Why does CMBC use a snow rated all season tire?

With the recent snow storms Metro Vancouver has experienced in recent weeks, we want to share a bit more why Coast Mountain Bus Company buses are equipped with snow rated all season tires versus winter tires.  All-season tires are the norm for buses in major cities across Canada, including Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Regina. On roads that are properly maintained, our buses operate well and we work with our municipal partners to ensure bus routes are cleared first. Below are a few questions that have popped up over the last couple months.

Which tire does CMBC use?

CMBC buses use all-season tires recommended by Michelin for the climate in Metro Vancouver. These tires have a mud and snow rating (M+S or WinterTireMountainSnowflakeSymbol140x160 symbol on side wall), but they also perform well in the rain. Vancouver snow is typically very wet and will often plug up the tread on winter tires resulting in reduced traction.  We don't have winter tires for a number of reasons:

  • Winter tires are prone to hydroplaning in the rain,
  • Winter tires are ideal for powdery snow and icy conditions; they are not ideal for wet or dry roads,
  • They are very costly, we would need to keep inventory for the entire fleet (4,000+ tires) for just a few days out of the year. It is also very time consuming to change the tires, and winter tires need to be replaced more frequently because the rubber is softer.

Why not equip buses in hilly, snow-prone areas with winter tires?

  • Our buses rotate through various routes based on the way we schedule, and it would be impractical to restrict our buses to certain routes only.

What we do:

  • In preparation for the winter, CMBC removes all tires with less than 11/32 tread and switches them out for tires with more tread. The tires with less tread are stored and saved for use in the summer.

Why don't you use chains?

  • Using chains on buses can cause damage to the bus and roads especially when there is no snow.
  • It's very time consuming to install chains and we don't have enough staff do this effectively.
  • Buses with chains are restricted with how fast they can go.
  • We don't have permission from all the municipalities to use chains on their roads.

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    • Address: 400 - 287 Nelson's Court, New Westminster, BC
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    • Email: media@translink.ca