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Translink Buzzer Blog

An update from Bike Patrol

Bike patrol 166
Remember Bike Patrol? The Buzzer covered the inception of this cool new Transit Security crew back in May.

That’s when Bike Patrol hit the streets in downtown Vancouver as part of a four month trial.

Six existing General Security Patrol officers traded their car for a bike and assisted front-line staff and customers downtown during daylight hours.

Each officer went through an intensive four-day training program to be CAN-bike certified.

Security officers had the opportunity to focus on fare inspections and security-related incidents, create a positive customer service experience first-hand and go places where they might otherwise be restricted by being in a car.

The trial is wrapping up on October 10, 2015 and Jessica Hewitt of CMBC checked in with staff to hear what they had to say about the experience.

Being able to be a part of the Transit Security Bike Patrol has been such a great experience. I feel I have greatly increased my contact with operators. Being on the bikes has us at eye level with operators, providing us with clear communication, giving us the ability to respond immediately to any situation. I can get to situations much faster, than if I was in a car.
Trevor Handford, Transit Security

Bike Patrol has been a joy to perform and the comments we’ve received from operators has been positive. Many are glad to see us, tell us that we are welcome on their buses and that they love our uniforms (since we’re hard to miss!). I am very thankful for the training course that we went through before starting as without it I would’ve been less comfortable riding in the downtown core.  I’ll be sad when it is over as this has been one of the best learning experiences at CMBC.
Jessica Stennes, Transit Security

What’s next for Bike Patrol?

Transit Security is in the process of collecting data and feedback from staff.

We are also looking at statistics to determine reduced carbon emissions and vehicle costs, number of customer contacts, inspections and assistance to the public.

Have you encountered Bike Patrol on any downtown summer transit trips?
Let us know what you think of the program by commenting below!

Author: Adrienne Coling

Transit poetry – The Community of the Bus

wordcloudEvery now and then, the creativity of our riders morphs into songs, stories, art and even poetry.

This offering of verses is from one of our very own TransLink bus riders!

Graham McGarva is the founder of local architecture firm VIA, an amateur poet and transit enthusiast. You can check out some more of his work here.

This piece is not only written about the bus but was actually written on a bus.

Take a look!

The community of the bus

The community of the bus

Increasingly draws me in

My compass taking a new direction

Among pleases and thankyou’s

And jokey comments

That belong not to legions

Of loser cruisers on the highway

But to us for whom this is ours

This shared space

With never enough seats

Just like the rent will never

Be low enough

But somehow we find homes

On streets with good vibes

And headphones to mute

Unwanted discourse

Usually younger than I

Many thank the driver

For stopping and for caring

As he does his job

And we go between our jobs

And we all brake and accelerate

And turn corners in harmony

With the sunset

As we share it together

So thank you for all of that

And for not making me drive

Home alone

Back row #14 bus
West Cordova to Granville Loops
Wednesday 30th September 2015

Thank you for sending your poetry our way, Graham!

Have something artistic or creative to share about life on transit?
Comment below, email us or Tweet us!

Author: Adrienne Coling


Remember to tap out when travelling on SkyTrain and SeaBus!

Compass Card tap out

Please remember to tap out when exiting SkyTrain (including Canada Line) and SeaBus stations, even if you have a Monthly Pass!

Tapping out ensures you’ll be charged the correct fare for your journey. If you don’t tap out, the system assumes you kept travelling and charges you for a 3-zone trip.

Example time!

If you have a 1-zone Monthly Pass and no Stored Value (cash) on your card and you don’t tap out, the system will charge your card an AddFare of $2.75.

Since there’s no Stored Value (cash) on your card, the system will draw funds from your $6 reserve, causing your card to have a negative balance.

The next time you tap in, the system will say “insufficient funds”, because the Compass system requires your card to have a positive balance before you can travel again.

Please remember to tap in and tap out when travelling on SkyTrain and SeaBus, so you’re charged the correct fare!

Author: Laura Tennant

1-zone bus fares means a new look for Trip Planner!

Today is the day! All buses and HandyDART vehicles are officially operating on a one-zone fare structure.

Because of this, if you hop on TransLink’s Trip Planner today, you may notice a bit of a makeover.

Trip Planner has been adjusted to include the new one-zone bus fares.

If you are using a Compass product, you can use Stored Value on your Compass Card to get exactly the same discount as the current FareSaver tickets.

If you are viewing on your desktop computer, you will now see four fare options now instead of two.

