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Category: Special Series

TransLink 101: What is short turning?

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We’re going back to basics again with TransLink 101—explaining TransLink and its operations!

A 6 Davie bus on Graville Street

A 6 Davie bus on Graville Street

Sometimes situations beyond our control, such as weather, road conditions or heavy traffic affect how reliable our service can be.

In the rare event that a bus is regrettably significantly behind schedule, Transit Supervisors and Transit Communications (T-Comm), the traffic control centre so-to-speak for our bus operations, use “short turning” as a way to get buses back into the schedule.

“When a bus falls behind schedule, the bus can be ‘short turned’ – meaning the operator is directed to drop any passengers off and then go directly to another location on the route,” explains Fergie Beadle, Supervisor of Surrey Transit Center Operations. “This puts the bus back on schedule and then back into service.”

Often this means a bus ending its trip short of the terminus to begin the return trip in order to get back on schedule.

On the SeaBus, short turning exists too – although its done a little differently since you can’t really shorten the route of the SeaBus! At the direction of the bridge, the SeaBus will simultaneously load and discharge passengers in order to regain schedule.

TransLink 101: What are detours and why do they happen?

TransLink 101 blog feature series banner

We’re going back to basics again with TransLink 101—explaining TransLink and its operations!

One of our buses travelling on Broadway!

One of our buses travelling on Broadway!

Detours happen when our service has to take a different route than normal for reasons such as construction, parades, and city events. Whenever possible, these are always communicated to our bus operators and customers well ahead of time so you can plan ahead!

“It is primarily communicated to the Operators via an Operator’s Bulletin posted in the Transit Centre and by email to those Operators on our email list,” Fergie Beadle, Operations Supervisor at Surrey Transit Centre, tells us.

TransLink’s Mobile Transit Alerts!

For our customers, the detour information is posted on the bus stops along the affected route. Our Customer Information team also shares it on TransLink.ca’s Transit Alerts page (click here if our mobile-friendly site) and tweet it out on our @TransLink Twitter account as soon as they receive them.

Customers can also give them a call at 604.953.3333 and our agents will be happy to let you know where the bus is going and help you plan an alternative route if you like.

What goes into determining a detour route? It’s actually not as simple as finding a way to get around the obstacle! A number of considerations and factors have to be weighted.

“First and foremost, we try to have our buses miss as few stops as possible when we have to divert our service,” Lance A., a Work Leader from Customer Information says. “But many things can affect where we can actually send a bus.“

Fergie says the primary consideration is to ensure our buses can travel along the streets safety. Is the street wide enough? Can the bus make any turns required?

Having trolley wires can affect which streets we can use when our trolley buses have to detour and if they need to travel long distances. For shorter detours, they are equipped with a battery that allows them to travel about eight blocks with the poles off the wire.

View of T-Comm from Duty Manager’s desk.

A glimpse inside T-Comm from 2010

Transit Communication (T-Comm) tries to stick to main roads because it has to be able to corner and navigate on a street that we don’t normally use,” Lance adds.

“We can only turn down a street that our buses are actually able to use, that’s why we often try to detour buses onto roads where we already have regular bus service, whenever possible.”

Detours can sometimes mean missed stops along a route, but operators at their discretion and when safe to do so, will provide service along a detour route. A good idea for riders is to let the driver know where you would like to go.

“I’d always recommend waving a bus down when it’s not on its normal route, especially on those unexpected detours. The driver may not be aware of where all these new stops are, and you don’t want to miss your bus!,” says Lance.

In the rare event of an unplanned detour, such as due to heavy congestion, a police incident, or a motor vehicle accident, T-Comm and Transit Supervisors use TMAC (Transit Management and Communications System) to deliver the detour information to affected operators.

Reroute messages can be delivered solely to drivers of affected routes via TMAC.

A reroute message delivered to 341 drivers on TMAC

Operators get a text message on their screen letting them know about the specific detour. The system is smart enough to only alert operators on the affected routes.

At Customer Information, they publish text/email alerts as soon as they receive them. These notifications can involve planned detours, which they often know of weeks in advance through internal bulletins.

These service-related updates could also be related to unplanned detours. The information in the text message that is sent to drivers is seen by Customer Information in a report form as soon as that report is received. At that point, Customer Information will send it out as an alert to riders.

“Detours are a huge part of this job, we need to update the public as quickly as possible when our service is on detour,” says Lance. “Subscribe for text andemail alerts for your route, and follow @TransLink on Twitter so you’re never be out of the loop!”

