Translink Buzzer Blog

Transit service to the HSBC Celebration of Light, Wed July 22

Fireworks from the HSBC Celebration of Light!

Fireworks from the HSBC Celebration of Light!

We’ve scheduled service to help you get to and from the HSBC Celebration of Light fireworks festival on Wed July 22 (Canada), Sat July 25 (South Africa), Wed July 29 (U.K.), and Sat August 1 (China).

SkyTrain will operate at “rush hour” service levels for the evening, with last trains leaving Waterfront Station for King George at 1:15am, VCC-Clark at 12:31am and Lougheed at 1:11am.

Extra trains will be available in case there are customers still inside stations when the last scheduled trains leave – no one will be left behind!

Also, due to expected crowds, bicycles may be restricted westbound to downtown at the discretion of transit staff when trains are crowded, and will not be permitted on SkyTrain after 10pm on fireworks days until crowds have cleared. If you’re biking, travel early and avoid the inbound peak of 8 pm to 9:30 pm. As you likely know, bikes are limited to two per SkyTrain car, and please be mindful of the safety and comfort of other passengers.

West Coast Express will run a special train on August 1 only (that’s finale night). The train will leave Mission City Station at 7:00 pm and return from Waterfront at Midnight.

SeaBus will have both vessels in operation throughout the evening: 15-minute service will run between Lonsdale Quay and Waterfront station until 12:15am on Wednesdays and 12:45am on Saturdays.

West Vancouver Blue Bus will also provide more buses from Dundarave and Park Royal. Buses returning to West Vancouver will load east of the regular bus stop (nearer to Stanley Park) at Georgia and Denman.

For buses, please note that several bus routes will be re-routed away from the immediate area of the fireworks in the evening, so you’ll need to walk a few blocks to get to your viewing point after:

  • #5 Robson will go as far as Denman and Georgia
  • #6 Davie will terminate at Davie and Thurlow
  • C21 Beach will go as far as Beach and Hornby
  • C23 Davie will go as far as Davie and Thurlow
  • #22 Knight/Macdonald will use Granville Street Bridge, 4th Ave., Burrard and Cornwall in both directions

Transit supervisors will be on-hand to decide if additional buses are needed. And as always, Transit Police and Transit Security will assist Vancouver Police in crowd management, particularly on transit vehicles. A zero-tolerance policy for drugs, drunkenness and open liquor will be maintained.

The HSBC Celebration of Light remains one of the premier events in the Metro Vancouver calendar, and we are happy to help as many people enjoy it as possible!

The CityNews List consults kids about bus improvements

For fun this morning — here’s a video from the CityNews List, consulting with a group of elite urban planners to find out what would make buses better. I personally like the idea for a “funky dance floor.”

Grab a spot on the Buzzer blog’s Canada Line tour this Friday!

Yay — after much begging, I’ve been finally able to arrange for a tiny Buzzer blog tour of the Canada Line, for this Friday, July 24 at 10 am-11 am!

I have three open spots on the tour, and since it’s going to be impossible to pick between you guys, I thought I’d do a draw.

To enter, please send an email to by Wed July 22 at 4pm with the following info:

  • make your subject line “Canada Line tour”
  • include your name and phone number (so I can contact you quickly!)
  • include the answer to this skill-testing question: 37 * 65 + 12 – 43

I’ll randomly draw three names from everyone who gets the correct answer and contact you on Wednesday afternoon. (All entries will be deleted after the draw is over — I won’t keep your personal info for anything.)

Some notes to keep in mind though:

  • One entry per person!!!!
  • If you enter, you have to come on the tour – you can’t give your spot to anyone else.
  • No entries from employees of TransLink or its family of companies — there is an intro event planned for you guys later.
  • The tour starts at Waterfront Station on Friday at 10 a.m., so you must be able to make it there in time.
  • Sadly, we will not be able to accommodate those with mobility issues on this tour, since elevators at all stations are not yet in service.
  • This draw is only open to those in Canada.

Canada Line open house at Vancouver City Centre Station, Sat July 25, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Vancouver City Centre Station on June 2, 2009, photographed by <a href=>Tafyrn Palecloud</a>.

Vancouver City Centre Station on June 2, 2009, photographed by Tafyrn Palecloud.

Mark your calendars: InTransit BC hosts the last of its summer open houses, showing you inside Vancouver City Centre Station on the Canada Line on Saturday July 25!

