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Friday fun post: a 1945 Buzzer with planning predictions and poetry

If you like, skip to the end of this post to to read the 1945 Buzzer!

Last week: what’s your favourite type of seat material?

Last week, I asked you what type of seat material you liked best.

Well, after 146 votes, the 3D vinyl stuff on the new SkyTrains won handily, capturing 57% of the total vote! Smooth blue vinyl was a distant second (21%) followed by flocked fabric (12%) and cloth (10%).

Most of the comments stretched past the seat material to discuss the actual seats. Here’s Marc, for example:

I really like the seats on the new SkyTrain cars, and I think a couple of the articulated busses on the 145 route have them too. The only seats I really don’t like are the large bulky plastic-backed ones. They don’t leave me much room to use my netbook on the bus, and transit time is writing time! (:

Sally actually didn’t like any of them:

Now that you ask, I don’t really like any of them. The flocked stuff sometimes pokes me in the legs. As for the vinyl, depending on the texture of my clothes, it tends to shoot me off the seat like a rocket!

But Dave 2 wasn’t too picky.

Clean, and dry. Other factors are irrelevant :)

As always, have a look at the original comment thread for more!

This week: a 1945 Buzzer with planning predictions and poetry

Let’s take a break from the polls and just enjoy a Buzzer from 1945!

Grab the Sept 7, 1945 Buzzer: it features “expert predictions” about future transit from Alfred J. Lundberg, president of the Key System of Oakland, the rail and bus provider from Oakland to San Francisco. Some great quotes include:

“Hence, I think I will trust my crystal ball enough to tell you with entire confidence that you will never see American cities without public transit, if they are to remain of the type to which we are accustomed, that is, concentrated business districts and tall buildings.”

There’s also a marvelous, still-relevant poem about moving to the back of the streetcar, contributed by Mr. Johnstone of 3833 Imperial St, New Westminster!

“Move to the front” the conductor calls.
I’m afraid he calls in vain,
For planted hallway in the car
There is an ardent swain.

The aisle is sure well blocked;
No chance to get past there,
For he’s bent over whispering
Sweet nothings in her ear.

Next trip a buxom lady
Stands with one hand on high,
Some parcels scattered at her feet,
Says that look in her eye:

“There’s no chip upon my shoulder,
Nor do I bear a grudge,
But until I get a seat
From here I will not budge.”

Now don’t be selfish or inconsiderate,
Treat your fellow riders right,
‘Cause next time you may the one
Who is jammed in far too tight.

There used to be lots of poetry in the Buzzer actually: I’ll have to dig up some examples in a future post.

And tell me too: are you sick of polls? Is it OK to do a historical Buzzer or such from time to time? Friday fun posts are yours to imagine… :)

The June 2010 Buzzer is now out!

The June 2010 Buzzer is now on all buses, SeaBus, SkyTrain, and West Coast Express!

(Please note that owing to budget concerns, this June issue will serve as our Buzzer for June and July. Look for the next issue on August 6!)

This issue focuses on the seasonal bus service changes coming on Monday, June 21.

There’s also a note about I Love Transit Week in July, encouraging you to submit your stories and come to I Love Transit Night! See this post for more info on that.

We’ve also written about the first anniversaries of the Golden Ears Bridge (June 14) and Central Valley Greenway (June 27)!

Plus, there’s the results of the APTA rail rodeo, bus service to Empire Field, and a notification about additional service to the Caribbean Days festival and the Celebration of Light.

As always, we are happy to have a cover from a local illustrator: this time it’s Tara Williamson. Many thanks Tara!

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. (Here’s the direct link to the June issue PDF.)

Remember to enter the FareCard contest too! You can 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 Thursday, July 27 at 9 a.m. — we’ll pick a winner from all the correct answers.

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

Links and tidbits for Friday June 18

A 1950s ad discovered in a disused area of the Notting Hill Tube station in London, UK. Photo by Mikey Ashworth for the London Underground.

A 1950s ad discovered in a disused area of the Notting Hill Tube station in London, UK. Photo by Mikey Ashworth for the London Underground.

Tidbits and links! If you have any to suggest, or a photo to showcase on these posts, e-mail me at!

