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The Buzzer gets a lovely letter

Letter sent by James Lawrence to the Buzzer -- click to read a larger version.

Letter sent by James Lawrence to the Buzzer -- click to read a larger version.

Mr. James W. Lawrence sent in this letter last week, and after I called to thank him, he agreed to let me share it with all of you.

It’s lovely to hear that the Buzzer was of help throughout the years!

The old elevator in Broadway Station is gone!

Notice anything different?

Notice anything different?

Just a post to point out the old elevator in Broadway Station is gone! It’s crazy how spacious it feels there now. (Here’s what it used to look like.)

If you hadn’t heard, the elevator was removed because we’re upgrading Broadway Station to better handle customer traffic and security. A new elevator will be installed at the other end of the platform by fall—in the meantime, you can use the Commercial Station elevator to get up to the Broadway platform.

Anyway, I’m told another official update on the Broadway Station upgrades will be coming soon, so I’ll have more detail then on how everything is progressing. And here’s the past posts about the upgrade if you want more info:

Photos from the Vancouver City Centre open house

One of the entrances to Vancouver City Centre Station on the Canada Line.

One of the entrances to Vancouver City Centre Station on the Canada Line.

Maybe it was the hot weather, maybe it was all the free samples of Jugo Juice, but there were thousands of people at the Vancouver City Centre open house (and Granville Showcase) on Saturday!

Check out some great photos of the station and trains below:

If you have any more photos to share, please send me a link and I’ll add it here!

Friday fun trivia: what years are these tickets are from?

If you like, you can skip to the end of this post to see some classic transit tickets and tell us what year they’re from!

Results from last poll: how many stop numbers have you memorized?

Last week I asked how many stop numbers you know by heart.

And okay, at 75 votes this wasn’t our most popular poll ever. But in this poll, both extremes got the most votes.

45% said they had one number memorized, while 33% said they knew 5 or more numbers by heart. 11% knew two numbers, and 5% each knew 3 or 4 numbers.

The lack of votes could certainly be because I forgot to include “zero” as an option. There was a big outcry in the comments suggesting this would have been an popular choice! As Catherine Winters describes:

Seriously, there’s no “zero” option? :) I have them stored in my phone’s SMS app, so at least I can copy and paste the last few, but honestly, my route isn’t regular enough that I can rely on that. I’ll have to make do with good old fashioned sign reading, I’m afraid.

David also voted for zero:

I’m another zero. I know when to catch the bus that goes past my street and rarely use any of the other routes. When I need another bus I’ll check the schedule online ahead of time at home/office or, on those rare occasions when I get to SkyTrain and find it’s not running, I just go to the bus stop and wait. I see no point texting in those cases; it won’t make the bus come any sooner.

Sorry guys! I’ll do better next time. Basically, nine of 18 comments in total said “zero” would be their choice: you can read those and all the rest at the original post.

This week: trivia! What years are these tickets from?

OK, since we might all have poll fatigue by now, I thought I’d try something different: transit trivia!

Check out the tickets below: can you tell me in the comments what years they are from? (I’m really just looking for a rough estimate like “late 60s” or “early 70s” — although if you can tell me the exact year, that’s cool too.)

Classic bus tickets! Click for a MUCH larger version.

Classic bus tickets! Click for a MUCH larger version.

Here is the back view of the tickets, if you want to see those too. Next week I’ll have the answer and any background stories I can gather from people in the company :)

Thanks to everyone on the Canada Line tour today!

Our tour group at Waterfront Station, in front of the train! It's a bit blurry because the train was heading out of the station and we needed to snap it fast :)

Our tour group at Waterfront Station, in front of the train! It's a bit blurry because the train was heading out of the station and we needed to snap it fast :)

Here’s our full group of 9 at Waterfront station this morning — thanks to everyone who came along on the Canada Line tour, it was great meeting you all!

Everyone took photos and video, so I’ll have some links for you on this page once everybody gets back to me. I should mention that we did end up going to both Richmond-Brighouse and YVR, so there will be photos from the whole length of the line!

In the meantime, you might recognize Rebecca from Miss604 and Bob K from VancouverIsAwesome at far right, so you can definitely check in with their sites to see if they have coverage over the next little while. Both sites are great, so you should just check them out in general anyway :)


  • Bob K’s Canada Line post can be found over here! He will be also doing a video post about the tour in the near future after he gets some time to edit it all up. Here’s Bob’s video from the tour.
  • Rebecca’s post at Miss604 can be found here. She also has a full set of photos over at her Flickr page!
  • Kai has posted his photos in a set on Flickr!
  • Jennifer’s photos are over at Flickr too!
  • Bryan has video up at YouTube: here’s part 1 and part 2. And here’s his photo gallery!
  • And here’s more photos from “SFUVancouver” over at Skyscraper Page forums. (Which person were you, SFUVancouver?)

Dunsmuir tunnel work is finished early this summer

Well look at that — the Dunsmuir tunnel project finished up its summer work two days early, completing on Tuesday of this week!

