News Views: All aboard

But when commuter trains are delayed, or outright cancelled, fare payers can’t rely on them.

TransLink cancelled the West Coast Express eastbound No. 5 train, from Waterfront station, on Monday, due to mechanical issues.

Travellers were asked to arrange an alternate mode of transportation.

Most, said TransLink, would be able to take SkyTrain and a TrainBus heading to Mission.

But TrainBus service will cease as of Dec. 30, due to the opening of the Evergreen SkyTrain line.

The West Coast Express cancellation was just the latest service disruption.

A tree fell on the tracks near Port Moody on Monday. Freight blocked the tracks in the afternoon on Dec. 9. Frozen tracks caused delays that morning. Track issues delayed trains the day before that.

Debris on the tracks delayed a train in the afternoon on Dec. 2. That morning, the first train was delayed by freight, which also blocked the tracks and delayed trains on Nov. 24, in the morning and afternoon on Nov. 23., as well as on Nov. 22 and 21.

The federal government just provided money for a new car to be added to each of the five West Coast Express trains. Last fall, CP Rail and TransLink signed a new multi-year contract allowing West Coast Express to keep using the tracks.

But when commuter trains are delayed, or outright cancelled, fare payers can’t rely on them.

They have places to go. At what point do they start to seek other modes of transportation? Will they just start to drive? Then what?

We know the regional transit system isn’t cheap. Area mayors keep asking for more money – hundreds of millions – to make it better.

But then TransLink takes the TrainBus away.  And West Coast Express is constantly delayed.

TransLink doesn’t own the tracks.

CP has apologized for the delays, but it has not offered a solution.

Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read is angered by the delays, and rightly so. Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows commuters have few options. TransLink can’t expect them to hand over more money for transit improvements elsewhere when existing services are inadequate.

CP has an agreement with TransLink and needs to honour it, or decide whether or not it still wants to keep providing track time for commuter rail into Vancouver.

 

– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News