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Category: SkyTrain

Earth Day – celebrating “green” across the system

Earth Day is April 22 Photo courtesy of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center

Earth Day is April 22
Photo courtesy of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center

Earth Day has always been something near and dear to my heart.

Ever since I saw FernGully: The Last Rainforest when I was nine years old. Remember FernGully??

From that moment, I believed that even the smallest change in our individual lives can make a larger difference. So, I try to reduce, reuse, recycle, cut down on energy usage and choose “green” options in my life wherever I can.

At TransLink, we care about how our operations impact the environment!

The latest green initiative and commitment to environmental sustainability comes from BCRTC – the operating company in charge of SkyTrain.

In an effort to further reduce its energy consumption, BCRTC implemented a project to replace 10 manual heater controls at the Operations & Maintenance Centre (OMC) yard.

In the OMC Yard, 10 of the track switch heaters were manually controlled. Meaning, during the winter months (November 1 – February 28), these heaters were switched on regardless of the conditions, resulting in an inefficient energy use.

Enter Wayside Technical Analyst, Jan Kruger. Jan designed a new system for the Automated Track Switch Heater Controller (ATSHC).

They introduced a single controller that replaced the mechanical thermostats for 37 additional track switch heaters in the OMC yard.

Over the past three years, this project has produced an energy reduction of 2,176,806 kWh, saving $141,493 in energy related costs.

In total, the project allowed 47 yard switches to work more efficiently in terms of both cost and energy consumption, saving about $60,000 per year.

I think Batty, Crysta and everyone from FernGully would be very proud!

Vancouver Sun Run 2015

 

Sun Run photo

More than 50,000 people expected at 31st annual Vancouver Sun Run.

The Vancouver Sun Run is upon us. This Sunday, in fact!

This is Canada’s largest 10K road race and has been such since it started in 1985.

Considering its size, lots of routes will be affected to clear the way for all the participants.

This may affect your transit trip on Sunday so make sure you know before you go!

Our alerts page has the full list detours and changes.

For runners and cheering sections, the Expo and Millennium Lines will start service half an hour earlier.

SeaBus will begin at 7 am running on a 15 minute schedule until 3 pm when it will return to a regular Sunday schedule.

To prevent long line-ups after the Sun Run, SkyTrain riders 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 Station, Granville Station, Vancouver City Centre Station and Yaletown-Roundhouse Station after the race.

For more information and a map of the affected area, take a look at the event posting on the TransLink’s website.

Looking for some inspiration to get ready for next year’s race?
Check out this training blog from the Vancouver Sun.

Transit has got you covered for the playoffs!

GO CANUCKS GO!

First round of playoffs start tonight at Rogers Arena

Heyyyyyyyyy Canucks fans! Guess what?

SkyTrain service on both the Expo and Millennium Lines is boosted for the playoffs starting with game one tonight against the Flames.

Additional trains will be in service and will continue if the game goes into overtime.

Don’t worry drivers, we haven’t forgotten about you! The PNE has graciously offered their parking lot – FOR FREE – for those commuting to the game.

Lot #16 is located across from the Playland main entrance. Vehicles can enter lot off Pender Street.

So, forget about crazy downtown game night traffic. Keep your sanity and use the Park & Ride!

Commuters can then hop on a variety of frequent buses that stop near Rogers Arena.

From Park & Ride to Rogers Arena:

  • Catch either the 14 UBC or 135 Burrard Station bus on Hastings at Windermere.
    Buses arrive at this stop every 7-12 minutes.

Return Trip from Rogers Arena to PNE Park & Ride lot:

  • Catch the 135 SFU on Hastings at Cambie Street, or on Hastings at Carrall street. Buses will be operating on 15-minute service at this time.

Looking for other ways to take transit to the game? Know before you go! Take a look at our Trip Planner and find your best route.

Oh, and one more thing…………

GO CANUCKS GO!!!!

John Atkin: SkyTrain Explorer

John Atkin leading a walk on Eveleigh St in Vancouver Photo courtesy of Wendy Cutler

John Atkin leading a walk on Eveleigh St in Vancouver
Photo courtesy of Wendy Cutler

This is the man, folks. John Atkin.

