‘Aging fleet’ causes numerous bus cancellations in Victoria: BC Transit

'Aging fleet' causes numerous bus cancellations in Victoria: BC Transit
Nicholas Pescod

BC Transit says mechanical issues with its aging fleet in Victoria are causing a number of cancellations in recent days.

The cancellations on Tuesday are across 17 routes in the Victoria transit system with some routes having as few as one daily trip cancelled, with the 95 route having the most cancellations with 11 trips cancelled.

BC Transit says it runs around 3,000 daily trips in the Victoria system and the recent cancellations only account for around one per cent of the total scheduled service.

“That said, we recognize the impact any cancelled service has on riders and do our best to notify customers immediately,” the statement to CHEK News says.

Unlike in May 2023, when one specific type of bus was pulled from operation due to an issue, BC Transit says the mechanical issues are not affecting one type of bus, but rather buses across the fleet.

“It’s mostly aging buses in our fleet that are having issues and our maintenance team is working hard to get more buses on the road and return to full scheduled service,” the statement says.

There is not yet an estimate for when service will return to normal.

Jill Bautista is a high school student who rides the bus every day.

“It’s annoying, to be honest,” she says. “You can’t trust the app a lot of the time so I try and get there really early.”

While frustration is taking its toll on riders, the ones taking your toll are feeling it as well.

“I don’t think in my time with BC Transit the strain’s ever been this high,” says UNIFOR Local 333 BC president Stephen Bains. “What happens lately is on any kind of given day there’s anywhere from five to 13 drivers per bay that don’t have a bus, which means buses aren’t delivering service.”

As drivers experience idle hands some days, it’s the opposite for mechanics tasked with fixing the fleet.

“Mechanics who are working very hard and putting in loads of overtime in addition to their regular work day are seeing buses coming back on a tow hook,” says Bains.

BC Transit said in a statement Tuesday that they are actively hiring and training mechanics, Bains says the problem isn’t manpower.

“This is a bus shortage,” he says.

BC Transit says more cancellations are expected for the foreseeable future.

In the meantime, riders are encouraged to check BC Transit’s website and the Transit App where trip cancellations will be communicated as soon as they are confirmed.

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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