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Translink Buzzer Blog

TransLink on the Move: Evergreen means Go!

TransLink on the Move Evergreen

Last week marked the start of our TransLink on the Move series where we’re breaking down some of the highlights of our 2016 Annual Report.

This week, we’re featuring the long awaited Evergreen Extension!

The opening of the Evergreen Extension was a milestone event for TransLink and for Metro Vancouver. This significant expansion of our integrated transit network brings us to 79 km of SkyTrain meaning that TransLink now operates the world’s longest fully-automated rapid transit system!

Included in the Evergreen Extension is a two-kilometre Tunnel (the longest in the SkyTrain network) connecting Coquitlam to Port Moody, a new SkyTrain operating pattern and six new stations connecting riders to more destinations in our region.

The Evergreen Extension boasts beautiful new open concept stations with plenty of glass allowing for natural light, picturesque views and beautiful public art.

If you haven’t yet had a chance to check out the new stations, have a look at some of the shots captured by transit enthusiast Ivan Chan. Or better yet, become your very own #EvergreenExplorer by checking out some of the great java stops along the new route.

Want to know more about highlights to the transit system in 2016?
Stay tuned to the blog for a new feature every week!

Author: Sarah Kertcher

Earth Day 2017 – Driving green across the region

April 22nd is Earth Day! A day observed globally with the aim of encouraging and educating people to be more environmentally friendly. The TransLink enterprise takes sustainability seriously and works diligently in our daily operations to protect our Earth!

TransLink has taken part in a variety of environmentally-focused projects in 2016 – here are a snapshot of some of these initiatives:

apta platinum logo

Going platinum

In 2015, TransLink moved up from gold and became the first Canadian transit organization to gain platinum level status for sustainability from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). Since 2010, 58 separate projects reduced waste by nine per cent, water use by 10 per cent, and greenhouse gas emissions by 17 per cent in its facilities. The bus fleet alone has had a 17 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. CMBC also reduced energy consumption by more than seven per cent.

Cutting back on washing to save water

In 2016, CMBC committed to reduce bus washing by at least 50% each summer between June and the end of September! In addition, anytime Metro Vancouver introduces Stage 2 water restrictions, CMBC voluntary stops all bus washing, except in special circumstances. These changes yield BIG water savings! At Burnaby Transit Centre alone, suspending bus washing translates to saving up to 35,000 litres of water each day! Additionally, all transit centres, use recycled or “wastewater” for the wash and fresh water is used only for the final rinse. These water recycling systems reduce the amount of water required to wash each bus by about 75 per cent!

Building with the environment in mind

TransLink’s newest building, Hamilton Transit Centre in Richmond is our most energy-efficient facility yet! It boasts a LEED Silver certification thanks to features that include LED lighting, radiant in-floor heating, waste water treatment, and a heat-reflective roof. Many of these sustainable features help to reduce operating and maintenance costs in addition to being green in other ways.

Hybrid Artics

Driving the benefits of alternate fuels

TransLink is rolling out 26 new hybrid diesel-electric articulated buses, bringing our bus fleet to 252 hybrid, 116 compressed natural gas (CNG) and 262 Trolley buses. This means almost half of our CMBC bus fleet uses some form of cleaner technology – either CNG buses or hybrid electric buses. These hybrid buses use 17% less fuel than equivalent diesel-powered models. The quieter CNG buses – with reduced carbon emissions and lower maintenance costs – continue to replace diesel buses as they retire from operation at the end of their service life. We also have one of the largest electric trolley fleets in North America and continue to explore the possibility of adding electric-battery buses to our existing fleet.

Author: Sarah Kertcher

TransLink on the Move : 7 new Mark III trains rolled into service in 2016!

TransLink on the Move

We’ve recently posted our 2016 Annual Report. For those of you who are unable to comb through it, we’re picking out some highlights among many for our TransLink on the Move series. First up, new SkyTrains!

Last year was a big year for transit in Metro Vancouver. One of the improvements we made was adding seven new Mark III trains to our fleet! That’s 28 additional SkyTrain cars on the system. Our passengers can now enjoy an enhanced transit experience with a more spacious ride, less noise and more natural light. The new Mark III SkyTrain cars are equipped to hold more passengers with extra space for wheelchairs, bikes and strollers than their Mark I & Mark II counterparts.

The Mark III’s journey started back in October of 2015 when they left the Bombardier facility in Ontario to begin the cross country journey out West to our SkyTrain OMC yard in Burnaby.

Mark III

After their arrival, much of the summer was spent in testing to ensure the new SkyTrain cars were rail ready for our passengers.

