While much of the talk centres on how much the new rapid transit bus service will benefit commuters heading west, City of Langley Mayor Peter Fassbender predicts it will also be a boon for Langley.
“It isn’t just about people leaving our region and going into Vancouver,” he said. “It is bringing a lot of people here too, so it works both ways.”
“We are going to create job opportunities south of the Fraser.”
Fassbender, who is also vice-chair of the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation, was on hand to celebrate the completion of the new Carvolth Transit Exchange and Park and Ride on 86 Avenue in Langley, just off of 200 Street.
He was joined by Langley MP Mark Warawa, MLA Mary Polak — the minister of transportation and infrastructure — Township Mayor Jack Froese and Surrey MLA Dave Hayer.
The new exchange, which opens on Dec. 1, will have more than 670 parking stalls. The stalls will be free until the end of March.
A new TransLink policy sets the minimum price for the parking at $2 per day.
TransLink’s ExpressBus service, route 555, will begin when the new Port Mann Bridge opens on Dec. 1. The new Highway 1 Rapid Bus will provide service between the Carvolth Transit Exchange and the Braid Skytrain Station, in about 20 minutes.
Buses will run every 10 minutes during peak commuting periods and every 30 minutes in off peak hours until 11 p.m.
Fassbender anticipates 3,000 to 4,000 riders a day will use the new service, which equates to about a million people per year.
“This is something we are happy to have in the Township of Langley and is long awaited,” Froese said.
Those sentiments were echoed by Warawa, who said this was the first reliable transit option for commuters in the past 25 years.
“It will make a big difference for those who live in Langley,” Warawa said, adding it will help meet a growing demand for better transportation options in the region.
Through the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund, the federal government contributed more than $15.1 million toward the project. The provincial government provided $49.7 million and TransLink contributed $2.75 million. Fees for new developments in the area will provide $2.9 million towards the $70.5 million project.
“As a result of these partnerships, we are here today,” Polak said.
In addition to the parking capacity and the transit exchange, the project includes HOV/transit-only on and off-ramps to and from Highway 1 at 202 Street, improved connections and access to the transit exchange, and environmental enhancements.
The ExpressBus service’s future has recently been in question.
“The question was was there going to be funding to have buses run and that is what TransLink had to look at,” Fassbender said.
“They were able to find the funding in the operating budget to make it work.”
— with files from Jeff Nagel Black Press