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Translink Buzzer Blog

Take transit to the Celebration of Light—we’re adding extra service!

The Celebration of Light returns on July 28 (South Africa), August 1 (Sweden) and August 4 (South Korea), lighting up the skies at English Bay, the West End and Kits Point!

More than 15,000 people take transit to and from the event each night, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead. We’ll be adding extra service and modifying station access in downtown Vancouver to get you to-and-from the festivities smoothly.

Keep reading to familiarize yourself with everything you need to know to have a fun and safe evening at the Celebration of Light!

Plan ahead and avoid line ups at Compass Vending Machines by topping up your Compass Card or pre-purchasing your return Compass Ticket. And remember—you can tap your contactless Visa or Mastercard credit card or mobile wallet on Compass fare gates and readers to pay for an adult cash fare!

Celebration of Light Tips

Extra service

Bus

Coast Mountain Bus Company and West Vancouver Transit will operate extra trips to downtown Vancouver after 6:30 p.m. and additional service after the events. Some downtown and West End buses will be detoured. For a full list of detours, visit translink.ca/alerts closer to event days.

SkyTrain

The Expo and Millennium Line will operate peak service from mid-afternoon, with the last scheduled SkyTrain departing Waterfront Station at 1:16 a.m. Service will be extended if necessary.

The Canada Line will operate peak service throughout the evening and there will extra service from Waterfront at the end of the fireworks, with trains running every three minutes. The last departure from Waterfront to Richmond–Brighouse Station will be at 1:15 a.m.

SeaBus 

Extra and extended service will be provided for each of the Celebration of Light events (and also Caribbean Days!).

The SeaBus will operate every 15 minutes from 7 a.m. until midnight with the last SeaBus from Waterfront at 1:22 a.m. on Saturdays, July 28 and August 4. On July 28 only, an extra SeaBus will operate between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.

On Wednesday, August 1, it will operate every 15 minutes between 6 a.m. and midnight, then every 30 minutes until the last sailing from Waterfront at 1:22 a.m.

West Coast Express

West Coast Express will operate a special train on August 4 only, leaving Mission City at 7 p.m. and arriving at Waterfront Station at 8:15 p.m. The return train departs Waterfront Station at midnight, arriving back at Mission City at approximately 1:15 a.m.

Station access

To ensure passenger comfort and safety after the events, bikes will not be allowed on SkyTrain after 10:30 p.m. until the crowds have cleared. As well, the following stations will be open with modified access after 10:30 p.m.: 

Waterfront Station: SkyTrain access from the Cordova Street entrance will be restricted to Canada Line, SeaBus and West Coast Express (on Aug. 4 only) passengers, as well as persons with wheelchairs or strollers. All other passengers, including those transferring from SeaBus to the Expo Line must enter from Howe Street, until crowds have cleared.

Burrard Station: Bikes cannot be locked at the station entrance’s bike rack until the expected crowds have cleared.

Granville Station: The Granville Street entrance will be closed until crowds clear (note: the Seymour entrance remains closed as part of the escalator replacement project). Passengers will lineup for the SkyTrain at this station west along Dunsmuir, south on Granville. Platform 1 towards Waterfront will be closed.

Plan your trip at translink.ca/tripplanner and know before you go by checking Transit Alerts at translink.ca/alerts.

20 epic and FREE spray parks to beat the heat

Child playing in the spray park

Beat the heat with a trip to the spray parks with the whole family!

Looking to beat the heat and use transit? Read on, because The Buzzer blog’s got you covered!

As the sun continues to shine on us, the heat tags along, making it unbearable to be out in the sun for a long time. Summer is also the time when kids are home and what better way to entertain them in this scorching heat than a trip to the nearest spray park.

While the weather is a bit cooler now, looks like the temperature will soar again on the weekend and all of next week.

Our increased service to many popular summer attractions makes it easier for you to get out and about, while Tap to Pay provides you with an option to pay for your transit fare — just tap your contactless Visa or Mastercard credit card and be on your way.

While spray parks provide an intermittent relief from the heat, it is imperative that you follow some summer tips to stay hydrated at all times, wear sunscreen, and dress according to the weather.

