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Category: SeaBus

Burrard Otter II arrives in B.C. waters

Hey Buzzer readers,

As you know, the Burrard Otter II SeaBus arrived a couple of weeks ago after its long journey! Once it arrived, the next step was to unload the vessel off the BBC Vesuvius cargo ship and into B.C. waters.

The BBC Vesuvius docked at the Lynnterm Terminal in North Vancouver on July 31. The team at Western Stevedoring rigged the Burrard Otter II up that afternoon, and the unload began on August 1 around 8 a.m. Four hours later, Burrard Otter II was in B.C. waters and tugboats escorted the vessel to the shipyards where it will stay for the next bit during commissioning.

It’s not everyday you get to see a ship unloaded off of another ship, and it was a pretty neat process to watch. Check out the time lapse below to see a sped up version of the four-hour unload!

The Burrard Otter II will take over for the original Burrard Otter, which was built in 1976 and will be retired from active service once the Burrard Beaver is retrofitted. You can expect to see Burrard Otter II out in service once additional commissioning work and staff training is complete. It’s a great looking vessel, and we can’t wait for you to see it firsthand!

The Burrard Otter II is here!

Hey Buzzer readers!

The Burrard Otter II in the otter-filled Burrard Inlet

The Burrard Otter II in the Burrard Inlet

If you were out and about on the waters yesterday, there’s a good chance you saw the new SeaBus arrive! It made it in yesterday around 5:30 p.m. after it’s long journey and is currently waiting to be offloaded. We’ll update you once it’s in B.C. waters!

The Burrard Otter II is on its way!

UPDATE: The Burrard Otter II is getting closer! To track the cargo ship that it’s on, click here.

Hi Buzzer readers,

As you may remember, the new SeaBus, the Burrard Otter II, is on its way and it will arrive in the Burrard Inlet very soon. The vessel goes into service this fall and we’re excited to welcome it to our fleet!

How do you ship a ship? 

The Burrard Otter II finished sea trials in Singapore this past June and the next step was getting the vessel ready for its journey here. As powerful and tough as our SeaBuses are a trip from Singapore to Vancouver is a bit more than they are designed for so the Burrard Otter II was loaded onto a heavylift carrier. It’s been on a cargo ship making its way here since July 7.

Here are some photos to show you what’s involved in getting a SeaBus onto a cargo ship:

First, the vessel is hoisted out of the water

First, the vessel is hoisted out of the water

Then, she gets lowered onto the cargo ship

Then she gets lowered onto the cargo ship

Now she's all ready to begin her voyage from Singapore to Vancouver

Now she’s all ready to begin her voyage from Singapore to Vancouver

What happens once the Burrard Otter II arrives? 

The reverse process will happen once the Burrard Otter II arrives in Vancouver.

After the vessel is in local waters, it will go through some additional sea trials, and SeaBus employees will be trained on it. You can expect to see the Burrard Otter II out and about during August and September, and it will be ready for regular SeaBus operations later this fall.

Stay tuned for updates! 

We’ll be sure to update you once the vessel has arrived, so stay tuned for more pictures!

Introducing TransLink’s new SeaBus: the Burrard Otter II!

The new Burrard Otter II SeaBus! - Photo Courtesy of Henry Reeve, P. Eng of Robert Allan Ltd.

The new Burrard Otter II SeaBus! – Photo Courtesy of Henry Reeve, P. Eng of Robert Allan Ltd.

Introducing: Burrard Otter II, our new SeaBus, which is scheduled to go into service this fall.

The Burrard Otter II is the first SeaBus to be built to a Classification Society Standard (Lloyd’s Register), and it was designed by noted Vancouver, BC-based Naval Architectural firm Robert Allan Ltd.

The vessel has just completed sea trials in Singapore, and soon will be prepared for shipment to Vancouver.

Photo Courtesy of BBC Chartering

Photo Courtesy of BBC Chartering

How will it get here?

The Burrard Otter II will be loaded onto a heavylift carrier similar to this one.

The cargo ship will make a few stops at other ports before delivering the new SeaBus to the Port of Metro Vancouver by late July.

