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Translink Buzzer Blog

Transit in the News – May 29

A weekly section about transit making headlines around the globe. Have an article you want to share?
Comment below or email us.newspaper-568058_1280

All TransLink transit free last Friday because of SkyTrain shutdown.

New and expanded TTC bus routes to provide reliable overnight and weekend service.

Winnipeg Transit faces long recovery from labour dispute.

Apple Maps’ public transit directions might only support six cities at launch.

Ericsson and Volvo partner on smart public transit.

Vix eyes Malaysian public transport deal.

TTC board expected to approve bus and streetcar service improvements.

Ontario investing up to $1 Billion for light rail transit in Hamilton.

Copper wire theft causes subway headaches for thousands of commuters in NYC.

Voter turnout just shy of 45% for Transit Referendum in Metro Vancouver.

Council hears ideas on how to improve transportation within Fort St. John.

Maryland public transportation fares will soon increase.

Sioux Falls City Council discusses free summer transportation for children.

Scarborough subway route narrowed to three choices.

If you’re looking for interesting facts and fun stories about transit, check out our monthly Links and Tidbits series.

New policy for electric and folding bikes on transit

Fashion Electric BicycleElectric and folding bikes are now being allowed on board the system!

BCRTC and CMBC are updating their operational policies to allow different types of cyclists access.

Electric bikes will now be permitted on SkyTrain, West Coast Express and SeaBus.

Folding bikes will be allowed on buses, when folded.

Riders of folding bikes are asked to use a slipcover or carrying pack while on buses.

All the existing rules for bikes on transit still apply. Here’s a refresher:

  • Bikes are not allowed at Metrotown Station at anytime.
  • There is a maximum of two bikes per SkyTrain car and one per Canada line car.
  • No e-scooters allowed on the system
  • Morning and afternoon rush hour restrictions are still in place — Canada Line: Peak times in all directions. Expo & Millennium Lines: Peak times except for the allowances listed below.

7am – 9am Monday-Friday travelling from Columbia Station to VCC-Clark Station; and from Columbia and King George Stations towards Waterfront Station.

4pm-6pm Monday-Friday travelling from VCC-Clark Station to Columbia Station; and from Waterfront Station towards Columbia and King George Station.

You can read more about our bike policy here.

Transit Police Academy – Week 2


You can text Transit Police anytime at 87-77-77

Week two of Transit Police Academy was very technical. Literally!

It was all about the technology they use to communicate with each other, other police in the region, emergency services as well as you (and me!), the riders on the system.

Something I thought was particularly interesting is the way that Transit Police uses historical data and specialized crime predictive analysis to identify and track hotspots and areas of concern along the system.

Specialized software automatically generates a predictive algorithm which enables Transit Police to forecast where and when criminal activity is most likely to occur.

This information determines where police focus their patrols, greatly reduces response times and helps to proactively reduce and address root causes of crime. Read more »

Compass Arrives at West Coast Express!

Compass is coming soon to West Coast Express

Compass is coming soon to West Coast Express

The convenience of the Compass fare-collection system arrives at West Coast Express (WCE), starting June 8, 2015! Once they receive cards, WCE customers will get to enjoy the many benefits of Compass, such as:

Here's what a Compass mobile validator looks like!

Here’s what a Compass mobile validator looks like!

  • Stored Value: add almost any value you want and pay-as-you-go
  • Online Purchasing: no more waiting at the vending machine to buy your fare
  • Balance Protection: with card registration, your funds are protected, even if your card is lost or stolen
  • AutoLoad: with card registration, you can set up automatic top ups or pass renewals so you’ll never have to worry about forgetting to top up

Staff will hand out Compass Cards to WCE Customers on the concourse at Waterfront Station during June. WCE stations will transition to Compass throughout the month, with two stations switching each weekend.

For WCE customers, once you have your card, load it with a Compass product using the Compass website (coming very soon) or at one of the new Compass Vending Machines—and join the 100,000 Compass users already tapping in and out across Metro Vancouver!

