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Monday, April 12, 2004

Adventures On Skytrain...

Well yesterday's trip to Easter dinner was a bit of an adventure.

Took Skytrain as usual and all was uneventful until I got to 29th Ave station. We ended up sitting in the station for about 5 or 10 minutes with no word about what was going on. This was not unusual. Often there are small problems with the train: someone has dropped something in the track, there is a backlog of trains, etc etc. In any case I'm not worried.

Then two Skytrain employees get on the train and manually drive the train forward about a hundred yards or so out of the station. They are chatting away on their walky-talkies but say nothing to us. They stop the train, shut down the power (no lights, no fans, and it's HOT out) and get out of the train and leave us there. Still no info.

After another 10 minutes or so there is an announcement that there is a medical emergency at 29th Ave station and that they have shut down service between Joyce and Broadway Stations (we are in between). They go on telling us how they are running shuttle service from Joyce to Broadway and other alternatives, but we are still sitting there with the doors closed outside the station. Big help to us.

We finally figure out via the ultra modern communications system called the window that someone has jumped onto the track in front of our train (I'm in the first car) and that the Skytrain guys are providing assistance. Ambulance shows up and they get to work on the guy.

10 more minutes pass....

Same announcement repeats a few times, nothing new....

A young women started to have a panic attack (claustrophobia, too much heat?) and a few people at the other end of the train assist her. A very charming young boy was literally swinging from the overhead bars - his mother ignored him.

Finally, they open the doors and we all walk back to the station on the emergency / service sidewalk thingy.

When we get to the station we were asked to leave and were not given any info on how to continue our trip. There is no shuttle bus and only one regular bus that takes about an hour to get downtown and doesn't follow a route that is helpful to people that were not taking the train all the way to the end.

I'm lucky - one phone call to my Easter dinner relatives snags me a rescue ride (Thanks Mike)

I know that the fellow who jumped has bigger problems than the other passengers; I'm not completely heartless. But that's not my beef. All that the passengers wanted (at least me) was a little bit of information. It seems to me that when the Skytrain employees came onto the train to drive it out of the station that they must have known something was up, why weren’t we told something then. It would have taken about a minute to get everyone off the train. And to answer your next question: No, time did not seem to be a factor, one of the employees farted around with the controls for a at least 2 minutes while the other one watched before we even left the station.

Also, instead of just hoarding us out of the station could we not have been informed of any travel alternatives? I was lucky. I basically knew where I was and I could get a ride. Some of the other passengers looked really lost.

Badly handled people, badly handled.

Dinner was good, if anticlimactic.

Happy Easter!

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