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Translink Buzzer Blog

This is why there’s a third platform at Stadium – Chinatown SkyTrain station

The third platform at Stadium-Chinatown Station, in use during the 1980s! The third track is the one on the far left of the photo.

 

A SkyTrain sitting at the third track at Stadium-Chinatown Station.

What’s the third platform at Stadium-Chinatown? Well, if you go to the regular platform to board a SkyTrain, you’ll clearly see there’s ANOTHER platform across the SkyTrain tracks and behind the fence, sitting empty. Have a look at the photo on the right to see what I mean.

 

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Links and Tidbits – August 18, 2017

Links and tidbits is our semi-regular roundup of interesting fodder about transportation from the last few weeks or so. If you have links to contribute, put them in the comments or email us!

»  What’s behind the resurgence of streetcars in the US? This is the reason why.

»  Walk on Metro Vancouver! Check out this Vancouverites tips on creating a walkability challenge!

»  Manspreading goes global, but is this transit etiquette faux paux just for men?

»  In June, TransLink and the Mayors’ Council launched the Mobility Pricing Independent Commission. It looks like New York City is looking into trying congestion pricing.

»  For some musicians, riding in a tour bus means they’ve made it. But what’s the cost of a tour bus rental?

»  A 15-year-old boy took over the Twitter account for Southern Rail in the UK: “It was total chaos, and people loved it.

»  That talk about building a bullet train between Vancouver and Seattle seems to be gaining traction as a feasibility study is underway.

»  Check it out! China just built the world’s longest elevated cycle path.

»  Using volunteers, Germany is testing out new facial recognition technology at its main railway station in Berlin to increase safety.

»  See this: a treasure trove of great transit branding! Someone drew out the public transportation fleets in different cities.

»  These “x-ray” maps show you what the subway stations in New York actually look like!

»  Graphic designer Petr Novak shrunk and simplified 220 metro and light rail systems (including Vancouver!) into mini maps.

»  Check out this newsletter article from the Renfrew–Collingwood Community News on how the Evergreen Extension connects history from Renfrew–Collingwood to Port Moody.

»  Gondolas are gaining popularity in the United States as alternative transportation. There’s at least three gondola proposals in New York.

»  According to CBC’s Don Pittis, urban parking is dying a slow death in Canadian cities.

»  These pillars for an abandoned monorail project in South Jakarta, Indonesia are coming down.

Author: Allen Tung

Going to the Fair at the PNE? Transit will get you there, starting August 19

2017 pne banner

Celebrate summer at the legendary Fair at the PNE! Featuring special Canada 150 shows and entertainment, rides and food that will remind you of your childhood and new attractions and shows here for this year only. Open August 19 — September 4 (closed August 21 and 28).

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#MyTransLink – August 15

“A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it.”
— Edward Steichen

After a brief hiatus, #MyTransLink is back! If you’re new here, welcome to our biweekly rider-curated series showcasing photos in transit from around Metro Vancouver. Here are some of the great shots captured since our last installment.

Why not enjoy the sunset while taking a ride on #mytranslink 🚝🌇

A post shared by Vncvr ❤️ (@vncvr.views) on

Silhouette. . . . . . [repost]

A post shared by Leo Chen (@leftyy_leo) on

 

Want to be featured on the blog?
Simply follow us on Twitter and Instagram, tag us and use the hashtag #MyTransLink.

Author: Sarah Kertcher

Fun poll results: Your favourite summer spots to visit with transit

The results are in! We asked you what your favourite summer spot is to visit with transit and with 27 per cent of votes, Stanley Park is your favourite summer spot!

Coming in second and not too far behind with 20 per cent of votes is “Other”. Granville Island and New Westminster River Market both tied for third place with 14 per cent of votes each.

If you answered other, where do you love to go with transit in the summer? Summer isn’t over yet so comment below and let us know!

Following the top three summer destinations are White Pine Beach and Lonsdale Quay, each with eight per cent of votes, Queen Elizabeth Park with four per cent of votes, and Kitsilano Beach and Capilano Suspension Bridge coming in with three per cent of votes.

Thanks to everyone for voting!

If you have an idea for a poll, comment below or email thebuzzer@translink.ca!

