T&T COMMITTEE AGENDA
                                                MARCH 11, 1997

                               ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT

                                                Date: February 12, 1997
                                                Dept. File No. 4252-6
                                                CC File No.  5551-1

        TO:       Standing Committee on Transportation and Traffic

        FROM:     General Manager of Engineering Services

        SUBJECT:  1997/98 Annual Transit Service Plan


             THAT the 1997/98 Annual Transit Service Plan be received for
             information and that staff report back where necessary to
             implement specific proposals.


        Council's priorities for transportation modes are walking, cycling,
        transit, goods movement, and the automobile.

        Council supports measures to increase transit use as a means of
        reducing the impacts of general vehicular traffic growth and
        improving regional air quality, as per the Transport 2021

        Council has approved a number of requests for transit service
        improvements including a package of service design guidelines and
        additional routes (discussed more fully in Engineering Service s
        October 1, 1996 Report on BC Transit s 1997/98  Conceptual Service


        This report discusses BC Transit s Annual Service Plan for next


        Each year the Vancouver Regional Transit Commission (VRTC) approves
        changes to transit service in the Region for the coming fiscal
        year.  On October 10, 1996 Council reviewed a Conceptual Transit
        Service Plan for 1997/98 and approved the following recommendations
        regarding process and service improvements:

             A.   THAT Council receive for information the 1997/98
                  Conceptual Service Plan, and request the Vancouver
                  Regional Transit Commission to provide an
                  opportunity for the municipalities to comment on
                  specific proposed service changes in the Annual
                  Service Plan in advance of its approval.

             B.   THAT the Vancouver Regional Transit Commission
                  concentrate the allocation of new resources for the
                  1997/98 Annual Service Plan in the City of Vancouver
                  in order to deal with historical under funding and
                  service cutbacks, with the following focuses:

                  -    Service to the high density Riverside/Fraser
                       Lands/Champlain Heights South,  and  North
                       Shore  False Creek areas

                  -    Overcrowding/pass-ups and schedule reliability

                  -    Granville RapidBus - including consideration of
                       letting Vancouver riders board the existing
                       suburban buses at the major transfer points on
                       Granville Street, in advance of introducing the
                       full RapidBus concept 

                  -    A general route restructuring and innovative
                       fare policy for Vancouver s Central Area,
                       including introduction of the following routes:

                                West End Loop

                                Central Broadway To Downtown Loop

                                the local Downtown Vancouver portion
                                 of the North Burnaby transit changes

        Subsequently, on January 29, 1997, the VRTC approved the 1997/98
        Annual Service Plan (available in the City Clerk s Office).

        1997/98 ANNUAL SERVICE PLAN

        The Annual Service Plan is a refinement of the Conceptual Service
        plan and sets forth the actions in the first year of the VRTC s 5
        Year Plan.  Appendices A and B provide a summary.  Key improvements
        for Vancouver in the plan include:

        1.   The North Burnaby Plan 

             This comprehensive plan for restructuring North Burnaby
             transit routes has been in existence for some time and is 
             supported by Burnaby Council.  On February 16, 1993, Council
             considered a previous version of this change which was not
             implemented.  BC Transit plans to introduce the current plan
             on April 14, 1997.

             The plan provides three important elements.  First, there will
             be a direct express service between North Burnaby and
             Vancouver, along Hastings Street as illustrated in Appendix C. 
             This is an important improvement as North Burnaby is the only
             suburban area in the Lower Mainland without a direct transit
             service to Downtown Vancouver.  Currently, all transit
             customers travelling between these areas must transfer to
             trolley buses at Kootenay Loop.  In addition, East Vancouver
             transit customers travelling to and from Burnaby will be able
             to transfer onto the new express service at major transfer
             points on Hastings Street, including Commercial Drive, Nanaimo
             Street and Renfrew Street, which they cannot do at present. 
             This will provide major travel time savings.   

             Second, an improved east-west local transit service, as an
             extension of these Burnaby services, will be provided across
             the northern portion of the Downtown peninsula.  This local
             service will operate between Stanley Park and Main Street
             along Georgia, Pender and Hastings Streets, as illustrated in
             Appendix C.  This will replace the existing #19 Shuttle
             between Stanley Park and the Downtown core.  New connections
             will be provided between the West End, Bayshore/Coal Harbour,
             and the eastern Downtown.   Service to Stanley Park will be

             Third, wheelchair accessibility will be introduced with low
             floor buses on the Hastings/Pender/Georgia Street corridor. 
             The current trolley buses are not accessible.