He wrote the book SkyTrain Explorer: Heritage Walks From Every Station and he’s the inspiration for me to walk those walks from Waterfront station to New Westminster station.

I’ve already have one in the can and you can read about my experience here.

I got the chance to sit down for a coffee with John on a rainy afternoon and discuss all things Metro Vancouver, how this book came to be and what he loves to explore.

Why SkyTrain stations?

Because it was arbitrary. *laughs* It came out of a discussion from a series of walks called “How to Look at Neighbourhoods.” It was a little bit of history, a little bit of development. But the idea was to get people out to look. At the end of one walk, someone told me that they wished their area was interesting. Turns out they lived right by the Nanaimo SkyTrain station.

The next walk, we met at the station and they were convinced nothing was there but we walked through a landscape of Vancouver Specials, the evolution of the area and found many fascinating little pockets. At the end of the walk, she was shocked (and pleasantly surprised) that there was all that in her own backyard. Everyone wanted to do another station and so we did!

What lead to the book itself?

After Vancouver Walks (with Michael Kluckner) was published, the publisher asked if I was interested in doing anything else. I said I was doing a few walks from the stations and they said, “That’d be cool!”

Riding the SkyTrain, I was always looking over, out the windows, wondering. When I had spare time I’d be on the train and randomly say, “well, let’s get off at the 4th stop.” Then just look around as I meandered. Turns out, other people wanted to do that too.

Why did you do the Expo Line and only to New West?

It was the original line. What I wanted to do is do that 1985 line. The idea was that we’d do the extension and the Millennium Line for the next one. Local publishing has changed but I do want to finish. I really do want to finish the Expo Line one day.

With the Millennium line, it’s tough right now to draw things out of some areas and stations. But that’s changing. There’s lots of Vancouver influence in those areas. I made tons of notes but I just couldn’t string it together yet. So, maybe if I just wait a long time, there will be lots to explore there!

What were the most interesting spots for you to walk and write about?

Edmonds was really interesting because it was semi-rural at the time. Big lots with small houses. And there was this creeping townhouse culture starting to show up but at the same time old Kingsway was still there. There was also this picture perfect shopping mall right out of the 1960s with an open courtyard and front facing shops.

That was a cool find. Actually, I went out originally and I wrote it all up, a great route. When I came back 8 months later to fact check it had all changed! That was a big development year for them.

Then, I guess, Royal Oak. It was one of those places that hadn’t yet taken off. The landscape was changing even when I was writing the book. At the time you could see grocery store, church, hardware store, house, house, house. It was the interurban stall that existed that just doesn’t now.

What advice would you give someone who wants to follow your guidance with the book… or break out and find their own walks?

It’s about going out and being curious about space. Just be curious. I can’t go anywhere without poking.

If you’re following the book, we published a while ago so you should keep in mind. You may look and think, “Whoops! Where’d that go?” We tried as much as possible in the book to give that indication that things will change. It’s inevitable!

If you’re doing it by yourself, the thing is, you make that decision when you’re out of the station, choose a direction and start walking.

Keep your eyes open. I think so often we’re so busy that we so rarely walk for the purpose of going nowhere.

I like going nowhere! By going nowhere you are really looking at your environment. You can start to see little things like a house may be older because it’s set far away from the street or that is a style very reminiscent of a certain era. Even the most seemingly boring space is interesting.

Part of the reason of choosing the SkyTrain is that it was, as I explained, a completely arbitrary structure.

Most people get on and go from A to B without any thought to what’s in between. It’s that idea of just being curious. As things change and the region develops, I think it’s a good idea to get to know an area that isn’t yours.

Beyond SkyTrain stations and areas in Metro Vancouver, what else do you like to explore?

I’m a big fan of shopping mall design. When we travel, we go to shopping malls.

We were in Beirut and we hiked way off into the Northern part of the city because there’s a new mall that just opened and we wanted to go see it. It had five or six floors but you entered at the top of a big hill and it was built all the way down the hill.

It was open air and you worked your way down the side of the hill in the mall. It was so interesting and something I’ve never seen before.

Malls are more interesting than you’d think. You can tell a lot about an area by the development of their malls!

Thanks to John for the afternoon chat and all the information about the book and our region.

He has definitely sparked a new interest for me and I am truly curious about the sidewalks, buildings, bridges and neighbourhoods of our region.