The difference on mobile is fairly minimal.AFS-Step2-Mob

The Trip Planner will show two fares: cash and Stored Value. This is instead of the single cash fare we show now.

Please note! These prices reflect Compass and cash fares in a “fare gates closed” scenario.

This means that, until that time, your current fare MAY be different from what Trip Planner lists for you.

Single cash fare prices remain the same.

You can see this on the regular fare tables.

You can use Stored Value on your Compass Card to get the same discount as the current FareSaver tickets.


Currently, you can use tradition fare media (transfers, FareCards, monthly passes, etc.) to travel from the bus to SkyTrain/SeaBus without having to buy another fare.

Once all Compass fare gates are closed, tickets purchased on a bus won’t be valid for transfer to rail or SeaBus.

In the future, customers paying cash on the bus will need to purchase another fare if transferring from bus to rail or SeaBus.

This is because the traditional faremedia are magnetic strips while Compass faregates use an RFID antenna allowing you to tap your way on and off the system.

Compass customers will only pay one fare, if travelling within the 90-minute transfer window.

You can find more information at
to help you transition to the 1-zone bus fare.

For convenient, one-stop source for customer questions and answers about the new Compass system, visit:

 Author: Adrienne Coling

Reminder! Bus anywhere with a 1-zone fare starts October 5, 2015

One zone bus fares are almost here!

As many of you have probably seen around the system, on the news, on our social channels and previously on the Buzzer blog, buses and HandyDART vehicles will be moving to a one-zone fare structure.

This will take place on Monday, October 5, 2015.

What does this mean for you?

No matter where you travel, no matter what time of day, if you’re riding the bus, it will be on a 1-zone fare!

The zones come into play for all other modes across the system.

Therefore, your fare will reflect the number of zones you travel on SkyTrain (Expo, Millennium and Canada Line), SeaBus and West Coast Express.

If you’re transferring onto another mode in the system, the 3-zone fares still apply before 6:30 p.m (except weekends and holidays which are 1-zone).

This means that an AddFare is required for your ticket. You can purchase this upgrade at any ticket vending machine (TVM) located in all SkyTrain stations.

Also starting October 5, tapping with a Compass card will become easier! transfertime_buzzer

Customers with Compass cards or tickets will tap in but will no longer have to tap out when exiting the bus.

Tap in and tap out is still required on all other modes.

SkyTrain customers will see some select gates closed at each station as a reminder to tap in and tap out.

As always, you still have 90 minutes for travel and transferring from the beginning of your journey.

You can find more information at to help you transition to the 1-zone bus fare.

For convenient, one-stop source for customer questions and answers about the new Compass system, visit:

Author: Adrienne Coling

Single gate closures at Expo and Millennium Line Stations!


Try out your Compass products on a gate that closes!

You may have noticed this morning that at Expo and Millennium Line stations there is a single closed fare gate.

There’s only one closed fare gate, but it is there, ready for you to tap in and out of the system!

This means that if you have a Compass Ticket or a Compass Card, you can choose to tap it at the closed fare gate and see the gates open first-hand!

You will then get to pass through the open gates and get a taste of what the system will be like when all are closed in the future.

All of the open gates will continue to accept Compass Cards and Tickets, but we encourage you to try out the closed gate!

As we move forward with Compass, riders will be given PLENTY of notice before fare gates close in their entirety. We will be accepting traditional fare media up until all gates are fully closed.

For now, our aim is to give riders experience opening fare gates to ensure everyone is comfortable with the system.

The closed gate will also give us an opportunity to test the gates and gather customer feedback to make sure the system is running as smooth as possible!

Here’s a few tidbits about fare gate closures and tapping:

    • Remember to tap on the Compass card reader to the right of the gate. If you tap on the left, you are tapping for the gate next to you!


    • Wheelchair accessible gates will remain open at all times until we close all gates. All gates are programmed to open in the event of an emergency.


    • If you experience a tap error when tapping at a closed fare gate, please re-tap. If the gate denies entry or exit, please call the Compass Card & Balance Inquiries number on the back of your card or ticket.


    • Fare gates can open in both directions at stations where the same gates are used for both entry and exit.


    • We will be adding visual reminders to help you remember the ins-and-out of tapping in and out over the next few weeks.

Happy tapping!

Author: Laura Tennant

Fun Poll! Which is your favourite bridge that TransLink owns and maintains?


The Golden Ears Bridge is just one of five bridges TransLink owns and maintains!

