ALERT! More info
Translink Buzzer Blog

I Love Transit Week 2010: Steve Ohearn on West Coast Express

It’s I Love Transit Week from July 12-16 — because even though there’s things we don’t like about transit, there’s much we do like! All week I’ll be sharing essays, stories, and more to celebrate transit. Come to I Love Transit Night on Thursday July 15 too – full details here!

Steve Ohearn sent along this video that he composed while on West Coast Express… it shows off the skills he learned while riding the train, and the lovely views from the window seat :)

I Love Transit Week 2010: Rachel Albang with a song about transit!

It’s I Love Transit Week from July 12-16 — because even though there’s things we don’t like about transit, there’s much we do like! All week I’ll be sharing essays, stories, and more to celebrate transit. Come to I Love Transit Night on Thursday July 15 too – full details here!

I’m pleased to present a song about transit by Rachel Albang! Here’s a bit more about the song and its lyrics, plus you can hear more of her music at her Myspace account.

 

To listen to the song press play on the player above, or download the mp3 here.

Rachel!

I was reading about your upcoming celebration and was inspired (while riding the bus!) to write you a little song. It’s kinda cheeky but the overall tone is to celebrate/appreciate the offerings of TransLink.

My transit use has really varied over the years – e.g. I’ve done my share of the three hour daily commute North Van to downtown, but currently I am working at home writing a book so my transit use is e.g. for shopping and research in Vancouver, Richmond, Burnaby, photo shoots in New West, visiting family in Delta, or friends in North Van. So I utilize the SeaBus, SkyTrain, buses and I love the new Canada line – so spacious and light! (My husband actually worked on the lighting for the Richmond portion of the new line!). My book (almost done!) is actually about stretching the dollar so I have a section where I recommend using transit even if just one day a week to cut costs of parking and to help the environment…

As a singer/songwriter I am recording a CD with more general music but I love writing little songs like the one for TransLink with a touch of cheeky humour and sentiment.

Thank you so much! And I really enjoy reading the Buzzer so keep up your good work!

Read more »

I Love Transit Week 2010: win a commuter prize pack (includes a bus pass)!

Some of the prizes included in the commuter prize pack!

It’s I Love Transit Week from July 12-16 — because even though there’s things we don’t like about transit, there’s much we do like! All week I’ll be sharing essays, stories, and more to celebrate transit. Come to I Love Transit Night on Thursday July 15 too – full details here!

As part of I Love Transit Week, our friends at Vancouver Is Awesome and Tenth to the Fraser are each holding contests for a TransLink summer commuter prize pack, including a bus pass and lots of other treats!

Enter the Vancouver is Awesome contest here, and make sure to check out the rest of the blog — it’s a fantastic local blog with killer arts coverage, notes and observations on city life, and more.

Enter the Tenth to the Fraser contest here, and make sure to check out their blog too: it’s a hyperlocal blog about New Westminster, with thoughtful, vivid posts about life in the Royal City!

In case you’re wondering, the pack includes the following:

* TravelSmart tote bag
* TravelSmart water bottle
* Personal hand-held fan
* Travel pillow
* Mini puzzle for passing the time
* A granola bar snack
* Vanity Fair magazine
* 2010 Olympic transportation map
* Transit stickers and buttons
* 3-zone bus pass (available after July 16)

Bonne chance! And thanks so much to everyone at Vancouver is Awesome and Tenth to the Fraser for being a part of I Love Transit Week!

I Love Transit Week 2010: Rob Jones on transit as a hallmark of civilization

SkyTrain at New Westminster Station; a robust transit system is the sign of a real city (Image courtesy of Richard Eriksson). One of the reasons I moved to New West was for its transit system. I have two Skytrain stations (out of six in total here in New West) and four buses to choose from to get me home from downtown Vancouver, and the surrounding area. That enables my choice of a carless lifestyle - and choice is what modern living is all about.

It’s I Love Transit Week from July 12-16 — because even though there’s things we don’t like about transit, there’s much we do like! All week I’ll be sharing essays, stories, and more to celebrate transit. Come to I Love Transit Night on Thursday July 15 too – full details here!

