Davie/Main St. Station and C21 Yaletown/Beach
The two routes have been consolidated
Route 394 White Rock/King George Station
Changed into a B-Line, with fewer stops to decrease travel time
Other routes with proposed changes in the surrounding area:
145, N35, 49, 26, 106, 116, 129, 130, 430, C3, C4, C8, C9
41, 43, 480, N8, N20, N6, N16, N22, 4, 7, 16, C18, C19, C20, 44, 250, 258
595, 502, 531, 590, C63, 320, 341, 509, 351, 352, 354, C50, C51, C52, C53