It’s time for another fun poll! This time we want to know if you have a soft spot for one of our bridges.

Did you know we own and maintain five bridges? The Knight Street Bridge, the Pattullo Bridge, the Golden Ears Bridge, the Westham Island Bridge and the Canada Line bike and pedestrian bridge are all under our care.

Do you have a favourite? Maybe you love the view on the Golden Ears Bridge or the thrill of crossing the bike and pedestrian bridge under the Canada Line.

Me? I’ve stayed true to my Ladner roots and simply adore the Westham Island Bridge!

Take the poll and let us know your pick. You can also tell us why a bridge got your vote in the comments section!

Which is your favourite bridge that TransLink owns and maintains?

  • The Canada Line bike and pedestrian bridge (52%, 66 Votes)
  • Golden Ears Bridge (20%, 25 Votes)
  • Westham Island Bridge (12%, 15 Votes)
  • Pattullo Bridge (11%, 14 Votes)
  • Knight Street Bridge (6%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 128

Author: Laura Tennant

Links and Tidbits: September 23, 2015

Look no hands! The world’s first driverless bus trip was completed in China!

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.

A bag of haggis, a hamster and a casket are just three of the odd things Brits have left on trains. We too in Metro Vancouver leave leave some interesting items on transit as well. Those include megaphones, hearing aids and false teeth!

This photo series sniffs out the dark, but beautiful side of GreyHound bus travel.

Toronto Urban Film Festival screens on TTC subway platforms for what could be the last time.

Here’s the story of LA Metro’s new logo and its lil’ notch.

Pineapple express indeed. Philly transit gives a shout out to the fruit of the hour.

Talk about a long commute!

Parlez-vous français? Good. Now watch this video of Montreal’s new Metro cars and tell me what they’re saying. Or, click “cc” for English subtitles.

Subway Adventure whisks you away to surreal virtual destinations. Why not take the subway to the moon?

This Manhattan Subway Map charts each stop and tells it like it is.

If you can’t find an apartment in New Zealand you could always live on the train.

Want a free bus ride in Cluj-Napoca ? You better get reading. Oh, and move to Romania.

Ever wonder what it would be like to continuously ride NYC’s longest possible subway ride? One guy rode it, so you don’t have to!

If you need some space on transit…

Litefeet leaves the subway and hits the streets. How well do you know your moves?

Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority removes iconic transit murals and offers them back to the artist. She declines.

That’s one way to move transit farecards! Taiwan swipe card with image of Japanese porn star sells out within hours.

If high speed sidewalks are the future of transit, count me out!

Some transit lines are busy. Others, not so much.

When this Seattle dog wants to go to the park, he rides the bus and meets his owner there!

Videos from the archives!

Aaaand just for fun, we dug up a few videos from our Links and Tidbits archives. Enjoy!

This video has was previously described as cute and enthusiastic. A more apt description there is not.
Remember the invisible bike helmet? So. Cool.
(Re)introducing the original “cool” bus. Hit “cc” for English subtitles.
Who needs a refresher on trolley wiring?  Global News gives a bit of history lesson on the wires.

Not a video, but still awesome. Thumbs up to Donnamatrix for capturing one of the most whimsical forms of alternative transportation and for letting us use this photo (twice).

Author: Laura Tennant

Kids ride free during International Walk to School Week 2015!

International Walk to School Week 21015 runs Oct 5-9!

Children around the world will be walking to school October 5-9, as part of International Walk to School Week (IWALK)! In recognition of this fantastic event, TransLink invites elementary and high school students (with a GoCard) to ride free on all TransLink services during IWALK. Adults accompanying students will still need to pay their fare during IWALK week.

You may be thinking, why free transit rides when the event is called “Walk to School Week”?

It’s simple – both walking and taking transit promote good health and independence, while keeping greenhouse gases to a minimum.

Here’s a few tools to help make travel by transit better:

  • Use the trip planner to find the best route;
  • Text the bus stop number to get the scheduled arrival time of the next bus; and
  • Sign-up to receive Transit Alerts so you Know Before You Go about any last minute changes to the service.

Teachers are invited to take advantage of the offer to organize field trips during the week. Please plan the transit portion during the “off peak” hours – between 9:30am and 2:30pm.

Choose to be a TravelSmart School – walk and take transit during International Walk to School Week.

Author: Laura Tennant

Buzzer illustrator interview: Meghan Latta


Meghan and her illustration!

