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Category: Buses

Investing in Metro Vancouver’s transit future: The 10-Year Vision

10 Year Vision

In Metro Vancouver today there is overcrowding on the transit network, increased traffic congestion and another one million people moving here over the next 25 years.

It’s pretty clear that our transportation network needs new investment and we need it now.

That is why our local mayors created a 10-year Vision and today, the Mayor’s Council released some more information about Phase One of this vision.

This plan sets out the new services and infrastructure needs of our region now and down the road.

Phase One of the 10-Year Vision is funded through regional funding sources to match investments by the provincial and federal governments.

Phase One details:

  • Increase bus service by 10% across the region, starting in early 2017, including five new B-Line express routes
  • Purchase 50 new SkyTrain cars for the Expo, Millennium and Canada Lines, plus five new West Coast Express cars and a new SeaBus
  • Increase SkyTrain service in early 2017, by providing more service during mid-day and early evening hours
  • Improve the region’s major road network
  • Improve and expand walking and cycling infrastructure across the region;
  • Improve access to transit stations and stops
  • Continue planning and design work for the Broadway subway and Surrey light rail
  • Continue investing in system maintenance and performance.

The Phase One plan includes regional funding sources so that, if approved, we can begin rolling out new services and projects in the Vision starting in January 2017.

The goal is to reduce traffic and make transit commutes faster and more comfortable for all riders in communities across the region.

The public will get a chance to weigh in on the plan during public consultation that will take place in October.

Next Steps:

September 2016: 10-Year Vision: Phase One plan introduced

October 11–31, 2016: Public consultation on the Phase One plan

November 2016: Mayors’ Council and TransLink Board approve final plan

January 2017: Transit system improvements begin

Watch our FB LIVE stream of the press conference with Vancouver Mayor Robertson, Surrey Mayor Hepner and TransLink CEO, Kevin Desmond.

Want more information?
More details can be found in the 10-Year Vision and the press release.

Author: Adrienne Coling

The Transit Service Performance Review results are in!

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Today, we released the findings of the 2015 Transit System Performance Review (TSPR), a comprehensive review of ridership and service productivity for bus, SeaBus, SkyTrain and West Coast Express.

FYI: This is the first year the review has expanded beyond bus!

The TSPR gives us valuable information on boardings, ridership, transit trends and more. By monitoring services and ridership, we can respond to changing demands with available resources.

“The Transit Service Performance Review demonstrates how we are actively monitoring the transit system across Metro Vancouver to improve our performance. We know where we need to reduce overcrowding, improve travel speed and respond to changing customer demands,” said TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond. “The 2014 Mayors’ Council Vision sets out a blue print to tackle these needs and with sustainable investment, we can take action.” 

Increasing Ridership

We had record ridership across the system in 2015 with 364 million boardings – that’s our highest ever!

Boardings remained high despite decreased per-capita service hours and slower bus speeds.

The annual review shows that ridership across the system continues to grow:

  • Total system-wide boardings increased 2.1 per cent and total bus boardings increased 2.8 per cent, year-over-year. SkyTrain passenger volumes at Canada, Expo and Millennium line stations have also increased by up to 28 per cent.
  • West Coast Express and SeaBus ridership remains steady. In 2015 there were 6.1 million recorded boardings on SeaBus; if it were a bus route, it would rank tenth highest in annual boardings!

Other trends identified during the 2015 Transit Service Performance Review include:

  • Bus boardings in all sub-regions continue to grow or remain stable
  • Some bus routes have consecutive years of growth in boardings, contrary to system-wide trend
  • Almost half of bus revenue hours with chronic overcrowding occur outside weekday peak periods
  • SkyTrain passenger volumes continue to increase
  • Weekend passenger volumes on SkyTrain are similar to weekday volumes outside of peak periods

What happens next?

Knowing how our transit system performs helps to ensure that we are responding to changing customer demand with available resources and lays the foundation for future investment. The data from the TSPR shows us the need for transit investment in our region is high.

Transit ridership across the system continues to grow despite decreased service hours and service speed. The 2014 Mayors’ Council Vision sets out a blue print to tackle these needs and with sustainable investment we can take action. We are currently developing the 10-year Investment Plan which supports the 2014 Mayors’ Council Vision.

Based on the findings from the review, we’ve strategically allocated available resources to improve the experience for our customers:

  • 15,000 revenue service hours were reallocated from bus routes with low demand to routes where customers need them most
  • Service frequencies were increased to reduce overcrowding on a number of routes, including the 49, 100 and C23 in Vancouver; C28 in the Northeast Sector; 335 and 351 in the South of Fraser; and 403 and 410 in Richmond.
  • Improvements were also made to the NightBus network to provide extended service hours and increased frequency.

Did you know?

Thirty per cent of trips on the system involve a multi-modal transfer (almost all are bus to SkyTrain transfers).

SkyTrain ridership at individual stations has grown by up to 28 per cent. The stations where ridership is growing the fastest are Canada Line stations that have experienced significant redevelopment, including:

  • Olympic Village (driven by new, mixed-used development)
  • Templeton (driven by new, McArthur Glen outlet mall)
  • Marine Gateway (driven by new, mixed-use development adjacent to the station)

Want to learn more? You can read the full report here.

Author: Jessica Hewitt

Hamilton Transit Centre opens in Richmond!

I Love Transit 2016

Today is an exciting day for TransLink, Coast Mountain Bus Company and transit users across the region!

The brand new Hamilton Transit Centre (HTC) is open and will start operations on September 5, 2016.

Transit centres are the hubs of transit systems. They keep buses on the roads to get passengers where they need to go.

Hamilton Transit Centre has capacity for 300 forty-foot buses, including up to 80 community shuttle buses and 150 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fuelled buses.

HTC will perform three functions: dispatch, fuel and wash service as well as maintenance for buses servicing the Richmond, New Westminster, Burnaby and Vancouver areas.

Watch the video above where Joe Peschisolido, Member of Parliament for StevestonRichmond East, the Hon. Peter Fassbender, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development and Minister Responsible for TransLink, Al Richmond, UBCM president, TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond, and Councillor Harold Steves, Acting Mayor of Richmond celebrated the opening in Richmond today.

Author: Adrienne Coling

I Love Transit: Spokesmama Guest Post – Camping via Transit

I Love Transit 2016

On the bus in Nanaimo

To help celebrate I love transit week, Lisa – also known as Spokesmama, is guest posting and sharing with us how her and her family use transit on their weekend adventures!

This summer we tried something new to us: camping by transit. We don’t own a car, so we generally rent or use Modo car co-op vehicles, or bike to camp. We heard that Newcastle Island was a great destination, and quickly realized that transit was the best way for us to get there. Taking the bus meant carrying nearly everything on our backs except for a small cart that held our cooler and some of the heavier items; planning what we’d bring was a fun challenge.

If you haven’t heard of it before, Newcastle Island sits in the waters a stone’s throw from Nanaimo—almost literally. The entire island is a provincial park, about the size of Stanley Park, with campsites at the south end near the small private ferry that runs from downtown Nanaimo.

Our journey started off with a 15-minute bus ride on the #19 to downtown Vancouver at 9am. We then walked a couple of blocks to the #257 Horseshoe Bay Express. We could have ridden the #19 bus all the way to Stanley Park and transferred at the same stop on Georgia near Denman, but here’s a pro tip for you: on long weekends the #257 bus gets quite full, so if you have luggage and/or children, it’s much better to get on at the very first stop on Dunsmuir at Hamilton.

We arrived in Horseshoe Bay with plenty of time to catch the 10:40am ferry to Nanaimo. Our children spent some time in the Kids Zone, on the tiny play structures in it and watching some TV. Once we’d caffeinated a little, we headed outside for the best part of ferry travel: walking around on the outside decks. The kids loved leaning into the wind and looking for sea animals. We also came across a Bluegrass quartet playing on the solarium on the top deck.

Once the ferry arrived in Departure Bay around 12:30pm, we caught the bus to Maffeo Sutton Park; a ten minute ride. The kids had a play break while one parent headed a few blocks away for the last few items of food and drink that we wanted for our trip, including a few bottles from the newish craft brewery just a block from the park, called White Sails.

After purchasing the last of our supplies, we packed up all our stuff and boarded the ferry to the island. The boat is a stout little craft, holding about 20-30 people, luggage and the occasional bicycle. The crossing is only a few minutes. We stopped on Protection Island first, (where there’s another pub, by the way).

The walk from the dock to the Newcastle Island camp site is only a few hundred metres. All 18 camp sites are reservable online, however, unlike many BC provincial campgrounds, Newcastle was not booked up months in advance. We reserved our site about two weeks before our trip and noticed a spot or two still available a week before.

Newcastle Island is really lovely to camp on—but unlike most provincial parks, you can’t drive there—it’s water access only—so you really feel like you’ve gotten away from the city. The island is very family friendly with lots to do. We explored three beaches, which was only a few of them. There are a number of wide, well-maintained trails looping through and around the island. There are way finding maps at each trail junction, but note that they don’t include a few recent trail closures. There are also a few interesting ruins of former canneries, salteries, and quarries to poke around, most of which include signage with historical information.

From leaving our house in the morning to arriving at the camp site took under five hours, not including the shopping/park play time in Nanaimo. It’s a very affordable way to travel–$130 for a family of four to take six buses, two ferries, and two boat rides. We really enjoyed our trip and I highly recommend taking transit to camp on Newcastle Island.

If you’d like to read more tips for car free camping, please visit Spokesmama.

I Love Transit: The journey from bus fan to transit operator

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Chris and his trusty steed, a 2008 Orion V Suburban

Chris and his trusty steed, a 2008 Orion V Suburban

The words “I love transit” mean a lot to Chris Cassidy.

His foray into the transit world was years ago. His grandfather drove a bus for BC Hydro back in the day and as he grew up, Chris became fascinated with buses and bus routes.

Chris’ passion for transit soon brought him two great friends with similar interests who decided to take and collect thousands of amazing photographs of buses!

That was then when he was a teenage transit fan and this is now. Now, Chris is a bus operator!

Read on about his journey from enthusiast to operator!

Hello,

My name is Chris Cassidy and I’m a transit operator with Coast Mountain Bus Company. Some of you may know me from BusShots.com and a I’m a huge transit enthusiast!

The interest with transit started when I was quite young. My grandfather used to be an operator, hired back in the BC Hydro days and retired a few years ago with CMBC.

I remember riding around on my grandfathers bus going through White Rock in the early 2000’s. He always got one of the brand new, New Flyer low floors. I liked keeping track of all the different runs we’d do, and watching the world pass by us from the big windows.

Cherry blossoms? Check. Big yellow bus? Check.

Cherry blossoms? Check. Big yellow bus? Check.

A few years after my grandfather retired I came across a local message board, the primary topic? Vancouver transit. At first I thought it was a bit strange, but I joined anyways to see what it was about. Not long after that, I picked up a camera and started making my own little trips around the system.

Through these little adventures I’d end up meeting two of my best friends and fellow bus nerds, David Lam and George Prior. Over the following years I tracked down, rode and documented hundreds of buses across Vancouver. Riding all the new routes, riding routes being replaced (like the 98 B-Line) and exploring this city.

The beautiful farm fields of Delta. Taken while I was heading back to the depot after a PM trip through Tsawwassen

The beautiful farm fields of Delta. Taken while I was heading back to the depot after a PM trip through Tsawwassen

During these travels I became close friends with a few operators. I was a young teen, trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life and doing ride-alongs with the operators was a good time filler. A routine was developed with one operator who turned out to be my neighbour.

After class was dismissed, I’d run home, drop off my bag, grab my camera and run over to his house. From there we’d drive to the depot, take a bus out for the afternoon rush and complete a few trips. Once we did our trips, we’d take the bus back to the depot and I’d get a ride home. It was my daily routine and really pushed me into the seat. After a few months of this routine it finally dawned on me, I HAD to get behind the wheel!

After high school I worked a few customer service jobs, got my full class 5 license and kept myself out of trouble. To be honest, the thought of driving a full sized 40′ bus through downtown seemed a bit overwhelming and I planned to apply for community shuttle first. But, all those operators that I knew, told me to go big and apply for conventional. So, I did… and I got called in for the video test on a crisp November day.

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Posing the bus at the perfect angle for photos before leaving the depot, a daily routine for me.

It’s been just over a year since I finished training and I’ve enjoyed everyday as much as I can. Some expected my passion for transit to diminish but, if anything, it’s only grown! Driving has opened up a whole new technical side to things that I haven’t experienced before. You learn all the neat quirks of each bus, how some have a certain shake at a certain speed, or how some have faster lifts. It can get quite geeky when you get down to the minor details, like horns, but I love it.

I drove in Vancouver for 7 months before I was transferred out to Richmond, a mecca for bus nerds. There are the old low floors, the Orion highway coaches and, of course, the big diesel articulated buses. It was love at first sight with me and the Orion highway buses so, I’ve tried to drive them as much as possible. There’s nothing quite like an early evening cruise down highway 99, watching the sun set over the fields in Delta, while behind the wheel of an Orion V. Just the thought of it makes me smile.

Starting Labour Day, I’m off on another new adventure. I’ll be transferring out of Richmond, and into the Burnaby depot. This gives me a chance to drive the famous 99 B-Line, the ever popular runs to SFU and everything on the North Shore. I’ll miss Richmond quite a bit, but a new challenge is good. Plus, I’ll get to knock off some routes that I’ve never driven before, or ever rode for that matter!

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Overall, I’m a transportation geek. So, when I had a chance to get a photo of my coach for the day with a train in the background, I had to use it!

While I’m still quite young and I’m not sure if I’ll keep driving for the rest of my career, I know I’ll never leave transit. What started as a silly hobby, turned into dozens of lifelong friendships and a career I truly love.

My name is Chris Cassidy, I’m a transit operator with Coast Mountain Bus Company and I Love Transit.

Transit enthusiasts take note because this could be you! Thanks to Chris for sharing his awesome experiences and inspiring the next generation of transit fans.

Author: Adrienne Coling

C9 Community Shuttle takes a temporary detour

Community Shuttle
Attention all C9 riders!

To accommodate City of New Westminster construction of a bus-only turn signal, the C9 will be temporarily detoured starting in September.

Click the map below to see a larger version of the detour.

C9 detour
Taking the C9? Make your way to any of the following stops:

  • 58742 – NB Richmond @ Miner
  • 52328 – SB Richmond @ Miner
  • 52327 – SB Richmond @ Seymour Ct

From New Westminster Station (Bay 5): via McNeely St, Carnarvon St, 8 St, Columbia St, Richmond St, Jamieson Ct, turn-around, Jamieson Ct, Richmond St, Miner St, Cumberland St, Richmond St, E Columbia St, North Rd Gatineau Pl to Lougheed Station.

From Lougheed Station (Bay 10): via Gatineau Pl, North Rd, E Columbia St, Richmond St, Miner St, Cumberland St, Richmond St, Jamieson Ct, turn-around, Jamieson Ct, Richmond St, Columbia St to New Westminster Station.

Once construction is complete, these stops will remain in service, with a new stop added to the corner of Cumberland St and Richmond St.

Did you know?

Permanent route changes to the C9 are being implemented as a result of the 2015 Transit Network Review (TNR).

Last October and November, TransLink consulted the public and as a result, we received more than 12,000 completed surveys and hundreds of emails, letters and phone calls.

To-date, 14 of the 26 approved packages consulted on have now been implemented. Some route changes, like the C9 have been phased in.

For more information on the Transit Network Review, visit translink.ca/tnc.

Author: Jessica Hewitt

I Love Transit: “My Best Passenger”

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It’s here, it’s here! I Love Transit 2016 is here!

Some of the best stories of transit love come to us from our front line staff like our bus operators.

Vickie Bowne has been an operator since 1998 and has been working out out of the Port Coquitlam transit centre for the past 17 years.

Recently Vickie had, what she describes as, the the best day of her transit career thanks to her bus buddy, 10-year-old Aidan (aka her ‘best passenger’) and everyone at the PoCo depot who made HIS day!

Read on about Vickie, Aidan and the best. day. ever.

I first met Aidan about a month ago when he rode my bus.  He then got on again a few weeks later and after discussing things with him and his nurse we arranged to have Aidan tour the Poco Transit Depot.

Once there, the staff in the front office welcomed him. He was given all kinds of fun stuff!

Then the maintenance supervisor showed him the maintenance yard where the buses get fixed. We then walked through the depot and introduced him to quite a few drivers, some who knew him. He was sure in his element! 20160727_133933

He talked about wanting to work here someday. Said he could empty the fare boxes as a job, or work with computers. I told him he definitely could do anything!

When I had to get to Coquitlam for my second piece of work, Aidan was not tired and asked to join me.

When we went out to Poco Station, my transit Supervisor got him a private ride in a shuttle that just happened to be deadheading there. Aidan loved the ride in the Community Shuttle bus.

Then Aidan boarded my #152 and rode that route and stayed on for my #151 back to Coquitlam where he insisted he wanted to ride the bendy #701 bus home. We made sure that happened.

Thank you to all the drivers who introduced yourself to him! He was talking about many of you later on in the day.

Oh, and I am happy to say that according to Aidan, I am the best bus driver! Yup, and then his next comment “I am your best passenger, right?” You sure are, Aidan! Also I am suppose to print out a picture of him and I together and put it on my desk. Too cute.

What a gift to the world he is. I am blessed to call him friend.

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What does Vickie love about transit?  For her, it’s all about the connections she makes!

“As a driver I love the interaction with the people that ride our buses.  I have seen kids grow up, new refugees figuring out the bus routes, many seniors struggling to get by, and many that have passed away.  The connections we make affect their lives and I just hope that if they ride my bus it is in a positive way.”

Author: Adrienne Coling

49 detour ending September 5!

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Good news, 49ers! (The riders of the route, not San Fran’s team)

The City of Vancouver sewer main construction and road work along Marine Drive is almost complete. And that means…the 49 will go back to its regular route!

On Monday, September 5, the 49 will service the following as part of its regular route:

  • 49th Avenue between West Boulevard and SW Marine Drive;
  • SW Marine Drive between 49th Avenue and Dunbar Street; and
  • Dunbar Street between SW Marine Drive and 41st Avenue.

An added bonus, on weekends, the 49 will now be sporting full articulated buses (see above photo) giving customers more options to travel to UBC.

We appreciate your patience during the City’s construction work.

Don’t forget! Fall service changes also go into effect September 5. Visit translink.ca/servicechanges for more details.

Author: Jessica Hewitt

99 bus stop at Commercial–Broadway returns to its original home

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Good news, 99 users!

The bus stop for the 99 B-Line at Commercial–Broadway Station will move back to its original location, outside of Shoppers Drug Mart, on Friday, September 2.

Earlier this year, we moved the 99 stop location so construction crews could use the area to relocate utilities and build support columns for the new walkway over Broadway.

We are happy to report that this work is now complete!

Queueing lines will also be repainted, making it easier for passengers to board buses and keep sidewalk space available for pedestrians.

We recognize that bus stop moves have an impact on our customers and we thank everyone for their patience while we improve Commercial–Broadway Station.

**Please note** The 9/N9 stop will remain in its current location on the other side of Commercial Drive.

What will the upgraded station look like?

Summary of Phase 2 upgrades at Commercial-Broadway Station

Summary of Phase 2 upgrades at Commercial-Broadway Station

Upgrades at Commercial-Broadway Station which are expected to be complete by summer 2017 include:

  • An additional platform for Expo Line trains, a widened crossing over the Grandview Cut and a new walkway over Broadway to enable the system to expand for future customers, particularly as our region grows.
  • New elevators and up and down escalators to improve access for customers with disabilities.
  • Better integration with the surrounding community to make it easier to connect to and from the SkyTrain system

Want more information?

More information about the Commercial–Broadway Station upgrades and project benefits can be found at translink.ca/commercialbroadway.

Author: Jessica Hewitt

Fall Service Changes are coming soon!

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Summer is winding down. The leaves will soon be falling, apples are coming into season and parents around the world are celebrating because… they’re going baaaaaaaaaaack!!

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With schools heading back for the fall semester sooner rather than later, our Fall Service Changes will reflect this annual ridership change.

Beginning September 5, there will be increased frequency to routes travelling to post-secondary institutions, new service on 208th Street in Langley, a new connection to the Tsawwassen Mills mall and more!

