New buses down Gladwin Road and to Abbotsford International Airport are among the improvements being considered after BC Transit and the city agreed to increase the number of new buses hitting the road over the next three years.
Once Abbotsford’s new bus depot opens next year, the city and BC Transit will increase service hours by 40 per cent by 2023. That’s significantly faster than previously planned.
The city and BC Transit had previously agreed to add eight buses over three years. But on Monday, council gave the go-ahead to a plan that will see 12 new buses in service by the end of 2022.
Transit officials say the plan will guarantee 15-minute service on core routes (Routes 1, 2 and 3) on weekdays between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
It will also provide for a new bus that would begin running next year down Gladwin Road to Marshall, past Abbotsford Regional Hospital to McCallum Road and then to the University of the Fraser Valley. Service would run every half hour.
A bus to Abbotsford International Airport would likely run from the Highstreet area and be focused on key commuter times, “with limited off-peak service,” planners told council. The precise route has not yet been hammered out.
The increased service will hike the city’s transit budget by $700,000 each year.
Staff also gave council the option to increase transit service even faster, although they didn’t recommend following that path. Were the city to go that route, it would enable buses to run every 10 minutes along the core routes, but increase costs by $350,000 each year.