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Translink Buzzer Blog

Main Street-Science World Station upgrades are now complete!

The finishing touches are all done at Main Street-Science World Station! Much has changed. With a growing region and the introduction of Compass we needed to lengthen the stationhouse and install fare gates. While we were at it, we improved accessibility, visibility and safety and added the secure bike parkade. Check out all the details in the video, when we blogged about it last and on the TransLink website.

Main Street-Science World Station isn’t the only transit property getting a facelift. Upgrades are also underway at Joyce-Collingwood, Commercial-Broadway, Metrotown and New Westminster Station. It’s all part of the Expo Upgrade Strategy.

 

Have you seen or used the upgraded Main Street–Science World Station?
What do you think? Be sure to comment below and let us know!

 

Author: Robert Willis

Testing all gates closed at Sperling-Burnaby Lake Station today

All gates closed at Sperling today!

All gates closed at Sperling today!

Another day, another all gates closed test. Yesterday we were testing having all fare gates closed at Edmonds Station. Today is Sperling-Burnaby Lake Station’s turn.

Like yesterday, we’re testing out having all the gates closed at one station. Reports from the Edmonds test were great with many people using Compass fare products and others being exposed to it and learning how to use Compass tickets.

As noted previously, we’re planning more tests like today’s in the near future. We’ll keep you posted of those on the blog!

UPDATE: We’ll be testing all gates closed at Nanaimo Station tomorrow!

Have you been through fare gates that are all closed yet? If so, let us know your thoughts.

Testing all gates closed at Edmonds Station today

All is going well will all gates closed today!

All is going well with all gates closed today!

As we move along with phasing in the Compass Card system, we’re constantly testing all aspects of the cards, fare gates and readers. Today, we’re testing having all the fare gates closed at Edmonds Station. No worries – it’s just a one-day test! We will have SkyTrain Attendants, Customer Service Attendants and supervisors on both sides of the fare gates to make sure everyone is able to get through. If you show up to the fare gates using old fare media (FareSavers or bus tickets), staff will replace it with a Compass Ticket.

Besides seeing how closing all fare gates goes in general, part of the test is to track the amount of old media being exchanged for Compass products. We will use the information to develop additional plans and schedules to use when implementing full station gate closures throughout the system.

Since November of last year all stations have had a least one Compass fare gate closed to both incentivize using Compass and to allow for both fare media to be used on the SkyTrain system. After all, a closed fare gate is the best reminder to tap in and tap out.

As we move closer to full gate closures on the system you may see more tests like today’s. But don’t worry. We’ll give you all fair warning and will have staff on hand, like we are today, to make sure the transition goes smoothly.

 

BikeMaps.org and other cycling resources on TransLink.ca

cycling into the sunset

TransLink.ca has all your community cycling resources!

Are you looking to get into cycling in Metro Vancouver? Are you unsure of where the best, safest and longest stretches of cycling paths and lanes? Or maybe you want to learn more about the region’s cycling community in general.

TransLink.ca is a great place to start your cycling journey!

Nestled in the cycling section of our website is the Community Cycling Resources page.

FYI, you’re going to want to bookmark it because it’s a great repository for all things cycling!

bikemaps

Head to BikeMaps.org to view your cycling routes

Our latest addition to the page is a link to BikeMaps.org a crowdsource tool for the global mapping of cycling safety.

The focus on the map is, “… to identify areas with cycling safety issues. These results can be used by municipalities to prioritize infrastructure investments, resulting in safer streets for cycling.”

It’s pretty cool as you zoom into your area!

The map shows you detailed locations of bike thefts, accidents, rough or unfavourable cycling conditions and traffic jam hot spots.

Take a look and let us know what you think by commenting below.

Happy riding!

Our Breaking Bad bus operator

Bill Laird, Coast Mountain Bus' very own Walter White...of sorts

Bill Laird, Coast Mountain Bus’ very own Walter White…of sorts

If you take the 135 regularly or stumbled upon the story on Internet, you’d know that one of our CMBC bus operators looks a lot like the famous TV drama character Walter White of Breaking Bad.

He looks so much like him that he’s spawned memes and numerous nicknames. If you haven’t come across the one who stops, then you’re in luck! The Buzzer interviewed him. Enjoy!

How long have you been a bus operator?

I got started 25 years ago, September 1990.

Do you watch Breaking Bad?

I watch it lots, and I love it. I’ve seen all the seasons a couple of times. It’s a wonderful show. It’s well written, the cast is great as well as the acting – I think they nailed it.

Any favourite parts that stand out?