Author: Christina Jakopin

Q&A: In conversation with a transit planner—TransLink and transit in Canada

Prior to joining TransLink as a senior planner, David Cooper worked for Calgary Transit and the City of Toronto, where he supported the Toronto Transit Commission’s subway expansion projects.

Owing to TransLink’s international reputation as a progressive company in the transportation industry, our positions attract talent from across Canada and the world. Perhaps most notably, our CEO came from Seattle!

TransLink is regarded as one of the most innovative transportation companies in the world. We are unique in that we are the first North American transportation authority—and only one in Canada—to be multimodal. TransLink is responsible for the planning, financing and managing of all public transit in addition to major regional roads and bridges, transportation demand-management strategies and programs, and supporting the region’s growth strategy and regional economic development.

It was this unique challenge that spurred transit planner David Cooper to pack up and move to the Vancouver to join TransLink earlier this year as a senior planner in TransLink’s system planning department.

He came to us from Toronto where he was a senior transportation planner with the city, and prior to that, he worked for Calgary Transit.

Cooper recently sat down with The Buzzer blog to chat about working for TransLink and transit planning in Canada:

What drew you to Vancouver to work for TransLink?

I call the System Planning group the place where ideas come true at TransLink. We are advancing a vast range of projects that will forever transform our transit system.  We are advancing new fleet technologies, expanding our service, and adding new rail service.  In the transit world, you name it—we are probably doing it. Who wouldn’t want to work for an organization that is open to new ideas and is moving ahead projects that will make Metro Vancouver an even better place to live!

“Who wouldn’t want to work for an organization that is open to new ideas and is moving ahead projects that will make Metro Vancouver an even better place to live!”

—David Cooper on working for TransLink

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TransLink is responsible for more than just transit?!

Cycling isn’t just one of the healthiest ways to travel, but it’s also a pollution-free mode of transport. Did you know that cycling 10km each way to work would save 1500 kg of greenhouse gas emissions a year?!

You may or may not know that TransLink is responsible for much more than just transit. Our cycling program is vast and varied, covering everything from regional cycling initiatives to end-of-trip facilities and we’re committed to addressing many of the transportation challenges that Metro Vancouver faces today.

Our multimodal mandate

We’re responsible for providing cycling options in the region and connecting cycling to the wider transportation system of Metro Vancouver while supporting over 107,000 bike trips daily! Our long-term transportation strategy, TransLink 2040 sets goals for the kind of transportation future we want. Within the next 30 years, one of the goals is that most trips in Metro Vancouver will be made by transit, walking and cycling.

If we can reduce the distances driven in the region by 33 per cent by designing our communities and transportation systems to encourage half of our trips to be by walking, cycling or transit, everyone will benefit! This will reduce congestion, make travel more reliable, protect our climate by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and by make roads safer.

Bicycle transportation system

Bikeway network

Did you know that there are multi-use paths that make biking to and from destinations easier, safer and more accessible?

  • The BC Parkway– A 26-kilometre, multi-use path that roughly parallels the Expo SkyTrain Line, connecting Surrey City Centre, New Westminster, South Burnaby and Vancouver.
  • The Central Valley Greenway– A 24-kilometre route for cycling, jogging, walking, wheelchairs, skateboarding and blading that connect Vancouver with Burnaby and New Westminster
  • Canada Line Pedestrian-Bicycling Bridge – The important link connecting the cycling routes of Richmond and Vancouver

Bike racks

Every single vehicle in our bus fleet has racks for your bike. That’s right. You don’t have to leave your bike at home ever again! Check out this Buzzer blog post with a detailed video on how to take your bike on the bus and then test out your skills at our bike rack demo in North Vancouver or on your next transit trip!

Transit tip! Exit from the front door and let the driver know that you need to remove your bike.

Bike Parkades

Currently, our two bike parkades are located at Main Street-Science World Station and King George Station with more parkades en route soon. Bike Parkades are well-lit, indoor bicycle parking facilities where users can lock up their bike for the day. They provide secure and convenient access seven days a week to customers who enroll through their Compass Card.

Bike Parkades cost only one dollar a day, with fees capped at eight dollars a month. Check out our how-to video below! Register online for access by visiting www.translink.ca/bikeparkade.

