Radical improvements could be made to TransLink’s popular 23 bus route, which connects Main Street Science World Station in downtown Vancouver’s West End neighborhood to English Bay.
TransLink says the changes are needed to improve capacity and reliability for a service that has seen significant ridership growth and overcrowding.
Currently, No. 23 operates a community shuttle bus, which is a small vehicle that seats 20 to 24 people and has zero standing capacity.
The public transit agency is proposing to upgrade this service to the use of larger, regular 40-foot buses. This bus has a total capacity of over 50 people, including approximately 35 seated passengers, which is more than twice the capacity for seated and standing passengers combined. capacity.
But to achieve this high capacity using regular buses, TransLink would have to make some major changes to Route 23’s route.
I wish the #23 Beach Avenue bus, which serves West End and North False Creek, would use a standard bus for at least some of the peak season trips.
— Kenneth Chan (@iamkennethchan) April 12, 2023
There are two route changes.
First, in line with existing sections within Chinatown, the westbound route will run along Expo Boulevard instead of along Keefer Street between Quebec Street and Pat Quinn Way.
Now, instead of traveling along Beech Avenue between Hornby Street and Jarvis Street, this detour will be abolished and Route 23 will instead continue straight along Pacific Street to access the West End. It will be.
Second, instead of terminating at the intersection of Davie Street and Denman Street in English Bay, Route 23 continues along Denman Street, then onto Robson Street, and eventually Burrard Street, where it connects the SkyTrain. Burrard Street Station will be the new terminus. This will effectively mirror much of the existing No. 5 Robson/Downtown trolley bus route.
Existing bus route 23:
Regarding future bus route changes and extensions:
Map of continued, newly established, and abolished bus stops for Bus No. 23 route changes and extensions:
Severe road space constraints along Keefer Street, Bidwell Street and Beech Avenue require route changes and extensions, especially after Beech Avenue was recently narrowed for a protected bike lane. became. Existing services use smaller community shuttle bus vehicles because 40-foot buses have larger turning radii, requiring wider lane widths and road space at intersections.
The bus stop will also be changed. The existing route 23 is currently running at a reduced speed due to the removal of 17 existing, crowded bus stops. There will be 22 new bus stops, including six new stops and 16 existing stops that currently serve other bus routes with an extension to Burrard Station.
However, using a larger bus also means a slight reduction in frequency. According to TransLink, the transition to larger buses will increase the frequency of the No. 23 bus to every 10 to 15 minutes at any time of the day throughout his week, which compares to the community shuttle’s existing frequency. This will add 2 to 3 minutes. bus.
The public transit agency says it is trying to solve the problem of overcrowding on Route 23 and miscommunication at bus stops by increasing the number of community shuttle buses. However, this only creates crowding with multiple buses, leaving overtaking problems and these smaller vehicles unable to handle the surge in passenger numbers throughout the day.
Currently, Route 23 runs every seven minutes during peak seasons, making it the highest frequency of any TransLink bus route using community shuttle buses.
In 2022, bus number 53 will be the 53rd busiest bus route out of more than 200 bus routes in TransLink’s region, with 1.13 million riders per year, of which the average weekday ridership is 3,300 people, Saturday ridership was 2,990 and Sunday/Holiday ridership was 2,300.
TransLink is currently seeking public input on the route changes. online survey The changes could be implemented as early as summer 2024, when user demand increases again.