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Translink Buzzer Blog

Canada Line pedestrian-bicycle bridge opens Friday, Aug. 14

The Canada Line pedestrian-bicycle bridge, approaching from the Vancouver side.

The Canada Line pedestrian-bicycle bridge, approaching from the Vancouver side.

A map of the bridge location – click for a larger version.

A map of the bridge location – click for a larger version.

We’re opening the Canada Line Pedestrian-Bicycle Bridge on Friday Aug. 14!

It’s a new walking/cycling bridge attached to the side of the North Arm Bridge—that’s the bridge carrying the Canada Line over the Fraser River, connecting Vancouver and Richmond.

The $10 million bridge was built and financed by TransLink, in conjunction with Canada Line. As cycling networks are developed in Richmond and Vancouver, this bridge provides a vital link between the cities!

Plus if you’re interested, there’s a small opening ceremony taking place tomorrow morning, with things kicking off at 12:30 p.m. (It’s just a ceremony: no cake or entertainment or anything!)

Parking is very limited, so please bike, walk, or take transit to the Vancouver side, and you can join us for a ceremonial first walk across the bridge.

The walk will be led by TransLink CEO Tom Prendergast and Vancouver Deputy Mayor Geoff Meggs from the north side, accompanied by police bike patrols, and meeting with Acting Mayor Ken Johnston of Richmond in the centre.

They will then carry on to the south side of the span, where a ribbon cutting ceremony will take place on the Richmond side. Once the ceremony is complete, the bridge will be opened for bicycle and pedestrian traffic! (It will be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by the way.)

Summer spots: Surrey Urban Farmers Market, plus a few more

The Surrey Farmers Market, at Surrey Central Station!

The Surrey Farmers Market, at Surrey Central Station!

A map of the Surrey Urban Farmers Market location!

A map of the Surrey Urban Farmers Market location!

There hasn’t been much summer weather this week, but that’s no reason to stop writing up summer spots to visit on transit!

How about the Surrey Urban Farmers Market, conveniently located at Surrey Central SkyTrain Station? (Thanks to Peter Leblanc for the suggestion!)

The market is open Wednesdays from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., and the market runs June 17 to Sept 30. This is an exciting “new” location for the market this year—the market actually used to be here about 8-10 years ago, before construction shut down this spot.

Anyway, check it out: the market has 20 local vendors selling produce, along with unique artisans and educational activities. There’s also a book exchange, plus the market tent will fill up your water bottle and take your batteries to be recycled!

Visit their website for more info, or follow them on Twitter or Facebook.

A few more summer spots…

  • Check out Movies Under The Stars, an outdoor movie series in Surrey! Here’s the schedule of events: the Aug 16 movie (Grease!) will be at Holland Park, just a short walk west of King George Station, and the Aug 23 film (Nim’s Island) is at Station Tower near Gateway Station. Never mind, looks like I’ve linked to the 2008 info! Check the comments: Robert has the right links.
  • The Collingwood Multicultural Summer Market is happening near the Joyce Collingwood Skytrain Station, on Vanness Ave between McGeer and McHardy Street! There’s fresh produce, a spice market, and more. Catch the last two market days on Sunday August 16 & Sunday August 23, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

  • Check Vancouver is Awesome’s event category for more events, and Miss 604 always has listings of community events worth checking out.
  • And email me if you have any more transit-accessible summer spots to add!

Transit on film: 21 Jump Street

A classic clip: Rob Chew passed along the intro to season 4 of 21 Jump Street, which features a Flyer trolley bus (“14 Hastings”) and a Flyer diesel bus passing by an Army & Navy store. As well, the clip’s got Johnny Depp and a killer theme song! Thanks Rob!

(By the way, it’s been confirmed by several people that a CMBC bus can be seen in ABC’s new series Defying Gravity. Can anyone point me to a clip online? I haven’t managed to catch it yet.)

Remember, you can see all of the past transit on film posts in our TransLink in TV & Film category. Make sure to check out the Incredible Hulk menacing Burrard Station!

