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Translink Buzzer Blog

Category: Buses

Look for the Reindeer Bus and Community Shuttle this holiday season starting on Mon, Dec 1, 2014!

We spotted the bus today!

We spotted the bus today!

Photo by David Lam

Photo by David Lam

What’s a sure sign of the holiday season in the Lower Mainland? Sightings of our Reindeer Bus and Community Shuttle!

The reindeer bus and shuttle will be out and about starting on Monday, December 1, spreading the holiday cheer and surprising passengers with a unique ride throughout Metro Vancouver. Santa, Mrs. Claus and the bus operating elf will also be on the bus periodically and stopping at mystery stops!

Keep an eye out to see if they’re in your neighbourhood. But if you do want more specific locations, the TransLink Twitter account will be tweeting the location of the reindeer bus and shuttle when they know where they are.

And just to clarify, the reindeer bus does NOT offer free rides, but there may be some tinsel and holiday treats presented by your friendly transit operator!

Staff from Coast Mountain Bus Company have been dressing up one bus and one community shuttle as a reindeer for over 25 years, starting just after the very first Toys for Tots charity drive done in 1987. Toys for Tots collects newly unwrapped toys or money for the less fortunate and the entire supply of donations to is delivered to the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau agencies by the Reindeer Bus and Community Shuttle.

Keep your eyes peeled for the bus and send us your pictures of it! Tweet them to @TheBuzzer using the hashtag #ReindeerBus, post them onto Instagram mentioning @TransLinkBC and hashtagging #ReindeerBus, or email thebuzzer@translink.ca. We’ll be sharing some of our favourites!

Photo by Laura Wilby

Photo by Laura Wilby

Customers in West Vancouver can expect onboard announcements

West Van Blue Bus

A key benefit of TMAC is GPS technology.

Today TransLink introduces the Transit Management and Communications system or “TMAC”, to the 57 vehicle strong West Vancouver Blue Bus fleet. This onboard communications system provides a more predictable and consistent service and delivers increased dispatch support and monitoring to ensure safe and efficient travel for customers and operators.

TMAC benefits include:

  • Onboard speakers and public information displays provide next stop announcements to help customers on new routes, riders experiencing the system for the first time, and customers with seeing or hearing challenges.
  • GPS technology provides customers real-time access to real-time transit information on the Next Bus mobile site.
  • GPS technology is on every bus, providing added security.
  • A fully monitored service, providing operators with real-time information on traffic congestion, road detours and adherence to the published service schedule.

Do you remember this post? Although the system has improved over time, here is a more detailed look at the system and how it operates.

If you are a customer in West Vancouver, let us know what you think of the new system.

Reminder for students with GoCards

Students out and about

Students out and about

Are you a returning secondary student in Grade 9 to 12 aged 14 to 19? Then your GoCard from the 2013/14 school year is still valid until October 31, despite any labour disputes.

Your GoCard gets you concession fares on all TransLink services in Metro Vancouver, so you can travel for a reduced price.  Just make sure you have your GoCard with you when travelling on the system.

New GoCards will be issued to public school students once school is back in session.

For updates on GoCards for the 2014/15 school year, visit www.translink.ca/gocard.

A new 99 B-Line pilot queuing system is coming!

Lineups are about to get easier at the busiest bus stop in Metro Vancouver that serves one of the busiest bus corridors in the region, just in time for post-secondary students to go back to school! The new pilot queuing system will be introduced at the westbound 99 B-Line stop at Commercial-Broadway Station by September 2. The system will make passenger boarding easier and keep sidewalk space open for people walking by.

The pilot runs from September 2014 to spring 2015 when construction of a new shelter for the 99 B-Line is planned to start. The queuing system and shelter are part of the Phase 2 upgrades at Commercial-Broadway Station.

The pilot queuing system was developed following a TransLink study at Commercial-Broadway Station in late January. The study found that pavement markings were effective for managing the long line-ups at the 99 B-Line stop while providing clear sidewalk space for pedestrians. The video below was taken during the study.

The painting and construction work for the pilot queuing system is expected to occur during the week of August 25. Bus stops for the 99 B-Line and 9 will be moved slightly to the west on August 25 and 26 to allow for installation.

Beginning September 2, you can tell us what you think about the pilot queuing system through an online survey at www.translink.ca/99blineq. This feedback will be considered for the shelter and permanent queuing system being developed.

Have you spotted the TELUS Wi-Fi bus?

Enjoy free Wi-Fi from TELUS while you ride!

Enjoy free Wi-Fi from TELUS while you ride!

