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Translink Buzzer Blog

Category: On the system

Look: Butterfly mural at Surrey Central SkyTrain station

Chrysalis is attached above the pedestrian walkway on City Parkway.

Have you been to Surrey Central SkyTrain station recently?

We’ve just unveiled a butterfly mural on the hoarding—or temporary fence—surrounding the Surrey Central Station Upgrades construction site.

Thomas Nelles, a Surrey artist, was the winner of an open call to artist to create a temporary mural. The theme chosen to inspire artists for their concepts was “Connecting People, Connecting Places.”

Nelles’ two-part artwork is titled Chrysalis and Butterfly Locomotion; Camouflaged.

Chrysalis, attached above the pedestrian walkway on City Parkway, is named for the stage that a caterpillar sheds its cocoon and transforms into a butterfly.

Butterflies have long been recognized as a metaphor for transformation. Nelles uses this imagery to symbolize the Surrey’s transformation from its agricultural past to its urban present and its goals for a sustainable future.

It also refers to SkyTrain’s history and its relationship to the city’s growth. SkyTrain arrived in Surrey with Scott Road Station in 1990 and Gateway, Surrey Central and King George stations opened in 1994.

Butterfly Locomotion; Camouflaged on the fencing surrounding the construction site.

The butterfly concept extends to Butterfly Locomotion; Camouflaged where a butterfly’s wings are designed as if seen through a kaleidoscope.

The mural, which is printed on mesh fabric and attached to the fencing surrounding the construction site, encourages viewers to see through it into the construction site. Its goal is to show change in a positive way, and its multiple variations of the butterfly speak to how every individual is part of Surrey’s growth.

To learn more about the Chrysalis and Nelles, click here.

Construction update

It’s full steam ahead at Surrey Central Station! Construction crews have installed site hoarding, poured the elevator and escalator foundation, relocated underground storm, sewer, irrigation and power utilities, and excavated the new stationhouse footings. Check out the photos:

When complete, a new north stationhouse with three additional escalators, new stairs and an additional elevator will make the station more accessible and convenient for our customers. It will also connect to a reconfigured bus exchange to make it easier to connect to and from the SkyTrain system.

Stay tuned for more updates on the project! For more information about Surrey Central Station upgrades, visit translink.ca/surreycentral.

What the heat wave means for SkyTrain

Orange is the new… blue? Hazy, smokey morning views over Stadium-Chinatown Station! ^cj

A post shared by TransLink (@translinkbc) on

It’s been hot this week, and we’re all doing what we can to keep functioning and stay cool.

But what about the SkyTrain system? Will it hold up in this heat?

Some rail systems, like TriMet in Portland, reduce speeds during spells of extreme heat. This is because the long sections of rail expand and can push the rail ties out in the process, leading to a “kink” in the rail.

Portland’s is a conventional rail system known as “tie and ballast.” Our SkyTrain is a little different – the rails are on rail pads directly mounted to the concrete guideway, making them less likely to kink. While it’s unlikely any “kinks” will occur, we’ve increased the system-wide inspections our maintenance staff do from once to twice a day, just in case.

Also vulnerable when it gets hot are the electrical substations we have at various locations along the 79-kilometre SkyTrain system.

If it gets hot enough that the air-conditioning can’t keep up, a temperature alarm will go off and we’ll shut down the transformer until things cool off. The good thing is, we have redundancy in the system, meaning we can shut down a substation for maintenance or repairs without impacting service to our customers.

In the case of elevators and escalators, we don’t always have that luxury. If they start to overheat, they’ll shut themselves down to protect their systems. If that happens, we get our “elevating devices” staff out as quickly as possible to ensure we don’t inconvenience people for long.

Remember to check out our 10 heat wave survival tips on transit!

Author: Chris Bryan

10 heat wave survival tips for transit

It’s going to be HOT this week in Metro Vancouver with temperatures soaring upwards of 28 degrees Celsius—or 34 degrees Celsius if you factor in humidity!

