TransLink’s RapidBus will replace the 239 service to Capilano University
Megan Amato // Associate News Editor
Jessica Peng // Illustrator
After much public ￼debate, TransLink will finally introduce its five new RapidBus routes this January. This will include the R2 Marine Drive bus, which will run from the Park Royal Shopping Center to Phibbs Exchange, and offer Capilano students a more direct route to get from West Vancouver to Capilano University.
“RapidBus will provide faster, more frequent, and more comfortable service for students commuting to or from Capilano University,” TransLink Media Relations advisor Dan Mountain answered in correspondence with the Courier. “Capilano students waiting for a RapidBus will have new accessibility for service information and audio read-outs of next bus arrivals at every post.”
The R2 will run every eight minutes during peak times with the carrying capacity of 1650 people per hour. Outside peak hours, the bus will run every ten minutes, slowing down to every 15 minutes after 9pm. Currently, the 239 bus—which connects students from Park Royal and Lonsdale to Phibbs Exchange—stops 33 times and takes roughly 50 minutes, depending on traffic. The R2 will have only eight stops between Park Royal and Phibbs Exchange. TransLink is also introducing the new Route 245 bus which will coincide with the R2 Marine Drive stop at Phibbs Exchange to take students directly to the campus, while the 239 Park Royal-CapilanoU bus service will be retired.
“We’re also building transit priority to get the bus out of traffic by building bus-only lanes with signal priority and queue jumps to give busses priority at intersections,” Mountain said when asked about how the R2 will differ from the 239.
While these new lanes will undoubtedly be helpful to students and other commuters, they were the cause of contention for the West Vancouver community. TransLink had initially planned for a B-Line bus to run from Dundarave to Phibbs exchange, but vocal opposition from the community halted that extension. In April, the West Vancouver Council voted not to extend it despite the pushback from pro B-Line supporters, including Capilano students.
A council report published on April 5th 2019 from the District of West Vancouver stated that “the public reaction to the plan, as evidenced by an unprecedented number of emails addressed to Mayor & Council; opposed: 1) the closure of traffic lanes to general vehicular traffic; 2) the loss of on-street parking in the Ambleside business distract; and 3) the routing of busses past the Irwin Park school site at the proposed 24th street terminus.” Despite this, the website states that the discussion isn’t closed on whether they will extend the route in the future.
Construction is currently underway for the new bus lanes in West and North Vancouver and students may experience delays in traffic while the construction is ongoing. TransLink’s website lists the following road closures and disruptions that are currently ongoing:
- Marine Dr. from Taylor Way to Park Royal: expect single lane traffic during the evenings for approximately two weeks starting from August 12th as new bus shelters are implemented and road lines are painted.
- Esplanade W. from Chesterfield Ave. to Lonsdale Ave.: expect delays and detours as lane closures are in effect as new traffic signals are implemented; sidewalks are changed and/or added; and paving and line painting is done.
- Mackay Ave. to Bewicke Ave.: delays and detours are expected as a westbound bus and bike lane is created, paving and cement work is done to road and sidewalks, and bus shelters are added
- E. 3rd St. from Queensbury Ave. to St. Andrews Ave.: expect delays and detours as an eastbound bus lane is added, sidewalks and curbs are cemented, and roads are paved.
- Marine Dr. from Capilano Rd. to Pemberton Ave.: construction will take place in August as new bus shelters added and road lines are painted.
- Southside of Cotton Rd. between Brooksbank and Gladstone Ave.: construction will continue until the end of December as curbs are altered, a bike lane is added, and bus stops are changed. Expect lane closures, detours and delays.
The four other RapidBus routes will include the R1 King George BLVD which will run in Surrey from Newton Exchange to Guildford Town Center, R3 Lougheed Highway which runs from Coquitlam Center Station all the way to Haney Place in Maple Ridge, R4 41st Avenue which will run from the University of British Columbia along 41st avenue to Joyce-Collingwood Skytrain Station in East Vancouver, and the R5 Hastings which will run from Burrard Station to Simon Fraser University.
As Capilano has many students from all over the Lower Mainland, these busses may help cut commute times.