TransLink unions call for broader review of SkyTrain shutdowns

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      Union leaders representing almost 7,000 transit workers want TransLink to widen the scope of its review of the two recent SkyTrain shutdowns.

      Six locals with the Amalgamated Transit Union, Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union, Canadian Union of Public Employees, and Unifor are also asking independent reviewer Gary McNeil to meet with them.

      “It is critical that the inquiry consult the workers who run the transit system in order to understand all of the challenges and problems that need to be fixed,” Nathan Woods, president of Unifor Local 111, said in a joint news release today (July 29). “We regret that TransLink did not talk to us about this inquiry.

      “Translink also needs to broaden the terms of the independent inquiry to ensure that all aspects of the SkyTrain breakdown are investigated – there should be no limitations after such a serious disruption of service.”

      Rob Woods, president of CUPE Local 4500, said in the release: “Riders had no easy way of finding out what happened, how serious it was, what they should do and if alternative transportation was available – that led to many people taking the very dangerous decision to exit stuck SkyTrain cars along the guideway without any assistance – this has to be fixed even before the inquiry reports – we need a backup communications system immediately.”

      On Monday (July 28), TransLink announced the hiring of McNeil, a former CEO of GO Transit in Toronto, to lead a "thorough review of TransLink’s response plan for major service disruptions, and identify improvements".

      In a news release, TransLink said that McNeil would file his final report at the end of October.

      A TransLink backgrounder describes the SkyTrain outages: "On July 17th and July 21st the Expo and Millennium lines were shut down for extended periods of time. These outages had a significant impact on customers and raised public safety concerns. In both cases the entire system was out of service for periods in excess of four hours.

      "Some customers self-evacuated trains, and customer crowding occurred at major transit hubs.

      "The first occurrence was caused by the premature failure of a computer system component that controls a segment of the Expo Line, and the second was caused by the loss of power when the main power control panel was accidentally taken out of service while undergoing modifications."


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      400 ppm

      Jul 29, 2014 at 6:49pm

      Translink's response the past week speaks for itself; the unions involved should shut up and let them marinate in it.

      Why don't the unions involved look after their membership (of which I am one) instead of trying to run transit systems and get themselves invited to meetings, meetings with people who don't give a good god damn what unions have to say.

      Conrad Black was right when he said he got his best managers from union leadership.


      Jul 30, 2014 at 8:00am

      I am surprised the unions are supportive of management's decision to appoint a $1200 a day investigator. What can he tell us that isn't already common knowledge? A back up system needs to be in place, a way to communicate with train passengers when the PA system is downneeds installation, faster response times to get people to safety.
      These 2 events have come as a blessing in pointing to the holes in Translink's emergency protocol. What if there had been an earthquake and there was chaos everywhere in Vancouver? They need to fix the problems ASAP, not stand around talking about it.


      Jul 30, 2014 at 8:49am

      Not sure if article indicated...but what is the independent reviewer actually investigating? Union boss says there's no consultation with workers who run the thing.

      blame game

      Jul 30, 2014 at 10:32am

      translink management still have no clue. they talk the talk but don't walk the walk, still blaming everyone else for their own folly. can't believe they're paying this guy $1200/day, that money should come out of their own pockets. they should also stop blaming people for freeing themselves from the cars. what is an acceptable time frame to be kept hostage during a shutdown? 15 minutes? 30 minutes? over an hour???!!! ridiculous to expect anyone to stay put for anything over 20 minutes in my opinion. don't forget, the news is full of stories on failed evacuations: those poor students on the boat that sank were told to stay in their cabins and look what happened. not the same thing you might think but regardless, translink has lost the trust of the general public and don't deserve to have it back any time soon. oh yeah, free rides on a stat holiday is BS and should be given on working days.


      Jul 31, 2014 at 10:13pm

      The Unions must also pressure Translink to make public what really happened on those breakdowns. Telling the public that one of its electricians who tripped on some main breaker causing massive shutdown on the skytrain is a big lie. So that's how easy to shutdown the whole skytrain system? Just trip on some breaker? Translink is a big joke and full of lies.