What’s next?

Once it arrives, the Burrard Otter II will go through more sea trials to make sure it’s running properly after such a long journey.

SeaBus employees then will be trained on operations and maintenance of the new vessel.

Following an inspection by Transport Canada, the Burrard Otter II will go into regular service, currently scheduled for fall.

Burrard Otter - Photo Courtesy of SeaBus Marine Attendant Shirley DeRusha

Burrard Otter – Photo Courtesy of SeaBus Marine Attendant Shirley DeRusha

What about the other SeaBuses?

The Burrard Otter II will share duties with the Burrard Pacific Breeze, which made its maiden voyage on December 23, 2009.

The original Burrard Otter will be retired from active service, and the Burrard Beaver will be retrofitted ($1 million) and used as a spare vessel.

How much did the Burrard Otter II cost?

The Burrard Otter II will cost just over $22 million. This includes the cost of design and construction, as well as import duties.

Ninety percent of the cost or about $20 million was funded through a Federal government contribution (Gas Tax), and TransLink funded the remaining 10% (or about $2 million).

Burrard Otter II by the numbers

Passenger capacity: 395 + 4 crew

Size:

  • Length: 34.29 m (112’ 6”)
  • Width: 12.65 m (41’ 6”)
  • Depth: 3.57 m (11’ 8”)
  • Tonnage: Lightship weight is 164 tonnes (net), 453 (gross)

Engine:

  • Type of engine:  4 x MTU/Detroit Diesel Series 60
  • Horsepower (300 kilowatts each x 4):  400 hp x 4 = 1600 hp

SeaBus Fast Facts

  • Average daily ridership (2013): 16,600
  • Total boarded passengers in 2013: 6,044,955.
  • Operating cost (2013): $10.3 million
  • Sailings/Crossings a year (2013): 43,920
  • SeaBus officially went into service : June 17, 1977.
  • Distance per trip: 3.24 km (1.75 naut. mi.)

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.

TransLink 101: Where do our transit vehicles sleep at night?

TransLink 101 blog feature series banner

For February 2013, we’re going back to basics with TransLink 101—explaining TransLink and its work!

Buses settled in for the night.

Buses settled in for the night, in a photo from about 2006.

You ride our buses and trains during the day, but what happens when they go home at night?

Well, just like the rest of us, our vehicles need some downtime and TLC at the end of a long day of work. Each night, our SkyTrains, buses, SeaBuses and West Coast Express trains retire to their own resting places for a well-deserved break. Read on to find out just what happens!

SkyTrain

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

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

For most of our SkyTrains, the end of the day means heading over to our Maintenance and Storage Facility near Edmonds SkyTrain station (15 stay on the line overnight, some along the Millennium Line and near King George Station).

George Booth, vehicle supervisor, says 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!

Read more »

We’re building a new SeaBus!

The newest SeaBus will look a lot like the Burrard Pacific Breeze - Photo by Charlotte Boychuk.

It’s official. We’ve awarded a contract to have a second replacement SeaBus built!

Why we need a new SeaBus

The Burrard Beaver and Burrard Otter are now both over 35 years old and nearing the end of their lifespans. Back in 2010, the Burrard Pacific Breeze was put in service as our very first replacement SeaBus since we started serving the North Shore from Vancouver via the Burrard Inlet in 1977! Over these past two years, the Burrard Pacific Breeze has helped relieve some of the pressure on our two older SeaBus work horses. Both the Burrard Beaver and Otter are safe and certified by Transport Canada. However, they don’t comply with all current marine standards. Instead of retrofitting these vessels, it was determined back in 2009 that the best course of action was to have a second SeaBus built in order to keep the fleet in good working condition.

Info about the new vessel

The new vessel will be built by Damen Shipyards Group. Damen was awarded the bid as a result of a process that looked a number of factors including cost and experience. The new SeaBus will be based on the design of the Burrard Breeze, but it will be updated to improve efficiency and operations. Part of those improvements are in air quality emissions

Roll out of the new SeaBus

Fall 2014 is when we expect the new SeaBus to be in service. At that time, the plan is to retire the Burrard Otter. The Burrard Beaver will remain in service as a spare vessel since it is in better shape than the Otter and underwent a retrofit in 2011.

