Translink announces independent review of Skytrain shutdowns just hours before Mayors’ Council debate

Translink CEO Ian Jarvis has announced an independent review of last week’s massive Translink shutdowns just hours before the Translink Mayors’ Council was to consider a similar proposal from Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson.

Heading the quick review is Ontario transit expert Gary McNeil, who has a mandate to review both how the shutdowns occurred and how Translink handled them. Media coverage was dominated by pictures of Skytrain passengers, including children, walking the guideway to escape stalled trains.

Translink says in a backgrounder that it has begun tackling many of the issues that were laid bare last week, including the failure of the public address system and the chaotic evacuation procedures. (I have also been told, but have not confirmed, that last week’s suspension of the electrician involved in the second shutdown has been rescinded.)

This is a big shift from last week’s Translink refusal to consider a full inquiry.

Significantly, McNeil’s mandate includes consideration of “what can be done, going forward, to prevent a reoccurrence or speed up system recovery.

“The potential actions may include changes to existing processes and investments in additional back up equipment.” McNeil is to report by the end of October.

In other words, if money is required to prevent a recurrence, it will have to be found.