The following essay is by Rob Jones, a resounding champion of transit and a contributor to Tenth to the Fraser, which is a blog about life in New Westminster.

Listen: A robust transit system is one of the hallmarks of civilization.

One of the things that the Ancient Romans gave to the Western world is a widespread way to get around the whole of their empire.   Even then, one of the ways to draw their civilization together lay in a transit system to match the times, to suit the cultural paradigms and economic realities of the day, and to grow with a shifting population. They knew that it is the way to the future.

In the ancient world, it meant roads.  And today, it means an affordable, accessible public transit system that runs on clean energy, and stands as a force to change the world for the better.

What?  Change the world for the better?  Isn’t that overstating things just a bit?

No.

I don’t think it is, actually.

Read more »

I Love Transit Week 2010: Marian S on 13 years of transit riding

A sunrise over the SkyTrain in New Westminster.

It’s I Love Transit Week from July 12-16 — because even though there’s things we don’t like about transit, there’s much we do like! All week I’ll be sharing essays, stories, and more to celebrate transit. Come to I Love Transit Night on Thursday July 15 too – full details here!

Right after the June Buzzer hit the stands, the following e-mail was sent in by Marion S from New Westminster.

My name is Marian, and since 1997 I have lived in New Westminster, BC, since migrating to Canada with my husband Noel and our 3 children.

I have been riding the SkyTrain ever since 1997, nearly 13 years, mainly to get to work & back. My family of 5 also takes the SkyTrain & buses for their daily commute. On the second occasion of I Love Transit Week, I would like to offer my comments on SkyTrain & TransLink in general.

I must say “Congratulations” to all TransLink staff & all involved in the smooth everyday transit all around BC. I think it is the surest, fastest way to commute safely & comfortably. Transit Police and staff are quick to respond when any issue arise. They efficiently deal with the issue in question & transit keeps moving on as if nothing happened. SkyTrain delays do occur for various reasons, but they are quite rare. Bus drivers are very considerate, kind & patient with passengers, especially the elderly, always waiting until they have been safely seated.

I would recommend the SkyTrain to anyone as opposed to using their car. It is the best, green, quick & fairly comfortable way to travel. Any improvements on timing, convenient routes etc. are most welcome.

Hip, Hip, Hurrah for TransLink – Keep up the good work – we are proud of you!!

Thanks so much for the kind words, Marian!

For everyone else out there: how long have you been riding transit? How has the system served you over the years?

I Love Transit Week 2010: Metro Los Angeles joins in with a poll

It’s I Love Transit Week from July 12-16 — because even though there’s things we don’t like about transit, there’s much we do like! All week I’ll be sharing essays, stories, and more to celebrate transit. Come to I Love Transit Night on Thursday July 15 too – full details here!

Our friends over at The Source, the blog from Metro Los Angeles, are also celebrating I Love Transit Week this week! They’ve kicked things off with a simple poll that I thought we could run too. Here’s the introduction to the poll:

We’ll start things off with an easy one, a simple yes or no: do you love transit?

Hey, it might seem like a loaded question, but it’s perfectly fine if you don’t. Maybe freeways and expensive cars are more your thing. But if transit gets your heart racing, tell us why.

Do you like transit?

  • Yes, transit is great! (95%, 77 Votes)
  • No, transit is lame. (5%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 81

You can see the results from L.A. riders over at The Source’s poll post: they are also taking responses at their Facebook page, and tweets at @MetroLosAngeles, using the #ilovetransit hashtag. Feel free to leave your own responses below, and tweet to @thebuzzer using the same tag too!

I Love Transit Week 2010: Rebekah Mahaffey on finding love on transit

It’s I Love Transit Week from July 12-16 — because even though there’s things we don’t like about transit, there’s much we do like! All week I’ll be sharing essays, stories, and more to celebrate transit. Come to I Love Transit Night on Thursday July 15 too – full details here!

The lovely story that follows was sent in by Rebekah Mahaffey.

Rebekah and her husband Scott!

