TransLink is restoring service to a bus stop on East Hastings Street just east of Carrall.
“The safety of our customers, operators and the public has been our top consideration and will continue to be our top priority in serving this location,” reads a September 13 TransLink media release. “However, we are also aware that many people who depend on service in this area have mobility challenges and we want to ensure that they have access to safe and reliable transportation.
“After careful consideration, we are restoring service at the original stop.”
The stop in question was cancelled during the last week of August.
TransLink spokesperson Jill Drews previously told the Straight that the bus stop was eliminated on account of safety concerns. “There’s a make-shift market set up on the sidewalk there,” she said. “Bus operators raised concerns as it has been spilling into the area right at the curb and into the street at times.”
As the Straight reported on September 8, the stop’s cancellation left some Downtown Eastside residents in a bind. The intersection of East Hastings and Carrall is surrounded by numerous supportive-housing sites, and many of those buildings’ residents have mobility issues.
“A lot of people used to get on the bus there with wheelchairs and walkers,” resident Kevin Yake said interviewed for that story. “So a lot of people are pretty unhappy about this.”
The next two closest stops were located just west of Abbott Street and just east of Main Street. The distance between them is unusually long for a major transit route through the downtown core; a little over three blocks or, according to Google Maps, about 600 metres.
TransLink’s September 13 release states the stop’s restoration will however have to come with some changes.
“TransLink has been in discussions with the City of Vancouver and Vancouver Police Department to assist us in keeping the location safe for our passengers, pedestrians and our drivers,” it reads. “As well, we have taken several steps to address safety concerns raised by our bus operators. This includes increased patrols in the area by Transit Security and Transit Supervisors, and instructing our buses to travel at reduced speeds near this stop.
“We believe these additional measures will allow us to continue service at the location in a safe way and will continue to closely monitor safety at this location once service is restored.”
Service at the stop is scheduled to resume tomorrow (September 14).