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Category: Buses

Shelter buses and last weeks’ fire in Langley

Photo by: Dan Ferguson/Langley Times

Our bus and driver were on hand during a fire to help 25 people get temporary shelter. Photo by: Dan Ferguson/Langley Times

You’ve heard of bus shelters but how about shelter buses?

A shelter bus is a bus from the CMBC fleet that is dispatched from Transit Communications (T-Comm) out of the Surrey Transit Centre to local emergencies where people are being displaced.

The bus provides much needed, safe and warm protection for residents in cases such as a fire, until it is deemed safe to return to their homes.

Not only that, but emergency personnel will often meet the victims right on the bus and if temporary shelter is needed, the bus will then transport the affected people to a hotel.

“Coast Mountain Bus Company has very good working relationships with all of our emergency responders. Shelter buses are requested by Police or Fire Crews throughout Metro Vancouver. When they are requested, we prioritize this request to provide a bus to the incident location,” Derek Zabel, Duty Manager of T-Comm.

This past weekend there was a bus dispatched to a fire in Langley where approximately 25 people took shelter in the bus after they were evacuated from their homes.

This fire was one of four in the month of January to which we dispatched a bus to serve as a shelter.

Two others included the evacuation of a seniors home with approximately 100 tenants in Vancouver, and in Maple Ridge, seniors at the Kanaka Creek Lodge were relocated to a hotel after a fire hit their facility.

We deploy these buses because they can be of great use and comfort for those who are in crisis.

Zabel says this is a service that has a larger effect than just the shelter.

“It is a very important service that we have and if we can assist or help our emergency response teams in these situations, it forms a larger sense of community.”

Author: Adrienne Coling

 

 

Our Breaking Bad bus operator

Bill Laird, Coast Mountain Bus' very own Walter White...of sorts

Bill Laird, Coast Mountain Bus’ very own Walter White…of sorts

If you take the 135 regularly or stumbled upon the story on Internet, you’d know that one of our CMBC bus operators looks a lot like the famous TV drama character Walter White of Breaking Bad.

He looks so much like him that he’s spawned memes and numerous nicknames. If you haven’t come across the one who stops, then you’re in luck! The Buzzer interviewed him. Enjoy!

How long have you been a bus operator?

I got started 25 years ago, September 1990.

Do you watch Breaking Bad?

I watch it lots, and I love it. I’ve seen all the seasons a couple of times. It’s a wonderful show. It’s well written, the cast is great as well as the acting – I think they nailed it.

Any favourite parts that stand out?

There are lots of them, but I’ll narrow it down for you. The part where Hank and Walter finally confront each other about who Walter really is, OK, and Hank realizes all this time under my nose it’s been my brother in law, and he’s been a meth dealer.

The other time is when Walter’s talking to Skylar and he says he’s not really the man she thinks he is. And he gets to say that classic line (goes into character) I am the one who knocks.

What do you think of Walter?

Walter starts out as a normal family guy, but out of a misguided sense of necessity, changes into something totally different and not very nice.

Anything in common with the character?

The only thing we have in common is we’re both family guys, and we do care for our families. The difference is that I’m happy with my life and where I’m going, and I don’t feel any need to be doing anything different.

Your passengers say you’re affable and really seem to enjoy your job.

That’s true. I’m very happy. The people are wonderful and I appreciate all the kind things that have been said.

When were you first eyed as Walter?

Last September, a co-worker named Bob looked at me and said, “Oh my god – Heisenberg!” And then of course every time we saw each other after we’d be joking about it, and making references to the show.

When did you grow the goatee?

That would be September, around the same time. I saw a picture of Walter online and I thought, I really like that, I could do that. With a little bit of help from Just For Men (laughs) and, there we go!

People point it out a lot?

Yeah, a fair amount.

What do you say?

I laugh and say thanks I really appreciate that. Because it’s a whole lot of fun.

Does it start conversations?

Oh definitely. People will say, ‘hey, do you have any little bags of blue rock candy?’ Or ‘this is what happened! – you didn’t really die in the show! You snuck into Canada, (laughs) and you became a bus driver.’ The funniest thing I had happen is I had a gentleman get on the bus at SFU and he does this double take and walks to the back. Later, he walks up to me and says ‘I thought this was a prank thing with the guy from Breaking Bad pretending to be a bus driver so they could get people’s responses’ – like a Candid Camera-type thing. We had a good laugh over that.

What’s strangest thing you’ve been asked as a bus operator?

After all the things I’ve heard over 25 years, nothing is strange.

Best part of driving 135 bus?

The people. The students up at SFU, the business people I pick up, and the people I pick up on their daily shopping trips. I have a lot of regular customers. It’s great.

