Calgary Transit in Calgary, AB, is recovering after devastating floods last week left parts of the public transit system underwater.
As of June 27, one week after the agency’s 500 staff members were forced to evacuate the main operations, call, and security center, all of the agency’s bus lines and three of four light rail lines were back on line.
“We’re hopeful about reopening the last line on July 4, in time for the Calgary Stampede, which starts on July 5 and lasts for 10 days,” said Ron Collins, media relations director. “It’s our biggest event of the year, and our ridership really spikes. We carry many, many people during the Stampede,” he said.
As for the remaining closed light rail line, crews are in the process of replacing tracks, which Collins said resembled a roller coaster because of flooding.
He also noted that that crews pumped 28,500 cubic meters of water—that’s 28 million liters—out of a single tunnel in efforts to return a transit corridor to operation.
During the flood, Calgary Transit deployed dozens of buses to transport hundreds of evacuees to emergency centers as rising flood waters from the Elbow and Bow rivers inundated the core of downtown Calgary. “Our buses played a major role, along with police and fire, in evacuating people and getting them to higher, safer ground,” Collins said.
He also said evacuation was hampered by road conditions that “changed by the minute” as streets originally deemed accessible quickly became impassable. Calgary Transit is currently working with emergency services to return evacuees to their homes as more neighborhoods become accessible.
The agency is communicating with its customers via Twitter because the city is still without telephone service.
“We gained 4,000 new followers in 72 hours, and we’re getting a lot of good feedback from customers about keeping them informed,” Collins said. “The Calgary Transit family really pulled together, from operations to facilities to planning.
Photo courtesy of Calgary Transit
Work crews examine flood damage to the last unopened light rail track following floods in Calgary.