A map to Vancouver City Centre station in downtown Vancouver.

A map to Vancouver City Centre station in downtown Vancouver.

The station is between Robson and Georgia on Granville Street — check the map at right for the exact location.

Come by from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. in closed toe shoes and comfortable, warm clothing. Also, use the entrance by Sears on Granville Street! (Again, it’s still a construction zone, so you’ve got to dress accordingly.)

There’s more to do on Saturday too — the open house is part of the Granville Showcase event, a free entertainment event showcasing live music, dance, fashion and food.

Granville Street businesses will be celebrating the end of Canada Line construction by offering great deals, product sampling, free giveaways and entertaining activities for all.

Watch your step while you’re there — some blocks along Granville are still being worked on for the streetscape’s redesign. For more information on Granville’s new look, visit the City of Vancouver’s website.

For more details on the Granville Showcase, check out!

Friday fun poll: how many bus stop numbers do you know by heart?

If you like, you can skip to the end of this post to answer the poll about how many bus stop numbers you’ve memorized.

Results from last poll: where do you keep your bus pass?

Last week I asked where you keep your bus pass.

And after 179 votes, 54% keep their pass in their wallet. A coat/clothing pocket is second with 24%, then 15% put it in a bag or backpack, 3% put it around their neck, and 4% chose “other.”

The wallet was championed since you never misplace the pass and you always take the wallet with you. But lots of the comments described wallet alternatives. Here’s Tsushima Masaki:

I keep mine in a wallet insert which ironically has supplanted my actual wallet. It holds most of the cards I need for when I go out (Driver’s License, Credit Card, Bank Card). My actual wallet is too bulky so I use it hold my loose change and cards I don’t use as often (such as shopping cards).

Donald also had one radical suggestion:

I usually keep my pass in a wallet. I tried keeping it attached to a Translink lanyard I have but I found that once or twice a week I would forget it at home or at the office. If we ever move the smartcards, I’d like them to build on technology to implant little nano smartcard chips into a finger. That way we would NEVER lose or forget our transit passes!

However Richard also mentioned that an old B.C. Transit policy suggested you don’t keep your pass in your wallet, so thieves wouldn’t know where your wallet was — although it seems we’ve moved away from that policy these days.

Which led me to think: aren’t there only a handful of places you can really keep a pass and/or wallet anyway, since both need to be fairly accessible? And wouldn’t thieves already know about those locations? If you hide it so well nobody can find it, I bet you can’t find your wallet that often either :)

And as always, you can read all the comments at the original post.

This week’s poll: how many bus stop numbers do you know by heart?

Since a lot of you are using our text messaging, web, and phone services to get their transit info, has it you to memorize some of the common stop numbers you know?

I only have one memorized, myself… how about you?

Sound Transit launches a new light rail line this weekend

Just wanted to congratulate Washington’s Sound Transit today: they’re opening their new Link light rail line this weekend! Watch the ad above to see how dreamy the new commute will be :)

The new line connects downtown Seattle with the neighbouring city of Tukwila, and you can ride it for free all weekend during their special hours. For more on the opening plus a route map, check out their website here.

Edit: I should also mention Seattle Transit Blog for more—as you can tell from its name, it’s a local blog focused on Seattle transit, and it’s jam packed with info, reactions, and more about the new line!

Golden Ears Bridge tolling starts today!

The majestic Golden Ears Bridge!

The majestic Golden Ears Bridge!

As I reminded you on Monday, Golden Ears Bridge tolling starts today, July 16!

If you’ve got a transponder, please make sure it’s in your car or you won’t get the lowest rate for crossing the bridge. Here’s the transponder installation guide if you’d like to know about optimum placement.

Also, if you ordered a Quickpass transponder by the end of the day on July 15, but you have not yet received it, your account will nonetheless be charged the lowest rate until the end of day on Monday July 20.

If you’re still looking to register your vehicle for the electronic tolling system, visit for all the info.

And if you’d like to know more, here’s a past blog post with more on the electronic tolling system.

(P.S. Quickpass customer account information won’t be available online and over the interactive voice system until the week of July 20. It’s very soon!)

The Central Park Line: the very first interurban in greater Vancouver

A map of the Central Park Line,  outlined on a 1936 Wrigley's transit map supplied by the <a href=>Burnaby Village Museum</a>.

A map of the Central Park Line, outlined on a 1936 Wrigley's transit map supplied by the Burnaby Village Museum.

