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Translink Buzzer Blog

Viva Vancouver

Main Street Vancouver

2009 Summer Spaces pilot project on Main Street

Remember Robson Street during the 2010 Winter Olympics? Or maybe you’ve visited the numerous car-free streets of Strøget, Copenhagen, Denmark or the Cinque Terre in the Liguria region of Italy. These are all examples of streets not used for cars but for pedestrians, festivities and just hanging out. The City of Vancouver has been experimenting with shutting down streets for community purposes since 2009, and starting this weekend through to the end of the summer, you’re going to see a lot more of it.

Commercial Drive Car-free day

2009 Summer Spaces pilot on Commercial Drive

Viva Vancouver is the department of The City of Vancouver mandated to:

  • Create a variety of public spaces for a mix of engaging activities and sojourning
  • Increase neighbourhood livability benefiting residents, businesses, community groups and visitors
  • Encourage sustainable and active transportation by creating more safe and interesting spaces for walking and cycling

There’s a long list of events they have planned in different communities in Vancouver starting this weekend on Granville Street. Actually, Granville between Hastings and Smithe will be closed every weekend this summer. Here’s exactly when events will be going on there:

  • Fridays after 9 p.m.
  • All day Saturdays/Sundays/holidays
  • All day Friday, July 15 and Friday, August 19

As noted in the June service changes, buses on Granville Street are being rerouted during Viva Vancouver event times.

Besides Granville Street, there are smaller events in other areas of the city like the Livable Laneway project on Main Street, a community artists plaza on Cambie Street and much more. Check out the spaces and activities section of the Viva Vancouver website for all the info.

I spoke with one of the coordinators of the events, Daniel Fortin, to find out more about Viva Vancouver.

How long has Viva Vancouver been in existence?

The brand was launched this summer. In 2009, there were summer spaces. And then there was the Olympic Pedestrian Corridors and Rediscover Granville in 2010. Viva Vancouver is sort of an amalgamation of these precursors with an aim to do this sort of thing into the future.

How many people work for Viva Vancouver?

There are five of us, although we draw on other City workers from other departments since there’s a lot of work to do.

Where does the money come from to pay for Viva Vancouver?

The money comes from a grant from the Vancouver 125 celebration, and the rest is funded through the city. If we’re unable to meet all of the requests, the community groups we work with will often come up with the money through fundraising and other means.

You’ve never shut down Granville Street for so many consecutive weekends before. Is there a challenge in doing this?

There are logistical challenges like if we should leave barricades in place over night. And then there’s getting into people’s minds that every weekend this summer will see the street shut down. Hopefully, people will get used to it by the end of the summer.

In light of what happened on and around Granville Street after the Stanley Cup playoffs, will you be doing anything different with your plans to shut off the street?

Myself and fellow staff were on Granville the day after cleaning the street up. We don’t see these events as related since we believe there’s a different spirit behind them.

Why not just permanently close Granville Street?

Because Granville is a destination spot, there are things like transit and private businesses that service it. Some businesses want vehicle access. However, closing down Granville Street permanently is something to look into in the future, and there’s a lot of public support for that idea.

I noticed you’re converting some alley ways (a.k.a. lanes) and parking stalls into event locations. How did you decide which spaces to chose, and will the same ones be chosen in the future?

None of the concepts come directly from the City. Rather, we put out a call for ideas in December, and from those applications, we decided which ones to go forward with. We were looking for areas of the city that have fewer parks than other parts of the city. We also looked for residential streets just off of main streets. We worked with these community groups to make sure locations they chose were suitable. We had to make a few tweaks in some cases, but we tried as best as we could to stay true to the original ideas.

When the end of the summer comes, how will you measure success?

The big thing that we’re focused on is not the number of events we have, but how they were received. We won’t be looking just at how many people show up to these events. We want to make sure they are of good quality. We’re actually doing two or three baseline studies on Granville Street and incorporating behavioural mapping to decide if they were a success or not. Stuff like if people are stopping at the event or just walking through it.

Will this happen every summer?

Yes, we’re hopeful that it will. We’re looking at hopefully doing more each year and that there is more community interest every year.

Thanks Daniel!

It goes without saying, that with street closures and special events like these, finding a place to park your car in Vancouver will be that much more difficult. So taking public transit is probably not a bad idea. It will be interesting to see how the change in traffic and transit service will go over with the public. How do you feel about changing transit service to accommodate Viva Vancouver and their impressive list of events this summer?

