Urban planner predicts a 'bus-pocalypse' if full-scale strike happens
VANCOUVER -- With both sides of the transit labour dispute refusing to return to the table, a total bus and SeaBus shutdown planned for next Wednesday, Thursday and Friday is looking more and more likely.
And if it happens, the director of the SFU City Program predicts it could be disastrous.
“I think it could be a bus-pocalypse,” said urban planner Andy Yan. “It’s very much going to be a sizeable disruption for many of us who live, work and play and learn in metropolitan Vancouver.”
While the region saw a prolonged bus strike back in 2001, it was summertime, the population was much smaller and commuters were less reliant on transit.
“In 2001, about one in 10 workers took transit," Yan said. "In 2016, the most present data we have, one-in-five workers now take transit to work."
His predecessor at the SFU City Program agrees.
“We have this really significant increase in use,” said former director Gordon Price. “It’s a good thing, 20 per cent over three years. Quite amazing. But it means now I think the impact will be that much greater.”
Not only will hundreds of thousands of bus and SeaBus passengers have to find another way to get around, commuters who normally drive will face increased congestion as more people are forced to drive.
“Eighty people in one bus moves to perhaps 40 cars on the road,” said Yan. “That illustrates the kind of pressures that could occur on the road network.”
While Price thinks conceivable the region could adapt without transit in the short term, he added: “This is going to be a very interesting experience just to see how bad it could get.”