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Translink Buzzer Blog

Category: Buses

New community shuttle buses arrive for Bowen Island

The first of three brand-new community shuttles for Bowen Island entered service this week.

Hey Bowen Island! Exciting news—the first of three brand-new community shuttles has arrived.

Vehicle number 17549 entered service this past Wednesday on the C10 Bluewater and C11 Eagle Cliff routes after First Transit operators and management received a thorough operating orientation.

Over the next several weeks, the other two buses (vehicle numbers 17550 and 17551) will be commissioned and delivered.

These new 2017 Girardin G5 buses, manufactured in Quebec and built on a GM G4500 chassis, accommodates 20 seated passengers plus four standees and has space for two wheelchairs. They replace the existing 2012 models that have reached the end of their service life.

What’s new?

  • Improved interior, rear-mounted air conditioning unit and passenger heating system, upgraded front-mounted bike rack and an improved electronic destination sign
  • Larger passenger windows and upgraded emergency exits
  • A fold-up passenger seat, located immediately behind the operator, for storing strollers and large items
  • Improved seat covers that are more comfortable and easier to clean (identical to conventional buses)
  • An interior and exterior LED light package
  • A 6.0-litre Vortec fuel efficient, low-emission gas engine

What do you think about the new community shuttle buses? Let us know at translink.ca/feedback.

Author: Allen Tung

Where do our transit vehicles sleep at night?

Buses all settled and snuggled in for the night!

Our transit vehicles spend their days moving many people around Metro Vancouver, but have you ever wondered what happens to them after a long day of work? Each night, our SkyTrain vehicles, SeaBus vessels, buses and West Coast Express trains return to their homes for a well-deserved rest before they gear up for another busy day.

SkyTrain

From 2009: two generations of SkyTrain car inside our operations and maintenance centre near Edmonds.

For our Expo and Millennium Line vehicles, the end of the day means heading over to our Operations and Maintenance Centre (OMC) near Edmonds SkyTrain station. Eighteen vehicles stay on the line overnight, some along the Millennium Line and near King George Station.

With the opening of the Evergreen Extension, we now have a new OMC located between Inlet Centre and Coquitlam Central stations where we store and clean an additional 15 trains every night! As for our Canada Line vehicles, they return to the OMC near Bridgeport Station.

Trains start coming off the line in the evening reduced service times so cleaning can start at 7:30 p.m. and finish by 4 a.m. Crews work through the night cleaning, changing light bulbs, replacing seat covers and doing other maintenance as needed.

And, depending on the temperatures outside, some of the SkyTrains might even head over to our automated train wash (how fun is that?!?). It’s just like a car wash, but for SkyTrains!

Buses

A bus in the car wash at Surrey Transit Centre.

There are also washing stations for the buses in our transit centres across the region, where our buses go home at night. There are seven bus transit centres all over the region: one in Burnaby, West Vancouver, Vancouver, Surrey and Port Coquitlam, and two in Richmond.

Wim Beuk, maintenance director, says that the length of the nightly routine varies at locations, depending number of buses. “Surrey, for example, with 197 buses, will have approximately 13 service people each work night that work from 8 p.m. through to 5:30 a.m., fueling and cleaning the buses,” he says. “Maintenance trades staff for afternoons and night shifts will average approximately 18 people.”

West Coast Express

From 2010: the 6 a.m. West Coast Express train parked at Mission City Station.

Kyla Daman-Willems, Marketing and Customer Service Supervisor at West Coast Express, says their trains retire in Mission for the evening. There is a full yard there and a crew works on the trains over night. “They have them all clean and fueled up for 5 a.m.!” she says.

SeaBus

From 2010: the Burrard Pacific Breeze, sitting in one of the maintenance docks in Lonsdale Quay.

As for the SeaBuses, they head over to a couple of docks next to the Lonsdale Quay terminal for their nightly TLC.

One of the boats takes off early at 9:30 p.m. when the evening rush is over and gets a head start on maintenance and cleaning. Chris Bhardwaj, Supervisor, SeaBus Operations, says that head start also lets crews do major work if needed.

“Many times they even do an engine change over night,” he says, explaining that when needed, crews will take the whole engine out, replace it with a new one, and have the boat ready to go the next day.

All this means that by the time morning comes around, our vehicles are well-rested, fixed up, and ready to head out on the system to get back to work!

Have a question? Make sure to leave a comment below!

Author: Christina Jakopin

Once upon a chime

Have you ever wondered where the iconic SkyTrain chime came from? Well, today is your lucky day because we’ve got an answer for you!