Links and Tidbits for June 22, 2011

It’s officially summer, everyone! And what better way to spend the day than to stay indoors huddled over your desktop reading the latest edition of links and tidbits! Luckily, computer scientists and loads of other smart people have invented laptops, smart phones and tablets to enjoy all the internet has to offer in the great outdoors. ;) Enjoy!

inter // states from Samuel Cockedey on Vimeo
Take a time out and watch how transit is the arteries of the body known as Tokyo, Japan. I’m a sucker for time-elapse video, and electronic music seems to go so well with a futuristic-looking Japan at night!

Call for submissions: I Love Transit Week, July 11-15

The third annual I Love Transit Week is just around the corner. The week is July 11-15, 2011!

What is I Love Transit Week?

There are many things that we love about transit, so let’s celebrate it one week a year!

As in the past couple of years, I’d like to put out a call for submissions. During I Love Transit Week, the Buzzer blog will showcase your work. You can send in essays, photos, songs, videos, podcasts, discussion posts, drawings or pretty much anything that shows why you love transit. I’ll also put as much of this great work as possible into the August Buzzer!

The deadline for yoI Love Transit Week!ur submissions is Thursday, July 7 Sunday, July 10. I’m really open to creativity and different types of content (poetry, rap, performance art, whatever). You can also email me at thebuzzer@translink.ca with your idea if you have some questions or want some feedback. Please do have a look at last year’s posts to see what others have done.

Also, if you’re wondering, we will have an I Love Transit Night again this year. This anticipated night is a live meetup of all ages who want to have some fun celebrating transit. Stay tuned for the location and date!

Buttons!

I Love Transit Buttons! photo by Graham Ballentyne

June 2011 bus changes and the service optimization: an interview with TransLink planning director Brian Mills

If you’ve read the June issue of the Buzzer, you’d know that there are service changes beginning on Monday, June 20th. As part of a year-long TransLink service optimization project, aimed at making sure we’re using our transit resources efficiently and efficiently.

Brian Mills

Brian Mills, Director for Service and Infrastructure Planning

There’s a lot of small adjustments to a number of routes. The overall amount of service hours won’t change, and many more customers will see service increases than service reductions. The area of focus this time around is mostly West Vancouver and the North Shoare, but there are areas in Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond, Delta,  and elsewhere being affected. For the complete picture on the changes you’ll want to look at the Summer 2011 service changes page.

Some notable changes include:

  • Granville Mall summer bus detours will be in effect June 24 – September 5 on Friday’s after 9pm, all day Saturdays/Sundays/holidays, and all day Friday July 15 and Friday August 19 for Viva Vancouver events
  • The 19 will feature additional “short-turn” trips between Downtown Vancouver (Cambie at Pender) and Stanley Park for the summer months
  • All 246 trips will travel to/from Vancouver throughout the day, seven days a week. Service to Park Royal discontinued. Customers travelling to Park Royal will need to transfer to the 239 or 255 on Marine Drive near Garden Road.
  • To provide better connections between Downtown Vancouver and Phibbs Exchange during the p.m peak period, existing trips on the 290 and 292 will be converted to operate as 210 and 211 service. The upgraded 210 and 211 will offer consistent combined service leaving from downtown Vancouver to Phibbs Exchange every 7-8 minutes in the weekday p.m. peak. There will be no change to boarding locations as the 210 and 211 use the same stops as existing 292 and 290 services.
  • Due to King Edward overpass construction, the 177 and 791 will detour via Lougheed Highway instead of travelling along the section of United Blvd. located south of Highway #1. Both routes will continue to serve Planet Ice and a temporary 197 Planet Ice/Brigantine Shuttle will provide transit service along the United Blvd. corridor, with the western terminus on Brigantine Dr. at Hartley. A new stop for the 791 will be located on United Blvd. southbound at Golden.

Brian Mills, TransLink’s Director of Service and Infrastructure Planning did an interview with the Buzzer last April about the service optimization. I thought it would be good to sit down with Brian again to give us some perspective on what’s different this time around, and just how TransLink decides which services need to be changed and why. Read on! Read more »

The June 2011 Buzzer and Chris von Szombathy: Buzzer illustrator interview!

The cover of the June 2011 Buzzer and the illustrator Chris von Szombathy

The cover of the June 2011 Buzzer and the illustrator Chris von Szombathy

If you haven’t picked it up yet, the June 2011 Buzzer is now on board all buses, SeaBus, SkyTrain and West Coast Express!

Much of this issue is devoted to the bus service changes happening on April 20, 2011.

