Power failure, faulty circuit board, led to TTC subway shutdown

WATCH ABOVE: Commuter chaos as Toronto’s subways shut down during the morning commute.  The main communications system failed, as did the back up system. Christina Stevens reports.

TORONTO — As if Mondays aren’t tough as it is.

More than 100,000 Torontonians were delayed this morning after all four TTC subway lines were suspended at around 6:30 a.m. for more than an hour.

The TTC confirmed it was due to a total communication system breakdown stemming from a power failure Sunday night.

“The loss of radio communications between subway trains and the TTC’s transit control centre was the safety critical issue that caused the suspension of service, as trains cannot go through tunnels without being able to communicate with the control centre,” said a release from the TTC Monday afternoon.

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WATCH BELOW: TTC CEO Andy Byford explains what caused subway stoppage Monday morning

“At the same time, diagnosis and recovery, as well the ability to communicate with customers, was severely impeded by the loss of other communications systems, including email, internet and the TTC’s phone system.”

A power failure Sunday night at the TTC’s control centre “activated the uninterrupted power supply (UPS). A failure within the UPS caused its battery system to drain, preventing power from getting to critical communications systems.”

A faulty circuit board within one of the TTC’s UPS units is ultimately to blame for the total breakdown.

The TTC said an investigation into the UPS malfunction is underway to prevent it from happening again.

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While scheduled buses and streetcars were running normally, the TTC said it could not offer shuttle buses as there are not enough of the vehicles to service all regular routes and supplement subway lines. Running shuttle buses “would have decimated the existing bus network and caused further disruption to customers.”

Monday afternoon TTC CEO Andy Byford said the commission would never cut back on funding when it comes to critical safety measures.

“I’m very disappointing this happened,” said Byford. “Our reputation took a big hit this morning.”

WATCH BELOW: TTC CEO Andy Byford addresses commuter frustration over subway shutdown

He said the TTC has been steadily enhancing service, with additional vehicles and system improvements.

“The system is inherently robust,” said Byford.

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Byford said the system is equipped to deal with the upcoming Pan Am Games, with extensive contingency plans drawn with alternatives planned should any major routes go down during the games.

He said all proper maintenance, repairs and replacements will be done to ensure any systems that caused Monday’s shutdown will be fixed.

“We intend to get to the absolute bottom of this.”

During the shutdown, Toronto Police warned of more cars on the road, and assisted with crowd control.

In the House of Commons Monday NDP MP Matthew Kellway raised the issue of the Toronto subway shutdown as an indicator of the Conservatives’ refusal to invest in cities.

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The suspension caused many ripple effects in the city.

Ryerson University delayed the convocation for the Faculty of Communication & Design from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Beck Taxi said wait times were significantly longer, while Uber’s surge pricing sent costs for the ride-sharing service soaring.

WATCH BELOW: TTC commuters speak out after subway shutdown

With files from Tania Kohut


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