Once upon a chime…

Our story dates back to 1984, a few years before SkyTrain was operational. As a driverless automated system with no train operator on-board to remind passengers that doors were about to close and the train was ready to depart, we realized the need for some kind of automated on-board message.

FYI: SkyTrain opened in January 1986, on schedule and on budget ($854 million) with an initial 21.4 kms (13.3 miles) of guideway, 15 stations and 114 SkyTrain cars!

Once the decision was made to create an automated message, the next step was to determine what the message would sound like. We tested out many different ideas and even experimented with real bells, but nothing seemed to sound just right.  Since SkyTrain is an automated, high-tech system, the feeling was that a reasonably conventional sounding chime was needed.

Fun fact! The SkyTrain chime isn’t just for SkyTrain! The same chime can also be heard on-board our buses!

We decided to test out some different versions of the chime using a digital synthesizer at Little Mountain Sound Studio. It took some time to come up with a tone that would be usable and would catch people’s attention. After many trials and errors, we decided that the chime would have three tones going up and would serve it’s purpose to draw passengers attention to the train departing and the doors closing.

Did you know that the SkyTrain chime was recorded in the same studio that AC/DC, Bryan Adams, Aerosmith and many other talented musicians recorded in?!

Listen to the SkyTrain chime

This post originally appeared as a podcast on The Buzzer Blog on December 1, 2008.

Author: Christina Jakopin

Hamilton Transit Centre turns 1 today!

One year ago today, Hamilton Transit Centre (HTC) opened its doors in Richmond and started operations! Transit centres are the hubs of our transit system and are one of the most important factors in sustaining the livability of Metro Vancouver. Transit centres also keep buses on the road and help keep you moving daily, all 400,000 of you!

HTC has helped take pressure off our other bus depots and allowed us to increase efficiency and capacity as Metro Vancouver continues to grow. Today, HTC represents an important and sustainable advance in the modernization of our infrastructure.

What makes Hamilton Transit Centre so great?

HTC has the capacity to accommodate 300 forty-foot buses and features a maintenance building, service delivery building, waste water treatment building, bus washing building and fueling building. HTC is a unique and innovative facility that was built to LEED Silver standards and has many sustainable features including salvaged, pine beetle wood ceilings and roofs which helps to support B.C’s timber industry, LED lighting, a heat-reflective roof and much more. These initiatives allow us to be greener while reducing operating and maintenance costs. Lighting design at the Hamilton Transit Centre has been developed to keep as much light as possible directed to the facility and not to the surrounding residential sites.

So what?

The addition of HTC has allowed us to increase efficiency and capacity which allows us to deliver new, annual service hours across the region as part of  the 10-Year Vision.

Did you know that as of September 4, we’ve added 105,000 new annual service hours across the region? To learn more, visit translink.ca/servicechanges to see the full list of improvements.

Author: Christina Jakopin

Fun poll results: Your favourite summer spots to visit with transit

The results are in! We asked you what your favourite summer spot is to visit with transit and with 27 per cent of votes, Stanley Park is your favourite summer spot!

Coming in second and not too far behind with 20 per cent of votes is “Other”. Granville Island and New Westminster River Market both tied for third place with 14 per cent of votes each.

If you answered other, where do you love to go with transit in the summer? Summer isn’t over yet so comment below and let us know!

Following the top three summer destinations are White Pine Beach and Lonsdale Quay, each with eight per cent of votes, Queen Elizabeth Park with four per cent of votes, and Kitsilano Beach and Capilano Suspension Bridge coming in with three per cent of votes.

Thanks to everyone for voting!

If you have an idea for a poll, comment below or email thebuzzer@translink.ca!

Author: Christina Jakopin

I Love Transit week 2017 is coming!!

Our favourite week of the year is quickly approaching! I Love Transit Week! Since 2009, we have shared interesting stories celebrating our riders, transit enthusiasts and all the things we love about transit over the course of a special week dedicated to just that, our love of transit!

In the past, we’ve celebrated I Love Transit with a vintage bus, a marriage and so much more! This year, we have a bus load of more fun transit love, appreciation and stories to share with you.

 

I Love Transit Week will be taking place from October 2 to October 6, 2017 and this year we’re doing things a little differently.

First, we’ve added a theme: Beyond – the future of transportation in Metro Vancouver!

Second, I Love Transit week will provide students in kindergarten through grade 12 free bus travel on any and all bus routes during I Love Transit Week (October 2 to October 6, 2017), you may have taken advantage of this during iWALK in previous years. 

