Monday, May 11, 2020

Transit service reductions and cancellations put on pause

Since the start of the COVID-19 state of emergency, transit ridership has dropped significantly as has the number of people using other modes of travel to get around our region. This has resulted in TransLink running into a cash flow problem as the agency is losing $75 million per month. The province and federal government were asked to step-in with a cash infusion to ensure that transit service could be maintained.

Without this emergency funding, transit service would need to be slashed throughout Metro Vancouver. In Langley, 17 routes would have been impacted starting May 18th.

On Friday, TransLink and the province announced that these planned route cancellations and service reductions would be paused.

The Province and TransLink are working on a comprehensive solution to address the major financial impacts that TransLink, like many transit agencies across the country, has incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given the progress in these discussions, TransLink and its operating companies will suspend the service reductions planned to begin on May 18 and rescind layoff notices issued to approximately 1,500 employees. The Province and TransLink will also continue to call on the federal government for a national solution to the challenges facing transit systems.

This is good news. It is important to note that even with significantly lower transit ridership currently, because of physical distancing measures, 30% of bus capacity is available system-wide.

As the province looks to open again, it will be important that people can travel safely around our region. Having enough transit service to allow people to travel, while keeping their distance, is critical.

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