There are lots of them, but I’ll narrow it down for you. The part where Hank and Walter finally confront each other about who Walter really is, OK, and Hank realizes all this time under my nose it’s been my brother in law, and he’s been a meth dealer.

The other time is when Walter’s talking to Skylar and he says he’s not really the man she thinks he is. And he gets to say that classic line (goes into character) I am the one who knocks.

What do you think of Walter?

Walter starts out as a normal family guy, but out of a misguided sense of necessity, changes into something totally different and not very nice.

Anything in common with the character?

The only thing we have in common is we’re both family guys, and we do care for our families. The difference is that I’m happy with my life and where I’m going, and I don’t feel any need to be doing anything different.

Your passengers say you’re affable and really seem to enjoy your job.

That’s true. I’m very happy. The people are wonderful and I appreciate all the kind things that have been said.

When were you first eyed as Walter?

Last September, a co-worker named Bob looked at me and said, “Oh my god – Heisenberg!” And then of course every time we saw each other after we’d be joking about it, and making references to the show.

When did you grow the goatee?

That would be September, around the same time. I saw a picture of Walter online and I thought, I really like that, I could do that. With a little bit of help from Just For Men (laughs) and, there we go!

People point it out a lot?

Yeah, a fair amount.

What do you say?

I laugh and say thanks I really appreciate that. Because it’s a whole lot of fun.

Does it start conversations?

Oh definitely. People will say, ‘hey, do you have any little bags of blue rock candy?’ Or ‘this is what happened! – you didn’t really die in the show! You snuck into Canada, (laughs) and you became a bus driver.’ The funniest thing I had happen is I had a gentleman get on the bus at SFU and he does this double take and walks to the back. Later, he walks up to me and says ‘I thought this was a prank thing with the guy from Breaking Bad pretending to be a bus driver so they could get people’s responses’ – like a Candid Camera-type thing. We had a good laugh over that.

What’s strangest thing you’ve been asked as a bus operator?

After all the things I’ve heard over 25 years, nothing is strange.

Best part of driving 135 bus?

The people. The students up at SFU, the business people I pick up, and the people I pick up on their daily shopping trips. I have a lot of regular customers. It’s great.

If not a bus operator, what would you do?

There was a time I looked at being a motorcycle mechanic. I looked at being a commercial pilot, too, because I have my pilot’s license, but (points to his fairly thick eyeglasses) back then in the ‘80s there wasn’t any wiggle room.

Any hobbies?

I work on motorcycles. I fabricate parts. I do airbrush work on motorcycle helmets. I build models, and one of my passions is online gaming. My son Trevor got me into that. I’ve got my Xbox 360 and I absolutely love that.

Other thoughts on Breaking Bad?

They balance it out so well in this show. It’s a serious drama – and I guess a statement on choices we make – but they’ve also balanced in the humour perfectly. You never lose the dark side that they’re really trying to get across.

Are you enjoying this little bit of attention you’ve been getting?

This is fantastic. I’m having fun with it, and I think there’s some really, really good people who are having fun with it too.

Have you met Walter, er, I mean Bill on the bus yet? We’d love to hear about your encounter with our famous operator!

Interview and photo: Chris Bryan

Fun Poll: When did you start taking transit?

kidsonbus

When did you first ride public transit?

The first time I was on transit, I was only knee-high to a grasshopper.

Story is, my mum used to take my on the subway in Toronto to get me to sleep when I was an infant so I’m a transit rider almost since birth!

But not everyone needs the roar of the tracks to get some shut eye as a wee babe so first time transit users can be of all ages and all walks of life.

Vote below to let us know when you started using public transit.

Be sure to comment and let us know why you started taking transit and what mode of transit you took!

When did you start taking transit?

View Results

Superhero on the system!

Superheroes are among us and apparently they are racing SkyTrains!

Here’s the gist:

Our regional Deadpool (aka Nathan MC) leaves a SkyTrain at Waterfront then races towards Granville to see if he can catch the very same train he was on before!

Does he make it? You’ll have to watch and see!

Spoiler alert: he’s a Compass Card user. Thanks for tapping in and out!

**Although this is a very fun video, remember to be safe when you’re using our system. Please walk on all platforms and stairs to ensure everyone’s safety.**

Author: Adrienne Coling

Joyce-Collingwood SkyTrain station is about to get a makeover!

Joyce

Artist rendering of Joyce-Collingwood station

We’re about to start our much needed upgrades to Joyce-Collingwood Station.

Once complete, the upgrades will improve accessibility, capacity, safety and security at the fourth busiest Expo Line station outside of Downtown Vancouver.

