British Columbia

TransLink announces more SeaBus cancellations as job action continues

Sixteen sailings are expected to be cancelled on Friday, the eighth day of job action by transit workers.

11 Metro Vancouver bus routes experienced "frequency delays" during the Thursday morning rush hour

Sixteen SeaBus sailings are expected to be cancelled Friday. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

Another 16 SeaBus sailings are expected to be cancelled on Friday as job action by drivers and maintenance workers heads into an eighth day.

According to TransLink, the sailings that will be scrapped include:

  • The 6:17 a.m., 6:47 a.m., 4:10 p.m., 6:47 p.m., 7:17 p.m., 7:47 p.m., 8:17 p.m., and 8:47 p.m. sailings from Lonsdale Quay.
  • The 6:31 a.m., 7:00 a.m., 4:25 p.m., 7:01 p.m., 7:31 p.m., 8:01 p.m., 8:31 p.m., 9:01 p.m. sailings from Waterfront Station.

Sixteen sailings were also cancelled on Thursday, mainly during the afternoon rush. Altogether, more than 75 SeaBus sailings have been cancelled since job action began Friday. 

'Frequency delays' on some bus routes

During Thursday morning rush hour, TransLink says the job action by Unifor members resulted in "frequency delays" on 11 different Metro Vancouver bus routes.

People who ride routes 2, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 17, 22, 25, 32 and 41 were told to expect longer than usual wait as the number of operational buses shrinks due to a union ban on overtime for maintenance workers. 

"Coast Mountain Bus Company is making every effort to ensure reliable service, but the union's job action will continue to have impacts on the system," said a TransLink spokesman. 

Coast Mountain Bus Company is the bus and SeaBus arm of TransLink, Metro Vancouver's transit authority.

SkyTrain service is not affected by the job action. No talks are scheduled.

The union representing the 5,000 workers involved in the labour dispute say the next escalation in service disruption could involve bus and SeaBus drivers also refusing overtime.

Unifor lead negotiator Gavin McGarrigle estimates that move could reduce service by as much as 15 per cent.

TransLink says bus service on 11 different routes experienced 'frequency delays' during the Thursday morning commute because of union job action. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Advocates and mayors across the region have warned bus cancellations would affect the region's most vulnerable, like those without access to other forms of transportation or those who depend on public transit for health care.

Students brace for potential bus cancellations

Students at Simon Fraser University (SFU) and the University of British Columbia (UBC) are also concerned about commuting to campus in the event of bus cancellations.

Buses lined up at the Vancouver Transit Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia on Thursday, November 7, 2019. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

SFU said its campuses in Vancouver and Surrey should still be accessible by SkyTrain in the event of bus cancellations, but students would need to consider alternative forms of transportation to get to the Burnaby Mountain campus, which is largely dependent on bus service.

"Given the location and volume of students, faculty and staff that commute to and from Burnaby Mountain every day, the university does not have the financial, labour or vehicle resources to shuttle people to and from SkyTrain stations near Burnaby Mountain," read an emailed statement from SFU.

The statement added SFU has contingency plans in place, "in the event that we need to increase parking and pick-up/drop-off locations on Burnaby campus to accommodate an increase in vehicle traffic."

A bus driver in downtown Vancouver wearing plaid instead of the Coast Mountain Bus Company uniform. The uniform ban is part of Unifor's job action on behalf of 5,000 workers who are looking for a new contract. (Micki Cowan/CBC)

Students concerned about getting to UBC's Point Grey campus, which also depends heavily on bus service, have gone online to arrange carpooling. Lengthy threads on Reddit are filled with students looking for classmates with cars, offering gas money or tutoring in exchange for a ride to class.

"We're referring students to communicate with UBC, with faculty members, to be able to get information about how they can mitigate any challenges they might face if they aren't able to get to class and need a concession to be made," said Cristina Ilnitchi, speaking for the student union at the school.

Unifor members launched the job action on Nov. 1, to back demands for improved wages, benefits and working conditions.

Talks broke off last Thursday. B.C. Premier John Horgan says there's no role for the province to play at this point.

With files from Tanya Fletcher, Joel Ballard and the Canadian Press

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