Edmonton

Metro LRT delayed, not yet 'reliable' says city

The trains can be seen shuttling along the tracks, the station lights indicating arrival times are on — all that appears to be missing are passengers on the Metro LRT Line.

'If we don't have it ready by fall ... heads are going to have to roll on this,' says city councillor

Trains are running, the signs are on - but the Metro LRT line still isn't open. City says the line's signalling system isn't yet reliable or ready for the public to use. (CBC)

The trains can be seen shuttling along the tracks, the station lights indicating arrival times are on — all that appears to be missing are passengers on the Metro LRT Line.

On Friday, city officials confirmed the line is not yet ready to open saying the system isn't yet "reliable."

Another delay, after a year of delays.

"We can't open a system, the metro line, that isn't reliable for public service -- that may or may not work properly given certain scenarios," said transportation spokesperson, Graeme McElheran.

The reliability McElheran is referring to comes down to the longstanding problem between integrating the line's signalling system with the existing LRT technology.  

Once built, the line will connect NAIT with the downtown Churchill Station.

In March, LRT construction manager Wayne Mandryk said the line was on schedule to open by the end of May.  

With May officially over on Monday, it appears as if the line will yet again be delayed. And with the delay comes mounting frustrations from not just those eager to ride the rails but city councillors as well.

"We have over-promised and under delivered a number of times on this line - and this goes to our personal credibility on council and that's frustrating," said Ward 6 Coun. Scott McKeen.

NAIT students have also been vocal about the delays, given that this year's U-Pass, a mandatory transit pass for all students, included a promise they could ride the LRT. The students were given a special bus service to make up for the LRT delay.

"I'm taking LRT one station to another just to hop the bus - if the LRT was already running I'd just be able to stay on the LRT and just do one trip and save a lot of time," said NAIT student Colton Schultz, who like many is hoping it will open by the Fall.

"If we don't have it ready by fall ... heads are going to have to roll on this," said McKeen.

As for that critical question of when?

To that, McElheran said the city is making "progress."

"As soon as we have the opportunity to announce the opening of the metro line to safe and reliable public service - we will do so. We're just not there yet," he said.

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