Spray parks are an easy and FREE way to keep kids occupied in this heat. Don’t know where the closest spray park in your neighborhood is? Worry not, because The Buzzer blog’s got your back. Oh, and we will also tell you how to get there by transit. You can use the TransLink trip planner to plan your route. Use our summer changes guide to know about increased service in your area.

All you have to do is lather on the sunscreen, and don’t forget to bring a towel and a change of clothes!  Read more »

#MyTransLink – July 17

After playing hide and seek for a bit, looks like summer is finally here to stay! At least, we hope so. Summer is also the perfect time to take transit and catch up on your summer reading list, or watch your favorite show. With increased bus service to many popular summer attractions, there’s no better time to hop onboard.

Tap to Pay is here to make it easier than ever for you to pay your transit fare and be on your way.

This is also a great time to watch outdoor movies for free in places that are easily accessible by transit.

Another amazing attraction on your must-see list should be this jaw-dropping LEGO rendition of downtown New Westminster, which includes the SkyTrain!

So, for this week’s #MyTransLink post, we asked you to share photos of the places Metro Vancouver’s transit system takes you!

In case some of you missed the memo, #MyTransLink is our series on The Buzzer blog where we publish photos taken and published on social media by you – our customers!

Check out the awesome pictures you shot and shared with us in this edition of #MyTransLink:


Read more »

SkyTrain and downtown New Westminster re-imagined as Lego

SkyTrain car 002 re-imagined as Lego!

The New Westminster Museum’s People Gotta Move project might just be the World Cup of Lego building, bringing together the very best builders in Metro Vancouver to recreate the city’s iconic downtown and waterfront.

This ambitious exhibit transcends time—showcasing the past, present and near future of transport in the city. Included is everything from the historic B.C. Electric Railway streetcar to the now-iconic “W” made from shipping containers on the waterfront, and of course—SkyTrain!

Completely rebuilt in Lego form by the Vancouver Lego Club for the exhibit is New Westminster Station along with a pair of Mark I trains, a Mark II train and a New Flyer Xcelsior bus!

William Fong tells us he built the Mark I trains after car 001 Spirit of Kelowna and car 002 Spirit of Peachland in their livery from around 1990–1992. They even got a fully lit interior, as well as headlights and taillights!

“I’ve tried to keep the graphic design as accurate as possible to the time period, but there’s not many photos to draw reference from,” he says.

The People Gotta Move exhibits runs until November 16 at the New Westminster Museum (Anvil Centre, 777 Columbia Street, New Westminster, BC). The museum is open daily, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

“Anyone who has kids, or loves Lego or transit should come check out the display,” William says. “I think everyone would derive some enjoyment from seeing how much detail the club has packed into it.”

The exhibit was a culmination of a year’s work for William and his colleagues at the Vancouver Lego Club, who were first approached by the New Westminster Museum to build this display back in spring 2017.

“This is one of the largest displays in terms of volume and detail that the Vancouver Lego Club has put on to date and has been an unprecedented undertaking for us,” William says.

It was a no brainer for William that he wanted to be part of this as he’s always been interested in Lego and transit growing up. He already had experience reimagining transit as Lego.

The first build he did was a Mark II SkyTrain car in April 2016 for Vancouver’s Lego convention, BrickCan. In December 2016, as part of the Vancouver Lego Club, he built the Lafarge Lake–Douglas Station display for the Millennium Line Evergreen Extension opening. He had also built a 1983 New Flyer E902 trolleybus.

Photos courtesy of William Fong

 

 

Ridership growth trend continues through June

System-wide boardings grew by 6.1% in June!

System-wide boardings grew by 6.1% in June!

We have some exciting news to share. The numbers are in for June and we’re once again reporting ridership growth! Boardings have increased by 6.1% year-over-year, showing transit is continuing to attract new riders. 

We’re racing towards another record year of growth—if this trend continues, 2018 will break last year’s total boardings record of 407 million.

