TransLink warns commuters to expect delays and plan for poor road conditions ahead of Monday (Dec. 19) night's snowstorm.
While snow may start falling lightly Monday afternoon, it is expected to pick up significantly overnight, with up to 10 to 20 cm of accumulation expected in various cities across the region.
Environment Canada has also issued a snowfall warning, calling for up to 5 or 10 cm of snow during the evening with several more centimetres expected heading into Tuesday morning.
The transportation agency says its bus and SkyTrain services may be impacted across its system due to the snowstorm. Commuters should give themselves extra transit time, dress warmly, and use caution in areas that could be slippery.
TransLink staff will continue to salt and sand bus loops and SkyTrain stations, but commuters should still use caution in these areas. They should also anticipate extra crowding on some bus routes and SkyTrain platforms.
As of 1 p.m. Tuesday, there are 150 alerts in effect for bus routes across the Lower Mainland. While some of them are for construction and other planned work, the lion's share is comprised of detours, delays, and cancellations caused by inclement weather.
To make SkyTrain service more efficient during the snowy weather, the Expo Line is temporarily terminating at Lougheed Station. "Customers looking to get to or from Production Way-University Station should use the Millennium Line," according to the alerts page.
Metro Vancouver weather wreaks havoc on transit system
In the first significant snow event of the season, locals faced long waits in cold weather for significantly-delayed buses or in them on the highways. In some cases, commuters reported travelling for upwards of 12 hours during the poor conditions.
TransLink has also put together a winter travel guide and is calling in extra staff to coordinate service.
Articulated buses are being replaced with 40’ conventional buses, when necessary, as they are more agile in steep, slippery areas.
The Millennium Line trains are switching to four-car configurations to increase capacity and SkyTrain attendants will be on-scene to monitor guideways. A special overnight SkyTrain is also being introduced to spray de-icer on the tracks to keep trains moving.
Transit riders are encouraged to build in extra travel time and plan their commutes ahead of time. They can sign up for Transit alerts, use Trip Planner, or follow TransLink on Twitter.
With files from Allie Turner.