New buses cancelled

Peace Arch News

By Hannah Sutherland

Two new buses connecting White Rock with Langley and Guildford have been cancelled.

The 531 – which would have run directly between White Rock Centre and Langley – and the 399 B Line – which would have run from White Rock Centre to Newton Centre, Surrey Central and then Guildford – were introduced to Peninsula residents last May during an information session hosted by Coast Mountain Bus Company at Semiahmoo Shopping Centre.

The 531 was scheduled to begin service in December, while the 399 B Line was to be launched next March, after the 2010 Olympics.

“Anything to do with expansion is pretty much out the window right now,” TransLink spokesperson Drew Snider said Monday.

He said the cancellations come after the mayor’s council on regional transportation approved a transportation plan supplement last month that is to generate $130 million in new annual revenue.

The supplement allows TransLink to maintain road and transit operations at current levels, and puts a hold on further expansion.

“When the mayors voted for the $30 million supplement, that was more of a hold-the-line thing,” Snider said, noting it’s unclear when plans for the two buses will be picked up again. “That’s just a matter of watching to see how things turn around on the economy, whether we’re able to increase revenue sources; because that’s the big thing right now, is increasing our revenue sources.”

While Snider said TransLink expects to eventually get the necessary funding, it won’t be any time soon.

“Right now, we’re waiting to see, but it’s going to be measured in years, I think, until we’re able to get any more service expansion.”

The 531 bus was planned to run every half hour along 24 Avenue, bringing transit service to Grandview Corners and Morgan Crossing, as well as to the Campbell Heights Industrial Park.

Currently, Langley-White Rock riders have to transfer between buses plying 152 Street and 64 Avenue.

The 399 B Line was to be the first-ever express bus service for Surrey.

It was to use articulated buses – likely those decommissioned from the 98 B Line between Richmond and Vancouver after the Canada Line opened – potentially handling much heavier volumes and alleviating the crush of passengers trying to board existing buses.

It was to make only limited stops, reducing the time to traverse Surrey’s major centres by transit, and the entire run was to take less than 45 minutes.

It was planned to run every 7½ minutes.

 

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