Translink Buzzer Blog

Visit the TransLink booths on Canada Day for bus cutouts and more

The TransLink booth at MEC BikeFest on June 12.

A quick heads up: a few TransLink staff will be out with booths at two Canada Day events this year. Feel free to connect with them and talk transportation — they’ll also have bus and train cutouts, colouring books, and other goodies to share!

Catch them here:

(Also, Miss 604 has a big list of Canada Day celebrations around the region, in case you’re looking for celebrations to attend!)

I Love Transit Week 2010: reminder to get your haikus in!

Just a note to remind you to get your transit haikus in!

As I wrote last week, I’m doing a transit haiku contest for I Love Transit Week.

I’ve managed to get space for two haiku on our TV advertising screens during I Love Transit Week, July 12-16: so write and send your haiku about transit to thebuzzer@translink.ca by the end of Sunday, July 4, and I’ll pick two winners to be displayed! The rest will be published on the blog and in the August Buzzer for all to enjoy.

If you don’t know, haiku is a form of Japanese poetry that’s three lines long. Here’s 10 tips for writing haiku—you might be surprised to learn that 5-7-5 syllable structure isn’t a given, although I certainly don’t mind you entering such haiku in the contest.

Again, the brief rules:

  • * One entry per person!!!!
  • * Include how you want your name to show up on the screen
  • * This draw is only open to those in Metro Vancouver

Remember: submit your transit essays, photos, and more

Last year's I Love Transit Night featured enormous transit cutouts -- this year will be no different! (This is David Lam of Trans-Continental photos fame, btw.)

I’m still looking for your transit essays, photos and more to be published during I Love Transit Week, for both the blog and the print Buzzer. See this post for more info:

* A call for submissions: I Love Transit Week, July 12-16

You are also hereby ordered to make plans to come to I Love Transit Night on the evening of Thursday July 15: there’ll be free food, transit games, buttons, and more! We’re still ironing out the details, but it will be easily accessible by transit, will involve a hybrid bus, and will also involve plenty of fun. Here’s more about last year’s I Love Transit Night, for reference!

Links and tidbits for Tue June 29

Tidbits and links! If you have any to suggest, or a photo to showcase on these posts, e-mail me at thebuzzer@translink.ca! Maybe I should start one of those Flickr groups so people can submit photos that could be used here.

VPSN hosts a public workshop on transforming the Broadway corridor, Mon June 28 and Tue July 6

Broadway - photo by Boris Mann.

As we’ve been talking about the UBC Line in the recent past, Peter brought this event to my attention. The Vancouver Public Space Network is hosting two workshops to discuss the Broadway corridor. Here’s the details:

Broadway Avenue is Vancouver’s great east-west axis. But what would it take to transform it into a Great Street — one that was more about being a place than a conduit?

The Vancouver Public Space Network is using the occasion of the City’s planning review of Broadway Corridor to explore the components of great streets and to identify ways that Broadway – it’s public realm, it’s function as a transportation artery, its role as a social space – could be enhanced. But to do this well, we need your help.

We’re looking for interested Vancouverites who would be willing to participate in one of two facilitate workshops that we’ll be holding on Broadway Avenue. They take place, early evening, at the following dates:

Monday, June 28, 2010 @ 7pm – Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House (800 East Broadway)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010 @ 7pm – Kitsilano Neighbourhood House (2325 West 7th Avenue)

To register: please contact us: broadway [at] vancoverpublicspace.ca

Canada Day transit service, Thu July 1

Canada Day revellers at Canada Place! (Thanks to Canada Place for the photo!)

It’s Canada Day on Thursday! Which means our transit system will be operating on a slightly modified Sunday/Holiday schedule to accommodate the celebrations. (By the way, did you know the Olympic cauldron will be relit for Canada Day at Canada Place? It’s true!)

Buses will run on Sunday/holiday schedules, although additional buses will run shuttle service to and from the Cloverdale Fairgrounds in Surrey. West Vancouver Blue Bus will have coaches standing by to handle the anticipated crowds from the fireworks and Lilith Fair at Ambleside Park.

SeaBus will run 15 minute service until 6:30pm.

Expo and Millennium Lines will operate Saturday service (first train from King George Station at 6:08am; last train from Waterfront at 1:15am) and will augment service during midday and evening to accommodate the crowds from the downtown festivities and fireworks shows. The Canada Line will run its peak service from 9am-8pm.

No West Coast Express service—either train or TrainBus—will be running on July 1.

And service will return to the regular weekday schedules on Friday, July 2.

Friday fun post: 1950 Buzzer showcases the heart of the traffic light system

The Buzzer from July 7, 1950 showed the lamppost that controlled traffic lights in Vancouver's business district.

