"The SkyTrain is a lifeline": How a 3-day shutdown would affect Vancouverites

Dec 9 2019, 4:23 pm

On Monday morning, Daily Hive asked readers to share how Metro Vancouver’s pending SkyTrain strike would affect them, in the hours leading up to what could be a full-blown shutdown.

In less than six hours, more than 300 responses came in, saying how SkyTrain riders would be enduring hour-long bus commutes, be stranded, and in some cases, missing work.

Three in four respondents said that they use public transit between five and seven days a week. Nearly 30% of participants supported Cupe 7000, the union representing Expo Line and Millennium Line Staff, 13% supported TransLink, and the remaining participants were undecided.

Here are some of our readers’ stories of how they’ll be affected should Metro Vancouver’s SkyTrain strike follow through, as well as their thoughts on the matter: 

Marie

A full shutdown on both lines would be like a tsunami for me. I’ll take a bus but it takes between one to two hours. This is insane.

Ray

I have more disdain for “customer service” staff at SkyTrain stations. My commute becomes a one-hour bus ride as opposed to a 25-minute SkyTrain ride. Fire and cancel the union.

Christina 

I’ll have no way of getting to and from work meaning that I’ll have less Christmas money. I won’t be able to get around either so I’ll have to stay home. My opinion of TransLink has changed quite a bit — and not for the best.

Monica  

My 20-minute commute to work becomes over an hour long. I can substitute with buses, but that would add an additional 40 to 50 minutes of travel time.

Kaitlyn  

I live in Surrey and work in Burnaby, so I rely on the train every day. The bus strike was bad but without the SkyTrain, I can’t get to work at all. Unless I can find someone to at least get me across the bridge, otherwise I’ll likely be stuck at home.

I can’t afford to take a cab that far. TransLink is a terrible company and they always have been.

Steve 

A full shutdown would mean my wife would have to leave early to drive me to work or I would have to walk for 40 minutes. TransLink’s CEO makes way too much money.

Jason 

I wouldn’t be able to get to work from East Van to Surrey unless I decide to spend money on a taxi. I could bus, but the commute is four hours and isn’t reasonable. I have always had a poor opinion of TransLink.

Hannah 

I won’t be able to get to my final exams. I can take buses instead, but they’ll be packed.

Dee 

I’ll have delays in getting to my temporary jobs on buses that are already overcrowded. That likely means watching several “full” buses pass by until I can finally board one.

I don’t get paid for the time that I’m not there so I risk losing the job completely if I’m late too often.

I’m somewhat annoyed by the brinksmanship that both sides use to panic the public, as well as the corresponding chest-thumping once they “resolve the issues” in the final hour.

Tina 

I live in Surrey and work in Vancouver. I take a bus to get to Scott Road Station and take the train to VCC-Clark to get to work.

Without SkyTrain, I have no way to get to work and will lose three days’ pay. I looked at taking a bus from my house and according to TransLink’s trip planner, it will take me three hours and six different bus changes to just get to work.

Since I work afternoon and evenings until 9:30 pm, most of these buses aren’t running by the time I get off work so I’d be stuck in Vancouver with no way home.

That’s three days of lost pay and at this time of year, that’s going to hurt a lot of people.

A.M. 

My family only has one care that is shared between three people and it usually stays at home for the convenience of my sister and mother so that it can actually be used to run errands.

I could take four buses and add one-and-a-half hours to my already one-and-a-half hours of commute to work.

I’m very upset at the fact that TransLink executives have given themselves raises then claim not to have enough money for infrastructure. I’m also upset with the workers, some make more than what I make at a hospital.

Jenna 

As someone who doesn’t drive for a multitude of reasons, the SkyTrain is a lifeline for someone on PWD living in Surrey. Having the SkyTrain gives me peace of mind and independence to go where I need (classes, appointments, work, shows I’m performing in).

To lose that freedom would be heartbreaking. I’m not always able to get a ride over and I don’t want to have to always rely on others to get me places.

I could take buses and the Canada Line but of course, the closest Canada Line Station is in Richmond. It will be an extremely long commute to get into Vancouver. I just want the higher-ups in power at TransLink to do what’s right and give the employees a fairer wage.

Tiana 

I won’t be able to go to work or school. It’s exam season right now and if I take the bus, according to TransLink, it would take me four hours to get to school.

I’m lucky enough to be able to carpool with my friends but for other people, they have to call in sick and they won’t be able to get paid because of the strikes. It’s getting very ridiculous right now.

Daryl 

I live in Surrey and am not amused. The shutdown compromises the Skybridge, which is our main way of getting into town. One-third of Surrey commuters have destinations North of the Fraser and this shut down will leave us with no reasonable alternatives to get in or our of town.

In the absence of the SkyTrain, many of us will drive, which almost certainly means jam-packed congestion on the bridges. I’m also an SFU student and the thought of a shutdown has put an incredible amount of stress on me and my peers.

Kitara

The SkyTrain is the main portion of my daily commute. Without it, my 45-minute commute from Fraser Heights into Burnaby is now going to take almost two full hours each way, assuming that the extra traffic makes it even possible to get on the right buses.

Larentia 

Imagine we’re playing a game and you have to beat the final boss, but they knock you out instantly. I think that sums up the impact for me.

I have no personal opinion of TransLink but I want to say think about the commuters using public transportation daily and those not able to use car share or disabled people who rely on it a lot.

Vicki 

With a full shutdown, I don’t know if I’ll be able to make it to work. I don’t have a vehicle, it would be very unaffordable to taxi to work, and I don’t live near any of my colleagues who drive, so car-pooling isn’t an option.

I rely 100% on transit for my commute and I have to work as I have a young family that I need to support. A full shutdown is going to have very negative effects on my life and many others.

Chelsea 

Luckily I’m done exams but each strike is encouraging me to transfer to UFV in Abbotsford as that’s where I live. It would have taken me an extra hour and a half to get to classes which are near impossible if you take 8:30 am classes.


Daily Hive wants to hear how a full-blown shutdown of TransLink’s Expo and Millennium Line would affect you. Will you be relying more on other forms of public transportation? Or will you be forced to use taxis, carpool, and carshare programs?

Fill out our online form below or email us at [email protected] to have your say. Your answers will be used in editorial content looking at the impact of Metro Vancouver’s SkyTrain strike.