When I wake up in the morning, I don’t jump out of bed right away. I take my phone or my tablet and I check my e-mail. I’ll also take a cursory glance at some social media. This morning I was reading some tweets when I encountered one that said Skytrain was a mess. For those who don’t know, Skytrain is the local automated rapid transit system, comprised of three lines. I live over one of the Expo stations, which is the oldest line at over 25 years. This also happened to be the line with the huge problems today. Huge as in about 70% of that line was down to a single track, which takes forever to get trains along. The good news was that the other lines, Millennium and Canada, were still working without problems. Even better, a Millennium line station is just a five minute walk from my place.

I initially had to fight off the impulse to just rush out there and jump on the first train or bus I saw. Then I realized that was stupid. When transit breaks down, it’s a bad idea to just get on a train or bus without knowing where it’s going or what’s waiting for you when it gets to your destination. I’m sure some people just got on a train even though it took them right to those problem stations, where tons of people were already waiting. I knew I was going to be late anyways, so I took the time to get as much information as possible to plan my alternative route to work. I actually left about ten minutes later than usual, just because I double-checked that my new route was going to avoid all the problems.

To my surprise, it turned out to be not that bad. I definitely had to walk farther than normal to get to the station. I usually just go downstairs to catch a train. When my train did come though, it had very few people on it. I had a seat to myself almost all the way. I took a Millennium line train the farthest west I could. This is where my intel got a bit hazy and I had to just throw caution to the wind. I was depending on a regular bus to take me about five minutes west so that I could get to a Canada Line station where it would take me right to work. I didn’t know if there was hundreds or just dozens of people waiting for that same bus. My heart sank a bit when I saw the lineup for my bus. It was definitely long. A lot longer than I had anticipated but not so bad that it seemed crazy. I also began to worry when I didn’t see the bus coming for about five minutes. It did arrive though but now I wondered if I was far along in the line that I could get on this bus. I was almost at the front when something weird happened. There was a whole group of people at the front who didn’t want to get on the bus, it was almost full but still had a tiny bit of room. I waited two seconds for them to get on before I realized they were choosing to stay behind. I rush past them and onto the bus. The bus driver only let on about three more people behind me. I had made it.

It was a relatively uneventful five minutes to the Canada Line station. From there it was one stop to work and a short walk to the studio. The whole trip had taken about an hour and ten minutes which surprised me. My normal commute time is about 38 minutes. After I got to work, I found out I was extremely lucky. Other commuters took two to four hours to get to their destinations, way over their normal time. One of my co-workers even turned back, went home, and drove instead. Her total commute time was four hours this morning.

The problem turned out to be an incorrectly installed power rail. The whole messy morning was captured by many Twitter users.

Though I’m glad I didn’t have that bad of a commute this morning, I’m hoping for a normal day tomorrow.


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