If not a bus operator, what would you do?

There was a time I looked at being a motorcycle mechanic. I looked at being a commercial pilot, too, because I have my pilot’s license, but (points to his fairly thick eyeglasses) back then in the ‘80s there wasn’t any wiggle room.

Any hobbies?

I work on motorcycles. I fabricate parts. I do airbrush work on motorcycle helmets. I build models, and one of my passions is online gaming. My son Trevor got me into that. I’ve got my Xbox 360 and I absolutely love that.

Other thoughts on Breaking Bad?

They balance it out so well in this show. It’s a serious drama – and I guess a statement on choices we make – but they’ve also balanced in the humour perfectly. You never lose the dark side that they’re really trying to get across.

Are you enjoying this little bit of attention you’ve been getting?

This is fantastic. I’m having fun with it, and I think there’s some really, really good people who are having fun with it too.

Have you met Walter, er, I mean Bill on the bus yet? We’d love to hear about your encounter with our famous operator!

Interview and photo: Chris Bryan

Buses: The next generation

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The newest member of our bus family

Some cool news for bus fans!

TransLink will soon have 21 New Flyer Xcelsior XDE60 articulated 60-foot buses in our fleet!

Each bus will help TransLink be even greener because they are all diesel-electric hybrids!

Twelve of the new buses will serve routes out of the Surrey Transit Centre (STC) replacing all of the existing articulated buses on the 96 B-Line.

The rest of the buses will call Burnaby Transit Centre (BTC) home and will add to the modernization of the articulated bus fleet in Burnaby.

This includes the 99 B-Line, the 135 and the 44, to name a few!

There are some great new features with these buses, including:

– LED headlights
– A better-optimized seating layout
– Electric doors which provide consistent opening and closing times
– Air conditioning!

Where the rubber meets the road

The artics at STC will start to be in service at the end of January with all of them on the road by March.

At BTC, the new buses will start being integrated onto the routes mid-February with full service in March.

Author: Adrienne Coling

Free transit on NYE for the 40th year!

This New Year’s Eve, don’t worry about driving or grabbing a pricey taxi because we’ve got your ride (and your fare) covered for the 40th year!

That’s right! We’ve been offering you a safe and free NYE ride since 1975 – the year of Monty Python and The Holy Grail, the very first season of Saturday Night Live and the first year of Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve!

On December 31, you can ride free from 5 p.m. to end-of-service on all buses, SkyTrain, SeaBus, West Coast Express and HandyDART!

All modes will run on their usual weekday schedule plus some extensions to evening service:

  • Bus — Some routes will offer additional evening/late-night trips. You can check out the New Year’s Eve schedules here.
  • SkyTrain — Service will be extended by one hour and include more frequent trains throughout the evening.
    Last trains:
    – Canada Line to YVR-Airport — 2:05 a.m.
    – Canada Line to Richmond-Brighouse — 2:15 a.m.
    – Millennium Line to VCC-Clark — 1:35 a.m. Customers can also take the last Expo Line train to Commercial-Broadway to transfer to the last Millennium Line train departing at 2:36 a.m. to Lougheed only.
    – Expo Line to King George — 2:20 a.m.
  • SeaBus — Service will be extended by one hour. The last sailing from Lonsdale Quay will be at 2 a.m. and the last from Waterfront will be at 2:20 a.m.
  • West Coast Express —The offer of free transit applies to the 5:30 and 6:20 p.m. trains. The 12:55 TrainBus will be replaced by a 1 p.m. train. All other TrainBuses will depart at their regular times.

On January 1, all transit services will run on a Sunday/holiday schedule.

West Coast Express service will not be in operation on New Year’s Day.

Why not plan your trip now?
Use Trip Planner or call Customer Information at 604.953.3333.

Note: If you need service after midnight, the time must be entered as x-time. For example, put in “1:00x” instead of “1:00am”. This is because we include trips after midnight as a continuation of the previous service day, even though they fall on the next calendar day.

We wish you a very happy and safe New Year’s Eve!

Author: Adrienne Coling

Customer Alert: Capilano Road bus detours extended approximately 2 weeks

Customer Alert generic busAttention all Capilano Road bus goers!

**UPDATE: Winter Service Changes originally scheduled for January 4, 2016, will be delayed by approximately 2 weeks, due to the continued construction of the Capilano Road water main project. During this time, the 232, 236 and 247 will return to regular routing except for the portion of Capilano Road between Edgemont and Eldon.

