Translink Buzzer Blog

Canada Day celebrations and transit service

Canada Day revellers at Canada Place! (Thanks to Canada Place for the photo!)

Canada Day revellers at Canada Place! (Thanks to Canada Place for the photo!)

I’m still on holiday: this is a scheduled post!

Canada Day is coming up, with festivities happening all over the region! And we’ll be ramping up transit service to connect with many of the events.

On Wednesday, July 1, SkyTrain will run on Saturday hours, a bump up from Sunday/holiday service, with lots of capacity to take people to Canada Day events in downtown Vancouver.

That includes the annual Canada Day fireworks show from the Burrard Inlet Fireworks Society. And this year, Canada Place will be holding their first ever Canada Day Parade at 7 p.m. starting at West Georgia and Broughton Street.

SeaBus will run on 15-minute frequency in the afternoon and evening for the fireworks, and will extend service until 1:22 a.m.

If you’re heading to the Surrey Canada Day festivities at Cloverdale Millennium Amphiteatre, SkyTrain will make connections with extra CMBC service at Surrey Central to get you to the party.

And extra shuttles from Cloverdale after the fireworks are expected to get you back to Surrey Central station well before the last SkyTrain departure to Waterfront at 12:38 a.m.

Also, you can see all the bus reroutes in effect on Canada Day on our Alerts page. Buses affected include the C21, C23, C43, C44, C93, 98B-Line, 228, 229, 230, 232, 240, 401, 402, 407, and 410. (The Steveston Salmon Festival and Yaletown Grand Prix are also on July 1!)

For trip planning, try the TransLink website, Google Transit, or our customer information line at 604.953.3333.

Have a happy Canada Day, everyone!

Buzzer blogger on holiday, June 25-July 1

Just a short note to say that I’m on holiday from today until Canada Day, returning to the office on Thursday July 2.

Sadly, this means I’ll miss both the Oakridge open house and the opening of the Central Valley Greenway!

Please flood my inbox with photos of the events if you can — I’ll post them all up on the blog when I get back.

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

  • Our list of customer service contacts and addresses on the main TransLink site
  • Our web form in case you have a commendation or complaint
  • Ken Hardie’s Twitter account– he’s our director of communications and often tweets about any service issues or other TransLink news
  • CMBC’s Twitter account — this is the Twitter from CMBC’s media relations dept, and they tweet about bus service issues you might need to know about
  • And for transit information, call 604-953-3333.

Watch out for a few scheduled posts while I’m away—I’ll be back to answer your comments and questions next Thursday.

Hope you have a great week and I’ll see you soon!

BePartofthePlan consultation: What we have heard so far

So our BePartofthePlan consultation period ends on June 30, but I thought you might be interested in what we’ve heard so far.

Check out minutes and comments from our in-person community consultations—they’re on the community workshop page of the TransLink website, but I’ll also post them here:

Minutes and comments are coming soon from this week’s workshops in Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, and Richmond: keep an eye on the community workshop page for those.

We’ll also have summaries of the online discussions and game once those sections of the consultation are complete.

Remember, as of June 30, we’ll be turning off the It’s Your Move game and winding down forum discussion – so if you haven’t tried the game or posted in the forums yet, do it soon!

The old site

Also, as you might recall, before we launched this site on June 1, there was another version of BePartofthePlan.ca that invited your comments.

Well, that old site didn’t just disappear. You can still visit the archived version here: bepartoftheplan.fcvhost.com.

We read through every single comment and made sure to capture all of your feedback from the old site, too. If you’re curious, here’s the summaries of all the suggestions you guys gave to us.

Oakridge Canada Line station open house + Design for Diversity event, Sat June 27

Oakridge-41st Avenue Station on the Canada Line, near Oakridge Centre. (Photo by <a href=http://canadalinephotos.blogspot.com/>Tafyrn Palecloud</a>.)

Oakridge-41st Avenue Station on the Canada Line, near Oakridge Centre. (Photo by Tafyrn Palecloud.)

InTransit BC is hosting an open house to see inside Oakridge-41st Station on the Canada Line, this Saturday June 27!

A map showing the Oakridge-41st Avenue Station location.

A map showing the Oakridge-41st Avenue Station location.

You can find Oakridge-41st Avenue Station at Cambie Street and 41st Avenue, near Oakridge Centre.

Come by from noon to 5 p.m. in closed toe shoes and comfortable, warm clothing. (It’s a construction zone still, so you’ve got to dress accordingly.)

And if you need another reason to stick around, the open house will be held at the same time as Design for Diversity, a free celebration marking the end of local Canada Line construction.

Check out the HSBC Main Stage in the Oakridge Centre plaza for performances from O Music Studios, the Tzimmes, dance from Bhangra dancers and Oakridge’s own A Star Studio hip hop crews.