The big day arrived on August 18th, 2016, with all of the anticipated fan fare! The first Mark III car entered service with SkyTrain President & General Manager Vivienne King and TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond on board, among a host of excited transit enthusiasts.

Want to know more about highlights to the transit system in 2016? We’ll be posting one a week for the next four weeks.

Author: Sarah Kertcher

#MyTransLink – April 4, 2017

You Metro Vancouver transit riders and enthusiasts don’t seem to disappoint with your amazing transit shots! Since we started this social media photo series, you’ve shared over 400 photos with us across all platforms!

Amazing!

Let’s check out what you guys have captured since last time!

Huge thanks to all of our latest transit photogs! Keep snapping and sharing!

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

Author: Sarah Kertcher

Secure bike parkades secure top spot at HUB awards!

HUB Bike Parkade Award

HUB Cycling recently hosted their 4th Annual Bike Awards – a celebration of organizations, individuals, schools and municipalities who have led the way in increasing biking across Metro Vancouver.

This year, we took home more than just our bikes! TransLink was awarded Best Public Bike Parking Facilities for our King George Station and Main Street Station Secure Bike Parkades!

TransLink is a big supporter of multi-modal transportation (did you know that our entire bus fleet is equipped with bus bike racks?) and participate annually in Bike to Work Week.

All of our secure bike parkades are Compass enabled, and easy to use! Check Jess out in action!

Thanks to HUB Cycling for this awesome award!

Author: Sarah Kertcher

March is Fraud Prevention Month! Register your Compass Card

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March is Fraud Prevention Month and before the month comes to a close, we’re giving you a friendly reminder to register your Compass Card!

One of the added benefits of the Compass system is that it’s far safer and more secure than our old paper fare media.

Did you know?!

When you register your Compass Card online at compasscard.ca, you can to take advantage of AutoLoad, valuable record keeping information such as trip and purchase information and Balance Protection.

With Balance Protection, users can report their Compass Cards lost or stolen and any passes or Stored Value will be transferred to a new Compass Card. Additionally, a found registered Compass Card can easily be returned to it’s owner.

750,000 of our 1.1 million Compass Cards are currently registered and we’d love to see that number grow!

Register your Compass Card today at CompassCard.ca.

Author: Sarah Kertcher

#MyTransLink – March 21, 2017

It’s that time again! We’re back featuring content from you – our riders!

Check out what our transit travellers have snapped lately…

“Explore more” – – Photo – 56 of 365 #photography #photo365 #mytranslink

A post shared by Jamie Taylor (@cryptic_photos) on

Visions📷 – Westcoast Express X Skytrain 🚅 – Have a great weekend🔥

A post shared by Ibrahima Cisse 👓 (@thevancityphotographer) on

Foggy bus windows on chilly days. #mytranslink

A post shared by Julie Ratcliff (@juliemratcliff) on

Thanks to all of our latest transit photogs!

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

Author: Sarah Kertcher and Adrienne Coling

UBC designs a winner at NAIOP Vancouver’s Pacific Northwest Real Estate Challenge

NAIOP Vancouver

January kicked off with the start of the 14th Annual Pacific Northwest Real Estate Challenge. This annual event was hosted by NAIOP’s Vancouver Chapter and marked the first time in history that this competition has been held on Canadian soil.

About the Pacific Northwest Real Estate Challenge

The Pacific Northwest Real Estate Challenge has teams consisting of real estate program students from various Northwest universities competing for the best design of a high profile development in a major metropolitan area.

Each team must design and propose a development and strategy that may be implemented after the competition.

This year, TransLink partnered with NAIOP to have students propose plans for Coquitlam Central Station on the Evergreen Extension, a 14-acre project with a high volume of transit, residents and commuters.

On March 9th, less than eight weeks from the first site visit, teams presented their final development to a panel of judges, TransLink officials, and members of the commercial real estate industry.

The home team from UBC finished ahead of University of Washington and Portland State, winning the NAIOP Bob Filley Cup and the potential opportunity to have their plan implemented by TransLink.

“It was a difficult decision to make, as we were very impressed with all of the proposals from the students,” said Guy Akester, Director of Real Estate Programs & Partnerships at TransLink. “Coquitlam Central Station is a very important and critical transportation hub. Ultimately we were looking for a highly walkable, mixed-use site that brings the community together. The UBC students were able to deliver this on all fronts.”

“We are ecstatic to be named the winners, and the fact that we won the first competition held in Canada makes us feel extremely proud,” said Stephanie Yeargin, UBC Student. “It was very challenging, and we worked around the clock. Coquitlam is a dynamic and growing city, so we hoped that our proposal would be able to meet the needs of the community and of TransLink. We couldn’t be more thrilled.”

