Translink Buzzer Blog

Category: Special Series

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

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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 »

Ask TransLink: join Peggy Gibbs on Facebook for a real-time chat at 2pm, Thu April 18, 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 for a real-time chat with Peggy Gibbs today!

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

Heads up: for our first week of Ask TransLink, we’re going to try out a Facebook live chat with Peggy Gibbs, roads engineer at TransLink! Here’s a bit more about Peggy from earlier this week.

Join us at 2 p.m. today, April 18, 2013, at TransLink’s Facebook page: we’ll start up a post and answer as many questions as we can for an hour. Hope to see you there!

Edit: we did it! Check out the Facebook chat here, and thanks to everyone who asked questions!

Ask TransLink: Peggy Gibbs, roads engineer!

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, a roads engineer at TransLink

Peggy Gibbs, a roads engineer at TransLink

Please extend a warm welcome to Peggy Gibbs, who works as an engineer with TransLink’s Roads department—helping manage our bridges, the major road network, and more! (Here’s a Buzzer blog post about our roads and bridges, btw!)

Peggy has kindly agreed to take your questions this week, ending at Friday, April 19, 2013 at noon. To get us started, I’ve asked her to tell us a bit about her work. Here we go!

What kind of work do you do for TransLink?

I am a Project Manager at TransLink, and have been with TransLink’s Roads Department for about two-and-a-half years.

The Roads Department here at TransLink has 11 engineers, and we look after the interests of all road user. We have a responsibility to help TransLink achieve its 2040 goal of having most trips by transit, walking, and cycling.

We operate (or help to operate) a range of infrastructure, from the region’s Major Road Network (MRN), to the BC Parkway pedestrian/cyclist path running from Vancouver to Surrey, to the five TransLink-owned bridges. We also look after the interests of truck traffic.

What projects are you currently working on, and what projects have you done in the past?

We have lots of projects on the go. Some of the ones we are working on now include the Evergreen Line integration, working with the Evergreen Line project team to make sure that buses, pedestrians, bikes, and autos can easily and safely access the new Evergreen Line stations. We are working on a multi-year project to upgrade the BC Parkway bike/pedestrian path, which hasn’t had an upgrade in the 27 years since it opened.

We work with all the municipalities in the Metro Vancouver area to fund maintenance, operation, and upgrades to the Major Road Network and cycling facilities. We are part of the TransLink team that works with municipalities and developers throughout the Metro Vancouver area to improve and integrate bus exchanges as town centres and neighborhoods are redesigned and redeveloped.

Can you describe the work of a road engineer? i.e.: what’s your day-to-day work like?

Road engineers at TransLink deal with everything from maintaining bridge structures to making sure traffic (including buses, bikes, and pedestrians) can operate safely and efficiently on a region-wide network spanning Metro Vancouver’s 22 municipalities.

To do that, we have a range of programs such as regular bridge inspections, MRN pavement inspections, and funding programs for roads and bicycle infrastructure. We also work with TransLink planners and municipal planners to make sure that new and existing TransLink services and facilities, such as bus routes and bus exchanges, can operate safely and efficiently.

On a day-to-day basis, that means things like (for example) working with staff at municipalities, the Ministry of Transportation, and developers when they are making changes to roadways, traffic signals, parking regulations, or sidewalks; making sure that roadway designers give buses enough space to pull in and out of bus stops and to turn; and working with Coast Mountain Bus Company to make bus exchanges easier for visually impaired persons to use.

And now it’s your turn to ask the questions!

Please feel free to submit your questions in the comments below, and we’ll get Peggy to answer them for you until Friday, April 19, 2013 at noon!

Ask TransLink: welcome to our April special post series!

asktranslink

Each month during 2013, we’re exploring a special topic in the Buzzer newsletter and blog. And for April/May, we’re encouraging you to Ask TransLink!

Ask four TransLink staff members about their work!

From April 15 to May 10, we’ll spotlight one TransLink staff member every week and invite you to ask them questions about their work. Here’s our schedule of fantastic colleagues:

We think this is going to be a lot of fun and really informative for everyone!

How do you ask questions?

Here’s how the series will run:

  • At the start of the week, we’ll put up a post introducing each staff member.
  • You can feel free to ask questions in the comments of that post throughout the week, and we’ll get answers for you twice daily.
  • On Thursdays, we’ll do something special if we can: a real-time chat on Facebook or another venue!
  • And question time will wrap up on Fridays by noon.

And here’s some sample questions to get your wheels turning!

  • How do you become a transit planner?
  • Why is TransLink in charge of some roads and bridges and not others?
  • What is the last project you worked on? What did you get to do?
  • What’s your favourite bus route to drive? To plan?

Things to keep in mind

Let’s go over a few key items to ensure we’re all on the same page—especially if you’ve never commented on the Buzzer blog before!