FYI: In the next two years four more Bike Parkades will be opening at King Edward, Joyce, Commercial-Broadway and Metrotown stations!

Partners

Our TravelSmart team works with a variety of corporate and government partners to ensure that Metro Vancouverites are aware of smarter travel options.

TravelSmart partners with the following organizations to deliver our programs throughout the region:

Some of our awesome bike partners

HUB focuses on showing people that cycling is an attractive and healthy choice for everyone. Their annual spring and fall Bike to Work weeks celebrate bike commuting across Metro Vancouver. We also partner with HUB on their different programs such as their Bike Host orientation program and their Bike to Shop Days.

BEST provides bike valet services at events in Metro Vancouver such as Khatsalano Fest, Celebration of Light, Vancouver Whitecaps home games and the Gastown Grand Prix. The Bike Valet operates at many events that TransLink supports and this year they expect to park 30,000 bicycles at events across the Metro Vancouver region!

Mark your calendar and be part of the change and help make Metro Vancouver a happier, healthier place to live, work and play! This year’s fall Bike to Work week will take place from October 23 to 27, 2017.

Wondering where to bike next? Plan your trip by exploring our online cycling maps and route planning tool!

Author: Christina Jakopin

This lady is the voice of SkyTrain

Laureen Regan is the voice behind announcements on the SkyTrain system!

Hop on a SkyTrain and you’ll hear a woman’s voice on the public address system, telling you what line you’ve boarded and what station is coming up next.

Well, that voice belongs to Laureen Regan, president of Regan Productions, a video production company in Calgary, Alberta.

She’s been the voice of the SkyTrain since 2001, when the Millennium Line opened and new station announcements were required. We brought her back again when the Canada Line and Evergreen Extension opened to record additional announcements.

Laureen Regan

Regan heard her voice on the train system for the first time shortly after the Millennium Line began service.

“I took the train and I laughed,” she says. “It was so amazing to hear it—to sit there and go, ‘Oh my God, that’s my voice.’ You remembered when you recorded it. … And everybody has no idea, which makes you laugh.”

Regan came to be the voice of the SkyTrain through her connection to Interalia, another Calgary-based company.

Interalia makes automated voice systems, and knew Regan had done voice work for her own productions in the past. They asked her to do a demo voice for their system, which they were about to show to TransLink for the Millennium Line.

Then, when TransLink bought the Interalia system, Regan was asked to record the real announcements for the trains.

Recording wasn’t too tough.

“Millennium Line is hard to say, I’ve got to say,” she says. “But I don’t remember any of the names being particularly difficult. The challenge sometimes with recording for places you don’t know is that you may not know the proper pronunciation [of local names].”

It’s a challenge she’s faced again over the years.

Regan has also done voice work for the Salt Lake City train system and the BART trains in San Francisco, both through Interalia

The chance to do voice work like this has been a gift, she says.

“It’s not been something that I’ve planned—it just happened. I enjoy it every time I do voicing. I love it.”

Listen to the Podcast

Regan’s interview was conducted as part of the Buzzer blog podcast. Have a listen!

This post originally appeared in the October 10, 2008 issue of The Buzzer. 

I Love Transit week 2017 is coming!!

Our favourite week of the year is quickly approaching! I Love Transit Week! Since 2009, we have shared interesting stories celebrating our riders, transit enthusiasts and all the things we love about transit over the course of a special week dedicated to just that, our love of transit!

In the past, we’ve celebrated I Love Transit with a vintage bus, a marriage and so much more! This year, we have a bus load of more fun transit love, appreciation and stories to share with you.

 

I Love Transit Week will be taking place from October 2 to October 6, 2017 and this year we’re doing things a little differently.

First, we’ve added a theme: TransLink Tomorrow.

Second, I Love Transit week will replace iWALK (International Walk to School Week). Students in kindergarten through grade 12 are still eligible for free bus travel on any and all bus routes during I Love Transit Week (October 2 to October 6, 2017), but we’re also giving the opportunity for 11 Metro Vancouver school classes to win free day passes for their entire class!