TransLink 101′s back: We’re going to explore some more basic questions about our services

 

TransLink 101 blog feature series banner

We're back with another iteration of TransLink 101!

TransLink 101 is back!

We’re dusting off an old special series and bringing you another iteration of the TransLink 101 posts where we explore some basic questions about TransLink and the work that we do!

What’s TransLink 101 all about?

Last time, we covered off what TransLink does, TransLink’s responsibilities for roads and bridges, fare zones, how TransLink gets its funding, where buses and trains sleep at night, why can’t SkyTrain run 24 hours, and how do we keep the system in a stage of good repair!

We’re going back to basics again, but this time we’re going to focus more on the operations side of things! Our planned topics include:

  • What is interlining?
  • What does it mean when a bus is an express?
  • What is short turning?
  • What does far-side and near-side bus stop mean?
  • What are detours and why do they happen?

As well, we’d like to answer a burning TransLink question you’ve always wanted the answer to! Suggest your topic in the comments!

Explore with TransLink – Bird sanctuary, urban revitalization, Little Saigon, and more!

Explore with TransLink banner

Come Explore with TransLink as we spotlight some interesting places in Metro Vancouver that you might not have been! 

As we have told you through our #WhatsTheLink series, TransLink is responsible for much more than transit! We own and maintain five bridges – the Knight Street Bridge, Pattullo Bridge, Golden Ears Bridge, Westham Island Bridge, and the Canada Line pedestrian and bicycle bridge.

We are also responsible fund the operation, maintenance, and rehabilitation of the 2,300 lane kilometre-long Major Road Network.

This week, we’re going to explore some interesting places that TransLink takes you on our roads and bridges! Since 90 per cent of Metro Vancouver residents are within walking distance of a transit stop or station, many of these places are accessible by transit too.

George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Suggested by Cliff

Are you a bird and wildlife enthusiast?

Located on Westham Island just west of Ladner and Delta, is the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary – home to over 280 species of birds.

Sandhill Cranes, Canada Geese, and Mallard Ducks are just some of the birds that make this 850-acre site their home.

It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., including statutory holidays. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children (2-14 years old) and seniors (over 60 years old).

The sanctuary is only accessible via the Westham Island Bridge off River Road in Delta.

Steveston Village

Steveston Village

Steveston Village

Steveston was founded as a fishing village in the late 19th century, but now is a popular tourist destination and locals, who want access to fresh seafood!

You’ll find boats docked at Steveston Harbour with fishermen selling a variety of fresh B.C. catch including salmon, tuna, crab, and more.

The Gulf of Georgia Cannery and Britannia Heritage Shipyards National Historic Sites is a time capsule back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The cannery offers visitors a glimpse into what it is like to work in one, while the historic site is complete with authentic buildings and boatyards from yesteryear.

It’s also where B.C.’s first—and I believe only—scramble intersection is located, so if you’re into that kind of stuff, you might want to check that out too!

Steveston Village is accessible by car from Steveston Highway off Highway 99 and on transit on the 410 22nd Street Station/Railway bus.

Westminster Pier Park

Interested in seeing the results of urban revitalization?

Then the Westminster Pier Park in New Westminster is for you! This nine-acre park is a recent addition to the city’s waterfront that opened in June 2012.

The land that the park now occupies was an area that was  formerly remnants of an old shipping dock. Today, it is complete with green space, basketball and volleyball courts, benches, two playgrounds, and much more! Believe it or not – there are even plans to add an urban beach to the park!

Aside from the park, it is located close to River Market and the Fraser River Discovery Centre. It’s the place to be if you’re interested in learning more about B.C.’s most famous river and the role it played in the province’s development.

The park is located on Front Street, across from Columbia Station, and is accessible from the Pattullo Bridge.

This park has picked up ten different awards including the National Brownie Award from the Canadian Urban Institute for sustainable remediation technologies.

Badminton Vancouver

Are you a badminton fan? Then you might want to check out the Badminton Vancouver, which bills itself as North America’s premier badminton facility.

The facility has a 33′ foot ceiling and is complete with twelve tennis courts using Olympic quality flooring.

Fees range from $2 per person to $7 per person for drop-in. Want to play with a group of friends? Court rentals are also available ranging from $12.70 an hour t0 $21 an hour.

Badminton Vancouver is open seven days a week at 110-13100 Mitchell Road on Mitchell Island off the Knight Street Bridge.

