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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Bring back the #14 Hastings bus route!

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New banners hanging from South Granville’s streetposts show a bus route that no longer exists.

I was pleasantly surprised to see the new banners hanging from streetposts along South Granville Street last week. There, prominently displayed, was the old #14 bus being used as a backdrop for an idiosyncratic group of Vancouverites: a ballerina with an umbrella, an art thief (and a patriotic one at that – he seems to be stealing a Lawren Harris painting), a bus driver, and a violinist. The bus driver is putting the trolley poles back on after a dewiring, and the violinist seems to be playing one of the wires in addition to his instrument.South Granville 2

It’s great to see some of Vancouver’s transit history up on South Granville. Yes, it does show one of those little annoyances we all have to put up with when riding a trolleybus. But I guess you could say that dewirings are part of the whole Vancouver transit experience. Trolleys are probably our most beloved transit vehicle, especially the old E901s. Don’t get me started on the new E40LFRs – the interior is so awkwardly designed that the bus feels crowded with only 15 people on it.

South Granville 3Perhaps we need to celebrate our trolleybuses like San Francisco celebrates its cable cars. They even write books about them! A good start would be to bring back Vancouver’s most famous bus route: the number 14. The 14 Hastings/Arbutus used to serve as the city’s transit backbone, running through Vancouver’s poorest and richest neighbourhoods along Hastings St, Granville, W. Broadway, and Arbutus. They even wrote a play about it that’s been running for the past 16 years through some 1200 performances. But at some point in the last 10 years, the old number 14 route morphed into the 16 Arbutus, which covers much of the same route with the addition of the section to 29th Avenue Station. Now there’s no Number 14 route at all.

I propose that the new 16th Ave route from Cambie to UBC take the number 16 (makes sense, right?), and put the Number 14 back on the route where it belongs.


***Update***: Kudos to TransLink for bringing back the #14 Hastings route earlier this year! All the details can be found in this post from earlier this year: #14 Hastings Returns to Vancouver. See the route map here: #14 Route Map

Peter Klitz of TransLink tells the story:

In this case, with the change in travel patterns that resulted from the introduction of the Canada Line, we took a closer at the trolley routes in the city and saw that the 17 was out of balance. The 17 currently goes all the way from Oak Street, through downtown, on Broadway to UBC and through Hastings, essentially a pairing of the Oak Street corridor and the Broadway corridor to UBC. We recognized that those pairings weren’t really working anymore. We need to provide more service on the Oak Street portion than on the Broadway section, because there’s so much other service on Broadway.

We saw the ridership demand on Hastings matched well with the demand on Broadway to UBC. So Hastings St has been hooked up to UBC. All the services that exist today still continue to operate, and that route pairing will be known as the 14. The 17 stays on Oak Street, the 10 stays on Granville Street and everyone gets a service level that matches ridership.

John Calimente is the president of Rail Integrated Developments. He supports great mass transit, cycling, walking, transit integrated developments, and non-automobile urban life. Click here to follow TheTransitFan on Twitter.