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'Essential travel only': TransLink warns about Metro Vancouver service impacts due to snow

Find out what you need to know if you have to head out today.
The Metro Vancouver weather forecast includes a snowfall warning and there are over 200 TransLink bus alerts on January 17, 2024.

TransLink advises people to stay home unless they must travel for an essential purpose due to snowy conditions across Metro Vancouver.

snowfall warning remains in place in the Metro Vancouver weather forecast, with 10 to 15 cm of snow expected to fall across the region on Wednesday, Jan. 17. 

Environment Canada expects the snow will continue to fall until about 5 p.m. but there are more opportunities for snow this week.

TransLink says transit service has been impacted across its network and "delays and cancellations are expected," adding that "essential travel-only is recommended."

"Please use caution, give yourselves extra travel time [and] remember to dress warmly in anticipation of potential delays," the transit authority wrote in a statement. 

"We continue to salt and sand bus loops and SkyTrain stations, but please use caution in these areas; there may be extra crowding on some bus routes and SkyTrain platforms."

Numerous TransLink bus alerts due to Metro Vancouver snowstorm 

Spokesperson Tina Lovgreen told V.I.A. in an interview late Tuesday afternoon that TransLink has prepared for the winter storm but that "buses are only as good as the roads they drive."

Any places that are difficult for cars to navigate will be challenges for buses, particularly ones with steep terrain, she explained. 

As of 9:45 a.m. on Wednesday, TransLink has nearly 250 rider alerts listed for bus routes across its network. Dozens of departures have been cancelled due to "road conditions" or "inclement weather," while many others are "cancelled" but do not include a reason why. However, many of these are due to mechanical issues or planned construction.

In some cases, the transportation agency hasn't cancelled service on particular routes but has implemented a detour. Commuters should check the current status of their route online before heading out, Lovgreen noted. 

TransLink says SkyTrain service has been reduced "as trains need to be attended by SkyTrain attendants" but there are no significant delays or "major issues" to service. 

Crews have been spreading anti-icing solution on overhead bus trolley wires. If needed, they will use brass cutters on trolley buses to cut through ice on the wires. 

On the SkyTrain, crews will de-ice trains to prevent ice from building up on the power rail. Trains will also run overnight to prevent snow from building up on the gateway. 

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.