Tuesday, January 13, 2015

SkyTrain Monday Morning Troubles

Over the last year or so, TransLink has been replacing the power rails along the Expo Line. To accommodate this work, service has been reduced in the evening as certain sections of track are taken out of service to be overhauled.

Track work occurs nightly, starting in the late evening and lasting until the early morning. While this track replacement work goes mostly unnoticed by morning commuters, yesterday was an exception.

Currently TransLink is replacing the power rails in the Dunsmuir SkyTrain Tunnel in Downtown Vancouver. During the late evening, SkyTrain service has been terminating at Stadium-Chinatown SkyTrain Station, with shuttle service between that station and Waterfront.

It looks like there was an issue with the Sunday night/Monday morning work because commuters were faced with lengthy delays and no service past Stadium-Chinatown SkyTrain until around 8am.

Last night, I gave an interview on Global BC1 about the state of the SkyTrain system and what this may mean for the upcoming transit plebiscite.

Due to last summer’s SkyTrain meltdown, TransLink commissioned an independent review of the system. You can read more about this on a previous post. The authors of the review made $71 million in recommendations focusing around upgrading the guideway intrusion prevention system, increasing the redundancy of the system, and improving communication. It appears that the cause of yesterday’s issue wasn’t related to the recommendations.

I had someone ask me yesterday if TransLink’s executives' paid was less, would this have freed up money to implement the $71 million in recommendations to improve SkyTrain reliability and communication.

In 2013, TransLink executives and boards cost $3.1 million. If these salaries were cut in half, it would take over 48 years to implement these recommendations. If people vote “Yes” for more transit service this spring, TransLink will be able to implement the recommendations while growing transit service. If people vote “No”, TransLink would likely have to pull money away from other capital projects like buying news buses or, ironically, new SkyTrain cars to implement the recommendations.

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