The Columbia Journal P.O. Box 2633 MPO, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6B 3W8 Phone: 604-266-6552
Fax: 604-267-3342 Web: www.columbiajournal.ca
Volume Eight, Number Five: July 2003
Transit Group to Push Late
Night Bus Service
Lower Mainland transit users are
organizing a campaign to bring back late night bus service to
The Bus Riders Union, an ad hoc group of
transit customers, is building a campaign for the full restoration of
14 Night Owl routes cut in October 2001 after lower mainland transit
services were turned over to the Greater Vancouver Regional District.
The board of the then newly created
regional company, known as Translink, introduced sweeping austerity
measures, claiming it could no longer operate the system at the current
budget level. The move generated widespread community opposition and
prompted an eight-week strike by bus drivers that year.
On June 25, the board voted to restore
skeletal late night service on four downtown Vancouver bus routes on Fridays and
Saturdays only. The BRU, formed in response to the cuts in 2001, says
that isn’t good enough.
“Anything less (than the full late night
services) is a slap in the face to all bus riders, low-wage workers,
the unemployed, immigrants and refugees, seniors, students and people
with disabilities,” say the group’s spokespersons in a press release.
“We deserve full and equal access to the social, political and economic
life of our region 24/7.”
Organizers for the campaign say the
removal of late night service amounts to a “curfew” op people who work
nights. They claim many of these workers are employed in low-paying or
part-time service and janitorial jobs and don’t have any real
transportation alternatives other than public transit.
Since July 4, service has been restored
between and on four Downtown Vancouver
routes: the West End, East Vancouver and North Burnaby, Kitsilano/West Broadway/UBC
Vancouver along Kingsway to Burnaby and New Westminster.
The move was initiated by progressive city
councillors in Vancouver and Burnaby lobbying Translink as part of
both the Coalition of Progressive Electors and the Burnaby Citizens
Association election commitments to improve transit.
But the BRU insists this move is at best a
“This measure, taken in response to the
lobbying of downtown business owners, leaves bus riders out in the cold
five nights a week. Even on Friday and Saturday most bus riders will
face long walks getting to and from one of the four routes, which are
designed with only downtown bar patrons in mind.”
The group is planning several actions throughout the summer to promote
the restoration of late night service. These include late-night
leafleting at bus loops and Skytrain stations across the city. They are
also planning public meeting on transit issues on July 28 and are
encouraging people to attend the next Translink board meeting on July
Anyone interested can contact the Bus
Riders Union via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
or by phone at 604-215-2775