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TransLink mayors want feds, province to help with revenue loss

Last Updated May 13, 2020 at 12:12 pm PDT

FILE - TransLink will begin waiving bus fares on Friday, March 19, 2020 and asking riders to board using rear doors only to combat the spread of COVID-19. (CityNews Vancouver)
Summary

TransLink Mayors Council chair Jonathan Cote said the federal government has been slow to participate in the discussion

At the beginning of the pandemic, TransLink was losing 75 million dollars a month

Similar authorities across Canada, including the Toronto Transit Commission, are facing similar losses

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — TransLink mayors want the federal government to hurry up and help out transit agencies struggling with loss revenues due to the pandemic.

But with TransLink facing the financial challenges that come with reduced ridership, there’s still no federal commitment that assistance is coming.

The prime minister was asked Wednesday whether his government plans to step in and said transit is a provincial and municipal responsibility, adding the federal government has made significant investments into those systems in the past.

“We’re going to have to adjust, and the federal government will be there to work with the provinces, including supporting them in their areas of jurisdiction in many cases,” Trudeau said.

TransLink Mayors Council chair Jonathan Cote said the federal government has been slow to participate in the discussion but hopes that will change.

“Transit agencies in major cities all across the country are facing significant challenges,” he added.

“What we are looking for is a commitment from the federal government to partner with the provincial government to really bring financial sustainability back to transit agencies across the country.”

At the beginning of the pandemic, TransLink was losing $75 million dollars a month.

Similar authorities across Canada, including the Toronto Transit Commission, are facing similar losses.

Last month, TransLink announced it was asking both the provincial and federal governments for help, suggesting the situation is so dire that service would be affected long after the pandemic is over.

However, TransLink reversed decisions last week to layoff about 1,500 employees and suspend more than 40 more bus routes by May 18, after the provincial government laid out its reopening plan.

The plan calls for a gradual reintroduction of services, including transit, with the second phase to begin following the Victoria Day long weekend.