The intent of this page is to report on the current status of TransLink's trolleybus operations. Specifically, we will report instances where we believe trolleybuses should be operated but TransLink/Coast Mountain Bus has chosen to operate diesels in their place. Our preference for trolleybuses is consistent with that of Vancouver city council, as can be seen from reading some of their council resolutions on trolleybuses.

Two former trolleybus routes are currently diesel-operated at all times. These are:

  • #10 Hastings Express: This service used the express trolley wires on Hastings Street between Main and Kootenay Streets. It was replaced in April 1997 by diesel buses operating a revised system of routes connecting North Burnaby directly to downtown Vancouver.
  • #19 (ex-#11) Stanley Park: This service, which used the trolley wires on Pender (west of Burrard), Georgia and Chilco Streets, was first replaced by a diesel shuttle bus in 1992. This was due to safety concerns with the left turn from Georgia Street to Chilco Street. Diesel buses are able to use an underpass, which could not be wired for trolleybuses, to bypass this turn. In April of 1997, North Burnaby bus routes replaced the diesel shuttle, although the remainder of the #19 route, from downtown to Metrotown Station via Kingsway, remains diesel operated on Sundays and holidays in order to provide wheelchair accessible service. In the summer of 2000 plans were announced as part of the Lions Gate Bridge rebuilding project to replace the underpass. This will allow trolley wires to be installed. On July 10, 2000 the Vancouver Park Board approved a plan to extend trolley overhead to the Children's Farmyard (Upper Zoo) Loop. If all goes according to plan, trolley service into the park should become a reality in 2002.

The creation of dedicated West End/downtown loop routes in September 1997 was initially a negative step as far as trolleybuses were concerned as BC Transit assigned diesel buses to the new #5 Robson and #6 Davie routes for all Saturday and Sunday service. However, the December 1997 schedule change featured revised schedules for these routes and the routes became trolley-operated seven days a week (Our thanks go to those staff at then BC Transit who have worked on making this correction.) While there have been isolated cases of diesels being used to provide Sunday service since December, the situation has generally improved greatly.

Operational issues of current concern to Transport Action BC include:

  • Frequent use of diesels on trolley routes on weekends, not always with good reason.
  • The need to assign diesel buses to some rush hour trolley trips as a result of a chronic shortage of trolleybuses. This will now be more common as 10 trolleys were permanently parked in May 2002 to provide spare parts for the rest of the deteriorating fleet.
  • Reports that drivers on trolley routes who prefer to drive a diesel have their wish fulfilled by Coast Mountain Bus operations staff, provided diesels are available.
  • The poor state of repair of much of the trolleybus fleet. Some remain in what's left of their original paint. Many have very noisy and vibration-prone powertrains.

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