Today, I’m pleased to present a brief look at the Central Park Line, one of the interurban lines that used to run in the Lower Mainland.

(If you’re not familiar with the interurbans – electric railways that ran between cities – you can check out this earlier blog post on the history of the interurbans in greater Vancouver.)

Again, Lisa Codd, the curator at the Burnaby Village Museum, helped me put this article together. It’s a continued collaboration to explore transit history and Burnaby’s archival holdings!

Read more »

Reminder: hop aboard the Albion Ferry during its last weeks of service

Albion Ferry's MV Kulleet sails during a lovely fall sunset. Photo by <a href=>Duane Cooke</a>.

Albion Ferry's MV Kulleet sails during a lovely fall sunset. Photo by Duane Cooke.

The Albion Ferry closes on July 31, so here’s a friendly reminder to take one last ride before it finishes its service, if you’re so inclined.

Duane Cooke, who maintains an extensive Albion Ferry photo gallery, wrote in suggesting this reminder, and also provided these tips:

With about three weeks remaining for service on the Albion Ferry your readers may want to be reminded to take (at least) one last trip across the Fraser River. (Take two trips – it’s free!) Closest transit access on the south side is the C62 with about a 3/4 mile long walk to the ferry slip from Fort Langley.

If driving, there is free parking at both ferry landings if one wants to walk on. Otherwise, loads are light so wait times are minimal. If you walk on, there is seating inside or best yet, stand outside and enjoy the views of Mt. Baker, harbour seals, sunsets or even star gazing.

You can also find the Albion Ferry sailing times on the TransLink site. Happy sailing!

Tolling on the Golden Ears Bridge starts Thu July 16

The Golden Ears Bridge, crowded with people during its opening day celebration. (I wonder if everyone has a transponder?)

The Golden Ears Bridge, crowded with people during its opening day celebration. (I wonder if everyone has a transponder?)

Look out, drivers: after a month of free crossings, electronic tolling on TransLink’s Golden Ears Bridge starts Thursday, July 16.

And just a heads up: to prepare for the launch, the bridge’s outside lanes in both directions will close at 8 p.m. this week, reopening for the morning rush the next day. This is to allow final preparations of the cameras used in the Quickpass tolling system, and will be completed before July 16.

Remember, you can register your vehicle for a lower toll rate. There’s three ways to access the registration process:

  • online at*
  • call 604-460-5050, or call toll-free at 1-877-299-0599*
  • or visit the Quickpass customer service centre in Pitt Meadows (12167 Harris Road) or Langley (12-8948 202nd Street).

*If you call or register online for a transponder, it will be mailed to you.

You can also pick one of three ways to register your vehicle for the Quickpass tolling system:

  1. Lease a Quickpass transponder and save 30% off the standard toll rate. (Transponders are $1 a month plus a $10 refundable deposit.)
  2. Register as a Quickpass video customer and save 15% off the standard toll rate. (You won’t carry a transponder this way.)
  3. Pay as you go and pay the standard toll rate.

So far, over 12,000 people have leased a transponder! And for those who have leased but not yet received their transponders, they will be delivered prior to July 16. Make sure to install your transponder before July 16 to ensure you receive the lowest toll rate.

For more on the tolling system, check the Quickpass registration site, or have a read through a Quickpass article I wrote in Oct. 2008.

The Buzzer rides the Canada Line!

Wow — I got to ride the Canada Line today!

We’ve only just recently been able to arrange a tour, so here I am with lots of photo and video to give you a great preview of the line. For example, watch the video above to see the Canada Line train pull into Waterfront Station!

Quick overview: we hopped on and rode south to Richmond-Brighouse. Then we went back up, transferred at Bridgeport to ride to YVR, then went back to Waterfront again. The Canada Line is currently testing its cars on the real schedule, so trains arrived fairly frequently. Today it apparently had a higher than 99% on-time rate, and yesterday it was 99.8%!

Read more »

Friday fun poll: where do you keep your bus pass?

If you like, you can skip to the end of this post to answer the poll about where you keep your bus pass.

Results from last poll: where do you stand on a bus?

Last week I asked where you like to stand on a bus.

And after 152 votes tallied, 48% of you hover near the middle of the bus, 41% try to as far back on the bus as possible, and the last 11% choose the front. I’m going to speculate that’s because the front is reserved for those with mobility issues, so people generally try to avoid standing there.