Third,  I Love Transit Camp is back for its fourth year – with a twist. I Love Transit Camp will be held on a soon to be announced weekday in October and we’re launching a fun grand prize contest open to Metro Vancouver classes between grades 3 and 12, along with their teachers/associated staff for a chance to attend this years I Love Transit Camp. We’re also giving the opportunity for 11 Metro Vancouver school classes to win free day passes for their entire class!

Stay tuned…

Make sure to stay tuned to the Buzzer blog and our other social channels in the coming weeks to learn more about I Love Transit Camp and how your class can enter for a chance to win this exciting opportunity!

For the latest info, be sure to check out our social media channels
Twitter – Instagram – Facebook – Buzzer blog

Author: Christina Jakopin 

Your Guide to B.C. Day Holiday Service, Pride, Celebration of Light and more!

B.C. day is August 7 and that means a long weekend packed with events and of course, holiday transit service!

What’s happening this BC Day long weekend?

Honda Celebration of Light

The Honda Celebration of Light is one of Vancouver’s largest and most well-known festivals, and is recognized as the longest-running offshore fireworks competitions in the world. You can watch Canada put on a magical display of light on Saturday, August 5. For everything you need to know about the Celebration of Light, take a look here and here.

Vancouver Pride Festival

Vancouver Pride Week is on to paint the city in rainbows and celebrate the LGBTQ2+ community.

The Davie Street Block Party takes place on Friday, August 4 from 6 p.m. until midnight along Davie Street, between Burrard Street and Jervis Street.

Starting at 11 a.m., the Sunset Beach Festival happens on Sunday, August 6 at Sunset Beach.

One of Vancouver’s most impressive parades, the Pride Parade, takes place on Sunday, August 6 at noon at the corner of Robson Street and Thurlow Street. It proceeds west along Robson Street, then south down Denman Street and finally along Beach Avenue before finishing at Sunset Beach.

Look out for us in this historical, 1937 Hayes Anderson in the Pride Parade!

Harmony Arts Festival

The Harmony Arts Festival is a ten day long arts festival that begins this August long weekend on Friday, August 4. The festival is free and takes place in West Vancouver, along the water between Ambleside and John Lawson Park. The festival features live music, free nightly movies and art displays. To learn more, check out the Harmony Arts Festival website.

White Rock Sea Festival

Complete with live music, a torchlight parade, beachside yoga and fireworks, White Rock’s free Sea Festival takes place from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. on Saturday, August 5 and Sunday, August 6. For a complete list of activities and more information, go to White Rock Sea Festival.

Service Information

Celebration of Light Service

There will be added service for the finale of the Celebration of Light on Saturday, August 5. For more information on service changes, take a look here and be sure to check out our Buzzer blog post here for everything you need to know to have a fun and safe time at the Celebration of Light!

Vancouver Pride Parade

On Sunday, August 6 SkyTrain will have increased midday service from 8:30 a.m. until approximately 3 p.m. and will then move to the Sunday/Holiday schedule.

The Seabus and the Canada Line will operate regular Sunday hours and service.

Busses will operate regular Sunday hours and service, however there will be route changes to the 5 Robson and the 6 Davie to accommodate the parade route.

B.C. Day 

On Monday, August 7, Bus, SkyTrain, Canada Line and SeaBus services will operate on a Sunday/Holiday schedule. The West Coast Express will not operate.

Transit Tip: Holiday fares will be in effect. You only need a one-zone fare to travel across all zones!

Know before you go! For full detours and maps, visit translink.ca/alerts.
Help us plan your transit trip by using Trip Planner.
Have questions on the go? Tweet @TransLink or call us at 604.953.3333.

Author: Christina Jakopin

2016 Transit Service Performance Review: what are the top five routes in your area?

Last week, TransLink released the 2016 Transit Service Performance Review, a comprehensive look at ridership and service productivity for bus, SeaBus, SkyTrain and West Coast Express.

We know there’s tons of information in there to wade through so we’re back this week to share with you a couple more tidbits about boardings from the report!

What is a boarding?  A boarding is considered each time a passenger enters a fare paid zone using Compass fare media or any other proof of payment.

Read more »

Gearing up for a fun and safe Celebration of Light 2017 – Everything you need to know!

Each summer locals and tourists alike make their way to English Bay, the West End and Kits Point to be treated to the spectacular Honda Celebration of Light fireworks.

This year, starting at 10 p.m. each evening, the Celebration of Light will take place on:

  • Saturday, July 29 – Japan
  • Wednesday, August 2 – UK
  • Saturday, August 5 – Canada

More than 20,000 people take transit to and from the event each night, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead. Keep reading to familiarize yourself with everything you need to know to have a fun and safe evening at the Celebration of Light!