This means there will be no service impact tonight or on Friday—that’s right, no more taking shuttle trains in downtown Vancouver after 9:45 p.m.

However, as I mentioned in my earlier post, please be aware that this was a pilot project, and more work is planned for the fall.

Currently, SkyTrain is estimating that the work will take 12-14 weeks in the fall, likely from mid September through mid December. I’ll post the details as soon as they tell me more.

I should also mention that the earlier Dunsmuir tunnel post had a fun discussion about where the old tunnel can be seen today, plus its history.

Ian S., Robert, and ;) clued us into some spots: here’s a photo of the east tunnel by Costco on Beatty St (plus a map of that location). Ian S. also provided some great info on its historical route. If you’re curious, check out the original post comments starting here!

Langara ads tout their transit connections: cool!

Langara College's new ads on the SkyTrain.

Langara College's new ads on the SkyTrain.

You might have seen these ads around town: it’s a new campaign from Langara College, which focuses on their connection to transit. (They’re on a Canada Line stop: Langara-49th!)

An ad for a bar in Portland, Oregon.

An ad for a bar in Portland, Oregon.

As we all know, transit connections can bring great value to the destinations they serve. So when a transit connection means so much that someone plasters it all over town… well, let’s just say we’re pretty pleased. Langara, we’re glad you’re so excited about the new stop!

Also, in light of this campaign, somebody in our planning department also sent me a snapshot of a similar ad in Portland, Oregon.

Here it is at right – click it for a larger version!

The ad is for the Bridgeport Brew Pub on the Portland streetcar line, and I love how they’ve integrated the whole line into the story… yes, the final destination of “Beervana” is indeed the Brew Pub itself.

So, hats off to TriMet in Portland, too — job well done in providing great transit connections, everyone :)

Winners of the Canada Line tour draw

I drew the names this afternoon, and congratulations to David, Marc, Kai, Bryan, Jennifer, and Hector!

Winners: if you haven’t heard from me by phone yet, I have emailed you details from the Buzzer address. Check your junk mail just in case too.

Thank you so much to the 61 people who entered!

Summer spot: the Main Street Farmers Market

The Main Street Farmers Market in Thornton Park, near Main Street SkyTrain Station!

The Main Street Farmers Market in Thornton Park, near Main Street SkyTrain Station!

As you might recall, I wanted to do some posts highlighting summer destinations you can get to on transit. So here’s one: the new Main Street Farmers Market!

Map of the market location.

Map of the market location.

The market is held every Wednesday from 3pm to 7pm in Thornton Park, which is just next to Main Street SkyTrain Station.

It used to be at Riley Park near Nat Bailey Stadium, but they moved it this year to serve more people at a more accessible location.

It’s a great new place to stop on the way home for fresh dinner ingredients — and there’s even bike delivery service in case you buy too much!

You can grab the SkyTrain to get there, or use bus routes 3, 8, 19, and 22, which stop at Main and Terminal. It’s also close to several bike routes: you can use Cycle Vancouver to plan a route there.

And catch it while you can: the Main Street market will only be open from June 10 – October 21. More about the market and its organizer, the Vancouver Farmers Markets, can be found here.

If you have a transit/bike-accessible summer spot to nominate, email me!

Six spots now available for Friday’s Canada Line tour

Here’s a reminder to enter the draw for Friday’s Buzzer blog tour of the Canada Line!

And owing to some cancellations, I now have six spots to give away instead of three.

Check the Monday post for how to enter: and remember, the deadline is today, Wed July 22, at 4pm.

So far, 52 entries have come in, so the odds of winning are fairly decent :)

The story of a Buzzer cover illustration (and more)

The November 2008 Buzzer cover, drawn by <a href=>Raymond Biesinger</a>.

Woo — I’m happy to point out that Raymond Biesinger, a great friend and talented artist, has spotlighted the Buzzer in his new illustration blog, the Daily Sentry. Check out the post here!

Raymond is the mystery illustrator behind our November 2008 issue cover above—his name wasn’t included as it was initially an experimental collaboration.

Since then, as Raymond’s post mentions, I’ve been able to work out a budget and commission illustrations for all the 2009 Buzzers. (Local illustrators: e-mail me your portfolio if you’re interested!)

By the way, this is a sneak peek of Raymond’s blog — it doesn’t officially launch until September :) And if you’re curious, here’s Raymond’s portfolio.

Help raise funds for wildfire victims with SkyTrain, WestCoast Express, and Telus

Here’s a release that just came out from the BC Rapid Transit Company, who operates SkyTrain and WestCoast Express:

Help SkyTrain raise funds for wildfire victims on Wednesday.

Help SkyTrain raise funds for wildfire victims on Wednesday.

Lost homes, water and smoke damage, and destroyed food supplies are just a few of the hardships our neighbours in the Interior are facing as a result of the current wildfires. Now, you have a chance to help ease the pain, as the BC Rapid Transit Company (SkyTrain & West Coast Express), Global TV and Telus are joining forces to raise emergency funds.