We’re quite used to the temperate weather in Metro Vancouver, so it might get a little uncomfortable especially on crowded buses and SkyTrain cars.

Before you head out out the door, here are ten heat wave survival tips for traveling on transit!

1. Plan ahead

Summer season is also detour season. Construction, festivals, marathons and markets are taking place across Metro Vancouver, so be sure to follow us on Twitter (@TransLink), check the Transit Alerts page and plan your trip using our Trip Planner tool before you go.

If you think you’ll need time to recover from the heat, it might be a good idea to start your trip a little earlier too. This way you aren’t running after the train and it will give you time to recuperate between transfers such as spending some time in the shade or grabbing an ice-cold drink.

2. Ride beside others as you would have them ride beside you.

It’s at times like these we need to remember the golden rule of transit: “Ride beside others as you would have them ride beside you.”

Since heat and crowded conditions can make people very testy, we need to be all the more mindful at these times of what we do around others. If you can, try to observe basic hygiene and don’t go too far with the cologne, after-shave or perfume, since so many people are severely allergic.

3. Dress smart

It’s a good idea to wear white or light coloured, breathable clothing since black and other dark colours trap heat. Remember to wear sunscreen and sunglasses—being on transit doesn’t protect you from harmful UV rays!

For safety reasons, shirts and footwear are required on SkyTrain. If you’re coming back from the beach, make sure you have a shirt on and something on your feet. Remember to apply another golden rule—would you want to sit next to someone on a hot day without a layer of cloth between you?

4. Drink plenty of fluids

Generally, food and drink are not allowed on transit vehicles, but since it’s important to stay hydrated feel free to bring a bottle of water on transit – but absolutely no drinks with no lids! Be mindful that it is sometimes necessary for our transit vehicles to come to a sudden stop, so it’s probably not a good idea to drink while the vehicle is in motion.

5. Keep those windows open—or shut! 

The majority of TransLink vehicles are not air conditioned, but our newer vehicles are! Look for the signage on the window. It can take some time for the vehicle to become cool if it just entered service, so please be patient rather than opening the window.

If you want a window opened or closed, as a courtesy, it might be nice to ask around first in case somebody has a preference for the window to be opened or closed. They might have allergies!

6. Stretch the priority seating definition

Stretch your definition of who should have priority in seating. Our signage says seniors and people with disabilities have priority, but if you see someone on a hot day who looks like they need the seat more than you do, please be courteous and offer it to them.

7. Strategize

Figure out which seat will get you away from the sun and plan accordingly! It will make for a more comfortable and cooler ride. Consider waiting for an air-conditioned SkyTrain car or bus if you think you need it.

8. Adjust your travel times

Do you really need to hop on the bus at 4:00 p.m. in the afternoon to do grocery shopping? Consider travelling earlier or later in the day when transit is less crowded and the weather outside is a little bit cooler. Remember, it’s a one-zone fare after 6:30 p.m on SkyTrain.

9. Move to the back of the bus

Moving all the way to the back of the bus means more people can get onto the bus and more room for you too in this weather. We promise there’s no black hole in the middle of the bus.

10. Make sure you’re visible to the transit operator

Look out for buses coming down the street and stand at the pole in plenty of time to let the operator know you’d like to board. It’s also not a bad idea to avoid wearing dark clothing (white or bright colours are best) in case the bus operator doesn’t see you. That way they can pull in safely into the stop to pick you up.

 

Above all—BREATHE! We all look forward to a warm summer and here it is.  Cut others some slack and enjoy the nice weather. Days like these don’t last long in this region.

Vancouver’s climate and transportation system are two factors that make it one of the most livable regions in the world. Observing these suggestions and maintaining your own “situational awareness” can make for a more pleasant experience all around.

My day with Mika: Understanding accessible transit

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Mika waiting for the bus on Main St.

This past spring I had the immense pleasure of tagging along on a filming request on our system and spent the afternoon with Kaz and Mika who wanted to showcase the accessibility of our system for a Japanese audience.