MEC Great Rides take you to Pitt Meadows on Sat Aug 15!

A dike on the Pitt Meadows Great Ride route! Just imagine riding through there!

A dike on the Pitt Meadows Great Ride route! Just imagine riding through there!

MEC, TransLink and the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition have teamed up to offer some Great Rides this summer—four fun bike tours that let you explore the festivals, city centres, and lovely country lanes of Metro Vancouver.

The second ride is this Saturday through beautiful farmland in Pitt Meadows, along the dikes near the Fraser and Pitt Rivers and surrounded by the Golden Ears mountains. Plus, taste local honey, see a bee beard, and enjoy some music at Honeyland‘s Blueberries and Bees honey festival!

Almost all the route is off-road, on the flat, well-maintained dike paths, and if you get tired, there is a nice bike path halfway around the dike that will take you back to the starting point in central Pitt Meadows.

You can start any time from 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., and there’s a cost of $15 per adult (16 and under are free!). The fee gives you free entry into the festival, a bag of goodies, maps of the route, and access to refreshment stations along the way—plus bike valet parking and help from bike mechanics to tune up or fix your bike.

Check out the event page for all the details! Register online now if you’re interested; it costs $20 to register on the day!

Here’s the post about the first Great Ride in July, btw, which took riders over the Golden Ears Bridge between Langley and Maple Ridge.

A tribute to Bob Banks in the Globe and Mail today

Bob Banks, on a visit to the TransLink offices last year.

Bob Banks, on a visit to the TransLink offices last year.

Bob Banks, who illustrated the Buzzer from 1954-1976, passed away this year, and Tom Hawthorn has a wonderful tribute to Bob in the Globe and Mail today.

The Buzzer blog also posted a farewell to Bob in May. As well, Drew Snider put together this farewell video on the TransLinkInfo Youtube stream.

Bob, you’re fondly remembered!

What are those weird poles at the Main Street bus stops?

The metal poles at some Main Street bus stops will carry real-time bus arrival displays this fall.

The metal poles at some Main Street bus stops will carry real-time bus arrival displays this fall.

If you’ve been to Main Street lately, you might have noticed that some bus stops have gained a weird metal pole that juts out horizontally.

Well, they aren’t just bizarre metal sculpture art! The poles are for real-time bus arrival displays, which will be installed by the fall.

The displays are part of the Main Street Urban Showcase Project, an innovative transportation improvement program launched in 2004 and jointly funded by Transport Canada (through the Urban Transportation Showcase Program), TransLink and the City of Vancouver.
(Check out the official Main Street Showcase page for more on the project!)

A broad suite of improvements like urban design (like bus and pedestrian bulges), new transit technology (including these displays), and a fleet of larger buses (the new trolleys on the #3 route!) all contribute to more efficient traffic flows and make Main Street more welcoming for pedestrians, drivers, and transit riders, in turn serving the ultimate goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

An example of the real-time information displays that will be installed at 29 Main Street stops. (Although the 301 Rotnes is not coming to Main St!)

An example of the real-time information displays that will be installed at 29 Main Street stops. (Although the 301 Rotnes is not coming to Main St!)

So the real-time arrival displays are just another feature to improve the transit experience and make your wait a bit less onerous.

The displays will be installed at 29 stops: stops with high volumes of riders, and stops with transfers to other routes. Information from the GPS system on the buses is used to estimate the next bus’s arrival time.

They’re similar to the displays previously found on the 98 B-Line route—however, a key difference is that we’re using a different supplier with improved technology.

As well, in the coming months, we’re working to let on-bus technology ‘talk’ to traffic signals to help keep the buses on time—this is also known as “transit signal priority,” and it’s explained quite well on this page. (I’ll have more on that when the project gets underway!)

And by the way, Main Street was chosen for this pilot project because is the busiest local bus route in Metro Vancouver — it carries more riders than many light rail systems in North America!

