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'Absolute joke': Metro Vanouverites share videos of traffic chaos in snowfall

Over 30 vehicles crashed in the afternoon due to the snowfall and a bus blocked a highway.

Metro Vancouverites have taken to social media to share scenes of commuter chaos caused by the winter's first significant snowfall. 

The snowfall started with some gentle flurries around 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 11 that developed into a considerable dusting of snow just over an hour later. Strong winds also began gusting across the region, blowing the fresh snowfall horizontally. 

Vancouver Fire Rescue Services (VFRS) reported on X, formerly Twitter, that approximately 30 vehicles have crashed, warning drivers to avoid driving during inclement weather.

Just after 3 p.m., DriveBC warned drivers to expect heavy delays, as a bus was blocking most of Highway 1. Connecting routes, including the Second Narrows bridge, were also expected to be affected.

Drive BC also advised commuters that it had to close the counterflow lane in the Massey tunnel due to icy conditions, noting that many vehicles were "struggling to maintain traction."

TransLink posted an advisory around 4 p.m., advising customers of bus delays caused by the snowfall. It added that they should allow for extra travel time and "bundle up."

As of 5:15 p.m., the transportation authority has over 200 bus alerts posted on its advisories page. While many of them are due to mechanical issues or planned construction, several others are caused by inclement weather or motor vehicle accidents.

The bus strike also remains in effect. TransLink says that its operations are unaffected but CUPE 4500 -- the striking workers' union that is comprised of transit supervisors -- says service will be affected, resulting in more buses being pulled from service during the poor conditions. 

TransLink spokesperson Dan Mountain told V.I.A. that there aren't any major impacts on SkyTrain, SeaBus, or West Coast Express due to weather.

"Heavy snow build-up in Northern Burnaby caused some emergency braking on the Millennium Line in the late afternoon" but the situation improved as the snowfall let up. Trains are now running an anti-ice solution on the power rails to prevent build-up, he added.

"Bus service is changing by the minute as road conditions have gotten icy, and a number of bus routes are delayed due to road conditions. The best advice we have is for customers to build extra time in their commute and to check their specific routes."

Customers can plan their commute by using Trip Planner and stay up to date by signing up for Transit Alerts, following TransLink on X (Twitter) @TransLink, or calling Customer Service at 604-953-3333.

Locals share videos of wintry commutes

Frustrated locals have shared videos and photos that show buses stuck in the wintry conditions, while others have remarked that they are stuck in long waits. 

Some people are questioning how a modest amount of snowfall could result in extended waits; one person asked why the heat wasn't working on a bus during the cold weather.

An arctic outflow warning has been issued in the Metro Vancouver weather forecast as strong winds gusting up to 60 km/h are expected to make subzero temperatures feel as cold as -20 C overnight. Flurries are also possible across the region in places at sea level. 

With files from Nick Laba