Bright-red painted bus lanes that appeared in downtown Langley City late in 2019 were created in response to a huge increase in bus ridership.
They’re also designed to pave the way for future SkyTrain planned in the area.
The affected roads include:
• The outside westbound lane of Fraser Highway from 203rd Street west to 200th Street,
• 203rd Street north of Fraser Highway to Logan Avenue, and
• Logan Avenue from 203rd Street to Glover Road eastbound.
TransLink stats note that almost every bus that runs in or through Langley uses one of those routes, and that 55 buses per hour are on some part of that network.
The routes were created in consultation with TransLink, according to a statement from Langley City.
The streets are routes for the 502 and 503 bus routes, and are part of the Fraser Transit Priority Measures.
Fraser Highway is a key transit corridor and sees about 13,000 bus boardings each week, and a total of 3.5 million each year.
That’s a huge increase in recent years.
The ridership along Fraser Highway rose 30 per cent in 2019, and had already risen 12 per cent in 2018.
In 2018, the 502 – which runs from Langley City into Surrey – was the third most overcrowded bus in all of Metro Vancouver, including busy routes in downtown Vancouver.
The overcrowding was what drove the need for service changes, according to Langley City.
The 502 is busy, but it is a traditional bus route with a high number of stops.
The 503 was redesigned in September as an alternative.
It is now a higher-frequency and faster bus connection, with fewer stops between Langley City’s downtown and Surrey Central Station.
The changes mean the 503 has seen its ridership quadruple since improvements along the Fraser Highway corridor.
The impact on local traffic was higher than anticipated – there are now many more buses on downtown Langley City roads than there were a few years ago.
Langley City is also planning to implement traffic signal improvements sooner than expected to alleviate traffic congestion.
The new lanes mean that drivers should stick to the left hand travel lanes unless they are turning at the corners.
When the bus lanes end, they are right-turn-only except for buses, which can continue through.