Plan ahead: Alternatives to consider during Metro Vancouver transit shutdown

Nov 22 2019, 4:10 pm

Demand for alternative transportation options such as taxis, car share, and carpooling will certainly soar next week during the complete shutdown of Metro Vancouver’s bus and SeaBus services, as the union representing the majority of the region’s transit workers escalates its disruptions.

Unifor says its 5,000 members will not be reporting for their shifts for three consecutive weekdays from Wednesday, November 27 to Friday, November 29. Buses see the majority of number of boardings of all transit modes combined, and as a result the shutdown will effectively cripple the region.

Transit workers will return to their full shifts on Saturday, November 30 to resume regular service, but a continued impasse between Unifor and TransLink subsidiary Coast Mountain Bus Company (CMBC) could mean prolonged shutdowns beyond this date.

Expect the possibility of longer travel times on these remaining operating transit services due to higher volumes.

If SkyTrain is feasible for at least a leg of your trip, consider possible park-and-ride facilities — including side streets where parking is permitted — near SkyTrain stations.

Extra road traffic volumes and congestion are possible. If you are driving, please note parking will likely be short in supply.

For non-transit alternatives, aside from a private single-occupancy vehicle and riding with your own bike, consider the following options (these services will be in exceedingly high demand):

Carpooling

Consider carpooling apps such as Poparide, which is one of the most-used carpooling apps in the country. It is a safe and convenient platform to carpooling — like Airbnb but for sharing rides. The prices are generally affordable.

Poparide

Also consider online communities where carpools are being organized, such as university student groups on Facebook. This includes a highly-active Facebook group page for Simon Fraser University students looking for carpool rides.

UBC’s website also provides tips on how carpool rides can be organized.

Carshare

There are roughly 3,500 carshare vehicles in Metro Vancouver; however, the vast majority of these vehicles are based within the city boundaries of Vancouver.

The main free-floating carshare operators are Evo and Share Now (formerly known as Car2Go).

Some of these operators offer free usage minutes to students at certain post-secondary institutions if they are not already members.

Evo Car Share:

Evo Care Share Vancouver

Evo Car Share service map in Vancouver. (Evo)

Share Now:

Share Now Car2Go

Share Now (Car2Go) service map in Vancouver. (Share Now)

Other carshare operators like Modo and Zipcar are two-way station carshare services, requiring users to pick up and return a vehicle at a designated station.

Bike share

The Mobi by Shaw bike share system‘s fleet of 2,000 bikes operates within the inner core areas of the City of Vancouver.

The service area is limited to the downtown Vancouver peninsula and the Central Broadway Corridor, framed by Arbutus Street to the west, West 16th Avenue to the south, and Commercial Drive to the east.

Mobi bike share

Map of Mobi bike share stations in Vancouver. (Mobi by Shaw)

Some municipalities and jurisdictions also have their own dockless bike share program, such as HOPR at UBC, but their service areas are extremely limited.

Taxis

There are about 2,100 taxi vehicles across the various cab companies in Metro Vancouver. But the actual supply is constrained even further because of municipal boundaries. As a result, only about 900 of these cabs registered with the City of Vancouver can pick up passengers within the city.