West Vancouver Municipal Transit
|Areas served||West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Vancouver, Lions Bay|
|Headquarters||221 Lloyd Avenue, North Vancouver, BC|
|Union||Amalgamated Transit Union Local 134|
West Vancouver Transit (commonly known as Blue Bus and formally and formerly as West Vancouver Municipal Transit and abbreviated as WVMT) is owned and operated by the District Municipality of West Vancouver under a contract with TransLink. The system started operating in 1912 and is one of the oldest continually operated municipal transit systems in North America.
West Vancouver Transit provides scheduled transit bus service, school specials and other special services. It also provides Community Shuttle service across the North Shore and Lions Bay. As part of the TransLink network, there are no extra costs to transferring between Blue Bus and other TransLink services.
Public transportation in West Vancouver began in November 1909 with the establishment of the West Vancouver Transportation Co. Ltd., founded by John Lawson, his brother-in-law W.C. Thompson, Robert MacPherson and John Sinclair. The service ran a single boat ferry service across the Burrard Inlet between the Hollyburn Wharf at 17th Street in West Vancouver and Columbia Street in Vancouver. The fleet grew to two boats in 1910.
When the District of West Vancouver was incorporated in March 1912, the ferry service was bought out and incorporated as the West Vancouver Ferry Co., Ltd., which ran under municipal administration. The West Vancouver pier was moved to a new pier and ferry building at 14th Street. in 1914, a second pier was built at 25th Street in Dundarave but was closed shortly after following the cancellation of the Dundarave ferry service. This resulted in a jitney service running between the 14th and 25th street piers. In 1916, the first bus was purchased by the District of West Vancouver. The 1911 Pierce Arrow touring car was converted into a bus. The following year saw the second purchase of a Thomas "Flyer" which was also converted into a bus. This practice of converting vehicles into buses continued until 1927 when West Vancouver purchased its first bus, the 23-passenger "Yellow Coach" from General Motors, which ran primarily on the Upper Levels route. In 1954, the fleet expanded to 18 Twin Coaches.
Following the completion of the Lions Gate Bridge in 1938, bus service extended into Downtown Vancouver and ferry service ran until 1948. Prior to the cancellation of the ferry service, it was placed on a plebiscite vote on December 14, 1946, among West Vancouver residents. There were also talks of a buy-out of the Blue Bus system by the British Columbia Electric Railway in the same year. The Ferry Building at 14th Street in Ambleside became the bus depot until 1986 when the yard was moved to its current location at 221 Lloyd Avenue in North Vancouver.
By 1945, the Blue Bus was able to proclaim itself as the oldest bus service in British Columbia.
On March 1, 1946, a new waiting room for Blue Bus passengers in Downtown Vancouver was completed. Located at Howe & Dunsmuir, the building allowed West Vancouver riders to wait for their buses in comfort with seating accommodation for 25 passengers, heating, washrooms, payphones and parcel checking self-service.
Before the Blue Bus service joined the BC Transit network, there were no route numbers and buses ran using route names instead, such as:
- West Bay (now portions of the 250)
- Upper Levels (now portions of the 251 and 252)
- British Properties (now the 254)
- Horseshoe Bay (now portions of the 250)
A Transit Task Force looked into improving Blue Bus service and in a report released in November 1977, it noted the following potential improvements:
- Introduction of a transit corridor along Marine Drive east of 25th Street
- There is a need for extra service to West Bay, Altamont, Bayridge, British Properties and Queens
- Demand for bus service to Lions Gate Hospital
- Introduction of rear doors on buses
- New bus stop shelters, park and ride facilities and depot
- Paratransit such as dial-a-bus and shuttles
- Upper Levels Highway express bus
- Possibility of rapid transit along the BC Rail corridor
In 1979, West Vancouver Municipal Transit became a part of the Urban Transit Authority's Greater Vancouver Transit System, later renamed the BC Transit and Vancouver Regional Transit System in 1983. This change saw the authority of transit services shift to BC Transit while West Vancouver continued to operate and maintain the service. Although part of UTA/BC Transit, West Vancouver buses maintained the blue livery and branding, allowing for a distinctive and unique look compared to other transit buses in the province. Another distinct feature of West Vancouver buses at the time was their size and specifications. Unlike other buses in the Vancouver region, West Vancouver Blue Buses were eight feet wide as opposed to eight feet, six inches wide. This was because of the narrow and winding roads that Blue Buses navigate through in West Vancouver.
In the mid-1980s, rear doors were retrofitted on most buses in the fleet. Front and rear doors have been standard on all West Vancouver conventional buses ever since. The last bus without rear doors was retired in October 1993.
The first accessible buses were ordered in 1992 in the form of 9 Orion I units. These lift-equipped buses replaced some of the GM New Look units that made up the fleet at the time. The remaining GM units were replaced following the delivery of the first batch of D40LF units in 1995. With the completion of this delivery, West Vancouver Transit became the first transit system in Canada to have a completely accessible bus fleet.
When BC Transit Greater Vancouver operations were transferred to TransLink, so did West Vancouver administration. This resulted in very few changes other than the changing of BC Transit logos to TransLink ones on vehicles. A new livery was also introduced, replacing the red stripe with a gold one. This variation of the West Vancouver Blue Bus livery lasted until 2007 when a new Blue Bus livery was introduced, which was a variation of the TransLink sweep-restyled livery with a darker shade of blue.
All units were equipped with bike racks in June 1999.
In 2002, West Vancouver received its first articulated buses in the form of three New Flyer D60 units transferred from Coast Mountain Bus Company for operations on the 257 Express. These units were later replaced by three New Flyer D60LFR units, also transfers from CMBC. In August 2018, articulated bus operations ended and the three D60LFR units were returned to CMBC following the transfer of 257 route operations to CMBC. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, one D60LFR unit (one that coincidentally also ran with Blue Bus), was loaned to West Vancouver by CMBC.
Community Shuttles were introduced to West Vancouver in September 2005 with the introduction of its first shuttle route, the C12 Lions Bay/Caulfeild. More Community Shuttles were introduced as more routes came online. In September 2017, Blue Bus Community Shuttles expanded into North Vancouver.
Current Fleet Roster
All active buses are owned by the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority (TransLink). Preserved buses 61 and 995 are owned by the District of West Vancouver.
|Thumbnail||Year||Manufacturer||Model Number||Engine||Transmission||Current Destination Sign||A/C?||Notes|
||GMC Vortec 6.0L||GM 6L90-E||Luminator Horizon||Yes||
||GMC Vortec 6.0L||GM 6L90-E||Luminator Horizon||Yes|
||GMC Vortec 6.0L||GM 6L90-E||Luminator Horizon||Yes||
|701–706||2007||Nova Bus||LFS||Cummins ISL||ZF 6HP554C||Axion LED||No||
|901–909||2009||Nova Bus||LFS||Cummins ISL||ZF 6HP554C||Axion LED||No|
|1201–1217||2012||NFI||XD40||Cummins ISL9||ZF 6AP1400B||Luminator Horizon||Yes|
|1601–1605||2016||NFI||XD40||Cummins ISL9||ZF 6AP1400B||Luminator Horizon||Yes|
|1606–1614||2016||NFI||XD40||Cummins ISL9||ZF 6AP1400B||Luminator Horizon||Yes|
Retired/Transferred Fleet Summary
|Thumbnail||Year||Manufacturer||Model Number||Engine||Transmission||Destination Sign||Notes|
|S200||2005||Chevrolet||C5500||GM Duramax 6.6L Diesel||Allison 1000 with Telma retarder||Luminator Horizon|
|S201||2005||GMC||C5500||GM Duramax 6.6L Diesel||Allison 1000 with Telma retarder||Luminator Horizon|
|S261||2007||GMC||C5500||GM Duramax 6.6L Diesel||Allison 1000 with Telma retarder||Luminator Horizon||
|S305||2008||GMC||C5500||GM Duramax 6.6L Diesel||Allison 1000 with Telma retarder||Luminator Horizon||
|S370||2009||GMC||C5500||GM Duramax 6.6L Diesel||Allison 1000 with Telma retarder||Luminator Horizon||
|2013–14||Chevrolet/ElDorado||G4500/Aerotech||GM Vortec V8 6.0L gasoline||GM 6L90-E with Telma retarder||Luminator Horizon|
|Detroit Diesel 6V71||Allison VH9|
|995||1999||NFI||D40LF||Detroit Diesel Series 50||Voith D863.3|
Service, Supervisor and Miscellaneous Fleet Summary
|Fleet Number Range||Thumbnail||Year||Manufacturer||Model Number||Engine||Transmission||Notes|
|4||Honda||Fit||I4 1.5L gasoline|
|R050||Ford/ElDorado||E450/Aerotech||Ford Triton V10 6.8L gasoline||Ford TorqShift 5R110W||
|T002||1989||GMC||Sierra Reg. Cab pickup||GM V8 5.7L gasoline||
|T009||2007||Toyota||Yaris 4-Door Sedan||I4 1.5L gasoline||
|T010||1999||GMC||Sierra 2500 Pickup||GM V8 6.0L gasoline||
|T013||2007||Toyota||Yaris 4-Door Sedan||I4 1.5L gasoline||
|T014||2010||Ford||F150 Pickup||Ford V8 4.6L gasoline||
|T015||2009||Toyota||Yaris 4-Door Sedan||I4 1.5L gasoline||
- West Vancouver Transit Rider Guide Web Archive, retrieved 30-01-2021
- Transit Topics December 1946 Issue West Vancouver Archives, retrieved 19-04-2021
- Transit Topics October 1945 Issue West Vancouver Archives, retrieved 19-04-2021
- Transit Topics March 1946 Issue West Vancouver Archives, retrieved 19-04-2021
- West Vancouver Community Plan 1980 West Vancouver Archives, retrieved 19-04-2021
- West Vancouver (B.C.). Transit department West Vancouver Archives, retrieved 19-04-2021
- District of West Vancouver Guide to Municipal Services West Vancouver Archives, retrieved 19-04-2021
- West Vancouver Report November 1995, vol. 16, no.2 West Vancouver Archives, retrieved 30-01-2021
- The Buzzer June 11, 1999 Issue, translink.ca, retrieved 26-03-2010
|Facilities||Park Royal – West Vancouver Transit Centre|
|Current Fleet||701–706 901–909 1201–1217 1601–1605 1606–1614|
|Community Shuttle Fleet||17501–17505 18501–18509 19501–19502, 19536–19537|
|712–714 801–803 912–914 921–929 951–959, 961–968 971 981 990–998 S200 S201 S261 S305 S370 S1301–S1304, S1308, S1309, S1316–S1320|
|Conventional||250 250A 253 254 255 258|
|Community Shuttle||214 215 227 251 252 256 262|
|Other||Cemetery – Vancouver Special Events Bus|
|Former Routes||257 259 – Hockey Special – PNE Special|