TransLink to lay off nearly 1,500 employees due to coronavirus

Apr 20 2020, 9:26 am

Metro Vancouver’s public transit authority will be making sweeping cuts to its workforce and operations in an effort to reduce costs.

TransLink announced today it will issue temporary layoff notices to 1,492 employees working in various positions, including at TransLink headquarters and its operating subsidiaries of Coast Mountain Bus Company (buses and SeaBus) and British Columbia Rapid Transit Company (SkyTrain Expo and Millennium lines).

Additionally, senior executive salaries and board remuneration will be cut by 10%.

It will also reduce its organizational costs and program expenditures, including the deferral of the 2020 Major Road Network operations — the maintenance and rehabilitation program funding to municipalities — and the 2020 service expansions.

The public transit authority intends to spend its cash reserves to sustain current essential service operations through the end of the year.

Additionally, further major cuts to service will be made to buses, SkyTrain, SeaBus, and West Coast Express beginning this week. This includes a dozen bus route cancellations, lowering SkyTrain capacity by up to 40% throughout the day, and various other adjustments to SeaBus and West Coast Express.

There are plans to temporarily cancel an additional 47 bus routes by early May.

“This has been an incredibly tough decision and one we do not take lightly,” said TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond in a statement.

We’ve done our best to try and reduce costs through other means, but TransLink is losing $75 million per month, and we’re left with no other options. It’s not lost on me what an impact this decision will have on the lives of our employees and their families. I fully expect those affected will be recalled once TransLink returns to regular operations, which we are now planning for back-to-school in September, if consistent with provincial guidelines.”