Check out the detours below! The changes are bolded:

From southbound Capilano Rd:

232 Phibbs Exchange, 236 Lonsdale Quay and 247 Vancouver

Via regular route southbound to Capilano Rd at Eldon Rd, then via Eldon Rd, Ruby Ave, Sunset Blvd, to Edgemont Blvd.  The 236 and 247 continue west on Edgemont Blvd to Capilano Rd, then regular route beyond to Lonsdale Quay (236) and Vancouver (247). The 232 continues east on Edgemont Blvd and regular routing beyond to Phibbs Exchange.

From northbound Capilano Rd:

236 Grouse Mountain and 247 Upper Capilano

Via regular route to Capilano Rd at Edgemont Blvd, then via Edgemont Blvd, Sunset Blvd, Ruby Ave, Eldon Rd, then continue north on Capilano Rd to Grouse Mountain.

From westbound Edgemont Blvd:

232 Grouse Mountain

Via regular route to Edgemont Blvd at Sunset Blvd, then via Sunset Blvd, Ruby Ave, Eldon Rd, then continue north on Capilano Rd to Grouse Mountain.

After this detour ends, the 236 and 247 routes will return to their regular routes along Capilano Rd .

However, the 232 will remain on a minor detour for approximately 2½ months as a result of the closure of Edgemont Blvd at Capilano Rd.

Know before you go!

Head to our Trip Planner to map out your route and times.
Sign up for alerts to stay in the know about any service changes.

Author: Adrienne Coling

Vancouver Technical Secondary Students bring holiday cheer to bus operators (again!)

It was a bit chilly this morning, but that didn’t stop Vancouver Technical Students from getting up early to hand out goodies to our bus operators!

An annual tradition, Van Tech students have been giving hot chocolate and small gifts to bus operators on the last day of school before the holiday break for the past 19 years. (For more info on how the event got started you can check out our post from 2011. )

This year was no exception as students decked out in Santa hats greeted buses as they pulled up in front of the high school.

Handing over special Van Tech mugs and hot chocolates to surprised bus operators, the students wished our operators a Merry Christmas and thanked them for their service throughout the year.

With the holiday music in the air and students singing and dancing with homemade signs that read “HoHoHotChocolate” and “Thank You TransLink” the event was truly a heartwarming affair.

Thanks to all the Van Tech students for another wonderful event and for treating our bus operators to some holiday cheer!

You can check out previous posts of this event from 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Happy Holidays!

Author: Laura Tennant

 

Jump aboard the TRAMS bus to see the holiday lights!

TRAMS xmas2

Strings of street lights, even stop lights, blink a bright red and green!

It’s December which means holiday lights are out in full force!

But how could one possibly see them all??

Fear not! Our friends The Transit Museum Society (TRAMS) would like to invite you to jump aboard the historic 4107, a 1982 General Motors bus, for a two-hour tour, passing by some of the most colourfully decorated homes in Vancouver and Burnaby.

You have eight chances to go! December 11, 12, 18, 19, 20, 22, 23 and 27.

TRAMS xmas1

The bus getting a holiday makeover!

Tickets:

Adult: $20
Senior/student (14-21): $15
Children (2-13): $5

Members of TRAMS will receive a $2 discount for all members of their travelling party.

The bus will depart from 29th Avenue SkyTrain Station at 7 pm on each of the dates above.

More information is available on the TRAMS website and if you’re interested in attending you can register online!!

Author: Adrienne Coling

Today’s forecast…holiday service schedules and winter service changes!

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Winter is just around the corner and we’re getting into the holiday spirit by rolling out our holiday service schedules and winter service changes.

These seasonal changes include:

  • A two-week holiday schedule – December 21, 2015 to January 3, 2016;
  • Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve schedules; and
  • Winter service changes – starting January 4, 2016.

Don’t forget that service changes can affect many routes, so know before you go and use TransLink’s trip planner to check if your route has changed.

Let’s take a look at some of the highlights:

  • Routes serving schools and post-secondary institutions adjusted to better reflect ridership during two- week special holiday schedule.
  • Christmas and Boxing Day will run on a Sunday/holiday service schedule. Some routes modified to provide more frequent service.
  • Free service on New Year’s Eve after 5:00 pm until 5:00 am on January 1 – with extended bus service hours.
  • Welcome back bus service along Capilano Road starting January 4, 2016 as part of our winter service changes.

Want to know more information? Check out the upcoming print Buzzer and our service changes page.

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

New signs make taking the bus a breeze

A wayfinding expert’s rendering of a new bus stop sign and scheduling panel

A wayfinding expert’s rendering of a new bus stop sign and scheduling panel

Starting this month and continuing through the week, bus stop signs in Surrey City Centre are getting a new look!

The design of the new signs, courtesy of TransLink’s Wayfinding experts, display more information and are easier to read.

You’ll also notice something strangely familiar — the new look is consistent with other transit facilities across the system such as SkyTrain stations. The large “T” is for transit (of course!) and will make spotting a bus stop a breeze.

Digital rendering of a new bus stop sign

Digital rendering of a new bus stop sign

Rolling out the new bus stop signs will be a gradual process. To be cost effective, signage and schedules “infotubes” will only be changed out when the existing pieces reach end-of-life or are damaged or require updated route information. The full replacement of all bus stop signs and infotubes will take place over the next few years.

New bus stop signs

New bus stop signs will make it easier for customers to locate bus stops from a distance.

The “T” for transit, route numbers, Next Bus information and the bay number are placed in prominent locations. To differentiate from regular bus service, B-Line information will be highlighted in orange and NightBus in navy blue.

Schedule panels replace infotubes

Many bus stops currently have infotubes on the pole with schedule information, and riders generally give us good feedback about them. Sometimes, however, riders tell us the text is too small. We’re making improvements in this area by replacing the infotubes with schedule panels. The schedule panels are flat, contain larger text and have the same look and feel as the bus stop signs.

Existing infotube (left) and new scheduling panel (right)

Existing infotube (left) and new scheduling panel (right)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keep your eyes open!

If you’re in Surrey City Centre over the next few days, make sure to check out the new signs. There are also a few new ones dotting other areas of the region, so keep your eyes open for them too!

 

 

Author: Jordan Keim 

Out on the roads, spot the reindeer bus!

We spotted the bus today!

Beep beep! Rudolph is running on a route near you!

**Extra points for you if you sang the title to the tune of “Up on the Housetop!”**

‘Tis the season for the reindeer bus and reindeer community shuttle to be out and about on regular routes around Metro Vancouver starting tomorrow for the whole month of December!

reindeer bus

This community shuttle has a very shiny nose!

For 30 years, these decorated vehicles have spread the holiday cheer and surprise passengers with a unique ride throughout Metro Vancouver!

The reindeer bus kicked into gear a little early last week with a visit to Toys for Tots. This year, TransLink and its operating companies have promised 3,000 toys to help make this Christmas extra special for children in our communities!

When they are not out on the road, the reindeer bus calls the Vancouver Transit Centre home.

Head to Twitter where our team will try their best to tweet out what routes the two reindeer will be serving so you can hop on!

Keep your eyes peeled for our reindeer and send us your pictures of it!

Tweet your photos to @TheBuzzer using the hashtag #ReindeerBus, post them onto Instagram mentioning @TransLinkBC and hashtag #ReindeerBus, or email thebuzzer@translink.ca. We’ll be sharing some of our favourites!

Author: Adrienne Coling

New poll: How has the one-zone bus fare changed the way you travel?

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TransLink’s one-zone fare structure for buses and HandyDART vehicles has been up and running for a month.

This means that no matter the distance or time of day, you travel anywhere in our region by bus for a single zone fare.

So, we want to know, how has this change affected your transit travel?

Weigh in with our latest poll that will be open until November 22.

Choose from the given answers, leave us a comment with your thoughts below or email us.

How has the one-zone bus fare changed the way you travel?

  • It has saved me money reducing the amount of zones per trip. (42%, 62 Votes)
  • Not at all. I only use the SkyTrain, West Coast Express and SeaBus. (40%, 58 Votes)
  • My bus is much busier than before so I try to avoid it. (12%, 18 Votes)
  • I'm still confused as to what it all means! (5%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 146

 

 

 

Take a survey and have your say on proposed transit changes

Get involved today!

Get involved today!

Starting October 13, 2015 you’re invited to take part in an online survey and provide feedback on more than 85 proposed transit changes across Metro Vancouver. We’re asking for feedback now, so we can consider your input as we plan for the future. The survey is available until November 6, 2015.

The proposed changes aim to:

  • Integrate bus service to better connect customers to the Evergreen Extension
  • Decrease travel time on busy routes
  • Extend service to areas with high commuter demand
  • Take advantage of road and infrastructure changes
  • Make our system more efficient
  • Deliver on our plans

Check out all the details on specific proposals today!

For all our savvy followers who participated in previous consultations you might recognize some of these proposed changes from the Downtown Bus Service Review, Northeast Sector Area Transit Plan, North Shore Area Transit Plan or South of Fraser Area Transit Plan.

Author: Angela Salehi

An update from Bike Patrol

Bike patrol 166
Remember Bike Patrol? The Buzzer covered the inception of this cool new Transit Security crew back in May.

That’s when Bike Patrol hit the streets in downtown Vancouver as part of a four month trial.

Six existing General Security Patrol officers traded their car for a bike and assisted front-line staff and customers downtown during daylight hours.

Each officer went through an intensive four-day training program to be CAN-bike certified.

Security officers had the opportunity to focus on fare inspections and security-related incidents, create a positive customer service experience first-hand and go places where they might otherwise be restricted by being in a car.

The trial is wrapping up on October 10, 2015 and Jessica Hewitt of CMBC checked in with staff to hear what they had to say about the experience.

Being able to be a part of the Transit Security Bike Patrol has been such a great experience. I feel I have greatly increased my contact with operators. Being on the bikes has us at eye level with operators, providing us with clear communication, giving us the ability to respond immediately to any situation. I can get to situations much faster, than if I was in a car.
Trevor Handford, Transit Security

Bike Patrol has been a joy to perform and the comments we’ve received from operators has been positive. Many are glad to see us, tell us that we are welcome on their buses and that they love our uniforms (since we’re hard to miss!). I am very thankful for the training course that we went through before starting as without it I would’ve been less comfortable riding in the downtown core.  I’ll be sad when it is over as this has been one of the best learning experiences at CMBC.
Jessica Stennes, Transit Security

What’s next for Bike Patrol?

Transit Security is in the process of collecting data and feedback from staff.

We are also looking at statistics to determine reduced carbon emissions and vehicle costs, number of customer contacts, inspections and assistance to the public.

Have you encountered Bike Patrol on any downtown summer transit trips?
Let us know what you think of the program by commenting below!

Author: Adrienne Coling

Transit poetry – The Community of the Bus

wordcloudEvery now and then, the creativity of our riders morphs into songs, stories, art and even poetry.

This offering of verses is from one of our very own TransLink bus riders!

Graham McGarva is the founder of local architecture firm VIA, an amateur poet and transit enthusiast. You can check out some more of his work here.

This piece is not only written about the bus but was actually written on a bus.

Take a look!

The community of the bus

The community of the bus

Increasingly draws me in

My compass taking a new direction

Among pleases and thankyou’s

And jokey comments

That belong not to legions

Of loser cruisers on the highway

But to us for whom this is ours

This shared space

With never enough seats

Just like the rent will never

Be low enough

But somehow we find homes

On streets with good vibes

And headphones to mute

Unwanted discourse

Usually younger than I

Many thank the driver

For stopping and for caring

As he does his job

And we go between our jobs

And we all brake and accelerate

And turn corners in harmony

With the sunset

As we share it together

So thank you for all of that

And for not making me drive

Home alone

Back row #14 bus
West Cordova to Granville Loops
Wednesday 30th September 2015

Thank you for sending your poetry our way, Graham!

Have something artistic or creative to share about life on transit?
Comment below, email us or Tweet us!

Author: Adrienne Coling

 

1-zone bus fares means a new look for Trip Planner!

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Today is the day! All buses and HandyDART vehicles are officially operating on a one-zone fare structure.

Because of this, if you hop on TransLink’s Trip Planner today, you may notice a bit of a makeover.

Trip Planner has been adjusted to include the new one-zone bus fares.

If you are using a Compass product, you can use Stored Value on your Compass Card to get exactly the same discount as the current FareSaver tickets.

If you are viewing on your desktop computer, you will now see four fare options now instead of two.
Trip Planner The difference on mobile is fairly minimal.

The Trip Planner will show two fares: cash and Stored Trip Planner mobileValue. This is instead of the single cash fare we show now.

These prices reflect fares that are valid during the transition to the Compass system.

Please note! These prices reflect Compass and cash fares in a “fare gates closed” scenario.

This means that, until that time, your current fare MAY be different from what Trip Planner lists for you.

Single cash fare prices remain the same.

You can see this on the regular fare tables.

You can use Stored Value on your Compass Card to get the same discount as the current FareSaver tickets.

Reminder!

Currently, you can use tradition fare media (transfers, FareCards, monthly passes, etc.) to travel from the bus to SkyTrain/SeaBus without having to buy another fare.

Once all Compass fare gates are closed, tickets purchased on a bus won’t be valid for transfer to rail or SeaBus.

In the future, customers paying cash on the bus will need to purchase another fare if transferring from bus to rail or SeaBus.

This is because the traditional faremedia are magnetic strips while Compass faregates use an RFID antenna allowing you to tap your way on and off the system.

Compass customers will only pay one fare, if travelling within the 90-minute transfer window.

You can find more information at translink.ca/onezone
to help you transition to the 1-zone bus fare.

For convenient, one-stop source for customer questions and answers about the new Compass system, visit: AskCompass.ca.

 Author: Adrienne Coling