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Translink Buzzer Blog

Run the Golden Ears half marathon and 10K, Sun Mar 13, 2011

Just a note to let people know that TransLink is supporting the first annual Golden Ears Bridge Half Marathon and 10K happening on Sunday, March 13, 2011!

Both races will cross over the Fraser River and back on the Golden Ears Bridge, which, as you know, is a TransLink-owned and operated bridge. Also, 100% of net proceeds will go towards the School Meal Program in the Langley School District and Friends in Need Food Bank in Pitt Meadows, which is very nice!

To learn more about the race or to register, visit the Peninsula Runners site. Join in on the run or just spend the morning volunteering on the course. Best wishes to all those entered!

More SkyTrain historic photos and memorabilia!

Waiting for a ride to the SkyTrain yard at CP Rail's Mayfair Terminal in Coquitlam. March 1985 photo by Bob Webster, sent in by Alan M.

I have another batch of SkyTrain photos and memorabilia, thanks to Alan M, Rob Chew, and Bob Webster!

First up: photos by Bob Webster from 1985 and 1986, which Alan M has shared, with his trademark descriptive captions.

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Watch for TransLink COO Doug Kelsey out on the system on Wed, Mar 2, 2011

Doug Kelsey, TransLink's chief operating officer, out helping customers during the Olympic period!

This Wednesday, March 2, 2011, look out for Doug Kelsey, TransLink’s chief operating officer, out riding the system!

It’s a little project we’re trying out for the first time: sending our executives out on the system to talk to customers, ask for feedback, and answer questions.

Doug will be starting out at Waterfront at 9:30 a.m., then roaming the system a bit for about two hours (he’s planning jaunts onto buses, the 99 B-Line, and SkyTrain). You’re invited to submit your questions in advance via the blog here!

On the day of Doug’s ride, you can follow his progress via our Twitter feed: Erin McConnell, our manager of corporate communications, will be tweeting periodically from the TransLink account to keep everyone posted on his travels. At that time, you can also send in questions on the go through our TransLink Twitter feed. And of course, if you send any through the blog, I’ll pass them forward.

After Doug’s ride on the system, I’ll have a wrap-up interview here on the blog, so you can find out more about what he’s heard from customers and what he plans to do next.

And as always, feel free to offer your feedback on this initiative as it unfolds. We want to hear your thoughts on this project and how it’s working or not working for you!

Edit, Friday March 4, 2011: Doug’s Q&A after his ride has now been posted!

Friday fun guest post: My Travels with Norm, reminiscences of the Vancouver streetcar and interurban, by Michael Taylor-Noonan

Transit Museum Society volunteer Norm, photographed inside the restored B.C. Electric interurban car #1207.

I’m happy to welcome back Michael Taylor-Noonan, the newsletter editor for the Transit Museum Society (TRAMS), for another guest post! (He previously wrote a guest post about bus numbering in Vancouver.) This time, Michael has kindly contributed an interview with Norm, a fellow TRAMS member who rode Vancouver transit in the early part of the twentieth century. Read on for a look at how the system worked back then!

My Travels with Norm, by Michael Taylor-Noonan

Norm and I are travelling along Highway 1. We’re on our way to the Transit Museum maintenance shop near the Burnaby – Vancouver border. Norm no longer drives, so every second Sunday I take him to the shop. I’ve been doing this for quite a while, and each time I drive Norm, I first ask how he’s been in the intervening two weeks.

Pretty good for an old guy he says. He’s 86: a retired machinist who’s worked on many things throughout his working career from screws to ships. Now Norm is a volunteer with Trams. His skill machining small parts comes in very handy. He also has amassed a great collection of tools over the years, some of which he brings to the shop in four very heavy toolboxes. And every time he lets me carry his tools out to the car, he reminds me that he was born in 1924, one year after Vancouver’s first bus ran.

And so the conversation shifts to his favourite topic: life in that Vancouver of years past when buses, streetcars and interurbans all displayed one name: B.C. Electric Railway Co. However, I decide today will be different, I will just not listen to Norm’s stories, I will begin to record them, transcribe them, and post them here. Like any good storyteller at a party, he at first doesn’t want to tell me anything, but is eventually ‘persuaded’ to begin…. “Well, seeing as you asked….”.

