TransLink cancels free transit on New Year's Eve due to COVID-19

Dec 16 2020, 11:16 am

TransLink announced today that it has cancelled its annual offering of free transit on New Year’s Eve for 2020.

The public transit authority said it made the decision due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions that limit the size of social gatherings and events.

While transit services are operating at near-normal levels, public transit ridership is currently hovering at about 40% of normal levels, with health safety capacity limits in place on buses, trains, and ferries.

“TransLink believes it would be inconsistent with provincial public health orders to offer free transit for this traditional evening of celebration,” reads a release.

Additionally, extended service hours on New Year’s Eve will not happen as usual, instead, services will operate on normal weekday schedules.

“We want to encourage everyone to celebrate safely this holiday season and follow the orders put in place by the Provincial Health Officer,” said TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond in a statement. “We all have a responsibility this year to keep our communities safe and we look forward to resuming free transit on New Year’s Eve in 2021.”

The biggest celebration of the night in the region, Concord’s New Year’s Eve fireworks celebration at False Creek, has also been cancelled due to the pandemic. Organizers say the inaugural event at False Creek, previously held in Coal Harbour, will be staged in 2021.

TransLink usually offers free public transit from 5 pm on New Year’s Eve to 5 am on New Year’s Day.