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Translink Buzzer Blog

Kids ride free for Walk to School Week, Oct 5-9

Elementary and secondary school students can ride transit for free during International Walk to School Week on October 5-9, 2009!

While the event’s called Walk to School Week, the overall theme is really about discovering alternatives to private automobiles, so in 2007, TransLink announced an ongoing commitment to the week.

High school students need to show their GoCard to ride free, but elementary school students don’t need any special identification for the free rides.

Students, take the chance to explore the transit system and learn how to navigate around Metro Vancouver on buses, SkyTrain, and SeaBus!

Everyone should note that during this time, teachers may take the opportunity to use transit for field trips. We’re encouraging them to ride transit between 10 am and 2:30 pm, to avoid the heavy commuter times on the transit system.

We’re pleased to support International Walk to School Week, and we wish you every success this week!

Jane Koo: Buzzer illustrator interview!

Jane Koo, illustrator of the September Buzzer cover!

Jane Koo, illustrator of the September Buzzer cover!

As you may know, Jane Koo is the illustrator behind the September 2009 Buzzer cover—even though it says “Michael Gilbert” on the actual Buzzer (Michael Gilbert is our October illustrator!)

So to make sure Jane gets a proper moment in the spotlight, I asked if she would do an interview with us about her illustration and her connections with transit. Here she is!

1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your art!

Hello! My name is Jane and I am a designer/illustrator, living here in Vancouver.

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

I like drawing playful things. I also enjoy working with type, especially the handdrawn ones, so it seemed like a good idea to play with this month’s headline, “September Bus Service Changes,” to create a playful image. I had other (sort of silly) ideas about flying buses (with wings, of course!) above heavy traffic (and disgruntled drivers). Another one was of a bus and a Canada Line train high-fiving, to show the buses and the new Canada Line working together.

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Come to the Buzzer blog birthday meetup, Thu Oct 8!

Happy birthday to the Buzzer!

Happy birthday to the Buzzer!

Did you realize that the Buzzer blog turns one on October 6 next week?

It’s true! And in honour, I’d like to hold a meetup with cake, buttons, cutouts, transit games, and more. You readers are a huge, amazing part of this blog, and I’d love to say thanks in person!

Here’s the details:

St. Augustine’s, 2360 Commercial Drive
(Just steps from Commercial-Broadway Station!)
Thursday, October 8, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

(St. Augustine’s is the new name of the End Cafe, where we held our first meetup in February).

Feel free to drop in and out as you please: it’s casual! I’ll plan for one transit game every hour, and you can just join a team as you pop in. (The games don’t usually take the full hour, so there’s time to chat.)

As before, I’ll bring the cake and supply the munchies — you guys can grab your own drinks.

And if you have any ideas for transit games or activities, please let me know! Just keep it simple and try to make sure all skill levels might have a chance at participating. For example, I’m contemplating a transit spelling bee, among other ideas :) Also, this post and this post have more info on the games we did last time.

Enter the TransLink Ride-Share Week photo contest!

TransLink Ride-Share Week is coming up: October 5-9, 2009!

TransLink Ride-Share Week is coming up: October 5-9, 2009!

TransLink Ride-Share Week is coming up on October 5-9, and we’re running a contest to showcase your best ridesharing photos!

The grand prize is a $100 Chevron gas coupon, to help out with your ridesharing costs.

(By the way, ridesharing is also known as carpooling: the term “ridesharing” just seems to be more popular around here. It’s probably due to from Jack Bell Ride-Share, our region’s major ridematching database.)

How do I enter?

If you’ve captured an image that evokes the enjoyment of ridesharing—whether a fellow passenger is having a snooze, or you’re whizzing past people while driving in the HOV lane, or saving money and being green—we want you to share it with us!

Just upload up to three of your best ridesharing photos to the TransLink Ride-Share Week Flickr pool. In the photo description, tell us where the photo was taken, and tag the picture with “” (including quotation marks!)

To upload to the group, you can create a free Flickr account. If you don’t want to, just email your photo with the required info to, and we’ll put it up for you.

Enter your photos any time between now and October 9, 2009!

You can also sign up for free at to win more gas coupons and ferry passes during TransLink Ride-Share Week. You can find a new ridematch, or just register your existing ridesharing arrangement so others can join your ride. Again, the service is entirely free!


