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More about our SkyTrain system safety features

One of our SkyTrain Attendants helping out a customer at Lougheed Town Centre Station

One of our SkyTrain Attendants helping out a customer at Lougheed Town Centre Station

Have you ever wondered about the yellow strip onboard SkyTrain? Wonder no more!

We are here to tell you more about the five main safety features on SkyTrain – the passenger silent alarm, speakerphone, designated waiting areas, emergency cabinets, and Transit Police‘s 87-77-77 non-emergency text reporting service.

Passenger Silent Alarm – also known as the Yellow Strip

The 'yellow strip' silent alarm found on every window on SkyTrain

The ‘yellow strip’ silent alarm found on every window on SkyTrain

The passenger silent alarm is the yellow strip located on every window on-board our SkyTrain cars.

When pressed by passengers, it triggers an alarm at SkyTrain control alerting the Control Operator. A SkyTrain Attendant will board the train at the next attended station to investigate the situation.

Our attendants are trained to provide customer service, provide emergency response, troubleshooting train and station operations, and performing fare inspections.

To better assess the situation and determine an appropriate response, SkyTrain control has the ability to activate the speakerphones on-board and listen in on the activities in that car.

It’s important to note that pressing the yellow strip does not stop the train or directly alert Transit Police.

Speakerphone

The SkyTrain speakerphone found on board all cars near the doors.

The SkyTrain speakerphone found on board all cars near the doors

The speakerphone is located inside each car near the doors and provides two-way voice communication with SkyTrain control operators for emergency assistance.

All the passenger needs to do is press the ‘red’ button on the speakerphone and they’ll be directly connected with SkyTrain control.

Activating the speakerphone does not stop the train or directly alert Transit Police.

During system-wide disruptions, passengers can use the speakerphone to communicate with SkyTrain control for emergency assistance.

Passengers should not force open SkyTrain doors as this is a dangerous practice. Portions of the track remain charged with 600 volts of power and the risk of electrocution is present even when the train is stopped.

Forcing SkyTrain doors open can lead to lengthier delays since, for the safety of passengers that have exited, power has to be shut down and then a safety sweep has to be conducted before the system can be powered back on.

Designated Waiting Areas and Emergency Cabinets

A designated waiting area and emergency cabinet at Sapperton Station

A designated waiting area and emergency cabinet at Sapperton Station

Designated Waiting Areas have enhanced lighting, red emergency telephones, a bench, and are monitored by closed-circuit television.

Emergency Cabinets are located on SkyTrain platforms and are equipped with a fire extinguisher and emergency train stop buttons along with a red emergency telephone.

Like our on-board speakerphone, the red emergency phone is a direct line to SkyTrain control for emergency assistance.

Pushing the emergency train stop button does not shut down power on the SkyTrain tracks, so passengers should never enter the track area even if the emergency stop has been pushed and the train has stopped.

87-77-77 Texting Service

Transit Police 87-77-77 Texting Service

Text 87.77.77

The Transit Police report-by-text (SMS) system allows passengers to discreetly report crime and suspicious activity on and related to transit without drawing attention to themselves.

Messages will be received immediately by Transit Police dispatchers and they will respond accordingly. They may dispatch an officer, ask the user to call 911 if it is an emergency, or refer them to other resources.

You can also use the Transit Police OnDuty app to report. Through its built-in text messaging function, users will be able to access the 87-77-77 service directly from the app.

There is no need to draw attention to yourself and you don’t have to wait to report crime on transit. The texting service is for discreet reporting across the transit system — not just on the SkyTrain.

Have any questions about our safety features? Ask away in the comments section and we’ll get you the answers!

Author: Allen Tung


18 Comments

  • By Ben K, December 8, 2014 @ 8:48 pm

    I would be curious to learn about some statistics on the 877777 text message program. Since its inception, how many messages has it received? Of those, how many have been legitimate, and involving what sorts of incidents? I personally find it unusual that most people would choose to compose an SMS during a situation of duress (either it can wait and I’ll file customer feedback later, or it’s an emergency and I’ll call 911), but no doubt my presumptions are short-sighted.

    The two paragraphs about forcing open train doors are quite a non-sequitur in the speakerphone section. Is that an editing error?

    b

  • By raymond, December 8, 2014 @ 10:20 pm

    When someone does text that short code will they be asked for their name.

  • By Allen Tung, December 9, 2014 @ 4:26 pm

    Hi Raymond, here’s the answer from Transit Police for your question:

    Text reporting is similar to calling any police by phone. You will be asked your information in order to ensure you are provided the appropriate police response. If you witnessed an offence, your information may be crucial to an investigation. To make an anonymous report you can contact Crime Stoppers.

    Hi Ben, and here’s the response from Transit Police regarding the first part of your question:

    Since the launch of the text reporting service, Transit Police have seen a steady increase of reports coming in this way. The main purpose of this service is to offer transit users a discreet way to report non-emergency situations to Police. This option allows the person to make a report without drawing unwanted attention to themselves that may put their safety at risk. When speaking about the service, Transit Police have been consistent in their messaging, that this service is for non-emergency situations only and does not replace 9-1-1. In an emergency, always call 9-1-1.