Kaz owns Motion Pla-net Productions that often produces work for NHK, Japan’s National public broadcasting organization.

Mika is a lovely woman who lives in downtown Vancouver and takes transit all the time in her fabulous pink wheelchair.

We spent the afternoon riding the bus and SkyTrain while Mika explained in Japanese to the camera all of the fittings and equipment TransLink offers on the system for those who need it.

Part of the filming also included speaking with TransLink’s Access Transit Coordinator, Sarah Chung about why TransLink has been so proactive in promoting the accessibility of transit services for people with disabilities.

“Public transit should be a safe and convenient way to travel, which means our infrastructure, policy and customer service are all impacted by accessibility. There are a number of different needs among our customers that we try to balance so we have to make sure the solutions we provide are sustainable and won’t hinder other people.

One of our key challenges is finding solutions that strike a balance between the diverse range of needs. We need to be financially responsible to the taxpayer as well, and have to prioritize our initiatives. Other challenges happen with the nature of the region, such as the geography making it difficult to make all bus stops wheelchair accessible.”

Mika says that the greatest strength of the system is that people with disabilities have choice.

“I know I can travel on bus, on SkyTrain, on the water on SeaBus and I will be able to get on there myself and be safe. Also being able to get to the airport without calling a taxi is great!”

I learned a lot travelling through the eyes of someone who faces accessibility challenges in her daily life.

On each part of our transit trip, I thought about space on buses, location of elevators, fare box heights, even something as simple as getting on and off a transit vehicle while others are trying to do the same.

These are things as an able-bodied person, I admit, I sometimes take for granted. Perhaps we all do. But it’s important to see through the eyes of others to really understand the world beyond ourselves.

As for the future, Sarah Chung says as an organization, TransLink is constantly growing and adapting our system to meet the needs of our customers.

“We are always looking at improvements to make the system as inclusive as possible. For example, we have a high percentage of wheelchair accessible bus stops, and have introduced a pilot project to make bus stops more accessible for people who are blind or partially sighted. The pilot includes tactile information panels and tactile walking surfaces to help people identify stop information and locations. As a region, we have recently transitioned to a contactless smart card payment system and are continue to work with partners to develop solutions for customers who have limited or no arm mobility.”

Have a look at some pictures from our day together.

Author: Adrienne Coling

The Transit Service Performance Review results are in!

Report cover - graphic

Today, we released the findings of the 2015 Transit System Performance Review (TSPR), a comprehensive review of ridership and service productivity for bus, SeaBus, SkyTrain and West Coast Express.

FYI: This is the first year the review has expanded beyond bus!

The TSPR gives us valuable information on boardings, ridership, transit trends and more. By monitoring services and ridership, we can respond to changing demands with available resources.

“The Transit Service Performance Review demonstrates how we are actively monitoring the transit system across Metro Vancouver to improve our performance. We know where we need to reduce overcrowding, improve travel speed and respond to changing customer demands,” said TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond. “The 2014 Mayors’ Council Vision sets out a blue print to tackle these needs and with sustainable investment, we can take action.” 

Increasing Ridership

We had record ridership across the system in 2015 with 364 million boardings – that’s our highest ever!

Boardings remained high despite decreased per-capita service hours and slower bus speeds.

The annual review shows that ridership across the system continues to grow:

  • Total system-wide boardings increased 2.1 per cent and total bus boardings increased 2.8 per cent, year-over-year. SkyTrain passenger volumes at Canada, Expo and Millennium line stations have also increased by up to 28 per cent.
  • West Coast Express and SeaBus ridership remains steady. In 2015 there were 6.1 million recorded boardings on SeaBus; if it were a bus route, it would rank tenth highest in annual boardings!

Other trends identified during the 2015 Transit Service Performance Review include:

  • Bus boardings in all sub-regions continue to grow or remain stable
  • Some bus routes have consecutive years of growth in boardings, contrary to system-wide trend
  • Almost half of bus revenue hours with chronic overcrowding occur outside weekday peak periods
  • SkyTrain passenger volumes continue to increase
  • Weekend passenger volumes on SkyTrain are similar to weekday volumes outside of peak periods

What happens next?

