British Columbia

TransLink suspends service reductions, rescinds layoffs

TransLink is suspending the service reductions it planned for later this month and is rescinding layoff notices to around 1,500 employees.

Cuts planned for May 18 suspended, TransLink said in statement Friday

TransLink bus drivers in Vancouver on Nov. 1, 2019. Around 1,500 employees received layoff notices last month. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

TransLink is suspending the service reductions it planned for later this month and is rescinding layoff notices to around 1,500 employees.

In a statement Friday, the transit authority said the previously announced service reductions beginning on May 18 will not go ahead.

"People in Metro Vancouver can rest assured they will be able to get back to work," the statement said. 

Last month, TransLink announced widespread cuts to most modes of public transportation in Metro Vancouver in an effort to save money as it loses tens of millions each month due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Friday, the province and TransLink said they are committed to ensuring transit service is available as B.C. prepares to loosen restrictions, and are working on a "comprehensive solution" to address the pandemic's financial impact on TransLink.

Both the transit authority and the province say they will continue to call on the federal government for a national solution to problems facing transit systems.

Unifor, the union representing bus drivers in the region, said in a statement the layoffs were averted due to emergency funding from the provincial and federal governments. 

"Transit operators and skilled trades maintenance staff are a linchpin in the urban transportation network," Unifor western regional director Gavin McGarrigle said in a statement.

"They're on the front lines with other COVID heroes doing work that is critical to the Canadian economy during this precarious time.

"Emergency funding announced today will help keep transit workers on the job so they can help other COVID heroes do theirs."

TransLink spokesman Ben Murphy said the transit authority had not received funding from the province but instead an assurance they will work together on TransLink's financial issues from the impact of COVID-19 moving forward.

TransLink is still seeking emergency funding from the federal government, he said. 

More to come.

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