    As for the two paragraphs about forcing train doors, it is where it is to let passengers know that they can use the speakerphone to get in contact with SkyTrain control for assistance.

  • By Raymond, December 10, 2014 @ 8:15 pm

    What instances would someone push the emergency train stop button in the emergency cabinet?

  • By Allen Tung, December 11, 2014 @ 9:20 am

    Hi Raymond. SkyTrain tells me the emergency train stop button is there in the event the alarm system does not activate. If a customer sees someone go into the track – and only if it is a person going into the track – and they do not hear an alarm they can push the button to stop the train.

  • By Raymond, December 11, 2014 @ 5:58 pm

    Say someone sees something happening on the bus that is dangerous, then how would they have time to call 911.

  • By Allen Tung, December 12, 2014 @ 11:26 am

    Hi Raymond. Could you clarify your question so I can get the answer to it? In any emergency, regardless of whether it is transit-related or not, you should call 911.

  • By Cole Davidson, December 12, 2014 @ 7:26 am

    A question on the type of incident the SMS service is designed to deal with. What constitutes a valid threat/incident? Would a group of rowdy drinkers be cause for alert, or is this focused more towards serious matters such as violence? Secondly, a question on the level of training the SMS operators receive. Having used this service before, it would seem that the operators do not have a particularly wide knowledge of the system, or that they do not have access to otherwise publicly available information, such as bus location (based on GPS tracking of unit number) or the location of different routes throughout MetroVan. I found I spent more time trying to explain where I was than what the actual issue was.

  • By raymond, December 12, 2014 @ 10:00 pm

    Hi there i know this question isnt related to skytrain but will transit security be doing more fare checks on the buses.

  • By Allen Tung, December 15, 2014 @ 11:16 am

    Hi Raymond. Transit Security and Transit Police are always conducting fare checks onboard the system. You’re a regular in these parts, so you’ve probably read this blog post on Transit Security fare checks, but in case you haven’t, you can learn more about their work here and here! (=

  • By Raymond, December 18, 2014 @ 9:56 am

    Why do transit police do more fare checks on the canada line then on skytrain?

  • By Allen Tung, December 18, 2014 @ 10:37 am

    Hi Raymond. Transit Police, Transit Security, SkyTrain Attendants and Canada Line Attendants are always conducting random audits throughout the system to check fares, encourage fare compliance and where necessary, issue tickets. While these audits can take place anywhere on the system, a focus is maintained on the most heavily-travelled bus and SkyTrain routes. Once again, I do encourage you to read our posts on fare evasion and checks. They’re very informative! (=

    Fare checks up, infractions down – results of increased fare enforcement
    On the system – following fare evasion with Transit Police
    Estimating fare evasion
    The costs of fare evasion
    On the system – fare checks are up, fare infractions are down: a follow up with Transit Security
    On the system – fare evasion

  • By Sheba, December 18, 2014 @ 3:13 pm

    “… are always conducting random audits throughout the system to check fares, encourage fare compliance and where necessary, issue tickets.” Hahahahaha *falls over laughing*

    I ride the Expo Line almost daily. I’m trying to remember the last time I was fare checked entering (or occasionally leaving) a station – it happens somewhere between every other month and seasonally. The last on-train check would have been last year. It’s been like that for years.

    I have a pass so I have a valid fare, but how is anyone to know when I can just walk onto the system, frequently without even seeing any Transit staff. One of the places I do see them is Metrotown, where they simply stand off to the side the majority of the time.

  • By Allen Tung, December 18, 2014 @ 4:01 pm

    I guess everyone’s experience is a little different! Over the past two months, I’ve been checked onboard the 49 bus and at Lougheed Town Centre, Sapperton and Metrotown stations.

  • By Eugene Wong, December 18, 2014 @ 8:56 pm

    @ Raymond & Sheba

    In defense of the fare checkers, there is no way for mere mortals to know how often the fares are checked and where. We’d need to be riding it for several hours per day, and we’d need to have a large team of checker checkers.

    On top of that, the checks are random, so some of us will naturally get more checks, while others will never see a checker. Theoretically, some people might never encounter a checker in their entire lives, while others might get their come ‘upins every single day.

    For me, I don’t know how often I get checked, because it is all background noise to me. I just bring out my proof of payment, and I’m done. My only problems occur, when I stop using month passes, and need to get used to paying again for each trip.

  • By Raymond, January 6, 2015 @ 9:01 am

    Hi there,

    the emergency cabinets have fire extinguishers in them, but has there ever being a fire in a skytrain station?

  • By ???, July 8, 2016 @ 9:35 pm

    There was a news story about inappropriate Skytrain behavior on Global News tonight. Evidence was lost because the video was overwritten. To clarify…. I thought the new cameras now keep video footage for 30 days. Are we still using 24hr cameras?

    http://globalnews.ca/video/2813921/exclusive-victim-of-alleged-groping-says-police-were-not-helpful

  • By Adrienne Coling, July 15, 2016 @ 3:31 pm

    Hi there, the tapes are kept for 7 days at which time they are reused. Unfortunately, as a result of miscommunication, this tape was not pulled in time for it to be saved. Transit Police is re-examining their practices around obtaining video to ensure this situation never happens again. Thank you.

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