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Translink Buzzer Blog

A few tidbits you might be interested in…

In tidbits today, the Transit Police have released their 2008 Report to the Community.

In tidbits today, the Transit Police have released their 2008 Report to the Community.

I have several tidbits on hand that I just haven’t been able to get on the blog in the past few weeks. So here’s a roundup post that has them all in one place.

  • Rail Talk #3 is now online! If you don’t know, Rail Talk is a regular web conference hosted by Doug Kelsey, President and CEO of SkyTrain, where he responds to live questions from TransLink Listens panel members on SkyTrain’s current issues. The theme of this Rail Talk is Olympic transportation. (Go here for links to Rail Talk 1 & 2.)
  • Our Transit Police released their 2008 Report to the Community a little while back. As Chief Ward Clapham describes, the report shows the continued development and scope of our young police service and the contribution they make to safety and security of the transit system and Metro Vancouver. Chief Clapham says he is proud of the initiatives and accomplishments of the Transit Police staff, particularly during this past year of rapid growth and change.
  • The media section of the TransLink website now has its own RSS feed. (And more feeds for alerts and such are coming in phase 2 of development for the TransLink website this year!)

SeaBus elevator out of service

Eep — SeaBus elevator users, take note.

The elevator at the SeaBus south terminal – from the terminal to the overhead walkway leading to Waterfront Station – will be out of service for scheduled maintenance beginning Tuesday, Sept. 8. The work is expected to continue for eight weeks.

A shuttle bus will be in service from the Waterfront Station main entrance at Cordova Street to the SeaBus terminal for customers needing the elevator. Ask a Marine Attendant at the SeaBus terminal for assistance.

But please do note that the shuttle is not intended for use by cyclists. If you’re on a bike, you can enter through the SeaBus terminal via the door adjacent to the Helijet Terminal.

Thanks so much for your patience through all this. We are very sorry for any inconvenience!

9am transit update for Sept 8

So it seems things are basically calm again… I’m signing off from the road but here is one final update from Drew.

COMMERCIAL-BROADWAY – lineups for the 99B-Line have reappeared … backing up to Booster Juice … still orderly‬‪
SKYTRAIN has been running with full loads, but it’s been manageable‬‪
PRODUCTION WAY – lineups have been manageable, and with buses “double-heading” to SFU, the exchange is clearing efficiently.  There was an instance where about a busload of passengers was left behind even after 2 buses pulled out full together, but with 4-minute gaps between buses, people aren’t waiting an inordinately long time.‬‪ ‬‪
CANADA LINE CONNECTIONS – ran smoothly this morning, with Richmond customers getting on at Richmond-Brighouse and occasionally missing one train to be assured of a seat on the next.  South of Fraser customers transferring from their buses at Bridgeport might miss the train coming out of Brighouse, but the one from YVR would clear the platform

8:20am transit update for Sept 8

Update from Drew Snider:

Day One appears to be going well on a number of fronts …‬‪ ‬‪CANADA LINE … buses are arriving packed at Richmond-Brighouse station, and the trains are leaving close to full, but in many cases customers are holding back to get a seat on the next train … at Bridgeport, where the South of Fraser buses are terminating, people are a little disappointed to see the trains coming in full from Brighouse, but then the YVR trains arrives nearly empty, and the sun shines a bit brighter …‬‪ ‬‪

A lot of students are getting off at 41st-OAKRIDGE to transfer to $41 and #43 buses to UBC.  Good strategy.  Lots of people are getting off at BROADWAY-CITY HALL, but if they’re planning to transfer to a Broadway bus (like the 99 B-Line), they’ll be in for a bit of a wait.‬‪ ‬‪

Speaking ofthe 99 B, the lineup at COMMERCIAL-BROADWAY has been long throughout the morning rush, which is not surprising.  Coast Mountain Bus Co transit supervisors and security personnel have been managing the lines … thanks to the gang at Ethical Bean for handing out coffee to the people waiting … (don’t know if it was free coffee or not, but bringing it to the people is always a good move – it worked for Nat Bailey!) …‬‪ ‬‪

