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TransLink texts falsely tell riders buses not operating hours after deal reached

Last Updated Nov 27, 2019 at 7:46 am PDT

(iStock Photo)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Did someone forget to tell TransLink that a strike involving bus and SeaBus workers wasn’t going ahead?

That’s what it almost seemed like early Wednesday morning when, hours after the strike was averted with a last-minute deal between Unifor and Coast Mountain Bus Company, the transit authority’s Next Bus SMS service was telling transit users that buses weren’t operating.

The free service allows riders to find out when their bus is coming by texting 33333 with the bus stop number and bus route number. Instead of getting bus times, riders got a text that read, “Buses are not operating today (Nov. 27, 28 and 29) due to job action.”

Some transit users noticed the mistake, prompting some confusion as they tweeted TransLink to ask whether buses were actually running and when the Next Bus SMS service would once again provide bus information.

Without saying why exactly the texts were sending false information, TransLink said it was working to “restore full functionality of the texting service” and by 6:30 a.m., after several hours of incorrect texts, the Next Bus SMS service was once again providing bus information.

Unifor — which represents bus drivers, SeaBus operators, and maintenance workers — and Coast Mountain Bus Company reached the tentative agreement at 12:30 a.m. on Wednesday, avoiding a three-day shutdown of buses and SeaBuses and ending job action that began at the start of the month with a uniform and overtime ban by some workers.