New Bus Rapid Transit Routes Continue to Pass By Capilano University

CSU VP External Manpreet urges students to fill out Translink’s feedback forms and join consultations

Bridget Stringer-Holden (she/her) // News Editor
Tanner McMahon (he/him) // Illustrator

TransLink announced their new Bus Rapid Transit routes late last year. This includes an extension to the R2 RapidBus from Phibbs Exchange to Metrotown. However, the Capilano Students’ Union (CSU) argues that it does little to solve the issues that Capilano University students have been enduring for years.

“It’s not necessarily a bad thing,” said CSU VP External Manpreet. “It’s exciting for the North Shore to have a bus rapid transit route, we would just like to be included as a stop because it would help get students across the bridge, but we want them to come to campus, not just Phibbs Exchange.”

Manpreet has served as VP External since June, and been a part of the CSU for a year and a half. She is also the Chairperson for the Alliance of BC Students (ABCS), a non-partisan coalition of five student associations across B.C., which represents approximately 80,000 post-secondary students.

In these roles, Manpreet deals with a variety of external organizations, such as other student unions, provincial organizations such as the British Columbia Federation of Students, and local, provincial and federal governments.

“Anytime we meet with an office holder—whether local, provincial or federal—we talk to them about this,” she said. While the local governments have the most say over transit, the CSU has asked the provincial and federal government for more bus rapid transit funding. “The provincial government allocates money to projects, so we tell them this is important to us,” Manpreet adds. “And then, with the local government, we say we want to participate in consultations and make sure we’re saying our part.”

In 2020, CapU lost three buses that came directly to campus, which were replaced by the 245 which shuttled students from Phibbs Exchange. According to a survey conducted by the CSU for the 2022-2023 academic year, half the respondents spent over two hours commuting each day. A quarter rode transit for more than three hours daily, and students faced up to a three bus wait at Phibbs Exchange in the morning.

“The BRT is an exciting project, but CapU isn’t on it, and that’s an issue for us because we see so many long lines at Phibbs,” Manpreet said, “and now because of the construction there’s not enough space to hold students on the platforms—it’s not really safe.”

There are plans to extend the R2 RapidBus to Metrotown, which will include stops at Brentwood Skytrain Station and BCIT but not CapU. When asked, TransLink explained that going to CapU would be a significant detour, but there will be public consultations in the coming months.

Manpreet urges students to join any consultation opportunities, and fill out the feedback form on TransLink’s website to let them know which times are the most busy and in need of increased bus service. 

“If enough people say they want CapU to be included, it might work out—it’s not fixed yet,” she said, adding that TransLink decides bus wait times but that it’s not an easy process and they really need something to justify big decisions like adding another bus or increasing frequencies. “They often look at the numbers from past years and decide how to go about it—having direct feedback from students would be a present snapshot for them.”

In the short-term, the CSU is advocating for increased 245 frequency, and an extended bus during peak hours. In the long-term, they hope for buses to come all the way to campus.

“We’ve been working on this for years, and we will continue to do so,” she said, emphasizing that students should fill out the TransLink feedback forms and join any consultations they see. “Because again, when I say I represent so many students and say that we need this, it’s helpful, but if students actually join, they get to see personal stories.”

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