You can also visit the many businesses in Oakridge Centre and along Cambie Street from 39th to 43rd Ave for free giveaways, demonstrations and more.

Plus, be a part of the Design for Diversity mosaics, which will be installed near Oakridge Station—participate in a design workshop in the Oakridge Centre with Liz Calvin.

For more details on the Design for Diversity event, check out www.shoptheline.ca!

Info tubes are back starting Monday, June 29

An example of an info tube from Metrotown bus loop.

An example of an info tube from Metrotown bus loop.

Good news: our customer information department will start refilling the info tubes with schedules as of Monday, June 29!

Owing to all your feedback, the department has been able to rally some resources to fill the 919 info tubes currently sitting empty. (Around 300 tubes at bus loops have been continually maintained.)

So, watch for the info to return to the tubes starting next Monday. It’ll still take some time to fill them all up again, but don’t worry – they will be filled!

And a big thank you again for sending in your thoughts on this issue—it was very much appreciated.

Central Valley Greenway opens on Saturday, June 27

The Central Valley Greenway along Great Northern Way in Vancouver.

The Central Valley Greenway along Great Northern Way in Vancouver.

Mark your calendars, people — the Central Valley Greenway opens this Saturday, June 27!

The Winston Overpass near Sperling SkyTrain Station.

The Winston Overpass near Sperling SkyTrain Station.

Come out from noon to 3 p.m. for a family-friendly celebration at the Winston Overpass, near Sperling-Burnaby Lake SkyTrain station.

Festivities will feature ribbon cutting, a children’s booth, free BBQ, a unicyclist, dance performances and lots of interactive booths!

Cycle, walk, or take transit to the event: hop the Millennium Line to Sperling Station, and walk over the Winston Overpass to the celebration.

And come early and do a Greenway bike tour with the VACC, or a walking tour with Vancouver Parks and Recreation. (Bike tours are at 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., and walking tours are at 10:30 a.m. — check the TransLink website for where to meet.)

If you haven’t heard already, the Greenway is a new 24-kilometre cycling and walking path through Vancouver, Burnaby, and New Westminster. Check out the Buzzer’s virtual tour of the greenway for more!

Also, check out our new PDF map of the entire route. Grab the map here (5.4 MB)! (Quick disclaimer: this isn’t the exact final version yet, but the map part should be accurate. An optimized printable version will get onto the TransLink website too.)

As well, I just want to mention that we’ve been hearing a lot from you about signage on the path, and we are working with the Cities to get the signage up consistently along the route. We’ll make sure your comments are forwarded to them so they can check them against their design. And we are anticipating that the signs should go up pretty quickly, and definitely in time for next Saturday!

Hello #595, welcome back C26: June bus service changes start today

The new #595 route connects Langley Centre to Haney Place over the Golden Ears Bridge.

The new #595 route connects Langley Centre to Haney Place over the Golden Ears Bridge.

The June seasonal bus service changes start today—which includes the launch of the new #595 route, connecting communities over the Golden Ears Bridge!

The #595 Langley Centre/Haney Place is a limited-stop run serving the Walnut Grove Park & Ride, Haney Place, and Langley Centre. It also stops at Maple Meadows Station when West Coast Express is running.

It’s a single-zone trip entirely within zone 3, and the bridge toll fee is covered in your fare. Generally, from Monday to Friday, the #595 travels every half hour from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., and on weekends and hoildays, it runs from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Here’s the route map and timetable.)

Edit: Just saw that the Ridge Meadows Post took the 595 this morning and wrote about it!

June also heralds the return of the C26 Buntzen Lake Special/Coquitlam Station Special, providing summer weekend/holiday service between Buntzen Lake and Coquitlam Station. You can take the C26 to the lake on weekends until September 7.

All the June seasonal service changes can be found in the June Buzzer—-but since there weren’t very many of them, I’ll just repeat the info below.
Read more »

One week left for the BePartofthePlan discussions

Just wanted to send out another reminder to join in our BePartofthePlan discussions and give us your thoughts on the region’s transportation future.

The consultation period closes on June 30, so you have one more week to send in your feedback as of today.

