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Translink Buzzer Blog

Category: State of the System

King George Station Bike Parkade is now open!

King George 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.

 

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!

Bus operator goes above and beyond to fight roadside fire!

Earlier this week, bus operator George Simnos was driving a full 84 UBC bus along West 6th Ave when he noticed something unusual. Smoke was coming from a patch of bushes near a wooden fence, about a 100 metres from a few townhomes and parkland.

Immediately, George’s operator training kicked in. Stopping the bus (with hazards on, of course), George checked for passenger safety before grabbing the onboard fire extinguisher and starting work on the blaze.

The flames, now about a foot high, had started to climb the six-foot tall fence nearby. George quickly doused the flames. However, the blaze was resilient and continued to spark, until a passenger with a bucket of water from the pub across the street, came and soaked the fire.

Then, another passenger helped George finish it if off by kicking dirt on the area. Fire trucks arrived on the scene minutes later and took over. That’s when George got back on the bus and was greeted with a standing ovation from his passengers.

According to George he acted on the fire because he likes helping people. Shrugging off the “hero” title, he says he wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.

We’d like to tip our hat to George and his passengers for helping put out a fire before it got out of hand and making sure everyone was safe.

The June 2015 issue of the Buzzer is now on the system

Buzzer-June-2015

Much of it is dedicated to summer service changes that begin June 22.

You can also find an update from Transit Police about the one year anniversary of their OnDuty app and text line.

Don’t forget to TravelSmart to all the great summer events this region has to offer.

Finally, a thank you from us to you. Because you keep us moving!

As always, we have our favourites – Contest Corner, Back Issues and Coming Events!

Happy reading! Pick it up today on the bus, SkyTrain, SeaBus and West Coast Express or you can download it here.

The next regular issue of the Buzzer will be out in August 2015 but keep your eyes peeled for a special edition this summer!

June 9, 2015 SkyTrain disruption update

Interim CEO Doug Allen and independent reviewer Gary McNeil spoke to the media today about yesterday’s SkyTrain disruption as well as progress made on Mr. McNeil’s report on SkyTrain.

As noted by Doug Allen, TransLink has improved in the response time to SkyTrain disruptions, but work still needs to be done to make it quicker.

After the above press conference this morning, a technical debriefing was held regarding the initial cause of the disruption. Below are a couple images of the damaged linear induction motor on one of our SkyTrain cars. The exact cause of the damage is still being investigated.

linear induction motor damage

linear induction motor damage

Another view of the damaged linear induction motor

Another view of the damaged linear induction motor

If you weren’t aware of the disruption yesterday, below is a statement TransLink issued to media and shared via social media:

We thank our customers for their patience and apologize for the major inconvenience they experienced this afternoon because of the SkyTrain delay. The delay occurred at the peak of rush hour service, which affected our most regular daily customers. While we recognize the inconvenience and longer commute times, we appreciate their patience and calm behaviour while our staff worked to repair the problem and help redirect customers via alternate means.

While the specific cause of the delay is still under investigation, a technical issue at 4:10 p.m. caused 19 trains between Royal Oak and Waterfront stations to stop running. Expo Line trains continued to run between Edmonds and King George stations, and Millennium Line trains continued to run between Columbia and VCC-Clark stations.

Many trains were stopped between stations; several were attended by a SkyTrain Attendant within 5-10 minutes and driven manually to the nearest station. Staff attended the majority of the remainder of the trains within 30 minutes.

Customers broke out of three different trains in the Nanaimo SkyTrain area, so we had to turn off power in the area to ensure customers were safe and clear of trains. Attending to these customers delayed SkyTrain system recovery by an additional hour.

25 buses provided shuttle service between affected stations. We deployed over 100 staff to help customers, respond to questions and assist with crowds – including 60 SkyTrain Attendants on trains and at stations; 16 Transit Police officers and five Transit Security units; 13 support staff; and eight transit supervisors.

7 additional technicians worked to bring the system back on as quickly as possible.

By 6:10 p.m., we were able to provide some service with SkyTrain Attendants manually driving trains in the affected area. We restored full service by 6:45 p.m.

The sun is shining and summer service changes are in the air!

june_svc_change_buzzer

Are you ready for the summer? TransLink’s transit services are changing to get more people to more places during these beautiful summer months!

Beginning June 22, you can expect increased trips heading out to Seaside and Buntzen Lake and fewer trips to post-secondary schools. There are also NEW trips during peak hours on some popular routes!

Services changes can be found on our website.

Even if you don’t see your route listed, service changes can affect many routes, so use TransLink’s trip planner to double check if your route has changed.