Here’s another classic Buzzer for our first sunny Friday. The July 7, 1950 issue spent most of its time discussing the lamppost that controlled a key part of Vancouver’s traffic light system in 1950!

Here’s the tantalizing introduction :

The city’s most complicated lamp-post stands near the Courthouse on Howe Street. It looks like a thousand others around town as you walk by. Only this lamp-post ticks, quietly and without pause, day in and day out, 365 days a year.

If the ticking ever stops, look out!

Like a heart quitting, it would create almost instant paralysis . . . all over downtown Vancouver traffic would bog down and clot.

For this lamp-post, ladies and gentlemen, houses the devices that control and coordinate traffic lights throughout the city’s chief business area.

The Buzzer goes on to describe the light system’s operation in great detail, and there’s lots of then-new facts about how the city’s traffic flows worked: Seymour and Howe were two-way streets and carried just 800 vehicles a day, and the opening of the Granville Street Bridge was highly anticipated — it would boost Seymour and Howe’s capacity to 1800 vehicles a day!

(Question: does anyone know where this lamppost might have been? Would be neat if a remnant is still there!)

And also, let’s test out the WordPress poll plugin, that is purported to work on the blog now! You should also be able to see it in the right hand sidebar, if you’re on the actual Buzzer site.

What would you like to see in the Friday fun post?

  • Jewels from the Buzzer archives (48%, 31 Votes)
  • Polls (42%, 27 Votes)
  • Other (suggest in the comments?) (10%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 64

Consider this a rehash of last week’s small discussion, but now with a quantitative element! Feel free to make suggestions for Friday fun post content in the comments.

Weekend bus reroutes for Greek Day, the Ladner Village Market, and more – Sat June 26 to Sun June 27

Greek Day, the International Jazz Festival, the Ladner Village Market, the North Delta Family Day Parade, the Scotiabank half marathon… that’s just a short list of the many events on this weekend, and a number of buses will be rerouted to accommodate them!

Bus routes affected include the 4, 22, 25, 28, 33, 41, 50, 312, C21, and C86. See below for full details!

Read more »

A bit about the new comment rating system

Thumbs up or down?

With the Buzzer blog’s redesign on Monday, you may have noticed a new comment rating system on the blog. It’s a blog plugin called Comment Rating, and it now gives you the ability to go “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” on other comments.

We put this in just so more people can quietly participate in discussions—however, I’ve discovered that Comment Rating actually changes the way comments are presented based on the ratings received! Well-liked, poorly rated, and hotly debated comments show up differently.

I wasn’t quite aware that this functionality was part of the plugin, so I think we should all just test it out to see if we like it. But for now, here’s an explanation of how the comments are shown with the new rating system.

Note, Mon June 28: After discussion below, I’ve decided to remove the “Dislike” function on the comment ratings. Ergo you can’t have “hotly debated” or “poorly liked” comments anymore, but you can be “highly rated” still. I’ve left the rest up below for posterity’s sake.

Highly rated comments

A highly rated comment.

Highly-rated comments get a pink background, and are determined by the following formula: (Likes – Dislikes) are greater than or equal to 4.

Hotly debated comments

A hotly debated comment.

Hotly-debated comments get an orange background, and are determined by the following formula: (Likes + Dislikes) are greater than or equal to 8.

Poorly-rated comments

A poorly-liked comment.

Poorly-rated comments get hidden! They are determined by the following formula: (Dislikes – Likes) are greater than or equal to 3.

I’m not totally sure whether these comments should be hidden… however, this has amazing possibilities for community spam moderation!

Update: After hearing from several people in the comments, I’m in agreement that these comments should NOT be hidden. So the threshold is now set to (Dislikes – Likes) is greater than or equal to 20, which hopefully should not be reached in common use.

For the future…

Feel free to keep me in the loop on how you think the comment rating system is going. Also, I am able to adjust the thresholds that govern which is a highly-rated, hotly debated, and poorly-liked comment, so we could do some fine tuning there as we see how things progress.

I Love Transit Week 2010: get a transit haiku on our TV ad screens

I’d like to do a transit haiku contest for I Love Transit Week!

I’ve managed to get space for two haiku on our TV advertising screens during I Love Transit Week, July 12-16: so write and send your haiku about transit to thebuzzer@translink.ca by the end of Sunday, July 4, and I’ll pick two winners to be displayed! The rest will be published on the blog and in the August Buzzer for all to enjoy.

If you don’t know, haiku is a form of Japanese poetry that’s three lines long. Here’s 10 tips for writing haiku—you might be surprised to learn that 5-7-5 syllable structure isn’t a given, although I certainly don’t mind you entering such haiku in the contest.