Taking public transit? You can do that too! Just take the 430 Metrotown Station/Richmond-Brighouse to the Mitchell Island stop.

Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 12 a.m. from Sunday to Thursday and 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Surrey Art Gallery

Are you interested in art? Then the Surrey Art Gallery might be for you!

This contemporary art museum is located at 13750 88 Avenue in Surrey, just one block east of King George Boulevard.

It is complete with works from local, national, and international artists.

On exhibit now is ARTS 2014: A Juried Exhibition of Visual Art and Change: Contemporary Ismaili Muslim Art.

The gallery is located right on the Major Road Network, but you can also take the 96 B-Line and get off at 88th Avenue.

Little Saigon

Kingsway in Vancouver is unique in that it stretches diagonally from the northwest to the southeast in a city where streets run parallel to each other. It’s also unique in that it is one of the most culturally diverse streets in the region.

This street, between Fraser and Knight Street, is home to Vancouver’s Vietnamese neighbourhood, Little Saigon.

Named after Vietnam’s largest city, it is filled with mom-and-pop businesses ranging from grocery stores, cellphone dealers to pho restaurants. There’s also Chinese restaurants that are sprinkled through out Little Saigon as well.

Kingsway is part of the Major Road Network and the corridor is serviced by the 19 Metrotown Station/Stanley Park bus.

(There’s also a Little Saigon restaurant that is worth checking out too!)

Koreatown

Although this distinction is not official, the juncture of North Road and Lougheed Highway in Burnaby and Coquitlam is often recognized as the region’s de facto “Koreatown” owing to its large Korean population and businesses.

Interested in trying Korean food? There’s no better place to go since this area is home to a wide number of restaurants and businesses.

If you are a keener and want to cook at home, there are two Korean supermarkets – Hanahreum Mart on one side of North Road and Hannam Supermarket on the other.

North Road and Lougheed Highway are both part of the Major Road Network and this unique neighbourhood is located in close proximity to Lougheed Town Centre Station.

Ready to go?!?

If you’re planning to take transit, use Trip Planner or contact our Customer Information team at 604.953.3333 or tweet them @TransLink, 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Driving? Use Google Maps to plan how to get there.

Share your adventures in the comments section below let us know of some other awesome Metro Vancouver attractions you can access using our Major Road Network and bridges!

Explore with TransLink – Night markets, theatre, trains, and more!

Explore with TransLink banner

For the rest of July, Explore with TransLink as we spotlight some interesting places in Metro Vancouver that you might not have been! 

TransLink’s buses service an area of 1,800 square kilometers and there are 8,400 bus stops around Metro Vancouver. SkyTrain is 68.6 kilometres long and has 47 stations spread out over the cities of Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond, and Surrey.

As you can imagine, there are many places TransLink takes you. Here are seven interesting places that you might not have been that you can get to by bus or SkyTrain!

Richmond night markets

Richmond is home to two different night markets – the Richmond Night Market at 8351 River Road and the International Summer Night Market at 12631 Vulcan Way. The best part is, both are accessible by transit!

Both night markets are known for their array of Asian eats and is complete with vendors selling a selection of merchandise from stuffed animals to iPhone cases.

The Richmond Night Market is a seven-minute walk from Bridgeport Canada Line station. The International Summer Night Market can be accessed via the 407 and 430 buses.

They are open Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m. to 12 a.m., and Sunday and holidays, 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. until September. Admission to the International Summer Night Market is free, while the Richmond Night Market is $2.25. Children 10 & under and for seniors 60 & up get in for free.

B.C. Sports Hall of Fame and Museum

Photo: "BC Sports Hall" by Rebecca Bollwitt is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

BC Sports Hall” by Rebecca Bollwitt is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Located at B.C. Place Stadium‘s Gate A, the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame and Museum is a must-see for all sports fans!

Are you a Vancouver Canucks fan? See ‘King’ Richard Brodeur’s goalie equipment from the 1982 Stanley Cup playoffs and the hockey stick and puck used to score the team’s first goal in franchise history!

Relive the magic of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and have a look at the Olympic torch that captured the imagination of Canadians from coast to coast.

The B.C. Sports Hall of Fame and Museum is located by Stadium-Chinatown Station on the Expo and Millennium Line. It is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Inuksuk

See one of the symbols of the 2010 Winter Olympics at English Bay – the inuksuk!