             As part of the change, the #2 express service on Hastings
             Street, between the PNE park-and-ride lot and Downtown
             Vancouver in the peak periods, will be discontinued and
             replaced by the new suburban express service, as has been
             previously discussed by Council.  Other local Vancouver routes
             that use Hastings Street will remain approximately the same;
             however, some route linkages will be changed.

             On balance, the North Burnaby service changes will provide a
             better level of transit service for Vancouver.

        2.   Downtown Transit Improvements

             Council requested a number of new routes for Vancouver s
             Central Area.  In response, BC Transit plans to initiate a new
             False Creek North bus service in June and a West
             End/Entertainment (Library) District looping service in
             September.  The False Creek North service will serve the
             emerging Concorde lands while the East End looping service
             will achieve the long requested connection to the library. 
             Appendix D describes two of the route concepts being

             The timing is ambitious given the amount of work to do,
             including customer research, public consultation, evaluation
             of route options, decisions on bus stop locations and
             amenities, and the installation of traffic management changes. 
             BC Transit is proceeding quickly.  A telephone survey of
             residents in the Vancouver Core area has been conducted and
             the results will be available shortly.  A public workshop at
             the Vancouver Public Library is scheduled for February 24th. 
             Council approval of the North Shore False Creek route will
             likely be required at the March meeting of the Standing
             Committee on Transportation and Traffic.

        3.   Other improvements

             Other changes for next year affecting Vancouver include:

             -    #99 B-Line Broadway Express improvements. These  are
                  discussed in a companion report to the Standing Committee
                  on Transportation and Traffic.

             -    Service level improvements.  BC Transit has not specified
                  where frequency changes will occur but has mentioned
                  several City routes in the Peak and off peak periods
                  including the #3 Main/Robson, #10 UBC/Downtown, #15
                  Cambie/Downtown, #20 Victoria/Granville, #41 Joyce
                  Station/UBC, and #22 Macdonald/Downtown.  Staff will
                  endeavour to work with BC Transit on these adjustments.

             -    Improved service for Regional connector routes and
                  commuter services to and from Vancouver;  and a
                  contingency for overloads, special events and traffic


        The Annual Service Plan appears to conform to Council s request
        that the first years of the Five Year Plan focus resources into
        Vancouver.  However, details are lacking and it is still important
        the City be able to comment on the detailed plans, as they come

        Notwithstanding, it appears that the inner portion of the Growth
        Concentration Area -  Burnaby, Vancouver and UBC - could receive
        the majority of new service, with Vancouver potentially receiving
        about 40%.

        One of the disappointments in the plan is the omission of funding
        for a new service in the Fraser Lands area of South East Vancouver. 
        However, this matter was raised at the January VRTC meeting and the
        VRTC requested a report back.  A separate memo discusses this
        matter in more detail.

        The Granville RapidBus project is not included in this Plan; BC
        Transit indicates that, depending on Provincial funding, this
        project may be considered later this year.

        Ridership, crowding and pass-up information is not available to
        help decide where additional resources should be allocated.  There
        are many overcrowding and pass-up problems in the City.  The
        planned service allocation may be insufficient to address these
        needs, especially in Vancouver in the peak periods.  BC Transit has
        delayed its planned monitoring programs because of the current bus
        fleet shortage problems.  It plans to resume data collection  and 
        report back, after this is resolved.


        Council s requests for an innovative fare policy for Vancouver s
        Central Area and a more equitable fare policy for the Region have
        not yet been addressed.  BC Transit will be examining its fare
        policy this year.  A 5% fare increase is proposed for September in
        order to meet future funding obligations and maintain the transit
        users  share of system costs.

        The VRTC approved contributing $1.5 million for the 1997/98 Annual
        Service Plan from the Local Transit Fund, in order to finance the
        shortfall in Provincial funding.  This will be discussed more fully
        in an upcoming report to Council on the VRTC s 5-Year Plan.


        The Annual Service Plan is an improvement over past plans as it
        focuses improvements into the metropolitan Growth Concentration
        Area including Vancouver and, therefore, supports the GVRD s
        Livable Region Strategy.  On the other hand, the plan still lacks
        detail.  Staff will report back as more information becomes

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