I love transit because…well…I found love on transit! Sounds cheesy but it’s true. My husband and I met on the #25 bus about four years ago. As sometimes happens in that great ‘third place’ called transit, especially when it’s busy and you are standing VERY close together with lots of other people, we started chatting. We seemed to hit it off immediately and chatted about everything and anything. Eventually I got a seat and, because it was raining, I offered to hold his bag on my lap so that it didn’t get wet on the floor of the bus. After awhile, however, his stop came up and he got off the bus – saying ‘goodbye’ regretfully I thought, but not asking me for my number. 

The next day I was at work and a co-worker of mine burst into my office screaming that I needed to check Craigslist. And what did I see! He had posted a ‘missed connections’ ad for me. I was nervous and so didn’t respond right away but eventually I wrote back and agreed to go on a date. The rest is history – and we got married in February of 2009. You just never know who you can meet on the bus!

ps: true story! My husband Scott Bernstein and I met on the #25 bus in 2006. 

Thanks so much for sharing your story Rebekah!

For everyone else out there: have you ever met anyone on transit who became part of your life? Anything from good friends, future ex-girlfriends, or your next roommate: share it below!

I Love Transit Week 2010: what’s your favourite transit chime?

It’s I Love Transit Week from July 12-16 — because even though there’s things we don’t like about transit, there’s much we do like! All week I’ll be sharing essays, stories, and more to celebrate transit. Come to I Love Transit Night on Thursday July 15 too – full details here!

Transit systems get a rare chance to be musical when they create systemwide audio chimes to get riders’ attention.

The most memorable chime I’ve ever heard is the one from SNCF, the French national railway. Play the video above and you’ll see what I mean! I remember being in Gare du Nord in Paris and hearing that chime go off once every ten minutes—it’s instantly recognizable, totally memorable, and lots of fun to imitate.

It also appears that the tone has been remixed into full length songs and advertising notices too: here’s one song, and here’s the tone remixed for the end of a SNCF TV ad.

Stations in Tokyo also have some fabulous transit chimes: the departing song in Takadanobaba Station is the Astroboy theme! The chimes are different depending on which station you’re in, or so I’m told.

I’d also say the SkyTrain chime is quite memorable too: you can listen to the story behind our chime here.

So to that end: do you have a favourite transit chime? Feel free to post links in the comments: and if you’d like to explore, you can find a long list of subway chimes and announcements at Metrobits.org.

I Love Transit Week 2010: transit haiku on our TV ad screens!

Aha! The two winners from our transit haiku contest are now on TV ad screens on the Expo/Millennium Line!

Congratulations to Peter Brouwer and L. Ryan for submitting the winning haiku. You can see Peter’s haiku in the video above—it reads:

what a rainy day
crazy drivers everywhere
sweet rest on the bus

Read on to see L. Ryan’s haiku and the rest of the entrants!

Read more »

I Love Transit Week 2010: Eric Bucad on being a transit enthusiast

Two of Eric's transit-themed mugs! Photo by Eric B.

It’s I Love Transit Week from July 12-16 — because even though there’s things we don’t like about transit, there’s much we do like! All week I’ll be sharing essays, stories, and more to celebrate transit. Come to I Love Transit Night on Thursday July 15 too – full details here!

The Buzzer is proud to present the following essay by Eric Bucad, who blogs over at rickie rambles randomly, and is a longtime transit geek :) This post is cross-posted at his blog!

Eric's typed timetables for the 20!

A few weeks ago, I was attempting to clean up my storage locker when I pulled out some papers that I printed dating back to the mid-1990s. One of them was a bus route guide for Vancouver that I typed myself and have continued to update. Anyone remember the 23 New West Station/Stanley Park? Or the 226 St Patricks/Lonsdale Quay? Those routes existed in 1997!

I also dug up a set of travel-time guides that I’d typed for most of the routes within Vancouver, similar to those still used for SkyTrain. These look a lot older, as I recognize the dot-matrix quality of the printouts. Some of the routes have been re-organized, and most certainly the travel times have lengthened as the city has grown.

Then, as now, I still rely on public transit as my primary mode of transportation. But to me, it’s much more than that. As evidenced by the documents I produced a decade ago, I have been, and still am, a proud transit geek.