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Fun poll results: 30% of Buzzer readers changed their travel habits after the Olympics

Last week, I asked if you had changed your travel habits after the 2010 Winter Olympics.

And after 134 votes—while the majority said they didn’t change a bit (70%), there were 30% said they DID change their travel habits after the Games. That’s pretty interesting because it’s in line with a recent Vancouver Board of Trade post-Olympic transportation survey!

In the comments, lots of people said they didn’t change their travel behaviour because they were already travelling smart. Here’s Tim Choi:

I’m a ‘no’ since I usually don’t have access to a private vehicle and thus have to use transit before, during, and after the Olympics.

Same thing with Jean:

Well, I haven’t lived in any home with a car for past quarter century. So I walked, biked and used transit (last resort during Olympics). So patterns didn’t really change.

For those who changed their habits though, the Olympics were a great introduction to our transit system. Here’s AP:

I used [to] take a car everywhere before the Olympics, I would rarely take the Skytrain or Bus. After the Olympics, I realized how great transit was and decided to try taking it more. Now, I take it to school 2-4 times a week!

Some people, however, reported that their parents became transit converts thanks to the Olympics! Here’s Alan:

I’ve always known how convenient it is to take the bus, but my dad learned how convenient and how much cheaper/convenient it is to take the bus/SkyTrain downtown than it is to drive, find parking, and pay the overpriced parking rates.

And here’s Hilary:

Well, I think my parents have been a little more receptive to taking transit downtown or to the airport (especially to the airport; no need to pay for long-term parking that way) since then, but I was always committed to using transit and that hasn’t changed.

But some discovered a different option: teleworking. Here’s Bryn:

During the Olympics I worked from home most days.

Now post-Olympics I work at home whenever I can, only going in to the office when I have actual meetings or other tasks that actually require my physical presence there.

Had we not been given the flexibility during the Olympics to work from home I never would have discovered just how much more I can get done without the distractions off office life!

That’s fantastic!

Again, thanks to everyone for participating, and make sure to check out the original post for everyone’s comments (Cliff has an interesting one about park and rides!). I’ll have a new question next week!

Links and tidbits for Thu Feb 24, 2011

Buzzer pal Tim Choi is building a model of the new SeaBus, the Pacific Breeze. Here's how the cabin looks so far!

As usual: tidbits and links about transportation from the last few weeks or so!

If you have any items to suggest, or a photo to showcase on these posts, e-mail me at! (Seriously: photos. Send them to me!)

Apply to be the Buzzer editor & blogger: I’m on maternity leave as of April 29, 2011!

Me, cycling towards a sparkling future!

A pretty big announcement for me today: I’m going on maternity leave starting April 29, 2011!

Yes, I’m expecting a baby in late May, so I’ll be temporarily away from my post as Buzzer editor and blogger for a year.

But that means, of course, we’ll need a replacement to take over the print and online Buzzer work, plus the other online communications advisory work I do for TransLink!

So: if you love the Buzzer, transportation issues, public transit, and you care about the future of our region—and you have extensive experience working in communications, print production and social media—please do apply!

Quite honestly, I think this is an incredible job, and I’d love to see someone take on this opportunity and build the Buzzer and TransLink’s social media work into something even grander than it is today.

Check out the job posting (it’s the one that says “Online Communications Advisor”) and get your application in. The posting closes on March 8, 2011, so make sure you do it soon!

Whoever will be hired will start earlier than April 29 and work with me for a while to get up to speed and learn how things work. And I’ll keep you all posted as we fill the job and move to a new Buzzer editor for 2011-2012 :)

Edit: Someone has mentioned having problems uploading their resume to the website. The web team has told me this is a known issue. Two things to try:
1. Check out the careers page System Requirements and FAQ to see if another browser etc might help.
2. And then if nothing works, email – this is in the last FAQ.

A few snaps from Moving Through, the Museum of Vancouver event

A button from the Museum of Vancouver walk.