Take a look at some of the highlights of these service changes:

  • Increased connections for customers travelling between Carvolth Exchange in Langley and Lougheed Town Centre Station. The 555 will now end at Lougheed Station and directly link customers to a regional city centre with connections to key destinations. Late evening service is also being added on this route.
  • Extended route on the 395, which provides customers with more travel options between King George Station and Langley Centre.
  • More frequent trips to Stanley Park, Lynn Canyon Park, Buntzen Lake and White Rock Beach.
  • Late-night service increases between downtown Vancouver and SFU.
  • NEW trips on the 100 and 335 to reduce overcrowding just before/after peak periods. These are made possible by shifting resources from routes that currently have low customer demand.

Learn about all the travel choices in your community by visiting TransLink’s TravelSmart program for information, resources and tips.

How else can you stay in touch? Sign up for Transit Alerts at translink.ca/alerts, visit translink.ca, follow @TransLink or call Customer Service at 604.953.3333.

AGM marks 125 years of transit!

AGM

It’s the 125th anniversary of transit in our region!

To mark this occasion, this year’s AGM will be more than just a year in review, it will give a shout-out to those that keep us moving today and into tomorrow.

The event goes down Friday, June 26th from 10am to 11:30am at the Anvil Centre (777 Columbia St.), right next to the New Westminster SkyTrain Station.

To stay true to AGM form, in addition to celebrating transit’s big 1-2-5, we’ll also be sharing our 2014 financial and operational milestones with our regional stakeholders, senior TransLink staff, media and those of the general public that wish to attend.

Keep your eyes peeled on our website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more information in the weeks to come!

New policy for electric and folding bikes on transit

Fashion Electric BicycleElectric and folding bikes are now being allowed on board the system!

BCRTC and CMBC are updating their operational policies to allow different types of cyclists access.

Electric bikes will now be permitted on SkyTrain, West Coast Express and SeaBus.

UPDATE Folding bikes will be allowed on all modes buses, when folded.

Riders of folding bikes are asked to use a slipcover or carrying pack while on buses.

All the existing rules for bikes on transit still apply. Here’s a refresher:

  • Bikes are not allowed at Metrotown Station at anytime.
  • There is a maximum of two bikes per SkyTrain car and one per Canada line car.
  • No e-scooters allowed on the system
  • Morning and afternoon rush hour restrictions are still in place — Canada Line: Peak times in all directions. Expo & Millennium Lines: Peak times except for the allowances listed below.

Westbound:
7am – 9am Monday-Friday travelling from Columbia Station to VCC-Clark Station; and from Columbia and King George Stations towards Waterfront Station.

Eastbound:
4pm-6pm Monday-Friday travelling from VCC-Clark Station to Columbia Station; and from Waterfront Station towards Columbia and King George Station.

You can read more about our bike policy here.

FREE TRANSIT

TransLink bus

PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT ALL MODES OF TRANSIT WILL BE FREE TODAY, MAY 22, DUE TO THE MAJOR DISRUPTION.

UDPATE: 12:14pm: Thank you all for your patience and understanding today. We understand the inconvenience and are happy to announce that full service has been restored to the Expo Line.

The SkyTrain disruption that was due to a fire destroying one metre communications cable is now over. Please allow time for the service to catch up to regular timings. Shuttles will continue to be used as needed to help with the flow of riders. ^ac

UPDATE: 10:43am: Follow us on Periscope at noon today (handle: TransLink BC) for a live update on the Expo Line SkyTrain disruption.

UPDATE: 10:36: For those of you who have already paid for transit today, please hold on to your tickets and/or receipts. We are working on a way to make sure you benefit from this.

UPDATE 9:29am: Trains are now able to get to and from (East and Westbound) Broadway-Commercial station. Shuttles will be in place to get people to and from downtown from this point. Please keep in mind it will take a while to get service back to regular timings.

We appreciate your patience as crews continue to work to fix the damaged communications cable caused by a fire.

We will continue to keep you updated on the Buzzer blog, Facebook, Instagram (@TransLinkBC) and Twitter (@TransLink) until the system is back to normal.

Five Ways TransLink Funds Road and Bike Infrastructure

Did you know, that in addition to transit, TransLink funds road and cycling infrastructure improvements? Each year we operate, maintain and rehabilitate 600km of our Major Road Network in Metro Vancouver!

Committing over $47 million in road and cycling projects, we’ve dedicated $41 million of this fund to 19 municipalities across the region. This helps to keep things moving smoothly, with pothole patching, snow removal and lighting being just some of the maintenance and operation work getting done thanks to this fund.

So what about the rest of the money? Well, that $6.3 million is dedicated to help fund specific road, bridge and cycling projects across Metro Vancouver. This year, 16 projects are happening across the region.

The Burrard Street Bridge improvements, the widening of the Fraser Highway and the construction of a multi-use path in Coquitlam along the Evergreen extension are just three of the awesome projects currently underway. For more information you can also check out our news release.

