“One in a million” shutdown underlines importance of Skytrain to regional transportation

skytrainThe “one in a million” accident on the Expo line that forced a long shutdown of Skytrain service during Tuesday’s rush hour underlines once more how critical it is to renew and expand rail commuter service right across Metro.

There is no way a “bus bridge” can fill the gap when trains don’t run, especially if buses and drivers all already fully-committed to rush hour service. Nonetheless, Translink’s efforts have vastly improved since an in-depth review of the response to shutdowns two years ago that saw angry passengers breaking out of trains to walk the guideways to the stations.

Since those incidents, Translink has committed $71 million to upgrade and maintain aging Skytrain infrastructure, but defeat of June’s funding referendum means Translink is struggling to fund regular operations, never mind expansion.

Annual “service optimization” on bus routes is reducing service to low-ridership areas and contributing to a slow decline in overall ridership.

These are not happy times for transit riders. No wonder so many transit planners’ hopes are pinned on a new funding commitment from the new Trudeau government in Ottawa.