We’re going to ask you, the Buzzer blog readers, to vote on the winning photo at the end of Ride-Share Week. We’ll do a poll on Friday and you pick the best shot!

Friday fun post: Buzzer trivia from 1962

If you like, skip to the end of this post to answer the Buzzer trivia from 1962.

Last week’s survey: how do you request a stop?

Last week, I asked whether you pull the cord or push the button to request your stop on a bus.

And out of 203 votes, pulling the cord was the favourite with 66%, while pushing the button got 33%.

Some people said they used whatever was closest. Here’s Tsushima Masaki:

For me this choice is usually dictated by what is available to me (and what is closest). Most buses in Richmond only have the pull cord, so that’s what I use the majority of the time.

But some had definite preferences for either the cord or button. Here’s Mike on the buttons, with some interesting observations:

I use the buttons whenever possible, because then I don’t have to lean over people to pull the cord. However, most busses in the Tri-Cities don’t have buttons in them. I think there’s a lot of people who think the red buttons are actually emergency stop buttons, like on trains. Sometimes I see people who are already holding the pole with the button on it perform gymnastics to reach the cord.

Dora mostly liked the cord though:

I usually pull the cord (or, as I tend to refer to it out of long-term childish habit, the “dinger-bell”), mostly out of habit. I do like to have the buttons available when I’m standing, though, so I don’t need to invade the personal space of people sitting down to reach a cord.

As always, more comments can be found at the original post.

This week: Buzzer trivia from 1962

For this week’s fun post, here’s a trivia question from the Buzzer archives: the November 16, 1962 issue, to be exact.

Tell me what the three countries are in the comments! (There’s no answers listed in the Buzzer, but I’ve done a bit of research and am reasonably sure I know which they are.)

Why on earth was this contest in the Buzzer? Well, it really harks back to the unique development of transit in our region. Originally, transit was developed by the private electric company in our region. So along with transit info, the Buzzer would run all kinds of articles trumpeting the wonders of electricity and electric devices, encouraging people to buy clothes dryers, install electric lighting, and more.

This contest was obviously along those lines, urging people to try for a new appliance for their home. As well, B.C. Hydro was sponsoring the broadcast of a syndicated TV show on travel called Seven League Boots. You had to watch the show to get clues for the contest!

Thanks to Angus McIntyre for loaning us this Buzzer to be scanned. Again, if you have poll question suggestions or other ideas for fun Friday trivia and surveys and such, please let me know! I’m always on the lookout for help with this item!

Ride Canada Line to the Apple Store opening at Oakridge Centre

The Apple Store is opening in Oakridge Centre this weekend.

The Apple Store is opening in Oakridge Centre this weekend.

Kate sent word that a new Apple Store opens Saturday in Oakridge Centre, along with this note:

I noticed that Apple’s website provides driving directions to Oakridge, but has nothing on the Canada Line! I wonder if they know…

Maybe they don’t know? But certainly, as Kate alludes to, Oakridge Centre has a Canada Line stop right in front of it: Oakridge – 41st Avenue Station! So you can certainly use the Canada Line to make it there on Saturday.

To plan your exact journey, try our trip planner or Google Transit to map out your specific route. And here’s the station map for Oakridge-41st Avenue.

Sorry, that’s not us: other TransLinks around the world

We're not the only TransLink out there!

We're not the only TransLink out there!

Search for TransLink online, and you might find that we’re not the only transit-related TransLink out there.

We have doppelgangers in Australia, Europe, and America who get confused with us from time to time. (Not to worry, it doesn’t happen that often and it’s easily fixed.)

But just who are these other TransLinks, anyway?

TransLink: the San Francisco transit smartcard


This TransLink is a transit smartcard for the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s currently being implemented across five transit agencies serving the region, and is eventually planned for use in all nine Bay Area counties.

As it rolls out, I often hear about this TransLink via Twitter. A lot of people tweet excitedly about their new card, or talk about issues as they start to use it. Some even tweet our @translink account with card questions. More people might just be up on the tweets in that area too, since San Francisco is so tech-savvy.

This TransLink is also quite aware of the other TransLinks. Here’s a tweet from August:

There are several other “TransLink” systems on Twitter, so make sure to address your @ and # tags to SFBayTransLink.

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A SkyTrain cake!

A SkyTrain cake, baked by Paola for her son Lucas!