You might be surprised to learn the Vancouver 2010 logo, named Ilanaaq, was based on the inuksuk that sits at Beach Avenue and Bidwell Street in English Bay. The statue was originally commissioned for the Northwest Territories Pavilion at Expo 86 and was donated to the city following the conclusion of the exposition.

The C21 bus tops right across from the inuksuk and is a four-minute walk from the 6 bus at Davie Street and Bidwell Street.

Capilano Salmon Hatchery

"Salmon Hatchery" by flightlog is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Salmon Hatchery” by flightlog is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

British Columbia is famous for its salmon and you can experience what B.C. has to offer by visiting the Capilano Salmon Hatchery in North Vancouver!

Check out the self-guided tour and interpretative centre to learn more about salmon in this province.

Watch the salmon run as fish jump the fish ladder to migrate upstream. Right now, it’s the best time to see the Coho Adults and Coho Juveniles! When you’re done that, hike one of the many trails nearby and enjoy a nice picnic on a sunny day.

This free attraction is located at 4500 Capilano Park Road and is a short walk from the 232, 236 and 247 buses. It is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Theatre on Granville Island

Are you into theatre? Then Granville Island is the place to go – it is home to over 15 theatres and theatre companies!

Carousel Theatre for Young People brings together children and teenagers with a passion for theatre as they perform a selection of plays including Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour Lost.

The Vancouver TheatreSports League is known for their improv comedy and are a must see. Their shows consist of TripImproviser, TheatreSports, Improv Test Kitchen, Ultimate Improv Championship, Late Night Laughs, and Rookie Night.

Tickets to a mainstage production from Carousel Theatre is $29. Tickets for the Vancouver TheatreSports League start at $8.

Aside from theatre, Granville Island is home to a number of other vendors and public market. Take the 50 Waterfront Station/False Creek South bus to get to Granville Island.

Miniature trains at Burnaby Central Railway and Bear Creek Park

Burnaby Central Railway and Bear Creek Park are the places to be in you’re interested in old trains and locomotives!

Go for a ride on 1/8 scale miniature trains at Burnaby Central Railway and on Eddy the Engine as he takes you for a ride around Bear Creek Park.

Burnaby Central Railway is located at 120 North Willingdon Avenue. It is open weekends and statutory holidays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and $2.50 for a single ride. The C1 Kootenay Loop/Hastings at Gilmore bus stops right outside.

Bear Creek Park in Surrey is open daily 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and is $5 for adults and $4.50 for children to ride the train. Take the 96 B-Line from Surrey Central Station or Guildford Exchange and get off at 88th Avenue.

Fraser Valley Heritage Railway Society

Here’s another attraction for you railway aficionados!

The Fraser Valley Heritage Railway Society has a restored heritage interurban car.

Speeder riders and car barn tours are now happening from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on weekends. You can visit them at 176A Street and and 56 Avenue in Surrey by taking the 320 or 341 from Guildford Exchange.

Ready to go?!?

Plan your trip using our Trip Planner or contact our Customer Information team at 604.953.3333 or tweet them @TransLink, 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

Share your adventures in the comments section below let us know of some other awesome Metro Vancouver attractions you can access by bus or SkyTrain!

Explore with TransLink – say hello to our July special post series!

Explore with TransLink banner

In the past, we’ve done a series for you to Ask TransLink, a spotlight about Life on Transit, TransLink’s roads and bridges, TransLink 101 where we answered basic questions about the organization, and of course, #WhatsTheLink.

For the month of July, we’re excited to be bringing you another special series called, Explore with TransLink!

What’s “Explore with TransLink” all about?

To say TransLink’s service area is “big” might be a bit of an understatement. The SkyTrain is one of the longest automated rapid transit systems in the world and our service area is larger than Montreal and Chicago, and twice the size of Toronto’s.

On top of that, we are also responsible for 2,300 lane kilometres of major roads and bridges as well as cycling infrastructure—so there’s a lot of places TransLink goes to!

This being summer and all, we’re going to explore Metro Vancouver with you by sharing a selection of fascinating places that TransLink takes you and you might not have been!

Every Monday for the rest of July, we’ll be making a post highlighting places that our bus, SkyTrain, SeaBus, West Coast Express, Major Road Network, and cycling routes takes you.

Tell us what places TransLink takes you

As always, we’d love your feedback to help inform our series! Tell us some ‘hidden gems’ in Vancouver or finish this sentence, “TransLink takes you…” in the comments section below or share it with us via email, thebuzzer@translink.ca.