As in April, many bus services have been adjusted in order to increase efficiency, boosting service on high-demand routes and reducing service where demand is low (You can see all the changes online here). I’ll have a blog interview with one of our planners up next week to talk more about it.

Apart from the service changes, the big story, at least for me, is the 95th birthday of the Buzzer! Yes, this little publication has outlasted most publications in BC and keeps on going! Vancouver historian Jim McGraw had some great things to say about the Buzzer that I included in the issue. I’ll be bringing you historical Buzzer-related stories throughout the year to highlight all the great stuff the Buzzer has covered over the years. If you’re curious about back issues, we have almost all of them available for download here.

There are two stories on accessible transit as well. TransLink has really been focusing on making the system more accessible to everyone, and these short pieces outline that commitment. There’s also a short piece on Clean Air Day.

I Love Transit Week is coming up July 11 – 15th! I’m asking Buzzer newsletter and blog readers to email me a photo, video, podcast, essay, discussion post, poetry or any other creative idea to celebrate transit at thebuzzer@translink.ca.

I’m very proud of the illustrator for this month, Chris von Szombathy. He’s a treasured Metro Vancouver illustrator, and we’re very lucky he drew such a fantastic image to celebrate the Buzzer’s birthday! You can read an interview with him below.

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 Wednesday, June 20 at 9 am. We’ll pick a winner from all the correct answers, and that person will be notified by phone shortly after the draw.

Comments are very welcome below. Enjoy the interview and the Buzzer for June!

Tell us a bit about yourself and your art, Chris.

Well, I live and work here in Vancouver, and my work is generally just simple concepts or ideas presented with a bold style.

How did you come up with the Buzzer cover? Can you talk a bit about the other concepts?

I just liked the giant cake as it was a bit nonsensical and a little silly. It was hard to get it visually simple enough that it still made sense without too much clutter. The other ideas were much more straightforward involving the theme of the anniversary… They weren’t very memorable, I can’t even recall them!

What kind of work are you doing lately, and where can we see it?

I am working on more sculpture works at the moment. Besides my website, my work is up at the UNIT/PITT Project in Vancouver until July 9, and I have my second book with Drawn & Quarterly coming out this fall.

Do you have a regular transit route that you take? And do you have a favourite seat on the bus or SkyTrain?

Not a regular one anymore, but I’ve been on the Skytrain the most over the past year. Of course, I love the coveted front-facing and rear-facing seats at each end of the Millenium Line. I’ve only sat there once. You do feel everyone’s eyeballs on you as they enter the car though. You gotta own those seats!

Marine Drive Transit Priority

Marine Drive diagram

A diagram of the changes

If you live or travel regularly in or to West or North Vancouver, you’ll soon notice some changes to the flow of traffic on Marine Drive. During the morning and afternoon rush periods, about 300 bus trips are made every day on Marine Drive and the Lions Gate Bridge. Due to the large volume of bus and other road traffic, TransLink, the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia are funding new bus lanes along Marine Drive. By adding these lanes, customers will be given faster and more reliable service on both Marine Drive and the Lions Gate Bridge. Here’s how it works:

  • In West Vancouver, from Pound Road to Taylor Way, buses will be in their own lane and will have a new transit priority signal at Taylor Way for faster, more reliable service.
  • In North Vancouver, buses will be in their own lane from just west of Tatlow Avenue onto the Lions Gate Bridge.

To get an in-depth picture of what this means to transit riders and vehicles on Marine Drive and the Lions Gate Bridge, check out the dedicated website on the Marine Drive Transit Priority here. If you’ve never seen how a transit-priority lane works, it’s worth taking a minute to watch the video. Construction on these lanes has already begun, and traffic patterns will be changing soon.

If you travel on Marine Drive or the Stanly Park Bridge leave a comment and let others know your thoughts on the changes.

TransLink’s Got Talent!

Last Friday, a fourth floor meeting room in Metrotown Tower 2 was transformed into a battle of musicians. The event dubbed So You Think You Can Busk? was TransLink’s annual buskers contest. In fact, this is the 25th anniversary of the TransLink Musician Program! In total, 40 licenses were up for grabs for winning buskers to perform at a handful of SkyTrain stations. Musicians who win get a license valid for one year and are scheduled to perform at specific stations and times on a rotating schedule. Performances are 90 minutes in length with 15-minute intervals between each one.

Busking guitarist

One of many buskers that auditioned to perform at SkyTrain stations this year

Performers of every ilk showed up for the event. Each performer who applied to audition for free was asked to play for up to 5 minutes (although some performers needed some gentle persuading from the front of the room).

