Translink Buzzer Blog

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 www.quickpasstolling.ca*
  • 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=http://vancouver.ca/projects/burrard/index.htm>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!

Link fun for a gloomy Wednesday

I wish the weather was like this photo right now.

I wish the weather was like this photo right now.

While we wait for the weather to warm up again — and Environment Canada better not be joking about that — I thought I’d brighten things up with some fun links I’ve collected over the last little while.

If you have any good links to share, please drop me a line!

Downtown SkyTrain riders, look out: late-evening maintenance work in SkyTrain’s Dunsmuir Tunnel runs July 13-24

Ride SkyTrain in downtown Vancouver late at night? Watch out — for two weeks starting July 13, SkyTrain will start the first stage of work in the Dunsmuir tunnel, to address water seepage and related drainage issues.

The lower level of the tunnel (the “eastbound” track) will close early to allow work crews in at 10 p.m., with more work planned for fall—the work requires more time than available in the limited nightly system closure hours.

Here’s a bit of background: The major part of SkyTrain’s underground section in downtown Vancouver uses the Dunsmuir Tunnel built by the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1932, linking the transcontinental railway terminus (Waterfront Station) to the previous freight yards and maintenance shops in False Creek – now a distant memory save for the Roundhouse centre in Yaletown.

Groundwater leaching through the tunnel walls contains natural minerals which accelerate corrosion of track components, as well as creating slippery conditions for maintenance crews and emergency passenger evacuation routes.

Shuttle train to be used between Stadium and Waterfront

The following service changes are in effect Monday to Friday, July 13 to July 24, from about 9:45 p.m. to the end of the service day:

  • All Expo and Millennium Line trains from the east will terminate at Stadium Station, at the normal service frequency (8 minutes each; combined 4 minutes between Columbia and Stadium);
  • A single train shuttle will operate every 12 minutes on the normally “westbound” track between Stadium and Waterfront, stopping at Granville and Burrard in both directions.
  • All passengers must change trains at Stadium Station. Passengers can expect a two to 10 minute wait at Stadium, depending on their arrival time and travel direction.

Exceptions for the fireworks festival and B.C. Lions game

  • On Wed July 22nd there will be no work due to Celebration of Light (SkyTrain will run full “rush hour” service throughout the evening to accommodate the thousands of fireworks spectators).
  • On Fri July 24, maintenance will start 90 minutes later due to the B.C. Lions game at B.C. Place (SkyTrain will provide frequent extra service for Lions fans, as usual; shuttle operation will start at 11:15pm).

Additional SkyTrain staff will be on hand at affected stations to provide directions and assistance. We thank you for your patience and cooperation as we keep our system in good repair for your overall service.

Tweet the location of the new SkyTrain

Twitter-users-slash-SkyTrain riders: I’m wondering if you guys might help out people who want to ride the new train.

If you board it, could you tweet your location so people can find the train and hop on too? Add a #newskytrain hashtag at the end of your tweet — those who want to find the train can search Twitter for #newskytrain to see its last known location.

;-) made the original excellent suggestion last week to use Twitter to track the train’s location. How about we give it a try for the next week or so, while the new train is still a novelty on the system?

More photos and video of the new SkyTrain car in action

The new SkyTrain car at Edmonds Station. Photo by <a href=http://thetransitsite.bravehost.com/Photo%20Gallery/Skytrain/Bombardier%20MKII%20Trains/1300-1400%20series/MKII%201300-1400%20Trains.html>Bryan Gal</a> --- see a much larger version <a href=http://www.majhost.com/gallery/translink/Transit/TransLink/Skytrain/img_5050.jpg>here</a>.

The new SkyTrain car at Edmonds Station. Photo by Bryan Gal --- see a much larger version here.

The new SkyTrain cars hit the system last Friday, and a few excellent readers have caught more photos and video of the train.

Bryan, who you may have heard in the podcast last week, has photos up at The Transit Site, and a video of the light-up maps and more.

Josh also sent along a gallery of his photos.

Adam also sent along three videos done with his phone camera:

Again, you can see many detailed shots of the interiors + exteriors at the past Buzzer blog posts:

Feel free to email me or write in the comments with more new SkyTrain car sightings/stories!

Friday fun poll: where do you like to stand on a bus?

If you like, you can skip to the end of this post to answer the poll about standing on a bus.

Results from last poll: trying transit in other cities

Last week I asked how many cities have you tried transit in.

With 207 votes counted, the most popular answer was “5 or more cities” with 72% of the vote. Far fewer voted for 4 cities (10%), 3 cities (7%), 2 cities (6%), or 1 city (5%).

City transit systems visited by more than one Buzzer blog reader: a chart! Click for a larger version.

City transit systems visited by more than one Buzzer blog reader: a chart! Click for a larger version.

Really, I should have known better with you transit enthusiasts—most of you guys listed 10 or more places you’ve travelled! Daniel Quinn even suggested rerunning the poll with higher numbers.

Anyway, to manage all the data, I put together an Excel spreadsheet counting the cities you specified, and used it to produce the chart at right. Together you provided 122 city names, with Victoria, Seattle, Edmonton, and Portland being the most mentioned outside our own system.

In the comments, people mostly gave lists of the cities they went to, but there were a few stories about transit experiences elsewhere. Here’s Alexwarrior:

I got a 40 Euro fine in Paris. I paid the wrong fare, d’oh! (Wasn’t on purpose) I framed the ticket and it made a nice souvenir for my wall.

And Dora, who is really on a roll with good stories in the poll posts, wrote this:

I once got a talking-to (but thankfully no ticket) in Frankfurt because the group of us accidentally go into the first class section of the commuter train (who ever heard of a first class section on an intra-city train?). I often find myself missing London’s Oyster card system and wishing we had something similar here at home.

We will soon enough — smartcards are coming!

Anyway, check out the comments at the original post: there are some good conversations on how to get to Seattle from Vancouver solely on transit. I should mention that there’s even a zine showing how to travel from Vancouver to Portland solely on transit, if you haven’t seen it. Yay zines!


This week’s poll: where do you like to stand on a bus?

David Lam suggested this poll, and I realize I’ve asked about sitting but not standing on a bus!


If you have anything to add, feel free to share in the comments :)

The Buzzer rides the first of the new SkyTrain cars!

As mentioned yesterday, the first of the 48 new SkyTrain cars started running on the system this morning, and I got to jump on for its first trip!

Above is a video of the two-car train #306 arriving at Edmonds Station — its first stop ever on the system. (You can see the cameramen from CTV and Global there, so you might certainly see more footage on TV tonight.)

The train will definitely be in service for the next week or so, and remember, you’re all welcome on board! It’s currently in an “endurance running” phase, which means it must complete 2000 kilometres of regular service while meeting certain criteria (that’s the equivalent of about one week of service). A critical part of this phase involves passengers boarding and disembarking the trains, so go ahead and get on it!

 

Okay, now above you’ll find a short podcast with some rider reactions to the new car. Just thought I’d capture a few first day thoughts!

And after the jump, there’s some more photos and video. I’ll keep it short, since I’m sure you guys will come up with way more great shots and video too — and please do send them my way!

Read more »

Ride the first of the new Mark II cars tomorrow!

One of the new Mk II SkyTrain cars will start on our system tomorrow---July 3!

One of the new Mk II SkyTrain cars will start on our system tomorrow---July 3!

Woop woop — the first of our new SkyTrain cars will be running on the system tomorrow, and you’re all invited to ride it!

After the morning rush hour on Friday July 3, look out for train #306 and feel free to get on board when it stops at your station.

The train is now in its “endurance running” phase, after successfully completing extensive testing and trial running. Endurance running requires that the train completes 2000 kilometres of regular service while meeting certain criteria (the equivalent of about one week of service). A critical part of this phase involves passengers boarding and disembarking the trains, so go ahead and climb aboard!

You’ll find a SkyTrain attendant on board to talk to passengers about the new train, plus I think I’ll also pop in to see what people think of it. You can also check out the Buzzer blog’s posts about the car’s new interiors, and photos/video of the exteriors.

This new train is one of the 48 new SkyTrain cars expected before the Olympics, boosting our capacity by 30%—hurrah!

And watch out over the next week: you’ll see some other new Mark IIs start their trial runs at the stations.

Part of the trial run plan requires trains to operate on the guideways, stopping at stations and activating the doors—but the trains won’t carry passengers just yet. You’ll see signs on the windows and staff on board to indicate that passengers are not yet permitted on those trains.

Photos from the Central Valley Greenway event

Riders go over the Winston Overpass at the Central Valley Greenway opening. Photo by <a href=http://www.flickr.com/photos/stchou/3666901670/in/set-72157620514340327/>Steve Chou</a> again!

Riders go over the Winston Overpass at the Central Valley Greenway opening. Photo by Steve Chou again!

While Oakridge Station had its open house, the Central Valley Greenway also held its opening celebration last Saturday.

Steve Chou sent along his photos of the CVG opening, which are in a handy Flickr set.

And it looks like 24 Hours did a short video of the whole path, with an interview with awesome TransLink planner Michelle Babiuk!

Plus Dora also sent along some snaps from her iPhone (click for larger versions):

Edit: Jason Vanderhill also sent along his Flickr set, including this fun photo of Michelle Babiuk :)

Thanks guys — the opening looks like it was a fantastic time!

If you have any more photos of the Greenway celebrations or the Greenway itself, please do send them my way.

And you can also click here to see the Buzzer blog’s virtual tour of the Greenway again.

Photos from the Oakridge Station open house last weekend

Oakridge Station on the Canada Line, photographed by <a href=http://www.flickr.com/photos/dennistt/3667656854/in/set-72157620523547719/>Dennis TT</a>.

Oakridge Station on the Canada Line, photographed by Dennis TT.

Hello! I’ve come back as promised, bearing photos of the Oakridge Station open house last weekend.

If you haven’t seen it before, Oakridge is the first underground station to be part of an open house. Thanks to everyone who sent in their links — and here’s the big list of albums for you to run through:

It looks like there was a great turnout! And the station looks shiny and new :)