Canada Line system performance test starts Monday June 21

A Canada Line train on the North Arm Bridge!

A Canada Line train on the North Arm Bridge!

Expect slightly faster Canada Line train times for about two weeks, starting Monday June 21: PROTRANS BC will be doing a system performance test for fifteen days.

Here’s the release they put out today:

Starting Monday, June 21, 2010, the Canada Line will initiate a 15-day System Test in preparation of higher frequency of train service, which is scheduled to come into effect after the second year of operation. The Canada Line will remain in revenue service and welcome its passengers’ patronage while conducting this test.

During this test period, the train headway during Peak Service periods will be reduced from the current 3 minutes 45 seconds to 3 minutes 10 seconds along the main branch of the Line between Waterfront Station and Bridgeport Station, and from 7 minutes 30 seconds to 6 minutes 20 seconds on the Bridgeport
to YVR-Airport and Bridgeport to Richmond-Brighouse spurs. Dwell times (the time that trains are stopped) in each station will be slightly extended as a result of the increase train frequency.

Peak Service periods are Weekdays between 7:00 A.M. and 6:00 P.M., Saturdays between 9 a.m and 6 p.m., and Sundays, as well as statutory holidays, between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

All Canada Line stations will remain available and accessible during regular revenue service hours, and train service during non-peak periods will remain unchanged. Headways and dwell times at stations will revert back to the current levels after the completion of the System Performance Test.

Paper models of the SkyTrain Mark I cars

A paper craft model of the Mark I SkyTrain car. Created by <a href=>Swift</a>!

A paper craft model of the Mark I SkyTrain car. Created by Swift!

Swift sent along some outlines for paper models of the SkyTrain Mark I cars, since none could be found online!

I’m told that comments are welcome, as these are initial designs and more details can certainly be added.

For more paper fun, check out my earlier post on paper buses and trains as well :)

Update, June 18: I’d forgotten that Jason Vanderhill has some more papercraft trains to share! Here is his comment:

Hey, wait! Remember there’s also my Papercraft model that may or may not be used to rebody the SuperExpress train set. Mk I and new Mk II cars, with a more accurate scale mockup from official PDF profile of the Mk II cars. Note there are two cars per design (car 134 and 135, and 305 and 306). In fact, I ALSO did car 110 and 111 of the Canada Line! Note these are all unofficial and made by me, except for the Mk II Technical Diagram I converted to Papercraft. See the entire photoset here:

Tim Choi is also building a model of the SeaBus!

I’m currently building a small model of the new SeaBus – if you’re interested, you can follow my build thread on this forum:

Not much to show right now – just the hull. Will begin working on the cabin tonight.

Car Free Days reroutes, service to the Dragon Boat Festival and Lions games, and more: Sat June 19 – Sun June 20

Car Free Days, the Dragon Boat Festival, and the start of the B.C. Lions’ season kick off a weekend filled with events for our region! Check below to see the bus reroutes and other service in store due to these festivals and more.

Routes affected include the 3, 5, 6, 17, 20, 99, 228, 229, 230, 239, 316, 320, 321, 326, 341, 502, C43, and C47.

Read more »

APTA Rail 2010: photo and videos from other attendees!

SkyTrain control! Photo by <a href=>Daniel Tiang</a>.

SkyTrain control! Photo by Daniel Tiang.

A few people have sent me some photos and video to share from the APTA rail conference last week!

Daniel Tiang sent along a photo album from the SkyTrain technical tour. He also sent along four videos from the tour: 1, 2, 3, 4.

Steve Chou also sent along his Flickr set with photos from the SkyTrain tour and the trolley bus technical tour!

If you have any APTA stuff to share, feel free to e-mail me!

Summer bus service changes start Mon June 21

Once again, we’re making seasonal bus service changes on Monday, June 21!

For background: we adjust bus service four times a year, reflecting major passenger ebbs and flows in April, June, September, and December.

June marks the end of the school year for some and the start of summer for many, so we have a few adjustments to reflect these changed travel patterns.

Since there are very few changes, I’ve posted all the details below: routes involved include the 19, 239, 401 and C26 — there are also changes to bus bays at Coquitlam Station and the Downtown NightBus terminus. Check the main TransLink service changes page for more information!

Read more »

I Love Transit Week 2010: let’s make some new transit buttons!

A sampling of the I Love Transit buttons that will be available! Four of these have been designed by the smart and talented <a href=

A sampling of the I Love Transit buttons that will be available! Four of these have been designed by the smart and talented Jason Vanderhill.

As we’re going to do I Love Transit Week again in July (see this post for info), it seems time to add some new button designs into the mix!

Send suggestions for 1-inch button designs (or actual designs if you like) to by Thursday, June 24: that gives me enough time to get them to our button designer to get them produced. If there are a lot of designs suggested, I’ll have a vote for the top five or so favourites to be made!

The new designs, of course, will be produced and distributed on I Love Transit Night (Thursday July 15! Find out more here!). I’ll rustle up some transit goodies for those whose button designs are made.

Check below to see images of our current button designs (six of which are by the fabulous Jason Vanderhill), and links to one-inch button templates and design guidelines, if you want to go that far :)

Read more »

Put your picture on The Pixel Train for charity

Ads for the Pixel Train campaign at Vancouver City Centre Station.

Ads for the Pixel Train campaign at Vancouver City Centre Station.

As you may have heard, InTransit BC, the private company behind the Canada Line, is raising funds for charity through wrapping a train with pictures from the public.

You’re all invited to get involved by going to, picking a spot on the train, and submitting a photo of yourself to be posted there. You can also choose a self-portrait from the gallery of pictures drawn by children from the charities.

It’s $10 for a 7cm square, $100 for a 14 cm square, and $500 for a 21 cm square, and the funds go to four charities: YMCA, Arts Umbrella, Hope in Shadows, and the B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation.

Once the virtual train is complete, a Canada Line train will be wrapped with the mosaic. InTransit BC hopes to have sold all the pixels by the end of July and have the real train wrapped by the fall to join regular daily service once students are back at school.

Friday fun post: what type of seat material do you like best?

If you like, skip to the end of this post to tell us your favourite seat material on transit.

Last week: what do you do when waiting for transit?

Last week, I asked you what you do when waiting for transit.

We had 135 votes, and possibly unsurprisingly, the most popular answer was “watch the street/track like a hawk to see if your ride is coming” with 45%.

Second most popular was “people watch” (21%) and third was using a phone or smartphone (18%). Just 7% said they read, and 7% chose “other.”

There was a diversity of answers in the comments: most people felt impatient waiting, but had different ways of handling it. Here’s Ed:

Playing games on my iPod touch is the easiest way to kill time, or else I’d be reading those free newspapers that are handed out at Canada Line stations during peak hours. Sometimes, I purposely miss the train if I have time, just to catch a breeze or soak in the good weather, a pro of Richmond stations!

Peter and Andrew thought there should have been a category for pacing (Reva did suggest one originally — sorry for pulling it out!) Here’s Peter:

I’m with Andrew on this one — you needed another category for the impatient pacers among us — it might seem like impatience on the surface, but inside, my mind is usually racing around a rich terrain of brilliant fantasy: next time I get restless — a shiny black limo with shaded windows is going to pull up to the bus stop and offer me a ride to exactly where I’m going… and there will be tray with champagne and caviar sitting there for me to enjoy — and everybody at the bus stop will be wondering “who was that.?”

And ericmk was very zen about the whole experience.

When I’m waiting for the bus/train, I usually am pretty calm, especially after work when I’m not in a rush. I don’t have to worry about driving, and worrying about the timeliness of transit is kinda useless because it won’t get you to your destination any sooner! Or at least that’s my mindset! So, I pass the time with my BlackBerry because I’m addicted to it. I’ll check my email or look at whatever else suits my fancy- like the Buzzer blog! And I’m still waiting for an app for Blackberry- developers get to work! I’m not getting an iphone anytime soon!

Also, Tsushima Masaki had a helpful hint for those with smartphones.

Actually (a side note), a little something I noticed a couple months ago is you can actually get a schedule of train times on the Translink website. For example to get actual train arrival times go to and type in 980 as the bus route.
999 is Expo Line
998 is Seabus
997 is West Coast Express Trainbus
996 is Millennium Line

Anyway, as always, have a look at the original comment thread for more!

This week: what type of seat material do you like best?