The day started off with a magician (which was curious since the call out was for musicians) who delighted the judges (Dawn Chubai from CityTV’s Breakfast Television, who’s also a jazz musician, and Drew Snider, TransLink Public Information Officer). There were a few acoustic and electric guitar players who accompanied their retro and classic rock numbers on vocals, a steel drum player, a saxophone and bass guitar duo and quite a few others I didn’t get a chance to see including a guy wearing a cowboy outfit complete with chaps and a couple of accordion players. One of these accordion players was Eric D’Onofrio who’s in the video.The event was a testament to the varied and talented buskers we have in Metro Vancouver. I wish I could have stayed and watched all day! Best of luck to the those who auditioned. Buskers will be notified of their results by the end of the week. The licenses take effect on July 1, 2011, so keep your eyes out for some brand new talent at SkyTrain stations.

If you have a favorite busker at a SkyTrain station leave a comment and tell everyone about it!

Reminder: Take the Friday fun poll!

A dad taking the poll

Just in time for Father's Day!

This is a gentle reminder to take the Friday fun poll about our forthcoming new mobile site.

A lot of you have comments about our existing site, so here’s your chance to make the new site that much better! The results and comments will be forwarded to the team working on the mobile platform.

The poll is only three questions long. We’d love to know what you want and need on your mobile device to make transit easier for you! Feel free to leave comments.

Tell all your friends to take the poll as well. The poll will close on Friday, June 17, 2011, at midnight.

Buzzer Podcast: taking an accessible transit ride with Richard Marion and Bradshaw

I’d like to wrap up our focus on transit access awareness with a long overdue Buzzer podcast! I met up with Richard Marion, a visually-impaired man, and his guide dog, Bradshaw, last week to try to get an understanding of how someone with little or no vision navigates our transit system. Richard is a member of the Access Transit User Advisory Committee. As part of the Access Transit Strategy that was approved by the TransLink Board in 2007, the User Advisory Committee was formed to advise TransLink on future and current projects to makes sure that they are accessible to everyone. Read more »

Reminder: Surrey Rapid Transit – Phase 2 workshops, June 9 and 14, 2011

Reminder: there’s only two more Surrey Rapid Transit – Phase 2 workshops left!

Tonight, Thursday, June 9, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Guildford Sheraton Hotel, 15269 104 Ave, Surrey

(Google map)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011, 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Newton Seniors’ Centre Auditorium, 13775 70 Ave, Surrey

(Google map)

If you can’t make these, you can also go to the Surrey Rapid Transit – Phase 2 consultation site to examine our work and offer your feedback online until Friday, June 24, 2011.

And you can watch a recording of the Surrey Rapid Transit – Phase webinar from May 31 on our provider’s server to see the recording.

Transit on film: tearing down Smallville!

Smallville set in Burnaby

Superman, where are you?!

The smooth metal claws of a yellow excavator smash the wooden building just feet away from the news station. Onlookers watch powerlessly as the yellow mechanical behemoth surveys the normally quaint town for a new victim to smash into a thousand pieces. Will Camero Jewelers or the delightful Brasserie Georgina be the next to suffer at the bucket of the unstoppable digger of destruction? Wait, why is this charming street  being demolished anyway? And what news outlet is the “news station”?

As some of you may have noticed from your seats on the Expo Line/Millennium Line these last few weeks, the set of the popular TV show Smallville is being torn down. Yes, the ten-year run of Clark, Lois, and Lex finished in May 2011. Burnaby’s Beresford Street has been one of many locations used in Metro Vancouver and BC for the popular program. Check out this past post of Waterfront Station/Metropolis International Airport.

If you have a favorite view from transit (SkyTrain, Bus, SeaBus, West Coast Express) drop me a note at thebuzzer@translink.ca. I might just make a blog post about it! Thanks to my colleague at SkyTrain for snapping these pictures of Smallville, Kansas… er Burnaby.

Another Smallville set shot in Burnaby

I wonder what a place above the restaurant would cost?

Today is Clean Air Day

Today is not only the day you can try out a bike rack or board a bus on a wheel chair, it’s also Clean Air Day! This year’s Clean Air Day is particularly note worthy for the Coast Mountain Bus Company.

