Translink says Thursday’s skytrain commuter chaos was due to an unforseen computer error.
Skytrain president Fred Cummings says the entire mess is due to one card.
“One of the computer cards in one of the main computer systems that communicate with the trains failed. Unfortunately it took a lot of time to trouble shoot and find out where the problem really was. We had to replace that card but as a result we had some major disruptions on the system.”
Cummings says this is not a sign of an aging Expo line.
“The card is about 12 years old. It is not something you would expect to happen. So I wouldn’t say it is part of the aging system. I would actually say it is a premature failure of a computer card. Again we are just so reliant on these systems and we want them to operate for a long long time and we didn’t get the life out of this that we anticipated.”
Cummings had this to say to the thousands of people who spent hours trying to get home..
“I can’t do anything else but offer my apologies at this point. It was a brutal day a brutal time for it happen.”
However he says Translink won’t be offering any rebates.
“I wish we had that availability. Looking forward we will have more ability to do things like that once the Compass card comes into place. We can actually have registered accounts and we can contact the people who were affected and we can offer that kind of thing. At this point we just don’t have the ability to do that and the tariff prevents us from doing that at this point.”
The Expo and Millenium Skytrain lines were down for about three hours.
The head of the Bus Drivers Union says the skytrain meltdown proved one thing – the bus network needs to be shored up.
Nathan Woods says the affects of removing service from outlying areas was obvious when people tried to get home yesterday.
“We have heard recently that there is less crowding on buses and that is a result of the optimized work with the outlying areas being reduced in service. So now you have got condensed service basically in the inner city parts of our region. Now people want to get home and well guess what they have got to through, when you have got skytrain breaking down, there is no, it is shitstorm to get home.”
Woods says across the country Skytrain technology is rarely used as other jurisdictions choose more reliable light rail
“Since skytrain technology has been incorporated here nearly a 150 LRT lines have been developed. While there has been only seven skytrain lines developed. Now you think we have got the Canada line here, the Evergeen line here, that basically means there is only five other places that have incorporated skytrain technology.”
He says the bus system was stretched to its limit, and beyond in outlying areas, trying to get people home.