Vancouver City Councillor

Category — Transit

Translink review has tough calls to make in face of riders’ urge to walk tracks during shutdowns

What’s the solution to Translink riders’ new urge to pry open the doors and walk the guideways during service shutdowns?

Commenters online after last week’s Sept. 8 shutdown urged heavy fines and stronger warnings, which make perfect sense, but that assumes Translink has enough personnel to despatch to such situations with the power to lay the necessary charges. (The current fine is $115.)

One of Skytrain’s great features is the low operating cost that result from automated train control. For Gary McNeil, the independent expert engaged to review the July shutdowns, the latest episodes pose a tough challenge. Adding more staff will erode that advantage.

There will be times when people do need to be escorted from stranded trains. But when they make up their own minds when and how to leave, they risk their lives and hold up everyone else. A solution will not be simple, quick or easy.

September 11, 2014

Toronto transit improvements would raise the bar with more frequency, night service, time-based fares

The Toronto Transit Commission is proposing a rider-focussed set of service improvements for its sprawling system, with more frequent service; a commitment to operate all routes all day long, every day; more night service; more transit priority; and a switch to fare payments that buy two hours on the system, not just a single trip.

It’s a package that raises the bar for transit improvements, particularly when major capital investments like streetcar and subway expansion take decades to implement. Most of the cost in the TTC plan is driven by wages, fuel and maintenance.

But the proposal has much in common with the Mayor’s Council 10-year plan for Metro Vancouver, which includes many of the same reforms. The cost of the Toronto plan: $69 million a year by 2018, with $288 million in new capital over over five years.

August 18, 2014

#Translink has Compass card provider Cubic on hold, but Transport for London is taking their calls

Translink may have have put Compass-card provider Cubic on hold with its recent decision to further delay roll-out of the new farecard system, but the global ticketing company is getting its calls returned in London.

Transport for London has just awarded the firm a 10-year, $1.2 billion contract for ticketing and faregate systems. The contract takes effect next year.


July 30, 2014

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.




July 28, 2014