If you’re a regular rider on the 99, 351, or 555, you might have spotted our buses wrapped in TELUS branding offering free Wi-Fi!

TELUS has an arrangement with Lamar Advertising, who manages advertising on Coast Mountain buses, to pilot this service to our customers for a limited time. The service is available for all mobile digital devices that are enabled for Wi-Fi.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy free Wi-Fi while you ride! You can tweet @TELUSsupport if you are having issues.

The specific buses are 8125, 9258, and 9266.

Does this mean Wi-Fi is coming to all buses?

TransLink is committed to providing the best possible service to our customers across Metro Vancouver, while running an efficient transportation system with the resources available. At this time we do not have the resources to provide free Wi-Fi across the system. =(

That doesn’t mean it isn’t a possibility in the future. We are always looking for ways to improve the customer experience which includes looking at future advertising arrangements and possibly long-term partnerships to provide better mobile connectivity throughout the entire transit system in Metro Vancouver. =)

Information sessions for Commercial–Broadway Station begin June 3

2014-06-02 Commercial Broadway invitation

Hear what’s happening at Commercial–Broadway station

Are you one of the 150,000 people who use Commercial–Broadway Station every day? The next round of information sessions for the second phase of upgrades at the station will take place in June and we want your input!

Visit us in the community

We’ll be out in the community to share information about the station upgrades with our neighbours and passengers who use the busiest station on the network. Join us at one of the three information sessions:

Information Session #1
Date: June 3, 2014
Time: 3 – 7 p.m.
Location: Commercial–Broadway Station, North Station House street level (Fare Paid Zone)

Information Session #2
Date: June 10, 2014
Time: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Location: University of British Columbia, Student Union Building

Information Session #3
Date: June 12, 2014
Time: 4 – 7 p.m.
Location: Croatian Cultural Centre – Room C, 3250 Commercial Drive

Get involved online

Can’t make it to one of the sessions? No problem! We will also have information and a feedback survey posted at translink.ca/commercialbroadway until June 16.

We hope to hear from you soon!

TransLink offers passengers more service on race day

Sun Run photo

More than 50,000 people expected at 30th annual Vancouver Sun Run.

 

Ready, set, GOOOOO!!!! TransLink will extend transit services to help runners and their fans get where they need to go before and following the Vancouver Sun Run on Sunday, April 27.

To plan your trips to and from the race, you can visit here, here and here.

The quick facts:

  • Expo and Millennium Lines will leave King George Station at 6:38 a.m. & Lougheed Station at 6:45 a.m.
  • Canada Line will begin service at 4:48 a.m.
  • Coast Mountain Bus will provide regular Sunday service, with detours in effect in the West End and along Georgia Street.
  • The SeaBus will leave Lonsdale Quay at 7 a.m. and every 15 minutes from Waterfront until 2:45 p.m.
  • West Coast Express will depart Mission at 7 a.m. and arrive downtown at 8:15 a.m. The return trip will leave Waterfront at 1 p.m.
  • West Vancouver Blue Bus will provide regular Sunday service, with increased frequency on the 250 in the morning and after the run.
  • BEST’s Bicycle Valet, will once again offer cyclists temporary and free storage at Gate F on the second level of BC Place.

 

To prevent long line-ups after the Sun Run, SkyTrain customers can pre-purchase return tickets prior to the race. Portable fareboxes will be set up at Bridgeport, Burrard, Granville, King George, and Vancouver City Centre stations. They will also be set up at Stadium-Chinatown and Yaletown-Roundhouse stations  for up to one hour after the race. Exact cash fare is required and tickets will be valid until late afternoon.

Due to crowding and safety concerns, cyclists may need to wait to take their bikes on SkyTrain until the crowds clear.

 

For more service information follow TransLink on Twitter @TransLink or call Customer Service at 604.953.3333.

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!

Take the Surrey Community Survey about bus shelters

Let the City of Surrey know where you'd like a bus shelter!

Let the City of Surrey know where you’d like a bus shelter!

At least once a week I get a question or request through our many communications channels regarding bus stops. Some may be surprised to find out the most bus stops in the Greater Vancouver Area are not looked after by TransLink, but are the responsibility of the municipality they are found in (the big exception of course are bus exchanges and transit stations). Often the requests are to add a new bus stop. Usually, I point people towards the correct municipality to contact. Today, I’d like to point Buzzer readers to a survey that the City of Surrey is conducting about bus shelters!

Below are a few words from our friends at the City about shelters in Surrey. You still have more than a week to take the survey!

