Maple Ridge, BC: On Monday, April 21, TransLink announced service reductions in response to the 83% drop in ridership on all forms of transit as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. TransLink is facing monthly losses of $75 million and its operating companies will implement a number of cost-saving measures ranging from reductions in service to full suspension of bus routes. There will be direct impacts to Maple Ridge as a result of these measures.
Effective Friday, April 24, the R3 Rapid Bus Service will be suspended. The 701 route will continue to offer service to Coquitlam Centre and connect to the regional SkyTrain network. There will be further reductions to the West Coast Express service. Trains two and four have already been cancelled and, effective Monday, April 27, there will be fewer cars on trains one, three and five.
In early May, an additional 47 routes will be suspended across the region. Here is a summary of local suspensions and impacts:
a) Routes 733 & 741, resulting in no service into Silver Valley (Rock Ridge or Anderson Creek).
b) Route 744, resulting in no transit service into Port Hammond, as well as eliminating service north of Dewdney Trunk Road between Laity Street and 224 Street.
c) Route 748, impacting the residential area in Albion along McClure Drive and Jackson Road, as well as the Whonnock area.
d) Route 749, impacting the Ruskin area via Dewdney Trunk Road.
e) Route 791, eliminating secondary access to the SkyTrain at Braid Street. Riders will have to use the 701 bus to access the SkyTrain.
TransLink states that temporary service suspensions, along with other cost-saving measures, are necessary to preserve the region’s transit system with the hope that near-regular service can be restored by September 2020. In recognition of the limitations on bus seating due to physical distancing, TransLink is asking customers to travel on transit only as necessary to preserve space for essential service workers.
“The routes being suspended represent years of lobbying by successive Councils to expand service into our suburban communities. We realize there was no choice but to implement cuts to an essential service given no forthcoming relief package and the imminent insolvency at TransLink,” said Mayor Morden. “The magnitude of the cuts announced will see the complete loss of service for growing neighbourhoods. We will monitor the impacts to essential workers and citizens living in these communities who don’t have alternate means of transportation, and will be strong advocates for the restoration of these routes as we move through the recovery phase of the pandemic.”
“At the April 28 Workshop, Council will be asked to consider endorsement of a motion in support of the Canadian Urban Transit Association’s (CUTA) request for federal funding to stabilize public transport until the end of the COVID-19 response. I strongly encourage those who will be impacted by the reduction in service to take a moment and reach out to their provincial and federal representatives to amplify this request through emails and phone calls,” concluded the Mayor.