For February 2013, we’re going back to basics with TransLink 101—explaining TransLink and its work!
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!
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!
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!
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)
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!
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!
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.
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 trailbetween 10AM and 2PM. See you there!
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.
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:
Contact the Vancouver Public Space Network at info [at] vancouverpublicspace [dot] ca.
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.
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.
(For visitors who may not know, SeaBus is our ferry service between downtown Vancouver and North Vancouver — yes, our public transit system involves boats!)
The biggest change for the service is 10-minute service using three SeaBuses, every day from 10 a.m. to half-past midnight. It’s a big change because for 33 years, SeaBus has only offered 15-minute service with its two existing vessels. Last year, however, a new SeaBus was built (the Burrard Pacific Breeze!) and is now joining in to boost service for the Olympic period.
I went down to see how everyone was doing with the new timing, and Chris, a supervisor of service delivery, said everyone was adjusting just fine, even though it’s the first time SeaBus has ever changed its scheduled sailings during its lifetime. (Can you believe it?)
And here’s a few more photos and tidbits from behind-the-scenes at SeaBus.
I was away for the launch of the new SeaBus, the Burrard Pacific Breeze on December 23. However, several lucky blog readers made it on board and sent along photos and commentary!
(By the way, I’m told that the Breeze doesn’t have a fixed “in service” schedule this week, as a bit more staff training on the new SeaBus is currently underway. However, for the week of January 11, the Breeze is expected to be in service from 6 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Just in case you’re trying to catch it!)
Dave Olson -- photo by Rebecca Bollwitt, a.k.a. Miss604.
Along with my co-conspirator Rebecca AKA Miss604, we rode out the inaugural voyage outside in the breeze, on the upper deck. Nope, you can’t go there. We were invited to the bridge, interviewed the first officer (b. 1979) and checked out the spacey-looking bridge controls before stepping outside for the journey. We leaned on the rails and I waved to passing boats like an old sea commodore, I just needed a pipe to complete the perfect Vancouver morning.
Dave also says he’ll have a podcast up soon about the Breeze – I’ll link to it once it’s up.
Trials and testing for the Burrard Pacific Breeze have been extended for another week, so as a result, the first official sailing of the new SeaBus has been moved to next Wednesday, December 23, at 10 a.m.
Unfortunately, this means a few people from the first draw now can’t make it. So now I have three spots on the SeaBus launch to give away. (The SeaBus will go into service immediately after the launch ceremony, btw!)
include your name and phone number (so I can contact you quickly!)
include the answer to this skill-testing question: 12 * 19 + 31 – 26
Key items to keep in mind:
One entry per person!
If you enter, you have to come to the launch – you can’t give your spot to anyone else.
No entries from employees of TransLink or its family of companies.
The event will start at Waterfront Station on Wednesday, Dec. 23 at 10 a.m., so you must be able to make it there in time.
This draw is only open to those in Canada.
Again, I’ll randomly draw three names from everyone who gets the correct answer and contact you on Friday. (All entries will be deleted after the draw is over — I won’t keep your personal info for anything.)