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Translink Buzzer Blog

Category: State of the System

Rail replacement work continues September 5-7, 2015

Jennifer at Edmonds Station speaking about rail replacement. No, we did not organize the SkyTrain to move past her perfectly timed. It just worked out that way!

Work continues this weekend as TransLink replaces major sections of its 30-year-old SkyTrain track while keeping the service open for customers. Keeping the trains running while this critical work is done during non-peak hours will mean delays for customers taking the Millennium and Expo lines this weekend.

Where is the rail being replaced? 

Last weekend (Aug.28-30) crews replaced approximately 950 linear metres of rail by Edmonds Station. The work was completed on schedule, despite high winds and a downed tree in the area where rail was replaced.

This weekend, crews will replace rail along the S-curve between Commercial-Broadway and Main Street-Science World stations.

How will service be impacted? 

September 5 to 7, all day (Labour Day weekend)

  • Expo and Millennium Line service will be reduced, while crews replace rail west of Commercial-Broadway Station. Trains will single track at Commercial-Broadway and Main Street-Science World stations.
  • Millennium Line will operate between VCC-Clark and Columbia stations only.
  • A frequent bus shuttle will operate between VCC-Clark, Main Street-Science World and Stadium-Chinatown stations from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. Millennium Line customers travelling into or out of downtown Vancouver in the afternoon should consider using this bus service.

To minimize waits, customers are encouraged to consider alternate bus routes to reach their destinations! Thanks for your patience while we complete this necessary work! 

 

Rail replacement is set to start August 28th!

252_-_SkyTrain_near_Science_World_2

Riders take note! Work to replace running rail on the Expo Line is set to begin August 28th.

TransLink is replacing major sections of its 30-year-old SkyTrain track while keeping the service open for customers. Keeping the trains running while this critical work is done during non-peak hours will mean delays for customers taking the Millennium and Expo lines this weekend and next.

Where is the rail being replaced?

  • Edmonds Stations’ inbound curve west (outbound has already been completed)
  • S-curve between Commercial-Broadway and Main-Science World Station

When?

  • 11 p.m. Friday Aug. 28 to end of service Sunday, Aug. 30— Inbound curve west of Edmonds Station
  • Labour Day weekend, Sept. 5-7:—S-curve between Commercial-Broadway and Main Street-Science World Station

How will service be impacted?

11 p.m. Friday Aug. 28 to end of service Sunday, Aug. 30:

o   SkyTrain Expo and Millennium Line service will be reduced. Trains will single track at Edmonds and Royal Oak stations.

o   Passengers should allow at least 20 minutes of extra travel time.

o   Millennium Line will operate between VCC-Clark and Columbia stations only.

o   Additional trains will operate from Waterfront to Metrotown stations only. Passengers boarding the Expo Line in Vancouver and travelling to stations east of Metrotown should wait for “King George” trains.

Labour Day weekend, Sept. 5-7

o   SkyTrain Expo and Millennium Line service will be reduced. Trains will single track at Commercial-Broadway and Main Street-Science World stations.

o   Passengers should allow at least 20 minutes of extra travel time.

o   Millennium Line will operate between VCC Clark and Columbia stations only.

o   A frequent bus shuttle will operate between VCC-Clark, Main Street-Science World and Stadium-Chinatown from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. between VCC-Clark, Main Street-Science World and Stadium-Chinatown stations. To minimize delays, Millennium Line customers travelling into or out of downtown Vancouver in the afternoon should consider using this bus service.

To minimize waits, customers are encouraged to consider alternate bus routes to reach their destinations!

 

 

Compass Tickets—Coming Soon to a SkyTrain Station Near You!

Starting this week, Compass Tickets are available at Braid, Lougheed and Sapperton stations. This marks the start of our phased roll out of Compass Tickets.

We know you’re excited about Compass, and now you can start traveling with Compass Tickets as they become available at SkyTrain stations over the next two months. Compass Cards will become available in October. Please note, Compass Tickets need to be tapped in and out, too!

You can purchase Compass Tickets at Compass Vending Machines (CVMs), which are being activated in phases. CVMs will be turned on at several stations each week between now and the end of October.

With the phased roll out of CVMs, we’re giving our customers the time and support they need to adapt to the new system. We’ll have extra staff at each station to assist people and answer questions.

In order to help customers adjust with ease, until December 31, 2015, traditional Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs) will remain in place at all Millennium/Expo stations; and one cash-only TVM will remain at each Canada Line station.