Increased Service

To get you to the fireworks in the safest and most convenient fashion, we have added additional bus and train service. For more information, take a look here.

TransLink Ambassadors

Do you have a question? Wondering which bus will get you to your destination or where the nearest SkyTrain station is? TransLink’s Ambassadors are here to help you! They have oodles of information to answer any questions that you have about the transit system. Word on the street is that they also come equipped with maps of the transit network.

Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for our TransLink Ambassadors, dressed in blue TravelSmart golf shirts! They will be out and about, at the Community Engagement Bus and at SkyTrain stations such as Burrard, Waterfront and Granville from 3:30 p.m. until 11:30 p.m.

Community Engagement Bus

You’ll also want to take in TransLink’s community engagement bus – it’s bright, playful and definitely hard to miss! Outreach teams will be on and around the bus to answer any transit related questions you may have! You can find the community engagement bus at Second Beach from 2 p.m. until 9 p.m. each night of the celebrations.

Transit Police

There will be additional Transit Police out and about to ensure everyone gets to and from their destinations safely! Our Transit Police have a mobile-friendly website to make it easy for you to say something, when you see something.

By visiting transitpolice.ca you are able to discreetly report a non-emergency police issue, contact us, download the SeeSay app or text 87-77-77.

 To stay up to date, you can follow along with a couple of our Transit Police for live tweets:

FYI: Since there will be an increase in riders on transit, take a look at our safety tips section to help keep yourself and your belongings safe while on transit.

Stay in the loop!

For more details, visit hondacelebrationoflight.com. For day-of information about the event, check Twitter at: @TransLink, @CityofVancouver, @VancouverPD, @VanFireRescue, @CelebOfLight. You can also follow along by using or searching the hashtag #CelebofLight.

Author: Christina Jakopin

Record numbers for the first half of 2017 puts TransLink on track for a record-breaking year!

With over 200 million boardings across the region for the first half of 2017 and more than 1.26 million average weekday boardings in the first three months of this year, it’s no surprise that TransLink is on track for record-breaking ridership!

We saw a 5.7 per cent increase this half of the year compared to the same period last year!

Ridership numbers from January 1 to June 30, 2017

  • SkyTrain: 74 million boardings (+ 11.9 per cent compared to same period in 2016)
  • Bus: 122.5 million boardings (+ 2.5 per cent compared to same period in 2016)
  • SeaBus: 2.7 million boardings (+ 5.7 per cent compared to same period in 2016)
  • West Coast Express: 1.2 million boardings (- 6.1 per cent compared to same period in 2016)

“This increase in ridership is great news, and builds on the growth we saw in 2016. It’s great to see people taking advantage of new service we started putting on the road in January,” said TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond. “I’m thrilled we’re in a position to continue adding even more transit service in coming months, including in September one of our largest single increases to bus service since the run-up to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.”

10-Year Vision

The addition of new transit service in 2017 as part of delivering on the 10-Year Vision is one of the driving attributes in this year’s boost in ridership. Since the beginning of 2017, we have added 89,000 bus service hours, focusing on the region’s most congested areas. Fall service changes coming this September will include the addition of new bus routes and will be the largest expansion since 2010 when we hosted the Olympic Winter Games! The Transit Service Performance Review is one of the tools that we use to direct change.

Transit Service Performance Review (TSPR)

Today, we released the findings of the 2016 Transit Service Performance Review (TSPR), a comprehensive review of ridership and service productivity for bus, SeaBus, SkyTrain and West Coast Express.

Have a read of the full 2016 Transit Service Performance Review yourself!

The data collected from the TSPR gives us valuable insights on boardings, ridership, transit trends and more. This data helps us identify opportunities to reduce overcrowding, improve performance and reliability and meet the needs of our customers as the region continues to grow.

Did you know? We gather data from multiple sources such as fare gates at SkyTrain stations and SeaBus terminals, automated passenger counter units on buses and Compass Card validators.

Increasing Ridership

We had record ridership in 2016, with 384.8 million boardings. This represents a 4.5 per cent increase over the previous year!

Ridership growth in 2016 was the largest since 2010, when the region hosted the Olympic Winter Games. This growth was likely due to strong economic activity, an increase in transit service hours and the launch of Compass Card.

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

  • Bus ridership continued to increase throughout the day, particularly during evenings and on Saturdays
  • Bus boardings increased 4.6 per cent to 239.6 million
  • All three SkyTrain lines experienced ridership growth. Canada Line boardings grew by 5.5 per cent, while boardings on the Expo and Millennium Lines grew by 4.1 per cent
  • Evergreen Extension stations saw steady ridership over their first four weeks of service, despite record snowfall

Did you know? System-wide ridership is measured in boardings and journeys. A boarding is considered each time a passenger enters a fare paid zone using Compass fare media or any other proof of payment. A journey is a complete transit trip using Compass fare media or any other proof of payment, regardless of the number of transfers.