Knowing how our transit system performs helps to ensure that we are responding to changing customer demand with available resources and lays the foundation for future investment. The data from the TSPR shows us the need for transit investment in our region is high.

Transit ridership across the system continues to grow despite decreased service hours and service speed. The 2014 Mayors’ Council Vision sets out a blue print to tackle these needs and with sustainable investment we can take action. We are currently developing the 10-year Investment Plan which supports the 2014 Mayors’ Council Vision.

Based on the findings from the review, we’ve strategically allocated available resources to improve the experience for our customers:

  • 15,000 revenue service hours were reallocated from bus routes with low demand to routes where customers need them most
  • Service frequencies were increased to reduce overcrowding on a number of routes, including the 49, 100 and C23 in Vancouver; C28 in the Northeast Sector; 335 and 351 in the South of Fraser; and 403 and 410 in Richmond.
  • Improvements were also made to the NightBus network to provide extended service hours and increased frequency.

Did you know?

Thirty per cent of trips on the system involve a multi-modal transfer (almost all are bus to SkyTrain transfers).

SkyTrain ridership at individual stations has grown by up to 28 per cent. The stations where ridership is growing the fastest are Canada Line stations that have experienced significant redevelopment, including:

  • Olympic Village (driven by new, mixed-used development)
  • Templeton (driven by new, McArthur Glen outlet mall)
  • Marine Gateway (driven by new, mixed-use development adjacent to the station)

Want to learn more? You can read the full report here.

Author: Jessica Hewitt

The I Love Transit 2016 issue of the Buzzer is now on the system

buzzer_header_template

I Love Transit is back and so is the annual special print Buzzer edition!Bordered

In this issue you will find the Fall Service Changes – for more detailed  information and up-to-date changes visit translink.ca/servicechanges.

Don’t miss the fantastic colouring contest!

Colour the I Love Transit illustration and you will be entered for a chance to win a Monthly Pass!

We will have two draws; one for children under 15 years old and one for adults.

The next issue of the Buzzer, out on September 22, will be a special one as well as we celebrate 20 years of Poetry in Transit!

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

Author: Adrienne Coling

The June 2016 issue of the Buzzer is now on the system

Much of this issue is dedicated to summer service changes. Print Buzzer front

Which means more service for popular summer destination routes! Woot!

Also in this issue, we invite you to attend Pattullo Bridge Replacement consultation events in person and online.

There is a reminder to take the Fare Review Survey before June 30 as well as a call out for YOU to become part of the team as a bus operator!

Of course, we still 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.

Author: Adrienne Coling

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign… New bus stop signs, that is!

Say hello to your new bus stop signs!

Say hello to your new bus stop signs!

Late last year we mentioned how some bus stop signs around Surrey Central were getting a new look.

Now, you may have noticed that these new signs are popping up at bus stops across the region!

That’s because they will become the new bus stop standard for TransLink.

TIPs

Transit Information Panel

As current signs come to the end of their lives, we will be switching all of our bus stop signage across the region to mirror the new look.

The new signs include the “T” for transit, route numbers, Next Bus information and the bay number are placed in prominent locations.

To differentiate from regular bus service, B-Line information will be highlighted in orange and NightBus in navy blue. Plus, they are reflective and easily seen at night!

The best part is really the fact each new sign will list EVERY route at that stop. No more wondering if you’re waiting in the right place, just check the sign!

Another change you may start to see is the end of infotubes at bus stops where they exist and the installation of Transit Information Panels (TIPs).

The new TIPs bump up the font of the scheduled times, include the stop number as well as the recognizable “T” for transit.

The hardware used is much more durable than the old infotubes, which makes them longer lasting and more cost effective.

Thirty-six stops in downtown Vancouver have been updated with these awesome TIPs!