Some of the changes you will see

  • New elevator and up and down escalators in the east stationhouse.
  • Improved station design with better lighting and visibility.
  • Better integration with the community for easier SkyTrain connections.

Project status

On site setup is expected to begin late this month.

During the first few weeks, equipment will be brought in and hoarding (fencing) will be installed around work areas. Construction is expected to continue until fall 2017.

What to expect as construction begins

Construction impacts include noise, traffic disruptions, and changes to SkyTrain service and station access. Our top priority is the safety of the public, passengers, employees, and contractors.

Work will be focused on the east stationhouse. Ongoing information about construction impacts can be found on the Joyce-Collingwood Station Upgrades page. Please note that timelines are subject to change based on construction activity.

  • Beginning in late-January, hoarding (fencing) will be installed on the platform and outside the east stationhouse, which will affect how you can enter and exit the stationhouse. Watch for entrance/exit signs to help you get around.
  • A temporary staircase will be built in the east stationhouse in February. Once complete, you’ll only be able to exit the east stationhouse until construction is complete fall 2017. Use the west stationhouse to enter the station, and watch for signs to help you get around.
  • Single tracking of SkyTrains in the area may be required.
  • Neighbours of the station can expect varying levels of nighttime noise while trains aren’t operating. Notifications will be sent in advance of particularly noisy work.

Got questions? We’re here to help!

Customer Service: 604.953.3333
Monday to Friday: 4 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Overnight Station Upgrade Customer Service: 1.866.979.0930
Monday to Friday: 12:30 a.m. to 4 a.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 11:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.

For more information visit: www.translink.ca/joyce or www.translink.ca/customerservice.

An update from Commercial-Broadway Station construction!

Summary of Phase 2 upgrades at Commercial-Broadway Station

Summary of Phase 2 upgrades at Commercial-Broadway Station

Construction is well underway at Commercial-Broadway Station!

Upgrades to the station will improve accessibility, capacity, safety and security at one of the busiest stations in the SkyTrain system.

Some of the changes you will see

  • An additional platform for Expo Line trains, a widened crossing over the Grandview Cut and a new walkway over Broadway to enable the system to expand for future customers as our region grows.
  • New elevators, stairs and up and down escalators to improve access and passenger flow for customers.
  • Updated design features to improve safety and security for all our customers.
  • Better integration with the surrounding community to make it easier to connect to and from the SkyTrain system.

Since construction work began in April, crews have been working on the Broadway east stationhouse and within the Grandview Cut constructing the new pedestrian crossing.

Work in the Grandview Cut includes the excavation for the columns to support the new pedestrian overpass. The clearing, shoring and piling works behind the Shoppers Drug Mart is also complete and the column footing in this area will follow shortly.

Below-grade work for the new Broadway platform is complete including the south column foundation for the Broadway pedestrian overpass. Current works include the forming, rebar and concrete for the new east wall of the station.

Steel fabrication work, including the new pedestrian overpass, is being completed offsite. Structural steel installation works will begin early in 2016 for the east platform of the Broadway station.

Here are a few pictures of station construction:

What to expect moving forward

Our top priority is the safety of the public, passengers, employees, and contractors.

Due to the nature of construction activity, we recognize there will be impacts to the public, including noise, traffic impacts, and changes to SkyTrain service and station access.

Here is a summary of the short-term work that passengers and neighbours can expect:

  • Construction of the new Grandview Cut crossing will continue and the existing overpass will be narrowed.
  • Construction of the new platform east of the existing Broadway guideway will continue. This work includes making cuts to the existing roof beam, erecting new support columns, and removing, reattaching, and in some places demolishing, overhead structures. Much of this work will happen at night due to the close proximity to the SkyTrain guideway.
  • Noise associated with large construction projects, including nighttime work with varying levels of noise while trains are not operating will continue.
  • Westbound 9/N9 and 99 bus stop relocations:
    • From Jan. 21 to March, the westbound 9/N9 and 99 bus stops will move temporarily while we build a new overhead walkway.
    • Bus stops will move several times with most changes happening during the day on weekends. Please follow signs to find your stop.

Thank you for your patience as we complete these much-needed upgrades to Commercial-Broadway Station and stay tuned for additional updates throughout the project!

Got questions? We’re here to help!

Customer Service: 604.953.3333
Monday to Friday: 4 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Overnight Customer Service: 1.866.979.0930
Monday to Friday: 12:30 a.m. to 4 a.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 11:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.

For more information visit: www.translink.ca/commercialbroadway or www.translink.ca/customerservice.

