– Buskers being kicked out of new Canada Line stations

Vancouver Sun


VANCOUVER – Buskers are being kicked out of Canada Line stations because TransLink’s licenced-busker program doesn’t apply to the new rapid-transit line from downtown Vancouver to the airport.

“The TransLink licencing system doesn’t extend to the Canada Line right now,” TransLink spokesman Drew Snider explained Friday. He added the licences that allow buskers to perform at stations on the Expo and Millenium lines is under review.

“Olympic security hasn’t got anything to do with it,” Snider said.

He said there were two reasons for the review: TransLink was having difficulty attracting a good roster of performers and there may be an issue with SOCAN – the Society of Composers Authors and Music Publishers of Canada – demanding royalties for songs being performed in stations.

“Apparently there’s a precedent with the Toronto Transit Commission,” Snider said.

Snider was one of the judges at the August 2007 auditions that issued about 30 one-year licenses to musicians and singers. He said he likes hearing music at SkyTrain stations.

“It adds such a nice character to the whole system,” he said.

While the exisiting one-year busker licences have expired, he said, licenced buskers will continue performing until TransLink completes its review and makes a decision on its future.

If the program continues, Snider said, “We would like to work with the Canada Line.”

One Metro Vancouver resident, Colin McLean, complained Friday that buskers are being told they can’t perform at Canada Line stations and are asked to leave.

“Some transit riders seemed rather irate that ProTrans employees were spending their time kicking out buskers when only one ticket machine at Vancouver Centre was working today,” he said in an e-mail to The Vancouver Sun.

The 19-kilometre Canada Line, which opened in August, is operated by InTransitBC, the company contracted to design, build, partially finance, operate and maintain the Canada Line for a 35-year period. InTransitBC is a joint venture company owned by SNC-Lavalin, the Investment Management Corporation of BC and Caisse de Depot et Placements de Quebec. It has contracted the day-to-day operations of the line to ProTrans BC.


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