TransLink suspends planned service reductions, rescinds hundreds of layoff notices
VANCOUVER -- With discussions underway on how B.C. will begin lifting its pandemic restrictions, TransLink has announced it's scrapping some of its previously planned service reductions and rescinding layoff notices it sent to hundreds of employees.
Late last month, the transit authority said it was losing about $2.5 million each day, or $75 million monthly, due to an 83 per cent decline in riders.
As a result, TransLink announced it was giving temporary layoff notices to 1,500 people following a massive downturn in ridership as a result of COVID-19. It also announced dozens of bus routes would be suspended by the middle of this month.
But on Friday, TransLink said it's had discussions with the province to find a way to address the major financial impacts the company was facing, so it's suspending some of those cutbacks.
"This is another important step forward for re-starting British Columbia and Metro Vancouver’s economy," said TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond in a news release.
"The transit service provided by TransLink is essential to the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in our region. We will be ready to provide safe, reliable transit service as people return to work."
The unions that represent TransLink workers said they're happy layoff notices were rescinded.
"We are pleased to see that our members will continue to be on the job and doing their part to support front-line workers and others in our communities rather than sitting at home," said David Black, president of MoveUp, in a news release.
"As our province moves towards the next stage in our recovery from COVID-19 and more businesses and services start opening up, we need to ensure public transit can maximize their service levels as much as possible while still following health and safety protocols."
CUPE 7000 also said it's pleased with TransLink's decision.
"This pandemic confirms not only what a critical service transit workers provide to the public, but also the important role we play in helping to sustain and rebuild the economy," said CUPE 7000 president Tony Rebelo in a statement.
"We look forward to continuing to provide the public with a safe and reliable method of transportation, as we always have."