Starting on Wednesday, residents of the Lower Mainland will have to make alternative arrangements if they usually ride the bus to work.
Unifor, the union representing bus operators and transit maintenance workers, announced last week that it will move forward with a “complete transit shutdown” commencing Wednesday. The strike will continue will also be in effect on Thursday and Friday, but union members plan to return to work Saturday.
In the meantime, TransLink is offering alternatives for riders who commute by bus, as well as a credit for monthly pass holders who do not use their Compass accounts during the three-day transit strike. The transit authority states that customers will automatically have pro-rated stored value credit applied to their Compass accounts.
According to a release, transportation models have suggested that as many as 36,000 additional cars will be on the road during morning rush hour. As a result, TransLink is encouraging employers to, “allow employees to telecommute and permit more flexible work schedules.”
“We know the union’s job action will make getting to work, school and other important places difficult. Of the 165,000 people who take the bus to work, 60 per cent do not have a driver’s licence or own a car,” says TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond.
“It’s our job to keep the region moving so we reached out to our partners to help give some relief. These initiatives won’t replace bus and SeaBus service, but we are doing what we can, providing options so commuters can reach their destination or connect to other modes, which are unaffected by job action.”
The following services will still be operational during the transit strike:
Transit services operating during job action
- SkyTrain (Expo and Millennium Lines)
- Canada Line
- West Coast Express
- West Vancouver Blue Bus (Routes 214, 215, 227 250, 251, 252, 253, 254, 255, 256, 258, 259, 262)
- Community Shuttle service on Bowen Island and Langley (Routes 280, 281, 282, 560, 561, 562, 563, 564, 379, 372)
TransLink adds that it will also offer increased SkyTrain capacity with more frequent off-peak SkyTrain service. In addition, there will be higher levels of SkyTrain attendants and police at stations to assist with customer flow.
Since more cars will be on the road, TransLink is also offering designated unused bus stops near SkyTrain stations as additional pick-up/drop-off areas for customers.
The transit authority suggests that riders consider carpooling during the strike, and mention that GobyRIDE and LiftTango carpooling platforms will increase their services. It also mentions the UBC vanpool pilot project, as well as designated carpooling parking spots at SkyTrain Park and Rides.
For commuters who can ride a bike, TransLink notes that there will be, “expanded bike parking at stations by introducing complementary bike valets at key stations to be operated by BEST (7 a.m. to 6 p.m.).” Bicycles will also be allowed on the SkyTrain all day in the last car of each train.
There will also be more Mobi bikes at and near SkyTrain stations, as well as Mobi bike share with staff on hand to respond to the volume of bikes in high volume locations.
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