Third,  I Love Transit Camp is back for its fourth year – with a twist. I Love Transit Camp will be held on a soon to be announced weekday in October and we’re launching a fun grand prize contest open to Metro Vancouver classes between grades 3 and 12, along with their teachers/associated staff for a chance to attend this years I Love Transit Camp.

Stay tuned…

Make sure to stay tuned to the Buzzer blog and our other social channels in the coming weeks to learn more about I Love Transit Camp and how your class can enter for a chance to win this exciting opportunity!

For the latest info, be sure to check out our social media channels
Twitter – Instagram – Facebook – Buzzer blog

Author: Christina Jakopin 

Look: Butterfly mural at Surrey Central SkyTrain station

Chrysalis is attached above the pedestrian walkway on City Parkway.

Have you been to Surrey Central SkyTrain station recently?

We’ve just unveiled a butterfly mural on the hoarding—or temporary fence—surrounding the Surrey Central Station Upgrades construction site.

Thomas Nelles, a Surrey artist, was the winner of an open call to artist to create a temporary mural. The theme chosen to inspire artists for their concepts was “Connecting People, Connecting Places.”

Nelles’ two-part artwork is titled Chrysalis and Butterfly Locomotion; Camouflaged.

Chrysalis, attached above the pedestrian walkway on City Parkway, is named for the stage that a caterpillar sheds its cocoon and transforms into a butterfly.

Butterflies have long been recognized as a metaphor for transformation. Nelles uses this imagery to symbolize the Surrey’s transformation from its agricultural past to its urban present and its goals for a sustainable future.

It also refers to SkyTrain’s history and its relationship to the city’s growth. SkyTrain arrived in Surrey with Scott Road Station in 1990 and Gateway, Surrey Central and King George stations opened in 1994.

Butterfly Locomotion; Camouflaged on the fencing surrounding the construction site.

The butterfly concept extends to Butterfly Locomotion; Camouflaged where a butterfly’s wings are designed as if seen through a kaleidoscope.

The mural, which is printed on mesh fabric and attached to the fencing surrounding the construction site, encourages viewers to see through it into the construction site. Its goal is to show change in a positive way, and its multiple variations of the butterfly speak to how every individual is part of Surrey’s growth.

To learn more about the Chrysalis and Nelles, click here.

Construction update

It’s full steam ahead at Surrey Central Station! Construction crews have installed site hoarding, poured the elevator and escalator foundation, relocated underground storm, sewer, irrigation and power utilities, and excavated the new stationhouse footings. Check out the photos:

When complete, a new north stationhouse with three additional escalators, new stairs and an additional elevator will make the station more accessible and convenient for our customers. It will also connect to a reconfigured bus exchange to make it easier to connect to and from the SkyTrain system.

Stay tuned for more updates on the project! For more information about Surrey Central Station upgrades, visit translink.ca/surreycentral.

Your Guide to B.C. Day Holiday Service, Pride, Celebration of Light and more!

B.C. day is August 7 and that means a long weekend packed with events and of course, holiday transit service!

What’s happening this BC Day long weekend?

Honda Celebration of Light

The Honda Celebration of Light is one of Vancouver’s largest and most well-known festivals, and is recognized as the longest-running offshore fireworks competitions in the world. You can watch Canada put on a magical display of light on Saturday, August 5. For everything you need to know about the Celebration of Light, take a look here and here.

Vancouver Pride Festival

Vancouver Pride Week is on to paint the city in rainbows and celebrate the LGBTQ2+ community.

The Davie Street Block Party takes place on Friday, August 4 from 6 p.m. until midnight along Davie Street, between Burrard Street and Jervis Street.

Starting at 11 a.m., the Sunset Beach Festival happens on Sunday, August 6 at Sunset Beach.

One of Vancouver’s most impressive parades, the Pride Parade, takes place on Sunday, August 6 at noon at the corner of Robson Street and Thurlow Street. It proceeds west along Robson Street, then south down Denman Street and finally along Beach Avenue before finishing at Sunset Beach.

Look out for us in this historical, 1937 Hayes Anderson in the Pride Parade!