We’re excited to showcase great submissions to spur more conversations!

Ask TransLink: transit planner Mary Riemer talks bus bunching, route numbers, inspirational cities, and more!

asktranslink

From April 15 to May 10, you can Ask TransLink! We’re spotlighting one TransLink staff member every week and inviting you to ask them questions about their work. Find out all about the series.

Mary Riemer, transit planner!

Mary Riemer, transit planner!

We’re winding down on our week asking questions with Mary Riemer, transit planner extraordinaire—and here’s a recap of what she’s been up to in her Ask TransLink post!

Why do buses “bunch up” at bus stops?

Mary took on a question from Sheila about why buses sometimes arrive very close together at bus stops!

I am curious why, between Alma & Granville, the #9 and the #14 always come at the same time?
It would be much more helpful to have them spaced. It is very disappointing to miss them both when the traffic light is against me as I try to cross Broadway at Vine or Yew.

Hi Sheila. I can relate to how missing your bus can be frustrating! While the #9 and the #14 are scheduled at different times, they are subject to a multitude of external forces such as unpredictable traffic patterns, resulting in bus bunching! (arriving at the stop at the same time – I touch on this a bit more in my answer to Eric about the #20 ) In this case, it is largely due to the fact that they are both frequent services, serving a high demand corridor with destination anchors at either end and high turnover along the route. The good news is that these are characteristics of an effective and productive service, and we can work with our operating company to address any chronic bus bunching between the #9 and #14 to make them work even more efficiently together!

How do we choose route numbers?

SS asked about how we pick numbers for new routes. Here’s what Mary said.

I’m also wondering about how route numbers are determined for new routes.

This is an interesting question. Historically, streetcars in Vancouver were named for the corridor or street that they served. As they were replaced by trolley busses, they maintained these service numbers. Across the region, most services are numbered for the destinations that they serve. We also try not to reuse numbers for new routes that have been used in the past. As for community shuttle route naming, TransLink has recognized that the vehicle type is not necessarily tied to the level of service provided, and therefore are moving away from the #CX naming.

How are we dealing with population growth South of Fraser?

From our Facebook live chat, Haruo Chikamori asked about how we are dealing with the growing population in the South of Fraser area. Here’s what Mary had to say.

How is Translink going to deal with the influx of population growth on the South Side of the Fraser? It seems as though the transit situation there is regressing there rather than moving forward. Surrey is one of the fastest growing population centers in the Lower Mainland. The Transit Plan has not been finalized, the extension of the Skytrain into Langley has been planned, but not finalized. Buses are driving by full while people wait on the sidelines and buses have been cut.

Hi Haruo! We know that the South of Fraser is growing rapidly and we have been doing as much as possible to increase service. We recently issued the Surrey Rapid Studies, looking at different alternatives. You can check them out here.

Through our Service Optimization program we have been increasing service in the South of Fraser as much as possible given our funding situation. We recently introduced the #555 Port Mann Express and later this year we will be introducing the 96 B-Line on King George Boulevard! -mary

What transit systems can Vancouver learn from the most?

And also from Facebook, Brandon Yan asked a great question.

I think Vancouver has a fantastic transit system but do you have any city in the world where you look to them and go “yeah, they get transit”? Who could Vancouver learn from the most?

Hi Brandon… Metro Vancouver has some unique characteristics, some cities we can look to and learn from include Hong Kong, Portland, and San Fransisco. While there are cities with fantastic transit systems like London, it is hard to compare their system with ours because there are so many differences between their urban fabric and ours. – mary

Get your questions in by noon today!

If you’ve still got questions, Mary will be available to answer until noon today, Friday May 10, 2013! Submit your questions on her Ask TransLink page, and she’ll get the answers for you.

Ask TransLink: join Mary Riemer for a Facebook chat at 2pm today, Thu May 9, 2013!

asktranslink

From April 15 to May 10, you can Ask TransLink! We’re spotlighting one TransLink staff member every week and inviting you to ask them questions about their work. Find out all about the series.

Mary Riemer, transit planner!

Mary Riemer, transit planner!

All right: for our final week of Ask TransLink, we’re heading to Facebook to do a live chat with Mary Riemer, transit planner!

Join us at 2 p.m. today, May 9, 2013, at TransLink’s Facebook page: we’ll launch a post and reply to as many questions as we can for an hour.

