Passengers faced crammed conditions on SkyTrain platforms Tuesday morning.

Passengers faced crammed conditions on SkyTrain platforms Tuesday morning.

Transit riders vent over snarled SkyTrain service

Some want TransLink to issue refunds after multi-hour delay

TransLink is apologizing after a seven-hour shutdown of a section of the Expo Line caused huge delays and severe crowding for SkyTrain passengers Tuesday morning.

Trouble with a section of power rail that was improperly installed during overnight maintenance work near Main Street station caused system-wide delays.

Transit riders took to social media to vent, with some reporting their trip to downtown Vancouver took two to three hours after waiting for bus bridges or shuttle trains to carry them between Joyce and Main Street stations.

“I am one of your biggest supporters, but today’s nightmare was an epic fail on all parts,” Tracey Flattes wrote on TransLink’s Facebook page.

She was among many passengers who complained of poor communication by TransLink and insufficient help from staff for the throngs that were packed into SkyTrain stations awaiting trains.

“I understand that things happen that are out of control, but things that are should be managed properly, and weren’t,” added Kris Liu, who cited “terrible communication, inadequate buses and misinformed staff.”

Others gave up altogether.

“I spend 25 minutes waiting for a bus, then when it finally comes and I have to make a transfer to another bus, it comes but is completely full,” recounted Julia Hart. “Ten minutes later, another one comes, and it too is completely full. I give up and come back home, missing a $200 class.”

Many passengers are calling on TransLink to compensate them for the morning disruption.

“Today has been the absolute worst,” said Chris Keehn. “Where are our refunds?”

The shutdown began just before 6:30 a.m. and normal service was restored on SkyTrain just after 1:30 p.m.

TransLink spokesman Derek Zabel said the power rail installation error caused damage to the collector shoe assembly of a train, which in turn ripped up a section of communications cable.

“We certainly apologize to our customers who experienced delays today and hopefully we can earn the right to continue to serve them in the future,” Zabel said.

“This was a major service disruption for customers right in the middle of the morning commute.”

A previous SkyTrain shutdown in early July was not related to the power rail replacement project, which will continue for several more months.

Zabel said TransLink has no capability to issue refunds, although that may be an option after Compass cards are rolled out.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The RCMP was called to a condo complex in Langley City in the early hours of Jan. 18, 2021, for a shooting. (Shane Mackichan/Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Our View: Too many shootings as gang war continues

We need to ask what more we could be doing to stop the endless gang wars

A lawsuit over three stormwater floods of a building over the past year has been launched against Langley City. (Langley Advance Times file)
Flooded apartment building sparks lawsuit against Langley City

A downtown landlord claims a lack of storm sewer upgrades is negligence

Abbotsford’s Willow Video location will be closing at the end of the month. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Abbotsford’s Willow Video closing

Video game, movie retailer closing up shop after more than 20 years

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
1-in-5 COVID tests coming back positive in and around Fernie, sparking concern

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

Ralliers gather in front of the Cityviews Village apartment building in Maple Ridge to protest attempts to evict low-income tenants by the building owner. (Ronan O’Doherty - The News)
Tenants protest pressure tactics by new landlord at Maple Ridge apartment building

Protest held in front of Cityviews Village on 223 St. Tuesday to rally against low-income evictions

Throughout December, RCMP conducted CounterAttack road checks as police worked to keep roads free of impaired drivers. (BLACK PRESS file photo)
‘You can’t make this stuff up’: Stories from the B.C. CounterAttack campaign

Amusing, yes, but a reminder impaired driving affects ability to drive and to make good decisions

Most Read