Not ready to make the switch? You can buy existing WCE products until June 26 at Waterfront Station and other WCE stations that haven’t switched over. The last day to use existing WCE products will be July 24. Ask a Station Attendant for more tips on the best Compass transition for you.

For all other customers, it’s business as usual. Compass Vending Machines along the WCE system will not sell Compass Cards at this time, and will sell WCE products only.
Have questions?

Learn more at
Ask away at
Speak with a WCE Station Attendant
Or contact the WCE Office at 604.488.8906, Suite 295-601 Cordova Street, Vancouver

Share the Road Challenge 2015

Share the Road Challenge

Erin and Dave from TravelSmart participate in the Share the Road Challenge 2015

It was a Mad Max showdown (I’m a bit dramatic) of bikes versus transit versus car with HUB’s 9th annual Share the Road Challenge!

It all took place on Wednesday, May 20th with the finish line in downtown Vancouver.

Teams of three (one car, one cyclist, one transit user) started from locations across Metro Vancouver, leaving at the same time with the same amount of distance to travel to see who would get downtown first.

There were teams from Car2Go Vancouver, Vancity Buzz, Dish Jeans & Duer Denim, eProdigy Bikes, Modacity, The Georgia Straight, TravelSmart, Two Wheel Gear, Vancity, the Vancouver Airport Authority and the City of Vancouver with Mayor Gregor Robertson and City Councillors Andrea Reimer and Kerry Jang.

The results? In six out of eleven teams, cyclists reigned supreme!

Councillor Andrea Reimer took first prize for the City of Vancouver for her 14-minute trip on the SkyTrain from Commercial Drive.

Mayor Gregor Robertson came in two minutes later on his bike.

Councillor Kerry Jang placed last with a 22-minute drive in his car.

Even our very own TravelSmart team participated! They came in from the West End, with the bike commuter arriving in just 11 minutes while transit came in second with 20 minutes.

Remember, Bike to Work Week starts today!

Don’t forget to sign up at BikeHUB.

Transit in the News – May 22

A weekly section about transit making headlines around the globe. Have an article you want to share? Comment below or email us.

Buses cancelled as Winnipeg transit workers refuse overtime.

New Grand River Transit plan arrives this fall.

San Francisco leaders tour completed Central Subway tunnel.

China approves $40 billion of rail and subway projects to bolster economy.

Israel calls of Palestinian bus segregation plans.

‘Subway grinders’ to face felony charges under new bill.

Entertainment acts try out for New York subway spots.

St. Albert and Edmonton looking at integrated transit system.

Apple Maps is finally getting public transportation directions.

Five Delhi Metro stations to get WIFI soon.

Transit union in Manitoba says city is putting bus drivers at risk.

Metro Vancouver receives A grade for transit.

  If you’re looking for interesting facts and fun stories about transit, check out our monthly Links and Tidbits series.


TransLink bus


UDPATE: 12:14pm: Thank you all for your patience and understanding today. We understand the inconvenience and are happy to announce that full service has been restored to the Expo Line.

The SkyTrain disruption that was due to a fire destroying one metre communications cable is now over. Please allow time for the service to catch up to regular timings. Shuttles will continue to be used as needed to help with the flow of riders. ^ac

UPDATE: 10:43am: Follow us on Periscope at noon today (handle: TransLink BC) for a live update on the Expo Line SkyTrain disruption.

UPDATE: 10:36: For those of you who have already paid for transit today, please hold on to your tickets and/or receipts. We are working on a way to make sure you benefit from this.

UPDATE 9:29am: Trains are now able to get to and from (East and Westbound) Broadway-Commercial station. Shuttles will be in place to get people to and from downtown from this point. Please keep in mind it will take a while to get service back to regular timings.

We appreciate your patience as crews continue to work to fix the damaged communications cable caused by a fire.

We will continue to keep you updated on the Buzzer blog, Facebook, Instagram (@TransLinkBC) and Twitter (@TransLink) until the system is back to normal.