Customers who already have Compass Cards can also use CVMs to load Stored Value and check their balance.

CVM with Compass Ticket dangler 01

Compass Vending Machines are now up and running at some stations!

What is the plan for the Northeast Sector?

NES ATP

After three phases of planning work and public consultation, we have a plan, a guide if you will, for investment in transit services and infrastructure in the Northeast sector, including Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Anmore and Belcarra. Thank you to everyone who got engaged in the process, both online and in-person!

The Vision:

By 2045, residents regard transit in the Northeast Sector as convenient, comfortable, and easy to use. As a result, transit in the Northeast Sector is well-used, helping to promote healthy people and communities, a healthy economy and a healthy environment.

The Northeast Sector Area Transit Plan outlines a long-term vision for transit in that part of Metro Vancouver, along with recommended investments and service changes needed over the next 10 years to help begin achieving the vision. These include:

  • More direct and simple routes and schedules
  • New service to growing areas that currently have limited or no transit service
  • More frequent bus service during busy times between key destinations, like SkyTrain stations and local centres

We’ll work to implement the recommended changes as resources become available. Some recommended changes may be implemented by reallocating existing buses and resources, while others may require new funding.

The public can expect more opportunities for consultation before all recommended changes are finalized and implemented.

For all the details on how we got here and the specific recommendations in the Northeast Sector Area Transit Plan, see our website.

For anyone who missed our earlier posts on this process, more details can be found here, here and here.

Pender Street bus reroutes will be starting next Monday!

reroutes2

Starting next Monday, August 10th, buses running along Pender will be rerouted onto Hastings St. The reroute, due to water main construction, is expected to last approximately 10 months.

So if you ride the #4,#7, #19,#22,#209,#210,#211,#214, N8, N15, N19, N22, N24 or the N35 take note of these reroutes!

#4 & #7:
Westbound – Regular route to Main and Powell then left on Main, right on Hastings, left on Granville, and then continues on regular route.

Eastbound – No change.

#19:
Westbound– Regular route to Main and Pender then left on Hastings, left at Richards, right on Pender and then continues on regular route.
Eastbound – Regular route to Pender and Homer then left on Homer, right on Hastings, right on Main and then continues on regular route.

#22:
Westbound – Regular route to Gore and Pender then continues along Gore, left on Hastings, left on Burrard, continue along Burrard and turn right on Hastings.

Eastbound – Regular route to Pender and Hornby then left on Hornby,  right on Hastings, right on Gore and then continues on regular route. Note: the #22 Eastbound will no longer be able to use stop #50076 and the signage will be changed accordingly.

#209 – #214:
Westbound – Regular route to Main and Powell then left on Main, right on Hastings, left on Howe, and then continues on regular route.

Eastbound – No change until construction reaches Pender (we will be sure to update you before this reroute takes effect!).

N8: Regular route to Hastings and Granville then left on Granville, right on Pender, and then continues on regular route.
N15: Regular route to left on Seymour, right on Hastings, right on Cambie, and then continues on regular route.

N19:

Westbound— Regular route to Main then continue Main, left on Hastings, left on Howe, and then continues on regular route.
Eastbound— Regular route then left at Seymour, right on Hastings, right on Main, and then continues on regular route.

N22: Regular route to Hastings then right on Granville, right on Pender, and then continues on regular route.

N24: Regular route then right at Burrard, right on Hastings, right on Cambie, and then continues on regular route.

N35: Regular route to Hastings then left on Granville, right on Pender, and then continues on regular route.

Have questions? Let us know in the comments section!

 

Doug Allen on Voice of BC!

You may have heard, that come early August, our Interim CEO, Doug Allen will be leaving.

At this time our current CFO Cathy McLay will become Acting CEO as we continue our search for a permanent replacement.

With just a few weeks left until Doug bids us adieu, he joined Vaughn Palmer on “Voice of BC” to discuss his six-month stint at TransLink.

Chatting with Vaughn about the search for a new CEO, the transit plebiscite and TransLink governance, Doug spoke to a number of important transportation issues.

Growing transit and transportation needs in the Metro Vancouver were also apart of this conversation, as was the exploration of potential funding options.

All in all, the video gives you a good look at Doug Allen’s role over the past six-months at TransLink and his take on current transit matters!

 

The Low Down on Sea Island’s $5 return AddFare

A ticket vending machine on the Canada Line.