For more info, you’ll want to check the press release. We’re very excited about this new vessel, and I’ll be updating all of you on any major developments as we get closer to seeing the new vessel completed!

How do you find out if your regular transit route changes?

Could this man be phoning customer service about a change to his bus route?

I don’t want to believe it, but September is quickly approaching. Every fall we makes changes to our transit service. And every summer, we at TransLink talk amongst ourselves about how best to communicate those changes.

Regular readers of the blog and Buzzer newsletter know that we post and print these changes. However, we know that not everyone reads the blog or the newsletter (it’s shocking, we know).

In anticipation of this year’s September service changes, we’d love to know how you get your service change information. More specifically, how do you find out about changes to the transit route(s) you regularly use?

We’d also like your suggestions on how we can better inform riders of service changes. Take the poll and leave a comment with your thoughts. Let’s get more people in the know, so, come September, there are fewer surprises!

If your regular transit route changes, how do you usually find out?

  • translink.ca (45%, 55 Votes)
  • Buzzer blog (33%, 40 Votes)
  • signage at bus stop (32%, 39 Votes)
  • Buzzer newsletter (17%, 21 Votes)
  • Twitter (15%, 18 Votes)
  • I only find out when the transit service actually changes (15%, 18 Votes)
  • printed time table (7%, 8 Votes)
  • bus operator (6%, 7 Votes)
  • friends, family, colleagues or other students (4%, 5 Votes)
  • TransLink customer service (4%, 5 Votes)
  • newspaper (3%, 4 Votes)
  • other (3%, 4 Votes)
  • printed leaflets (2%, 3 Votes)
  • radio (2%, 3 Votes)
  • TransLink staff providing in-person outreach about changes (2%, 2 Votes)
  • TV (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Facebook (1%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 123

 

 

 

 

 

SeaBus turns 35!

A SeaBus advertisement from 35 years ago. Here's another picture of the orange SeaBus!

This Sunday, June 17 isn’t just Father’s Day everyone, it’s also the SeaBus’ birthday! Yup, it’s been almost 35 years of service between the North Shore (North Vancouver) and downtown Vancouver via the Burrard Inlet. I don’t get to take the SeaBus as often as I used to, and regular users might not feel the same as myself, but every time I take it I feel like I’m on some sort of adventure!

A lot has changed for SeaBus over the past few years. Some recent milestones are a new SeaBus (the Pacific Breeze), a new look for The Beaver and the the Lonsdale Quay awning, our AGM on the SeaBus and temporary 10-minute service to accommodate the large 2010 Winter Olympics crowds. In celebration of this great occasion, here’s some interesting trivia about our bus on the water:

  • We are getting close to 5.4 million crossings
  • The busiest day for the SeaBus was during the Olympics – roughly 48,000 people boarded the SeaBus using three boats
  • Our second highest passenger crossings in one day was 42,000 people on August 8, 2001 – it was one of three days of free transit using two boats
  • We still have two Sea Bus employees who were part of the original group in 1977 – they are both Captains
  • The SeaBus terminals were the first two transit locations to have automated fare machines
  • The SeaBus fare 35 years ago was 35 cents and the fare machine would actually photocopy the coins you inserted and produce a cash register style receipt as proof of payment (here’s a post with pics of the machine!)

As noted, the SeaBus has moved thousands of people over the years and many stories can be told about it. We’d love to hear your stories about the good old boat. So, please, share them with us!

SeaBus looks pretty good for 35!

Edit: the old ticket machine from 1977!

The old ticket machine from 1977!

Hey — our friends over at SeaBus and CMBC passed along this photo of the old ticket machine from 1977. One of our staff brought it into the SeaBus offices for the 35th anniversary!

The Burrard Beaver SeaBus gets a new look

The Burrard Beaver's new look. Photo by Laura Wilby.

One of our older SeaBuses, the Burrard Beaver, got a new look last week!

Chris Cassidy of Bus Shots fame kindly shared these photos of the Beaver in TransLink’s new colour scheme (also known as “livery”), matching the Burrard Pacific Breeze, which is the newest member of the SeaBus family. (For comparison, here’s pictures of the Pacific Breeze’s first sailing!)

Chris also had a few more shots to share: read on to see them below. I’ve also included a pic of the SeaBus’s old livery.

Read more »

Brad Jacobsen, BC Paraplegic Assoc., talks about what accessible transit means to him

Brad_Jacobsen

Brad Jacobsen is with the BC Paraplegic Association's Peer Program

Access Awareness Day was last Saturday, but TransLink has been focusing on accessible transit all last week and into this week with public events like the one at Metrotown tomorrow, June 8 at 10a.m. – 2p.m., and the Seniors Transit Program on June 9 and 16 from 9a.m. to 3p.m.

As part of our accessibility focus, I wanted to chat with someone who uses a wheelchair and knows our transportation system intimately. Brad Jacobsen is with the BC Paraplegic Association’s Peer Program. He’s also the creator of the Bus Stop Hop, an annual event that teams up able-bodied people with people who use mobility aids to partake in an Amazing Race-style competition on public transit.

It’s a pretty cool race with an aim to help people in need of accessible transit overcome their fear of it and for able-bodied people to better understand what accessible transit is all about.

Here is an excerpt from our conversation:

Brad, tell me about your injury and what happened afterwards.

I broke my neck on the May Long Weekend in 1994 in a diving accident. I dove into a glacier river in Pemberton trying to get a Frisbee. I was instantly paralyzed and left floating in the spring run off. I was able to hold my breath until a friend got me. My life took a different direction after that. I was 24 and was just accepted into BCIT’s broadcast journalism program and was thinking of becoming a teacher one day.

You know, when I finally realized what had happened, I faced my challenge head on. I thought I could overcome my disability. So I just pushed myself and did as much as I could as fast as I could. I moved out as soon as I finished rehabilitation, I got my own place and I got a job with BC Ferries.


Tell me about the challenges you face with mobility.

Working at BC Ferries, I worked eight days on/four days off without the use of the HandyDart system. At the time, it was difficult to get across boundaries, so I had to use accessible transit, which back in 1994 was still new. Not all the buses were accessible. Often, I had to wait for long periods of time when buses were full or broken down. I was often the first in line, but I wouldn’t be able to get on when the able bodied people behind me could. My eight-hour days at work were 11 hours if there weren’t any problems. Managing all the things you have to do as a quadriplegic with a spinal cord injury and being at work… was challenging but worth it.

What’s the Bus Stop Hop all about?

One of the main challenges with trying to have events was people [with physical challenges] saying that they can’t get there. There was always the excuse of no transportation, yet right under our noises was this amazing transportation system.

We were always trying to do creative things, trying to make people learn and gain confidence in a fun way. That was about the time when the Amazing Race was popular on TV, so we created an event that took the mystique out of the transit system. We got people in wheelchairs paired with a peer in a wheelchair, along with people from TransLink and a friend or family member to make teams of four. They race around the city in four different modes of transportation. Three modes are directly related to TransLink, the SeaBus, SkyTrain, and the bus system. We also incorporated the Aquabus in False Creek. We created this fun scavenger hunt/race around Metro Vancouver including Burnaby, Metrotown, and UBC. We’re going to have 15 teams this year. All the trolley buses have been accessible since 2008, so that makes the race even bigger [than earlier years]. Now, we also incorporate the Canada Line.

In this 10th year, we want to invite more executives and community partners. In the past, we have had a lot of participation from upper management at TransLink.

When is it this year?

This year it will be on August 7th, 2011. We’ll have some people who competed last year and some new people. We’ll have some people who are very competitive and some that just want to overcome their fears and just get on a bus. Having someone get on a bus on a crowded weekend along with able-bodied people can illustrates the difficulties people with physical challenges have when using transit.

Thanks for taking the time to speak with me, Brad!

Brad told me that the teams for this year’s Bus Stop Hop have not yet been finalized, so do check out the Bus Stop Hop page on the BC Paraplegic Association website. And remember that if you’d like to try out getting on a bus in a wheelchair or using a bike rack, come on down to Metrotown tomorrow, June 8, 2011, for the accessible bus trail between 10AM and 2PM. See you there!

SeaBus gets a new awning at Lonsdale Quay!

The new SeaBus awning!

Note: This is a scheduled post as I’m away this week, returning Monday April 11, 2011. If you need to reach TransLink info or staff, see this post!

SeaBus riders may have noticed that we installed a new awning at Lonsdale Quay last week!

The old awning was due for a refresh, as it was over 15 years old and still in the B.C. Transit colours. The new one has the modern SeaBus branding, plus a colourful new look. Hope you’re enjoying it!

The old SeaBus awning, now retired!

Celebrate Halloween on the SeaBus with the VPSN, Friday October 29, 8pm

Pirates of the SeaBus! VPSN pirates good-naturedly took over the SeaBus in 2008. Photo by JMV.

Dress up and join the Vancouver Public Space Network for a ride on the SeaBus, this Friday, October 29!

Every year, the Vancouver Public Space Network (VPSN) takes its followers on transit for a fun Halloween ride. For three years, they’ve been on the SkyTrain, so this year they’re changing things up and taking to the water.

Here’s the details from the VPSN website and blog:

We’ll be riding the boat to North Vancouver, engaging in a little North Van public space take-over, and then returning. You’ll be back in Van between 9:00 and 10:00 (exact schedule still being determined).

Time to get inventive with costumes. Show up in your best Halloween finery. There’s no set theme, so get as naughty or nautical as you like.

Show up at the Seabus Terminal at Waterfront Station at 8:00pm. The Seabus will leave promptly at 8:15.

Some Things to Keep In Mind:

  • The Translink folks have been good to us over the years – let’s keep that fine relationship going! Remember to buy your fare or bring your U-Pass. And if you see a Coast Mountain / Seabus official, be sure to say thanks.
  • Be kind to the Seabus. It’s a fine space for a party, but please remember to pack out whatever you bring with you.
  • Not everyone who will be riding the Seabus with us is there for the party — or at least, they haven’t been forewarned. Help to share the good times. Do not maul, bite, or zombify other passengers unless asked to do so.
  • Remember, this is a public space party, not a kegger at your friends place. All the normal rules of good behaviour apply. We’re also a bit selfish in that regard – as we want to make sure we can continue to offer these parties in the future as well. (You can also lend a hand in this regard: if you see someone doing something stupid, tell ‘em to save it for later.)
  • We are not running an afterparty ourselves, but if you’ve got one that you want us to promote jet us an email. We’ll post links and details here.

Just to be clear, this is not a TransLink-sponsored event, so any event questions should be directed to the VPSN! For more information, they have provided these handy links:

Have a fun and spooky SeaBus ride!

Two great SeaBus videos

So Jason Priestley took the Today Show on the SeaBus and named it one of his favourite things about Vancouver! The scene is right in the middle of the clip above — I’ve chosen to embed the whole thing because it’s fun to see Jason Priestley recommend stuff around the city :) There’s a related article over at the NBC website too.

Second, this video captures an impromptu chorus of O Canada on the SeaBus during the Games! I hear this is happening a lot on transit, so it’s nice to see it captured.

Checking in with SeaBus, Mon Feb 15 at 10 a.m.

Transit host Vince helps out a customer.

Transit host Vince helps out a customer.

I checked in with staff over at SeaBus at around 10 a.m. this morning, just to see how things are going.

It turned out Sunday was the biggest day ever for SeaBus, with 55,000 trips counted! Tegan and Vince, the transit hosts stationed over at Lonsdale Quay, said the sunny weather, celebration sites, sports events, and Chinese New Year brought huge numbers of locals to the SeaBus. Many were also heading in the opposite direction up to Cypress or Whistler. (There’s an Olympic departure hub at Lonsdale Quay, connecting spectators to Cypress and Whistler through the Olympic bus network.)

All in all, it was a very intense day — Tegan said she helped so many people at once that she started feeling rather bleary-eyed toward the end of it.

Read more »