  • Remember to follow our participation guidelines when asking questions or making comments!
  • You can ask anything related to the scope of the staff member’s work, as long as it follows our participation guidelines. We’ll do our best to answer as much as we can!
  • Owing to limited time availability, we might not be able to get to every question—our staff do have their regular jobs to get back to! We hope you can understand.
  • And last: let’s have fun! We’ve had so many great conversations on the blog over the years—so let’s keep that up and have a good time together :)

Suggestions welcome!

As always, we’d love your feedback to help inform our series! Write to us in the comments, or feel free to write to thebuzzer@translink.ca.

We’re also thinking of doing Ask TransLink again this year, so we’d also love to know who you would like to speak to in our organization. We’ll see what we can do :)

Life on transit: fantastic tips and tricks for transit from riders like you!

translinklifeontransit

For March/April 2013, we’re spotlighting Life on Transit—observing and illuminating the quirks and habits of daily transit rides around our region!

tipspollresults

We asked you last week if you had any special tips or tools for taking transit—and after 51 votes, 76 per cent of poll takers said they did!

Now to the juicy stuff! We received some fantastic comments with some very hot tips and tricks for transit. One of my favourites came from Cliff:

During the PM peak, board an inbound SkyTrain, then stay on it as it becomes an outbound one. This allows you to secure a seat. Particularly useful if your trip is going to be a long one. For example, Commercial to VCC-Clark or even Stadium to Waterfront.

Crowded bus stop along a crowded route? Reduce your chances of being passed up by walking to the previous stop. Drivers are more likely to pick up a single person at a stop than if there were a crowd.

Picking up or dropping someone off at the airport? Use Templeton Station to do this. Canada Line between YVR and Templeton is free. You don’t have to pay for parking (you can’t park at the station) and you don’t have to worry about timing your arrival so you get there at the exact moment as the person you’re picking up.

Here is Allen with a tip for 49 riders:

Route 49 users: Use the Next Bus feature and Map View. Click on the bus icons. The ones with a bus number in the 8000s is an articulated bus. Time your trip so you get on to an articulated bus for a less cramped/more enjoyable ride.

And here’s JT with some great tips for the 620:

For those who take the 620 Tsawwassen Ferry, I always like to arrive 20-30 mins ahead of the printed departures in the schedule or website, because all too often (especially on Fridays, long and ordinary weekends, and holidays) RTC and Transit supervisors will dispatch an extra express bus that isn’t scheduled to help out with peak demands, especially with trips connecting to sailings for both Victoria and Nanaimo. An example is if you need to make the 3pm sailing to Victoria, or 3:15pm sailing to Nanaimo, the printed schedule says 2pm leaving Bridgeport, and an extra trip around 1:45pm on weekends. About 80-90% of the time, theres an unscheduled trip that leaves Bridgeport sometime just after 1:30pm, and it will be an express trip with no stops, arriving at the terminal sometime around 2:10pm, plenty of time at the terminal. However, if you don’t like a crowded bus, stick with the printed departures, those trips tend to be a much lighter load, arriving only 10 mins after the first trip, and still time to catch your ferry.

Carmen had a great tip for busy bus routes:

One particular bus stop I frequent *can* be pretty packed if arriving at certain times of the day (it’s near a couple schools). If this is the case, I’ve found that the bus takes SO long to load that it’s actually *faster* to wait for the next one, which usually ends up leapfrogging past the first bus (because it takes a long time to unload at each stop as well) and arriving at my final destination on time, if not early.

And to finish it up, Kerry had some fabulous advice for travelling with kids!

I have two young children, and transit is our usual method of getting around (we use a co-op car every now and again). My tips for easier transit riding with kids: allow plenty of time to travel so we’re not rushing around in a sweat, and instead can enjoy our day. Sit away from wires and buttons so we’re not constantly ringing the bell to stop the bus (I’ve seen this a few times!). The best seats on the bus for me are at the back, where my older son can sit by the window and look out, and the younger is away from the pull-wire and entertained by the view out the back window. In particular, keeping away from the wheelchair button at the front of the bus and the emergency button by the door seat on the older skytrains. I also use a carrier instead of a stroller; then my youngest son doesn’t take up any space, we can sit where we like, and I can even stand for seniors or wheelchair users.

Other tips: sing songs (not loudly!) – this has gotten me out of trouble on longer journeys soooo many times. And being polite and friendly to the bus driver/transit staff/other passengers is fun! We have made lots of friends on transit over the years. My boys have collected pins, pushed the button to sound the horn on the skytrain at Waterfront (so awesome!), gotten a free “ticket” on the bus (the driver prints a blank). I feel confident that in the years to come, my kids will be able to navigate transit in Vancouver safely and effectively on their own.

Now there are many, many more tips over at the original post—I highly encourage you to go over and have a read! Thanks to everyone who so kindly submitted their suggestions!