Harmony Arts Festival

The Harmony Arts Festival is a ten day long arts festival that begins this August long weekend on Friday, August 4. The festival is free and takes place in West Vancouver, along the water between Ambleside and John Lawson Park. The festival features live music, free nightly movies and art displays. To learn more, check out the Harmony Arts Festival website.

White Rock Sea Festival

Complete with live music, a torchlight parade, beachside yoga and fireworks, White Rock’s free Sea Festival takes place from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. on Saturday, August 5 and Sunday, August 6. For a complete list of activities and more information, go to White Rock Sea Festival.

Service Information

Celebration of Light Service

There will be added service for the finale of the Celebration of Light on Saturday, August 5. For more information on service changes, take a look here and be sure to check out our Buzzer blog post here for everything you need to know to have a fun and safe time at the Celebration of Light!

Vancouver Pride Parade

On Sunday, August 6 SkyTrain will have increased midday service from 8:30 a.m. until approximately 3 p.m. and will then move to the Sunday/Holiday schedule.

The Seabus and the Canada Line will operate regular Sunday hours and service.

Busses will operate regular Sunday hours and service, however there will be route changes to the 5 Robson and the 6 Davie to accommodate the parade route.

B.C. Day 

On Monday, August 7, Bus, SkyTrain, Canada Line and SeaBus services will operate on a Sunday/Holiday schedule. The West Coast Express will not operate.

Transit Tip: Holiday fares will be in effect. You only need a one-zone fare to travel across all zones!

Know before you go! For full detours and maps, visit translink.ca/alerts.
Help us plan your transit trip by using Trip Planner.
Have questions on the go? Tweet @TransLink or call us at 604.953.3333.

Author: Christina Jakopin

What the heat wave means for SkyTrain

Orange is the new… blue? Hazy, smokey morning views over Stadium-Chinatown Station! ^cj

A post shared by TransLink (@translinkbc) on

It’s been hot this week, and we’re all doing what we can to keep functioning and stay cool.

But what about the SkyTrain system? Will it hold up in this heat?

Some rail systems, like TriMet in Portland, reduce speeds during spells of extreme heat. This is because the long sections of rail expand and can push the rail ties out in the process, leading to a “kink” in the rail.

Portland’s is a conventional rail system known as “tie and ballast.” Our SkyTrain is a little different – the rails are on rail pads directly mounted to the concrete guideway, making them less likely to kink. While it’s unlikely any “kinks” will occur, we’ve increased the system-wide inspections our maintenance staff do from once to twice a day, just in case.

Also vulnerable when it gets hot are the electrical substations we have at various locations along the 79-kilometre SkyTrain system.

If it gets hot enough that the air-conditioning can’t keep up, a temperature alarm will go off and we’ll shut down the transformer until things cool off. The good thing is, we have redundancy in the system, meaning we can shut down a substation for maintenance or repairs without impacting service to our customers.

In the case of elevators and escalators, we don’t always have that luxury. If they start to overheat, they’ll shut themselves down to protect their systems. If that happens, we get our “elevating devices” staff out as quickly as possible to ensure we don’t inconvenience people for long.

Remember to check out our 10 heat wave survival tips on transit!

Author: Chris Bryan

2016 Transit Service Performance Review: what are the top five routes in your area?

Last week, TransLink released the 2016 Transit Service Performance Review, a comprehensive look at ridership and service productivity for bus, SeaBus, SkyTrain and West Coast Express.

We know there’s tons of information in there to wade through so we’re back this week to share with you a couple more tidbits about boardings from the report!

What is a boarding?  A boarding is considered each time a passenger enters a fare paid zone using Compass fare media or any other proof of payment.

Read more »

Rogers LTE wireless service expands into New Westminster

Rogers LTE coverage is now live in Columbia Station and through the tunnels! (Photo: waferboard/Flickr)

In a continued partnership with Rogers, LTE wireless connectivity on the SkyTrain has expanded into New Westminster! Starting today, Rogers and Fido customers will now see extended LTE wireless connectivity at Columbia SkyTrain Station and through the tunnels between Columbia and Sapperton SkyTrain stations. This is an extension to the service that was added to the Dunsmuir and Edmonds tunnels last summer!

Enhancing cellular coverage across the Expo and Millennium Line network ­increases safety, security and convenience for customers and operators with the added bonus of no cost to taxpayers.