If you’re curious, here’s more about Mary from earlier this week. Hope to see you there!

Edit: we did it! Check out the full Facebook post here!

Ask TransLink: Mary Riemer, transit planner!

asktranslink

From April 15 to May 10, you can Ask TransLink! We’re spotlighting one TransLink staff member every week and inviting you to ask them questions about their work. Find out all about the series.

Mary Riemer, TransLink transit planner!

Mary Riemer, TransLink transit planner!

We’re super excited to welcome transit planner Mary Riemer to the blog!

Mary will be kindly taking time to answer all your questions this week, all the way until Friday, May 10, 2013 at noon. And she’ll do a special 1 hour Facebook live chat on Thursday, May 9, at 2 p.m.!

We asked Mary a couple of questions about her work to kick it off: here we go!

Hi Mary! What kind of work do you do for TransLink?

Hello! I am an Assistant Transit Planner in TransLink’s Service Planning team. I’ve been with the agency for just over a year, supporting both the Area Transit Planning and Network Management programs. Service Planning works with our operating companies to make sure the transit network is developing in a way that will help meet the region’s long-term goals and objectives. This involves continuous analysis of how people use the various services available to them and based on those findings, making adjustments to improve both the efficiency and usefulness of the network.

What projects are you currently working on?

I’m working on a lot of exciting projects! The Northeast Sector Area Transit Plan has just kicked off and will establish a long-term vision for the transit network in the communities of Anmore, Belcarra, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, and Port Moody, as well as identify a range of near-term transit priorities to begin the realization of that vision.

Service Optimization
is another part of what we do in Service Planning. These projects aim to put service where it is needed most and better match supply and demand, helping TransLink generate revenues to support efficient transit service across the region. One of the most important aspects of Service Optimization is consultation with the public. In the fall, we received invaluable feedback on proposed changes that helped us understand potential impacts and, in several cases, refine the projects to help mitigate these.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I love my job! One of the best parts of my work is talking to the public about their thoughts and ideas. So I’m excited to answer your questions about Service Planning and hear what you love about transit in Metro Vancouver too.

Thanks Mary!

All right everyone – now it’s your turn! Submit your questions in the comments below, and we’ll get Mary to answer them for you until Friday, May 10, 2013 at noon!

Ask TransLink: Jason D and Candace K, Twitter customer information chat on Reddit

asktranslink

From April 15 to May 10, you can Ask TransLink! We’re spotlighting one TransLink staff member every week and inviting you to ask them questions about their work. Find out all about the series.

Jason D and Candace K, Twitter customer information work leaders

Jason D and Candace K, Twitter customer information work leaders

Well, that was fun! In case you missed it, we held our first Reddit chat yesterday! For two hours the fantastic Jason D and Candace K of customer information answered a slew of questions. Many thanks to all of you who participated. What was discussed? Well, here’s a few questions and answers.

Zorbane asked:

How do you get a job like that? I’ve never seen any courses on using twitter before.

Thanks for your work though I ask @translink for help all the time

^jd answered:

Hello Zorbane, Twitter is part of the Customer Information Workleader role, We started as Customer Information Clerks and over time worked up to being workleaders. If you are interested in working here make sure to check the website for posting www.translink.ca/en/About-Us/Careers.aspx.

Shuawuzheer asked:

How do you deal with unhappy people?

^ck answered:

Hello Shuawuzheer, Once I find out what they are unhappy about I try to see if there is anything I can do to try and fix it. We also try to keep a cheery disposition.

troublewillfindyou asked: 

Does the filming of shows/movies in Vancouver affect traffic?

^jd answered:
Hello troublewillfindyou, Yes, filming can cause some traffic problems, our planning department does work closely with the city so we can plan accordingly to minimize service delays.

We only had time to answer two hours of questions, but we could have keep going for sure!

Our last installment of Ask TransLink is next week. Get those planning questions ready for Mary Reimer, transit planner. She’ll be answering your transit planning questions all week on the blog and once on Facebook.

Ask TransLink: Jason D and Candace K, Twitter customer information

asktranslink

From April 15 to May 10, you can Ask TransLink! We’re spotlighting one TransLink staff member every week and inviting you to ask them questions about their work. Find out all about the series.

Jason and Candace, Twitter customer information work leaders

Jason D and Candace K, Twitter customer information work leaders

The conversation starts at noon! Here’s the Reddit link!

