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Translink Buzzer Blog

Category: Blog Stuff

The Buzzer has a new contributor: Meet Laura!

Please help me in welcoming Laura to the team!

Please help me in welcoming Laura to the team!

Hello Buzzer Blog readers! I’m the new Student Communication Associate and am excited to be working with the TransLink Communication Team over the upcoming months.

Transit has always had a special place in my heart. In my earlier transit riding days, a bus pass was more than a ticket-to-ride, it represented pure freedom.

It meant no parent chauffeurs, an open road and countless pizza slices at my destination.

My adult self values transit for many of the same reasons. Although less about parents and pizza, the sense of freedom has remained.

Transit gets me where I want to go, reduces my environmental footprint and gives me a chance to relax on my commute.

A transit fan through and through, I am super excited to contribute to this blog and connect with the Buzzer readers!

A few more things about me:

  • I have a background in publishing and I love to read. I’m currently reading Mavis Gallant’s In Transit (total coincidence).
  • Lately, I have been into all foods pickled or spicy.
  • I am a novice gardener learning the ways of plants and soil. So far my struggling basil has kept its ways very secret.

See you all on the blog!

Love is in the air… and on transit!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Today is Cupid’s Revenge… sorry, no, that’s not it… It’s Valentine’s Day. Yes! That’s right! Love and hearts and little chubby babies with wings shooting arrows. So, considering today is supposed to be super schmaltzy, we decided to scour the region online and off looking for some not-so-typical love stories.

Besides the fabulous “I saw You” section in the Georgia Straight, which I read religiously, a lot of people actually meet their SOs on transit.

Remember the beautiful wedding of Nina and Jarred that took place on the bus because that’s where they met? *sigh* Love can definitely be in the air across the system.

Check out this romance we found that started on one of our SkyTrains! Laura submitted the story below as her entry in the Cupid’s Crush contest through our friends at the Vancouver Observer in a bid to win the ultimate Valentine’s Day package from Summerland Waterfront Resort & Spa.

Turns out, her tale of SkyTrain soulmates won first prize! Take a read, warm your heart and if you’re single, keep your eyes peeled the next time you take transit. You never know, your next great love may only be a transit trip away. But really, let’s remember what the most important thing is about Valentine’s Day… HUGE sales on chocolate come February 15th!!

“I had just moved from a small town down to the city a couple weeks before I met my man, Mike. I’d gone to a Christmas party with my cousin and was taking the SkyTrain home. It was one of the first times I was taking the SkyTrain alone, and I had a drink or two (no no, I was not drunk!), so I wasn’t completely confident finding my way home. 

There was a very handsome man in a nice jacket sitting a couple empty seats away from me.  I snuck a few peeks thinking I was being sneaky (but have recently found out he had seen me peeking in the reflection in the window).  

The SkyTrain stopped at the station before my stop and the doors wouldn’t shut again. After a few minutes I got up the guts to ask what we should do. It was an instant spark.  He had a wonderful smile and we shared some laughs.   

The SkyTrains started running again, but only going the opposite direction I needed to go, so I had to go all the way back around the track. We sat together and told each other about ourselves and ended up almost at my stop again. I finally realized he hadn’t gotten off at his stop and asked him where he lived. I was headed to New West and he was headed downtown! He’d taken the train all the way around with me to make sure I was going to find my way home – what a sweet heart! He ended up walking me right to my front door.  He leaned in for a hug and I went in for the thank you kiss.  

A few days later I took him to a movie to thank him for making sure I got home. Today we live together with our four month old daughter, Lillianna, and dog Tank. Now when the SkyTrain breaks down, I remember that maybe these things happen for a reason and somebody else is finding their Prince Charming.”

 

The SIMPLE art of transit network design

JarrettWalker

Planning transit – tougher than it looks!

It is a rainy morning at the Vancouver Transit Centre. I’m sitting with a room full of colleagues and five pots of coffee. What do we all have in common? We are all keen to better understand the considerations and strategy behind transit network design…and although we all work for TransLink, none of us are actual transit planners.

As an introduction, our fearless instructor Jarrett Walker performs a soliloquy on ridership, density, frequency and demand. His poetry makes us feel at ease. As he presents us with the network design challenges for the course, we are confident that we can find the solutions. Even without the academic training and years of experience, we are certain that using the tools we’ve only just been taught will be “s-i-m-p-l-e”.

