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A new SeaBus, the MV Burrard Pacific Breeze, crosses Burrard Inlet from North Vancouver to Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday December 23, 2009. The new passenger ferry joins two others to provide enhanced service during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. Over the past five years SeaBus has carried more than 5.2 million passengers a year between Vancouver and North Vancouver. Thursday will mark 50 days until the start of the 2010 Winter Olympics. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck (DARRYL DYCK/DARRYL DYCK/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
A new SeaBus, the MV Burrard Pacific Breeze, crosses Burrard Inlet from North Vancouver to Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday December 23, 2009. The new passenger ferry joins two others to provide enhanced service during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. Over the past five years SeaBus has carried more than 5.2 million passengers a year between Vancouver and North Vancouver. Thursday will mark 50 days until the start of the 2010 Winter Olympics. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck (DARRYL DYCK/DARRYL DYCK/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Transit officials defend service decisions Add to ...

Bus service was discontinued to and from downtown Vancouver at 7 p.m. Wednesday, shortly after the first period in the Stanley Cup final game was over. The SeaBus from Vancouver's North Shore stopped bringing passengers downtown at 9:30 p.m. Trains on the Canada Line did not bring anyone to the downtown stations after 10 p.m.

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Vancouver police have expressed some frustration with the hundreds of people who did not go home after the game and stood around to watch others bash windows, burn cars and loot stores. However, some of the people have pointed a figure at TransLink, which made it more difficult for them to leave.

But Ken Hardie, director of communications for TransLink, said the criticism was unjustified. "We maintained a way for people to get out of downtown Vancouver," he said. "That did not include buses because the crowds got so big and the streets were jammed. We were not able to put buses on regular routes in the downtown area."

TransLink decided to discontinue services when the roads were becoming impassable, with increasing crowds and debris, Mr. Hardie said, adding that the decision was made by transit officials and not the police.

Passengers were required to walk to Hastings Street, Main Street or Broadway to catch a bus.

Also, subway lines to Burnaby and Surrey, which carry tens of thousands of passengers per hour, continued to operate. The SeaBus continued to take passengers from Vancouver to North Vancouver throughout the night.

"There was no excuse for anybody to stay downtown and say they could not get out," Mr. Hardie said.

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