Brief rules:

  • One entry per person!!!!
  • Include how you want your name to show up on the screen
  • This draw is only open to those in Metro Vancouver

Remember: submit your transit essays, photos, button suggestions and more

The complete set of transit buttons we have on hand. Photo by <a href=http://www.flickr.com/photos/grahamb/4252670723/in/set-72157623157537026/>Graham Ballantyne!</a>

The complete set of transit buttons we have on hand. Photo by Graham Ballantyne!

I’m still looking for your transit essays, photos and more to be published during I Love Transit Week, for both the blog and the print Buzzer. Also, submit suggestions for new button designs by Thursday June 24!

See these posts for more info:

And make plans to come to I Love Transit Night on the evening of July 15: there’ll be free food, transit games, buttons, and more! We’re still ironing out the details, but here’s more about last year’s I Love Transit Night, for reference.

Redesigned Buzzer blog launches Monday: watch out for some downtime!

A mockup of the new Buzzer blog design!

A mockup of the new Buzzer blog design!

Get ready to see a bright new Buzzer blog look on Monday!

We’re launching the redesigned Buzzer blog, which I must say is very pretty and much more functional.

The changeover will mean blog downtime on Monday starting at 9 a.m., and that might take a few hours depending on how things go.

As you all suggested, the new blog design is wider, incorporates the illustration and colours of the Buzzer print issue, and has more useful navigation tools, like related posts, next/previous post links, and a promo box in the right side.

And omg, we finally have a captcha to help fight spam!!!! Feel free to post links to your heart’s content now: I won’t have to approve them!!

Sadly, the ability to edit comments was too big for the scope of this redesign—it would require registration, which I’m loath to make you do—but the demand is duly noted, and should there be any more improvements scheduled in the future, I’ll certainly see what we can make happen!

Update, Mon June 21, 2:33 p.m..

For those interested, here’s a list of all the changes made to the Buzzer blog, besides the obvious overall redesign.

- Share/print/font size widget added (as suggested by Sean T)
- Captcha (to help stop spam)
- Next and previous items added to each post
- Related posts added to each post
- Free-form content box in the right rail (lets me suggest articles!)
- Weekly poll in the right rail (a suggestion from Rubai)
- Like/dislike function added to comments (more ways to interact!)
- When you click my name below a post, it goes to the About section

Friday fun post: a 1945 Buzzer with planning predictions and poetry

If you like, skip to the end of this post to to read the 1945 Buzzer!

Last week: what’s your favourite type of seat material?

Last week, I asked you what type of seat material you liked best.

Well, after 146 votes, the 3D vinyl stuff on the new SkyTrains won handily, capturing 57% of the total vote! Smooth blue vinyl was a distant second (21%) followed by flocked fabric (12%) and cloth (10%).

Most of the comments stretched past the seat material to discuss the actual seats. Here’s Marc, for example:

I really like the seats on the new SkyTrain cars, and I think a couple of the articulated busses on the 145 route have them too. The only seats I really don’t like are the large bulky plastic-backed ones. They don’t leave me much room to use my netbook on the bus, and transit time is writing time! (:

Sally actually didn’t like any of them:

Now that you ask, I don’t really like any of them. The flocked stuff sometimes pokes me in the legs. As for the vinyl, depending on the texture of my clothes, it tends to shoot me off the seat like a rocket!

But Dave 2 wasn’t too picky.

Clean, and dry. Other factors are irrelevant :)

As always, have a look at the original comment thread for more!


This week: a 1945 Buzzer with planning predictions and poetry

Let’s take a break from the polls and just enjoy a Buzzer from 1945!

Grab the Sept 7, 1945 Buzzer: it features “expert predictions” about future transit from Alfred J. Lundberg, president of the Key System of Oakland, the rail and bus provider from Oakland to San Francisco. Some great quotes include:

“Hence, I think I will trust my crystal ball enough to tell you with entire confidence that you will never see American cities without public transit, if they are to remain of the type to which we are accustomed, that is, concentrated business districts and tall buildings.”

There’s also a marvelous, still-relevant poem about moving to the back of the streetcar, contributed by Mr. Johnstone of 3833 Imperial St, New Westminster!

“Move to the front” the conductor calls.
I’m afraid he calls in vain,
For planted hallway in the car
There is an ardent swain.

The aisle is sure well blocked;
No chance to get past there,
For he’s bent over whispering
Sweet nothings in her ear.

Next trip a buxom lady
Stands with one hand on high,
Some parcels scattered at her feet,
Says that look in her eye:

“There’s no chip upon my shoulder,
Nor do I bear a grudge,
But until I get a seat
From here I will not budge.”

Now don’t be selfish or inconsiderate,
Treat your fellow riders right,
‘Cause next time you may the one
Who is jammed in far too tight.

