Night Owl Buses:
End the Curfew NOW!
Since the cuts to Night Owl service, the Bus Riders Union has heard many stories of late night workers losing their jobs, people spending a lot of their income on taxi fares, youth and workers sleeping on the street or in bus shelters, and women forced into unsafe circumstances, all because they can’t get a bus.
Without full bus service seven days a week, we don’t have access to our jobs, our friends and our communities. The transit dependent people of the lower mainland are people of colour, new immigrants, women, youth, students, the disabled, low wage workers and the unemployed. We deserve full access to the social, political and economic life of our region.
In March 2001, TransLink voted to cut all Night Owl buses in Greater Vancouver, defying the protests of hundreds of riders, and even their own staff! Two years later, bus riders are still living under curfew in our own city.
Buses are cut while TransLink pours billions into the skytrain to Richmond, which will benefit private companies at the expense of bus riders.
Now, Translink is running a limited late night bus service for selected routes on Friday and Saturday nights. What about the other five days a week? Late night workers need a safe ride home every night of the week, not just on the busiest business nights for pub owners. The proposed service only runs on select routes, so most bus riders still face a long walk home.
The Bus Riders Union knows from our organizing on the bus that the vast majority of bus riders, especially bus riders who use the night owl buses, are people of colour. When the needs of the few, of business, are prioritized over those of the majority, bus riders of colour, this equals systemic racism. The call for night owl buses and more buses and lower fares is a call to fight transit racism.
TransLink also continues to exhibit an outrageous lack of concern for women, youth, and gay and lesbian communities, who often feel unsafe walking long distances late at night.
The Bus Riders Union knows from experience that more frequent service, better routes, and lower fares make a first class bus system that works for people. As bus riders, we deserve full access to our community seven days a week, twenty four hours a day! Anything less is a curfew on transit dependent people.
As transit dependant people, we don’t have the political power of the corporations that plan and implement expensive rail projects. But as immigrants, women, people of colour, low-wage workers, students, the disabled, seniors, and the unemployed, we are the majority, and together we have the power to tell TransLink to end the curfew on bus riders NOW! All day, All night, Public Transit is our Right!