The North Shore’s long-awaited express bus route is expected to launch this spring — one to three months after four other routes will be up and running in other areas of Metro Vancouver.
TransLink plans to launch three new RapidBus (formerly B-Line) routes next year, and upgrade two existing routes.
The new lines run across the North Shore, from Coquitlam to Maple Ridge, and along 41st Avenue in Vancouver. The upgraded routes run between Vancouver and Simon Fraser University, and Guildford to Newton/North Delta.
Four of the lines are expected to launch in January.
However, the Marine Drive route between Phibbs Exchange in the District of North Vancouver and Park Royal in West Vancouver will likely be operational between one and three months later, TransLink’s senior manager of bus priority programs Dan Freeman told at a Mayors’ Council meeting on Friday.
Freeman attributed the delay to differences about the scope of the project — the terminus was changed from 24th Street to Park Royal in West Vancouver because of concerns from council and the public — and some unexpected issues during construction.
“The Marine Drive corridor poses some additional complexity from a constructability perspective, and our contractors have been encountering some utility conflicts and other structural conflicts as they have been progressing, which puts the launch further into the spring of 2020,” said Freeman.
Sarah Ross, the service planning director, said after the meeting that the new digital signs that are being installed at RapidBus stops must be dug deeper than traditional signs, and in some cases they have found more than they bargained for underground.
TransLink is looking at ways to accelerate the construction schedule, according to a staff report.
City of North Vancouver Mayor Linda Buchanan said she can live with the delay.
“I know the timeline has shifted slightly, but I’d rather get it right and get it moving as efficiently as it can, as opposed to rushing it and having it perhaps not perfect,” she said.
It’s expected that two more RapidBus routes will be introduced in 2021, with service to Surrey, Delta and Richmond, and five more routes planned for the third phase of TransLink’s 10-year plan.