By: Karissa Ketter, News Editor
On April 20, 2022, TransLink announced their first 10-year priorities of the Transport 2050 plan. Their press release reported they will double the regional bus services and create “up to 170 kilometres of new rapid transit.”
According to the press release, “The Transport 2050 Strategy concluded that there is an urgent and widespread need to address climate change, housing affordability, and traffic congestion by increasing and improving transit service as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.”
The new rapid transit will be implemented on up to 11 corridors. They will use new zero-emission buses on up to nine of the new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) routes. The first 10 years of increasing BRT routes brings Metro Vancouver to one-third of their Transport 2050 service goals.
BRTs provide zero-emission travel through hydrogen power, overhead electricity cables, or battery-electric buses.
BRTs are reportedly “25 times less expensive per kilometre than SkyTrains.” The construction costs per kilometre of a SkyTrain is $400 million whereas BRTs are $15 million.
The rapid transit will connect to the North Shore, and the Millennium Line SkyTrain will extend from Arbutus to UBC.
Provincial minister of environment and climate change strategy George Heyman said in the press release, “Expanding and strengthening our public transit is one of the smartest ways to address climate change, reduce time-wasting congestion and make transportation more affordable and convenient.”
The Transport 2050 plan is considering adding the “new zero-emissions bus-based rapid transit could be deployed along high-demand corridors throughout Metro Vancouver at a fraction of the cost and time compared to rail-based technology.”
They also plan to begin bus fleet electrification which will convert over 460 buses to electric vehicles by 2030.
TransLink has created the Transport 2050: 10-Year Priorities plan to identify and prioritize the most immediate needs of Metro Vancouver. The 10 year plan includes increasing HandyDART service by 60% to provide 24 hour service.
They are also planning to build the Burnaby Mountain Gondola. TransLink has noted for the project to continue, it “must be included” in the investment plan — approved by the TransLink Board and Mayor’s Council on Regional Transportation. The gondola will run from Production Way-University Station to the SFU bus exchange.
TransLink announced they are considering adding SkyTrain stations in Surrey and Port Coquitlam.
Chair of Mayor’s Council on regional transportation Jonathan Coté said in the press release, “Transport 2050: 10-Year Priorities is an ambitious and necessary plan that outlines more than double the investments from our previous Mayors’ Vision.”
Kevin Quinn, CEO of TransLink, noted, “Our region needs to rapidly invest in transportation improvements to combat climate change, address the housing affordability crisis, and improve congestion in a growing region.”