TransLink has announced that it is removing some stops on the 25 UBC/Brentwood route to speed up service.
The bus stop balancing program, which aims to remove underused, close-together stops, has already been rolled out on the 2 bus and will be introduced on the 17 and the 25 on April 12.
According to TransLink, 97 per cent of riders do not use the affected stops. However, the bus stop balancing program has drawn criticism from some who are worried about how a longer walk to stops will hurt accessibility.
TransLink’s 2019 service review indicated that the 25 was the third-busiest bus route in TransLink’s network after the 99 and the 49. Those two routes also serve UBC.
The program is removing approximately one in eight stops along the 25 and is projected to save four minutes per round trip and $140,000 and 1,300 weekday service hours annually.
TransLink Senior Manager for Bus Priority Programs Dan Freeman emphasized the role that accessibility played in the bus stop balancing program and choosing which stops to remove.
“So we look at, are there crosswalks, are there curb cuts? Some of those places right now on Oak Street, for example, there is no crosswalk at a stop. Imagine trying to cross Oak Street on foot without a crosswalk ... and certainly someone with a mobility challenge, there’s no way they would be able to safely navigate that street,” he said in an interview.
Freeman also emphasized that stops serving hospitals, transfer points and other “critical destinations” used by people more likely to have mobility needs” would not be changed.
“The bus stop balancing isn’t being driven by financial needs. It’s really about making the bus service more attractive for customers, and guidelines that we have in place are guidelines that existed well before COVID,” said Freeman.