 

Throw up your hands in the air for a couple members of TransLink’s fantastic Twitter team! If you follow us on Twitter, you’ll have reads tweet from either ^jd or ^ck among others. Everyday from the wee hours in the morning until late at night, Jason D (^jd) and Candace K (^ck) answer any and every type of question our riders tweet.

We’re super excited to have Jason and Candace answer your questions this week. For this installment of Ask TransLink, we’re doing things a little different. We’ll have Jason and Candace available for two hours this Thursday, May 2, 2013 starting at 12:00p.m. to answer your questions on Reddit!

Not sure what to ask them? Well, maybe this quick q & a will get your juices flowing.

Where you a Twitter user before you started this job?

^jd & ^ck: No

How is answering tweets different than answering someone’s question over the phone?

^jd & ^ck: We treat all inquires the same – whether by phone or tweet, this is done by focusing on providing accurate information and customer service, but keeping it into the character limit! 140 characters less the twitter handle characters of whom we are responding to.

Are most of the tweets you answer from people who regularly tweet @TransLink or are they from first timers?

^jd & ^ck: Both! We do have our ‘regulars’ but do see an increase in ‘first timers’ when transit issues occur ie. Snow days etc.

What’s your favourite part of the job?

^jd & ^ck: Communicating with our Tweeps! The ability to help people in real time, and our followers can also be a great source of information for us as well!! It works both ways.

Thanks guys! So, time to mark your calendars everyone. We’ll be posting a link to the Reddit conversation Thursday morning, May 2, 2013 around 11:30 a.m. See you there!

Ask TransLink: bus operator Brian Revel answers allmost every possible question about buses and says thanks

asktranslink

From April 15 to May 10, you can Ask TransLink! We’re spotlighting one TransLink staff member every week and inviting you to ask them questions about their work. Find out all about the series.

Brian Revel, TransLink bus operator!

Brian Revel, TransLink bus operator!

Our super helpful bus operator, Brian Revel, finished up his busy week of answering your bus related questions on the blog at noon today, Friday April 26, 2013. There are too many highlights to mention. However, the Facebook chat was certainly a highlight with a flurry of many questions over an exciting hour! Here an example of the q & a from the blog:

Paying for the bus

Shawna asked, “why do some drivers demand that some people pay and if they don’t, they are not allowed entry whereas other bus drivers just let people come on the bus who cannot afford to pay? I pay and it really frustrates me when I see bus drivers allowing people to come on the bus who have not paid.”

Hi Shawna-

Fare payment, or lack thereof, is a sensitive issue for sure. There are those who conscientiouslu pay their fare and then wonder where the fairness is when someone else rides free of charge. On the other hand, there are those who appreciate that there are ways still to give people a break.

Bus operators are always focusing on providing a valuable and safe service to the public. Sometimes drivers have to use their discretion when people are unable to pay. The ongoing challenge is that operators face the risk of assault for less than asking for fare payment. So when an operator is out there asking for fares, she or he is vulnerable to assault.

When I started with CMBC the policy was “inform don’t enforce”. Today, we are essentially ambassadors at the front door and fare enforcement is the role Transit Security and Transit police. Our responsibility is to get our riders to their destination safely.
But in my view- as it is the view of the company- asking for $2.75 fare payment is not worth the price of an assault.

So, I like to think of it this way: the bus is going wherever it’s going anyway. Thank you for doing your part and paying your fare. You are doing the right thing. You are respecting the transit system, but more importantly, you are respecting yourself. And at the end of the day, I’d rather get you to where you’re going with as little delay and stress on you as I can. So give yourself permission to let go of your concern and know that one day eventually, karma will catch up with the fare evader. If not a Transit Security or police office who will issue a ticket for $174.00.

 

To close out the week, Brian really wanted to say a few words to everyone who participated this week. He’s his heartfelt note: Read more »

Ask TransLink: join Brian Revel on Facebook for a real-time chat at 11am, Thu April 25, 2013

asktranslink

From April 15 to May 10, you can Ask TransLink! We’re spotlighting one TransLink staff member every week and inviting you to ask them questions about their work. Find out all about the series.

Join us on the TransLink Facebook page today for a real-time chat with Brian Revel!

Join us on the TransLink Facebook page today for a real-time chat with Brian Revel!

Gotta burning question you’ve always wanted to ask a bus operator? For this second week of Ask TransLink, we’re going to have a live Facebook chat with Brian Revel, bus operator ! Here’s Brian’s introductory post with the numerous questions he’s already answered this week.