Customers have told us that connectivity on the system is important and our partnership with Rogers is one way we are working to have a reliable and sustainable network in place.

Stay tuned for more info about more LTE service coming to our Expo and Millennium lines.

Author: Sarah Kertcher

10 heat wave survival tips for transit

It’s going to be HOT this week in Metro Vancouver with temperatures soaring upwards of 28 degrees Celsius—or 34 degrees Celsius if you factor in humidity!

We’re quite used to the temperate weather in Metro Vancouver, so it might get a little uncomfortable especially on crowded buses and SkyTrain cars.

Before you head out out the door, here are ten heat wave survival tips for traveling on transit!

1. Plan ahead

Summer season is also detour season. Construction, festivals, marathons and markets are taking place across Metro Vancouver, so be sure to follow us on Twitter (@TransLink), check the Transit Alerts page and plan your trip using our Trip Planner tool before you go.

If you think you’ll need time to recover from the heat, it might be a good idea to start your trip a little earlier too. This way you aren’t running after the train and it will give you time to recuperate between transfers such as spending some time in the shade or grabbing an ice-cold drink.

2. Ride beside others as you would have them ride beside you.

It’s at times like these we need to remember the golden rule of transit: “Ride beside others as you would have them ride beside you.”

Since heat and crowded conditions can make people very testy, we need to be all the more mindful at these times of what we do around others. If you can, try to observe basic hygiene and don’t go too far with the cologne, after-shave or perfume, since so many people are severely allergic.

3. Dress smart

It’s a good idea to wear white or light coloured, breathable clothing since black and other dark colours trap heat. Remember to wear sunscreen and sunglasses—being on transit doesn’t protect you from harmful UV rays!

For safety reasons, shirts and footwear are required on SkyTrain. If you’re coming back from the beach, make sure you have a shirt on and something on your feet. Remember to apply another golden rule—would you want to sit next to someone on a hot day without a layer of cloth between you?

4. Drink plenty of fluids

Generally, food and drink are not allowed on transit vehicles, but since it’s important to stay hydrated feel free to bring a bottle of water on transit – but absolutely no drinks with no lids! Be mindful that it is sometimes necessary for our transit vehicles to come to a sudden stop, so it’s probably not a good idea to drink while the vehicle is in motion.

5. Keep those windows open—or shut! 

The majority of TransLink vehicles are not air conditioned, but our newer vehicles are! Look for the signage on the window. It can take some time for the vehicle to become cool if it just entered service, so please be patient rather than opening the window.

If you want a window opened or closed, as a courtesy, it might be nice to ask around first in case somebody has a preference for the window to be opened or closed. They might have allergies!

6. Stretch the priority seating definition

Stretch your definition of who should have priority in seating. Our signage says seniors and people with disabilities have priority, but if you see someone on a hot day who looks like they need the seat more than you do, please be courteous and offer it to them.

7. Strategize

Figure out which seat will get you away from the sun and plan accordingly! It will make for a more comfortable and cooler ride. Consider waiting for an air-conditioned SkyTrain car or bus if you think you need it.

8. Adjust your travel times

Do you really need to hop on the bus at 4:00 p.m. in the afternoon to do grocery shopping? Consider travelling earlier or later in the day when transit is less crowded and the weather outside is a little bit cooler. Remember, it’s a one-zone fare after 6:30 p.m on SkyTrain.

9. Move to the back of the bus

Moving all the way to the back of the bus means more people can get onto the bus and more room for you too in this weather. We promise there’s no black hole in the middle of the bus.

10. Make sure you’re visible to the transit operator

Look out for buses coming down the street and stand at the pole in plenty of time to let the operator know you’d like to board. It’s also not a bad idea to avoid wearing dark clothing (white or bright colours are best) in case the bus operator doesn’t see you. That way they can pull in safely into the stop to pick you up.

 

Above all—BREATHE! We all look forward to a warm summer and here it is.  Cut others some slack and enjoy the nice weather. Days like these don’t last long in this region.

Vancouver’s climate and transportation system are two factors that make it one of the most livable regions in the world. Observing these suggestions and maintaining your own “situational awareness” can make for a more pleasant experience all around.