TransLink issues travel advisories ahead of expected "inclement weather"

Feb 3 2020, 1:24 pm

After Environment Canada issued a special weather statement for Metro Vancouver on Monday advising that “significant snow” is expected for Tuesday, TransLink is now urging customers – particularly SkyTrain commuters – to prepare for potential delays.

“Winter weather conditions are coming,” TransLink said on Twitter. “Bus and SkyTrain may be impacted across the system tomorrow. Please allow extra travel time and bundle up.”

In a separate tweet, TransLink advised that due to the “inclement weather predicted” for Tuesday, the “Millennium Line will be operating with 4 car trains to increase capacity but reduced frequency.”

The agency also noted that there are “no changes planned for the SkyTrain Expo Line in respect to increase in capacity.”

According to Environment Canada, the forecasted snow applies to the following areas:

  • Metro Vancouver – central including the City of Vancouver Burnaby and New Westminster
  • Metro Vancouver – North Shore including West Vancouver and North Vancouver
  • Metro Vancouver – northeast including Coquitlam and Maple Ridge
  • Metro Vancouver – southeast including Surrey and Langley
  • Metro Vancouver – southwest including Richmond and Delta

“A favourable set up for widespread low elevation snow over the south coast is shaping up for Tuesday and Tuesday night,” said the weather agency.

“A front will track down the BC coast beginning Tuesday morning and combine with a cool airmass to produce snow across the lowlands.”

Snowfall amounts will vary across the region, and anywhere from 5 to 20 cm is expected.

“The highest amounts are likely over Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley where the snow will persist the longest, until Tuesday night or Wednesday morning,” said Environment Canada.

TransLink activates snow plan

On Monday afternoon, TranksLink activated its snow plan “to ensure  transit service stays as reliable as possible.”

Extra staff have been called to assist customers and coordinate service, municipalities have been contacted to coordinate snow clearing, Millennium Line trains have been organized into four-car configurations to increase capacity while SkyTrain attendants monitor guideways, special trucks have been deployed to spread anti-icing solution on trolley wires, and some trolley buses have been equipped with brass “cutters” to help slice through ice if wires are frozen.

TransLink says that if conditions are severe, it will do the following:

  • Replace articulated buses with 40 conventional buses when necessary, as they are more agile on steep, slippery areas.
  • Install tire socks on buses on Burnaby Mountain and on key North Shore routes where hills and traction are an issue.
  • Position attendants at the front of each Expo and Millennium Lines train to improve reliability on the system by limiting emergency braking triggered by heavy snowfall.
  • Run a special SkyTrain that sprays de-icer on the power rail to keep trains moving.
  • Run trains through the night if snow is especially heavy, to keep tracks clear.
  • Send HandyDART out with two staff per vehicle to ensure customers get safely to their door and assist in digging out the bus if required.
  • Activate further staff increases to assist customers right across the system.

Good luck out there.