Join us at 11 a.m. today, April 25, 2013, at TransLink’s Facebook page: we’ll start up a post and answer as many questions as we can for an hour. Get those questions ready. See you there!

Edit: The chat was awesome! Check out the Facebook chat here, and thanks again to everyone who asked questions. Brian was busy the whole hour!

Ask TransLink: Brian Revel, bus operator

asktranslink

From April 15 to May 10, you can Ask TransLink! We’re spotlighting one TransLink staff member every week and inviting you to ask them questions about their work. Find out all about the series.

Brian Revel, bus operator!

Brian Revel, bus operator!

We’re super happy to welcome Brian Revel, bus operator, to the blog!

This week, Brian will be answering your questions from the road, stopping to check-in between his shifts on the 25 and 41 routes every day! (It’s true: feel free to say hi if you see him on your route!)

We’ll be taking questions for Brian until Friday, April 26, 2013 at noon. To kick things off, we asked him a few questions about his work driving buses for Coast Mountain Bus Company. Let’s go!

When did you start working as an operator with Coast Mountain Bus Company?

I began training with CMBC in November of 2007. I went “live” in January 2008. I have been a transit operator now for just under five-and-a-half years. Before that, I owned my own VIP touring company, à la carte specialty tours but I had to close the business because most of my clientele were Americans who suffered massive losses during the financial collapse in 2007. Prior to owning my own business, I drove tour coach for Gray Line of Vancouver.

What has the experience been like? What keeps you driving buses?

The experience has been a really positive one. I have been a life-long transit user and now that I’m on the ‘inside’ I have learned what it is to be on the other side of the red line. There was so much I didn’t know, so much I didn’t understand, about public transport before coming to CMBC. Apart from the technical side, I am truly impressed and honoured to know and work with such an incredible group of dedicated professionals throughout the entire Translink family.

What keeps me driving buses? I’m not too sure, to be honest. It kinda gets into your blood. There’s nothing like a corner office where the view always changes. Another thing about this job is that it’s the indoor-iest outdoor job around… or is it the outdoor-iest indoor job? Besides, I’m a people person and so my interactions with passengers and other folk throughout my day keeps me going. And hey- if you love your job, you never work a day in your life.

What routes have you driven? What are you driving now?

I work out of the Vancouver depot so I have only worked the routes that VTC services. The 26, 27, 28 and 29 as well as the express services are serviced by the Burnaby depot and most days the 49, as well as the 480 are serviced out of Richmond. Apart from these routes, I have driven every route in Vancouver.

Currently, I am driving on the #25 in the morning and the #41 in the afternoon.

I understand you’ve received commendations in the past: what have they been for?

You’d be surprised. It’s the little things that matter most, I guess. They are mostly for being friendly, giving information, greeting people when they get on the bus, calling out the stops. Stuff like that.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I have a little campaign I do on my bus about once a month… it’s called, Say Hi on the Bus which made 24Hrs. I was interviewed for Career Trek – here’s the video. And I have competed in the Bus Roadeo and have placed 1st for VTC each time, this year placing 4th overall!

Thanks Brian!

Okay you guys – over to you! Please feel free to submit your questions in the comments below, and we’ll get Brian to answer them for you until Friday, April 26, 2013 at noon!

Ask TransLink: our roads engineer Q&A helps move a sign, talks BC Parkway upgrades, and more

asktranslink

From April 15 to May 10, you can Ask TransLink! We’re spotlighting one TransLink staff member every week and inviting you to ask them questions about their work. Find out all about the series.

Peggy Gibbs, TransLink roads engineer!

Peggy Gibbs, TransLink roads engineer!

Roads engineer Peggy Gibbs will be wrapping up her Q&A on the blog at noon today, Friday April 19, 2013 – but just before she goes, here’s some of the highlights from her discussion this week!

We moved a sign blocking a cycling path in Richmond

Caption and photo from Voony’s blog: Sign on Knight bridge, at Mitchell Island interchange, resting in the middle of the pathway, also advertised as a bike lane.

Voony wrote in asking whether this construction sign on Mitchell Island belonged to us, as it was blocking the bike path he uses.

Peggy looked into it, and it got removed! Here’s what she wrote:

The temporary sign appears to be from the City of Richmond’s contractor, and we contacted the City to direct their contractor to relocate it out of the paved path. The sign has now been removed by the City’s contractor.

Read more »