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TransLink eyes service cuts between Richmond and Ladner
Two bus routes with service between South Delta and Richmond could soon be cut if TransLink goes ahead with realignment plans.
Route 404, which mainly services Richmond, would terminate at the Riverport Recreation Complex and not go to South Delta. As well, routes 606 and 608 will switch to a community shuttle bus and no longer continue through the Ladner Exchange and on to Richmond's Bridgeport Station.
"What we're trying to do is identify places where service is being used less and see if there are opportunities to shift resources where we have overcrowding," said Jeff Busby, manager of project development and network management for TransLink.
The average cost per boarded passenger for Route 404 is $2.32, significantly higher than the Richmond average of $1.58 and system-wide average of $1.34.
Busby says the shortened route will free up resources for reinvestment in other routes. Customers who wish to travel to the Ladner Exchange can still transfer between buses at Steveston Highway and Highway 99.
Riders on the 606 and 608 buses can also get to Richmond by using a transfer from the 608 to the 601 in the morning rush hour or a transfer from the 601 to the 606 in the evening.
The average cost per boarded passenger for the 606 bus is $7.62, while the cost for the 608 bus is $3.61. The subregional average in Ladner and Tsawwassen is $2.67.
"When we make these changes the total amount of bus service remains the same," said Busby. "So there might be reductions in some services and increases in others."
Busby said TransLink is planning a number of improvements for South Fraser communities, including service on Scott Road in North Delta. However, he could not guarantee that all the money saved through route efficiencies would be reinvested in transit for Delta.
Last year Mayor Lois Jackson said by adding all tax revenue streams, TransLink receives $39.4 million from Delta residents each year, or $394.50 per capita.
"It's just the same story that we're hearing from that organization and we keep getting less and less service," she said.
Jackson said the cost per boarded passenger is not an effective means of measuring the necessity of a service, adding there are other transit services which are maintained despite high passenger costs. According to the 2013 business plan for West Coast Express, it has a system-wide operating cost per passenger of $4.07.
Due to a frustration with TransLink's service levels, the municipality created the North Delta Seniors Bus last April, which operates independently from TransLink.
The question of funding the public transit operator is currently a hot topic in Metro Vancouver. During last year's provincial election campaign, Premier Christy Clark promised to hold a referendum on a new funding formula for TransLink in the 2014 municipal elections.
Jackson said she put a notice of motion forward at the last Metro Vancouver board meeting calling on each municipal council to request their staff table a report on the transit needs for each community.
"We must find out what the people need and how the people want to pay for it," she said.
A public open house on the proposed changes will be held by TransLink at the Ladner Community Centre on Feb. 13 from 5-8 p.m. Residents can also go online to submit feedback at translink.ca/serviceop. This public consultation period will last from Feb. 3-19.