TransLink has announced plans to remove bus stops along Routes 7 (Dunbar-Nanaimo) and 4 (Powell-UBC) starting on January 17, 2022. It’s still possible to send feedback to TransLink regarding the proposed changes to these two routes. The bus stops would be removed under the guise of ‘providing faster and more reliable service’.
There’s an excellent summary of many of the changes proposed for Dunbar Street: TransLink seeks feedback on plans to cut nearly half of Dunbar bus stops in January (Carol Volkart, Dunbar Residents Association). This is all part of an ongoing TransLink program known as “Bus Stop Balancing” (Translink.ca/busstopbalancing) with the task of “consolidating and removing bus stops that are too close together to improve travel times and reliability for customers across the region.” Some of this chopping is probably due to financial strains from COVID-19 dramatically cutting transit use, but we suspect another factor is that billions of dollars are being sucked from transit-related funding resources to pour into mega projects such as the Broadway Subway.
In this post we’ll focus on the changes proposed for Nanaimo Street.
The Number 7 bus along Nanaimo (starts at Nanaimo Station and goes all the way to the Dunbar Loop) runs rather infrequently, about once every 13 or 15 minutes (see the full schedule here). The City of Vancouver recently upzoned much of Nanaimo Street to 4-storey and 3.5-storey forms (East 12th to East Hastings). A new 4-storey building is nearing completion at Grant Street and Nanaimo near one of the stops slated for removal. There are a number of development applications in progress in the area, as well as completed lot assemblies. Why would TransLink remove capacity just when the City is increasing density here? We’ve included a number of slides that include stops that are being removed.
On Powell Street, the bus stops between McLean and Woodland at the Flint (the SRO with about 90 units run by Atira) would be removed for both bus Routes 4 and 7.
There are some questions that perhaps TransLink can look at. Why are the Dunbar and Nanaimo Streets buses combined into a single route in the first place? Would it not be worth considering doing short turns for each in the downtown or a major arterial or interchange? Speaking of bus service, why is there still no bus service along East 1st Avenue? As the City grows, would it not make sense to increase bus service and frequency?
TransLink has already removed stops from a number of routes. Please see: TransLink looking to remove bus stops from select routes 25 King Edward/UBC and 17 Oak/Downtown (CityHallWatch, March 21, 2021)
Here are the proposed changes to bus Routes 4 and 7 from the GoogleMap on the TransLink website: