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Crowded buses, more cars on the road: TransLink warns of commuting pressures if SkyTrain strike goes ahead

Last Updated Dec 9, 2019 at 4:14 pm PDT

TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond addressing a possible SkyTrain strike on Dec. 9, 2019. (Marcella Bernardo, NEWS 1130 Photo)

TransLink's CEO says thousands of commuters will be looking for ways to get around if the SkyTrain strike goes ahead

SkyTrain workers are set to strike on Tuesday morning if a deal isn't reached

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Thousands of people will be looking for alternative transportation if Metro Vancouver’s SkyTrain strike goes forward on Tuesday at 5 a.m.

CUPE 7000 and British Columbia Rapid Transit Company are still at the bargaining table, but TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond says commuters need to know their options if the strike goes ahead and the Expo and Millennium lines are closed.

“This will be extremely disruptive and to be very clear, there is no way to replace a system that reliably transports 150,000 people per day,” he says. “Many people will be left with no other options to get around the region.”

Desmond warns other transit options will be crowded.

“We’re expecting potentially more cars on the road,” he says. “We’ll certainly see more pressure on Canada Line, and we will most certainly see more crowding on buses.”

The Canada Line and the West Coast Express won’t be closed, but they won’t be adding more trains, Desmond says.

At a news conference in New Westminster on Monday afternoon, Desmond recommended those who use the SkyTrain plan travel in advance. He suggested looking at carsharing options, discussing carpooling with friends and coworkers, and cycling as possible alternatives.

The union representing the workers issued a 72-hour strike notice on Friday, which followed 40 days of bargaining with the BC Rapid Transit Company, including four days of mediation.

RELATED: Small businesses in Metro Vancouver prepare for SkyTrain job action

About 900 SkyTrain workers will walk off the job if the two sides don’t come to a resolution, impacting the two lines.

If the shutdown goes forward, trains will not run until 5:00 a.m. on Friday. Coast Mountain Bus Company has said there will be no increase in bus service while the strike is on.