VANCOUVER, Dec. 16 /CNW/ - The union representing Metro Vancouver bus drivers is starting a public campaign - joined by restaurant and bar associations - to ask the province to provide funding for increased Night Bus service and longer SkyTrain hours so customers have a safe ride home.
The campaign is asking the public to support provincial funding for increased public transit at night after tough new provincial drunk driving laws have reduced business for restaurants and bars.
Canadian Auto Workers Union Local 111 is launching a More Night Buses Now campaign with the support of both the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association and BarWatch, representing Metro Vancouver restaurants and bars.
CAW 111 President Don MacLeod says the union backs new provincial government and police efforts to curb drunk driving but says without more Night Bus service and longer SkyTrain hours, the new laws will only hurt the economy and tempt drinkers to risk arrest by driving because they have no options to get home.
"We want to get drunk drivers off the road but how do you do that without hurting restaurants and bars if customers have no alternatives except to either stay home or drink and drive?" asks MacLeod. "More Night Bus service and longer SkyTrain hours - especially on the weekend - would really help everyone."
The campaign, supported by restaurant and bar associations, has taken out full page ads in Metro Vancouver newspapers and set up a Facebook Fan Page to get public support titled "MoreNightBusesNow" on www.Facebook.com
"Restaurants want to see more public transit service so that our customers can enjoy their dinner out, drink responsibly and not take chances driving home," says Ian Tostenson, President of the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association.
Adds BarWatch Chair John Teti: "We want our customers to get home safely after a night out - increased public transit at night is one obvious solution."
MacLeod says that if BC wants to reduce drunk driving, the province should provide extra funding for public transit so those who are out drinking have real options to get home safely.
"You can't tell people who are out drinking to leave the car home but then make them wait an hour or more to get a bus and have no SkyTrain service late at night," MacLeod said. "That will only encourage them to take a chance by driving while impaired or to just stay home and hurt the restaurants and bars."
MacLeod said TransLink only runs 12 night bus service routes, 11 originating in downtown Vancouver, and none are offered 24 hours a day while SkyTrain shuts down for maintenance between about 1 and 5 a.m.
For further information: For further information:
Don MacLeod at 604-519-1110 ext *2288 or cell (604) 992-1781 or Ian Tostenson, BCRFA, at (604) 669-2239 or John Teti, BarWatch, at (604) 683-6506, or Bill Tieleman, West Star Communications, at cell 778-896-0964