Take a look at just a few of the highlights:

  • Return of service to post-secondary institutions including BCIT, SFU, UBC and Capilano University, with increased capacity on the 49 to improve service to UBC on weekends.
  • Introducing new service to 208th Street in Langley and Highway 10 in Surrey, providing users with direct access to transit.
  • Another brand new service  will begin for passengers connecting to the new Tsawwassen malls on the 601 and faster, more direct service to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal on the 620.
  • Implement several recommendations as a result of the 2015 Transit Network Review to the 320, 341, 394, 501, 502, 531, 590, 595, and C63.

609 update: The 609  route adjustment to Tsawwassen Mills outlet mall will not take effect on September 5, 2016. Tsawwassen First Nation has confirmed that roadways will not be open. We will adjust routing to the mall when road and bus stop construction is complete.

Full Service Changes can be found online at translink.ca/servicechanges.

These changes are a part of our regular, seasonal service changes that occur four times each year in April, June, September and December to bring more service to more people with the resources available.

How else can you stay in touch? Sign up for Transit Alerts at translink.ca/alerts, visit m.translink.ca, follow @TransLink or call Customer Service at 604.953.3333.

Author: Adrienne Coling

Take the “T” to the PNE!

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Get your runners out for the 2016 donut dash, go prehistoric at the Dinosaurs Alive! exhibit or fly through the air as an Angry Bird on the new zip line because The Fair at the PNE is back and we have your added transit to get you to the fun!

Additional bus service includes:

  • #16 PNE Special from 29th Avenue Station – stopping at Renfew SkyTrain Station
  • #210 PNE Special from Phibbs exchange in North Vancouver
  • The West Vancouver Blue Bus Special from Horsehoe Bay

For the PNE free days on Tuesday, August 23 and Tuesday, August 30 there will be extra shuttles from 29th Avenue Station to PNE.

Remember! The Fair at the PNE is closed on August 22 and August 29.

Know before you go! Head to our Trip Planner to map out your route to the PNE grounds!

Author: Adrienne Coling

Know before you go! Weekend events August 13-14, 2016

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Lots to do around the region this weekend and that means some changes and reroutes for our buses.

Take a look!

Vancouver Chinatown Festival

The City of Vancouver will be hosting their annual Chinatown Festival this weekend!

The celebrations are on Columbia between Pender & Keefer.

The following detours will apply on Saturday and Sunday:

  • 50 False Creek: From temporary terminus at Cambie & Pender via Pender, Main, Powell, then regular route.
  • 50 Waterfront: Regular route to a temporary terminus at Cambie & Pender.
  • C23 Davie: Regular route to Quebec & National then continue Quebec-Expo Blvd, then regular route.
  • C23 Main St Stn: Regular route to Abbott & Keefer, then continue Abbott, Pender, Main, National, then regular route.

Royal City Pride Parade

Pride celebrations continue this weekend in New Westminster!

The Royal City Pride Parade is on Saturday August 13 on Columbia Street between 4th St and 6th St.

The following detours will apply from 12 p.m. until 10 p.m.:

  • 106 Metrotown: Regular route to Carnarvon & 8th St, then Carnarvon, 6th St, regular route.
  • 106 New West: Regular route to 6th St & Carnarvon, then Carnarvon, 8th St, Columbia into New West Stn.
  • C9 Lougheed: Regular route to Carnarvon & 8th St, then 8th St, Royal, McBride, Columbia, regular route.
  • C9 New West: Regular route to Columbia & McBride, then McBride, Royal, 8th St, Columbia, regular route.
  • C3 Victoria Hill: Regular route to Carnarvon & 8th St, then via Carnarvon, 4th St, regular route.
  • C3 Quayside: Regular route to 4th St & Carnarvon, then Carnarvon, 8th St, Columbia, regular route.
  • C4 New West Stn: Regular route to 4th St & Carnarvon, then Carnarvon, 8th St, Columbia, regular route.
  • C4 Uptown: Regular route to Carnarvon & 8th St, then via Carnarvon, 4th St, regular route.

Sea Wheeze Lululemon Half Marathon

They’ll huff and puff and run themselves around town!

There are numerous changes to routes in Vancouver affected by the half marathon from first bus times until 11:30 a.m.

Visit the alerts page for full listings.

Slide the City North Vancouver

Slip slide away in this annual event on Lonsdale Avenue.

There will be many reroutes and temporary bus stop changes across the weekend in the area.

Head to translink.ca/alerts for details.

Don’t forget! You can use Trip Planner to map out your transit trip!

