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Express Bus to Vancouver

Posted by Peter King 
Express Bus to Vancouver
January 17, 2015 07:33AM
The Express Bus is doing quite well at the end of its second week. The travel patterns of the users clearly indicate that the 6:30am and 5:30 pm are the sailings of choice. The flexibility of taking 15th, Taylor Way or Capilano Road, depending on how the bridge traffic is, works great. The 6:30 am gets you downtown as advertised at about 7:15, just like if you were driving a car. Where it makes its mark is the 7:30 am sailing where yes the cars get in front of the bus as they unload off the ferry as the bus waits for passengers walking off the ferry. The bus drives by the cars in the lineup at Lions Gate Bridge and gets into downtown first. Same thing holds true for the 8:30 am run.

The traffic in and out of Downtown Vancouver in the evening rush hour, even with the bus lanes, can at times be a challenge. Throw in a car accident or two on the causeway and it is a hustle. I really appreciate the relaxed driving on Bowen at this point. BC Ferries have been very helpful in making the service work so smoothly and the deck hands have been patient as I move through the centre over height lane which, thanks to some well placed poles, makes the opening too small for the bus with its mirrors.

Its nice to hear the conversation on board from passengers describing their time savings using the bus over driving and the convenience of being on a warm bus off the 6:30am run arriving Downtown Vancouver just minutes after the 257 left Horseshoe Bay. The consensus of users is that ridership would even be better if the service was integrated into the island bus service to provide a seamless service from the island to Downtown Vancouver and beyond. First things first, lets prove the ridership potential of the service then we can look at a long range plan to improve our commute to and from Downtown Vancouver. Its best to forward those comments and suggestions to Mayor, Council and BIMTA
Re: Express Bus to Vancouver
January 17, 2015 08:23AM
Thank you, Peter King. Both for the service, and your description, which is genuinely heartwarming.
Re: Express Bus to Vancouver
January 17, 2015 08:49AM
I for one hugely appreciate this service, now that I am back to work. I sure hope it continues post-midlife-refit of the Cap! Thank you Peter.
Re: Express Bus to Vancouver
January 17, 2015 10:43AM
Used this for the first time on Friday
Off the 7.30am ferry, in town by 8.10. Bus from Granville to Kits and at work for 8.35
Not bad at all.

Any initiative to improve the commuting / transport links to the island is a bonus for everyone.
Great service Peter.
Let's hope this council is focused on helping the commuter / off island traveler
Will make sure I contact them with my comments and encourage anyone else who feels the same to do so.
Thanks again!!!
Re: Express Bus to Vancouver
January 17, 2015 10:58AM
We old timers remember the infancy of what is now the 257,,, 2 runs in the a.m., 2 runs in the p.m., if I remember back to when Bert Elliot or Georg Helenius were our GVRD reps. Keep at it, Peter!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/18/2015 06:54AM by Brian Hodgins.
Re: Express Bus to Vancouver
January 17, 2015 12:06PM
Markus has been taking this bus on the days he works in town. It means that, because he gets to work earlier than he did with the regular bus before, he can leave nearly an hour earlier in the afternoon, and is home an hour earlier. It's been wonderful for our family, and for his state of mind, I think. Thank you so much for this wonderful gift, Peter.
Re: Express Bus to Vancouver
January 17, 2015 03:17PM
*sigh* Here I sit, in my office in East Vancouver, jealous of you all who can use this service. I would still have to take transit & shift trains then walk a couple of blocks to the office - which, sad to say would make me late for work....Hoping for expansion in the future :)
Re: Express Bus to Vancouver
January 17, 2015 06:50PM
Can't help but love the enthusiasm and commitment by Peter King! This service is helping families (as above), tourism, and businesses on Bowen - Thank you Peter - nice little boost to January!
Re: Express Bus to Vancouver
January 18, 2015 10:33AM
As Chair of Tourism Bowen Island I can hardly wait until the Spring when Peter can pick up at some of the hotels to bring golfers (oh.. that would mean we'd have to have bus service to the course) and hikers over to Bowen from downtown!
I wonder if Bowen's extra .5% sales tax can go towards supporting Bowen Transit instead of a line to UBC??? I wonder how the Translink Board would react to that concept?
Re: Express Bus to Vancouver
January 19, 2015 09:38AM
Well done Peter! Happy this came to be.
Re: Express Bus to Vancouver
January 19, 2015 10:46AM
Those of you with 'normal' business hours are very lucky to have this service!
Re: Express Bus to Vancouver
January 19, 2015 11:21AM
Best ridership this morning. Left Bowen on the 6:30 ferry with a full seated load who enjoyed a complimentary juice box and an Artisan Eats cookie as a big thank you for supporting the service. Quick trip to Downtown Vancouver arriving at 7:15. The 7:30 ferry run had 18 passengers on board and we avoided the long lineup at Taylor Way that extended onto the highway and close to 15th street, shutting down the curb lane and generally slowing the fast lane. The trip through West Van past Park Royal works well with the bus lane and the bus only light at Taylor Way. The 8:30 ferry run was a bit light with 8 passengers but it will pick up over time. It too avoided the traffic at Taylor Way.

Toni just informed me that there will be work done on the Lions Gate Bridge, closing down one lane from 7:00 pm until 5:30 am. While this will not affect the Express Bus, it is a concern for others who cross the bridge after 7:00pm wanting to make connections with the ferry. Give yourself a bit more time to get through the traffic.
Re: Express Bus to Vancouver
January 19, 2015 12:28PM
Great to here, Peter, about your success.

Hopefully bc ferries will be responsive if you advocate continuing the service after May fifth.
Like others, I do realize bc ferries is not in the bus business, but let's hope for at least the most apparent popular time, 630am leaving bowen and returning 530pm, you'll be able to run a real commuter bus on behalf of islanders.

Translink's answer for us is the 257 - no doubt about it. The burden they place on such a community like ours to try and get on to their priority list for any funding is not attainable, especially since we have no dense development in the lower cove based on numerous factors.

Translink has been very clear in articulating they have no funds available until the next North shore transit review in coming years.
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