There used to be lots of poetry in the Buzzer actually: I’ll have to dig up some examples in a future post.

And tell me too: are you sick of polls? Is it OK to do a historical Buzzer or such from time to time? Friday fun posts are yours to imagine… :)

The June 2010 Buzzer is now out!

The June 2010 Buzzer is now on all buses, SeaBus, SkyTrain, and West Coast Express!

(Please note that owing to budget concerns, this June issue will serve as our Buzzer for June and July. Look for the next issue on August 6!)

This issue focuses on the seasonal bus service changes coming on Monday, June 21.

There’s also a note about I Love Transit Week in July, encouraging you to submit your stories and come to I Love Transit Night! See this post for more info on that.

We’ve also written about the first anniversaries of the Golden Ears Bridge (June 14) and Central Valley Greenway (June 27)!

Plus, there’s the results of the APTA rail rodeo, bus service to Empire Field, and a notification about additional service to the Caribbean Days festival and the Celebration of Light.

As always, we are happy to have a cover from a local illustrator: this time it’s Tara Williamson. Many thanks Tara!

If you can’t get the Buzzer on the system, you can always read it in PDF form on our website. Visit our Buzzer PDF archives. (Here’s the direct link to the June issue PDF.)

Remember to enter the FareCard contest too! You can win a free FareCard in every issue of the Buzzer: read the issue, then email in your info and the answer to the trivia question by Thursday, July 27 at 9 a.m. — we’ll pick a winner from all the correct answers.

Enjoy the latest Buzzer as always! Comments are welcome below.

Links and tidbits for Friday June 18

A 1950s ad discovered in a disused area of the Notting Hill Tube station in London, UK. Photo by Mikey Ashworth for the London Underground.

A 1950s ad discovered in a disused area of the Notting Hill Tube station in London, UK. Photo by Mikey Ashworth for the London Underground.

Tidbits and links! If you have any to suggest, or a photo to showcase on these posts, e-mail me at thebuzzer@translink.ca!

Canada Line system performance test starts Monday June 21

A Canada Line train on the North Arm Bridge!

A Canada Line train on the North Arm Bridge!

Expect slightly faster Canada Line train times for about two weeks, starting Monday June 21: PROTRANS BC will be doing a system performance test for fifteen days.

Here’s the release they put out today:

Starting Monday, June 21, 2010, the Canada Line will initiate a 15-day System Test in preparation of higher frequency of train service, which is scheduled to come into effect after the second year of operation. The Canada Line will remain in revenue service and welcome its passengers’ patronage while conducting this test.

During this test period, the train headway during Peak Service periods will be reduced from the current 3 minutes 45 seconds to 3 minutes 10 seconds along the main branch of the Line between Waterfront Station and Bridgeport Station, and from 7 minutes 30 seconds to 6 minutes 20 seconds on the Bridgeport
to YVR-Airport and Bridgeport to Richmond-Brighouse spurs. Dwell times (the time that trains are stopped) in each station will be slightly extended as a result of the increase train frequency.

Peak Service periods are Weekdays between 7:00 A.M. and 6:00 P.M., Saturdays between 9 a.m and 6 p.m., and Sundays, as well as statutory holidays, between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

All Canada Line stations will remain available and accessible during regular revenue service hours, and train service during non-peak periods will remain unchanged. Headways and dwell times at stations will revert back to the current levels after the completion of the System Performance Test.

Paper models of the SkyTrain Mark I cars

A paper craft model of the Mark I SkyTrain car. Created by <a href=>Swift</a>!

A paper craft model of the Mark I SkyTrain car. Created by Swift!

Swift sent along some outlines for paper models of the SkyTrain Mark I cars, since none could be found online!

I’m told that comments are welcome, as these are initial designs and more details can certainly be added.

For more paper fun, check out my earlier post on paper buses and trains as well :)

Update, June 18: I’d forgotten that Jason Vanderhill has some more papercraft trains to share! Here is his comment:

Hey, wait! Remember there’s also my Papercraft model that may or may not be used to rebody the SuperExpress train set. Mk I and new Mk II cars, with a more accurate scale mockup from official PDF profile of the Mk II cars. Note there are two cars per design (car 134 and 135, and 305 and 306). In fact, I ALSO did car 110 and 111 of the Canada Line! Note these are all unofficial and made by me, except for the Mk II Technical Diagram I converted to Papercraft. See the entire photoset here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jmv/sets/72157622988887112/

Tim Choi is also building a model of the SeaBus!

I’m currently building a small model of the new SeaBus – if you’re interested, you can follow my build thread on this forum: http://www.shipmodels.info/mws_forum/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=53458

Not much to show right now – just the hull. Will begin working on the cabin tonight.