Congratulations team UBC! We hope to see your plan in Coquitlam in the future!

For more information about NAIOP and the Pacific Northwest Real Estate Challenge check out their website.

Author: Sarah Kertcher

TransLink once again named one of BC’s Top Employers for 2017!

BC's Top Employer
We’re thrilled to share that TransLink (also known as South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority) has been named a top employer in BC for the third year in a row!

In addition to taking this title for the last three consecutive years, TransLink made the list of Forbes Magazine’s “Canada’s Best Employers” this year.

With nearly 7,000 employees across the enterprise, it’s clear that our employees love where they work and take pride in delivering top-notch service across our entire system, every single day.

It’s an honour to have been named again this year among so many other amazing BC employers.

About British Columbia’s Top Employers

Now in its 12th year, BC’s Top Employers is an annual competition organized by the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers.

This special designation recognizes the British Columbia employers that lead their industries in offering exceptional places to work. Read the press release announcing the 2017 winners.

About Forbes Magazine

Forbes Magazine compiles annually a list of companies across Canada and ranks a list of Canada’s Best Employers.

This year, the TransLink enterprise ranked #202! Check out what other employers made the list.

For more information on BC’s Top Employers, visit the BC Top Employers website.
Information about Forbes Magazine ranking can be found on the Forbes Magazine website.

Author: Sarah Kertcher

Transit Police took the plunge and were #FreezinForAReason!

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On Saturday, March 4th, 2017 our Transit Police Officers and civilians took the Plunge, The Polar Plunge in support of Special Olympics Canada.

This annual event takes place at Kitsilano beach in Vancouver, with the support of other police agencies and organizations, Polar Plunge participants are #FreezinForAReason raising money in support of adults and children with intellectual disabilities providing the opportunity to participate and excel in sporting activities.

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Transit Police have supported Special Olympics BC in a variety of ways over the past number of years, from fundraising through the BC Law Enforcement Torch Run, an overtime drive for personal donation by staff, an annual golf tournament and of course this event – the Polar Plunge.

Transit Police surpassed their fundraising goal for this event, however if you’re interested in giving back and supporting a great cause or learning more, check out the Transit Police Polar Plunge page.

 Author: Sarah Kertcher

#MyTransLink – February 20, 2017

Hey Buzzer readers! We’re back with another edition of #MyTransLink, sharing your photos from around the system!

With a transit network spanning land, sea, and Sky(Train), it’s no surprise that you, are riders are able to capture some of our best photos.

Here’s what you shared this week!

 

[=]’These are the days we’ve been waiting for’ [=] #vancouver #burnaby #SkyTrain #MyTranslink

A post shared by Kobie Huang (@kobiehuang) on

Bridge life #newwestminster #mytranslink

A post shared by Rich Elliott (@therichelliott) on

This is why i love #beautifulbritishcolimbia.. taken from #carvolthexchange in #langley.. @translinkbc

A post shared by FerretLover (@atomikangel69) on

Want to be featured on the blog? You know you do! It’s easy!
Simply follow us on Twitter and Instagram, tag us and use the hashtag #MyTransLink.

Author: Sarah Kertcher

Donate your Compass Card to a great cause!

Compass Card Donation Bins

Moving people is what we do, and now through a new initiative with a long standing partner, the United Way Lower Mainland (UWLM), you can help!

Simply donate your new or semi-used, unregistered Compass Cards into one of our donation kiosks located around Vancouver. There are currently five donation kiosks for customers to donate their unregistered Compass Cards:

Canada Line kiosks

  1. Waterfront Station
  2. Vancouver City Centre
  3. Broadway–City Hall

Expo Line kiosks

  1. Granville Station (Dunsmuir exit)
  2. Compass Customer Service Centre (Stadium–Chinatown Station)

We hope to install more donation kiosks in the coming months at key locations around Metro Vancouver where customers are likely to tap in to their generosity and support this program and the United Way.

Transit plays an important role in helping people live full successful lives, whether it’s going to work,  job interviews, healthcare appointments or other activities that enrich their lives.

“Some of the region’s most vulnerable populations are reliant on both United Way funded programs and services – and on TransLink,” said Cathy McLay, CFO and EVP, Finance and Corporate Services, TransLink. “I am extremely proud of this new initiative and the ongoing commitment employees across the TransLink enterprise display to our United Way campaigns each year.”

To donate a Compass Card, simply deposit the unregistered Compass Card into your nearest donation kiosk. You can unregister your existing Compass Card by calling Compass Customer Service at 604-398-2042 or by visiting the Compass Customer Walk in Centre. Both the deposit and balance of unregistered Compass Cards will be converted to Compass Tickets for distribution by UWLM to selected agencies working directly with those in need.