Author: Adrienne Coling

I Love Transit Week 2016 is coming! Register for kids camp!

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transit_camp_2015The week we’ve all been waiting for is almost here! I Love Transit Week is taking place from August 29 to September 2, 2016.

This is a week dedicated to all of the things that we love about Transit – like that time Jarred and Nina tied the knot on the bus or when Annie and Mike got married on the 351 Crescent Beach!

We’ve also celebrated transit through poetry, LEGO, and more!

This year, we have a bus load of fun transit love to share with you, but first we’re excited to announce that I Love Transit Kids Camp is back for its third straight year!

 

Kids! Join us for I Love Transit Camp!

I Love Transit Camp is a once in a lifetime opportunity for kids between the ages of 8 and 12 to get a behind the scenes look at TransLink operating companies’ facilities.

Kids will learn about how transit works and have some fun at the same time! Check out all the fun that was had in 2014 & 2015.

This year’s camp is taking place on Thursday September 1st.

The plan

Meet at Gilmore Station for 9 a.m. then hop on a bus and ride to Burnaby Transit Centre (BTC)!

BTC is home to little known transit operations such as fleet overhaul, where they fix and update almost everything on a bus, including the painting of buses and reupholstering of seats.

We’ll also get a tour of the bus yard with articulated and 40-foot buses!

After that, we’ll have a little lunch then say goodbye to BTC.

Next, we’ll hop on SkyTrain and head to Edmonds Station and walk down to where SkyTrain Operations and Maintenance Centre (OMC) live.

At OMC, campers will get a behind the scenes look at the facility where SkyTrains are maintained and cleaned as well as visit SkyTrain Control! They will also get a chance to use the SkyTrain simulator, ask questions of SkyTrain staff.

Finally, a visit with Transit Police and Transit Security to tell us all about everything they do. I’m told they’ll be bringing their vehicles and a special guest if we are lucky!

We’ll wrap the day up around 4 p.m.

Throughout the day we’ll be taking breaks for fun games and more!

How to take part

Due to safety concerns for both OMC and BTC, we’re only able to take a maximum of 20 people in the camp. That means 10 kids (ages 8-12) and their guardians will be able to participate in the camp.

Interested in a fun day on transit? If you’d like to participate, we’ll need potential transit campers to tell us (in 50 words or less) what they love about transit!

If you like, you can also submit a photo and/or a video as part of your entry. Before you or your little one starts typing or writing, you’ll want to read the participation guidelines.

Send your submissions to thebuzzer@translink.ca with “I Love Transit Camp Kids” in the subject field, or you can mail it to The Buzzer, 400 – 287 Nelson’s Court, New Westminster, BC, V3L 0E7.
Be sure to include the following:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Where you heard about the camp
  • The phone number and name of the guardian you wish to bring with you

The deadline for submissions is August 22.
If you are selected, participation forms are due BEFORE August 26.

Looking for some inspiration for your submission? Check out some past successful applications.

We’re looking forward to learning about why you love transit and to seeing you at camp!

Author: Sarah Kertcher

Update: Check out our awesome pics from the 2016 I Love Transit camp!

Some tweaks to the Next Bus SMS service

Next Text Promo

You can still text to get your bus timings however, how you send and receive SMS information from the service is changing slightly .

What’s new

From August 15, 2016 onward, you will need to text the stop number AND a bus route number in order to receive the next two departure times.

You must include a bus route number in your request in order to get times.

How does it work?

Text the bus stop number and bus route number to 33333 (example: 54440 240) and within seconds, you’ll receive the next 2 departure times for that bus route at that stop.

If you need times for multiple bus routes that service your stop, enter the stop number and up to two bus routes, and text 33333 (example: 50585 44 84).

You’ll get the next 2 arrival times for each bus route in separate texts. You can only request up to two bus routes per text.

If three or more bus routes are listed at a stop and you want times for all of them, an additional text message will need to be sent (example: 54446 240 246 and 54446 241).

Departure times

The predicted departure times are based on the GPS location of the buses and update approximately every two minutes, but sometimes only scheduled times will be available.

Scheduled times are marked with an asterisk (*). When a service is cancelled, we’ll indicate the time with a “C” – same as today.

Need help?