Other trends identified during the 2016 Transit Service Performance Review include:

  • South of Fraser led all Metro Vancouver sub-regions in ridership growth – seeing a 10 per cent increase over the previous year. Much of this growth can be attributed to increased ridership of the 96 B-Line
  • With its 4.3 million annual boardings, up 15 per cent over 2015, the 96 B-Line had the largest increase in annual boardings of any route in the system
  • SeaBus boardings declined by 2.8 per cent in 2016, due to lower summer ridership. However, if SeaBus were a bus route, it would still rank as having the 11th highest boardings in all of Metro Vancouver

Want to learn more and keep up with how we’re meeting our goals? Check out the Accountability Centre.

Author: Christina Jakopin

Canada Day service—by the numbers


Photo mosaic by: translinkbc @ Mosaically

By land or by sea, Metro Vancouver residents flocked to the various public transit options to get to, from and around downtown Vancouver this past Canada Day. Compass Card data tells us that passengers tapped in and out approximately 182,000 times at Waterfront Station! That’s a nearly 190 per cent increase in the number of passengers travelling through on Saturday, July 1 compared to an average Saturday of the previous month.

Read more »

CMBC recognized as RCBC environmental champion

CMBC recognized as RCBC environmental champion

Harvinder Aujala (left), RCBC Information Services Manager, and Donna Bartel, CMBC Environmental Sustainability Manager

 

Each year the Recycling Council of BC (RCBC) hosts a celebration recognizing the valuable contributions made by individuals and organizations towards the preservation and protection of British Columbia’s environment. This year, Coast Mountain Bus Company (CMBC) was awarded the 2017 Public Sector Environmental Award for continued efforts in reducing environmental impacts.

Read more »

Bus Route Buzz: Seasonal Summertime Changes 2017

Bus Route Buzz

That’s right, folks. The Buzzzzzz is back.

We know y’all are hitting the beach this summer, and we’re making sure you can get there!

Summer service changes are happening on June 26, meaning more trips to the beach and fun summer destinations and a lot of other great improvements. Many of these improvements are courtesy of the 10-Year Vision – bringing approximately $2 billion in investments in transit and transportation in Metro Vancouver.

Let’s check out the seasonal changes taking place.

Read more »

The Transit Network Review Report is here!

Cover page
Back in February, we asked you, our riders and neighbours to weigh in on some proposed new bus routes in Silver Valley, Clayton Heights and Morgan Creek communities as well as changes to the 159 and 169 in Port Coquitlam–South Coquitlam.

Read more »

New electric bus rolls on Vancouver streets beginning May 15, 2017

You read that right! On Monday, May 15, 2017, a three-month test of an electric battery-powered bus will begin!

The bus, provided by BYD Canada at no cost to TransLink, uses slow-charge technology to provide enough power to drive approximately 250 kilometres on a single charge!

This trial is just one of the environmentally friendly bus technology tests TransLink plans to launch as part of our commitment to helping the region meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals.

The bus will snuggle in for its nightly charge at the Vancouver Transit Centre where our electric trolley fleet is based.

During the trial, we will be able to test the bus on our system, take a look at its performance according to the bus operators and maintenance crews as well as the satisfaction of the customers in order to determine our next steps with this technology.

DID YOU KNOW??

Almost half of TransLink’s fleet of 1,386 buses is comprised of cleaner-technology buses including 262 electric trolleys, 116 compressed natural gas (CNG) buses and 252 hybrid diesel buses.

BYD battery-electric bus fast facts!

  • Three hours charge time.
  • Battery designed to power bus for one-million kilometers before it needs replacing.
  • Highly efficient and powerful AC in-wheel hub motors provide instant torque to perform in all driving conditions.
  • Battery can also serve as a mobile generator.

Excited about this e-bus? We are too and we’re just getting started! TransLink is developing a Low-Carbon Fleet Strategy and we will be launching a second electric bus trial next year.

We’ll be sure to share all the details right here on the Buzzer blog.

WHERE CAN YOU CATCH THE BUS?

The BYD bus will be on various routes in Vancouver. On Monday, May 15th it will running on the #33 route. Other routes it may service over the next three months are the #25, #41 and #84. We’re going to try to get more specifics on the routes and will post that info right here on the blog.

Check out our Instagram story from today’s demonstration!

Read the media release about this bus trial here.

Author: Adrienne Coling