Canada Line has growing pains

Richmond Review

By Martin van den Hemel

The Canada Line has had its ups and downs through its first 10 days of operations.

While last weekend saw 165,000 riders on the new Richmond-to-Vancouver rapid transit link, a source told The Richmond Review that the escalators and elevators, both produced by Switzerland-based Schindler, have on a daily basis been stopping.

But Jason Chan, spokesperson for Protrans BC, the operator of the Canada Line, said the incidents have been relatively infrequent, when you consider the more than 70 escalators and elevators in use in the system.

Chan said the escalators have a fail-safe system that has been switched to a sensitive setting to ensure passenger safety, and as a result have been tripping.

He explained that there have been a few incidents per day, and when they’ve tripped, the cause was likely someone dragging their feet along the escalator’s skirting.

“That minor bit of resistance and friction might trip the system,” Chan said.

But it takes just a matter of minutes for Canada Line staff to get the system up and running again, and passengers on their way, Chan said.

Like the burning-in period on a new automobile engine, Chan said the escalators and elevators will also take a short time to be worked in—perhaps days or a couple of weeks—and for the wrinkles to be ironed out.

He said the early opening of the Canada Line has been a blessing, because it’s enabled the escalators and elevators to work under real conditions, something that couldn’t be simulated during the testing period when there weren’t passengers available.

Asked if the escalators and elevators were properly designed to handle the volume of traffic expected on the system, Chan said there’s no suggestion the system isn’t capable.


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