This September issue was all about fall service changes and we were lucky enough to have Meghan Latta illustrate the cover!

Capturing our seasonal shift into autumn, Meghan’s work perfectly depicted our move into fall and the service changes that this time of year brings.

Here’s a brief interview we did with Meghan to learn more about her and her work.

Tell me a bit about yourself

My name is Meghan, illustration is not my day job, but I try to work it in whenever I have spare time.

How would you describe your illustration style?

I usually do things that are pretty detailed and realistic. I have been working on more pattern-focused illustration in the last year.

What inspired your illustration?

I knew that the emphasis of this issue of the Buzzer was going to be about fall service changes, some of which included night bus service, so I wanted to do something about the night and the transition from day into night. I really wanted to include some raccoons, but they didn’t make it into the final design.

Have you ever drawn transit before this gig?

I have not.

Do you take transit? If so, what’s your favourite mode?

I take transit every day! I live in a really well connected part of town, so it is easy to get anywhere from my house, and that is great. I don’t take the Canada Line as much anymore because it is not on my everyday route, but I do really like that train.

Did you have a good summer? Any fun fall plans?

Summer ended kind of abruptly and I am thinking a lot about fall and fall clothes. I’m wondering if I can get away with wearing a blanket around outside all of the time. Also, pie? Pie is in my fall plans. Both the making of and the eating.

Thanks Meghan! If you haven’t picked up the latest Buzzer you download it or find it on the system!

Author: Laura Tennant

I Love Transit Week wraps up! Let us count the ways you Love Transit…


Buzzer coloured by Magda Skrypichayko

It’s hard to believe I Love Transit Week has already come and gone!

The week was full of everything we love about transit, we took adult campers and kid campers to our transit facilities, held contests and had special blog content dedicate to transit love! To properly send off this year’s I Love Transit Week, why not take a look at a few of the highlights that made the week so special?

You sent us beautiful colouring contest entries!

Since the I Love Transit print Buzzer hit the system the most beautiful colouring contest entries have been finding their way to us. Below are just some of wonderful work that we received!

You told us why you loved transit!

Along with sending us colouring contest entries, you also filled us in on the many reasons you love transit.

Here’s what a few adults had to say:

“It encourages people to walk more and it’s economical, affordable and convenient. It helps lessen traffic congestion and the amount of people that use gasoline. It’s also a great way to meet new friends!” -Sally Habacon

“It’s always there when I need it, like a close friend” – Paul Petersen

“It’s a safe, economical and relaxing way to get around this big beautiful city of Vancouver!” – Sue de Leeuw

Our younger riders also chimed in:

“I think that a city cannot be a city without it. – Manveen Cheema, age 12

“I love pretending to drive the SkyTrain”- Leonardo Dell Isola, age 6

“When I’m on the SkyTrain I can see the whole world” -Cadence Holmes, age 5

Thanks to everyone who made I Love Transit such a great week!

Author: Laura Tennant

Update on the Downtown Bus Service Review

TransLink and the City of Vancouver have partnered to develop a shared vision for the downtown bus network

TransLink and the City of Vancouver have partnered to develop a shared vision for the downtown bus network

Final recommendations resulting from the Downtown Bus Service Review are now live! How did we get here?

First, we identified a long-term vision:

The downtown bus network effectively and reliably connects downtown neighbourhoods and enables convenient transit connections to the broader city and region. The downtown transit network is consistent and easy to understand, with clear communication of temporary detours associated with road closures and special events.

Second, we listened to you and developed a list of priorities to guide how we achieve the network vision for the local bus network in downtown Vancouver. In the next one-to-five years we plan to do work in two focus areas:

Immediate: implement over the next one-to-two years

  • Extend the 6 Davie/Downtown to connect the West End, Yaletown and Gastown.
  • Consolidate the C23 Davie/Main and C21 Yaletown/Beach services.
  • Determine route for the 5 Robson/Downtown to improve consistency and reliability, based on an expected City of Vancouver decision regarding frequency and duration of road closures of the 800-block of Robson Street.

Near-term: complete once funding becomes available or in some cases conduct further analysis.

  • Simplify city-wide/regional transit services (3, 4, 7, 8, 200s) on eastern corridors.
  • Review design of the 17 Oak/Downtown following implementation of changes to the 5 Robson and 6 Davie.
  • Improve service reliability and customer experience.

Stay tuned for consultation opportunities in the future where you’ll have another chance to weigh-in on these recommendations!

