SkyTrain Whitewash Continues

TransLink can’t help it. It is inbred in them. Honesty is just not in their lexicon. They hire a SkyTrain type, at $1,200 a day to do a review of the two recent embarrassing shutdowns. It is like the police investigating itself.

What should be a truly independent review, will be another SkyTrain “whitewash”, with a SkyTrain type enjoying the TransLink “gravy train“.

There was never any need for a review, especially a $1,200 a day review, but too many politicians glad handing SkyTrain were embarrassed, the supposed ‘wunder system’ wasn’t so wonderful, especially with transit customers abandoning derelict SkyTrain cars in droves, like rats leaving a sinking ship.

The public are tired of TransLink’s ‘Dog and Pony’ shows and the upcoming review will achieve nothing, but another expensive scrap of paper deflecting blame.

Independent review of SkyTrain outages may take until October

Transit expert who helped launch system in the 80’s to head review

By Matthew Robinson, Vancouver Sun July 28, 2014
An independent review into a pair of SkyTrain outages that sparked transit chaos across Metro Vancouver during the past two weeks leaves the station Tuesday under the command of Gary McNeil, an industry expert with decades of experience, according to TransLink.But don’t expect the results to roll into sight anytime soon, as McNeil has until the end of October to review TransLink’s response and recovery plan for major system outages and determine what can be done to prevent them from happening in the future, according to a news release by the transit authority.Ian Jarvis, the CEO of TransLink, said in an interview that he realized he needed some independent advice after the July 17 and 21 outages happened.”We need to take this matter seriously and we have to learn from it and get better,” he said.McNeil comes to the file having recently retired from the position of CEO at Toronto’s GO Transit. He had also helped plan, design and test the SkyTrain from 1982 to 1986.”To me the key requirements were an individual with the experience, qualifications, reputation in transit and customer service experience,” he said, adding that it was “a bonus” that McNeil is already familiar with the SkyTrain’s automated system.

He will be paid a daily rate of about $1,200 for his work, said Jarvis.

A handful of interim changes are slated to be made during the three month-period while McNeil is preparing his report. They include putting the train’s public announcement system on a separate breaker and testing the system’s volume levels so people can understand the messages being sent.

The transit authority is also looking at boosting the number of buses and staff at bus-bridge loops and stations and launching a public information campaign to inform riders as to what should be done during future outages.

“When these things happen during rush hour, your fleet is fully booked out and occupied, so what reasonably can be done with the equipment available and staff available is limited. That’s why it’s so important around the communication,” said Jarvis in an interview. “We’re going to start to communicate out as you would in any travel what plans you need to make. People that really rely on SkyTrain, for instance, aren’t familiar with the bus network as much, so getting an understanding of what your local bus services are and what your options are is one example (of how) we could help our customers.”

Along those lines, TransLink has already made a change to its online Trip Planner, allowing customers to design trip plans that don’t rely on the SkyTrain, something that many riders had suggested during this month’s system failures.

The Expo and Millennium lines were shut down for more than four hours during both of the outages. The first was caused by a failure with the computer system that controls the Expo Line and the second happened when the main power control panel was taken out of service by mistake.


4 Responses to “SkyTrain Whitewash Continues”
  1. Haveacow says:

    $1200.00 a day is about $150 per hour, assuming a 8 hour day. In most cases for projects like this you are actually doing 10 hours a day if you are being prudent because closer to the due date I can guarantee that there will be many 16 hour days, so really about $120 a hour for a standard 10 hour day. If he needs an assistant paying that person will come from that, unless Translink gives him some for free (also common with big projects). I have heard of this guy before he is very experienced and pretty bright. The 3 month timeline is common in the industry and is always agreed to before the project begins. If you think this is a great deal of money and too high, think again. Consider I have to charge a minimum of $42 per hour just to make minimum wage once I pay taxes here in Ontario. Unfortunately the more you charge the more taxes have to come off, remember he will be paying commercial or business taxes not personal income taxes. Also keep in mind he doesn’t live in B.C., so there will be living expenses, he is paying for them out of pocket unless he gets an extra from Translink. Now you understand why so called experts can be cranky.