Update, March 18, 2011: The Museum of Vancouver now has podcasts and photos up on their blog!

Just wanted to share a few snaps from Moving Through, the public transit/urban planning/architecture event held by the Museum of Vancouver this past Saturday, February 19, 2011!

I went to Mini-Walk B, which centred around transit-oriented planning and the development of Commercial-Broadway Station. Andrew Curran, one of our planners at TransLink, led the walk along with Graham McGarva, a principal from VIA Architecture who worked on the Millennium Line and Commercial Station in particular. And we met at Commercial and 6th, which was where two interurban lines used to meet in the past!

We learned a great deal about transit, land use and the Commercial corridor on the walk—including the astounding fact that the BC Tel payphone on the corner of Commercial and Broadway used to be the highest grossing payphone in the region! But since the Museum recorded all the walks as podcasts and the wrapup talk as a video, to be posted in a couple of weeks, I’ll refrain from stealing their thunder and link to those when they’re up. I really think you’re going to enjoy the discussions!

And until then: photos!

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New stop on Granville and Pender, and a tiny 28 reroute, Wed Feb 23 and Mon Feb 28, 2011

Two updates for those who ride down Granville Street downtown, and those riding the 28 in the northbound direction! Pass this along if you know anyone who is affected!

New bus stop on Granville & Pender

Starting Wednesday, February 23, 2011 a new bus stop will open for northbound buses on Granville Street, at Granville and Pender Street. The stop’s new number is 58313 and will service all local bus routes that currently use the Granville Mall.

(If you’re curious, here’s a Google map pinpointing Granville and Pender.)

Minor route adjustment for the northbound 28

The tiny reroute for the 28, effective Monday, February 28, 2011. The new route is marked out in blue!

Tiny route adjustment for the 28!

Starting Monday February 28, 2011, the northbound 28 service will now go northbound on Smith Avenue between Laurel St and Canada Way, then westbound on Canada Way between Smith Av and Boundary Rd.

See the picture at right for the affected section of the route, and here’s a link to the 28’s route map to help you visualize the whole route in context.

As you may recall, this reroute was supposed to have happened as part of the December 2010 service changes, but didn’t go through because we still had to work out a few details. But now it’s finally going ahead, and the new route should offer timing improvements!

This means all northbound 28 service going westbound on Laurel St between Smith Av and Boundary Rd, and northbound on Boundary Rd between Laurel St and Canada Way will be discontinued.

So, the 28 will no longer be stopping at the following stops:

  • 51734 WB Laurel St FS Smith Av
  • 51773 WB Laurel St NS Boundary

But it will be stopping at new stops on Smith Av and Canada Way as follows:

  • 59129 NB Smith Av FS Linwood St
  • 59128 WB Canada Way FS Smith Av

For more information…

As always, for more information on these reroutes and other alerts, check out the TransLink Alerts page or call our Customer Information line at 604-953-3333!

1982 SkyTrain station concept drawings!

A 1982 conceptual drawing of Nanaimo Station by Manfred Stein for the firm Architektengruppe U-Bahn. Click for a MUCH larger version!

Our recent foray into SkyTrain history prompted Buzzer pal Jason Vanderhill to seek out more conceptual SkyTrain illustrations… and he’s surfaced with two 1982 illustrated SkyTrain concepts from an German Austrian architecture firm!

For the full story behind the drawings, check out Jason’s post at Vancouver is Awesome, or his two posts over at Illustrated Vancouver (post 1, post 2). Here’s a quick quote of Jason’s I loved about the drawing below though:

I simply love how various Germanic subtleties work their way into this drawing – the two lovely Edelweiss girls, the German Shepherd pursuing the Pomeranian, the brand new Mercedes SEC Coupe, and to draw your attention back to the focal point of the illustration, a little red van in the centre of the page that looks very much like a German fire truck to me! I instantly swooned when I saw the drawing!

A 1982 conceptual drawing of a SkyTrain station by Manfred Stein for firm Architektengruppe U-Bahn. Click for a MUCH larger version!

And as always, check out the Buzzer blog’s Transit History category for more historical SkyTrain video, photos, and more. Happy 25th, SkyTrain!

