New Surrey 96 B-Line

I may never use this bus because I rarely ever go to Surrey, but I am excited to hear that a Surrey B-Line is finally rolling out.  I remember having a transit poster back from the 90’s that promised express buses and B-Lines across the region by the middle of the 2000’s.  It never came to be.  I’m still waiting for a full-fledged 41st Avenue B-Line.  Grr.

In any case, here’s part of the media release:

On September 2, 2013, TransLink will be launching the new 96 B-Line service along King George Boulevard and 104 Ave. It will provide an express bus link connecting Newton and Guildford Exchanges via Surrey Central, and will run every seven to eight minutes.

Another major improvement is coming to Surrey through service optimization: The 335 will be extended all the way to Newton Exchange via 152nd Street and 72nd ave, fulfilling a longtime customer request to provide service along 72nd Avenue, east of 144th Street.

The 96 B-Line will go a long way to helping kickstart more transit rides in Surrey.  The 99 B-Line along Broadway from UBC to Lougheed was a resounding success and helped to set the path for transit ridership on the Millennium Line.  The 98 B-Line helped to create a demand for riders coming up from Richmond and was the Canada Line’s predecessor.  The 97 B-Line from Lougheed Mall to Coquitlam Town Centre (although I’m not sure how busy this bus is) is also blazing a trail for the future Evergreen Line.  I am hoping the 96 B-Line will do the same for Surrey.

Surrey is already looking to build an LRT system along pretty much the same route as the 96 B-Line.  With 7 to 8 minute frequency and limited stops, I think this B-Line will be very successful.

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9 comments

  1. I’m less optimistic about the 96B. Because all the surrounding routes are of so low frequency. If a trip doesn’t have both your origin and destination within say 800 metres of the 96B, it’s going to still be a long ride. It truly isn’t worth waiting for 20 minutes for a slow bus just because there is a new express. The 321 had already 7 minute frequencies all day, and the limited stops won’t have a large effect because the route is short. From Newton to Surrey central, the trip will be 10 minutes faster. The most significant time savings will occur if your trip involves going to somewhere 104th because it would negate the need to transfer from the 321 to the 320. The 96B is more symbolic than anything, because it lays the path for LRT. It shows surrey that they do get their fare share of transit service, and that the SOF should design with transit in mind. But expect the 96B to be mostly empty and only slightly more successful than the 97B.

  2. Kyle Z,

    I hope you’re not right about low ridership, but I know what you mean about the 97B. It’s not the same wow effect that the 99B has along Broadway. One can cross their fingers. Maybe the re-branding would help to at least draw some people out onto the 96B.

  3. @ Kyle .Z, So true. It is running empty as it is bound to fail. You have 96b line ruuning @ every 7 minutes but stopping at only 4 stops between king george and 72nd. The 321 was already busy and full @ peak times. Now 321 service degraded and bus running at15 iniutes. So lines are full and people have to wait for next bus. Another issue is that 96b line does not stop @ school stop at 94a avenue. So all rush is being diverted to 321 ( 15 miniute service) + day workers. Its most stupid decision ranslink can have.

    1. Well, you guys live in Surrey and I don’t. So you must be on the ground there and see what’s going on. From a non-Surrey transit fan, it sounds like a step in the right direction. But I don’t ride those routes. Thanks for sharing, raj.

      1. FTR, I don’t live in surrey and haven’t been there for more than 5 months. The 96B IS a step in the right direction. We’re all transit fans, and this wasn’t a “stupid” decision by translink. This was planned far in advance for more than a decade now. Ridership will grow, as most people in Metro Vancouver, even the vast majority of transit users are oblivious about the new B-Line. Only when people see it will they actually know it’s a new bus. The problem is that the 321 isn’t slow. Unlike the 9 or the 41 in Vancouver, the 10 minutes saved through the 96B isn’t significant. The decrease in service for the 321 may entice many onto the 96B. The biggest problem is the lack of “transit culture” in Surrey. The 96B is a step forward because it shows that Translink is serious about transit SOF. It will shape development (just like the 555 is already doing). This is good.

        What needs to happen is a change in attitude about transit in surrey. Transit must connect ALL destinations in Surrey as it does in Vancouver, so any trips can be made. This is called coverage service. Yes, this means running empty buses, something that Translink cannot do. There have been many attempts to get Metro Vancouver to gain transit funding (“get on board”, and now “leap ahead”) with little success. As transit enthusiasts, we need to think about what can be done better.

      2. I dont disagree that its step in right direction to add another bus service to king george. But its really no use to argue with somebody who does not travel on this route at all. People make decisions sitting in offices. Sometime going on site to see things first hand makes more sense Why do you want to increase bus riding when your older servie is running with signs ” Bus full” signs on SAME ROUTE. To me running bus service @ 7 minutes with empty bus and wiating for ridership to increase in future is good. But to decrease service for 321 to 15 minutes which gets bus full sign at first stop is just dumb decision. I reierate either you add rush stops to 96b line or its not going to work.
        your comment” The decrease in service for the 321 may entice many onto the 96B”. How if you only have 3 stops with only one of them is busiest one( 88th Ave) ?. Anyway I just dont want to argue because ground realities are very different in vancouver and surrey.

  4. in local news papers translink made big headlines that new bus being introduced right before back to school rush. Funny this is it does to stop at school stops. Making General public fool. So even at 96b bus stops……… students dont get in and wait for 321 instead. another great marketing gimmik.

  5. Its is also worth noting the bus is only half of the original promised route. It was suppose to have every second bus driving all the way to white rock. Which is a huge miss in my thought. Also the stop spots are in a need of a bit of fixing i think. There should have been one stop at 140thstreet(more worthy then whalley blvd) also 80th ave would have been nice too as its a long gap between 76 and 88th.
    1 surrey block is 2 in vancouver for those who dont know that so 76 to 88th is a huge huge gap.

    i think if they fix the few mistakes i’ve listed it will be come really popular. especially since white rock would be a destination at the end of the route with stuff to do…sorry to say but Newton is not.

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