Friday fun trivia: what the heck is this SeaBus token?

If you like, skip to the end of this post to see an old-school SeaBus token and help figure out its story!

Results from last week: what years is this ticket from, part 2

OK, so last week I asked you to tell me what year this ticket was from.

An old ticket!

An old ticket!

Congrats to Reva who caught it right away, given the presence of a certain logo:

I’d say this is from 1990, given the Centennial Celebration logo watermark in the background. Ah, high school memories… :) I think I actually have one of these in my limited transfer collection.

Well done to Eric, Dennis, Kevin Ellis, and Chris Yee too for also pointing out the right year!

Yes, the Centennial Celebration logo is the right marker: in 1990, B.C. Transit celebrated 100 years of transit in Vancouver and Victoria. There were a number of celebrations and contests, including a special “Transit Centennial Centre” in Stadium SkyTrain Station. (Here’s the Centennial Centre pamphlet!)

As Reva also pointed out in the comments, special Buzzers with historical content were also produced in 1990. Here’s the ones I have on hand: January 12, February 23, March 23, and June 26.

Okay, now about the ticket itself: I had to talk to four or five people to just get the basic info on this ticket. Special thanks to Derek Cheung, Rob Chew, and John Wollenzin for their help!

Briefly though: in 1990, when you purchased a ticket, it was valid for 90 minutes in one direction only. The operator punched the centre columns for the route number (eg. #3 would punch 003) and then “E” or “W” depending which direction you were travelling.

Spec indicated a “special” bus, such as one assigned to pick up the crowds out of Exhibition Park. Grge was a bus headed for the garage. And Last Section… well, it was used when you were on a route that might let you get away with travelling in both directions. Derek Cheung explains it:

The “Last Section” was used to indicate that the transfer was issued on the latter half of the trip, meant for trolley routes travelling through downtown. In fact the boundary for issuing “Last Section” punched transfers was Homer Street.

Example: the 20 Granville/Victoria line was a U-shaped route which crossed 49th Avenue twice: at Victoria, and at Granville. I lived near 49th & Victoria, so I could conceivably board a northbound “20 Granville” on Victoria to head downtown (transfer issued would have been punched 020, E, Zone 1), do my business then board another “20 Granville” bus to 49th & Granville, then transfer to an eastbound #49 to get home, all on one transfer. The fact that this transfer wasn’t punched “Last Section” would indicate to the #49 operator that I did not originate my trip downtown and I was technically making a return trip.


The zone map from 1990. Click for a larger version!

The zone map from 1990. Click for a larger version!

Rob Chew helped out with a zone map to identify how the zones used to work, too. Check out the picture at right. There were basically 6 zones and 36 different possibilities for zone origin and destination! And you thought our current system was complicated….

This week: what the heck is this SeaBus token?

OK, this one is genuinely a “What on earth is this?” question. I’ve dug up some SeaBus tokens from 1979 — can anyone remember how they were used way back when?

Front side of the SeaBus token

Front side of the SeaBus token

Back side of the SeaBus token

Back side of the SeaBus token

It’s about the size of a quarter in real life. Click both photos for larger versions. Let me know if you have any ideas, and I’ll see what I can dig up on these tokens by next week!

The August Buzzer is now out!

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

In this issue, we’ve got info about the Canada Line service launching Monday August 17, plus a list of the Canada Line bus service changes taking place on Monday, Sept 7.

There’s a GoCard reminder and info about Metro Vancouver’s new recycling locator. And Back Issues section talks about fares from 1940.

Again, we are proud to have a cover from Canadian illustrator Kate McLaren. It’s a beautiful illustration — thanks so much Kate!

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 August 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, August 31 at 9 a.m. to win!

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

Finnish cops grab a CMBC bus driver assault suspect!

Boy, it’s sure great to have the world’s police and firemen here for the World Police and Fire Games. A group of Finnish policemen helped apprehend a suspect in the assault of one of our bus operators!

Here’s the full story from Metro. Great work, guys!

A roundup of Canada Line coverage, while we wait

A Canada Line train!

A Canada Line train!

While we all wait for August 17 to finally arrive, I thought I’d gather up the Canada Line info lying around into one mega post, so everyone can snoop around before they board the trains.

The new SeaBus is in the water!

The Burrard Pacific Breeze, in the water at the Victoria Shipyards!

The Burrard Pacific Breeze, in the water at the Victoria Shipyards!

It’s still being worked on and tested, but our new SeaBus is finally in the water at Victoria Shipyards!

A colleague in our fleet management department sent me this photo last week. Apparently the Burrard Pacific Breeze has a few weeks worth of work before it’ll be complete and able to operate under its own power. I’m told the christening ceremony is usually held immediately prior to the launch of the vessel; but in our case, it was a few days beforehand.

So, right now the ship is still missing seats, ceiling panels, wheelhouse controls, and tons of wiring. They’ve got electricians working 24 hours a day to get the boat wired up and ready to go. And late next month they’ll start doing functional tests!

As well, if you’re interested, my colleague Drew Snider has some more video of the SeaBus christening over at his blog, Vancouver on the Lines. All the christening videos can be found at the TransLink media relations YouTube account.

BePartofthePlan update: the final consultation report, and the 10-year transportation plan

Canada Line is on its way, yay! But I just want to keep you aware of a couple of key things that are still coming down the pipe here.

Remember our BePartofthePlan process — it involved the month-long consultation in June, where we asked for your feedback on transportation plans for the next 10 years?

Well, we’ve finally collected the results of the consultation, and we’re moving forward with the 10-Year Plan process. Here’s a few new things that you might want to be aware of.

Final public consultation report is now online

Our final consultation report is now online!

It outlines how our entire consultation process worked, and summarizes the findings from our in-person meetings and our online game and forum. (At a glance: about 500 people came to our in-person events, and we had over 45,000 visits to the bepartoftheplan website. 3,000 played the “It’s Your Move” game online, and 227 people made more than 1,000 posts in 144 topics)

The main page for the consultation report can be found here. The report is 20+ pages, and also has nine appendixes of reports and other content for you to read.

First steps: the Board approves our 10-Year Plans

Last week, the Board approved the 2010 10-year base plan and two supplemental plans as submitted by TransLink.

Our governing law now requires a review of these plans by the Transportation Commissioner, and then approval by the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation by the end of October.

If no supplemental plan is approved by the Mayors’ Council by October 31st, 2009, the base plan will be implemented immediately.

Okay, now let’s back up a bit so I can explain what this means!

Every year, TransLink is required to come up with a 10-Year Transportation and Financial Plan by law. We must come up with a base plan as our default, and it has to be fully funded by our current resources.

If we’d like to go beyond the base plan, to stave off cuts or even expand, we are allowed by law to come up with supplemental plans. And again, we have to explain exactly where we’ll get our funding from.

So you can actually check out our 2010 10-Year Plan page to read the exact details of these plans. This is what we consulted about during June, and these are the plans your feedback contributed to. (Check out this PDF to see a quick overview of all 3 plans.)

The base plan forecasts drastic cuts: since we don’t actually have a lot of money on hand, we can’t pay for very much service. Here’s a summary, and the base plan in specific.

Of the two supplemental plans, one is aimed at keep us at the current level of service: that’s the one called “Funding Stabilization,” and it increases our current revenue streams roughly $130 million or so, to just cover the funding gap. Here’s the details of that plan.

The other plan, called “On Track,” aims to build toward our region’s Transport 2040 goals. It plans for funding up to $275 million to do modest expansion, through boosting current revenue streams and adding a transportation improvement fee. It also has room to expand up to $450 million, but this would require future funding sources outside our current revenue streams, and those new sources would need approval from the Province. Here is the summary of this plan, and the full details.

If it helps, Jeff Nagel has a pretty good summary over at the Tri-City News. Kelly Sinoski at the Vancouver Sun also has some useful coverage.