A SkyTrain cake, baked by Paola for her son Lucas!

Mike W. sent along this photo of a SkyTrain cake, baked by his wife Paola in celebration of their son Lucas’ third birthday. How awesome!

As you can tell, Lucas is a huge SkyTrain fan, and his birthday also happened to be the day that Canada Line opened this year. Here’s what Mike told us about it:

My son, Lucas, had his third birthday party last night and he is extremely excited about the launch of the new Canada Line. He has loved the SkyTrain ever since we lived by the Expo Line. The first thing he said when he woke up on his birthday was “The Canada Line is opening today!”

Mike also had a great story about Lucas and the cardboard SkyTrains we give out (see this post for more on the paper models!)

Lucas with his new toy SkyTrain.

Lucas with his new toy SkyTrain.

We’ve actually made Lucas some toy SkyTrains out of some cardboard giveaways that TransLink provided for us. He was so excited when he got the first one that he slept with it every night. Due to the wear and tear, we then had to create a more solid version of his sky train toy out of wood.

Here’s a picture of the poor worn-out previous SkyTrain, if you’re curious :)

Thanks so much for sharing, Mike!

SeaBus stars in NBC’s 2010 Olympic countdown pin

The NBC 2010 Olympic pin.

The NBC 2010 Olympic pin.

Look who made it onto the NBC 2010 Olympic countdown pin!

A colleague picked this up from NBC headquarters in New York. It looks like you can buy it from NBC’s online store for $15 US, although the site was a bit temperamental when I tried accessing the item’s page. (Search for “pin” on the site!)

Away for a couple of days

Just a heads up that I’m away for a couple of days. A couple of scheduled posts will go up, but I’ll be back to answer your comments and e-mails on Thursday.

Here are some handy links in case you need info while I’m away:

See you on Thursday!

Friday fun poll: do you pull the cord or push the button to request a stop?

If you like, skip to the end of this post to answer the stop request poll.

Last week’s survey: favourite train?

Last week, I asked you to pick your favourite type of train!

Out of a record 309 votes, the clear winner is the Mark II 1300-1400 series, with 48%! Those are the brand new dark-grey trains on the Expo and Millennium Lines, with the light-up maps.

Second place goes to the Canada Line cars with 34% of the vote, then third to the Mark I classics (13%). Surprisingly, the poor old regular Mark IIs are in last place with just 6% of the vote, even though they topped the old “favourite train” poll with 71%. How the mighty have fallen!

In the comments, most people were actually waxing nostalgic about the Mark Is, rather than trumpeting the new Mark IIs. Here’s Devin, for example:

For this poll I have to go with the Mk1 cars as my favourite train car. The Mk1 SkyTrain car was the first train I have ever been on in my life and it holds a very special place in my heart. It’s what made me the train and transit nut I am today. The electric motor acceleration and deceleration hum on the Mk1 cars is ingrained in my head and hearing it whenever I’m back in Vancouver is a little like having your favourite dish that mum cooks.

Awww! It’s a very similar thing for MaxNV:

Gotta go with the MKI’s for the same reasons alot of people have stated. But mostly because when I was a kid my mom and me would ride them out to Surrey and back to Waterfront just for fun and because I love trains. Also I just love the sounds they make.

Rvie did do a shoutout to the Mark IIs and the Canada Line trains though:

All the trains are awesome but my heart has to go out to the new Mark II trains and the Canada Line trains. Obviously they both contribute to quiet rides, yet they are both state-of-the art. I love the destination signs on both trains, which tell where the train is going. What I really like about the new Mark II trains is the LED maps and spacing in terms of standing and sitting. But my heart REALLY has to go out to the Canada Line trains–big ample space for standing, sitting, AND placing your bags. I especially love the destination signs inside, which tell you the next station and the terminus station. The ride is also very smooth and comfortable.

Btw I’m a big fan of those LED maps too: I think they do a great job of giving you the terminus and the next station in a single glance. Way to go, new Mark IIs!

This week: how do you usually request a stop on a bus?

Not all buses have the cord *and* the buttons, but when you have the choice, which method do you tend to use?

Personally I always seem to go for the cord, even if the button is nearby, probably out of habit.

Also, if you have poll question suggestions or other ideas for fun Friday trivia and surveys and such, please let me know! I’m always on the lookout for help with this item!

