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SkyTrain calls for independent review of disruption response plans


The retired chief executive officer of Toronto's GO Transit will lead an independent review of two recent SkyTrain service disruptions, TransLink CEO Ian Jarvis announced last week.

Gary McNeil, who retired as GO Transit's top executive in 2013, was involved in the planning, design, construction, testing and commissioning of the initial operations of the Vancouver SkyTrain. He will conduct a "thorough review" of TransLink's response plan for major service disruptions and identify improvements, Jarvis said in a prepared statement.

The review will also determine what steps could be taken to prevent major service disruptions, and necessary changes to procedures and equipment that would enable the SkyTrain system to resume full service more quickly. Keeping riders safe during service disruptions also will be a key consideration in the review.

The independent review will evaluate TransLink's response plan for major system outages from operational, customer safety and customer service and public communications perspectives; consider how TransLink's response plan can be improved; and determine what can be done to prevent a recurrence or speed up system recovery.

TransLink expects to receive a final report at October's end.

The review was prompted by two recent malfunctions on TransLink's SkyTrain system that left many passengers stranded. Both incidents occurred within the same week.

McNeil's "expertise will be invaluable in helping TransLink improve the way we respond to major disruptions in service, which although rare, are frustrating for our customers and can cause people to self-evacuate the trains, creating further delays and potentially putting their safety at risk," said Jarvis. "We have learned important lessons over the past 11 days, and as a result of our internal review, we’ve already implemented and started on a number of improvements."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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