I can’t wait to get out there for my next SkyTrain explorer walk!

If you’re interested in joining John on one of his varied walks around the region, you can register here.

Stay tuned later this month for my Burrard station adventure.

Friday fun guest post: Crushed Cheerios finds adventure on the Millennium Line

SkyTrain at VCC-Clark Station

Families have endless options for fun on the Millennium Line!

Crushed Cheerios is back for part two of the adventures on the SkyTrain! Last time she took us for a ride on the Expo Line. This time, we travel with Tasha and her boys along the Millennium Line. Stay tuned for the final post in this series about the Canada Line coming soon!


A couple of weeks ago I posted a list of Expo Line adventures. Here is a list of some of my favourites along the Millennium Line!

VCC-Clark

  • China Creek – A great little  area for spending a day at the park. You can play soccer, draw with chalk, have a picnic and play at the playground. It’s a short walk from the SkyTrain.

Commercial-Broadway

  • Trout Lake Community Centre – Like many of the recreation centres in Metro Vancouver, there’s a drop in most days of the week (generally they are Mon-Sat, but vary from location to location) It’s a great place to run off some steam and enjoy some socialization for both kids and adults.
  • Trout Lake – There’s a great playground located next to the community centre. There’s a sandy beach area along the mini-lake that you can splash in during the summer or build sandcastles year round. It has lots of green space to play sports, have a picnic or play fetch with your dog.

CheeriosMill1Brentwood

  • Brentwood Mall – There’s an indoor play area that is fun for little ones at the mall. It can sometimes get really busy, though – and parents will sometimes allow their older, rambunctious children to terrorize through there. Avoiding peak times is ideal! If you go first thing in the morning or during the typical nap time, it can be pretty peaceful.
  • Confederation Park – this is a bit of a walk from the SkyTrain station but so definitely worth it!! I used to live about a 40 minute walk from here and would go often with my first, when he was only ten months old. It’s got a library, swimming pool/recreation centre, running track, trails, water park, playground and big open fields to play on. There’s also a model steam train close by (seasonal, I believe – check before going!) It’s a great park to spend an hour – or the entire day.

Sperling-Burnaby Lake

  • Burnaby Lake – This was a favourite walking place pre-baby and pre-mobile baby. We lived close by and would venture there once a week to walk about 10km. There are duck ponds and plenty of paths to choose from (you can walk anywhere from 2km to 15km following the different paths) There’s also a handful of bathrooms along the route.

 

CheeriosMill2Lougheed

  • Lougheed Mall – Coming in March 2015, is an indoor playground inside the mall. I am not talking the little tiny play areas meant for young children. I would say this is aimed for 5-8 year olds. Great for rainy days (though I would much prefer to get my child outside to play, I like the idea of a park in the mall for rainy days/running errands) This mall also has an indoor play area for younger kids.
  • Blue Mountain Park – Again, not quite immediate SkyTrain area, but worth the 30 minute walk! It’s a fun little playground and spray park. I’ve gone a few times with my oldest, the most recent time at almost two years old, and he’s loved it every time. He enjoyed the “bumpy slide” and sitting atop of the horse statues.

 

CheeriosMill3Braid

  • Hume Park – Another day-trip park. There’s a spray park, a couple of playgrounds, a dog-park, fields and an outdoor playground. There are some paths for exploring and a creek you can splash in.
  • IKEA – Not to be totally nerdy, but this is MY favourite place. And D actually asks to go here at least once a month. It may not sound exciting, but it’s the perfect place to explore on a rainy weekday. Cheap breakfast, fun little areas to explore and if your kids are tall enough, you could drop them off at the play area while you do a bit of shopping. Don’t forget the frozen yogurt on the way out (which I swear is the only reason D requests to go! HA!)

Sapperton

  • Sapperton Landing Park – Enjoy a scenic walk along the water, just steps from the SkyTrain station. There are viewpoints as you walk the stretch to sit and look out at the Fraser River – two out of the three times we’ve gone, we got to see seals (or maybe they were sea lions?) swimming past us! My oldest loves watching the train cross the bridge from this walking trail. There are bridges to cross, which is also another huge hit for my two year old!

There’s many other things to do at the SkyTrain stops along the Millennium Line. Do you have any other favourites?

Metrotown Station elevator out of service Feb. 26

Hey buzzer readers!

2015-02-19 Metrotown elevator post

Accessibility upgrades are underway at Metrotown Station

With site preparation works underway, the contractor is preparing for construction of the Metrotown Station and Exchange Upgrades to begin. In the first phase of construction, crews will focus on building the new Centre Stationhouse, including new elevators and stairs. In order for this work to happen, the elevator at Metrotown Station will be taken out of service for approximately one year beginning Feb. 26.

UPDATE Two bus shuttles will service the station 

While the elevator is out of service, two bus shuttles will service the station for passengers who require the use of an elevator.

  • Passengers with disabilities can take a HandyDART shuttle between the Metrotown and Patterson HandyDART stops.
  • Passengers travelling with strollers can take a Community Shuttle to Metrotown Station from Patterson or Royal Oak Station.

The shuttles will run approximately every 15 to 20 minutes during the following times:

  • Monday to Friday: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Saturday: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Sundays & holidays: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Here's where the HandyDART shuttle stops are

Here’s where the HandyDART shuttle stops are

Demand for the shuttles is expected to be high; passengers taking the services should allow for extra time when planning their travel, especially during peak periods.

We realize that many of our customers will be affected by the elevator closure, which was the best solution to avoid a full closure of Metrotown Station. We thank everyone for their patience while we complete these much-needed upgrades. When complete, the station will be more accessible, safe and secure, and improve the experience of the thousands of people who use the station every day.For more information about the Metrotown Station and Exchange Upgrades, visit translink.ca/metrotown.

Friday fun guest post: Crushed Cheerios finds adventure on the Expo Line

Lots to see and do along the Expo Line!

Lots to see and do along the Expo Line!

We’re very pleased to have a guest post this week, which is part one in a three-part series. Tasha, the author behind the mommy blog Crushed Cheerios, took her two boys along the Expo Line to see what they could see and do what they could do! She has some great ideas and suggestions for loads of fun that can work for families using the TransLink system around Metro Vancouver. Stay tuned for her adventures on the Millennium and Canada Line coming soon!


SkyTrain Line Adventures: Expo Line

Looking for fun things to do around town?

Hop on the train and pick one of the many stations along the line to explore!

Waterfront Station :

  • SeaBus – The SeaBus runs every 15-30 minutes and goes from Waterfront to North Vancouver. The ride itself is a favourite of my toddlers but there’s also the Lonsdale Quay to explore, including a ball pit (free entry!) upstairs and some shops to browse. A short walk away is a park with views of the water with many boats and container ships going past.
  • West Coast Express Train – While we’ve never gone on the train, we love watching it arrive and depart the station! It’s a commuter train and only runs during weekdays in peak directions so we’ve never taken it. It also has a (separate from the SkyTrain/bus) fee and from what I’ve heard, not stroller friendly. You can watch it from the walkway that leads to the SeaBus.
  • Harbour Centre – Take a trip to the top and view Vancouver from high above the crowds!
  • Canada Place – Stroll around Canada Place / Seven Sails. Depending on the time of year, you can see the cruise ships coming into port. The Olympic Cauldron is a short walk. And there’s access to the Sea Wall if you’re up for a longer walk.

Granville Station :

  • Vancouver Public Library – They have an expansive kids section with a small little play area (best for the younger-than-3-years group) and have many story times or activities for children.

Stadium Station :

  • Chinatown – Take a walk and get immersed in the culture. There are night markets during Summer months.
  • False Creek – A great place to walk to see the boats and dragon boaters. You can walk for kilometres in either direction along the smooth, flat, paved paths that have many parks along the way.

Main Street / Science World :

  • Science World – We have memberships for Science World and we go frequently. There is lots to do and see and touch!
  • Ferry Ride – A fun ride! You can take the ferry from next to Science World and go to Granville Island (technically not walking distance from a skytrain station – so I won’t go into much details but there’s the Kids Market and lots of buskers, magic shows, etc to look at. In the summer, there’s a water park. And there’s a few playgrounds to visit throughout the year)

Broadway Station :

  • Commercial Drive – Plenty of interesting shops to browse through. There’s a few kids stores that carry things that aren’t found in the big box stores, like TRU and Target etc.
  • Trout Lake – Community centre with drop ins, pond and playgrounds.

Patterson Station :

  • Central Park – Playground, walking trails, duck pond and an outdoor swimming pool. Lots to do!

Metrotown Station :

  • Metrotown Mall – We love to go on the train that goes from one end of the mall to the other. A few times, we’ve gone to the mall JUST for the train ride! It’s small though – no strollers allowed on busy days. Sometimes when it’s quieter, the conductor will allow you to fold your stroller and put it in one of the train cars. We also like to go wander through Toys R Us and the Disney Store. There’s also three Starbucks and two Tim Horton’s there… Just saying.
  • Bonsor – There’s a playground and skate park. While we’ve never found the skate park empty to let Dean roam, he does enjoy watching people do tricks (and bails!) on the ramps. The playground is perfect for his age (2.5 years old) but also challenging enough to keep older kids busy!

Edmonds :

  • Taylor Park / Byrne Creek / Ron McLean Park – Just off of Edmonds SkyTrain station is three park areas combined in one place! Playgrounds, wading pool (summer months when a park leader is on site), trails and fields!
  • Edmonds Community Centre – It’s about a 20 minute walk, but well worth it! There’s a great indoor pool – We drive past two pools from our house to this pool because it’s amazing! It’s warmer than most and it has a lazy river and a kids play area. There’s drop in programs there. And they also have a free indoor playground that’s not usually too busy.

New Westminster Station :

  • Shops at New Westminster – Right at the SkyTrain station, there is numerous shops and places to eat. Spud Shack is one of my favourites! There’s also two Starbucks and a Tim Horton’s at the station. On the concourse level, there is a play area for children with slides. It’s covered from the rain and has heaters for those cooler days.
  • Quay boardwalk – This is our “go-to” outing. We take a walk along the boardwalk to any (and sometimes all) of the three parks. There’s sand volleyball fields, sandy “beach” (think a gigantic sandbox) to sit under umbrellas, lots of benches and chairs to stop for a snack. It’s flat and paved so my son LOVES speeding along with his bike. It’s decently straight so I can keep sight of him, even when he leaves me in the dust. And there’s frequently trains that go by – we always love watching them from close up! There’s also the…..
  • River Market – There’s a few shops and some places to get food. There’s an upstairs area for younger kids (0-4 years old, I would say) The Circus School is great, but they don’t have very many drop-in time slots. Though, it’s still neat to watch the classes as they learn to do fancy aerobatics!

Surrey Central Station :

  • City Centre Library – This library is walking distance from us. We LOVE going here, even if we don’t have our books to return to get new ones! There’s lots to do and explore inside. The library’s children section has fun rocking chairs, benches with treasures to view through peepholes, activity wall-mounts and pillows to cozy up on.

 

There’s plenty of other parks, walking distance from the SkyTrain stations that I haven’t listed but there’s just too many!

Do you and your family have any other favourites?

 

SkyTrain Attendants are now wearing high-visibility vests!

Check out the new vests!

Check out the new vests!

Taking the SkyTrain this week? You’ll see SkyTrain staff sporting a new look. Starting today, SkyTrain Attendants, Supervisors and Duty Managers on the Expo and Millennium lines are wearing new, high-visibility vests!

These vests will help ensure our customers can immediately identify front-line SkyTrain staff if they require assistance or help during an emergency.

Making our front-line staff more visible was one of the recommendations in the independent review of SkyTrain service.

“It is also important that staff in the field be quickly recognized as SkyTrain employees even when there is normal operating service. All front-line staff should wear high visibility vests over their clothing. This will make them easily recognizable in times of minor or major crisis.”

Sky Train Attendants’ vests are a yellow/royal blue combination and made of Gore-Tex. They’re light and versatile, and most importantly, help them stand out amidst a sea of commuters. They say, “SkyTrain Customer Service” across the back and over the chest pocket.

Of note, Canada Line Attendants already have uniforms that are compliant with the independent review.

Independent Review

Gary McNeil presented TransLink with an independent review of the SkyTrain service disruptions that occurred in July, 2014. His recommendations addressed improvements in operations, maintenance and customer service delivery.

We accepted all 20 of his recommendations and many have already been implemented. The rest will be put in action over the course of the next few years.

What do you think?
Leave a comment below. We want to know!

New Westminster Station Upgrades

Hey Buzzer Readers!

As you know, we’re holding an Open House tomorrow at New Westminster Station to share details about the upgrades which are expected to start later this winter. Some of you have asked questions about the project, so we wanted to share some info here on the blog in case you can’t make it out tomorrow.

How the upgraded station will look from the outside

How the upgraded station will look from the outside!

What’s happening at New Westminster Station?

TransLink is upgrading several existing stations and exchanges along the Expo Line in order to accommodate increasing passenger volumes, meet accessibility commitments and improve the customer experience. Commercial-Broadway, Joyce-Collingwood, Main Street-Science World (over 80 per cent complete), Metrotown, New Westminster, Scott Road (completed) and Surrey Central have all been identified as priorities for upgrades.

New Westminster Station is integrated into the mixed-use development beside and around the station. As the neighbourhood around the station continues to grow and develop, the station requires updates to better meet the needs of SkyTrain customers.

The project includes:

  • upgrades to existing escalators and stairs to increase capacity and improve accessibility
  • replacement of the original south elevator
  • improved station design with better lighting and visibility for a safer and improved customer experience
What you can expect inside the station once upgrades are complete!

Station interior once upgrades are complete!

When is construction?

Construction at New Westminster Station is scheduled to begin in early 2015 and is expected to be complete in 2016.

Will the station be closed during construction? Will there be any major changes to SkyTrain service? 

The station will remain open during construction and SkyTrain service is expected to remain normal during peak periods.

However, access into the station will be restricted at certain times and passengers may find their travels plans disrupted while essential work is being done. There are also plans to single track trains outside of peak periods, creating longer wait times for SkyTrain. Service disruptions will not coincide with special events.

Will construction work require any road closures? 

There may be minor impacts to traffic during construction. Any road or sidewalk detours will be communicated well in advance.

Will there be construction work at night? 

Nighttime work with varying levels of noise is required while trains are not operating. It is necessary to perform this work at night to ensure the safety of SkyTrain passengers and contractors. TransLink’s contractor will make significant efforts to minimize the impact of this construction on the public. Notification of construction work at night will be provided to directly impacted citizens well in advance of the night construction beginning.

Allowing construction work at night also helps ensure the project progresses as scheduled while avoiding a full station shut down – something we want to avoid.

Find out more!

For more information about the project and to share feedback, visit translink.ca/newwestminster; feedback will be accepted until February 11.

Or better yet, visit us tomorrow from 2:30 to 6:30 at New Westminster Station, on the ticket vending level between CIBC and Tim Hortons and ask your questions in person! 

Expo Line Power Rail Replacement work – late-night shuttle service begins Jan.6

SkyTrain in action!

SkyTrain in action!

Hey buzzer readers!

As you may already know, we’re replacing 34 km of original power rail on the Expo Line. The power rail supplies SkyTrain vehicles with power, approximately 650 volts DC.

Work is returning to the area between Waterfront and Stadium–Chinatown and there will be service impacts for people travelling to or from those stations during late-night service.

From Jan. 6th to the 8th and the 11th to the 15th, passengers travelling through all stations between Waterfront and Stadium-Chinatown will commute using a shuttle train during late-night service.

  • Shuttle service will begin at 10:15 p.m. on January 6th and 8th, and 9 p.m. on all other days.
  • Passengers travelling west of Stadium-Chinatown must hop off and transfer to a shuttle train. Service east of Stadium-Chinatown will operate normally.
  • Passengers are encouraged to plan for an extra 10 minutes of travel time.
  • SkyTrain services will run as normal during the day, peak times and major downtown events.
SkyTrain staff will be on hand at affected stations to provide directions and assistance. We thank you for your patience and cooperation as we keep our system in good repair for your overall service.

More about our SkyTrain system safety features

One of our SkyTrain Attendants helping out a customer at Lougheed Town Centre Station

One of our SkyTrain Attendants helping out a customer at Lougheed Town Centre Station

Have you ever wondered about the yellow strip onboard SkyTrain? Wonder no more!

We are here to tell you more about the five main safety features on SkyTrain – the passenger silent alarm, speakerphone, designated waiting areas, emergency cabinets, and Transit Police‘s 87-77-77 non-emergency text reporting service.

Passenger Silent Alarm – also known as the Yellow Strip

The 'yellow strip' silent alarm found on every window on SkyTrain

The ‘yellow strip’ silent alarm found on every window on SkyTrain

The passenger silent alarm is the yellow strip located on every window on-board our SkyTrain cars.

When pressed by passengers, it triggers an alarm at SkyTrain control alerting the Control Operator. A SkyTrain Attendant will board the train at the next attended station to investigate the situation.

Our attendants are trained to provide customer service, provide emergency response, troubleshooting train and station operations, and performing fare inspections.

To better assess the situation and determine an appropriate response, SkyTrain control has the ability to activate the speakerphones on-board and listen in on the activities in that car.

It’s important to note that pressing the yellow strip does not stop the train or directly alert Transit Police.

Speakerphone

The SkyTrain speakerphone found on board all cars near the doors.

The SkyTrain speakerphone found on board all cars near the doors

The speakerphone is located inside each car near the doors and provides two-way voice communication with SkyTrain control operators for emergency assistance.

All the passenger needs to do is press the ‘red’ button on the speakerphone and they’ll be directly connected with SkyTrain control.

Activating the speakerphone does not stop the train or directly alert Transit Police.

During system-wide disruptions, passengers can use the speakerphone to communicate with SkyTrain control for emergency assistance.

Passengers should not force open SkyTrain doors as this is a dangerous practice. Portions of the track remain charged with 600 volts of power and the risk of electrocution is present even when the train is stopped.

Forcing SkyTrain doors open can lead to lengthier delays since, for the safety of passengers that have exited, power has to be shut down and then a safety sweep has to be conducted before the system can be powered back on.

Designated Waiting Areas and Emergency Cabinets

A designated waiting area and emergency cabinet at Sapperton Station

A designated waiting area and emergency cabinet at Sapperton Station

Designated Waiting Areas have enhanced lighting, red emergency telephones, a bench, and are monitored by closed-circuit television.

Emergency Cabinets are located on SkyTrain platforms and are equipped with a fire extinguisher and emergency train stop buttons along with a red emergency telephone.

Like our on-board speakerphone, the red emergency phone is a direct line to SkyTrain control for emergency assistance.

Pushing the emergency train stop button does not shut down power on the SkyTrain tracks, so passengers should never enter the track area even if the emergency stop has been pushed and the train has stopped.

87-77-77 Texting Service

Transit Police 87-77-77 Texting Service

Text 87.77.77

The Transit Police report-by-text (SMS) system allows passengers to discreetly report crime and suspicious activity on and related to transit without drawing attention to themselves.

Messages will be received immediately by Transit Police dispatchers and they will respond accordingly. They may dispatch an officer, ask the user to call 911 if it is an emergency, or refer them to other resources.

You can also use the Transit Police OnDuty app to report. Through its built-in text messaging function, users will be able to access the 87-77-77 service directly from the app.

There is no need to draw attention to yourself and you don’t have to wait to report crime on transit. The texting service is for discreet reporting across the transit system — not just on the SkyTrain.

Have any questions about our safety features? Ask away in the comments section and we’ll get you the answers!

Information sessions for Metrotown on Dec 3 and Commercial-Broadway on Dec 4

Hear what’s coming up at Metrotown Station and Commercial-Broadway Station!

Hear what’s coming up at Metrotown Station and Commercial-Broadway Station!

We’re inviting you to attend an open house to learn about the station design, construction plan and project timeline for the upgrades coming to Metrotown Station and Exchange and Commercial-Broadway Station.

Metrotown Station Open House

Date: December 3, 2014
Time: 2:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Location: Metrotown Station, east of escalators and stairs, street level

Commercial-Broadway Station Open House

Date: December 4, 2014
Time: 2:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Location: Commercial–Broadway Station, north stationhouse street level

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/metrotowntranslink.ca/commercialbroadway and translink.ca/joyce. Feedback will be accepted until December 15.

We hope to hear from you soon!

TransLink accepts all 20 recommendations in McNeil report on SkyTrain service

TransLink accepts all 20 recommendations in McNeil report on SkyTrain service

TransLink accepts all 20 recommendations in McNeil report on SkyTrain service

TransLink is accepting and acting on all 20 recommendations made by independent reviewer Gary McNeil into SkyTrain.

» Read Gary McNeil’s full report and recommendations

Mr. McNeil estimates that all the recommendations will cost approximately $71 million to implement. This includes equipment and technology upgrades, and customer service improvements.

We have already moved ahead with some of this work. We acted immediately following July’s unprecedented service disruptions by improving the way we prevent, prepare for, and respond to service disruptions. Funds to complete the initiatives will be budgeted over the next five years.

The service disruptions in July were unacceptable to customers and unacceptable to us.  We are committing to better service on SkyTrain and with this review, we now have a clear plan of action for improving our customers’ experience with this vital regional service.

Some of the recommendations include:

  • More resources and a robust plan for quickly and safely evacuating passengers from trains during major service disruptions.
  • A better Passenger Address System, including PA speakers and emergency information panels at each station entrance.
  • Adding the “auto restart” component to SkyTrain’s SELTRAC system to reduce the duration of delays when major failures occur to the “command and control” communication function between trains.
  • Installing system continuity equipment for critical system elements. These “redundancies” for system continuity will ensure the critical functions remain active in the event of a system failure.
  • Upgrading the guideway intrusion system to better detect false alarms.
  • Increasing the visibility of front-line staff.

These initiatives will aim to:

  • Reduce the frequency and duration of service disruptions
  • Ensure timely evacuation of passengers in the event of a prolonged disruption
  • Strengthen the resilience of the system so it can recover from breakdowns more quickly
  • Provide clear and frequent communication with customers on the trains, in and around the stations, and on buses, when service disruptions occur

Have a question about the report? Let us know in the comments section below!

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.

Canada Line turns five years old today!

Canada Line

Happy birthday to the Canada Line!

It’s a special day for the Canada Line as it turns five years old today!

The Canada Line officially opened on August 17, 2009, connecting downtown Vancouver with Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and Richmond city centre. Thousands of people lined up for hours to be one of the first few to take a ride on the newest addition to the SkyTrain network.

The first train carrying its first passengers departed at 1 p.m. from Waterfront Station and within the first five hours, the Canada Line had carried 54,000 people.

Today, at its fifth birthday, Canada Line is moving 122,000 people each day – getting them to work, school, and play!

Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday dear Canada Line! Happy birthday to you!! =)

Canada Line Quick Facts

  • The North Arm Bridge over the Fraser River is the first-ever extradosed bridge built in North America. What’s an extradosed bridge? It’s a specially designed bridge that is both a cantilevered and cable-stayed bridge.
  • During the 17 days of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, over 3.8 million passengers travelled on the Canada Line.
  • The two busiest days in the short five-year history of the Canada Line were during the Olympics and Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. On February19, 2010, there were 297,000 boardings and on June 15, 2011, there were 183,000.
  • Sweet Leilani was the name of the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) responsible for boring twin tunnels, from South False Creek all the way to Waterfront Station. In the process, it removed over 200,000 cubic metres of rock.
  • The Canada Line tunnels run side-by-side with the exception of between King Edward Avenue and Broadway, where they are stacked one on top of the other.
  • Over 2,000 pre-cast concrete segments were strung together using a Launching Girder (LG) between the Marine Drive tunnel portal, Richmond-Brighouse and YVR-Airport stations.
  • The Canada Line currently carries 6,100 passengers per hour per direction (pphpd) and is designed for an ultimate capacity of 15,000 pphpd – more than double what it is now.
  • Canada Line’s busiest day of the week is Friday.

Baby pics!

Looking down the hall on the concourse level.

Inside the under construction Vancouver City Centre Station

The platform of Waterfront Station.

The platform of the under construction Waterfront Station.

The long hallway at the concourse level.

The long hallway at the concourse level of Vancouver City Centre Station

Premier Gordon Campbell, Minister Stockwell Day, and many other dignitaries cut the ribbon on the Canada Line at YVR-Airport Station, August 17, 2009.

With the cut of the ribbon and Canada Line’s open!

I want more Canada Line!

You can check out the Canada Line Photography blog, which has a large selection of photographs from the start of construction to opening day.

There’s so much more on the Canada Line on the Buzzer blog too! Click on one of the posts below: