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Translink Buzzer Blog

Category: Something Neat

Ride the West Coast Express Santa Train on Dec. 9 and 16!

All aboard the West Coast Express Santa Train! It runs on Dec. 9 and 16, benefiting your community toy bureau!

The West Coast Express Santa Trains are back for its 22nd year, benefiting community toy bureaus! It’s a great kick-off to the holiday season and such a worthy cause.

Please bring your entire family and invite all of your friends on Saturday, Dec. 9 and 16, and help make Christmas brighter for kids in your community!

What makes the Santa Trains special is you get a free ticket to ride the West Coast Express in exchange for a new, unwrapped toy donation (worth about the same as a WCE pass) for your community toy bureau. It’s a great way to give to those in need in your community, and have a fun-filled day at the same time!

The Santa Train departs Mission City at 10 a.m. on Dec. 9 and 16, and stops at all West Coast Express stations along the way, arriving at Waterfront Station at 11:15 a.m. Once in Vancouver, you can enjoy a day of holiday sights and sounds before returning home from Waterfront Station at 4 p.m.

Make sure you stop by the West Coast Express North Pole Station (at Waterfront Station), beginning at 2:45 p.m., for holiday activities and a photo op with Santa! As well, our friends at Dairyland will provide a taste of egg nog while you wait for your trip home. So bring your camera and your Christmas cheer, and we’ll see you there!

Shop the pop-up December 6 – 8, 2017

pop-up shop

TransLink recently launched an online store selling a wide variety of apparel, home goods, accessories and more.  For now, this is a virtual store with no brick and mortar location, however to help Metro Vancouverites kick off their holiday shopping, we will be hosting a pop-up shop from today, Wednesday, December 6 to Friday, December 8, 2017 at Gilmore Station on the Millennium Line. So pop on by any time between 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm each day to touch, feel, and try some of our new and amazing transit inspired merch!

Can’t make it to the pop-up shop? Shop online anytime at translinkstore.ca.

Do you have a favourite piece of merch?

Author: Sarah Kertcher

TransLink raises $1.5 million by selling carbon credits

One of the compressed natural gas buses in the Coast Mountain Bus Company fleet.

TransLink has sold its first set of carbon credits under British Columbia’s low-carbon fuel program. By doing so, we earned $1.5 million that will be invested into improving service for our customers! Read more »

Take Transit Home. TransLink launches first ever merchandise store with a giveaway!

TransLink Store Bus Blind Coffee Mug

You’ve asked, and we’ve delivered!

Starting today, Metro Vancouverites, transit enthusiasts, and tourists alike can take transit home… Literally!

To say we’re excited about the launch of our online merchandise store, Translinkstore.ca, would be an understatement. For some time customers have been asking, begging and pleading for the opportunity to get their hands on TransLink swag, and we’re thrilled to give both locals and visitors the chance to show off their love of our Metro Vancouver transit system with transportation themed apparel, home decor, accessories, and more!   Read more »

2017 Halloween wrap-up

2017 Halloween Wrap Up

Halloween 2017 started on a high note Friday October 27th with none other than a #SkyTrainParty hosted by Vancouver Public Space Network. This annual Halloween-themed celebration transforms SkyTrain with costume-clad commuters, tricks and treats, and even a DJ! This Halloween party is not an official TransLink event, but we love seeing creative passengers enjoying our public transit system! Check out some pictures from the fun night here:

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Record growth continues as ridership numbers follow trend

2017 is proving to be a record year for ridership in Metro Vancouver with over 306 million boardings system-wide. Our latest Compass data is in and it shows ridership numbers higher than ever before proving locals and visitors alike are choosing public transit as their mode of transportation. As of the end of September, 2017, monthly Boardings and Journeys are up +5.2% and +5.4% year-over-year, respectively. Average Weekday Boardings are up +6.9% and Average Weekday Journeys are up +7.0% year-over-year.

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TransLink wins 2017 APTA AdWheel Award

APTA Adwheel Award 2017

Congrats are in order as TransLink once again wins an APTA AdWheel award in the category of Best Marketing and Communications to Increase Ridership or Sales for our 2016 Evergreen Means GO Campaign!

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Where do our transit vehicles sleep at night?

Buses all settled and snuggled in for the night!

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

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Thank you for raising more than $2,100 for the Red Cross wildfire relief fund!

Since April 11, 1,249 wildfires have burned across the province leading to a state of emergency where many people were evacuated from their homes and more than one-million hectares of land was burned.

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Once upon a chime

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

Once upon a chime…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Listen to the SkyTrain chime

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

Author: Christina Jakopin

Surviving the Post-Labour Day Crunch

Students and commuters are gearing up for the Post-Labour Day Crunch (PLDC), or better known as – returning to the daily grind, after a brief summer hiatus. Last year, the start of September saw just over 320,000 average daily Compass boardings on the Expo and Millennium Lines! That made September the busiest month in 2016 for average daily Compass boardings.

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This is why there’s a third platform at Stadium – Chinatown SkyTrain station

The third platform at Stadium-Chinatown Station, in use during the 1980s! The third track is the one on the far left of the photo.

 

A SkyTrain sitting at the third track at Stadium-Chinatown Station.

What’s the third platform at Stadium-Chinatown? Well, if you go to the regular platform to board a SkyTrain, you’ll clearly see there’s ANOTHER platform across the SkyTrain tracks and behind the fence, sitting empty. Have a look at the photo on the right to see what I mean.

 

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Q&A: In conversation with a transit planner—TransLink and transit in Canada

Prior to joining TransLink as a senior planner, David Cooper worked for Calgary Transit and the City of Toronto, where he supported the Toronto Transit Commission’s subway expansion projects.

Owing to TransLink’s international reputation as a progressive company in the transportation industry, our positions attract talent from across Canada and the world. Perhaps most notably, our CEO came from Seattle!

TransLink is regarded as one of the most innovative transportation companies in the world. We are unique in that we are the first North American transportation authority—and only one in Canada—to be multimodal. TransLink is responsible for the planning, financing and managing of all public transit in addition to major regional roads and bridges, transportation demand-management strategies and programs, and supporting the region’s growth strategy and regional economic development.

It was this unique challenge that spurred transit planner David Cooper to pack up and move to the Vancouver to join TransLink earlier this year as a senior planner in TransLink’s system planning department.

He came to us from Toronto where he was a senior transportation planner with the city, and prior to that, he worked for Calgary Transit.

Cooper recently sat down with The Buzzer blog to chat about working for TransLink and transit planning in Canada:

What drew you to Vancouver to work for TransLink?

I call the System Planning group the place where ideas come true at TransLink. We are advancing a vast range of projects that will forever transform our transit system.  We are advancing new fleet technologies, expanding our service, and adding new rail service.  In the transit world, you name it—we are probably doing it. Who wouldn’t want to work for an organization that is open to new ideas and is moving ahead projects that will make Metro Vancouver an even better place to live!

“Who wouldn’t want to work for an organization that is open to new ideas and is moving ahead projects that will make Metro Vancouver an even better place to live!”

—David Cooper on working for TransLink

Read more »

This lady is the voice of SkyTrain

Laureen Regan is the voice behind announcements on the SkyTrain system!

Hop on a SkyTrain and you’ll hear a woman’s voice on the public address system, telling you what line you’ve boarded and what station is coming up next.

Well, that voice belongs to Laureen Regan, president of Regan Productions, a video production company in Calgary, Alberta.

She’s been the voice of the SkyTrain since 2001, when the Millennium Line opened and new station announcements were required. We brought her back again when the Canada Line and Evergreen Extension opened to record additional announcements.

Laureen Regan

Regan heard her voice on the train system for the first time shortly after the Millennium Line began service.

“I took the train and I laughed,” she says. “It was so amazing to hear it—to sit there and go, ‘Oh my God, that’s my voice.’ You remembered when you recorded it. … And everybody has no idea, which makes you laugh.”

Regan came to be the voice of the SkyTrain through her connection to Interalia, another Calgary-based company.

Interalia makes automated voice systems, and knew Regan had done voice work for her own productions in the past. They asked her to do a demo voice for their system, which they were about to show to TransLink for the Millennium Line.

Then, when TransLink bought the Interalia system, Regan was asked to record the real announcements for the trains.

Recording wasn’t too tough.

“Millennium Line is hard to say, I’ve got to say,” she says. “But I don’t remember any of the names being particularly difficult. The challenge sometimes with recording for places you don’t know is that you may not know the proper pronunciation [of local names].”

It’s a challenge she’s faced again over the years.

Regan has also done voice work for the Salt Lake City train system and the BART trains in San Francisco, both through Interalia

The chance to do voice work like this has been a gift, she says.

“It’s not been something that I’ve planned—it just happened. I enjoy it every time I do voicing. I love it.”

Listen to the Podcast

Regan’s interview was conducted as part of the Buzzer blog podcast. Have a listen!

This post originally appeared in the October 10, 2008 issue of The Buzzer. 

Rogers LTE wireless service expands into New Westminster

Rogers LTE coverage is now live in Columbia Station and through the tunnels! (Photo: waferboard/Flickr)

In a continued partnership with Rogers, LTE wireless connectivity on the SkyTrain has expanded into New Westminster! Starting today, Rogers and Fido customers will now see extended LTE wireless connectivity at Columbia SkyTrain Station and through the tunnels between Columbia and Sapperton SkyTrain stations. This is an extension to the service that was added to the Dunsmuir and Edmonds tunnels last summer!

Enhancing cellular coverage across the Expo and Millennium Line network ­increases safety, security and convenience for customers and operators with the added bonus of no cost to taxpayers.

Customers have told us that connectivity on the system is important and our partnership with Rogers is one way we are working to have a reliable and sustainable network in place.

Stay tuned for more info about more LTE service coming to our Expo and Millennium lines.

Author: Sarah Kertcher