Coronavirus: TransLink losses estimated at $500M to $1.4B

New TransLink numbers show dramatic toll of COVID-19 on Metro Vancouver transit

Officials with Metro Vancouver’s transit agency are painting a clearer picture of how badly the organization’s finances have been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

At its annual general meeting Thursday, TransLink said daily ridership fell to about 223,000 people in April, and more than doubled to about 472,000 people by May.

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That’s still only about a third of its pre-COVID daily ridership average of 1.5 million.

The steep decline in ridership has translated into major losses. TransLink said if Phase 3 of the province’s pandemic reopening plan were to start soon, it stands to lose about $500 million this year.

In a worst-case scenario, with a second wave of the virus, it said the losses could amount to $1.4 billion.

TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond said he still doesn’t know where funding to fill that gap would come from.

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“We are working with the province, we’ve been working with the province very extensively for weeks now,” said Desmond.

“We’ve also had many many contacts with the federal government. We have a number of different ideas.”

Earlier this spring, TransLink issued about 1,500 layoff notices and proposed major service cuts to try and offset losses.

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The cuts and layoffs were rescinded in mid-May as the province moved to Phase 2 of its reopening plan.

Premier John Horgan has hinted B.C. could move to Phase 3 of its plan as early as next week.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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