Every year the City of Surrey adds to the number of transit shelters on its city streets. As a transit user, you have firsthand knowledge about where shelters are needed and we want to hear from you! Until February 28, 2014, the City of Surrey invites you to share your ideas about new shelter locations and why these locations are important to you. You can complete the survey here. For more info, check www.surrey.ca/transit.

 

Podcast: Frank Jensen celebrates 41 years as a bus operator

Frank sitting one more time on his bus!

Frank sitting one more time on his bus!

Many people spend less than four years at a job. Not Frank Jensen. Yesterday, Frank took his last trip after 41 years of exemplary service as a bus operator!

It’s not everyday that someone retires after more than four decades at the same job. And last night, Frank’s accomplishments were featured on the CBC Evening News. As you’ll see from video, Frank will be missed by more than just his fellow employees.

I had the privilege of sitting down with Frank and his son and daughter after Frank’s last run on the #405. Take a listen to what Frank and his family had to say.

 

After I spoke to Frank, his fellow operators and other staff at the Richmond Transit Centre lined up to congratulate him on his accomplishment. Thanks for all the great years, Frank! You’ll be missed!

Enjoy your retirement Frank!

Enjoy your retirement, Frank!

Proposed 2014 service optimization changes are live: Come to an open house or share your input online!

2014 Service Optimization

Have your say in-person or online.

 

Hey Buzzer Blog readers! Do you ride the 49, 116, 404, 606/608, C15 or C96? As part of Translink’s service optimization program, changes are being proposed to improve these routes. Public consultation will take place from February 3rd to 19th, 2014.

TransLink will host four open houses and you are invited to provide feedback at a location near you. The full details on each of the proposed 2014 bus service optimization changes are now online! Once you’ve had a look at the route changes, fill out the questionnaire and share your feedback!

 

Attend an Open House:

404 and C96

February 3 – 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

East Richmond Community Hall, Richmond

 

49 and 116

February 4 – 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Holiday Inn Express-Metrotown, Burnaby

 

C15

February 6 – 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Parkgate Community Centre, North Vancouver

 

404 and 606/608

February 13 – 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Ladner Community Centre, Delta

 

Did you know?

TransLink’s service optimization program is a critical part of managing the transit network to deliver more service with existing resources. In 2012, six million new rides were added to the system without additional investment. As a result, productivity increased by 3.4 per cent and total transit revenue grew by 3.5 per cent. Since the beginning of the program in 2010, more than 292,000 hours, or six per cent of total bus service hours in the region have been reallocated to better serve customers across Metro Vancouver!

Passenger queuing study at Commercial–Broadway Station

99 B-Line stop at Commercial–Broadway Station

99 B-Line stop at Commercial–Broadway Station

If you ride the 99 B-Line you’ve probably spent time in one of the big and muddled lineups at Commercial–Broadway Station. They’re long, disorganized and take up space from pedestrians trying to use the sidewalk.

With a million more people coming to the region over the next 30 years and the addition of the Evergreen Line in 2016, this stop is going to get even busier. That’s why we’re designing a new shelter and queuing system for the 99 B-Line stop at Commercial–Broadway Station. The shelter will be built as part of Phase 2 Upgrades at Commercial–Broadway Station (to be complete in summer 2016).

To make sure the design of the shelter and the queuing system meets the needs of passengers, we’re doing a passenger queuing study. It’s happening January 27-30 for the westbound 99 B-Line at Commercial–Broadway Station during peak morning hours.

Are you a 99 B-Line rider?

You can expect temporary changes to the queuing system for the westbound 99 B-Line bus stop at Commercial–Broadway Station during the study.

  • Lightweight barriers and pavement markings will be used to test different queuing systems
  • Queues for the 99 B-Line will be different each morning and there will be minor changes made during peak hours

Thanks for your patience over the next few days! A new queuing system is on its way! 

SkyTrain Station Upgrades Project

2014-01-10 SkyTrain Station Upgrades Buzzer Post

Click the picture for a full infographic!

Wondering why Main Street–Science World Station and Scott Road Station are under construction right now? Well, TransLink is upgrading seven key SkyTrain stations and exchanges to ensure the rapid transit system will meet the needs of passengers and the region for years to come.

The upgrades are happening at stations along the Expo Line, and while the stations were considered state of the art when the system officially launched in January 1986 (and subsequent extensions in 1987/88 and 1995/1996), the time has come for necessary upgrades. These upgrades will allow for enhanced accessibility including new or improved escalators and elevators, increased safety and security measures, and greater platform capacity.