Author: Jennifer Morland

Compass Update: Pre-loaded Compass Cards now available at Fare Dealers!

Great news for Compass users and those who are making the switch!

Most FareDealers now sell $10 pre-loaded Stored Value Adult and Concession Compass Cards for $16 – these cards include $10 of Stored Value and the standard $6 card deposit.

This means you can buy your card and hop right on transit without having to load any other products!

Speaking of Compass, Monthly Pass users are able to load February’s pass onto their Compass Card today!

You can purchase next month’s pass online or by phone starting on the 16th of each month or at a Compass Vending Machine starting on the 20th of each month.

This way, you can load the pass early and avoid any last minute rush at the end of each month.

Remember!

You can load a Monthly Pass at a Compass Vending Machine (CVM) – it loads immediately!

You can find CVMs at all SkyTrain, SeaBus and West Coast Express stations, BC Ferries Tsawwassen and Horseshoe Bay terminals and 18 different London Drugs locations across the region.

You also have the option of AutoLoad when you register your card at compasscard.ca.

This means your Monthly Pass or Stored Value will always load automatically so you never have to worry about it!

Balance protection is another great benefit of registering your card!

So, if your card is ever lost or stolen, you won’t lose the products you’ve purchased.

Have more questions about Compass?
Ask away at askcompass.ca
Learn lots more with our Compass 101 video playlist: youtube.com/translink

Author: Adrienne Coling

On this day in Buzzer blog history: January 16

oldbuzzerillustration

Welcome to Throwback City. Population: Buzzer blog!

With this series we re-publish some awesome old pieces from days in the Buzzer blog’s history.

Today we look at January 16, 2008. The Buzzer blog was a mere pup, not even a year old!

The Canada Line was shiny and brand new and the Buzzer blog editor at the time took to interviewing two talented photographers who just happened to be the artists behind the largest collection of Canada Line construction photos!

Go back in time and enjoy!


 

Profile: Tafyrn & Seamora Palecloud, Canada Line construction photographers

Author: Jhenifer Pabillano

A double rainbow over the Operations and Maintenance Centre --- one of the many fabulous photos found at Canada Line Photography.

A double rainbow over the Canada Line’s Operations and Maintenance Centre — one of the many fabulous photos found at Canada Line Photography.

For Friday, here’s the second profile in a series on Lower Mainland transit enthusiasts — our first was on the Trans Vancouver bus photo archive.

Look up “Canada Line photos” in Google, and the first hit you’ll get is Canada Line Photography, an enormous repository of terrific photographs chronicling the train line’s construction.

There are two people behind the site, Tafyrn and Seamora Palecloud, who were kind enough to do an interview with me for the Buzzer blog. (And I did ask about their unusual names: Tafyrn just laughed, saying, “As you probably know, it’s good practice not to use our real names on the internet.”)

So, here’s the interview, and sprinkled throughout you’ll find some of the Canada Line photos that Tafyrn and Seamora consider favourites—they link back to related pages from the Canada Line photo blog, too.

Tafyrn, Seamora — thanks again so much for helping me put this together!

Read more »

Metrotown single tracking begins January 17, 2016

Summary of station upgrades at Metrotown Station

Summary of station upgrades at Metrotown Station

As part of the station upgrades at Metrotown station, work needs to be done to strengthen the platform.

Because of this, SkyTrain will be single tracking at this station as well as Patterson.

Work is scheduled for January 17 to January 28, Sundays through Thursdays from 9pm until the end of service.

During these times the Millennium Line will operate from VCC-Clark to Columbia only.

Please note!

Be sure to allow 12-15 minutes extra travel time on these nights.

The start of work will be delayed on special event evenings to accommodate crowds .

Passengers can stay up-to-date throughout construction by visiting translink.ca/OnTrack.

Author: Adrienne Coling

Bill and TransLink’s excellent adventure: A brief history of 35 years in transit

Bill with the 2010 Vancouver Olympic mascots

When Bill started as a farebox attendant in 1980, no one could have known it would be the start of a 35 year career at TransLink! Over the years, he’s seen more than a few changes to our system. From the early years of the SeaBus and the opening of Expo Line in 1986 to the expansion of our system for the 2010 Winter Olympics with the Canada Line, Bill’s been around for it all.

Now TransLink’s Community Relations Officer for Government and Community Engagement, Bill is the contact between our organization and other agencies who are interested in learning what TransLink does. Giving tours to interested parties from all around the world, he not only fills agencies in on how transit works in Metro Vancouver, he’s a wealth of information on everything TransLink.

