July 22, 2014 7:20 am
Updated: July 22, 2014 2:03 pm

Skytrain fully back online after five hours of commuter chaos

WATCH: A malfunction shut down the Skytrain system, stranding thousands of passengers. Catherine Urquhart reports.

A serious malfunction on Translink’s Skytrain system caused chaos for thousands across Metro Vancouver on Monday, forcing people who depend on the Skytrain to seek alternative transportation home for the second time in less than a week.

The Expo and Millennium lines were first shut down just after noon because of a circuit board short. It took until 6 p.m. for full service to be restored.

Translink says the shutdown was caused by human error and they are offering a free day of transit to show their appreciation.

WATCH: Stranded SkyTrain passengers were escorted off cars near Main Street station Monday afternoon


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Translink Chief Operating Officer Doug Kelsey apologized to commuters for the second major service disruption in less than a week.

READ MORE: Massive SkyTrain disruptions blamed on a computer glitch

“We clearly disrupted a lot of our customers today getting home and we want to apologize for that.”

“We are investigating right now and the early signs are that one of our circuit boards at some kind of short,” says Kelsey.

Kelsey says today’s issue and last week’s computer issue are unrelated. He says he hopes Translink’s investigation will get to the bottom of what happened, but doesn’t believe the issues are a result of the system’s age.

“We are always going through a period of renewal, this is actually a pretty young system compared to others around the world,” says Kelsey.

“Job #1 is getting our customers home tonight.”

Kelsey says Translink needs to earn customers’ trust back, but couldn’t promise that a similar disruption won’t happen again.

“We have an over 95 per cent on-time performance, which is actually very good by North American standards.”

VIDEO: Full interview with Translink COO Doug Kelsey

Previous story:

VANCOUVER – A system-wide hold has been placed on all Expo and Millennium SkyTrain lines due to a technical issue.

As of 3:50 p.m. Monday, Translink says they do not know when the system will be back online. The system went down just before 12:30 p.m.

Canada Line trains are not affected, and additional trains have been added to that route.

Due to the issue, TransLink says their personnel cannot communicate with the cars in the system or on the platforms and to stay in the cars and wait for staff to come help you.

Some riders are telling Global News they have been trapped in Skytrain cars for more than three hours.

https://twitter.com/rrcoolv/status/491343858739847168

SkyTrain personnel do not even have phone or computer access.

Stations have been evacuated and closed and will remain closed until technicians find a solution.

Translink is telling people to make other transportation arrangements and they are setting up bus bridges at most of the major train stations. However, riders should expect major delays.

This includes New West, Surrey Central, Metrotown, Broadway, Waterfront and Burrard.

Taxi territory restrictions have also been relaxed, meaning out-of-town taxi companies can pick up passengers in Vancouver.

This is the second time in five days that there has been a system-wide hold on the SkyTrain. The previous incident was blamed on a ‘massive computer glitch’. TransLink says the issue was “exacerbated by passengers who illegally walked onto [the] guideway.”

It is not known if the two incidents are connected.

WATCH: CKNW’s Shane Woodford was at Scott Road SkyTrain Station when the system was shut down

TransLink spokesperson Jiana Ling says due to their current fare structure it is not possible to provide customers with a refund. She says they will have to “look at something else.”

WATCH: TransLink spokesperson Jiana Ling updates Global News viewers on the situation 

Reporter Ted Field took this video of the SkyTrain station at Lake City Way:

Due to the heavy traffic to their Trip Planner website, TransLink is now telling people to contact Customer Information on 604-953-3333, however “please be aware that due to high call volumes – wait times may be longer than expected,” according to Translink.

We will update this story when more information is available. Translink is promising updates every 30 minutes.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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