Questions are being raised about shift lengths of Calgary Transit drivers after a CTrain operator refused to go any further along the Red Line in the city’s northwest Wednesday night.
“He came over the speaker and said that just due to the fact that he had been scheduled for over 12 hours that day, he would no longer be going any further until someone came along to relieve him of his duty,” passenger Nikki Warnock said.
The train was unusually busy shortly after 11:30 p.m., following the conclusion of a Calgary Flames game at the Saddledome.
“Very sorry folks, like everybody, I also want to go home,” the driver said over the loud speaker. “I’m very sorry about this. This is terrible. No one should have to go through this.”
Rick Ratcliff with the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 538 said the driver contacted them Thursday morning.
“The member had some safety concerns because he had been, ultimately, at work for 12 hours, which is basically the limit of any shift at Calgary Transit.”
Ratcliff said the standard protocol would be for a driver to advise a supervisor when they don’t feel fit to carry on, then a supervisor would make the call on how to proceed.
Warnock is trying to see the situation from both the employer and the driver’s perspective.
“Obviously when you’re short-handed, you do have to schedule people for overtime,” Warnock said. “It’s not safe for somebody who is operating a giant vehicle like that to be driving for over 12 hours a day, but I think he could have handled the situation better.
“He held up every single car behind us as well as the people that were on the train. It kind of felt like I was being held hostage by the situation.”
Calgary Transit sent out a tweet about a 15-minute delay on the Red Line due to a “CTrain malfunction” – something it later said may have been a miscommunication or multiple issues.
The company said an internal investigation is underway.