CMBC Idling Data

CMBC idling data from May, 2011

They were just given the “Exceptional Performance/Outstanding Achievement” award at the CUTA (Canadian Urban Transit Association) conference in Regina for their Idle Free CMBC program! As you might have read in the June issue of the Buzzer, the CMBC fleet reduced the amount of bus idling every single month over the same month the previous year. They did this by asking drivers to turn off their buses if they expected to idle at a bus stop or loop for more than three minutes. As you can see from the chart, CMBC is still exceeding targets this year.

The CMBC program is part of an overall initiative by TransLink to “clear the air” and generally reduce harmful CO2 emissions. This also includes 180 hybrid buses added to the fleet;  operating the new, more fuel-efficient Sea Bus and redeploying 98 B -Line buses to suburban locations thereby increasing their fuel efficiency.

All of this has led to a reduction of 1.2 million litres of diesel used by its bus fleet and SeaBus in 2010 despite carrying more passengers and travelling further than in 2009. Reducing 1.2 million litres of diesel resulted in a reduction of about 4,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions or the equivalent of taking 1,000 cars off the road for a year.

You can go here for more specifics on the reduction of fuel use and costs at TransLink.

Brad Jacobsen, BC Paraplegic Assoc., talks about what accessible transit means to him

Brad_Jacobsen

Brad Jacobsen is with the BC Paraplegic Association's Peer Program

Access Awareness Day was last Saturday, but TransLink has been focusing on accessible transit all last week and into this week with public events like the one at Metrotown tomorrow, June 8 at 10a.m. – 2p.m., and the Seniors Transit Program on June 9 and 16 from 9a.m. to 3p.m.

As part of our accessibility focus, I wanted to chat with someone who uses a wheelchair and knows our transportation system intimately. Brad Jacobsen is with the BC Paraplegic Association’s Peer Program. He’s also the creator of the Bus Stop Hop, an annual event that teams up able-bodied people with people who use mobility aids to partake in an Amazing Race-style competition on public transit.

It’s a pretty cool race with an aim to help people in need of accessible transit overcome their fear of it and for able-bodied people to better understand what accessible transit is all about.

Here is an excerpt from our conversation:

Brad, tell me about your injury and what happened afterwards.

I broke my neck on the May Long Weekend in 1994 in a diving accident. I dove into a glacier river in Pemberton trying to get a Frisbee. I was instantly paralyzed and left floating in the spring run off. I was able to hold my breath until a friend got me. My life took a different direction after that. I was 24 and was just accepted into BCIT’s broadcast journalism program and was thinking of becoming a teacher one day.

You know, when I finally realized what had happened, I faced my challenge head on. I thought I could overcome my disability. So I just pushed myself and did as much as I could as fast as I could. I moved out as soon as I finished rehabilitation, I got my own place and I got a job with BC Ferries.


Tell me about the challenges you face with mobility.

Working at BC Ferries, I worked eight days on/four days off without the use of the HandyDart system. At the time, it was difficult to get across boundaries, so I had to use accessible transit, which back in 1994 was still new. Not all the buses were accessible. Often, I had to wait for long periods of time when buses were full or broken down. I was often the first in line, but I wouldn’t be able to get on when the able bodied people behind me could. My eight-hour days at work were 11 hours if there weren’t any problems. Managing all the things you have to do as a quadriplegic with a spinal cord injury and being at work… was challenging but worth it.

What’s the Bus Stop Hop all about?

One of the main challenges with trying to have events was people [with physical challenges] saying that they can’t get there. There was always the excuse of no transportation, yet right under our noises was this amazing transportation system.

We were always trying to do creative things, trying to make people learn and gain confidence in a fun way. That was about the time when the Amazing Race was popular on TV, so we created an event that took the mystique out of the transit system. We got people in wheelchairs paired with a peer in a wheelchair, along with people from TransLink and a friend or family member to make teams of four. They race around the city in four different modes of transportation. Three modes are directly related to TransLink, the SeaBus, SkyTrain, and the bus system. We also incorporated the Aquabus in False Creek. We created this fun scavenger hunt/race around Metro Vancouver including Burnaby, Metrotown, and UBC. We’re going to have 15 teams this year. All the trolley buses have been accessible since 2008, so that makes the race even bigger [than earlier years]. Now, we also incorporate the Canada Line.

In this 10th year, we want to invite more executives and community partners. In the past, we have had a lot of participation from upper management at TransLink.

When is it this year?

This year it will be on August 7th, 2011. We’ll have some people who competed last year and some new people. We’ll have some people who are very competitive and some that just want to overcome their fears and just get on a bus. Having someone get on a bus on a crowded weekend along with able-bodied people can illustrates the difficulties people with physical challenges have when using transit.

