WCE service to continue

The West Coast Express has been running from Mission to Vancouver since 1996.

The West Coast Express has been running from Mission to Vancouver since 1996.

West Coast Express (WCE) service will cost the District of Mission more, and the full run to downtown Vancouver will continue until at least 2015.

A new four-year agreement has recently been signed, with an option to extend to 2019, but Mission will begin a five-year incremental increase in cost coverage.

The district’s contribution will increase from five per cent of the total operational costs for the Mission portion of the WCE to 20 per cent.

Mission lists $316,062 in expenditures for WCE in their $1.8 million 2011 transit budget, of which the train service accounts for $163,000.

According to Mission’s deputy director of finance, Kris Boland, that number will increase to $311,000 for train service for fiscal 2011-2012.

Boland added this doesn’t mean the total expenditures for WCE will increase by $148,000, pointing out that weekend TrainBus services were eliminated June 20.

The TrainBus service will drop from $195,000 in 2011 to about $160,000 in the next year, though Boland cautioned that, unlike train service, the costs can fluctuate.

No schedule changes are expected with the new train agreement.

The previous arrangement expired nearly two years ago, and both sides have been actively pursuing a new one since 2009.

“The new agreement addresses TransLink’s requirement to see a more equitable recovery of costs and provides service certainty for the District of Mission,” read a statement from the municipality.

WCE has been providing daily passenger rail service between Mission and Vancouver since 1996.

“The West Coast Express is a key part of the transit infrastructure that supports our community, and will be the backbone for the redevelopment of the Mission waterfront area,” said Mayor James Atebe in a statement.