  • Bus: Average weekday boardings are up 8% year over year, while year to date growth is 6.5%.
  • SkyTrain: Expo and Millennium Line average weekday boardings are up 6.1%, which is in line with growth year to date. While average weekday boardings for Canada Line increased by 5.8% year-over-year and growth year-to-date is at 5.1%.
  • SeaBus: Average weekday boardings increased by 5.4% year-over-year and 6.3% year-to-date. This is due in part to frequency increases in the evening launched a year ago.
  • West Coast Express: Average weekday boardings are up 7.6% year-over-year and 6% for the year-to-date. This suggests ridership is rebounding after a drop following the opening of the Evergreen Millennium Line Extension.

Growth is being driven by the substantial addition of new service as part of Phase One, steadily high gas prices and strong employment growth. This underscores the need for projects and service increases coming as part of Phase Two of the Mayors’ Council’s 10-Year Vision, which include:

  • Construction of light rail in Surrey, the Millennium Line Broadway Extension in Vancouver and planning and design for Surrey-Langley rapid transit.
  • New bus service in Vancouver, Surrey and North Vancouver as well as B-Lines in Richmond and Surrey.
  • Addition of new buses and SkyTrain cars to increase frequency and capacity.

According to TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond, the focus is now shifting to Phase Two of the Vision.

“The Phase Two Investment Plan was approved by TransLink’s Board and the Mayors’ Council which gives us the mandate to roll out the biggest package of transportation improvements in Metro Vancouver history. These latest numbers show the region needs this investment if we’re going to avoid major congestion.”

Have you taken any of the Phase One service improvements yet? If so, we’d love to hear your thought on them in the comments section.

 

9 epic transit-friendly places for outdoor movies in Metro Vancouver

Summer Movie Nights on the Square

Ghostbusters at Summer Movie Nights on the Square! (Photo: Michael Kossey)

You’ve heard us say it—summer’s a time for exploring! We have increased service to many popular summer attractionsTap to Pay makes it easier than ever to pay for your transit fare—just tap your contactless Visa or Mastercard credit card and be on your way.

Outdoor movies have quickly become a Vancouver summertime favourite. The Buzzer blog‘s got you with FREE places that are conveniently located near transit where you can catch a flick this summer.

All you have to do is bring something to sit on and stay warm! Movies begin at sunset. Spots are first come, first serve.

Note: movies and schedule are subject to change, so make sure you check their websites. Movies may also be cancelled due to inclement weather. 

1. Summer Movie Nights on the Square

Location: Vancouver Art Gallery plaza, 750 Hornby St, Vancouver
Transit: 
Expo Line to Granville Station, Canada Line to Vancouver City Centre Station

We’re a sponsor for Summer Movie Nights on the Square, presented by the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association! The theme is “cities” so they’ll be showing blockbuster films that take place in cities both in and out of this world. Our TravelSmart team will be there to share tips and answer your questions about transit.

  • July 11: Ready Player One
  • July 18: Zootopia
  • July 25: Ocean’s Eleven
  • Aug. 1: Moulin Rouge
  • Aug. 8: Notting Hill
  • Aug. 15: Mrs. Doubtfire
  • Aug. 22: La La Land
  • Aug. 29: Avengers: Infinity War

Read more »

#MyTransLink – July 10

#MyTransLink is our series on The Buzzer blog that curates the best photos taken and shared on social media by you—our customers, fans and neighbours! We regularly share a theme with you to guide your photo snapping.

There’s no better time to try transit than during the summer with increased service to many popular summer attractions. Tap to Pay makes it easier than ever to pay for your transit fare and be on your way. That’s why for #MyTransLink throughout the summer, we want to see pictures of the places Metro Vancouver’s transit system takes you. 

This past weekend, TransLink was out in the community at the Khatsahlano Street Party on Saturday, July 7 and Commercial Drive’s Car Free Day on Sunday, July 8. We brought with us our community engagement bus and an old Brill bus painted in BC Hydro colours!

You engaged with us, snapped pics and shared it with us! Check them out in this edition of #MyTransLink along with other places transit takes you:

Read more »

9 epic transit-friendly places to visit this summer

Stanley Park seawall

The seawall at Stanley Park is one of many places to explore this summer!

It’s no secret that Metro Vancouver—with our West Coast charm—is a global summertime destination.