On the SkyTrain platforms, police have been helping to keep things orderly … trains have been full but only a 1-2 train wait … SkyTrain has been running turnback trains from COMMERCIAL-BROADWAY to Waterfront through the “crush hour” … also, more 4-car Mark II trains have helped … thanks to the new shipment of cars, we’ve been able to put together 12 4-car Mark II’s, as opposed to the 6 we’ve had prior to expansion of the fleet.  Can’t run more trains, but we can make them longer.‬‪ ‬‪

at PRODUCTION WAY, it’s really busy now: double-heading the #145 — running two buses together — is helping keep the platforms clear there, although there was still approx. an entire busload left behind around 8am.‬‪


8 am transit update for Sept 8

Morning all!

Transit has been flowing pretty smoothly since 7am today. As we head into the 8am hour, the crowds are starting to pick up but the system seems to be able to handle it. Here’s the latest from everyone as of 8:

BRIGHOUSE – trains are now leaving packed‬‪
BRIDGEPORT – benefit of having South of Fraser buses come to this station – train arriving from YVR clears platform, so people coming in from SoF don’t have to wait long‬‪
COMMERCIAL-BROADWAY – trains are standing-room only, but no one’s getting left behind – turnbacks and additional 4-car Mark II trains (12 running in rush hour, compared to 6 prior to the fleet expansion) are helping‬‪– lineup for 99B-Line runs past Booster Juice … approx. 10-15 minute wait to board.‬‪
PRODUCTION WAY – no waits for #145 bus – 4-minute frequency and lineups looking good
41ST – OAKRIDGE – students are transferring to #41 & #43 buses to UBC.

I’m biking between King Ed, 41st and 49th this morning and blogging on my BlackBerry. Things have been pretty quiet here and the trains I’ve seen are busy but still have lots of room. No one is getting left behind on the platforms! Lots of kids are getting off to go to Langara at 49th. Also, they are giving away free granola and copies of the Province at King Ed.

Check @kenhardie and @thebuzzer on Twitter for the latest updates.

Here’s some photos so far too.




Friday fun post: what do you read when you ride transit?

If you like, skip to the end of this post to take the reading on transit survey.

Last week’s poll: as of Friday, Aug 28, how many times have you been on the Canada Line?

In the poll from last week, I asked you how many times you’d been on the Canada Line as of August 28.

And out of 201 votes, the highest percentage picked “5 or more times” (39%). Two times came in second (20%) and once was third (18%), followed by three (16%) then four times (6%). Someone called “Not my real fake name” pointed out that I forgot to include zero again — and argh, I’m guilty as charged.

In the comments, we heard why everyone got on the line. Lots of people certainly were taking it just for the ride, but it is starting to become a useful link. For example, here’s Jaye Sunsurn:

I’ve taken the Canada Line more than a few times, and while the first few were for novelty reasons, I do find myself more apt to head to south Vancouver or Richmond now because of the accessibility that the Canada Line affords heading into that part of town.

Not my real fake name also had a similar tale to tell.

For me, twice for the heck of it, connecting to the M line via the 84 at Olympic Village or the 99 at Broadway City Hall instead of my usual Burrard to Brentwood via “Commercial-Broadway”. Maybe one day I’ll take the 25 from King Edward to Brentwood, but the 41 minute rush hour ride is a bit of a downer.

Also, once last weekend to attend a wedding reception near Aberdeen; that was the one trip that was not contrived, and it was great that the line was open in time to use it for “real” reasons.

Off topic, but still interesting: the comment thread discussed why the train curves at 33rd Avenue, and it is actually due to volcanic rock in Queen Elizabeth Park. Did you know it sits upon an extinct volcano? And that it was originally mined for basalt?

This week: what do you read when you ride transit?

The New York Times is currently asking people what they read on the subway, and I thought it would be fun to do the same thing here. They’re posting the answers today, but don’t look: let’s compare our results next week!