Thanks for taking the time to speak with me, Brad!

Brad told me that the teams for this year’s Bus Stop Hop have not yet been finalized, so do check out the Bus Stop Hop page on the BC Paraplegic Association website. And remember that if you’d like to try out getting on a bus in a wheelchair or using a bike rack, come on down to Metrotown tomorrow, June 8, 2011, for the accessible bus trail between 10AM and 2PM. See you there!

June 2011 service changes and optimization

June Schedule Changes

Changes for many riders' bus routes are coming on June 20, 2011!

As you might have read in the June Buzzer, the June 2011 bus service changes are taking place on Monday, June 20, as part of a year-long TransLink service optimization project, aimed at making sure we’re using our transit resources efficiently and effectively.

There are not as many changes to routes as last April, and the overall amount of service hours won’t change. Many more customers will see service increase rather than service reductions. Some notable changes include:

  • 19 Stanley Park/Metrotown Station *SEASONAL* Mon to Fri 8am–9pm and weekends/holidays 8am–7pm: additional trips between downtown Vancouver (Cambie at Pender) and Stanley Park.
  • 99 B-Line UBC/Commercial-Broadway Station *PERMANENT* Sat/Sun and holidays: more frequent service from 7-8am.
  • 292 Upper Lynn Valley *PERMANENT* Mon to Fri: All 292 routes will now run as 210 routes and all 290 routes will run as 211 routes with combined service every 7-8 minutes between downtown Vancouver and Phibbs Exchange during the pm peak.
  • 239 Capilano University/Park Royal *PERMANENT* Mon to Sun: Evening service on the 239 will be increased to every 15 minutes until 9pm. All trips will serve Capilano University.
  • 246 Lonsdale Quay/Highland/Vancouver *PERMANENT* All trips on the 246 will operate to and from downtown Vancouver. Park Royal-bound passengers on the 246 will transfer to the 239 and/or 255 on Marine Drive at Garden Road. Service after 7pm will be revised to operate every 60 minutes.
  • Newton Exchange Bays 2 and 3 *PERMANENT* Bus assignments will be switched between Newton Exchange Bays 2 and 3. Board the 301 Richmond-Brighouse Station and 341 Langley Centre at Bay 2; board the 321 Surrey Central Station at Bay 3.
  • West Coast Express TrainBus *PERMANENT* Mon-Fri: Some TrainBus trips will terminate at Port Haney Station and no longer extend to Mission. Sat/Sun/holidays: No TrainBus service. The 701 Maple Ridge East/Haney Place/Coquitlam Stn provides frequent local bus service plus connections for downtown Vancouver via Coquitlam Station.

Read the full list of service changes here. Stay tuned for an interview on this blog with one of our service planners for a more in-depth look into why these changes were made.

Friday fun poll: how do you want your real-time information on the new mobile site?

As promised, here’s the Friday fun poll about the new mobile site! Many of you have noticed and commented about the recent changes to the existing mobile site, and I’ve been passing on your questions and concerns to the team working on the new mobile website platform. The team tells me that they’re working hard to get the new mobile site up as soon as possible since they know the platform in its current state (i.e. being redirected to our Trip Planner site) isn’t ideal.

Building on the your input from our previous poll on the new mobile site, including optimizing performance, saving favourites and including enhanced maps, we’d like to know how you would like to get your information on the new platform.

The new mobile site will incorporate GPS technology. This will include GPS information from our fleet and GPS information from user’s smart phones. This new redesign will be optimized for mobile devices such as the iPhone, BlackBerry and Android devices. It will also be available in a generic mobile and desktop version.

Rolling out in stages, will hope this technology will eventually be able to tell transit users the actual location of each bus and approximately how long it will take to get to where they are by relaying information from each bus back to transit users via their mobile devices. This is a huge project, so new features will be rolled out incrementally in select areas of the system before they go system-wide. In the first phase of this project, users will be given bus locations via a map. Later on, functionality like predicted arrival times by stop will be added to the map and in text-based form.

The mobile team has been looking at mobile sites of other systems around the world to see what we can learn and apply to the design of our new mobile site. At the moment, the team has come up with three distinct ways users can use the future TransLink mobile site to get real-time information. I thought I’d use the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (New York City) mobile site as an example of possible options for the TransLink site since we haven’t decided on any one design yet and hope users like yourself can help in the design process through this poll. So here is how the current design of the new mobile site might work as far as how users can use the tools to get around. Read more »