From our beautiful beaches to awe-inspiring mountain ranges and pristine lakes, enjoying the great outdoors is a staple summer activity for locals and tourists alike. If outdoors-ing isn’t for you, take advantage of our world-class art, theatre, music and food scenes!

Before we get into our 9 epic transit friendly places to visit this summer…did you know it’s easier than ever to choose transit when exploring our region this summer?!

Pay for your transit fare using our Tap to Pay feature! Simply tap your contactless Visa or Mastercard credit card, or mobile wallet at a fare gate or mobile validator—just like a Compass Card.

Not only that—we’ve expanded our partnership with Modo, bringing more car-sharing parking spots to our SkyTrain stations. There are now two stalls for Modo vehicles at Braid Station and three at King George Station. In New Westminster, access Evo car share at Braid and Columbia stations. Have your own vehicle? You can park it at one of our Park and Ride lots and connect with transit.

Don’t forget! Our Summer Service Changes went live on June 25, bringing extra trips to and from many popular summer attractions.  Read more »

Plan sets the course for transportation in Richmond, Delta and Tsawwassen

Southwest Area Transport Plan (SWATP) finalized

Ladner Village

Restaurant manager Nirav Surani employs many teenagers and young adults at the Tsawwassen Mills mall’s KFC, who travel from communities throughout Metro Vancouver to work there part-time.

The younger ones are enjoying their first work experience, while earning spending money. Others are post-secondary students working to help offset student loans.

While some drive to work, most rely on transit to get to-and-from the mall, or to connect to the mall’s employee shuttle service near SkyTrain’s Scott Road Station.

That’s why it’s welcome news for Nirav that transit, cycling, walking and road infrastructure are set to improve in Richmond, Delta and the Tsawwassen First Nation with TransLink’s Southwest Area Transport Plan (SWATP) finalized.

Nirav Surani

Nirav Surani

The plan serves as a blueprint for how we can best allocate our resources over the next decade to improve transit and transportation in the area, including important connections to North Delta.

Most notably for Nirav and his employees, a Tier 1 recommendation in the plan is adding the 601 Bridgeport Station/South Delta/Boundary Bay to the Frequent Transit Network (FTN). This route is one of three that directly serves the mall.

The FTN are corridors where transit service is frequent enough that customers don’t need to refer to a schedule. They operate at least every 15 minutes in both directions throughout the day and into the evening, every day of the week.

“Definitely, I’m excited that more improvements will be coming,” says Nirav. “It will not only help employees get to the mall, but also the general public. The weekends are always so busy, and I’m sure more people want to come to the mall.”

Tier 1 recommendations in the plan will be advanced first, as funding allows and alongside other regional priorities. The first improvements begin rolling out in September as part of our Fall Service Changes—stay tuned for details!

Other Tier 1 recommendations include:

  • Additional frequency on the 301, 311 and 430
  • Redesigning both the 401 and 410/C98 routes, each becoming two routes
  • Upgrading the 403 and 601 to the Frequent Transit Network
  • Expanded employment area coverage for the 104

Visit translink.ca/swatp to learn more about the Southwest Area Transport Plan!

Also, just last week, the Mayors’ Council and the TransLink Board of Directors approved the $7.3-billion investment plan for Phase Two of the 10-Year Vision. The first of the new service begins rolling out in 2019. Included in Phase Two for the southwest area:

  • A new B-Line connecting Richmond to the SkyTrain’s Expo Line
  • Extending the 640 from Ladner Exchange to connect with the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal
  • Extending the hours of service on the 606, 608, N10 and N15
  • Reducing wait times on the 301, 401, 402 and 407
  • Reducing overcrowding on the 351

A big thanks to the more than 3,200 people who participated in the public engagement on the Southwest Area Transport Plan in spring 2017, and for those of you who offered feedback on the draft report that was made public in winter 2017! We also worked closely with our local government partners in Richmond, Delta and the Tsawwassen First Nation to finalize this plan.

The SWATP is a living document, which means we will continue to work collaboratively with local government partners to stay on track to deliver the recommendations in the plan.

We are committed to reaching out to the public again when addressing changes that are more challenging and would require some trade-offs in benefits.