The horse and buggy days: a transport poster from the Vancouver Archives

A poster about transportation from the B.C. Electric files at the Vancouver Archives.

Here’s another gem I found in the B.C. Electric paper files at the City of Vancouver Archives, along with the classic transit ad I posted before. (The brown streaks are glue—the poster came out of a paper scrapbook.)

Unfortunately I do not have the exact item number, but it’s from some time in the 1950s I believe… and the message is still one that rings true in many ways today! If you can’t see the text, it reads:

Don’t laugh. Actual tests in some of the very large cities on this continent show that the average speed at which traffic moves through congested areas is less than it was during the horse and buggy days.

When you think of the effort and money put into traffic planning and control, parking schemes, new bridges, widened streets—it’s mighty discouraging.

Unless we profit from the experience of bigger cities where it has become dangerous and impractical to drive a car in the congested areas, we shall be faced before long with intolerable conditions.

Let’s get where we are going faster… let’s help hold down taxes and prevent more accidents. We can do this by taking our cars into congested areas only when vitally necessary.

By freeing the limited street space for commercial vehicles and transit vehicles, we make it easier for people to get to and from our business districts. We encourage the economic growth of our metropolitan area.

And just look at that list of sponsors endorsing the message from across the region!

Friday fun poll: did you change the way you travelled after the Olympics?

Crowds wait for trains at platform 2 of Commercial-Broadway Station on Friday, February 12.

Last week, we talked about how transit ridership is up, plus many people have changed their travel behaviour after the 2010 Olympics. So I thought I’d throw that question out to you all here on the blog too!

After the 2010 Olympics, did you change the way you travelled ?

  • No, I did not! (70%, 94 Votes)
  • Yes, I did! (30%, 40 Votes)

Total Voters: 134

Given that lots of you are already engaged transit riders, cyclists, and walkers, I’m sort of thinking our poll will show that not much has changed for you… but feel free to prove me wrong :)

And your personal stories are welcome in the comments, as always!

Reminder: apply to the 2011 CUTA BC Youth Summit by Mon, Feb 21, 2011

A reminder to apply to the CUTA BC Youth Summit this weekend, if you still want to attend! The deadline is Monday, February 21, 2011.

The conference is for youth aged 18-30 who live in BC and are interested in sustainable transportation—check out for all the details.

So what’s the summit all about? Well, every year or so, the Canadian Urban Transportation Association (CUTA) partners with local agencies to host a youth conference, encouraging young people to learn about transportation, sustainability, and planning. This year, TransLink, BC Transit, and CUTA will sponsor 45 or so youth to attend our conference in Vancouver from August 19-21, 2011.

If you’re interested in how past conferences have gone, take a look CUTA’s special November 2008 newsletter, profiling the youth summits and previous participants. You can also see the Facebook page for the 2008 CUTA Youth Summit held in Vancouver, which has photos and more!

And once again, here’s the list of CUTA regional youth summits happening across Canada, in case you aren’t from BC but would still like to attend a summit somewhere.

SkyTrain historical video: Rapid Transit, Rapid Transition, a 1984 promotional video

The SkyTrain 25th anniversary celebration continues: here’s another fantastic SkyTrain promotional video from 1984, again shot by local video company JEM Productions!

This one stares into the future with a bit more seriousness than the past few videos, but this time with a killer synth soundtrack. (Seriously: I’ve got to make some ringtones.)

It traces the new SkyTrain route, gives us a glimpse of the SkyTrain attendants’ fabulous uniforms, and has a fairly exhaustive list of all the economic benefits and regional growth that Vancouver can expect.

And of course you can check out some awesome aerial shots of historic 1980s Vancouver!

If you’d like to see more, I’ve posted two other SkyTrain videos in the past, plus scans of photos and memorabilia. Check out the entire Transit History category for all of those and even more history tidbits. Happy 25th, SkyTrain!

Links and tidbits for Wed Feb 16, 2011

Tidbits and links about transportation from the last few weeks or so!

If you have any items to suggest, or a photo to showcase on these posts, e-mail me at! (Seriously: photos. Send them to me!)