Hope this all helps you understand the planning process a bit better!

It’s official: the Canada Line opens Monday, August 17

Say hello to the Canada Line on August 17!

Say hello to the Canada Line on August 17!

As you may have heard already, the Canada Line has an opening date: Monday, August 17!

We’re already planning a huge celebration for the day, where you’ll be able ride the Canada Line for free from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.

I’ll have more details to you as things fall into place — but in the meantime, how about a quick poll?

P.S. Check the Canada Line section of the TransLink site for info like travel times, bikes, and more!

Friday fun trivia: name this ticket’s year, part II!

If you like, skip to the end of this post to see another classic transit ticket and tell us what year it’s from!

Results from last week: what years were these tickets from?

Classic bus tickets! Click for a MUCH larger version.

Classic bus tickets! Click for a MUCH larger version.

Last week I asked you to tell me what years these tickets pictured were from.

Eric chimed in immediately with the exact dates, which everybody else to generally agreed with:

The yellow (one zone) and red (two zone) transfers are from 1994, and the green (three zone) transfer is from 1996. The addresses and phone numbers are a hint as well – at some point between 1994 and 1996, BC Transit’s head office moved from Vancouver to Surrey.

(Btw, I loved that Holly and John remembered these as the first tickets they ever used—memories!)

And of course, you guys are correct — according to Doug, CMBC’s farebox revenue manager, those are definitely from the 1990s, and we used those paper tickets until 2001 when the electronic tickets showed up.

Doug also mentioned that the green ticket is actually a West Vancouver Blue Bus transfer, since the phone numbers on the back are slightly different.

As you can tell, we had to order a LOT of these tickets in the past, since these transfers are all customized for a single date, and operators needed a stack of a 1, 2, and 3 zone transfers on hand. Doug in fact said we used to get 250 million per year!

Now with the electronic tickets, however, we use just 20 million per year. The new tickets are more expensive individually, but cheaper overall because we use way less of them.

This week: more trivia! What year is this ticket from?

OK, another ticket item, since I have one around! Can you tell me in the comments what year it’s from? (Something like “late 60s” or “early 70s” is fine, although again, exact year is cool too.)

An old ticket!

An old ticket!

Click it for a MUCh larger version, and here is the back view of the ticket too. And Derek Cheung may have tipped you off last week about this one, but hey, whatever :) Again, next week I’ll have the answer and any background stories I can gather from people in the company!

The Albion Ferry sails for the last time

The Albion Ferry's service years, written on the Maple Ridge dock.

The Albion Ferry's service years, written on the Maple Ridge dock.

It’s the end of an era: the Albion Ferry sailed for the last time today, bringing more than 50 years of service to a close.

The ferry has been connecting Langley to Maple Ridge since June 7, 1957, and its two vessels, the MV Klatawa and MV Kulleet took their last public trips at noon. I hopped on the Kulleet at the Maple Ridge side for its last round trip!

The walk-on passengers and drivers honked horns and cheered for the public leg of the trip to Langley, led by the amazing, super-nice Albion Ferry staff. And hat’s the Albion Ferry staff cheering above as the Kulleet made its last trip back over to Maple Ridge, solely with Albion Ferry, CMBC, and TransLink staff.

(A transition program has been in place for two years to help them find new positions — many are going to SeaBus, some chose to retire, and some chose to try other opportunities.)

We’re so glad to see the service was so cherished—thank you to everyone at Albion Ferry for all your work, and thanks to everyone who rode the ferry over the years.

For more, check out my set of photos over at Flickr, plus several videos at the Buzzer’s YouTube account (here’s a full playlist of just the Albion videos).

Edit: Chris Cassidy has a Flickr set of photos too. I see you got to wear a captain’s hat on the last sailing — nice work Chris!

Edit 2: CJ Stebbing also has a photo gallery at Facebook. I even got into one of the pictures there! And CJ really is super tall.