TransLink to ‘suspend’ COVID-19-related transit cuts and layoffs

TransLink says it will back off on transit service reductions and layoffs following the B.C. government’s announcement this week on restarting some areas of the economy and society.

“With the release of British Columbia’s Restart Plan, TransLink will review all transit service levels to ensure it is balancing the need to help people get around the region, with the need to maintain and respect enhanced safety protocols,” said TransLink in a statement. “Further service and safety-related announcements will be made in due course.”

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TransLink recently cut back service and laid off 1,500 workers. The plan is to have service levels back up by the end of the May long weekend.

“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,” said the statement. “The Province and TransLink will also continue to call on the federal government for a national solution to the challenges facing transit systems.”

“Today’s commitment by the Province of B.C. to help TransLink keep transit service running on Day 1 of the BC Restart Plan is an important first step towards returning TransLink to financial sustainability in the long-term,” said New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Coté, chair of the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation. “I look forward to working with Minister Robinson and her team through the summer to address the pandemic’s impacts on TransLink finances so that TransLink is equipped to help rebuild our region’s sustainable, innovative economy.”

CUPE 4500, which represents approximately 190 supervisory employees for Coast Mountain Bus Company, welcomed today’s news.

“We are extremely relieved, and we are dedicated to the work our members do to provide safe transport to people for wherever they need to go. We’ve always been that safe ride,” said CUPE 4500 president Neil Pepper in a statement. “This pandemic period been a stressful time for our members and for all the essential service workers who rely on our service, so we are especially happy to learn this news.”

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