So there you have it! If you transit, drive or cycle in the region then there’s a good chance we’ve invested in the infrastructure that helps you get around!

 

Construction is starting at New Westminster Station!

Upgraded station entrance off Carnarvon Street

Upgraded station entrance off Carnarvon Street

New Westminster Station is integrated into the mixed-use development beside and around the station. As the neighbourhood around the station continues to grow and develop, the station requires updates to better meet the needs of SkyTrain customers. Construction is beginning at the station. Read on for important details about the project and what you can expect!

What’s happening?

The upgrades, which are expected to be complete by summer 2016, will improve accessibility, capacity, safety and security at the station. The project includes:

  • Replacement elevator and escalators to improve access for customers.
  • Improved lighting and signage throughout the station.
  • Glass panels that replace the existing mesh screens to improve station visibility from street level.
  • Better integration with the surrounding community to make it easier to connect to and from the SkyTrain system.

What can I expect?

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

Below is a summary of the key project phases and expected impacts. For ongoing information about construction impacts associated with the project, visit www.translink.ca/ontrack. Please note that timelines are subject to change based on construction activity.

Phase 1: East and West station access – spring 2015-summer 2015

Construction crews will focus on replacing the east escalator and upgrading the stairs, at the Eighth Street entrance, and the west escalator and stairs by the bus loop. Painting and the installation of new window glazing will also begin at platform level, and the emergency exits at the north and south sides of the platform will be painted.

Impacts:

  • Station access from Eighth Street will be closed. Passengers will be redirected to the Carnarvon Street entrance.
  • The escalator and stairs from the bus loop to the concourse level will be closed. Passengers will be redirected along McNeely Street to the Carnarvon Street entrance, or through the parkade to the existing moving walkway that provides access up to the concourse level.
  • Platform widths will be reduced in some areas to allow for painting, window installation, ceiling replacement and new lighting.
  • Hoarding in the concourse area to allow for new ceilings, lighting and painting.
  • Noise associated with large construction projects, including nighttime work with varying levels of noise while trains are not operating, is expected to begin in several weeks. Notifications will be sent in advance of particularly noisy work.

Phase 2: Eastbound and westbound platform access – summer 2015-fall 2015

Construction crews will focus on replacing the escalators and upgrading stairs to the eastbound and westbound SkyTrain platforms from the concourse level. Replacement of the south elevator, which provides access to the eastbound platform, will also begin.

Painting and installation of new window glazing at the platform level is expected to be completed in this phase.

Impacts:

  • Passengers traveling eastbound and westbound can access the platforms via the Plaza 88 escalators and stairs.
  • Passengers requiring the use of an elevator to access the eastbound platform can use the Plaza 88 elevator, by the cinema from the parkade west of the bus loop at street level, or by the cinema at the concourse level.
  • The north elevator to the westbound platform will be in service.
  • Hoarding in the concourse area to allow for new ceilings, lighting and painting.
  • Neighbours can expect noise associated with large construction projects, including nighttime work with varying levels of noise while trains are not operating. Notifications will be sent in advance of particularly noisy work.

Phase 3: Concourse area upgrades – fall 2015-summer 2016

Construction crews will complete the replacement of the south elevator and begin upgrades to the concourse area.

Impacts:

  • Hoarding in the concourse area to allow for new ceilings, lighting and painting.
  • Neighbours can expect noise associated with large construction projects, including nighttime work with varying levels of noise while trains are not operating. Notifications will be sent in advance of particularly noisy work.

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Thanks for your patience as we complete these much-needed upgrades to New Westminster Station! For more information, including FAQs and information boards, visit www.translink.ca/newwestminster.

BC Parkway – Find your way with new wayfinding signs!

The new look to wayfinding signs along the BC Parkway

The new look to wayfinding signs along the BC Parkway

See what I did there? So clever!

Old BC parkway wayfinding sign

One of the old BC Parkway signs

If you are curious as to what wayfinding actually is, well, so was I before I started at TransLink!

The basic process of wayfinding involves four steps: orientation, route decision, route monitoring and destination recognition.

It’s essentially a decision making process related to navigation. The decisions we make are influenced by what we sense, our experience and the information we can obtain. Like signage and maps.

If you’ve been a part of the region for more than a few years, you may have noticed some of these sign changes around the transit system.

TransLink is continually implementing wayfinding enhancements as part of existing capital projects, routine maintenance or as specific opportunities arise.

Speaking of opportunities, the BC Parkway is one!

The BC Parkway is a 26-kilometre, multi-use path that connects Surrey City Centre, New Westminster, South Burnaby and Vancouver.

178  new signs are currently being installed along this path. These signs are designed to help everyone better understand the route.

History lesson time!

The BC Parkway was introduced just ahead of the Expo ’86 celebrations.

