MAPLE RIDGE (NEWS 1130) – It has been and will be a long commute for many Friday as West Coast Express service was cancelled for the morning rush all due to anti-pipeline protests.
Many already had a long afternoon commute on Thursday when tracks were blocked by demonstrators.
“I’m all for the message of the protesters, but if they’re starting to affect people getting to work on their regular day to day, it’s kind of a piss off,” Steph, who is one of the thousands of people affected, told NEWS 1130 Friday morning.
She said her husband also relies on the train to get to his job, like a number of other people who live between Mission and Port Moody who need to get into Vancouver on the regular.
“I don’t know if he’s working from home or if he’s going to try to go in but take a lot longer, which means he comes home later, which means I’m solo parenting for a few hours tonight,” Steph added.
Some people are finding out about the #WestCoastExpress cancellation only after getting to the station. People say it’s quieter than usual this morning. While there’s a bus bridge in place, it appears some drove to work instead or decided to extend the long weekend. @NEWS1130 pic.twitter.com/tVYANA937l
— Monika Gul (@MonikaGul) February 14, 2020
She stood, along with others, at the Maple Meadows Station where many caught buses to get to work, adding more time to their already long commute.
TransLink has set up a bus bridge which will operate between Mission and Coquitlam Station.
“Buses are expected to be busier than normal,” the transit authority said in a tweet. “We ask that customers try & seek alternative modes of travel.”
#WCE morning service leaving Mission City Stn Friday Feb 14 is suspended due to protesters blocking the railway, a bus bridge will operate from Mission to Coquitlam Stn. Buses are expected to be busier than normal. We ask that customers try & seek alternative modes of travel.^jd
— TransLink BC (@TransLink) February 14, 2020
Protesters took to the Pitt River rail bridge on Thursday afternoon, halting all trains leaving Vancouver for the rest of the day. It appears they’ve since cleared the bridge, but not before the damage was done and TransLink had cancelled all morning service for Friday.
It’s just the latest action demonstrators have taken in recent days in the region and across Canada. Protesters who have set up blockades in parts of the country have even forced Via Rail to cancel all scheduled trips across the country, undoubtedly throwing a wrench in many people’s long weekend plans, and forced CN Rail to suspend its service in Eastern Canada.
The federal transportation minister has announced he would be meeting with his provincial counterparts and Indigenous representatives on Friday to talk about the ongoing disruptions, and whether they can be stopped.
The conflict is centred around opposition by some hereditary chiefs to a natural gas pipeline by Coastal GasLink through the Wet’suwet’en territory in north central B.C. Protesters have also blocked roads, bridges, occupied buildings, and even barred access to the B.C. legislature in Victoria on Tuesday ahead of the Throne Speech.