A ticket vending machine on the Canada Line.

Whether you are returning to Vancouver from the YVR Airport or the New McArthur Glen Shopping Centre this weekend, don’t forget about the $5 AddFare!

The AddFare is nothing new, but if you’ve never travelled from any of the three stations on Sea Island before, the extra $5 fare may come as a surprise.

Since January 2010, the AddFare has been in place to bridge the $55 million gap in funding for the Canada Line Construction.

Determined as the best funding option with the least impact on transit growth in the region, this AddFare was a part of the agreement with the Airport Authority who contributed $300 million towards construction of the Canada Line.

The Airport Authority actually owns all three stations on Sea Island (YVR-Airport, Sea Island Centre and Templeton) with travel between these stations being free for all passengers.

And although the free ride was originally intended for YVR staff to travel between the three stations, now that the shopping centre is open, more passengers are able to take advantage of the free ride between Sea Island stops.

When is the $5 AddFare required?

Although travel is free between the three Airport Authority Stations, if you are heading to Bridgeport and beyond, the $5 AddFare is required (in addition to your regular fare) if you are starting your trip from Sea Island.

It is important to note that the YVR AddFare only applies to passengers buying fares from the ticket vending machines at YVR Airport, Sea Island Centre and Templeton station.

However, this will change when Compass is launched to the general public. At that time those with Stored Value (Compass version of FareSavers) will be charged the $5 AddFare when they tap in at one of the three Sea Island stations and tap out at Bridgeport Station or beyond.

Who’s exempt from the AddFare?

Riders with a Monthly Pass, DayPass, FareSavers, WCE Fare, U-Pass and BC Bus Pass are exempt from the AddFare. Sea Island residents and YVR employees are also not required to pay the additional fare.

Also, if you a purchase a ticket before travelling to one of Airport Authority stations, and return within the 90-minute fare expiry window, then you are also off the hook for AddFare.

If you are still uncertain whether your trip will cost you an extra $5, there is information about the AddFare posted at the three Airport Authority stations.

You can also check out TransLink’s online Trip Planner! All travel shown on this site includes the  AddFare fee in trips leaving Sea Island stations.

 

 

 

Sign-up 101: How operators choose their work

Guest post by Jessica Hewitt, Internal Communications Advisor at Coast Mountain Bus Company.

Have you ever wondered how Transit Operators pick their bus routes? With six transit centres and 157 conventional bus routes to choose from – how could one pick?

I had the opportunity to visit the Vancouver Transit Centre (VTC) during a local sign-up to find out more about how depot staff, union reps and operators work together to assign operators to specific routes.

How does it work?

Four times a year (April, June, September and December) service level or sheet changes occur. At this time, adjustments are made to routes and schedules to ensure we continue to provide reliable, efficient and safe transit service to get our customers where they need to go. These schedule changes can be either permanent or seasonal depending on the route.

Once the schedules have been determined, operators then sign up for routes. Sign-ups occur about three weeks before a new sheet is in effect. There are two types of sign-ups. A local sign-up allows operators to sign for work in their own depot and a consolidated sign-up  (occurs once a year) gives operators the opportunity to choose work at any depot.

The consolidated sign-up lasts for four weeks with sign up dates being determined by seniority. During this process, operators choose the depot they want to work at as well as their weekday, weekend, and holiday shifts. Operators can opt to sign up for regular work or can choose to be on the spare board in which they receive work assignments on a day-to-day basis.

Who does what?

Depot Coordinators, given leave from their regular duties, ensure correct operator data is entered into the system—they are instrumental to ensuring a smooth sign up!

Bus operators, with the help of an online sign-up planner, can review new routes, availability as well as ensure that they select work that is compliant with the Safety Code limits on driving hours, overtime, rest time and more.

Unifor representatives and depot staff then double and triple check work selections to avoid mistakes.

Depot Coordinator, Rita Barha says “I’ve worked in different areas in the depot and even after 10 years, there is always something new that you haven’t seen before.” She says “I learn something new every day”.

Why paper?

In the age of apps, smartphones and real-time updates, it seems that paper would be the way of the past.

However, for CMBC, the operator sign-up process is so complex that a significant business technology project will be required for automation. Also, training for all of our staff will be needed to ensure the transition from paper to online is seamless.

The move to automation is important for CMBC. Although preliminary discussions are underway to transition to online sign up in the future, with the number of current projects on the go such as Compass, we’re waiting for the resources and time to develop the sophisticated software to meet our needs.

