Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Number of significant SkyTrain delays increased in 2017

The Expo Line is over 30 years old. The original SkyTrain cars that were purchased back in the 1980s are still in active service today. It is no surprise that over the years, the number of significant delays on the SkyTrain system has increased.

For its part, TransLink is activity working on replacing worn sections of track, electrical systems, communications systems, and track switches. These significant, complex maintenance projects can also cause unexpected delays on the SkyTrain system.

As I stated, the original SkyTrain cars are old. Many of them have already exceeded their 25-year design life. These original cars were supposed to be replaced which new vehicles, but in a cost-cutting measure implemented in 2013, TransLink decided to refurbish the original SkyTrain car fleet instead. This was done in a period when the provincial government was showing no love for public transit in Metro Vancouver.

The following charts shows the increase in significant delays between 2016 and 2017.

Number of significant SkyTrain delays in 2016 and 2017 as of November 25, 2017. Select chart to enlarge.

As you can see, problems with SkyTrain cars were responsible for about half of the 16 to 30-minute delays in 2017. I have to wonder if the cost-cutting measure from 5-year ago is playing a role in these increased delays.

In the summer, TransLink did announce that it is looking at accelerating the purchase of new SkyTrain cars. Hopefully, the agency will also be able to start retiring some of the original SkyTrain fleet.

Unlike some other transit agencies with older rail systems, TransLink is being proactive with maintenance. As the system is renewed, and as original SkyTrain cars get replaced, the number of delays should decrease.

Even with the increased number of delay events, the SkyTrain system still had an on-time performance of over 95% in 2017.

1 comment:

Mark H said...

Interesting. I'm presuming this is looking at just BCRTC and the expo/millenium lines? When I looked at this using their twitter feed a few years back, for 2012 and 2013 (plus a few extra months), I counted 53 incidents lasting at least 45 minutes, or about 23-24 per year. I also noted a much higher proportion of 'system' issues.

I may need to dig up my old data file and see how the lower length delays line up.