#MyTransLink – July 3

Communities across Metro Vancouver hosted events on July 1 to celebrate Canada’s 151st birthday! Transit helped get you there with additional service on bus, SkyTrain and SeaBus.

Accordingly, for this week’s #MyTransLink post, we challenged you to share photos that are inspired by community and you delivered! Check them out below.

P.S. If you’re new to #MyTransLink, it’s our series on The Buzzer blog curates the best photos taken and shared on social media by you—our customers, fans and neighbours!

As we’ve said before, summer’s a time for exploring, so for the rest of the summer, we want to see pictures of the places Metro Vancouver’s transit system takes you! 

We’ve added extra trips to popular summer destinations like White Pine Beach, Buntzen Lake and Stanley Park as part of our Summer Service Changes. Tap to Pay makes it easier than ever to take transit. Just tap your Visa or Mastercard contactless credit card or mobile wallet on a Compass reader, and be on your way!

Tag your photos with #MyTransLink and we’ll feature some of the best on The Buzzer blog and our social media channels throughout the summer.

Read more »

9 epic things to do on Canada Day

Happy Canada Day

Canada celebrates its 151st birthday on July 1!

No Canada Day plans? No problem! The Buzzer blog‘s got you covered with 9 epic things to do on Canada Day. There’s something happening in communities throughout Metro Vancouver. Perhaps the best part is they’re all transit accessible!

So, dust off your Canada gear, and wear it loud and wear it proud on Canada Day! Hashtag your adventures with the hashtag #MyTransLink—we’d love to see them.

Holiday service

Canada Day – SkyTrain and bus will operate Sunday/holiday schedules with modified, extended and increased service, so everyone can celebrate Canada Day! SeaBus will provide extra and extended service.

July 2 – SkyTrain, SeaBus and bus will operate on a Sunday/holiday schedule, and the West Coast Express will not operate.

Know before you go – visit translink.ca/holidayservice for all the details and plan your trip at translink.ca/tripplanner.

1. Surrey Canada Day

Location: Bill Reid Millennium Amphitheatre, 17728 64 Ave, Surrey, BC V3S 1W8
Hours:
 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Fireworks: 10:30 p.m.
Transit: 320

Canadian singer-songwriters Serena Ryder and Brett Kissel co-headline the City of Surrey’s annual Canada Day celebration. There will also be an amusement park, midway games and interactive activities for all ages! TransLink will be there with the community engagement bus until 10 p.m.

Take the 320 from Surrey Central Station to get there and we’ll be operating 12 shuttle buses post-event to get everyone home. Read more »

Modified late-evening service for Expo Line customers in downtown Vancouver begins July 2

Running rail replacement

Running rail replacement

Heads up to Expo Line commuters in the downtown Vancouver area! Starting Monday, July 2, we resume running rail replacement, which will result in modified late-evening service.

On most Sundays through Thursdays, from 9:30 pm until end of service, Expo Line trains travelling towards Waterfront will terminate at Stadium – Chinatown Station. 

A shuttle train will provide 10-minute service in both directions for customers travelling between Waterfront and Stadium–Chinatown stations. Customers connecting at Stadium–Chinatown Station should allow for 5-10 minutes extra travel time.

You’ll want to watch destination displays and listen for train destination announcements. Extra SkyTrain staff will be out on the system to help direct customers.

The schedule will be adjusted to accommodate special events such as the Celebration of Light fireworks this summer.

Know before you go – this work will require single tracking and changes to regular operating patterns. For up-to-date information on what this means for your commute, please visit translink.ca/alerts.

We thank our customers for the patience while we complete this important work. It’s all part of the TransLink Maintenance and Repair Program to keep customers safe, comfortable and moving across a reliable transit network everyday.

Over the next 8 to 10 years we’ll be replacing approximately 5,000 metres of running rail annually to help ensure a smoother and quieter ride for our SkyTrain customers. The running rail is the track the SkyTrain cars operate on.

Since 2015, 9,400 linear metres of running rail have been replaced. Last year, we replaced approximately 5,000 metres of rail at four main locations close to Metrotown, Main Street–Science World, Stadium–Chinatown, and Waterfront stations. We also replaced 21,000 rail pads on the Expo Line between Scott Road and King George between October 2017 and May 2018.