Five Ways TransLink Funds Road and Bike Infrastructure

Did you know, that in addition to transit, TransLink funds road and cycling infrastructure improvements? Each year we operate, maintain and rehabilitate 600km of our Major Road Network in Metro Vancouver!

Committing over $47 million in road and cycling projects, we’ve dedicated $41 million of this fund to 19 municipalities across the region. This helps to keep things moving smoothly, with pothole patching, snow removal and lighting being just some of the maintenance and operation work getting done thanks to this fund.

So what about the rest of the money? Well, that $6.3 million is dedicated to help fund specific road, bridge and cycling projects across Metro Vancouver. This year, 16 projects are happening across the region.

The Burrard Street Bridge improvements, the widening of the Fraser Highway and the construction of a multi-use path in Coquitlam along the Evergreen extension are just three of the awesome projects currently underway. For more information you can also check out our news release.

So there you have it! If you transit, drive or cycle in the region then there’s a good chance we’ve invested in the infrastructure that helps you get around!


A ride-along with Transit Security: Training for Bike Patrol

Jessica goes to Bike Patrol training

Jessica goes to Bike Patrol training

Transit Security is going to be donning some new wheels this summer.

No, not new patrol cars but bikes!

Six volunteers from the Transit Security team signed up and suited up to be a part of the project.

Jessica Hewitt from Coast Mountain Bus Company was able to literally ride along during their first day of training.

She was kind enough to tell the Buzzer all about it so we can all be in-the-know!

Read on for the inside scoop from Jessica and meet two members of the Bike Patrol team.

Today marks the launch of Transit Security’s new Bike Patrol trial in downtown Vancouver. Recently, I had the opportunity to experience what Bike Patrol training was all about as I headed out for a full day’s worth of in-class instruction and cycling drills.

As a recreational cyclist and a triathlon enthusiast, I jumped at the chance, but knew I’d be far from qualified to be riding around Vancouver’s downtown core. I sat in on the first day of intensive training, but staffers still had three more days left, including a night ride in downtown Vancouver and a final exam before each of the six Transit Security members were CAN-bike certified.

The four days of training covered everything from traffic skills, bike maintenance and hours on the saddle riding through pylons, jumping curbs, signalling, gearing and so much more!

Meet Transit Security Bike Patrol members, Jessica and Dave

For the Bike Patrol, it’s not just about learning the rules of the road. Employees have to work in hectic conditions with cars, foot traffic and other cyclists. General Security Patrol officers Jessica Stennes and Dave Partridge both volunteered to be part of the new Bike Patrol.

“It’s a great opportunity to get outside and be active, while working with employees and customers first hand,” said Jessica. “A lot of what we do involves working with the public and getting them where they need to go.”

For Dave, he’s no rookie when it comes to cycling. An avid road cyclist and mountain biker, he often hits the trails in Whistler and had no trouble riding through the pylon courses in training on the first day.

“Bike Patrol provides the operators and the public with another level of safety and customer service on the transit system,” said Dave. “I’ll be able to respond to situations efficiently in the downtown area while doing something I love.”

Having a more mobile security team will provide an opportunity to go places where security can be restricted by being in a car. This means they can work more closely with the 43 bus routes that travel through the downtown core, attend to the SeaBus and engage in proactive security activities. They aim to make our employees and customers more safe and secure. They’ll also act as an additional resource to answer customer questions during the busy summer tourist season.

As for me, I enjoyed brushing up on my bike skills and learning just what it takes to be part of Bike Patrol for a day. It’s a big job to ride amongst traffic, know all the ways to get around the downtown core, and be first responders to transit incidents. And, that’s only a small part of what Transit Security deals with on a daily basis.

Be on the lookout for Jessica and Dave and other Bike Patrol members in downtown Vancouver this summer.

Things to know:

  • All six bikes were borrowed from Transit Police and were fitted to each rider.
  • Bikes will be stored at Waterfront Station and each member of patrol will meet at Waterfront before each shift.
  • No fair-weather riders! Bike Patrol will run rain or shine!

