On September 10, the completion of the upgraded UBC Bus Exchange was celebrated by TransLink and UBC in an event that thanked students for their patience during the construction.
The new exchange is located partially under the recently completed Exchange student residence. It comes with a new layout designed to improve passenger flow, upgraded lighting and additional shelters, among other new features. Representatives from TransLink handed out vegan chocolate cupcakes and some other free goodies, like popsockets and sunglasses, to students and other UBC community members who walked by. There was also a photo booth with an accompaniment of live music.
“It was a long time coming,” said Benson Chin, a marketing specialist at TransLink who spoke with The Ubyssey at the event. “A lot of students that have been through have said they’ve been waiting for it and it runs a lot smoother than it did in the past.”
Brandon Forys, a UBC student, has been commuting to campus for a few years now, and he’s excited about the new bus loop, particularly now that the construction is almost finished.
“That has been a tremendous inconvenience for a lot of us, having to walk around,” said Forys. “[But] it’s definitely a definite improvement over all the arrangements we’ve had in the past.”
Students are happy with the new improvements, particularly the separate drop-off and pick-up areas that have improved the flow of traffic and made the loop less confusing to navigate.
“I think it’s really really beautiful,” said Alex Li, a commuter student. “I think they did a good job building it ... I don’t know how much it cost me in tuition, but I try not to think about something like that.”
Vikram, a fifth-year student, said that the feel of the exchange had improved since his first year, when they felt that the loop “always looked really sketchy.” Now, the new loop is more accessible.
For Kyle, another fifth-year student who has been commuting on the 99 B-Line since his first year, the transit experience as a UBC student has had its ups and downs, but this year has been great. Kyle and Vikram hope that TransLink will also try to reduce wait times at peak hours by increasing the frequency of the bus services.
Most students would like to see a SkyTrain extension to UBC as the next transit improvement.
“We’re trying to expand the system as much as we can,” said Chin.
“We’re working on the line from [Vancouver Community College] to Arbutus, and it sounds like there’s a lot of interest in getting the SkyTrain all the way to UBC, so that might be the next step.”