Here’s the intro from the Times article, for some inspiration:

Americans seem to be doing less recreational reading these days, spending time instead watching television, surfing the Web, sending text messages and talking on cellphones. But one place where a vibrant culture of reading remains strong — to some extent out of necessity — is the New York City subway.

So, click here to take the reading survey for Vancouver! No registration or personal info is required.

It’s just four questions and only the first is mandatory. I’ll repeat them here too if you’re curious:

1. What is your main SkyTrain line or bus route?
2. What was the last book you read on transit?
3. What was the last magazine?
4. What was the last newspaper?

Feel free to share any thoughts on transit reading in the comments. I’ll make up a fancy infographic next week once we get the results!

SeaBus running one boat service on Sunday, Sept 6

SeaBus riders, take note again: there will only one boat service on Sunday September 6, with half-hour service starting at 8:00 a.m. The MV Burrard Beaver is off for its annual required Transport Canada Safety Inspection! It was the Otter’s turn last Sunday.

Check this blog and Twitter for transit updates on Tue Sept 8

In the morning on Tuesday September 8, watch for transit updates on the Buzzer blog and via @kenhardie on Twitter.

From 7 a.m. to about 9 a.m., the TransLink media team and I will be out watching the transit situation so you know what’s going on.

I’ll be on Twitter at @thebuzzer too, but Ken’s account is the main one to track.

We’ll be stationed at busy spots all over the region, so we’ll be able to get you fresh information quite regularly.

I will personally be cycling between 49th, 41st and King Edward Stations on the Canada Line, so if you see me, say hello!

Again, here’s all the details of Monday’s bus service changes, and here’s some handy travel tips for the first weeks of September.

Travel tips and info for the first weeks of September

The first weeks of September are the busiest for Metro Vancouver roads and transit, so here’s some tips and information to help get you on your way.

Please keep these in mind particularly for Tuesday, September 8 when everyone starts back at school and the major bus service changes happen!

(Why is it so busy at this time? Everyone’s back from holidays, plus students are all heading back to school. Things usually improve once university students settle into their class schedules and start spreading their travel times throughout the day.)

Advice for everyone

Our main advice to road and transit commuters: shift your travel times away from the 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. peak periods if you can, but if you must travel then, please allow extra time for your trip. Starting off 20 or 30 minutes earlier is a good strategy if you absolutely have to be on campus by 9 am.

Read more »

The September Buzzer is now out!

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

In this issue, we’ve got all the details of the September 7 bus service changes, which feature some major route adjustments owing to service integration with the Canada Line.

We’ve also put in all the details of the Commercial-Broadway Station renaming.

The list of changes are so big we didn’t really have room for any other info! The “Back Issues” history item will return next month when things aren’t so busy.

We are again proud to have a cover from a Canadian illustrator, Jane Koo. Yes, the cover says “Michael Gilbert” on it, but that’s a mistake: it’s JANE KOO! (Michael is next month’s illustrator!)

Jane’s illustration is wonderful and I will be doing a little interview with her soon, both to highlight her work and to make sure everybody knows she did the cover :)

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 September 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, September 28 at 9 a.m. to win!

Enjoy the latest Buzzer as always! Comments are welcome below.

Regional Transportation Commissioner weighs in on our 10-Year Plan

Lots of info posts today… hope you can handle one more!

Martin Crilly, TransLink’s Regional Transportation Commissioner, has come back with his evaluation of our 2010 10-Year Plan and supplements.

Check out a summary of his review, which links to the full 38-page PDF report.

If you don’t know, the Regional Transportation Commissioner plays an independent advisory and approval role in TransLink’s governance structure. This diagram describes how his role relates to the Board and others.

For some context, here’s a past blog post explaining our 2010 10-Year Plan process. The main TransLink site also has a Transportation Planning explanation.

The next step is for the 10-Year Plan to be evaluated and decided on by the Mayor’s Council in October.