Thanks for riding along and filling us in, Jessica!

You can see the team in training, in uniform AND being a first responder on their very first day at a fire in New Westminster in the gallery below.

Keep your eyes peeled (they’re hard to miss with all that neon yellow!) for the team out on the streets, around buses and the SeaBus in downtown Vancouver this summer.


The Facts Matter: How TransLink contributes to the North Shore, the Northeast Sector and more!

TransLink invests in your community

TransLink invests in your community

Here’s another post for the The Facts Matter!

This post showcases a few regional projects, where in addition to transit, TransLink has contributed to infrastructure, cycling and roads.

This week is the North Shore, the Northeast Sector, Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

Take a look at just some of the investments from 2012-2015 in these areas.

North Shore

  • Improving bike route on St. Andrews Ave (Esplanade to 23 St.) – $13,000
  • Traffic signal improvements (Mount Seymour Pkwy. at Broadview Dr.) – $75,000
  • Improvements to the Spirit Trail (Marine Dr./Orchill Rd. to Gleneagles Elementary) – $125,000

Northeast Sector, Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

  • Building a multi-use pathway on 128 Ave. (210 St. to Laity St. and 216 St. to 222 St.)– $1,282,560
  • Intersection improvements (Shaughnessy St. and Fraser Ave.) – $50,000
  • Seismic upgrades to the Moody St. Overpass – $332,640

Each municipality has their own fact sheet and you can see what’s been done in, and being planned for, your community’s future.

Head to The Facts Matter page to find out more ways TransLink has has contributed to transit, roads and cycling.

You can also read all about it here in the coming weeks as well as on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram by following the #TheFactsMatter hashtag.

Transit Police Academy – Week 1

Transit Police on duty screengrab

Transit Police Academy runs until June 24

After my first evening in Transit Police Academy, I have to admit that I didn’t know what I didn’t know until I knew it!

Transit Police was created in 2004 to be the thread that ties all the different jurisdictions in the region together.

They are trained exactly as any other police department and have the power of arrest, have access and ability to share information with other police departments and RCMP and are accountable to many authorities both provincial and federal.

We got a really great example of how Transit Police works in the Lower Mainland.

An incident occurred in a Surrey SkyTrain station with the perpetrator then hopping on the train heading to New Westminster committing another crime on the system THEN getting on again and getting into some more trouble in Vancouver.

Before Transit Police, these incidents caused by a single perpetrator included not one, not two but THREE police departments all with varying degrees of information based on the individual situations in their jurisdiction.

Transit Police streamlines the process and they work closely with municipal police departments as their jurisdiction expands across the entire province!

One of the major concerns I hear from riders, (and hey, I’ve thought it too!) is: “Where ARE the Transit Police? I don’t see them except checking fares!”

The short answer is that they can’t be everywhere at once. Here’s the long answer:

Teams of two try to stay near the system to jump on and off the train if needed to be at emergencies quickly and spend lots of time on and near major bus loops. But they are constantly moving.

The breakdown of time is about 1/3 each for dealing with calls, administrative paperwork and patrolling the system.

A full Transit Police department is 110 officers. Right now, they are at about 103. And yes, they’re hiring if you’re interested!

There are the day and evening shifts with staffing 24/7. Officers are four days on and four days off. The split is about 10 units during the day and 12 (or more) in the peak afternoon and evening times.

However, I think it’s their service delivery model that is particularly interesting.

The new model in place now comes out of an independent report from Simon Fraser University that included surveys, workload analysis, time and motion and predictive analysis.

Transit Police implemented their suggestions to create a hub system.

There are 6 major hubs along the SkyTrain system where Transit Police officers report to and from. These are: Bridgeport, Waterfront, Broadway/Commercial, Metrotown, Lougheed and Surrey Central. There are smaller hubs at many other stations as well.

The hub stations were chosen based on the following criteria:

  • Call density
  • Volume of rail passengers
  • Volume of bus traffic in loops
  • Volume of bus passengers
  • Customer perception of safety

This creates a type of geographical “beat” for officers on the system with zones they patrol allowing them to get to know the neighbourhoods and people.