Author: Sarah Kertcher

Compass Stored Value Minimum Load Drops to $5!

You’ve asked, and we’ve listened!

We’re happy to announce that we have lowered the minimum Stored Value load amount for Adult Compass Cards at Compass Vending Machines (CVM)! Customers can now load Adult Compass Cards at a CVM and select a minimum Stored Value of $5! This change was based on feedback received from you, our customers, requesting a lower minimum Stored Value than the original $10.

This change applies only to Stored Value at a Compass Vending Machine. When loading Stored Value online, customers can choose from a number of set options starting at $10, or can choose to “pay balance” to bring a negative balance back up to zero. Minimum Stored Value load amount for Concession Compass Cards remains at $5.

For customers wishing to load an amount outside of the set CVM, online or phone parameters, a Compass Customer Service staff member at our walk in centre located at Stadium–Chinatown Station can help. For added convenience, customers add AutoLoad to their Compass Card directly from their bank accounts to automatically renew monthly passes or to top-up Stored Value using this form.

Author: Sarah Kertcher

Thank you for your patience during recent Canada Line service disruptions

Canada Line North Arm Bridge

There is no denying that Mother Nature has not been kind to Metro Vancouver roads this winter season. Our Public Transit system has been no exception to this. Part of the TransLink mission is to provide a sustainable transportation network for our customers and this has proven challenging of late.

The past few days have been tough on commuters across Metro Vancouver, but for Canada Line passengers impacted by recent major delays, we know that a tough commute has been made even more difficult. We extend our sincere apologies to our customers for those service disruptions.

The unprecedented weather patterns and environmental conditions have presented us with many challenges, including in a particularly steep area over the Fraser River (the North Arm Bridge). Because of the steep grade, trains require full power when travelling through this section of the bridge, and Canada Line believes ice buildup on the power rail is the likely cause of the disruptions.

With more wintry weather in the forecast, we’re working diligently to reduce the likelihood of this issue repeating itself. Please be assured that we remain committed to dedicating the necessary resources in doing everything possible to prevent recurrence.

Once again, we apologize for the delays and appreciate your patience and support as our teams work to keep you moving through this weather.

Author: Sarah Kertcher

More snow is on the way for Metro Vancouver

When I was young, I thought these were the cat buses in Totoro 🐱🚎

A photo posted by JASON YEH (@jsonyeh) on

Despite the fact that Wiarton Willie and Shubenacadie Sam both predicted an early spring this Groundhog Day, our local weather forecast is calling for snow Friday morning.

With the possibility of two to five centimeters of snow falling tomorrow and possibly into the weekend, here are some of the ways our operations team is preparing to keep you moving through snow and slushy wintry conditions:

  • We work closely with our municipal partners to have bus routes plowed first.
  • If a street is not plowed, operators may refrain from pulling into bus stops to avoid getting stuck. In these cases, operators will stop in an area that is safe and accessible for riders.
  • Trolley de-icer trucks will spray the entire trolley overhead system if there is a forecast risk of frost or ice.
  • SkyTrain power rail and collector shoes on the trains will be de-iced, and de-icing stations set up in covered areas and tunnels.
  • Measures are also taken to ensure rail switches are protected from freezing.
  • During times of heavy overnight snow, SkyTrain will run throughout the night to keep tracks clear.
  • Where possible, articulated buses are replaced by traditional coaches as they’re more agile and better equipped to handle hills or streets with poor conditions.

Check out our posts from earlier this season with some excellent transit tips to manage inclement weather, an in depth look at 6 things TransLink is doing to prepare for more wintry weather, and what role Transit Supervisors play when the snow falls.

Know before you go.
If there’s snow or ice, ensure you plan ahead with Trip Planner or  m.translink.ca on your mobile device, and make sure to allow yourself extra commuting time.

Sign up for transit alerts so you’ll be the first to know if there are changes in the transit schedule.

Follow our customer information team on Twitter (@translink) and save their number (604) 953-3333 on your mobile device.

Step Carefully

Snowy floors can become slippery floors. Where possible, kick the snow from your shoes before getting on the your chosen mode of transit. Use handrails and please be courteous to other passengers and don’t put your feet up on open seats.

Dress Warmly

While your ride will be climate controlled, we can’t control the temperature outside of our vehicles. Make sure that you’re dressed warmly for your trip to and from your stop.

Be Courteous

Please remember that transit is a popular choice on snowy days, therefore you may see more people out than usual. Always use your common transit sense to ensure a comfortable ride for everyone.

Are you ready for spring, or excited for this wintry rewind?

Author: Sarah Kertcher