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Wintry weather leads to big crowds at SkyTrain stations

Last Updated Feb 11, 2019 at 12:36 pm PDT

A crowd on the platform at Commercial/Broadway SkyTrain station on Feb. 11, 2019. (Courtesy: Twitter/@carsncars)

TransLink says there is a 'slight reduction' in service due to icy and snowy conditions

LOWER MAINLAND (NEWS 1130) – There have been some crowded SkyTrain platforms today, with TransLink saying there is a “slight reduction” in service on the Expo and Millennium Lines due to the wintry conditions.

Snow and ice are triggering track intrusion alarms. Some trains on the Millennium and Expo Lines are being manually driven. That’s causing big crowds on the system.

Pat waited and waited, and finally gave up. He called NEWS 1130 (handsfree) as he drove down the Lougheed Highway.

“There’s about 500 people on every single platform. I’m passing Gilmore right now. Gilmore is just absolutely slammed with people waiting to go westbound.”

Photos on Twitter show big crowds at other stations.

“There’s lot of ice and snow still hanging off things,” Chris Bryan with TransLink said.

“As a precaution, we’re staffing a lot of our trains and it just means a slight reduction in service. So, there will be larger gaps between train arrivals. It might be a bit more crowded on the system.”

Bryan says buses haven’t had too much trouble with hills.

“We haven’t had any major issues across the region. We’ve switched out our articulated buses as much as possible for the shorter 40-foot buses, which tend to work better in snow.”

A shuttle train has also been running between Columbia and Lougheed stations.

HandyDART is running at essential service levels.

“[That means] it’s just for cancer and renal patients. HandyDART is a door-to-door service, so it has to go down all those side streets. A lot of them haven’t been cleared effectively, so we’ve had to reduce service for HandyDART today.”

TransLink is advising you to leave plenty of extra time on transit, dress warmly, and prepare for delays.

The slippery roads led to problems on transit on Sunday.

In one example, at least 10 buses were seen backed up on Broadway at Alma Street.

Chris Bryan with TransLink says Sunday’s weather change “came as more severe and sudden than probably anybody expected.”

READ MORE: Traffic and transit routes delayed as vehicles slip and slide on snowy roads

He admits it was tough on the roads.

“We’re only as good as the roads that we drive on. So, in terms of buses, some of them had some really serious issues. We did a lot of the things that tend to work, but there’s not much we can do beyond that, unfortunately.”

He notes crews tried out tire socks on Burnaby Mountain, as well as on a route on the North Shore. “It tended to work quite well. So, that was good for some of those tougher areas.”

But Bryan notes in Vancouver, there are buses that are scheduled to arrive at higher frequencies.

“When you get a bit of a log jam, it can really create a back-up quite quickly. So, that was pretty hard for customers. We had people out there, waiting for their buses, unfortunately.”

He says with more snow expected tonight, it’s all hands on deck. Up to 15 cm of more snow is expected to fall in parts of the Lower Mainland.

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 – With files from Mike Lloyd