By: Aaron Richardson
The largest expansion of bus service in Metro Vancouver did not result in more service to Simon Fraser University.
TransLink introduced an additional 105,000 hours of bus service across the region earlier this month. In addition to the regular changes that come each fall to university routes, some received a permanent improvement in service.
However, these changes have not reached the SFU Burnaby or Surrey campuses.
“While there have been no changes this September to direct connections to SFU campuses in Surrey or Burnaby, there have been a lot of changes to the broader network which is likely used by SFU students,” said TransLink spokesperson Jill Drews.
Emily Carr University, Kwantlen Polytechnic, Langara College, Capilano University, and the British Columbia Institute of Technology have received increased service on at least one bus line running to campus.
The University of British Columbia has seen overcrowding improvements on a total of four routes directly to the campus.
Although changes have not been implemented directly on lines running to SFU, changes in the system overall may result in shorter wait times, as well as less crowding in many different areas. TransLink service from the North Shore to the SFU Vancouver campus downtown has seen a permanent improvement, Drews noted.
The decision to ramp up the public transit system comes at a time when the transit is experiencing a jump in ridership. TransLink is hoping to provide better service to those who already use transit, as well as introduce new neighbourhoods into the already existing transit system.
TransLink is also considering more improvements to lines that service SFU.
“We realize overcrowding on the 95 B-Line is a problem,” Drews stated. “Planners are looking at different ways to help alleviate it through increased frequency during the busiest times. This is a top priority for us.”
TransLink is also aware that crowding on the SkyTrain is a problem for students and has ordered additional cars that will start arriving in late 2018, according to Drews.
The last time a direct change to SFU transit took place was in December 2016. Transit changes coinciding with the construction of the Evergreen SkyTrain line resulted in increased service for the 143 from Burquitlam Station to SFU Burnaby and the introduction of the 95 B-Line which runs between the campus and downtown Vancouver.
However, these changes did not alleviate transit stress for some SFU students. Instead of taking students between SFU and Coquitlam Centre, the 143 bus line now terminates at Burquitlam Station.
Recent SFU alumnus Holly Steinson told The Peak that the change meant that her commute time doubled and she ended up taking her car to school. “I can’t justify spending so much more time on getting to school using public transit,” she said.
TransLink ridership has still seen a significant increase — reaching a record 200 million boardings in the first six months of the year.