Read more »

Welcome to I Love Transit Week 2010!

This week is the second ever I Love Transit Week 2010, July 12-16!

Why? Because while there are things we don’t like about transit, I know there are many things that we do like about the system. And there just hasn’t been an official opportunity to celebrate what we like – until now!

So all this week on the blog, I’ll be sharing essays, stories, discussion posts and more, encouraging everyone to reflect on what you like about transit. Plus I’ll cram the August 6 print Buzzer as full as I can with your contributions.

As well, I Love Transit Week will also have a live meetup: I Love Transit Night, on Thursday July 15! Make plans to join us for fun, food, and silly transit games: see the full details here.

Hope you enjoy I Love Transit Week — I know I will!

Friday fun post: beautiful bus stops around the region

Bus stop at Hastings and Cassiar in Vancouver, photographed on September 7, 2008 by Matthew Tichenor.

Last week, I asked about beautiful bus stops around the region, and I wanted to showcase the many lovely pictures you sent in of stops all over Metro Vancouver!

Sungsu shared the stop photographed above by Matthew Tichenor, as well as a few others:

Read more »

Smartcard and faregates project moves another step forward

The Octopus Card in action in Hong Kong. Photo by Danny Choo.

Just a note to say that our smartcard and faregates project has moved another step forward. We’ve already asked qualified suppliers to present themselves; now we’re asking them for specific proposals to install the system.

Full details are in the media release issued today. Here’s a quote:

TransLink has issued a formal Request for Proposals to three pre-qualified companies to submit bids to design, install, operate and maintain the planned Smart Card and Faregate system.

Thales/Octopus International Projects, developers of Hongkong’s “Octopus” card, Serco/Parkeon, which introduced a complete smart card system for Perth, Australia, and Cubic/IBM, makers of the “Oyster” card in London, England, were chosen in May out of 10 companies, which had responded to TransLink’s Request for Qualifications. Now, these three companies have been asked to draw up their proposals to create the Smart Card/Faregate system, have it in operation by spring 2013 and operate and maintain it for ten years.

Technical submissions are due by October 20th and financial submissions by late November. TransLink staff will make a recommendation on the preferred proponent to the Board in December.

The last wooden bus stop leaves the ground in Langley

Here Coast Mountain Bus Company employees Frank Crowhurst and Chris Rasmussen stand beside the last wooden post on active duty, and the new metal post that has replaced it in the 4200 block of 240 street N.B. in Langley Township.­­­­­­ Photo by Charlotte Boychuk.

Well, a small moment of transit history passed this morning — the last wooden bus stop was pulled out of the ground in Langley at 10 a.m.!

Taking out the last post was CMBC’s most senior man, 43 year veteran, Frank Crowhurst. In September 1994, Frank, a Bus Stop Maintenance Painter was the one to put the post in the ground, so it was appropriate that he was the one to remove it.

For those who don’t know, the bus stops in greater Vancouver all used to be wooden blue posts, not steel pipes as they are today. But because of the cost of using steel pipe versus cedar, plus lead based paint issues, the wooden post era had to come to an end.

So, over the past 15 years, CMBC Bus Stop Maintenance crews have been converting TransLink’s 8200 wooden bus stops in the Metro Vancouver area to the new metal posts. The new posts have proven to be less labour intensive to maintain, and have stood up better to vandalism. (In the past, if the post was knocked over, the wooden post had to be dug out of the ground — now a metal post can just be unscrewed and replaced.)

Here’s a bit more about Frank Crowhurst, the history of our bus stops, and the last post from our communications folks over at CMBC!

Read more »

Bus reroutes for the Tour de Delta, Royal City Show and Shine, and more – Sat July 10 to Sun July 11

Heads up — there will be bus reroutes for the Tour de Delta, the Royal City Show & Shine, the Edgemont Village Show & Shine, the Caribbean Festival in Maple Ridge, and the Ladner Village Market this weekend!

Bus routes affected include the 106, 112, 123, 232, 246, 301, 312, 314, 316, 340, 391, 601, C43, C47, C76, C84 and C86. See below for full details!

Read more »