Beginning Wednesday morning, July 22, BCRTC will set up portable fare boxes to receive donations to be sent to the Telus Community Ambassadors, which is collecting the funds on behalf of the Telus Global Fire Aid Campaign. The fare boxes will be located at Waterfront Station, in the Atrium area where passages to and from SeaBus, SkyTrain and West Coast Express converge.

Customers may deposit their cash or cheques in these fareboxes between 6:30 & 9am.

In the afternoon, the fareboxes will be set up between 4:30 & 10:30pm at Stadium Station (Ticket Vending Machine level), Granville Station (to the right of the doors leading to the Hudson Bay Company corridor), and Burrard Station (against the south wall near the escalators to the street level). This will allow customers to make donations as they arrive for the HSBC Celebration of Light.

Cheques should be made payable to Telus Community Ambassadors.

Anyone who remembers the wildfires of 2003 remembers the deep and prolonged need of the people in the area. By teaming up to raise these funds, we can all make a big difference.

Transit service to the HSBC Celebration of Light, Wed July 22

Fireworks from the HSBC Celebration of Light!

Fireworks from the HSBC Celebration of Light!

We’ve scheduled service to help you get to and from the HSBC Celebration of Light fireworks festival on Wed July 22 (Canada), Sat July 25 (South Africa), Wed July 29 (U.K.), and Sat August 1 (China).

SkyTrain will operate at “rush hour” service levels for the evening, with last trains leaving Waterfront Station for King George at 1:15am, VCC-Clark at 12:31am and Lougheed at 1:11am.

Extra trains will be available in case there are customers still inside stations when the last scheduled trains leave – no one will be left behind!

Also, due to expected crowds, bicycles may be restricted westbound to downtown at the discretion of transit staff when trains are crowded, and will not be permitted on SkyTrain after 10pm on fireworks days until crowds have cleared. If you’re biking, travel early and avoid the inbound peak of 8 pm to 9:30 pm. As you likely know, bikes are limited to two per SkyTrain car, and please be mindful of the safety and comfort of other passengers.

West Coast Express will run a special train on August 1 only (that’s finale night). The train will leave Mission City Station at 7:00 pm and return from Waterfront at Midnight.

SeaBus will have both vessels in operation throughout the evening: 15-minute service will run between Lonsdale Quay and Waterfront station until 12:15am on Wednesdays and 12:45am on Saturdays.

West Vancouver Blue Bus will also provide more buses from Dundarave and Park Royal. Buses returning to West Vancouver will load east of the regular bus stop (nearer to Stanley Park) at Georgia and Denman.

For buses, please note that several bus routes will be re-routed away from the immediate area of the fireworks in the evening, so you’ll need to walk a few blocks to get to your viewing point after:

  • #5 Robson will go as far as Denman and Georgia
  • #6 Davie will terminate at Davie and Thurlow
  • C21 Beach will go as far as Beach and Hornby
  • C23 Davie will go as far as Davie and Thurlow
  • #22 Knight/Macdonald will use Granville Street Bridge, 4th Ave., Burrard and Cornwall in both directions

Transit supervisors will be on-hand to decide if additional buses are needed. And as always, Transit Police and Transit Security will assist Vancouver Police in crowd management, particularly on transit vehicles. A zero-tolerance policy for drugs, drunkenness and open liquor will be maintained.

The HSBC Celebration of Light remains one of the premier events in the Metro Vancouver calendar, and we are happy to help as many people enjoy it as possible!

The CityNews List consults kids about bus improvements

For fun this morning — here’s a video from the CityNews List, consulting with a group of elite urban planners to find out what would make buses better. I personally like the idea for a “funky dance floor.”

Grab a spot on the Buzzer blog’s Canada Line tour this Friday!

Yay — after much begging, I’ve been finally able to arrange for a tiny Buzzer blog tour of the Canada Line, for this Friday, July 24 at 10 am-11 am!

I have three open spots on the tour, and since it’s going to be impossible to pick between you guys, I thought I’d do a draw.

To enter, please send an email to by Wed July 22 at 4pm with the following info:

  • make your subject line “Canada Line tour”
  • include your name and phone number (so I can contact you quickly!)
  • include the answer to this skill-testing question: 37 * 65 + 12 – 43

I’ll randomly draw three names from everyone who gets the correct answer and contact you on Wednesday afternoon. (All entries will be deleted after the draw is over — I won’t keep your personal info for anything.)

Some notes to keep in mind though:

  • One entry per person!!!!
  • If you enter, you have to come on the tour – you can’t give your spot to anyone else.
  • No entries from employees of TransLink or its family of companies — there is an intro event planned for you guys later.
  • The tour starts at Waterfront Station on Friday at 10 a.m., so you must be able to make it there in time.
  • Sadly, we will not be able to accommodate those with mobility issues on this tour, since elevators at all stations are not yet in service.
  • This draw is only open to those in Canada.