Running rail replacement work in this portion of the Expo Line is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

Investment plan for Phase 2 of the 10-Year Vision approved!

TransLink bus

The Mayors’ Council and TransLink Board of Directors have approved the plan for Phase 2 of the 10-Year Vision

Exciting news for everyone in Metro Vancouver! The Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation and the TransLink Board of Directors have approved the investment plan for Phase Two of the 10-Year Vision.

This sets the stage for unprecedented increases to transit services beginning in 2019. The investment, which totals $7.3 billion, is the largest in transit and transportation in Metro Vancouver’s history!

Highlights of Phase One and Two

  • Bus
    • 900,000 more hours of new bus service on 75 different routes.
    • Two new B-Lines in Richmond and Surrey (In addition to five new B-Lines being rolled out by 2019 as part of Phase One).
  • SkyTrain
    • Extension of the Millennium Line with six new stations along Broadway from VCC-Clark to Arbutus Street in Vancouver.
    • 40% increase to service on Expo and Millennium lines.
    • 203 new SkyTrain cars (108 new, 95 replacement) for Expo and Millennium lines.
    • Increased Canada Line service during rush hours, evenings, and weekends starting in 2020.
  • Light Rapid Transit
    • Construction of Surrey-Newton-Guildford LRT Line along 104 Avenue, City Parkway and King George Boulevard.
  • Road
    • $75 million for rehab and upgrades to the Major Road Network.
  • HandyDART
    • 247,000 additional HandyDART trips per year by 2021.
  • Planning for the future
    • Project development and potential early works for the Surrey-Langley Line.
    • Planning for a potential Burnaby Mountain Gondola.
    • Planning for rapid transit to UBC Point Grey campus.

To learn more, visit tenyearvision.translink.ca or read the media release!

#MyTransLink – June 26

The #MyTransLink series on The Buzzer blog curates the best photos taken and shared on social media by you—our customers, fans and neighbours! Share your photo with us using the hashtag #MyTransLink and we might feature it here on the blog or on our social media channels.

Summer is a time for exploring and there are so many places in Metro Vancouver that you can explore using transit, including street festivals, farmers markets and more! That’s why this week’s post is dedicated to pictures that showcase the character of Metro Vancouver.

We think nothing shows off our region’s character more than the vintage buses! We’ll be at community events throughout the summer with our community engagement and museum buses. Just a few weeks ago we were at the car-free days in the West End and Main Street, and we’ll be at Surrey’s Canada Day celebration on July 1.

This dovetails well with our theme for next week! We want to see pictures that are inspired by community! Let’s see your interpretation of what this theme means. Tag it #MyTransLink and we’ll feature some of the best in next week’s post.

New NightBus District makes late-night transit easier to find

TransLink After Dark

Finding the NightBus just got easier in downtown Vancouver with the pilot NightBus District—a new, well-lit hub on West Georgia Street at Granville Street to catch the NightBus.

This is where all 10 NightBus routes will now start, making it easier than ever to find transit to take you home after 2  a.m.! It’s cheaper than a coat check, costing less than $3 to get home on NightBus.

NightBus District stops are the ones with the full moons on top!

NightBus District stops are the ones with the full moons on top!

NightBus routes from Downtown Vancouver depart every 30 minutes or better, seven days a week, and pick up customers throughout the downtown core, connecting them to destinations across the region.

The routes include service to Burnaby and SFU, Coquitlam, North Vancouver, Richmond and YVR, Surrey, UBC and several points throughout Vancouver.

Three of the NightBus routes closely follow the same routes as the Millennium Line (N9), Canada Line (N10) and Expo Line (N19). Last departures from downtown on these routes are after 4 a.m. Last departures for other routes range from 3:09 a.m. to 5:09 a.m., depending on the route.

NightBus District and Route Map

The hub, which is a pilot project, was inspired by feedback from TransLink’s Late Night Stakeholder Committee that has been discussing late-night transit services for workers and patrons of the Downtown Entertainment District.

We’ll be monitoring the success of the program as we continue our assessment of late-night services.

Find out more about the NightBus District on translink.ca/nightbus!