Oct. 3 2016- LAUREN BOOTHBY:
TransLink may be using “mothballed” graveyard buses to fulfill the promised 10% bus service increase, according to new information.
The changes last week are in line with the Mayor’s Council plan, including a 10% increase in bus service starting early 2017, but with some differences.
“They don’t have the equipment or the employees to do the work right now,” president of Unifor Local 111 Steve Sutherland said.
According to Sutherland, buses destined for the bus graveyard are being revived. “The actual increase in transit is going to be about 135 buses that have been mothballed – that were going out of service,” he said, adding that there currently aren’t enough buses to replace them.
“They wear out, they get old,” he said. “They cost more than they’re worth to keep.” It can take 18 months to 2 years for new buses to arrive once ordered, according to Sutherland.
Many are pleased to see TransLink incorporate the Mayor’s Council’s recommendations, including Bill Tieleman, former spokesperson of Better Transit and Transportation Coalition. He said the plan was an improvement, “particularly for bus service because you’re talking about a 10% increase in service.”
Jordan Bateman, B.C. Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, is not “over the moon” about the plan, but is happy TransLink is using funds to improve service for riders.
“Someone at TransLink woke up and realized they were spending hundreds of millions of dollars without actually adding any new buses,” he said.