CAW Local 111 in British Columbia Launches "More Buses Now" Campaign
October 28, 2008, 10:57 AM EST
The Lower Mainland needs more buses now! says CAW Local 111 President Don MacLeod whose local represents 3200 bus drivers in Metro Vancouver. The union launched a major campaign to convince the provincial government to add 500 new buses in the region as soon as possible.
"Bus riders are facing overcrowded buses, lengthy delays, pass-ups and inadequate service every single day and all because we are currently short at least 500 buses," said MacLeod. "We have 1100 buses in service and we need a minimum of 1600 right now."
"The provincial government has taken over TransLink and its subsidiary Coast Mountain Bus Company- it has a responsibility to improve service as quickly as possible," MacLeod said.
"Premier Gordon Campbell and Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon announced a new BC Transportation Plan in early 2008 that said buses were the backbone of our transit system - and they were right," MacLeod said. "But we can't wait until their plans to double the number by 2020 - we need more buses now."
MacLeod said the union is running newspaper and radio ads, launched a campaign website - http://www.morebusesnow.com/ - where bus riders can send emails to Falcon and their local MLA. CAW Local 111 members will be doing public outreach to convince the province to take action on the bus shortage.
"We urge CAW locals in the region and across Canada to go to the web site and support the campaign in Vancouver" said McLeod.
"Anyone who has ridden a bus in Metro Vancouver recently knows how desperate the situation is! With high gas prices and environmental concerns, bus ridership is only going to go up and up in the years ahead," MacLeod said. "That's why the province's top priority should be fixing the bus shortage immediately before looking at more rapid transit - not the other way around."
CAW 111 Vice-President Jim Houlahan said that TransLink's own 5-Year plan projected there would be 1600 buses in service by 2006 but only 1100 are currently on the road, leading to far less frequent service than in other major cities.