Shutdown response gets ‘C’ from SkyTrain troubleshooter

Tuesday's disruption lasted 2.5 hours, TransLink officials say they plan to do better next time

TransLink’s response to the latest 2.5-hour SkyTrain shutdown during Tuesday’s evening commute is getting a ‘C’ grade from the consultant who recommended reforms in the wake of major disruptions last July.

Gary McNeil said public address communications have improved somewhat and more staff were mobilized quickly to get to stalled trains on the Expo Line.

“I think there’s a marked improvement, but is it good enough? It’s not good enough yet,” he said Wednesday.

“A year ago it took six hours to recover. Last night it was a little over two hours.”

Nineteen trains were stuck on the tracks after an induction motor failed in one train.

TransLink interim CEO Doug Allen said the 100 staff who scrambled were able to get to 15 of the 19 trains within a recommended 20 minutes – a target that minimizes the risk of frustrated passengers forcing train doors open and triggering worse delays.

“That’s not good enough,” Allen acknowledged.

Both Allen and McNeil said technical failures are unavoidable but the key to a good response is having more SkyTrain attendants hired and in position to act quickly to reach and manually drive stalled trains and manage crowds.

An extra 64 staff will arrive between August and October and more work is underway to upgrade station and train speakers and complete other recommendations McNeil made last fall.

Allen apologized to passengers for the disruption but said no fare refunds would be offered because the shutdown didn’t exceed half a day.

TransLink has offered a free day or refunds on the worst of the SkyTrain meltdowns of the past year, the latest of which happened May 21-22 after a fire sparked by a crew grinding the rails burned a critical section of cable.

Allen insisted the system’s overall reliability is “pretty darn good.”

TransLink is now checking more than 500 induction motors on all trains to ensure the same failure isn’t repeated.

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP asks for public’s help in finding missing 14-year-old

Police say Ali Al-Shai was last seen on Jan. 16

Province to pass $1.25-million repair bill for South Surrey overpass on to ICBC

152 Street overpass was struck by overheight truck on Dec. 4, 2017

Ex-Mountie who investigated ‘Surrey six’ murders gets conditional sentence

Derek Brassington pleaded guilty in B.C. Supreme Court on Friday

How fallen Surrey Mountie’s Stetson ended up in Europe puzzles police

Constable Terry Draginda’s hat is repatriated after being found at a flea market in Hamburg, Germany

Delta considering extending tax freeze, fee waiver for developers on Scott Road

The incentives are aimed at creating more diverse development in the area, says Delta’s city manager

Self serve doggy-wash poised to change dog grooming industry

Add money, start spraying to wash dog in the K9000

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Scientists ID another possible threat to orcas: pink salmon

For two decades, significantly more of the whales have died in even-numbered years than in odd years

Burnaby byelection turmoil sparks debate about identity issues in politics

The Liberals still have not said whether they plan to replace Wang, who stepped aside Wednesday

B.C. woman planned to donate a kidney to her husband, then found out she has cancer

Richard Stuart needs a kidney, his wife Tracy has been diagnosed with cancer

15 to 20 cm of snow to fall on Coquihalla

Kelowna - A snowfall warning is in effect for the highway from Hope to Merritt

Rookie Demko backstops Canucks to 4-3 win over Sabres

Young Vancouver goalie makes 36 saves to turn away Buffalo

Most Read