Want to know more about the service our operators who sign up for work provide? Read more about our seasonal service changes here!

Cutting back on washing to save water

Bus wash closed at Surrey Transit Centre

Bus wash closed at Surrey Transit Centre

Reducing water use isn’t just happening in your home, it’s also happening at our bus depots. That’s right, we’re cutting back on washing buses to help with water conservation efforts in Metro Vancouver. I’ve copied and pasted our press release about it below:

In an effort to conserve water during the current water shortage in the region, TransLink has suspended washing the exterior of its buses until further notice.

An unusually dry and hot May and June has depleted Metro Vancouver’s water reservoirs.

Buses are typically washed at our transit centres at the end of each service day. Our bus wash system uses reclaimed water for the majority of the wash cycle, except the final rinse which uses fresh water.

Last week, we started washing buses every second day. And now, we will only do exterior washing in exceptional circumstances. At our largest facility, Vancouver Transit Centre where we maintain more than 500 buses, that translates to 30,000 litres of water conserved each day.

The decision to suspend bus washing is something we’ve done during previous water shortages, as part of our commitment to conservation.

The interior of buses will continue to be cleaned for the comfort of passengers and employees.

Interested in how we wash our buses normally? Check out the Surrey bus wash facility and how it reclaims 80 per cent of the water used!

A day of transit activity visualized through video!

buzzer_banner_125_years

Static transit maps are great, but dynamic ones are better!

You don’t have to tell that to Andrew Walker, Vice President of development at Sumus Technology.

Andrew is all about bringing life to data using a GTFS video creator, something he has done for around 100 cities’ transit schedules from around the globe.

Each visualization map traces one day of transit service schedules during a 24 hour period. Colour coded and set to music, these maps allow us to see the size of the system in a way that static maps cannot.

Metro Vancouver’s routes have been mapped a few times by Andrew.  You can check out his video from 2012 and view his other maps of transit across the globe on his YouTube channel

And don’t forget to check out the rest of our 125 Years of Transit posts on the blog and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by searching for the #Transit125 hashtag.

King George Station Bike Parkade is now open!

Our new bike parkade!

Our new bike parkade!

 

For those of you that have been eagerly awaiting the opening of the new Bike Parkade at King George Station — today is the day!

That’s right, it has now become even easier for cyclists to take transit!

For a $1 a day up to a maximum of $8 a month (plus a one-time $8 registration fee) you can now park at one of the 70 new bike lockers at King George Station.

These additional parking spaces are accessible by key card and double the capacity of the existing facility.

The way it works is that you pay a $1 a day, but if you park your bike eight days in a single calendar month, you won’t be charged again until the following month!

So, you may be asking, how do I get my hands on one of these coveted spots?

Well, first you need to register and here’s how you do it:

  • Head to www.translink.ca/bikeparkade and follow the link to the registration site.
  • Fill out the online registration, provide ongoing payment information and then pay the registration fee.
  • Finally, check the mail! Your very own access card will be mailed to you within the next five business days.

The King George Bike Parkade is the second of its kind on our system (first one opened in 2014 at Main St.-Science World Station) and over the next few years, we are expecting to replace even more bike lockers at some of our busiest stations and bus loops!

Improving cyclists’ connections to the transit network and encouraging people to hop on their bikes is pretty exciting.

By making cycling safer and easier we are one step closer to reaching Metro Vancouver’s goal to reduce single-occupancy car use and increase trips made by foot, bike and transit!

A recap of TransLink’s 2014 AGM

TransLink AGM 2014!

TransLink AGM 2014 took place at the Anvil Centre June 26.

In case you weren’t able to attend our annual general meeting for 2014 last week, fear not!

Here is a a video of the event including employee speakers, presentations and questions from attendees.

 

International Bus Benchmarking Group looks at CMBC!

Did you know that CMBC is a member of the International Bus Benchmarking Group (IBBG)?

Joining 14 other bus organizations from cities around the world such Paris, Barcelona and Dublin, being an IBBG member helps us understand how our bus performance and operations stack up globally.

As a part of the group we are given an inside look at global industry trends that help us ensure we have the best practices in place in Metro Vancouver. To check out what IBBG is all about you can watch this informational video (note: the video is six years old, so a little dated) or visit their website. 

