With plans underway on how B.C. will soon begin lifting COVID-19 restrictions, TransLink has announced it won’t be implementing some of its previously planned route reductions and has rescinded layoff notices to roughly 1,500 employees.
In a statement released Friday (May 8), Municipal Affairs Minister Selina Robinson said TransLink will play a key role in B.C.’s plan of re-opening sectors amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“We remain committed to working with and supporting TransLink through this difficult time and into recovery to find solutions that will benefit Metro Vancouver and British Columbia, and continue to call on the federal government to join us in this support,” she said.
TransLink had previously announced plans to further reduce services starting on May 18. Those plans have now been suspended.
In a separate statement, Unifor welcomes the news, which it says will bring 1,200 Unifor members and 300 other union members back to work for TransLink.
“Transit operators and skilled trades maintenance staff are a lynchpin in the urban transportation network,” Unifor’s western regional director, Gavin McGarrigle, said.
“They’re on the front lines with other COVID heroes doing work that it 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.”
Public transit systems have been hard hit by the pandemic, including the large-scale Toronto Transit Commission.
In his daily briefing Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said public transit falls to the responsibility of provinces and municipalities but didn’t rule out federal funds to transit operators.
“We hope to see the provinces stepping up to support this essential element of the economic relaunch. People are going to need to be able to get to and from work as we want to get the economy going again,” he said.
“The federal government is always looking to be a partner in helping out in terms of economic relaunch anywhere we can.”
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