The city’s Route 1 is increasingly popular with riders. (Tyler Olsen/Abbotsford News)

As Abbotsford’s buses become more reliable, riders are following

City’s Route 1 is exceeding rapid transit benchmarks, staff tell council

Abbotsford’s bus system is becoming more reliable, with its future “rapid transit” line particularly busy.

The city’s transit system was previously been found to be plagued by inconsistency, with buses unable to keep to their schedule and sometimes forced to bypass waiting passengers.

The last year has seen the city tweak routes, decreasing service on little-used lines in favour of busier buses.

On Monday, staff told council that those moves have paid off, with the reliability of buses increasing from 59 to 74 per cent between the summers of 2018 and 2019.

“Our system is now more reliable overall, but we have some specific routes that still have challenges,” said senior transportation manager Mike Kelly.

Three bus lines – routes 5,6 and 12 – have still had trouble keeping to their schedules, and, when the city adds more service hours this January, improving reliability on those routes will be among the priorities.

Meanwhile, the route the city envisions as its future rapid transit line has proven to be extremely popular. Route 1 – which runs from Highstreet down Maclure, Old Yale Road and South Fraser Way to the historic downtown, then south to UFV – is now carrying one-third of all bus passengers in Abbotsford. Buses along the route currently run every 20 minutes during rush hour and every half-hour at other periods. The city eventually hopes to reduce that to a minimum of every 15 minutes.

Staff say the route is already “outperforming benchmarks for ‘rapid’ bus routes in rides per service hour and rides per kilometre.’”

The success of the core route has been such that buses at peak times have been filling up. Some of January’s service improvements will go to that route, with buses set to run every 18 minutes during peak hours.

“Having a particular route that is reaching capacity is a great problem to have,” Coun. Bruce Banman said. “That means people are actually using the service that’s being provided.”

The city has been unable to increase the number of buses for years because its current storage yard was at capacity. The construction of a new bus depot on Gladys Avenue will allow room for more buses, when the city sees fit to add them.

Plans are already in the works to add a dozen buses and increase service by 40 per cent over the next three years. That is already faster than originally planned, but Coun. Sandy Blue said the public’s usage of the system could further lead to a boost in transit spending.

RELATED: Abbotsford to boost transit faster than first planned

“I’m hoping, as we improve on this base, that we’re going to advance those future improvements even quicker. As we get more ridership and there’s more trust, frankly, there will likely be more demand and I think that there will be things that we do that are an expansion of the budget as well.”

Staff presented council earlier this year with the possibility of accelerating the growth of the city’s transit system even faster. That option, which staff didn’t recommend and council didn’t choose, would have set the city on course to having buses running every 10 minutes along the three core routes. But the plan would have cost an extra $350,000 every year.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pixabay photo
‘Horrific’ abuse of volunteers and COVID-19 contact tracers must stop, Chilliwack soccer club says

Parents have become abusive after being told COVID-19 rules, email says

Gurkirat Toor has been charged after allegedly pointing a gun at another driver on Oct. 23 in Abbotsford.
Man charged after gun pointed at another driver in Abbotsford

Gurkirat Toor, 21, previously charged with purple-fentanyl bust

The Abbotsford Teachers’ Union stated that local teachers worked without heat on Friday as secondary principals’ and vice-principals’ were at a work-related retreat in Whistler. (Google)
Abbotsford Teachers’ Union says teachers left in the cold on Friday

Abbotsford School District disagrees, saying all buildings were set to 21C on Pro-D Day

The Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation held its inaugural Grand Gala in November 2019 at Harrison Hot Springs Resort. This year’s event will be held online. (Submitted photo)
Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation holds virtual Grand Gala

Second annual event takes place online on Nov. 20, raising funds for local hospitals

Abbotsford author Katrina Wiggins has been shortlisted for the Page Turner Award eBook Award for her young adult novel, Blind the Eyes.
Abbotsford author shortlisted for literary award for young adult novel

Katrina Wiggins’ book Blind the Eyes is about climate crisis and monsters

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A woman walks through check in at WestJet at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Strong support for pre-flight COVID testing ahead of upcoming WestJet trial: YVR

Airport is partnering with UBC, which is helping choose the method of pre-flight testing

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

It’s been eight years since Gordon Spencer (pictured), and cousin, ‘Lil’ Bruce Mayo, were gunned down in a home in Langley, and Spencer’s widow is hoping someone who knows something will step up (file)
Eight years on and still no answers in Langley double murder

Wife of victim makes public appeal for people with information to come forward

Langley resident Shaun Nugent, who died in 2019 shortly after he saved a swimmer from drowning, has been awarded a posthumous medal for bravery by the Royal Canadian Humane Association (Courtesy Nugent family)
Langley man who died after saving swimmer receives posthumous medal for bravery

Shaun Nugent rescued woman from Hayward Lake near Mission in July of 2019

Most Read