TransLink restores service to Downtown Eastside bus stop 2 weeks after cancellation

TransLink said it hasn't found an alternative location for the bus stop.

Service to the East Hastings Street bus stop was cancelled in late August due to safety concerns

A man wheels past an abandoned bus stop near Hastings and Carrall in the Downtown East Side along East Hastings street. (David Horemans/CBC)

TransLink is restoring service to bus stop on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside two weeks after it was cancelled due to safety concerns.

Since the last week of August, buses have not been picking up or dropping off commuters at the stop on East Hastings Street, east of Carrall Street.

In a statement, TransLink spokesperson Jill Drews said after several days of looking into alternative locations for the stop, the transit authority had been "unable to find a suitable location that meets the needs of our customers."

"After careful consideration, we are restoring service at the original stop starting tomorrow morning (Sept. 14)."

Community pushback

According to TransLink, the stop was serviced by five routes and picked up nearly 700 passengers daily.

Earlier in the week, Drew said service to the stop was cancelled because it was unsafe for pedestrians.

"We've had our bus operators tell us they are narrowly missing pedestrians and their belongings in the bus lane and really, really close to the bus lane," Drew said. 

"The last thing we want is to hit one of these people, cause an accident involving another vehicle," she said on Tuesday.

Drews had also noted that a street market frequently set up on the sidewalk also increased pedestrian traffic and near-misses.

#20 Victoria bus passes through Gastown along East Hastings street. (David Horemans/CBC)

After service to the stop was cancelled, community advocates said the service cancellation came without notice and would seriously impact Downtown Eastside residents who are seniors or have mobility issues.

Drews said that TransLink recognized those concerns.

"The safety of our customers, operators and the public has been our top consideration and will continue to be our top priority in serving this location," she said.

"However, we are also aware that many people who depend on service in this area have mobility challenges and we want to ensure that they have access to safe and reliable transportation."

Drews said TransLink has been in discussions with the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Police Department to keep the stop safe, and will be increasing transit security in the area and instructing buses to travel at reduced speeds near the stop. 

With files from Roshini Nair