With Bill’s history at TransLink, I’d be nuts not to chat with him about his experience. I checked in with Bill for a brief historical tour of his career and a rundown of where TransLink’s been and where we might be headed.

What do you feel has been the best addition to our system over the last 35 years?

I guess, that’s a toss-up between advances in customer information and the SkyTrain System. On the customer information side of things, what we can provide for customers to let them know when their bus is coming to their stop has really changed. Online information through social media and what you can do at home through trip planning is a whole new package of technology that makes access to information so much easier.

I guess the other would be SkyTrain itself. We don’t realize how spoiled we are in Vancouver with the level of service that SkyTrain provides. You go to any other major city and you might have more capacity when a train arrives, but you’ll have a longer wait until it does.

Anything you miss about our transit system that is no longer around?

I miss the Brill buses. They had certain quirks and sounds to them as well as a distinctive look that was unique to Vancouver. You would find those types of buses elsewhere, but we kept them in service long after other people had retired them. They started in 1948 and they were still operating in 1984 and even as late at 1986. That’s a long time for any bus!

How has transit technology changed?

Over the years, the automation control for the SkyTrain and Canada Line has not changed much. Essentially they do the same thing or use the same or similar technology as they always have. In terms of the bus side there has really been a change in how bus service is delivered. For example, the way the buses run now, where there used to be complex wiring, it is now run on a data network which connects different parts of the bus together. You have computer controls everywhere in the vehicle, but you also have really significant changes in technology from the customer point of view that has changed people’s lives in term of how accessible the buses are now compared with when I started. There are no stairs in the buses anymore. There are on board announcement, audio announcements and visual display announcement for every stop along the line. This technology also means that we are able to track the fleet every moment of the day and share that information with the customers.

What do you like best about giving tours of our transit system?

Everyday is different and I never know what is coming at me. My favourite part about giving tours is to impart information and also listen to others to hear what their needs are and their thoughts on the system. Anytime I’ve done tours and brought people out to our properties, the one thing that comes across to me is how proud people are about where they work and what they do.

What is your most memorable moment so far at TransLink?

I have a lot of unique opportunities. I’ve met two Prime Ministers (Paul Martin and Stephen Harper) and helped plan the opening of the Millenium Line and the Canada Line. I also got to do some really neat things like helping to plan for the christen the SeaBus.

Just curious, but how do you christen a SeaBus?

The christening was a neat ceremony to plan for. The SeaBus was put up on blocks and a nice champagne bottle was wrapped up and then broken on the vessel. Senior SeaBus employee Maureen Hayes, the longest-serving female SeaBus employee, stepped up to perform the ceremony.

During our interview, Bill shared a few other memorable moments with me, including that he used to do a little bit of social media for TransLink. According to Bill, during the 2010 Olympic Gold Medal Hockey game, he was tweeting out the score for our riders!

Thanks Bill for sharing your story!

Author: Laura Tennant

Fun poll results! There’s no clear transit app champ

results graph

Last year (isn’t it weird to say that?) we asked you which transit apps you use to get around Metro Vancouver.

Well, we’ve tallied votes and the results are in!

Transit DB squeaked into top spot with 40 per cent with Transit App and Google Maps tying for a close second with 38 per cent.

City Mapper took in 13 per cent and Radar for Metro Vancouver buses followed with 10 per cent.

The apps with the least votes were Live Transit and Bus Tracker with six and three per cent respectively.

Funny that in a best app poll, the one listed mobile site (Transit DB), took home the most votes!

Thanks to everyone who participated and for all your app suggestions in the comments section!

**NOTE: Results are based on multiple votes per person**

Author: Laura Tennant

Buses: The next generation

Picture1

The newest member of our bus family

Some cool news for bus fans!

TransLink will soon have 21 New Flyer Xcelsior XDE60 articulated 60-foot buses in our fleet!

Each bus will help TransLink be even greener because they are all diesel-electric hybrids!

Twelve of the new buses will serve routes out of the Surrey Transit Centre (STC) replacing all of the existing articulated buses on the 96 B-Line.

The rest of the buses will call Burnaby Transit Centre (BTC) home and will add to the modernization of the articulated bus fleet in Burnaby.

This includes the 99 B-Line, the 135 and the 44, to name a few!

There are some great new features with these buses, including:

– LED headlights
– A better-optimized seating layout
– Electric doors which provide consistent opening and closing times
– Air conditioning!

Where the rubber meets the road

The artics at STC will start to be in service at the end of January with all of them on the road by March.

At BTC, the new buses will start being integrated onto the routes mid-February with full service in March.

Author: Adrienne Coling