A near empty waterfront train platform is pictured in downtown Vancouver, Monday, April 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

TransLink returns to near-normal operations after COVID-19 leads to drop in ridership

Translink also said it would rescind layoff notices to nearly 1,500 employees

TransLink has resumed near-normal operations as of this week as B.C. enters Phase Two of its reopening plan on Tuesday (May 19).

The Metro Vancouver transit authority had heavily cut routes and laid off nearly 1,500 workers due to financial pressures from the pandemic. In April, TransLink said it was losing $75 million per month as ridership dropped by 83 per cent. The transit authority had suspended fare collection to move to rear-boarding mid-March but will resume paid trips and front-door loading on June 1.

Translink also said last week it would rescind layoff notices to nearly 1,500 employees after the province pledged to figure out a funding solution for the transit authority.

“With the commitment from the province earlier in the month, we have restored SkyTrain to about 90 per cent of what it was before the pandemic,” TransLink spokesperson Jillian Drews said, noting that service levels will return to 100 per cent sometime in the next week . However, capacity will remain lower as approximately half the seats have been blocked off to aid with physical distancing.

SeaBus is operating back at regular hours but with 30 minutes between sailings, while the West Coast Express is running three shorter trains.

The planned May 18 bus service suspensions have not gone into effect. However, five routes that serve universities – 32, 125, 143, 258, 480 – will remain suspended until further notice. Last week, TransLink said that three routes are being reintroduced for the summer: 42 Alma/Spanish Banks, 150 White Pine Beach/Coquitlam Central Station and 179 Buntzen Lake/Coquitlam Central Station.

READ MORE: TransLink suspending bus fares in response to COVID-19

READ MORE: TransLink to lay off nearly 1,500 workers, cut service further as ridership down 83%

READ MORE: TransLink scraps layoffs impacting 1,500 employees amid emergency provincial funding


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