This morning we were lucky enough to attend a presentation led by the Associate Director of the Bus Benchmarking, Mark Trompet. Sharing data collected from bus organizations worldwide, Mark gave us an overview of key performance indicators measured by IBBG and how Metro Vancouver’s bus network compares to other systems.

Catching up with Mark, we did a quick interview about his work at IBBG and CMBC’s performance. Enjoy!

TransLink 2014 AGM

From Left to Right (Doug Allen, Interim CEO; Barry Forbes, Board Vice-Chair; Cathy McLay,  CFO  and Executive Vice-President, Finance and Corporate Services; Sandra Hentzen Executive Vice President, Human Resources; Angus MacIntrye, Retired Bus Operator

From Left to Right (Doug Allen, Interim CEO; Barry Forbes, TransLink Board Vice-Chair; Don Rose, TransLink Board Member; Sandra Hentzen, Executive Vice President, Human Resources; Angus McIntyre, Retired Bus Operator;  Cathy McLay, CFO and Executive Vice-President, Finance and Corporate Services; Robin Chakrabarti, Board Member

It was a beautiful morning at the Anvil Centre in New Westminster as VP of Communications and Customer Engagement, Colleen Brennan, welcomed all guests to our annual general meeting .

The meeting was open to the public and discussed how we did last year both operationally and financially, where we are now and where we’re going as a transit system heading into the future.

TransLink’s achievements in efficiency and sustainability were presented by CFO Cathy McClay.

Take a look at some of the highlights Cathy shared:

  • The 2014 Budget included over $64 million in cost efficiencies and revenue improvements, of which we exceeded by over $5 million.
  • We also achieved slightly over $38 million in one-time savings from contributions from developers and improved buying practices.
  • Since 2012, we’ve realized about $240 million in cost savings
  • Since 2010, we’ve kept expenditures below the rate of inflation, with only 1.2 per cent compounded annual growth
  • TransLink plays a leadership role in sustainability.
  • Our anti-idling program for buses has saved 567 thousand litres of fuel, accounting for a savings of $750k last year alone.
  • We also decreased energy consumption across our facilities by 2.3 per cent compared to 2013.

Interim CEO Doug Allen spoke about how TransLink is continuing to implement recommendations from the MacNeil report of 2014 to better serve our customers across the region.

He also talked about our very successful and necessary HandyDART program.

This past year, we have expanded the use of taxis to get more people with mobility challenges where they need to go resulting in a 60 per cent reduction in trip denials for HandyDART service.

We delivered more than one million trips on HandyDART vehicles and 74,361 trips by taxi.

Everyone in attendance was able to hear some stories from wonderful employees across TransLink and its operating companies.

Mechanical engineer with BCRTC, Matt Doyle works behind the scenes to make sure SkyTrain is running smoothly.

“I enjoy going to work because I provide a necessary public service and I know it makes a difference – to thousands of people – every day.” – Matt

Sabrina Lau Texier, “plan-gineer” (planner in the engineering department) extraordinaire told us her story of why she does the work she does.

“I choose to work in transit because I believe very strongly in what this organization is trying to do – both at work, and outside the office.” – Sabrina

Desiree Gill has been a bus operator out of Vancouver Transit Centre with CMBC for 6 years and she loves her job, working in the heart of Vancouver.

“There is no better way to start the day than seeing the ocean and city skyline while driving over the Granville Street or Burrard Street Bridges, just as the sun’s coming up.” – Desiree

 

 

Looking for even more information about how TransLink fared in 2014? Check out our latest Annual Report and Statutory Report.

Be heard at our AGM!

AGM

Our AGM this Friday is fast approaching!

On June 26th from 10am to 11:30am at the Anvil Centre (777 Columbia St.) we will be sharing our 2014 operational and financial milestones with regional stakeholders, senior TransLink staff, media and those of the general public that can attend.

The event will kick off our celebration of 125 years in transit as well as give us a chance to thank those that have kept us moving today and into tomorrow.

Our AGM is an excellent opportunity to ask any burning questions you have or ask a question about the work that TransLink does.

So, what if you can’t make it? If you can’t attend this Friday here’s your chance to put forward a question at our AGM.

Two Ways to Submit a Question:

  • Post your question in the comments section. We’ll try our best to answer it at the AGM and will also post the answer.
  • Send your queries to thebuzzer@translink.ca. Make sure to include “AGM” in the subject line and also include your name (first required both if you like).

While not all questions will be able to be asked live at the AGM (we get a lot of questions…), we will try to respond to your questions via email.

Your input matters — ask away!