Alisha suggested this poll, saying “I have a definite opinion on this one and am definitely disappointed when I get a vehicle with a certain type of seat.”

But before we begin, I asked my colleague in fleet management to help me out with enumerating the seat types, and he offered the following caveat:

I hope that the survey respondents would understand if we buy unpopular seats.

There are a lot of factors that go into the decision to buy a particular seat type, including appearance, comfort, purchase price, weight, ability to be cleaned, and maintenance costs. “Comfort” is usually determined by a dozen employees who’ll be asked their opinions after sitting on different demo seats.

I should also mention that my colleague had a HUGE list of seat types (there are a ton of combinations if you throw in thick/thin cushioning, metal/plastic backs etc), so I am just listing materials here.

Feel free to comment, as usual!

Bus reroutes and SkyTrain repair work over the weekend, Sat June 12 and Sun June 13

Summer events continue on this weekend, prompting a few bus reroutes. As well, SkyTrain will be doing a bit of repair work in the Columbia-Sapperton tunnel on Sunday, which will result in some slight delays to the Millennium Line in that area.

Bus routes affected include the 28, 50, 112, 135, 143, 144, 145, 155, C86, C27, C28, C29, C38 & 97 B-Line. Read on for more!

Read more »

APTA Rail 2010: Four hours, three trains, two buses, one trolley – a multimodal tour of Vancouver!

The multimodal map!

The multimodal map!

If you didn’t know, TransLink is hosting the 2010 American Public Transportation Association (APTA) rail conference this week! See the APTA Rail 2010 category for more posts.

So what do transportation professionals do for fun in Vancouver? A four-hour trip riding almost all of Vancouver’s transit vehicles — with an optional four-hour second leg on the SeaBus and the Grouse Mountain Skyride (with dinner at the top)!

This multimodal tour is lovingly crafted by Tom Hickey, associate vice-president at the Houston transit authority and longtime transit planner. He’s done tours like this for the past three years at APTA’s rail conferences: last year, we did a six-hour train tour in Chicago!

For the past decade, Tom has also run more intense versions of these tours at APTA operations planning workshops. One tour around Oregon took two and a half days, and another in Denver was a two-day affair as well. (People drop in and out of the tour as it goes on: Tom describes the tours as a “transit death march.”)

If you’re interested, here is a PDF download of the Vancouver multimodal tour map: it is totally worth a try if you want to experience virtually every mode of transit in town.

And here are some photos of the multimodal tour below. I’ll tell you, 43 transit professionals roving like a pack through the system is a sight to behold.

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APTA Rail 2010: Integrating Passenger Facilities into the Community

Title slide from the presentation. Oooh!

Title slide from the presentation. Oooh!

If you didn’t know, TransLink is hosting the 2010 American Public Transportation Association (APTA) rail conference this week! See the APTA Rail 2010 category for more posts.

The conference is pretty much over today, by the way, but I still have a few posts to put up!

“Integrating Passenger Facilities into the Community” was the last session I attended on Tuesday: it talked about rail station design and its potential to transform communities. Excerpt from the session description:

What are the opportunities to serve as gateways to the community? How do they connect to the regional transit system? Hear the latest on station area planning and how stations fit into the surrounding community and offer potential for transit-oriented development.

Here are my summaries from the three presentations during this session! Again, feel free to offer corrections: I only wrote what I heard and certainly may have erred here and there.

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APTA Rail 2010: The trade show floor

The APTA Rail Products and Services Showcase!

The APTA Rail Products and Services Showcase!

If you didn’t know, TransLink is hosting the 2010 American Public Transportation Association (APTA) rail conference this week! See the APTA Rail 2010 category for more posts.

Conferences of all stripes usually have a trade show exhibition, where different companies advertise their wares. I thought I’d post a few pictures of the APTA Rail Products and Services Showcase, as it provides an interesting glimpse at the range of things that go into a rail system.

Also, for many of these things, I had no idea that there were whole companies behind them!

The Armor Tile booth. They make rumble strips for the edge of station platforms!

The Armor Tile booth. They make rumble strips for the edge of station platforms!

For example, there’s a company who makes the rumble strips at the edge of station platforms, as well as other tactile flooring!

Read more »