This week we will be exploring intelligence led policing, communications with their Operations Communications Centre and the On Duty app.

Also, we’ll be looking at the 87-77-77 text line.

FYI! In one year, Transit Police received 31,000 texts with tips and concerns about situations on the system.

I’m genuinely learning a lot and I’m happy to pass that on to you, Buzzer readers. Look out for my new post next week!

The Buzzer has a new contributor: Meet Laura!

Please help me in welcoming Laura to the team!

Please help me in welcoming Laura to the team!

Hello Buzzer Blog readers! I’m the new Student Communication Associate and am excited to be working with the TransLink Communication Team over the upcoming months.

Transit has always had a special place in my heart. In my earlier transit riding days, a bus pass was more than a ticket-to-ride, it represented pure freedom.

It meant no parent chauffeurs, an open road and countless pizza slices at my destination.

My adult self values transit for many of the same reasons. Although less about parents and pizza, the sense of freedom has remained.

Transit gets me where I want to go, reduces my environmental footprint and gives me a chance to relax on my commute.

A transit fan through and through, I am super excited to contribute to this blog and connect with the Buzzer readers!

A few more things about me:

  • I have a background in publishing and I love to read. I’m currently reading Mavis Gallant’s In Transit (total coincidence).
  • Lately, I have been into all foods pickled or spicy.
  • I am a novice gardener learning the ways of plants and soil. So far my struggling basil has kept its ways very secret.

See you all on the blog!

West Coast Express gets Compass!

Compass: our new electronic fare card

West Coast Express will start tapping June 8

You may have noticed on our some of our social channels and in the news yesterday that there was an announcement about Compass.

West Coast Express riders will be the next group of customers to receive the Compass card and start tap, tap, tapping on June 8!

Just a few benefits of using Compass include being able to load money at home, balance checking and protecting your balance if your card is lost of stolen.

By the end of the summer, we will see over 200,000 people using this system!

For more information, check out the video below or take a look at our media release.

Transit in the News – May 15

A weekly section about transit making headlines around the globe. Have an article you want to share? Comment below or email us.newspaper-568058_1280
South Wales “Ride Me” bus advert sparks online backlash.

New bus links Montreal residents with reduced mobility and McGill University Health Centre.

Bolt bus explodes on turnpike in Massachusetts.

Karachi explores mass transit system options for region.

Public hearing set on Massachusetts transit plan.

Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation receives bids from 9 consortia for Metro III project.

Transit referendum deadline for requesting ballots today.

New Kitchener Crosstown bus starts in September.

Compass Card rolls out to TransLink’s West Coast Express service and students.

Beijing police warn flash mobs on subway may cause stampedes.

  If you’re looking for interesting facts and fun stories about transit, check out our monthly Links and Tidbits series.

Adrienne goes to Transit Police Academy

Police Academy

I heart Mahoney!

“All right, you scrawny beanpoles, becoming a cop is NOT something that happens overnight. It takes one solid weekend of training to get that badge” – Chief Wiggum

All kidding and Simpsons quotes aside, I am always impressed by the level of dedication and training police officers have and Transit Police is no exception!

They provide a vital service for our system and our region.

Believe me, they do far more than just write fare infraction tickets. This is a full-fledged police force!

Have you ever wanted to know more about the ins and outs of Transit Police? Me too!

So, every Wednesday evening (starting tonight) until the end of June, I’ll be attending a TransLink initiative for employees called Transit Police Academy.

I will be learning about how they police the system, tactical responses, investigation procedures and lots more.

My goal in participating is to better understand what they do, why, how and pass that knowledge onto you, the rider (and reader).

The agenda for the first week:

  • Service Delivery Model
  • Community Policing
  • Transit Watch Program (Surrey)
  • Chief’s Community Counsel
  • Police Board

I will be posting about my experiences at Transit Police Academy each week so stay tuned for all my updates!