Vancouver News | Local Breaking | CTV News Vancouver
'Bars haven't even closed yet': Coquitlam mayor calls for extended SkyTrain hours
A Metro Vancouver mayor is the latest to add his voice to growing calls for later rapid transit service.
Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart says he takes the Evergreen line, which first rolled into his city two years ago, several times a week.
"It really has been a game changer."
But for people out late, the game really hasn't changed at all.
"When rapid transit shuts down at 1 or 2 in the morning… The bars haven't even closed yet and rapid transit has ended," Stewart said.
Bars on the Granville Strip in downtown Vancouver don't let out until 3 a.m. Scores of people find themselves competing for scarce taxis in a city that still hasn't embraced ride-hailing services like Uber.
Those who live nearby can take a short bus route, but for someone living in Coquitlam, the trek home via transit can take anywhere from an hour-and-a-half to almost three hours, depending on what time they leave downtown.
For years, TransLink has said late-night service isn't feasible, but recently the service provider has suggested it might be.
TransLink's reasoning had previously been that most of the track and train car maintenance happens overnight.
"The Expo Line is now 34 years old. We will not allow the system to fall into a state of disrepair. We have to maintain overnight," CEO Kevin Desmond said.
But Stewart is suggesting a compromise.
"Let's see if we can maintain it from Sunday to Thursday. Do the primary maintenance on nights when we don't need it to stay open late," he said.
It's an idea Desmond admits the company has explored.
"We have been looking at, 'Are there opportunities, maybe Friday and Saturday night, to extend the hours?' We continue to look at it. There will be trade-offs," he said.
The transportation situation will be front and centre at a BarWatch member meeting Monday night.
"This is on the agenda," chairman Curtis Robinson told CTV News.
"We have representatives from TransLink to explain what they plan to do to address this very real need for transportation for people at 3 o'clock in the morning."