In the comments, Henry wondered how people chose their standing places:

I would actually like to know why people stand where they do. Especially those that hover near the doors for over 10 minutes during a ride. I never stand there unless I am getting off in a few stops. Otherwise, I can’t stand being in others’ way. I feel I’m being rude if I stand by the rear doors for too long.

And U92 didn’t pick a standing location, but had a standing strategy instead:

If I can’t avoid standing (and I don’t look disabled, so people don’t usually get up for me), I go for the nearest pole so I don’t have to reach up or swing, and keep my body close to it and feet planted apart, so I can use my core muscles to stabilize myself. Once I find a good pole and solid position, I won’t move back or relinquish it unless I see a seat that I can reach before the bus starts moving again!

As always, you can read all the comments at the original post

This week’s poll: where do you keep your bus pass?

I was just thinking that most of us probably have a common place we keep our bus pass for easy access—so I thought I’d ask you all about it.

I keep mine in my wallet so I always have it with me, plus it makes the pass easy to find quickly. Also, I tend to lose my pass if I kept it separately—an expensive mistake you don’t want to make more than once :(

Burrard Bridge bike lane trial starts Mon July 13

A rendering of the Burrard Bridge bike lane trial, which starts on Monday. Photo from the <a href=>City of Vancouver</a>.

A rendering of the Burrard Bridge bike lane trial, which starts on Monday. Photo from the City of Vancouver.

Cyclists, motorists, pedestrians: here’s a reminder that the Burrard Bridge bike lane trial starts on Monday, July 13.

One lane on the Burrard Bridge in Vancouver will be devoted solely to bicycle traffic for a trial period. You can find all the details on their website.

And just to clarify, this is a City of Vancouver project, but TransLink has been involved to make sure transit service remains the same over the bridge.

Happy cycling, if you’re trying the new lane out on Monday!

The July Buzzer is out today!

The July 2009 Buzzer is now on all buses, SeaBus, SkyTrain, and West Coast Express!

In this issue, we’ve got a list of summer getaways you can take without a car — and almost all were suggested by you guys in this post.

(I’m also thinking we could do more lists of summer getaways or just fun local destinations online, so if you have suggestions, please fire them over to me.)

The Buzzer also lists special transit service for the HSBC Celebration of Light and Caribbean Days in North Vancouver, plus the holiday service for B.C. Day (yay holidays!), and the downtown Dunsmuir Tunnel SkyTrain work.

And our little Back Issues section talks about Langley joining the B.C. Transit service region in 1988 — can you believe it’s been over 20 years now?

Again, it is the Buzzer’s great pleasure to have a cover drawn by a Canadian illustrator: this time, it’s the wonderful Aurelie Grand.

As always, if you can’t get the Buzzer on the system, you can always read it in PDF form on our website. Visit our Buzzer PDF archives, which stretch back to the heady days of June 2006. (Here’s the direct link to the July issue PDF.)

Remember to enter the FareCard contest too! Win a free FareCard in every issue of the Buzzer: read the issue, then email in your info and the answer to the trivia question by Monday, August 10 at 9 a.m. to win! (And argh, the date for the next Buzzer issue in the contest section got moved: the next issue is Aug 7 now, not Aug 14. Le sigh x 2.)

Anyway, enjoy the latest Buzzer as always! Comments are welcome below!

MEC Great Rides kick off with Golden Ears bike ride, Sun July 12

The Golden Ears Bridge on opening day! The Great Ride bike tour this weekend will take you over the bridge on its two-metre wide sidewalks.

The Golden Ears Bridge on opening day! The Great Ride bike tour this weekend will take you over the bridge on its two-metre wide sidewalks.

MEC, TransLink and the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition have teamed up to offer some Great Rides this summer—four fun bike tours that let you explore the festivals, city centres, and lovely country lanes of Metro Vancouver.

The first one starts this Sunday, and includes a ride over the new Golden Ears Bridge!

Check out the event page for all the details. You can start any time from 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.: the ride takes you to the Caribbean Festival in Maple Ridge, Old Fort Langley, and the bike lanes on the Golden Ears Bridge in between.

There’s a cost of $15 per adult (16 and under are free!), and that gives you free entry into Old Fort Langley, a bag of goodies, maps of the route, and access to refreshment stations along the way—plus bike valet parking and help from bike mechanics to tune up or fix your bike.

Hop to it now if you’re interested: online registration for the ride closes Saturday, July 11 at 12 noon, and registration on the day is cash or cheque only!