It was the maiden voyage for the new SeaBus Wednesday morning, and while the recent addition to the fleet had TransLink executives celebrating, the sailing left others with more questions than answers.
“The critical issue here is what happens after the Games,” said North Vancouver Mayor Darrell Mussatto. “How soon are we going to be back to three SeaBuses? How soon are we going to see the extended service?”
TransLink plans to run all three of its vessels, including the new Burrard Pacific Breeze, as of Feb. 8. They will be in use until the end of the Games. After the Olympics, one of the two original vessels, the Burrard Otter or Beaver, will be taken out the rotation and, according to TransLink, sold.
“We need that service,” added Mussatto, underwhelmed that one vessel will be taken away from service. “It’s what we’ve been lobbying for. We need that funding.”
TransLink spokesperson Drew Snider, while acknowledging the wants of the North Shore mayor, said the decision to return to two buses after the Games is strictly financial.
“One just has to be retired, although I know the folks on the North Shore don’t want to hear that,” said Snider. “Because of budgetary constraints, we’re just not able to operate all three after the Games.”
The price tag on the new ship was $25.5 million. While TransLink funded the lion’s share of the boat’s cost, both the federal and provincial governments gave $5 million apiece to the project.