A new sign out on the BC Parkway

A new sign out on the BC Parkway

The creation and maintenance was (and still is) a partnership between BC Transit (now TransLink) and the municipalities along the route.

TransLink is upgrading BC Parkway as we speak!

This includes some renovation and maintenance work like lighting, crossing safety improvements and accessibility improvements in different areas along the route.

Here are a few of the changes:

  • Realignment of the BC Parkway, away from darker areas and bushes and closer to the road at Nanaimo Station, and along Slocan and Rupert streets.
  • New lighting on parts of the parkway in Vancouver, New Westminster and Surrey for increased visibility for BC Parkway users.
  • A new designated route at Nanaimo and Patterson stations to separate cyclists from vehicles and pedestrians.
  • Widened and paved paths with new ramps replacing steps at Slocan and Rupert streets. This improves accessibility for parents with strollers, people in wheelchairs/scooters and cyclists.

Just because I love old flyers and the like, check out an excerpt from the brochure that was distributed in the region at the time with a shot of the very first signs on the path.

BC Parkway brochure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be sure to take a look at our guidelines for bicycle wayfinding to stay up to date on our regional cycling strategy and keep your eyes peeled for the new signs as you’re cruising on your bike!

Construction is starting at Metrotown Station and Bus Exchange

Summary of station upgrades at Metrotown Station

Summary of station upgrades at Metrotown Station

Summary of bus exchange upgrades at Metrotown Station

Summary of bus exchange upgrades at Metrotown Station

Metrotown Station is one of the oldest and busiest stations on the Expo Line and has long been in need of upgrades to improve accessibility, capacity, safety, and security. Site preparation works have been underway since January 2015 and more construction activity is beginning this month. Below is some important information for you about the project and construction!

What’s happening?

The upgrades, which are expected to be complete by fall 2017, will  provide additional capacity that is required for our growing region. Improvements include:

  • New escalators, stairs and elevators to improve access for customers with disabilities.
  • More space on the platforms to enable the system to expand for future customers, particularly as the region grows.
  • Updated design features to improve safety and security for all our customers.
  • Better integration with the surrounding community and bus exchange to make it easier for people to connect to and from the SkyTrain system.
  • A 75-bike Secure Bike Parking facility similar to the one at Main Street – Science World

What can I expect?

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

Below is a summary of the key project phases and expected impacts. Please note that timelines are subject to change based on construction activity.

Phase 1: Centre Stationhouse Construction – early 2015 – spring 2016

Construction crews will focus on building the new Centre Stationhouse, including new elevators and stairs.

Impacts:

  • As of February 26, 2015 and continuing until spring 2016, the elevator at Metrotown Station is out of service while we build three new elevators and the new Centre Stationhouse. See OnTrack for more details.
  • The emergency staircase will be removed and a temporary staircase will be provided as a replacement in a nearby location.
  • Noise associated with large construction projects, including nighttime work with varying levels of noise while trains are not operating, is expected to begin in several weeks. Notifications will be sent in advance of particularly noisy work.
  • Passengers can expect minor SkyTrain and bus service adjustments.
  • Drivers and pedestrians can expect temporary traffic impacts, road and sidewalk detours.

Phase 2: West Stationhouse Construction – summer 2015 – summer 2016

Construction crews will focus on building the new West Stationhouse at ground level, extending the platform level at the west end to provide for the new escalators, and installing four new escalators.

Impacts:

  • Neighbours can expect noise associated with large construction projects, including nighttime work with varying levels of noise while trains are not operating. Notifications will be sent in advance of particularly noisy work.
  • Passengers can expect minor SkyTrain and bus service adjustments.
  • Drivers and pedestrians can expect temporary traffic impacts, road and sidewalk detours.

Phase 3: East Stationhouse Construction – spring 2016 – fall 2017

The existing East Stationhouse will close spring 2016 to allow construction crews to rebuild the structure, extend the platform level at the east end to provide for the new escalators, and install the four new escalators and the new Bike Parkade.

  • Passengers will be re-directed to the new Centre Stationhouse or West Stationhouse once it is complete in summer 2016. There will also be minor SkyTrain and bus service adjustments.
  • The passerelle to Metropolis at Metrotown will not be functional; passengers travelling to or from the mall and existing bus exchange will cross Central Boulevard at ground level.
  • Neighbours can expect noise associated with large construction projects, including nighttime work with varying levels of noise while trains are not operating. Notifications will be sent in advance of particularly noisy work.
  • Drivers and pedestrians can expect temporary traffic impacts, road and sidewalk detours.

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For more information, you’ll want to read the Metrotown Station & Exchange Upgrades FAQs and our latest information boards. Passengers can stay up-to-date throughout construction by visiting translink.ca/OnTrack.