Metro Vancouver’s public transit authority is renewing its warnings over possible service disruptions to the West Coast Express (WCE) as a result of a possible union strike.
TransLink says the union with CP Rail is “in a position strike” as early as next week. CP Rail is in the process of developing a contingency plan to mitigate the impact on the commuter rail service in the event its workers decide to take strike action.
If the service is forced to shut down, TransLink says it will deploy a shuttle bus fleet to connect customers travelling from WCE stations at Mission City, Port Haney, Maple Meadows, Pitt Meadows, and Port Coquitlam to SkyTrain’s Coquitlam Central Station.
Up to 12 buses (including six 60-foot-long articulated buses) will be deployed during the peak hour in the morning and up to 15 buses (including eight 60-foot-long articulated buses) during the peak afternoon. There will be a “sufficient” number of buses to match WCE customer demand.
Additionally, four additional trains will operate on the Millennium Line to prevent overcrowding.
CP workers have been threatening strike action since the middle of April. The WCE, owned by TransLink, is affected because its passenger trains operate on tracks owned by the private railway company, which prioritizes freight traffic.
“Our priority is to keep our customers moving. West Coast Express is one of the fastest, most reliable ways to get into downtown Vancouver each day,” reads a release issued this afternoon. “We are hopeful that CP Rail and its unions will reach an agreement as soon as possible.”
Approximately 10,000 passengers use the WCE service each weekday.