Anyone who missed our earlier posts on this process can read more about it (1), (2) and (3). Thanks!

Author: Angela Salehi

Mass Transit magazine’s Top 40 under 40 picks William Hui!

We have some wonderful news to share!

William Hui has been chosen as one of Mass Transit Magazine’s Top 40 under 40!

Those recognized with this honour have been chosen for their demonstrated leadership, capacity for innovation and commitment to making an impact in transit.

It’s safe to say, William is holding it down in all three areas.

A transit enthusiast, through and through, William is as a system engineer at TransLink and leads the technical development of the Access Transit Program for the Compass project. He’s involved in launching the Compass Card program and making sure it is fully integrated with our system! William also is the current chair and one of the founding members of the Vancouver chapter of the Young Professional in Transportation.

William has been a transit lover from the very beginning. Collecting memorabilia from a young age he has an impressive collection of transfers, bus schedules and now, smart cards. And if his 2013 trip on public transit from Vancouver, BC to Salem, Oregon doesn’t demonstrate commitment to transit, I don’t know what does!

Congratulations William!

Check out the video to learn just why William loves transit and what he see for the future of transit in region!

Author: Laura Tennant

TransLink supports Raise-a-Reader 2015!

Fred Cummings and a few other TransLink executives will be selling papers at this year's Raise-a-Reader!

September 23rd is the Vancouver Sun’s Raise-a-Reader Day! 

A few of TransLink`s executives will be selling newspapers to support the event from 7am to 9am on the corners of Seymor & Cordova and Georgia & Burrard in Vancouver.

Come say hi and buy a paper from Colleen Brennan (TransLink’s Vice-President, Communications & Customer Experience), Fred Cummings (TransLink’s Vice-President, Infrastructure Management & Engineering), Barry Kross (Transit Police’s Interim Chief) or Mike Richard (BCRTC’s Acting President and General Manager) and help raise funds in support of  literacy efforts in British Columbia.

BC Lions “Felions” and members of the Vancouver Canadians will also be selling papers for the cause!

One-hundred percent of all funds donated for Raise-a-Reader will go to children and family literacy programs, such as the Canucks Family Education CentreVancouver Public Library Foundation and Decoda Literacy Solutions.

Colleen Brennan will be out selling papers

Last year, the Raise-a-Reader campaign raised almost $450,000 for the literacy community in Metro Vancouver and various cities throughout British Columbia.

For more information you can check out the Raise-a-Reader section in The Vancouver Sun.

You can also join the conversation on Twitter @RARVancouver  and use #RARVan or look for Raise-a-Reader on Facebook!

Author: Laura Tennant

New Westminster Station Upgrades Update

East escalator installation at New Westminster Station

Construction is well underway at New Westminster Station while we upgrade the station to improve accessibility, capacity, safety and security!

Here’s a few project benefits:

    • Replacement elevator and escalators to improve access for customers.
    • Improved lighting and signage throughout the station.
    • Glass panels that replace the existing mesh screens to improve station visibility from street level.
    • Better integration with the surrounding community to make it easier to connect to and from the SkyTrain system.

Project status

Since construction work began in May, crews have been working on the new east and west station entrances, painting throughout the station, and removal of the mesh screens at the platform level.

New escalators have been installed at the west and east station entrances and both are expected to open later this fall.

What to expect

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.

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

South elevator closure

    • Beginning Sept. 21 and continuing until spring 2016, the south elevator to the eastbound platform will be closed while crews install a new elevator.
    • Customers can use the Shops at New West elevator to access the eastbound platform, parkade, and concourse.
    • Signs will be installed at the station to help direct customers.

North entrance closure

    • Beginning Sept. 21 and continuing until spring 2016, the north entrance to the westbound platform will be closed while crews install a new escalator and stairs.
    • Customers can use the Shops at New West escalator and stairs to access the westbound platform and concourse.
    • Signs will be installed at the station to help direct customers.
    • The south entrance to the eastbound platform will be closed later this fall so crews can install a new escalator and stairs. Customers will be able to access the platform using Shops at New West escalators and stairs.
    • Mesh screens along the platform will continue to be removed and replaced with temporary fencing. Glazed screens will be added as construction progresses.
    • Hoarding will remain at the platform to give crews the space they need to work.
    • Noise associated with large construction projects, including nighttime work with varying levels of noise while trains are not operating, will continue.

Thanks for your patience as we complete these much-needed upgrades to New Westminster Station and stay tuned for additional updates throughout the project!