SOUTH Asians in Surrey just can’t understand why Translink authorities cannot operate SkyTrain services earlier on Saturday and Sunday as many work downtown Vancouver and elsewhere on weekends and many others have to head home from security and other night-time jobs from Vancouver.
The first SkyTrain leaves King George station at 5:08 a.m. Monday to Friday, but on Saturday the first one starts an hour later at 6:08 a.m. and on Sunday it departs two hours later at 7:08 a.m.
From Waterfront station, the first SkyTrain leaves at 5:35 a.m. Monday to Friday, but on Saturday it starts only at 6:50 a.m. and on Sunday it leaves as late as 7:50 a.m.
Some South Asians phoned me this week to point out that the authorities are being hypocritical when they urge people to leave their vehicles home and use the SkyTrain. If they are forced to use their vehicles on the weekends because of the late SkyTrain service, what prevents them from using them on weekdays as well?
Translink media spokesperson Jiana Ling told me: “Well, the thing is SkyTrain is a machine and like any other machine you need to do maintenance work. So it needs to close down and especially during the weekend it’s closed down for longer periods of time because that gives us an opportunity to do more maintenance work.
“From Mondays to Fridays it’s opened earlier because of the daily commute that majority of people do (who) work from Monday to Friday. If there is a large amount of maintenance work that needs to be done that takes a few hours, we will save that for the weekend, and that’s why it’s opened a little bit later on the weekends to give our crew more time to do any maintenance work that is required to maintain the system in a state of good repair.”
When I asked her if anybody could something about running the service earlier on weekends, she replied: “We’ve looked at it many times and the main thing is that there needs to be allocated maintenance time for the crew to work on it. If we don’t keep it in a state of good repair, the system won’t run as efficiently as it does today. So it’s very important that we give time for the crews to do track work to run the whole line. Instead of closing down the system when it’s busy, we do it in a time when we can least inconvenience those customers.”
But commuters note that starting the service earlier on Saturday and Sunday involves a total of only three hours. So couldn’t TransLink hire more maintenance people and get work done in a shorter period of time?
Indeed, TransLink bosses need to rectify this situation.
BY RATTAN MALL