Next up is Surrey City Centre starting mid-May. The rest of the infotube stops will be updated throughout this year.

Author: Adrienne Coling

TransLink in the Media: TransLink CEO, Kevin Desmond, speaks with the media

Kevin Desmond has only been at the CEO of TransLink job for six weeks, but he’s already done a host of media interviews and events.

Last week he addressed media after speaking at the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade Transportation Summit (audio below).


Next up was the Lynda Steele Show on CKNW (Video above) follow by On the Coast on CBC Radio One for a ride on the 99 B-Line and more with Stephen Quinn yesterday (Skip to 2:06:30 to hear Kevin and Stephen).

 

UPDATE: Kevin was also on Global News! (May 5, 2016)

We’re sure Kevin will be doing more media in the future and we’ll keep sharing them with you.

The April 2016 issue of the Buzzer is now on the system

Much of this issue is dedicated to spring service changes.

There’s also an update about full fare gate closures starting on April 4.

imageedit_5_4412239644Transit Network Review consultation last fall and news about the Pattullo Bridge Rehabilitation Project.

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.

Author: Adrienne Coling

Be a SkyTrain VIP!

velvet rope

See what lies behind the velvet rope with SkyTrain VIP

******FYI: THIS WAS AN APRIL FOOLS DAY JOKE.
THERE IS NO SKYTRAIN VIP PROGRAM******

We are so happy to introduce our brand new SkyTrain VIP service.

Up until now, SkyTrain seats have been first come, first serve.

But starting today, April 1st, you can reserve a spot in the first train car and experience the luxury of pre-warmed seats, personalized neck pillows and complimentary on-board spa treatments.

Be the first to enjoy the view while riding in style.

The cost? Only $18.99 a ride!

Proceeds will go to transforming the Vancouver Transit Centre into a crow sanctuary for Canuck.

Author: Adrienne Coling

Spring forward this weekend!

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Set your clocks forward one hour this Saturday night

It’s that time again for daffodils and early season flowers to pop up out of the ground and welcome spring.

Another spring behaviour that is slightly less appealing is springing forward to Pacific Daylight Time where we lose and hour in the day.

Ok, we don’t really lose it but it can feel like it in those first few days!

This year, the time change officially occurs at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 13.

However, our transit services will finish their Saturday night service on standard time and the time change will take effect for the start of Sunday service.

So, remember to change those clocks before you head to bed on Saturday!

Author: Adrienne Coling

New poll: How has the one-zone bus fare changed the way you travel?

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TransLink’s one-zone fare structure for buses and HandyDART vehicles has been up and running for a month.

This means that no matter the distance or time of day, you travel anywhere in our region by bus for a single zone fare.

So, we want to know, how has this change affected your transit travel?

Weigh in with our latest poll that will be open until November 22.

Choose from the given answers, leave us a comment with your thoughts below or email us.

How has the one-zone bus fare changed the way you travel?

  • It has saved me money reducing the amount of zones per trip. (42%, 62 Votes)
  • Not at all. I only use the SkyTrain, West Coast Express and SeaBus. (40%, 58 Votes)
  • My bus is much busier than before so I try to avoid it. (12%, 18 Votes)
  • I'm still confused as to what it all means! (5%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 146

 

 

 

Rider Alert: Expo Line single tracking on October 17, 2015

Vehicle-on-track
This weekend on October 17, SkyTrain service on the Expo Line will be reduced from 9 p.m. to end of service between Nanaimo and Stadium-Chinatown stations as we replace fibre optic cables.

During this time, Millennium Line will operate between VCC Clark and Columbia stations only.

This particular evening was chosen because there are no scheduled events at BC Place or Rogers Arena.

However, significant delays up to 20 minutes are expected so please plan accordingly!

Thank you for your patience while we perform maintenance to keep our system safe and reliable.

Keep up to date on service with our Twitter team @TransLink
and visit our alerts page.

 

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!

Author: Adrienne Coling