Metro Vancouver residents may soon see an improvement in options for late-night transit, but it’s looking unlikely they’ll get extended SkyTrain hours.
On Thursday, TransLink is set to unveil the results of a review of late-night service, and changes are expected to be in the works.
TransLink announced a feasibility study into the possibility of extended SkyTrain hours on weekends in December, 2017.
At the time, TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond told Global News the agency would look at whether it was possible to balance the need for overnight track maintenance with the demand for late night service.
TransLink has previously resisted extending the hours, arguing crews have just four hours to perform critical maintenance on the aging — and growing — network.
The results of that review were expected by mid-2018.
A year later than anticipated, the public will get a look at the results, and sources tell Global News that what they’ll see is a plan to beef up night bus service.
Whether that means more routes or more frequent service remains unclear. An expansion of SkyTrain hours — the last train leaves downtown at 1:16 a.m. — is not expected.
“You know, when the last bar closes, transit should still be open for at least another hour after that so you can stop the bottlenecks that invariably happen downtown,” said Ian Tostenson president and CEO of the B.C. Restaurant and Food Services Association.
Pressure has been mounting for more service out of downtown, particularly on weekends, amid growing safety concerns in the Granville Entertainment District.
After nightclub worker Kalwinder Thind was fatally stabbed in January, 2018 the City of Vancouver passed a motion to explore safety upgrades in the area, with extended transit service a key recommendation.
But SkyTrain hours have remained static and night bus service remains insufficient for many, with just 10 routes and many buses leaving just twice an hour.
Curtis Robinson, a former police officer and chair of safety advocacy group Bar Watch, said it’s clear that something needs to give.
“We’ve long been asking for reasonable, safe transportation home in the form of TransLink service, buses, SkyTrain service to 3:15, and obviously some other option,” he said.
“The best being Uber and Lyft.”
© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.