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North Van city councillor to table TransLink motion
With the closure of TransLink’s North Vancouver bus depot and the movement of its fleet to Burnaby imminent, a North Vancouver city councillor is following the lead of North Vancouver district and asking the transit operator to come explain its actions to council.
Coun. Don Bell is expected to table a motion Monday asking TransLink to look for a way to keep its fleet of 82 buses on the North Shore, rather than moving them to Burnaby when the North Vancouver Transit Centre closes its doors in 2015.
Never mind future growth, the current space at 536 East Third St. doesn’t even meet today’s transit needs on the North Shore, with approximately 25 buses already coming over from Burnaby daily to supplement the at-capacity East Third Street yard.
“We’ve got to plan for the future,” Bell told The Outlook in a phone interview Tuesday. “It’s bad enough we’ve got roughly a third or so of the buses currently serving the North Shore located in Burnaby. And if there is an interruption on the Iron Workers Bridge for whatever reason — an accident or an outage more severe — we’ve got serious implications for North Vancouver.”
Bell said he’d like TransLink to join the city and its neighbouring North Shore municipalities to look at expanding West Vancouver’s Blue Bus depot on Lloyd Avenue to accommodate all North Shore transit vehicles in the future.
Of the 224 bus drivers now based out of the East Third Street depot, 200 live on the North Shore, according to local bus drivers’ union trustee Raj Janjua.
In an interview at his North Vancouver home, Janjua said forcing all those North Shore drivers to commute to and from work in Burnaby, only to get in a bus and drive it back to the North Shore is counter to the economic and environmental spirit of taking transit in the first place.
But he agreed that whether or not TransLink builds a brand new depot on the North Shore or just leases a temporary parking lot, more space for more buses is urgently needed.
“Not a day goes by that I don’t leave people behind at a stop,” Janjua said, adding that system wide, TransLink needs about 400 more buses to meet today’s transit demand in Metro Vancouver.
Neighbours to the current North Vancouver Transit Centre have long lobbied city council to move the depot elsewhere due to the noise and traffic of what is essentially “an industrial use in a residential community,” Bell said.
Currently, TransLink has no plans to return to North Van before 2028.