Once again, Documents that have been provided through a Freedom of Information request that shows trouble at TransLink – this time, how much the authority has spent on repairing and maintaining escalators and elevators.
And to be honest, while the dollar figure is nothing to be shocked about, there is one shocking thing, and we’ll get to that soon.
The FOI reveals that back in 2015, TransLink spent $6.4-million to maintain the 78 escalators and 59 elevators on the Expo and Millennium Lines.
In 2014, the same work cost $5.6 -million.
Included in these costs are parts, labor, preventative maintenance, inspections as mandated by the B.C. safety authority, and scheduled and non-scheduled repairs.
I’m not shocked by the amount of money at all, what’s shocking here is that every day on the system we hear about the constant complaints from customers that some of the elevators are down, and if you’re confined to wheelchair or have mobility issues you’re on your own.
Another let down
MetroTown is one such station- It’s currently undergoing the same detailed renovation that Main St.-Science World had the last two years, New West also is currently under renovation.
But renovations should not be used as excuse.
Imagine if you told someone with a disability that they have no access to a Service Canada office because of a renovation?
Well, that would never happen, because we know that’s not acceptable to anyone. So why do we accept it on the third largest public transportation network in the country?
Thankfully TransLink have a campaign in place to shuttle people who need elevator access from Patterson station, the next closest station with a working elevator.
On your own
But when other station’s elevators are down people who need access have to figure it out, like Kayla Cox who was on this show last night.
If the Westbound elevator is down at New Westminster station, she needs to catch the Eastbound train, go to Scott Road, and change platforms to come back in the direction she actually needs to go.
Imagine if you had to do that on a regular basis? You’d be furious and you’d protest it, and something would be done about it.
But because people who live each day managing disabilities bear the brunt of this poor planning from SkyTrain… it likely doesn’t even enter the conscience of most able bodied people.
But I think the last few weeks it finally has. I think our eyes are wider to the issues at stake here.
So the question we pose to TransLink Today is this.
If you spent $6.4 million last year on maintenance why do we always have elevators and escalators down?
Were the contracts given to the lowest bidder?
Are there third party maintenance contracts, or are they internal?
How large is the maintenance team? And are they using the hours that the system is down to repair broken elevators and escalators, or are unions involved where hours are dictated?
Janet Brown on behalf of this show filed a new FOI today to find out how many complaints TransLink has received about out of service infrastructure.
It’s a number taxpayers are entitled to know, we’re also entitled to know how TransLink deals with such complaints.
I know to some of you reading this might come to the conclusion that is am making a big deal out of this.
Go ask a person with a disability who has mobility issues what they think about this, because at the end of the day they’re the people affected the most by TransLink’s lack of focus on providing a convenient service.
Getting on a train at your station and having to go a few stations back to be able to use an elevator that will get you to a platform going in your direction is anything but convenient.
Minister Peter Fassbender’s move yesterday to draw a line in the sand for Translink management to fix their disability access issues is the start of the accountability avalanche coming TransLink’s way.
It’s up to you and me to also be a strong voice people with disabilities, people with mobility issues & people who have a hard time getting around as it is.
All people want is their independence, and making them jump through hoops to get from A to B is never going to work.
So don’t try and pass off your poorly planned out Band-Aid solution as a gold standard, because right now you getting a D-.