TransLink is blaming Monday's shutdown of Metro Vancouver's SkyTrain system on an electrician who accidentally tripped a critical breaker while working on an electrical panel.

"An experienced electrician was installing a new circuit breaker for the Evergreen Line at a power distribution panel when he accidentally tripped the main breaker feeding the critical systems at SkyTrain’s operations centre, causing a system-wide shut down of train controls," said a statement issued by TransLink on Tuesday.

TransLink SkyTrain shutdown

After the trains stopped many riders pried open the doors and began walking along the tracks to the nearest station. (Josephus Fantasticus/Twitter)

Despite widespread criticism about the lack of communication with riders because of the failure of the public address system on trains and at stations, the statement said TransLink used all of its resources to deal with the shutdown.

"Every available bus was used, and employees from all areas were called in to help or stayed well beyond their shifts for several hours," said the statement.

"TransLink also relied on the news media, social media, television screens in the stations, and its website to communicate with customers."

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson is already backing calls for an independent investigation into the two shutdowns.

No link between 2 shutdowns

The four- to five-hour shutdown on Monday afternoon came on the heels of another on Thursday, which was blamed on a faulty electrical panel,

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson is already backing calls for an independent investigation into the two shutdowns.

But the regional transit authority's chief operating officer Doug Kelsey said the incidents were not linked.

“Two major disruptions in one week is unprecedented, and the two incidents are completely unrelated," said Kelsey in the statement.

Despite the two shutdowns, the SkyTrain system, including the Expo Line which was opened in 1986, remains reliable, he said.

“Our trains are reliable 95 per cent of the time, but we know that is little consolation for customers who are delayed for hours when we do have a significant breakdown,” said Kelsey.

As compensation for the commuter chaos created by the shutdown, TransLink is promising a free day of transit on B.C Day — a public holiday when ridership would normally be quite low.

Twittter: Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson