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Category: SkyTrain

Be a SkyTrain VIP!

velvet rope

See what lies behind the velvet rope with SkyTrain VIP

We are so happy to introduce our brand new SkyTrain VIP service.

Up until now, SkyTrain seats have been first come, first serve.

But starting today, April 1st, you can reserve a spot in the first train car and experience the luxury of pre-warmed seats, personalized neck pillows and complimentary on-board spa treatments.

Be the first to enjoy the view while riding in style.

The cost? Only $18.99 a ride!

Proceeds will go to transforming the Vancouver Transit Centre into a crow sanctuary for Canuck.

Author: Adrienne Coling

Spring forward this weekend!

image

Set your clocks forward one hour this Saturday night

It’s that time again for daffodils and early season flowers to pop up out of the ground and welcome spring.

Another spring behaviour that is slightly less appealing is springing forward to Pacific Daylight Time where we lose and hour in the day.

Ok, we don’t really lose it but it can feel like it in those first few days!

This year, the time change officially occurs at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 13.

However, our transit services will finish their Saturday night service on standard time and the time change will take effect for the start of Sunday service.

So, remember to change those clocks before you head to bed on Saturday!

Author: Adrienne Coling

My smartphone-free week on transit

notes

The tally from my smile experiment

Last week, I was inspired by a link in our latest Links and Tidbits post.

It lead me to try my own smartphone-free commuting week!

Let me give you a little background of what my normal commute is like.

I hop on the bus for about half an hour, then I continue on SkyTrain for another 30 minutes. In the evening, I reverse it, obviously.

I will often just listen to music and check games or idly scroll through my Instagram feed.

For my “unplugged” week, I didn’t allow myself to touch it from the moment I left my house to the moment I stepped into work.

This required one behaviour change for me right off the bat… A CLOCK! I don’t usually wear a watch and use my phone to check the time so for the first day I had no reference of time on transit.

Other than that, I made some observations with my pen and notepad each day.

Here’s what I found out:

Monday:

  • OK, a LOT of people spend their entire trip on their phone. Is anyone concerned about becoming a society of strained-necked commuters?
  • I wish I could read my book. Motion sickness is the worst! Think of all the work I could do if I didn’t get sick reading on transit.
  • I have no idea what time it is. I really depend on my phone for telling the time. Not a lot of others are sporting watches either. Does everyone rely on their phones for the time?

Tuesday:

  • A woman is putting fake eyelashes on while on the bus. I can’t make my makeup look that good sitting still. She’s some sort of make-up wizard!
  • There are such distinct housing development and decor patterns as you cross the region. ie. Vancouver Specials, gated yards with lion statues, colourful stucco East of Main St., laneway house builds.
  • Riders say ‘thank you’ to operators much more often in the afternoon/evening rides than in the morning.

Wednesday:

  • There’s a man who I thought was talking to me but turns out wasn’t. He looked puzzled/annoyed when I said, “pardon?” Apparently it was a conversation for one.
  • It’s so foggy today I can’t even see the mountains. I should really look at the mountains more. Seriously, they’re gorgeous and you have a great view from the Expo Line trains in Burnaby.
  • I sat beside a woman with a purple bag. I didn’t notice the doggy with the matching purple bow until she licked me “hello!” Jazz was very friendly and quiet while we rode together.

Thursday:

  • How hard is it to put the free newspapers we all get handed in the recycling? There are bins at every station! Disclaimer: I sat on one that was stuffed in the side of my seat and wet so, in turn, I then got my whole side wet and I may be a little grumpy about it.
  • I just played with the air bubbles on a SkyTrain window for a good 10 minutes. I should probably wash my hands.
  • Sock fashion is in! Stripes, polka dots, bright colours – men and women; young and old seem to be rocking some funky socks. I’m liking the attention to the space in between shoes and pants.

Friday:

  • Everyone is in such a good mood today! I think TGIF culture is real because this is a total 180 from Monday
  • Someone is doing a crossword. I love crosswords. I feel like they have taken a backseat to Sudoku and I never understood why. I wonder what the ratio of Sudoku players versus crossword puzzlers on the train right now?
  • How many Starbucks drinks are sold in Metro Vancouver during the AM commuting hours? I’ve been on transit for 45 minutes and I have counted nearly 27.

I also conducted a little something I like to call the smile experiment.

Each day I tried to look someone in the eye and smile then I would record if they smiled back.

I think many people were a bit surprised, but the ones that returned the smile looked so happy!

Eye contact & smiles given = 37
Eye contact & smiles received = 11

Overall, though I did miss my commuting soundtrack, it was nice to actually LOOK UP and see the world around me and I’m going to try to leave my phone in my pocket more often!

Now, I put the challenge to you. One week’s commute with no smartphone. Can you do it??

Author: Adrienne Coling

SkyTrain unplugged

Commuter Using Mobile

Going smartphone free on transit for one week!

If you take a look at our most recent Links and Tidbits, we included a link from the National Post.

Jonathan Goldstein, the host of WireTap on CBC Radio (which has now sadly ended), decided to put away his phone during his commute and instead observe the space around him on the subway – plus take some hilarious notes!

He says he did this as an attempt to be more “in the moment” and I love it so much so that I am going unplugged for one week!

Starting today, I will have no electronic distractions on my commute. No music playing, no Words with Friends matches or idle Instagram scrolling.

I’m also going to follow Goldstein’s lead and take notes of what I see and hear.

Stay tuned because next week I will be posting my experiences from my smartphone-free transit commuting!

Do you want to play along? Comment below with your own unplugged observations!

Author: Adrienne Coling

 

Metrotown Station upgrades update

Double elevator shaft being lowered into place.

Up and over! The new double elevator shaft being lowered into place at Metrotown Station.

Construction continues at Metrotown Station and Exchange!

We are upgrading Metrotown Station to improve accessibility, capacity, safety and security at one of the busiest stations in the SkyTrain system.

Some of the changes include new escalators, stairs and elevators to improve access for all our customers, improved bus connections and integration between buses and SkyTrain and more access to and from the platforms, just to name a few!

Project status update

Here are some highlights of the work that has taken place over the past few months:

  • Demolition of the station continued.
  • Hoop trusses were constructed and installed to provide structural support for the platform’s roof.
  • Construction of three new elevator shafts in the Centre Stationhouse continued, which included:
    • Fabrication of steel structural elevator shafts.
    • Partial demolition of platform roof, creating holes for installation of the new elevator shafts.
  • Installation of new elevator shafts.
    • Shafts were lifted by crane over the guideway and lowered in through the holes in the roof and platform.

During the weeks of January 17 and 24, you may have noticed that SkyTrain single tracked between 9 p.m. and end of service from Sunday to Thursday.

This was necessary to ensure crews could safely install the elevator shafts and hoop trusses over the tracks without trains running below.

Here are some behind-the-scenes pictures of that complex work:

What to expect

Our top priority is the safety of the public, passengers, employees, and contractors. Due to the nature of construction activity, we recognize there will be impacts to the public, including noise, traffic impacts, and changes to SkyTrain service and station access.

Below is a summary of the short-term work that passengers and neighbours can expect:

  • Continued construction of three new elevator shafts in the Centre Stationhouse, which are expected to be open towards the end of 2016.
    • Until then, the HandyDART and Community shuttles will continue to operate.
    • The HandyDART shuttle operates between the Metrotown and Patterson Station HandyDART stops for passengers with disabilities.
    • Passengers travelling with strollers can take a Community Shuttle to Metrotown Station from Patterson or Royal Oak stations.
  • Installation of a temporary staircase from the west side of the platform down to street level, allowing the existing emergency exit to be demolished in preparation for the new west stationhouse.
  • Demolition work at the station will continue.
  • Noise associated with large construction projects, including nighttime work with varying levels of noise while trains are not operating will continue.

We appreciate your patience as we complete these important upgrades to Metrotown Station.

Be sure to stay tuned for additional updates throughout the project!

Got questions?

We’re here to listen!
Customer Service: 604.953.3333
Monday to Friday: 4 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Overnight Customer Service: 1.866.979.0930
Monday to Friday: 12:30 a.m. to 4 a.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 11:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.

For more information visit www.translink.ca/metrotown or www.translink.ca/customerservice

Author: Jennifer Morland

First phase of running rail replacement work complete!

You may have noticed in the past few months that the Expo Line has been undergoing some major maintenance work!

As part of that maintenance, we have been replacing major sections of rail along the 30 year old track.

The first phase of the work began last August and has just been completed – replacing 4,550 linear metres of rail at three locations.

Here’s what has been replaced so far:

  • 700 linear metres of rail along the outbound curve east of Edmonds Station
  • 950 linear metres of rail along the inbound curve west of Edmonds Station
  • 2,900 linear metres of rail along the S-curve between Commercial–Broadway and Main Street –Science World stations.

We will be continuing the rail replacement work this summer.

This work is critical to keeping our system in a good state of repair.

Thanks for your patience while we complete this necessary maintenance on the SkyTrain system!

Author: Jordan Keim

Main Street-Science World Station upgrades are now complete!