The main TransLink website also has more on our governance and board structure, including meeting times, minutes, bylaws and more.

5, 17 and N6 are back on track next week; C26 gets an altered reroute

Rider alert: there are two route changes happening next week owing to construction — that’s why they’re not officially listed in the major bus changes for Monday, September 7.

5, 17, and N6 back on regular route starting Mon Sept 7

The 5, 17, and N6 will return to their regular routes starting on Monday, September 7.

The buses have been on reroute since August 3 due to construction in downtown Vancouver.

The reroutes were announced in this old Buzzer blog post, if you’re curious for more info.

C26 reroute adjustments start Tue Sept 8

The C26 reroute for September 8. Here's a <a href=>bigger PDF copy</a> of the map.

The C26 reroute for September 8. Here's a bigger PDF copy of the map.

Due to continued construction on East Road in Anmore, a re-route on the C26 Belcarra/Port Moody Station will continue, but we’re making some alterations to maintain schedule reliability as much as possible.

The C26 will stay on Ioco Road to 1st Ave., then turn on Sunnyside and turn around near Anmore Grocery for the return trip.

But now, we’re adding a second “short-turn” bus, the C26 Port Moody Stn/East Road (to Sparks).

Grab a full PDF map of the route here. Schedule times will remain the same.

Also, if you go to Heritage Woods School, you’ll need to transfer at Newport Village to either the short-turn C26 or to the C27 Coquitlam Station.

This temporary route configuration will take effect Tuesday, Sept. 8 and continue until further notice.

And again, there are some other major bus service changes starting Monday September 7. See this post for more info.

Colleen’s four spots to visit near Canada Line’s Broadway-City Hall Station

We’re highlighting spots to visit along the Canada Line, if you needed some reasons to explore! Check out earlier posts in this series, and if you have spots to share, e-mail me along with a couple of photos and I’ll put it up. (Fewer spots are fine too, and they can all be at one station or spread out.)

This list is from my colleague Colleen Sondermann, who has four spots to recommend near Broadway-City Hall Station.

Shop Cocoon

Shop Cocoon during one of its many events. (Photo from <a href=></a>)

Shop Cocoon during one of its many events. (Photo from

3345 Cambie St. (between 17th & 18th Ave.)

Shop Cocoon is a boutique shop that provides local emerging designers an opportunity to get their products to market. Focuses on clothing, jewellery, accessories, and homeware.

Read more »

Looking for Canada Line passport stamps? We can help.

The Canada Line souvenir passport. Photo by <a href=>brent_granby</a>.

The Canada Line souvenir passport. Photo by brent_granby.

We’re still getting lots of requests for the Canada Line passport stamps!

So Karen Peterson, director of, is trying to help.

Karen will be getting some stamps loaned back to her (they are actually the property of merchants or groups along the line), and will keep them in her office at Canada Line for a couple of weeks.

So feel free to visit her and get your passport stamped with what she has!

Here’s the address & office hours:

Canada Line Offices
8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Suite 1600, 409 Granville Street
16th floor of the United Kingdom Building in downtown Vancouver
Right next to Vancouver City Centre Station

And here are the stamps she has on hand so far:

  • Waterfront and Broadway-City Hall (Note: These two aren’t the exact ones from opening day, but are from another passport program on the line a few years ago.)
  • King Edward
  • Langara

I’ll update you if Karen gets any more stamps, too.

Road Services Division fixes buses on the go

One of our Road Services Division vans!

One of our Road Services Division vans!

Our buses have a type of “first aid” help on the road now!

It’s the role of the new Road Services Division from the Coast Mountain Bus Company (CMBC) — high-tech mobile units that fix minor bus issues out in the field.

Broken mirrors, light problems, farebox issues, destination sign problems, and more — now nine teams of Road Services mechanics are able to help, working out of fully-equipped Sprinter vans at major transfer points throughout the region. The ultimate goal is to provide efficient continuous service for our customers.

Read more »