What stations are being upgraded? 

The following seven SkyTrain stations along the Expo Line will be upgraded:

  • Main Street–Science World
  • Commercial–Broadway (Phase 2 Upgrades)
  • Joyce–Collingwood
  • Metrotown
  • New Westminster
  • Scott Road
  • Surrey Central and Bus Exchange

What to expect 

TransLink’s number one priority is the safety of the public, passengers, employees, and contractors and we’ll do everything we can to minimize the impact of construction to passengers.

Construction work is underway at Main Street–Science World and almost complete at Scott Road Station. SkyTrain service will operate normally during construction at Main Street–Science World with the exception of early 2014 to summer 2014 when SkyTrain will operate shuttle train service to Main Street–Science World Station. During this time, two–car trains will provide service to/ from Main Street–Science World Station via Waterfront and Commercial–Broadway Stations.

Construction is expected to begin at New Westminster Station, Commercial–Broadway Station and Metrotown Station later on this year. Work at Joyce–Collingwood stations is scheduled to begin in 2015 and Surrey–Central is still in the planning phase. Work will be complete at all seven stations by the end of 2016.

More information about the upgrades to all seven stations is available in the project backgrounder.

Stay in the loop!

We’ll be updating www.translink.ca/ontrack with information about construction and potential service impacts, and we’ll also share updates here at the Buzzer blog! More details on the Main Street shuttle train will be available later this winter.

Thanks for your patience as we make these much-needed station improvements!

Bus Driver Appreciation Day 2013 at Vancouver Technical School

Can you small the hot cocoa?

Can you small the hot cocoa?

What a morning I had watching students at Vancouver Technical School handout hot chocolate to #9 bus route operators!

Every year in December, students give out hot chocolate and a little gift to each mid-morning bus operator that stops in-front of the high school.

I’m told the tradition was started by a teacher at the school nearly twenty years ago and has been going strong ever since. The excitement was palpable this chilly morning filled with sing-a-longs to Christmas music classics. Students got out of bed early to get the hot chocolate ready to go for 7:00 a.m. And Judging from the honks from each bus and smiling operator the effort was greatly appreciated.

For a bit of history and a look at past years of the program, you’ll want to read these past two (2011 and 2012) blog posts.

A big thanks to all of the students and staff at Vancouver Technical School who were involved in this incredible slice of annual holiday cheer!

Spot the Reindeer Bus and Community Shuttle Contest and help TransLink spread some holiday cheer!

TransLink Reindeer Bus at Pan Pacific

The Reindeer Bus at Pan Pacific

You may have already seen these two cheerful transit characters around Metro Vancouver. The Reindeer Bus and Community Shuttle have been making there way on different routes in Metro Vancouver since mid-November and will continue to be in service into January. Have you spotted them yet?

The Reindeer Bus’ most recent public event appearance was visiting the Christmas Wish Breakfast, hosted by the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau at the Pan Pacific Hotel on December 11, 2013 (see picture). That particular Reindeer bus had Santa, Mrs. Claus and the bus operating elf Sparky inside.

The festive threesome also visited mystery stops between December 10-13 throughout Metro Vancouver; and will be part of the Toys for Tots campaign run on December 19-20. Both the Reindeer Bus and Community shuttle will deliver two buses full of new, unwrapped toys to the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau as part of its employee-driven Toys for Tots program. Toys for Tots was created in 1985 by a group of eight BC Transit bus operators out of the Surrey Transit Centre. TransLink and its employees are invited to donate to the cause throughout November and December.

Spot the Reindeer Bus or Shuttle and Win one of two monthly January 2014 FareCards!

Want to win? Send your picture our way of the Reindeer Bus or Shuttle in one of three ways:

1. Tweet it to @TransLink with the hashtag #TLReindeerBus.

2. Email it to thebuzzer@translink.ca and make sure to include #TLReindeerBus in the subject line.

3. Post it on our Facebook page with hashtag #TLReindeerBus.

* Remember to read our terms and conditions to get the specifics – contest terms and conditions.

We’ll be randomly drawing two winners on these dates:

Draw #1 will be on Friday, December 20, 2013. Cutoff for entries will be 11:59 p.m. on December 19, 2013.

Draw #2 will be on Friday, December 27, 2013. Cutoff for entries will be 11:59 p.m. on December 26, 2013.

There you go. Get those camera and phones out and snap some holiday transit magic and you might be getting an early or late Christmas present for your trouble!

Photo by Laura Wilby

Photo by Laura Wilby