We work in groups to plan multiple transit networks over the two-day course. Our tool kit includes a map and a spreadsheet filled with mathematical equations. Our fictional city map showed land-use patterns, population density, landmarks and major roads and bridges. We have a budget and the spreadsheet helps us keep track of how many buses and at what frequency we can afford.

I realized during the first challenge that I had underestimated the difficulty of the task. I thought I was using common sense to plan an efficient network. I chose a population dense area and identified a number of destinations: the airport, the shopping district, the hospital. I was planning for how a single person could get to each landmark. I assumed that because these were community destinations it would make sense to have frequent service. But I was wrong. When it was time for the trip test – getting a fictional rider from multiple arrival to destination points– all the networks were put to the test.

The network that was most efficient did not focus on single trips; it was designed to connect people from high density areas to as many destinations as possible while maximizing the budget. This was my “Aha!” moment. It was not enough to get the fictional Jane to the airport and hospital, the network had to also get her to the soccer field, her office building and the pet store. Turns out, with finite resources there are mathematical trade-offs and balancing the competing needs to provide access and offer direct and frequent service is not “s-i-m-p-l-e” at all.

The course is over and I’ve put away my design pens. The next time I think “gee, I wish I could take transit to the grocery store, but I have to walk a few blocks and it is slower than taking my car,” I’ll take a minute to remember. I’m going to remember that unless many people in my neighbourhood are traveling to the grocery store, post office and hospital every day, throughout the day, there may not be the ridership demand to justify having a high frequency service to accommodate my whims to take the bus to the grocery store.

 

We have a new contributer to the Buzzer blog – Adrienne!

It's me!

It’s me!

Oh, hello, I didn’t see you there. Pull up a seat and let’s chat! I’m Adrienne and I am happy to make your electronic acquaintance here on the fabulous Buzzer blog. I am also very excited to be a new addition to the communications team at TransLink!

Public transit is my go-to mode of transportation. When I travel the world, which I love to do, I always rely on the city’s buses, trains, metros and trams to take me where I need to go and see the sights as I do so. I truly believe that the best way to experience a city through its transportation systems and Metro Vancouver is no different. Bike trails and lanes, walking paths as well as roads and bridges all feed into a successful overall transportation experience. I’ll be blogging about all of these subjects as well.

Coming from a journalism background, I’m always looking for the story behind the story. What makes people tick and why? You’ll be seeing my posts here as well as some of our other social media accounts, probably saying something terribly witty and insightful about transportation in this region and how it affects life, the universe and everything. Hmm…Is the answer 42? I hope to bring you the stories behind the stories of our operators, employees, riders and the cities that make up Metro Vancouver. I’m going to try some fresh ideas and I’d love to get your input. So, dish! What would you like to see on the blog??

Just FYI, here are three things I could never live without:
1)      My fluffy beasties (3 cats, 2 dogs)

2)      Music of all kinds – I’m usually humming or singing something

3)      My mum (Aww!)

The Buzzer blog is on vacation until January 2, 2015

We're on vacation until Friday, January 2, 2015!

We’re on vacation until Friday, January 2, 2015!

If you’re taking transit on Christmas or Boxing Day you’ll want to read this post. Need service updates and trip planning help? We will still be available on Twitter (@TransLink) and by phone (604.953.3333), 6:30 am to 11:30 pm, seven days a week including Christmas Day.

We’d like to thank the Buzzer readers for making 2014 an awesome year and wish you happy holidays!

Introducing Allen!

Allen

Happy to join the TransLink team!

Hello Buzzer readers! My name is Allen and will be a member of the TransLink communications team over the summer as its Student Communications Assistant.

Receiving that first pack of Concession FareSaver Tickets is a significant milestone for any teenager in Metro Vancouver. It represents an increase in mobility and a new-found ability to travel anywhere by themselves — a taste of adulthood. Since I received my first pack of FareSavers, I’ve become hooked on transit and it is has become my primary means to get around.

Being both a Geography and Communications student at Simon Fraser University has made me appreciative of the important role TransLink plays in the overall livability of our region by reducing our carbon footprint.

Three things about me:

I’m proud to call myself a transit geek and I look forward to sharing my enthusiasm for transit with you all over the next few months!

