TransLink recently announced sweeping seasonal changes to bus routes across its network. And while the majority of these changes increased frequency on routes, a few of them slowed service down.
One of the bus routes that saw a reduction in service has historically been Metro Vancouver's busiest. In fact, it has been called one of North America's busiest routes -- at least pre-pandemic, according to Bloomberg.
The 99 Commercial-Broadway/UBC (B-Line) services a densely-populated section of Metro Vancouver, commencing at Lougheed Highway at Boundary Loop and travelling down Broadway to the University of British Columbia (UBC) bus loop in under an hour.
The express line makes fewer stops on its journey, allowing passengers to travel long distances in less time.
On Monday (Jan. 2), the 99 B-Line began operating at a reduced frequency as part of TransLink's latest quarterly service adjustment.
The transit authority changes its bus service quarterly to "better reflect changing demand and travel patterns" across the region, such as "ridership patterns and crowding metrics," spokesperson Dan Mountain told Vancouver Is Awesome in an email.
And while the company increased overall bus service hours by 0.4 per cent as part of the winter Vancouver weather plan, seven routes saw a reduction in service, including the 99 B-Line.
When asked why TransLink's busiest route saw a reduction in frequency, Mountain said the popular route was given "minor reductions" to allow more resources on other routes "where they’re most needed."
Despite the reductions, the 99 B-Line remains the most frequent bus route in Metro Vancouver, "with buses arriving approximately every three minutes during peak hours."
TransLink also found that ridership on the route has been lower, likely due to the increase in people working from home over the pandemic and "the introduction of the R4 41st Ave RapidBus service, which provided riders with a strong alternative East/West option through Vancouver," added Mountain.
The difference in pre-pandemic ridership on the route is significant, with roughly 57,000 customer boardings on the 99 B-Line in Fall 2019 compared to approximately 36,000 boardings in Fall 2022, he explained.
TransLink adjustments to the 99 Commercial-Broadway/UBC (B-Line)
Have a look at the frequency changes on the 99 B-Line:
Monday to Friday
Every 4 minutes towards UBC from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. (from 3 minutes)
Every 3 to 5 minutes towards Commercial-Broadway from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. (from 3 minutes)
Every 4 to 6 minutes from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (from 4 to 5 minutes)
Every 4 to 6 minutes from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. (from 3 to 4 minutes)
Every 6 to 8 minutes from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. (from 4 to 6 minutes)
Every 10 minutes towards UBC from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. (from 7 to 9 minutes)
Every 10 minutes towards Commercial-Broadway from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. (from 8 to 9 minutes)
Every 6 to 7 minutes towards Commercial-Broadway from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. (from 6 minutes)
Every 6 to 8 minutes towards UBC from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (from 6 minutes)
Every 7 to 9 minutes towards Commercial-Broadway from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. (from 6 to 8 minutes)
Every 7 to 9 minutes towards UBC from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. (from 6 to 8 minutes)
Every 7 to 8 minutes from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. (from 6 minutes)