How big is TransLink’s service area?

The area of the City of Toronto, superimposed over TransLink's service area.

The area of the City of Toronto, superimposed over TransLink's service area.

Somebody asked about the size of TransLink’s service area the other day, and I thought you all might be interested in the answer.

TransLink serves a very large area in Metro Vancouver – about twice the size of Toronto, as you can see in the illustration above.

Throughout history, in fact, Metro Vancouver has basically always had one transit system that served all cities in the region, rather many cities with their own transit systems. (The exception, of course, is West Vancouver Blue Bus!)

This regional system stems from the way transit developed in Metro Vancouver.

Transit was launched in the 1890s by a private electric company, the B.C. Electric Railway, who kept expanding throughout the region and served it as one unified transit system for about 60 years. (Here’s a past post about B.C. Electric and its interurbans.)

So even as our transit system changed hands to different authorities later, the regional transit system had already stuck and never went away.

Also, here’s two more illustrations comparing us to Montreal and Chicago, if you’re curious.

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Two Marpole Loop bus bays switch places on Mon Sept 21

Bus bays 1 and 2 are switching places at Marpole Loop. Here's the revised map! Click for a much larger version.

Bus bays 1 and 2 are switching places at Marpole Loop. Here's the revised map! Click for a much larger version.

Marpole Loop riders, look out! Starting on Monday, September 21, service at Bay 1 and Bay 2 will be flipped to improve customer access and operator facilities.

Here are the new bus bay assignments:

Bay 1 (#50738)
100 22nd Street Station

Bay 2 (#51120)
10 Granville (to Marine Drive Station)

Previously the 10 stopped at Bay 1 and the 100 stopped at Bay 2.

If you’re curious, moving the 10 to Bay 2 will provide a better pickup/dropoff point for customers—the current configuration of the trolley overhead wire makes it a bit challenging for the 10 to access the curb at the stop. As well, the 100 will now be laying over next to operator washroom facilities at Bay 1.

Capturing the last days of the 98 B-Line

The last 98 B-Line makes its final stop at Richmond Centre. Photo by David Lam.

The last 98 B-Line makes its final stop at Richmond Centre. Photo by David Lam.

David Lam has sent along a new photo gallery of the final days of the 98 B-Line bus route, which was discontinued on September 7.

The photos are from David and George Prior, and cover the 98 B-Line along its entire route. They also capture the very last run of the 98 B-Line, at 1:07 a.m. on September 7 (see here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

Plus, here’s a photo of the last 98 B-Line not in service at Steveston and Shell, the very last stop for the line before returning to the depot.

As well, David has a sped-up video of the entire 98 B-Line route, taken through the front window of a bus. Check it out here: part 1 , part 2, part 3.

As many of you may know, David and George are behind the vast Trans-Continental transit photo archive. It was formerly named the Trans-Vancouver photo archive, and I did an interview with George and David about it last year.

Great footage, guys — and thanks for sharing it with us, Dave!

Edit: Ivan has also shared a gallery of 98 B-Line photos!

Raphael also has two very nice videos: one of the 98 B-Line and one of the 424.

Four spots for shopping along the Canada Line

We’re highlighting spots along the Canada Line, if you need reasons to explore! Check out earlier posts in this series, and if you have spots to share, e-mail me with photos and I’ll put it up. (Fewer spots are fine too, and they can all be at one station or spread out.)

This entry is by Erica Lam of, a fantastic style blog based in Vancouver! They’ve always got fresh looks for inspiration and the inside scoop on deals and events.

Now that the Canada Line is open, there’s a whole new range of possibilities for accessible shopping. As a city shopping expert on (my credit card is also my best friend), I wanted to share a few of my favourite spots.

Station: Yaletown – Roundhouse

Fine Finds, 1014 Mainland Street, Vancouver

Known for its top-notch restaurants, Yaletown is also an area with undiscovered boutiques. I get my regular fix at Fine Finds Boutique, a store filled from top to bottom with women’s shoes, clothing and handbags, along with a whimsical mix of jewellery, accessories, baby items and fun gifts. What’s on my wish list right now? The cute and colourful umbrellas from Cheeky Umbrella. A trusty blazer from Lily + Jae. And sustainable jewellery from Dotted Loop. To the guys – this is the perfect boutique to visit for girlfriend/wife gifting.

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