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'Significantly slower service' expected on transit system due to storm: TransLink

Last Updated Jan 15, 2020 at 10:34 am PDT

Summary

TransLink says transit users should expect delays on the system on Wednesday due to the weather

The transit authority is asking people to stay home unless necessary, and says back ups on buses, trains is expected

Many buses are having trouble getting up roads

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The storm hitting Metro Vancouver isn’t just impacting drivers — it’s also wreaking havoc on the region’s transit system.

TransLink says it’s had to temporarily close the King George, Sapperton, and Braid SkyTrain stations due to track issues and weather conditions.

Trains are apparently unable to get to these stations, and overcrowding is causing safety concerns.

This comes as trains and buses see delays across the system.

“The roads are not great,” TransLink’s Jill Drews tells NEWS 1130. “Bus service is severely impacted, as is SkyTrain due to freezing and re-freezing ice. We’re having problems with doors, problems with switches.”

Stay home if you can

TransLink is echoing the province, various police departments, and traffic experts’ requests to avoid travel unless it’s absolutely necessary.

“There is going to be significantly slower service today, so we are asking customers to consider, firstly, whether they do need to travel — if they do need to travel, whether that could occur off-peak,” Ben Murphy with TransLink adds.

Many buses are getting stuck on hills. The weather is also expected to put more pressure on public transit, as commuters forego their vehicles and take the bus or train instead.

Meanwhile, HandyDART is once again running essential service only on Wednesday, meaning it will only transport people who have cancer treatments or dialysis.

“HandyDART operates a door-to-door service, it of course has to navigate down side streets and many of those have been significantly covered in snow overnight,” Murphy says.

Switch and track issues

On the SkyTrain line, attendants will board trains through the storm to keep an eye on guideways and to limit emergency breaking, which can be triggered by heavy snow or ice. However, the weather is still messing with the overall system.

“Due to the type of snow, it’s causing door problems,” Drews explains of some of the issues the system is facing. “The snow is getting in there, it’s melting and re-freezing, and that means the doors are not able to open and close as they should, which is unsafe.”

When it comes to the switch issue on the SkyTrain system, Drews says this is preventing trains from moving. She explains when the snow melts, it re-freezes on switches, meaning it cannot operate.

“That means the train can’t pass on the track,” she says. “We can de-ice these. We have every maintenance staff member out that we can, but it’s just becoming a very difficult situation to keep service running reliably.”

TransLink is asking for patience when it comes to taking transit during the storm.

“We do apologize that things are going to be slower today. We are doing our best in the conditions to try and ensure the system continues to operate,” Murphy says. “Our priority is ensuring that the system continues to function, even if that does mean services are slower or significantly reduced.”

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