The finishing touches are all done at Main Street-Science World Station! Much has changed. With a growing region and the introduction of Compass we needed to lengthen the stationhouse and install fare gates. While we were at it, we improved accessibility, visibility and safety and added the secure bike parkade. Check out all the details in the video, when we blogged about it last and on the TransLink website.

Main Street-Science World Station isn’t the only transit property getting a facelift. Upgrades are also underway at Joyce-Collingwood, Commercial-Broadway, Metrotown and New Westminster Station. It’s all part of the Expo Upgrade Strategy.

 

Have you seen or used the upgraded Main Street–Science World Station?
What do you think? Be sure to comment below and let us know!

 

Author: Robert Willis

Testing all gates closed at Edmonds Station today

All is going well will all gates closed today!

All is going well with all gates closed today!

As we move along with phasing in the Compass Card system, we’re constantly testing all aspects of the cards, fare gates and readers. Today, we’re testing having all the fare gates closed at Edmonds Station. No worries – it’s just a one-day test! We will have SkyTrain Attendants, Customer Service Attendants and supervisors on both sides of the fare gates to make sure everyone is able to get through. If you show up to the fare gates using old fare media (FareSavers or bus tickets), staff will replace it with a Compass Ticket.

Besides seeing how closing all fare gates goes in general, part of the test is to track the amount of old media being exchanged for Compass products. We will use the information to develop additional plans and schedules to use when implementing full station gate closures throughout the system.

Since November of last year all stations have had a least one Compass fare gate closed to both incentivize using Compass and to allow for both fare media to be used on the SkyTrain system. After all, a closed fare gate is the best reminder to tap in and tap out.

As we move closer to full gate closures on the system you may see more tests like today’s. But don’t worry. We’ll give you all fair warning and will have staff on hand, like we are today, to make sure the transition goes smoothly.

 

Superhero on the system!

Superheroes are among us and apparently they are racing SkyTrains!

Here’s the gist:

Our regional Deadpool (aka Nathan MC) leaves a SkyTrain at Waterfront then races towards Granville to see if he can catch the very same train he was on before!

Does he make it? You’ll have to watch and see!

Spoiler alert: he’s a Compass Card user. Thanks for tapping in and out!

**Although this is a very fun video, remember to be safe when you’re using our system. Please walk on all platforms and stairs to ensure everyone’s safety.**

Author: Adrienne Coling

Joyce-Collingwood SkyTrain station is about to get a makeover!

Joyce

Artist rendering of Joyce-Collingwood station

We’re about to start our much needed upgrades to Joyce-Collingwood Station.

Once complete, the upgrades will improve accessibility, capacity, safety and security at the fourth busiest Expo Line station outside of Downtown Vancouver.

Some of the changes you will see

  • New elevator and up and down escalators in the east stationhouse.
  • Improved station design with better lighting and visibility.
  • Better integration with the community for easier SkyTrain connections.

Project status

On site setup is expected to begin late this month.

During the first few weeks, equipment will be brought in and hoarding (fencing) will be installed around work areas. Construction is expected to continue until fall 2017.

What to expect as construction begins

Construction impacts include noise, traffic disruptions, and changes to SkyTrain service and station access. Our top priority is the safety of the public, passengers, employees, and contractors.

Work will be focused on the east stationhouse. Ongoing information about construction impacts can be found on the Joyce-Collingwood Station Upgrades page. Please note that timelines are subject to change based on construction activity.

  • Beginning in late-January, hoarding (fencing) will be installed on the platform and outside the east stationhouse, which will affect how you can enter and exit the stationhouse. Watch for entrance/exit signs to help you get around.
  • A temporary staircase will be built in the east stationhouse in February. Once complete, you’ll only be able to exit the east stationhouse until construction is complete fall 2017. Use the west stationhouse to enter the station, and watch for signs to help you get around.
  • Single tracking of SkyTrains in the area may be required.
  • Neighbours of the station can expect varying levels of nighttime noise while trains aren’t operating. Notifications will be sent in advance of particularly noisy work.

Got questions? We’re here to help!

Customer Service: 604.953.3333
Monday to Friday: 4 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Overnight Station Upgrade Customer Service: 1.866.979.0930
Monday to Friday: 12:30 a.m. to 4 a.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 11:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.

For more information visit: www.translink.ca/joyce or www.translink.ca/customerservice.

An update from Commercial-Broadway Station construction!

Summary of Phase 2 upgrades at Commercial-Broadway Station

Summary of Phase 2 upgrades at Commercial-Broadway Station

Construction is well underway at Commercial-Broadway Station!

Upgrades to the station will improve accessibility, capacity, safety and security at one of the busiest stations in the SkyTrain system.

Some of the changes you will see

  • An additional platform for Expo Line trains, a widened crossing over the Grandview Cut and a new walkway over Broadway to enable the system to expand for future customers as our region grows.
  • New elevators, stairs and up and down escalators to improve access and passenger flow for customers.
  • Updated design features to improve safety and security for all our customers.
  • Better integration with the surrounding community to make it easier to connect to and from the SkyTrain system.

Since construction work began in April, crews have been working on the Broadway east stationhouse and within the Grandview Cut constructing the new pedestrian crossing.

Work in the Grandview Cut includes the excavation for the columns to support the new pedestrian overpass. The clearing, shoring and piling works behind the Shoppers Drug Mart is also complete and the column footing in this area will follow shortly.

Below-grade work for the new Broadway platform is complete including the south column foundation for the Broadway pedestrian overpass. Current works include the forming, rebar and concrete for the new east wall of the station.

Steel fabrication work, including the new pedestrian overpass, is being completed offsite. Structural steel installation works will begin early in 2016 for the east platform of the Broadway station.

Here are a few pictures of station construction:

What to expect moving forward

Our top priority is the safety of the public, passengers, employees, and contractors.

Due to the nature of construction activity, we recognize there will be impacts to the public, including noise, traffic impacts, and changes to SkyTrain service and station access.

Here is a summary of the short-term work that passengers and neighbours can expect:

  • Construction of the new Grandview Cut crossing will continue and the existing overpass will be narrowed.
  • Construction of the new platform east of the existing Broadway guideway will continue. This work includes making cuts to the existing roof beam, erecting new support columns, and removing, reattaching, and in some places demolishing, overhead structures. Much of this work will happen at night due to the close proximity to the SkyTrain guideway.
  • Noise associated with large construction projects, including nighttime work with varying levels of noise while trains are not operating will continue.
  • Westbound 9/N9 and 99 bus stop relocations:
    • From Jan. 21 to March, the westbound 9/N9 and 99 bus stops will move temporarily while we build a new overhead walkway.
    • Bus stops will move several times with most changes happening during the day on weekends. Please follow signs to find your stop.

Thank you for your patience as we complete these much-needed upgrades to Commercial-Broadway Station and stay tuned for additional updates throughout the project!

Got questions? We’re here to help!

Customer Service: 604.953.3333
Monday to Friday: 4 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Overnight Customer Service: 1.866.979.0930
Monday to Friday: 12:30 a.m. to 4 a.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 11:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.

For more information visit: www.translink.ca/commercialbroadway or www.translink.ca/customerservice.

Author: Jennifer Morland

Metrotown single tracking begins January 17, 2016

Summary of station upgrades at Metrotown Station

Summary of station upgrades at Metrotown Station

As part of the station upgrades at Metrotown station, work needs to be done to strengthen the platform.

Because of this, SkyTrain will be single tracking at this station as well as Patterson.

Work is scheduled for January 17 to January 28, Sundays through Thursdays from 9pm until the end of service.

During these times the Millennium Line will operate from VCC-Clark to Columbia only.

Please note!

Be sure to allow 12-15 minutes extra travel time on these nights.

The start of work will be delayed on special event evenings to accommodate crowds .

Passengers can stay up-to-date throughout construction by visiting translink.ca/OnTrack.

Author: Adrienne Coling

Free transit on NYE for the 40th year!

This New Year’s Eve, don’t worry about driving or grabbing a pricey taxi because we’ve got your ride (and your fare) covered for the 40th year!

That’s right! We’ve been offering you a safe and free NYE ride since 1975 – the year of Monty Python and The Holy Grail, the very first season of Saturday Night Live and the first year of Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve!

On December 31, you can ride free from 5 p.m. to end-of-service on all buses, SkyTrain, SeaBus, West Coast Express and HandyDART!

All modes will run on their usual weekday schedule plus some extensions to evening service:

  • Bus — Some routes will offer additional evening/late-night trips. You can check out the New Year’s Eve schedules here.
  • SkyTrain — Service will be extended by one hour and include more frequent trains throughout the evening.
    Last trains:
    – Canada Line to YVR-Airport — 2:05 a.m.
    – Canada Line to Richmond-Brighouse — 2:15 a.m.
    – Millennium Line to VCC-Clark — 1:35 a.m. Customers can also take the last Expo Line train to Commercial-Broadway to transfer to the last Millennium Line train departing at 2:36 a.m. to Lougheed only.
    – Expo Line to King George — 2:20 a.m.
  • SeaBus — Service will be extended by one hour. The last sailing from Lonsdale Quay will be at 2 a.m. and the last from Waterfront will be at 2:20 a.m.
  • West Coast Express —The offer of free transit applies to the 5:30 and 6:20 p.m. trains. The 12:55 TrainBus will be replaced by a 1 p.m. train. All other TrainBuses will depart at their regular times.

On January 1, all transit services will run on a Sunday/holiday schedule.

West Coast Express service will not be in operation on New Year’s Day.

Why not plan your trip now?
Use Trip Planner or call Customer Information at 604.953.3333.

Note: If you need service after midnight, the time must be entered as x-time. For example, put in “1:00x” instead of “1:00am”. This is because we include trips after midnight as a continuation of the previous service day, even though they fall on the next calendar day.

We wish you a very happy and safe New Year’s Eve!

Author: Adrienne Coling

SkyTrain turns 30 today!… (Whaaaaaat?)


Flashback Friday: a SkyTrain promo video from 1984 

Today, on a sunny winter day 30 years ago, Premier Bill Bennett proudly announced the opening of SkyTrain – forever changing the face of transit for Metro Vancouver – crazy, huh?

1985skytrainbanner

SkyTrain bursts through a banner on its very first day in service: Dec 11, 1985!

The inauguration of SkyTrain was huge – so huge in fact, that there were three events in one day (lucky!).

Following the opening ceremony at Waterfront Station, the first SkyTrain car was radioed to the platform, broke through a ceremonious ribbon and then continued its maiden voyage – attending two more celebrations – one at Metrotown Station and the other at New Westminster Station.

The original line – named Expo Line – was a legacy project of Expo ’86 and connected downtown Vancouver, Burnaby and New Westminster. Passengers then had the ability to travel from Waterfront Station to New Westminster Station in just 25 minutes – half the time it would have taken to travel by bus!

Following the December 11, 1985 inauguration, SkyTrain entered free service—the system was launched with huge fanfare and eight days of free rides, before officially going into paid service on January 3, 1986.

Over the coming decades, Metro-Vancouver’s rapid transit system would see exponential growth with extensions to the Expo Line, the creation of the Millennium Line, the addition of the Canada Line and our soon to be Evergreen Extension (an extension of the Millennium Line).

Let’s look at some of our major milestones in the last 30 years:

  • 1986 SkyTrain opens for regular revenue service
  • 1989 – 1994 – three Expo Line expansion projects built – adding service to Surrey with King George Station as the terminus station.
  • 2002 – Millennium Line officially opens – operating along the Expo Line to New Westminster Station and adding new service between Columbia Station and Commercial-Broadway.
  • 2006 – Millennium Line service is extended to its current terminus station, VCC-Clark.
  • 2009 – Canada Line opens connecting downtown Vancouver with Richmond and YVR airport.
  • 2017 – The Evergreen extension of the Millennium Line, connecting Coquitlam and Port Moody, through Burnaby, to Vancouver with a one seat ride, is scheduled to open.

From a modest 22 kilometres track carrying roughly 50,000 passengers a day to 15 stations, SkyTrain has grown to a mammoth rapid transit system. We now operate 68 kilometres of track with 47 stations and transport roughly 250, 000 passengers per day, AND when the Evergreen Extension opens, we will have the longest fully automated rapid transit network in the world – with 79  kilometres of track and 53 stations.

Were you at SkyTrain’s inauguration or at any other of the milestone events or have a favourite memory of SkyTrain? We would love to hear from you – comment below!


Going to Town – 1985 SkyTrain project documentary 

 

Author: Jordan Keim 

Evergreen project tunnel boring is complete!

Tunnel boring from Coquitlam to Port Moody was completed today, marking an important milestone in the Evergreen Line project.

The completion the two-kilometre tunnel means TransLink is one step closer to operating an expanded transit system that will give the people who live here a new and fast option for getting around.

The Evergreen extension is a significant expansion of our integrated transit network. In fact, the full 79 km of SkyTrain means that TransLink will soon operate the world’s longest fully-automated rapid transit system.

We’re hard at work readying our system to ensure that customers have an easy transition when we integrate the Evergreen extension into the SkyTrain network. We’re:

  • Determining how to integrate bus services with the expanded SkyTrain network;
  • Testing train control software and new tracks;
  • Readying staff to support our customers when Evergreen opens; and
  • Developing operating plans, schedules and information for customers.

The Evergreen project is an example of all levels of government coming together to invest in much needed transportation infrastructure to support and shape growth in the region.

We applaud the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia for all the hard work that has been put into this project to date.

Thank you to our passengers and neighbours for their continued patience and support throughout the construction of the Evergreen extension.

We look forward to having you ride with us in the near future!

Author: Laura Tennant