Urgent Need for New Transit Buses in Vancouver

February 18, 2009, 2:51 PM EST

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CAW Local 111 officials are disappointed that the British Columbia government has failed to initiate funding for 500 new transit buses urgently needed to service the Metro Vancouver area in its budget released on February 17.

CAW Local 111 President Don MacLeod said the current transit system in Metro Vancouver, operated by TransLink, is running under capacity with not enough buses on the road to service riders.  This has resulted in overcrowding, infrequent service and lengthy delays, MacLeod said in a recent CBC news article.

The government recognized the need to help add more transit buses to the TransLink fleet in its 2008 B.C. Transportation Plan, but the union said that timelines for new buses need to be dramatically sped up to alleviate the pressure currently on the transit system.

"In its latest throne speech the Campbell government promised to double the number of transit buses on the road by 2020 but Vancouver residents need those buses now," said CAW Local 111 Vice President Jim Houlahan.

"This budget was a missed opportunity for the province to firmly establish their share of the funding commitments for new buses in order to accelerate the purchasing process."

Currently there is one bus in Metro Vancouver servicing 1,800 residents, which is relatively high compared to other large Canadian cities like Montreal and Toronto, both of which have one bus for every 1,200 residents.

Houlahan said the ratio of buses in Metro Vancouver to residents was in line with Montreal and Toronto 15 years ago, but hasn't developed along with the city's population growth.

CAW Local 111 has an ongoing campaign entitled More Buses Now and is encouraging the public to write letters to Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon demanding the province fund the purchase of at least 500 new TransLink buses by 2012.

More information is available at: http://www.morebusesnow.com/  

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