Vancouver City Councillor

Category — Transit

#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told, but have not confirmed, that last week’s suspension of the electrician involved in the second shutdown has been rescinded.)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

Translink’s Jarvis responding to call for outside review of #Skytrain shutdowns

Translink CEO Ian Jarvis, in his first public comments since the double Skytrain shutdowns, is now proposing a more robust internal review supplemented by outside specialists. This is a good first step to respond to the calls Mayor Gregor Robertson and I have made for an independent review.

There is no doubt many follow-up consultations and inquiries will be needed, not least on how to assure the public address system works and travellers are kept safe in the event of a shutdown, big or small. In my view, a fully independent review is still warranted and the results, of course, of any review should be made public.

July 24, 2014

Translink too quick to reject calls for independent investigation into double Skytrain shutdown

Skytrain Chief Operating Officer Doug Kelsey took just hours today to reject a call for an independent investigation of this week’s double Skytrain shutdown — “we know it was human error” — but he’s missing the point.

The tens of thousands of Translink system riders who had their day disrupted, or were exposed to serious safety risks while walking along elevated guideways, are entitled to a full explanation of what happened and what steps will be taken to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

So far, Translink has said only that “it is reviewing the details of the incident.” Will they be made public?

Human errors can be avoided. Basic problems that were highlighted by the second shutdown, including the risk to public safety resulting from the loss of the public address system, need to be confronted. This is true, as well, of the first shutdown, which has been attributed to a computer “glitch” of some description. Has it been fixed?

Saying the second shutdown was triggered by an improper switch installation, and suspending the electrician involved, hardly explains why such an error could shut down everything, including the public address system, leaving hundreds of riders to wander down elevated guideways to escape.

Nor does it clarify who, precisely, ordered the electrician to undertake the task. The Canadian Union of Public Employees has charged that the panel in question was substandard, that the task was ordered by a supervisor who knew the risks, and that the entire job should have been done after operating hours.

An independent investigation need not be lengthy, cumbersome or expensive. The Stanley Cup Riot review, for example, took about 90 days, required no special powers for the two people in charge and cost a few hundred thousand dollars.

Its 53 recommendations resulted in fundamental changes in the way various governments and agencies, including the City of Vancouver and Translink, handle major events.


July 22, 2014