Transit Driver Appreciation Day is Tuesday, March 18th!

Downloadable Bus Driver Appreciation Day Cards

Downloadable Bus Driver Appreciation Day Cards


They’re the people that many of us see almost everyday. Some of us speak with them regularily others may simply exchange a, “hello”, a smile or maybe nothing at all. They can make or break your commute and when the make it, it can really change you day. They’re your transit operators and tomorrow is a day to say thanks for getting me to where I need to go.

It’s called Transit Driver Appreciation Day, and it’s tomorrow! If you check out the website, you can download!

Conceived in Seattle in 2009, the date was chosen because, “That’s the day that bus service is believed to have debuted in Paris in 1662.”, says the organizers

This day is not to be confused with the Bus Driver Appreciation day at Vancouver Technical School or Say Hi on the Bus. And of course, any day can be a day to appreciate your driver.

So, if you haven’t yet, say thanks to the driver you like, give them a card or simply give them a smile. I’m sure they’d love to receive it!

Introducing Julia!

Hello there!

Hello there!

Knock knock.
Who’s there?
It’s Julia.
Julia Who?
Julia the new Buzzer contributor!

Why hello there! Nice to e-meet you.  My name is Julia Ren and I am a new member to the TransLink communications team. Since the Compass Card and fare gates project is my bread and butter, I will do my best to keep you posted on the latest scoop of this very exciting system. Stay tuned…

Three things about me:

  • I am a certified Yoga instructor and I get a little giddy when I see my students carrying re-usable bags and drinking coconut water.
  • I have the cutest puppy in the whole wide world (totally objective), and he sleeps with a baby seal.
  • I always say hi to people in the elevator and I get REALLY offended if someone ignores me and maybe cry a little in the bathroom.

Anyway, I hope to hear from you. Comment away and I will do my best to answer all your Compass related questions.

Merry X-Mas and Happy New Year from the Buzzer!

What we lacked in colour coding we make up for in Christmas decorations.

What we lacked in colour coding we make up for in Christmas decorations.

From our Buzzer family to your family, we wish you all a happy and safe holiday season and 2014. Thanks for reading and contributing to the blog in 2013!

Buzzer blog editor away over the winter holidays

I'll see you all in 2014!

I’ll see you all in 2014!

I’m taking a break from the blog to catch up with family over the winter holidays. I’ll be back in mid-January. But don’t worry, Jennifer, Angela and Jiana will be watching things while I’m away.

This year was a big one and 2014 looks even bigger with Compass Card, a new SeaBus, station upgrades and so much more. Thanks Buzzer readers for making 2013 a great one!

Introducing Jennifer B!

I ride the SeaBus every morning!

Hi Buzzer Readers! My name is Jennifer Binnington and I’m very excited to be a new member of the TransLink communications team. Having worked in the industry since the start of my career, transportation is something that’s very near and dear to my heart.

Work and life takes me all over Metro Vancouver, and public transit has been my go-to form of transportation. But I like to switch it up sometimes and when I’m not on the bus, SkyTrain or SeaBus, you may find me on my bike or Vespa!

Here are some other tidbits about me:

  • I’ll eat almost anything, except for peas or cereal.
  • I started ballet two years ago as a beginner adult. Right now I’m floating somewhere between beginner and intermediate.
  • I grew up just outside of Toronto but have been very happy to call Vancouver my home for the past eight years.

I’m excited to share TransLink news and project updates with you and I hope you find the stories as interesting as I do!

Introducing Angela!

Introducing Angela Blog Post

Happy to be joining the team.

Pssst, Buzzer Readers….pssst, over here! My name is Angela Salehi, and I am so pleased to be meeting you as a new member of the communications team at TransLink. One of my many roles is contributing posts to this awesome blog. I invite you to share your comments and ideas so that I can cover the issues you are interested in.

Below are five interesting (totally subjective) factoids which will close the gap on our long distance relationship and save you time googling me on social media.

  • The tip of my left ring finger has been numb since 1999.
  • I went on my first yoga retreat in September on Salt Spring Island.
  • The book Love You Forever by Robert Munsch makes me cry each time I read it.
  • My kryptonite is a COBS cinnamon bun.

