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SeaBus resumes late-night sailings

The resumption of late-night sailings comes a month after TransLink abruptly ended evening SeaBus service before 8 p.m.
The SeaBus has resumed late night sailings. File photo North Shore News

The SeaBus has resumed late-night sailings across Burrard Inlet.

Starting this week, the SeaBus is back to providing service every 30 minutes that extends through the evening. The last SeaBus leaves Lonsdale Quay at 1 a.m. and leaves Waterfront Station at 1:22 a.m. Monday to Saturday. On Sundays the last sailings leave at 11:02 p.m.  and 11:16 p.m. respectively.

The resumption of late-night sailings comes a month after TransLink abruptly ended evening SeaBus service before 8 p.m. in response to dwindling ridership.

Most North Shore bus routes that were either cut or scaled back at the beginning of May have also been reinstated.

Previously suspended North Shore routes including the 251 Park Royal/Queens, the 252 Park Royal/Inglewood, the 262 Lions Bay/Caulfeild, the 222 Phibbs to Metrotown and the N24 Lynn Valley night bus have been reinstated, said Dan Mountain, TransLink spokesman. Bus service on Bowen Island has also been brought back.

Other North Shore bus routes that would have been suspended – including the 231 Harbourside, 241 Upper Lonsdale/downtown and the 247 Grouse Mountain/downtown - remain operational, said Mountain.

The 258 (UBC / West Vancouver) is one bus route that remains suspended, said Mountain, because it is a university-specific route.

So far it remains to be seen whether the public will go back to using transit as economic activity gradually restarts in the Lower Mainland.

Figures comparing ridership last week with the same week in 2019 showed SeaBus travel was down 90 per cent over last year and bus ridership was down over 80 per cent.

TransLink announced in April that plummeting ridership has resulted in a loss of $75 million a month. The decision to reinstate transit service and call back 1,500 laid-off workers came after TransLink reached an agreement with the provincial government to work on a solution to TransLink’s COVID-caused financial woes.

Starting June 1, TransLink will also start collecting fares again, after installing additional Plexiglas barriers between drivers and passengers. The transit service previously suspended fare collection after requiring all passengers to board buses by the rear doors during the pandemic. Starting in June, however, passengers will once again board by the front doors.

Roughly half the seats on buses will have signs indicating they should be left empty to promote physical distancing between passengers. Once seating capacity is reached, bus drivers will not make further stops and passengers will have to wait for the next bus, according to TransLink.

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