As always, you can text “HELP” to 33333 for assistance.

Remember! Next Bus is also available on our website. So, you can get departure times and all of the route and stop information provided for you on your mobile device or computer.

For more information on the Next Bus SMS service, you can visit our website.
Have questions on the go? Tweet @TransLink or call us at 604.953.3333.

Biking to the ferry: A transportation planner’s journey

Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal (BCIT)

Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal (Courtesy of BCIT)

Island season is most definitely here! Before the summer slips away *tear* we have some adventure ideas for all of you cycling enthusiasts and budding bikers!

Read on to learn some routes that you can take to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal that have been collected and expertly researched by avid cyclist and TransLink Assistant Transportation Planner, Denis Agar.

One of the most incredible things about living in Metro Vancouver is that we have beautiful wilderness right on our doorstep. There are a number of exciting destinations to explore on the transit network, and even more are just a short BC Ferries ride away.

Did you know that a bike can take you from one tip of Salt Spring Island to the other in just 2.5 hours?

Even beginner cyclists can enjoy low-stress cycle touring on the Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island, with plenty of campgrounds and B&Bs available to spend the night.

While BC Ferries charges up to $115 round trip to bring your car to the islands, they charge just $4.00 round trip to bring your bike aboard.

The only part that can be a little challenging is getting to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal with your bike.

All of TransLink’s buses are equipped with bike racks which can make it easier and faster to get to the ferry terminal, but these buses only carry two bikes at a time, which can be a challenge at peak times.  But don’t worry, because you have alternatives!

So, if you’re trying to get to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal with your bike, here are some options worth considering.

*All hypothetical trips start at Waterfront Station to make comparison simple*

Richard Eriksson

Courtesy of Richard Eriksson

Bus route 620 direct to Ferry Terminal
Route 620 is your direct route from Bridgeport Canada Line station to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal. It’s timed to connect with the ferry to Swartz Bay (Victoria) and at busy times, up to three buses can be scheduled to meet the same ferry departure! At peak times, it can be difficult to predict whether there will be room for your bike on the bus, because of the high levels of demand. The following two alternatives are more reliable, and they also leave from the same station!

Bus route 601/602/603/604 to 56 Street and Highway 17
Your next best option is to take one of the four bus routes that go from Bridgeport Station to the village of Tsawwassen. You’ll want to get off the bus at the corner of 56 Street and Highway 17, and bike west on Highway 17’s bike lanes for roughly 20 minutes to get to the ferry terminal.

Bus route 351 to Matthews Exchange
Although this option takes longer, two key factors make it a stress-free choice:

  • The extremely frequent route 351 is unlikely to leave you behind, and if it does, it’s only 15 minutes to wait until the next bus.
  • The 60 minute ride from Matthews Exchange to the ferry terminal is breathtakingly beautiful, along the Boundary Bay Dyke.
Heather Harvey

Courtesy of Heather Harvey

Massey Tunnel shuttle
This option involves a free shuttle that takes you from one side of the Massey Tunnel to the other. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure operates this service, which can carry up to seven people and bikes at a time, making it ideal for cycling with big groups. If there are more than seven people waiting, the shuttle will come back ASAP to pick them up.

If you want to take this shuttle but don’t want to bike all the way from your home to the shuttle stop, you can take the Canada Line to Richmond–Brighouse Station and ride to the shuttle pickup point from there.

Bike across the Alex Fraser Bridge

Courtesy of Pete

Courtesy of Pete

If you want to bike all the way from your home to the ferry terminal, your closest bike-friendly crossing is the Alex Fraser Bridge between New Westminster and Delta. That’s more than a three hour trip, but there are a number of ways you can shorten it:

  • Take the SkyTrain from Vancouver to 22nd Street Station and bike from there.
  • At 22nd Street Station, you can also catch the 340, 388, or 104 buses that will take you right to the foot of the bridge at the corner of Cliveden Avenue and Hwy 91 off ramp.
  • On the other side of the bridge, you can catch the 640 bus at the corner of Nordel Way and Nordel Court, which will take you to Ladner.
  • At Ladner Exchange, you can catch one of the buses from options one or two that will help you on your way.

For more details on each option, click here.

If you encounter any issues with this information, or if anything has changed, let us know in the comments!

Author: Denis Agar