One more insight: This summer I took my five-year old on the Skytrain for the first time. We were headed towards Science World and the look of pure wonder and thrill on her face is burned in my memory. I hope to uncover and nourish this level of joy for transit in Metro Vancouver and I’m excited to be at TransLink.

Bus to Rail Transfer Still Possible with Compass Card

Hello Buzzer friends! 

Recently, there has been a number of media reports talking about a “double transit fee” when transferring from a bus to the SkyTrain with the upcoming Compass Card. I’d like to share some information about this issue with you, and hopefully clear up some questions you may have! 

 

Here’s a link to the media release regarding this news.

The upcoming Compass Card will be the easiest way to travel across the system.

When you use a Compass Card, you will be able to transfer between all transit modes, including bus and rail easily. You will also be able to enjoy other benefits, including a discount of up to 14 per cent over cash fares.

Tap in, tap out with a Compass Card to easily transfer between all transit modes!

Tap in, tap out with a Compass Card to easily transfer between all transit modes!

To be clear, you will be able to transfer from bus to rail with the Compass Card or a Compass ticket, without paying the “double transit fee”.

It is only customers who purchase fares on buses with cash who will not be able to use those transfers to transfer to rail.

To convert all the bus fareboxes to issue passes that would access the fare gates would cost about $25 million, and would also take a long time to implement.

Customers in focus groups had told us that they would rather us save the money and time, and instead, focus on an extended transition period.

During this period, TransLink will be providing an education and awareness program to give customers plenty of time to pick up a Compass Card, and to learn about the new system.

We are not unique in our approach. Many other transit systems around the world, including London and Paris, also don’t allow cash bus to rail transfers.

As is the case with many significant, complex and innovative Information Technology (IT) projects, Compass will be introduced in phases. The great thing about Compass is that the technology has built-in flexibility and scalability which will allow us to eventually add in features to make the transit experience better for you!

 

For more information about the Compass Card, please take a look at the FAQ page.

 

 

UPDATE: Thank you all for your ongoing interest in the upcoming Compass Card! I am happy many of you are taking steps to ask questions and learn more about the program. Keep in mind beta testing hasn’t quite started yet, so we will have more information rolling in for you as the time comes around!

Due to the large number of questions surrounding the $6 deposit fee, I want to provide a clarification and an example. Hope this helps!

Read more »

Buzzer blog editor away for a couple of weeks

I'll catch up with you all in a couple of weeks!

I’ll catch up with you all in a couple of weeks!

Now that I Love Transit Week is done for another year, I’m taking a couple of weeks off. But don’t worry, Angela and Jiana will be minding the blog in my absence. So you’re all in good hands.

Thanks for making I Love Transit another great success this year! I’m already looking forward to I Love Transit 2014.

Farewell, dear friends: Jhen’s leaving TransLink

Jhenifer Pabillano, Buzzer editor

Jhen!

I’ve got some big news to share with you today—I’ll be leaving the Buzzer and TransLink as of Friday, August 9, 2013!

I’m off to join the City of Vancouver, helping manage the City’s social media program as their new Social Media Coordinator. It’s a huge new role and I’m very excited to join their team.

But after five years with TransLink, it’s definitely not an easy change.

I’m so proud to be the Buzzer blog’s founding editor, and so proud I shared stories from the Olympics, from our control centres and garages, from transit conferences near and far, through podcasts, video, and more. And I’m so proud this work has earned TransLink real recognition from Mass Transit Magazine, and APTA in 2010 and 2012.

Most of all, I’ve loved getting to know the intelligent, committed, and wonderful customers we serve, and it’s an understatement to say I will sorely miss every one of you. It has been a true privilege to be a part of your lives for so long.

It’s a wonderful comfort, though, to leave you in the capable hands of Robert, as the main editor, and Borjana, Jiana, Angela, Tina, Pamela, and Stefanie as contributors–the wonderful new Buzzer crew who have joined me in the past little while. They’re all brilliant folks, and will continue to do great things at TransLink for years to come!

Again, my last day is August 9, so I’ll get to say goodbye to everyone during I Love Transit Week, which I’m so happy to have created back in 2009 :) If you’d like to stay in touch, you can find me at my personal website, pabillano.com, or @jpabillano on Twitter.

Goodbye, everyone, and thank you for everything! I’ll miss you all, but I won’t be too far away.