    I am quite sure looking at his career that, he is not poor and can easily afford a couple days a week in B.C. eating out at some of the best restaurants. These consultants do have logbooks which detail what was done and what extra charges are necessary expenses, most usually include a bill/report that also state this as well, both the log book or a copy of one including the final report and bill are given on the agreed due date. I usually give paper as well as electronic copies of both for proper accounting purposes.

    The final thing here is this, the out of province consultant would not be necessary if some one was actually hired to act as an independent examiner of transit operations but that would cost tax dollars. However, it would be untimately cheaper to have someone “in house” to do this on a on going basis. Had this actually happened there might have been someone around who could have said at a much earlier time that, “hey guys and gals your evacuation procedures have mighty big flaws in them” and “I just found out that if some idot actually trips this breaker here it will paralize the whole Skytrain system and render many of our safety and operational plans useless”. Or a big one,”why do we have a single system guidance computer instead of multiple ones and why do we not have emergency UPS (Uninterupted Power Supplies) on our key sub systems, like the public address system.

  2. eric chris says:

    What the heck is someone with a BA going to accomplish in the supposed investigation of the technical and operational failures of ST by TransLink? Doesn’t this investigation require, an engineering degree, master’s in electrical or mechanical engineering? This guy is a dork, in my opinion, and is only going to be asking for more money which is what TransLink wants.

  3. eric chris says:

    TransLink isn’t doing an investigation of the ST disasters. TransLink is doing a study to control the outcome of the supposed investigation by the hand picked stooge who it hired and who isn’t qualified to comment on the disasters. Gary McNeil who TransLink hired for the study into the ST disasters has a BA degree which is produced from the same paper used to produce toilet paper.

    Where did TransLink find the $500,000 to commission this study which it hastily put together to preempt the investigation by the mayors in Metro Vancouver? Who gave Ian Jarvis, TransLink CEO, the authority to spend money from taxpayers for this purported investigation by TransLink? This is a breach of conduct by Ian Jarvis and misuse of money from taxpayers by Ian Jarvis.

    Bought off with millions of dollars in bribes (advertising) over the years, the editor of the “Vancouver Sun” is full of praise in his editorials handed to him by TransLink. He’s a pitiful individual who cares less about the truth and more about profiting from the corruption at TransLink.

    How relevant is the fact that ST operates 95% of the time in his editorial? It isn’t the frequency of service disruptions on ST that matters; it is the severity of the consequences whenever the ST fails. When ST fails, the design and operation of ST do not allow for the safe evacuation of passengers.

    Moreover, all trains are prone to derailment and if the ST derails, people can plunge to their deaths or die from a head on collision with an oncoming ST. Presently, there are no barriers on the guide ways supporting the ST cars to prevent this. Trams have adequate separation and are at grade. They are inherently safer than ST, at a fraction of the cost of ST.

    TransLink has blundered with ST and is trying to cover it up with its bogus investigation. That’s the real story and the one that the worm who is the editor of the “Vancouver Sun”, dare not print.

  4. Josefapilar says:

    00From Translink’s Metro Vancouver Regional Trip Diary Survey: A total of 6.1 million trips were made by Metro Vancouver ridesents (five years of age and older) on a typical fall weekday in 2011 So far, it is reported, hundreds’ of fare cheats have been caught. Wow! Hundreds, out of six million! No need to wonder if the fare gates are worth it.A study done in 2005 determined that the cost of installation and matenance would outstrip any benefits, and so, the plan was scrapped. Apparently, that study is still valid.We have been hosed once again! Money that should have been spent on service has instead been thrown away fighting a crime’ that barely exists! And this is on top of increased fares.So, to fight a crime’ that is barely a blip on the radar, we have been given Transit Police and now gates. Both of which redirect funding from providing service.February 4, 2013 at 12:59 pmShare: