Fourth Plain is the most heavily used transit corridor in C-TRAN’s system with thousands of daily trips -- a volume that has resulted in unreliable service and overcrowding in the past. In January 2017, the launch of The Vine implemented a modern, enhanced transit line along the Fourth Plain and Fort Vancouver Way corridors between downtown Vancouver and Vancouver Mall. The bus rapid transit system replaces C-TRAN’s Route 4 while greatly improving reliability, mobility, capacity and operations on C-TRAN’s highest ridership corridor. The Vine includes several features that set it apart from other routes: 60-foot, low-floor hybrid buses, raised station platforms for level boarding, 10-minute frequency during peak travel times, wheelchair self-parking areas, on-board bike racks, traffic signal technology and more. Travel time is up to 10 minutes faster in each direction than the old Route 4, and The Vine costs less to operate than the service it replaced.
The Vine includes the following features:
Vehicles: C-TRAN has 10 low-floor articulated hybrid buses for The Vine corridor. The buses include self-securing wheelchair parking areas, on-board bicycle racks, as well as seating and standing room for 90 to 110 passengers per bus.
Stations: The Vine stations provide a high-level of passenger comfort, convenience and safety. The stations were designed to reflect the character of Vancouver and include community-inspired functional public art. With extensive input from the community, C-TRAN selected a playful collection of vertical elements supporting a simple roof, which reflects people in motion and the speed of transit. In addition, a raised passenger boarding platform allows for easier and faster access for all by providing level boarding between the platform and the bus.
- Transit Signal Priority (TSP) allows Vine buses to be able to communicate with the traffic signal system along Fourth Plain and Fort Vancouver Way to gain priority at these signals. TSP can reduce bus delays at traffic signals by either giving the bus a green light, or holding it green for a few seconds longer if a bus is approaching.
- Off-board Fare Collection: Customers may pre-purchase fares at Ticket Vending Machines (TVM) at each station before boarding which will significantly speed up boarding. This lets passengers quickly board using any door, greatly reducing the time spent at stations, and increasing the overall efficiency and reliability of the system. The Vine’s fare will be a C-Zone fare, like the rest of C-TRAN’s routes inside of Clark County. Real-time passenger information displays tell passengers waiting at stations how long before the next bus arrives. It also has the capability to provide other information to riders.
The Vine cost-effectively increases transit ridership and enhances comfort, convenience and image by:
- Reducing transit travel time along the corridor it serves;
- Improving trip reliability;
- Reducing ongoing operations and maintenance costs compared to the cost of other service;
- Increasing passenger capacity;
- Improving safety and security; and
- Improving access to and from transit for pedestrians and bicyclists.
2008—HCT System Plan Study
The Fourth Plain Bus Rapid Transit project evolved from the two year Clark County High Capacity Transit (HCT) System Study conducted by the Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council (RTC) and completed in 2008. The Clark County HCT System Study identified how high capacity transit can best serve trips within Clark County as well as trips connecting to Portland, Oregon. The HCT System Study narrowed a set of initial corridors to four promising corridors:
- Highway 99;
- Fourth Plain;
- I-205; and
- Mill Plain.
Based on cost effectiveness, ridership, and potential environmental impacts, BRT was recommended as the preferred HCT mode within the county on these corridors; thus, light rail and the other HCT modes are no longer being considered in these corridors as planning efforts progress in the future.
In 2010, the C-TRAN Board of Directors approved its 20 Year Transit Development Plan, C-TRAN 2030, that identified Fourth Plain as the priority corridor for implementation of some form of BRT.
2011—Fourth Plain Alternatives Analysis
In January 2011, C-TRAN initiated the Fourth Plain Transit Improvement Project Alternatives Analysis. This 18-month study identified a set of problems with existing transit service along the Fourth Plain Boulevard corridor, developed and evaluated 23 different alternatives, and recommended implementing Bus Rapid Transit along the corridor. This recommendation, called a “Locally Preferred Alternative”, was adopted by Vancouver City Council, the RTC Board of Directors, and the C-TRAN Board of Directors in the summer of 2012.
In the Fall of 2012, C-TRAN initiated the Project Development phase for the Fourth Plain BRT Project. This phase included system design, environmental and branding activities.
The President and Congress approved the full 80% federal funding commitment for C-TRAN’s Fourth Plain BRT Project. This action followed a commitment from C-TRAN to provide its local share and a Regional Mobility grant from the state of Washington that when combined together, represents full funding for the project.
The construction phase of the project built 34 Vine stations along the corridor, including a new Vancouver Mall Transit Center that also serves other fixed routes. As part of The Vine, C-TRAN also expanded its maintenance facility to accomodate The Vine's 60-foot buses and the rest of the vehicles in our fleet.
January 8, 2017
The Vine officially began revenue service.