There’s a few key ways to talk to us:

  • First, play It’s Your Move online, which is our consultation exercise/game. Pick transport priorities for the region, choose your preferred existing funding options, and rank the future funding options we should pursue.
  • You can also visit our consultation discussion boards. Answer the “sticky” questions I’ve posted in each forum, and feel free to post your own discussion topics too.
  • Or come to one of our in-person consultation forums this week. Our CEO Tom Prendergast will be at all three of the events, so you can talk to him about your questions and concerns. Plus you’ll get to play the “It’s Your Move” game in small groups. Here are the dates and locations of the forums:
      Monday, June 22, 2009
      6:30PM – 9:00PM
      Evergreen Cultural Centre
      1205 Pinetree Way
      Coquitlam, BC

      Tuesday, June 23, 2009
      6:30PM – 9:00PM
      ACT Centre
      11944 Haney Place
      Maple Ridge, BC

      Wednesday, June 24, 2009
      6:30PM – 9:00PM
      Richmond Cultural Centre
      180-7700 Minoru Gate
      Richmond, BC

Again, check out our BePartofthePlan consultation website for more on the in-person events, including maps and tentative schedules for each meeting.

(If you can’t make it, you might follow Ken Hardie’s Twitter — he’s going to the events and tweeting about what’s going on there.)

After the consultation period is over, your thoughts are collected and reflected in our plans, which are then presented for approval to our Board by August 1, as well as the Regional Transportation Commissioner and the Mayors’ Council.

And finally, if you’re curious, here are the Buzzer blog’s past posts discussing the 10-Year Plan.

Jot Kailay wins the One in a Billion contest!

Jot Kailay with TransLink CEO Tom Prendergast and Province publisher Kevin Bent. (Look at the size of that FareCard!)

Jot Kailay with TransLink CEO Tom Prendergast and Province publisher Kevin Bent. (Look at the size of that FareCard!)

The 10 contest finalists together---Carla Shore, Julie Hanson, Alexandra Wood, Jot Kailay, Colleen Gorrie, Frances Galea, Elvira Zampieri, Sandy Keith and Yvonne Pendree. At the back we have Province deputy editor Fabian Dawson; SkyTrain president Doug Kelsey, TransLink CEO Tom Prendergast and Province president and publisher Kevin Bent.

The 10 contest finalists together---Carla Shore, Julie Hanson, Alexandra Wood, Jot Kailay, Colleen Gorrie, Frances Galea, Elvira Zampieri, Sandy Keith and Yvonne Pendree. At the back we have Province deputy editor Fabian Dawson; SkyTrain president Doug Kelsey, TransLink CEO Tom Prendergast and Province president and publisher Kevin Bent.

Last Friday, we drew a winner from 10 finalists in our One in a Billion contest: Mr. Jot Kailay!

The contest, organized together with the Province newspaper, celebrated SkyTrain’s milestone of one billion passenger trips this year.

Jot’s 100-word contest entry talked about a whole train joining in with a little girl’s rendition of “If You’re Happy And You Know It”: all of the 10 finalist entries can be found on the Province’s site.

And as the grand winner, Jot took home was $1000 and a year of transit passes. Our nine runners-up won a free monthly pass for up to three zones of travel. Thank you to everyone for entering and congratulations to the winners again!

Friday fun poll: how many cities have you tried transit in?

If you like, you can skip to the end of this post to answer the poll about riding transit in other cities.

Results from last poll: collecting tickets

Last week I asked whether you collected your tickets and passes.

And out of 122 votes, the majority said they collect passes solely for the income tax deduction (56%). 39% say they just collect passes in general, and just 15% didn’t collect their tickets at all.

Well, I guess a tax cut is a great incentive to hold on to your pass! Although here’s why David Arthur saves his tickets:

I find they make nice bookmarks – at the moment, I’m using several Vancouver passes, a Toronto transfer, and a pair of Swedish railway tickets for this purpose.

And Dora said ticket collection sometimes just sort of happens.

These days I collect my passes for the tax deduction, but for a while when I was in high school/university I’d just randomly keep my transfers or passes. Sometimes I’d use a transfer as a bookmark for a while, but usually I’d just take my transfer (the old newsprint tear-off ones), folded into a little packet so I could stick it in the corner of my pocket, and put it in a box…by the time I moved out from my parents’ house and finally got rid of them, I had the equivalent of a shoebox full of folded-up transfers from high school and summers, and two years of monthly passes from university before the UPass program started at UBC.

But Nimo from Argentina gave us a reminder that smartcard technology will definitely replace our current tickets and passes — perhaps a reason to hang on to a few, if you’re nostalgic. Nimo wrote that his system only has plastic RFID tickets now: here’s a picture of the ticket and machine on a bus.

Have a look at all the comments at the original post.


This week’s poll: have you been on transit in other cities?

Since I was just in Chicago riding trains all over the region, I thought I’d put the question to you guys: how many cities have you tried transit in?


Feel free to share which cities you have been to in the comments!

Buzzer in Chicago no more: plus a transit soap opera

DEEP DISH PIZZA. Thank you, Chicago.

DEEP DISH PIZZA. Thank you, Chicago.

The APTA conference was over yesterday, so I’m headed home now. By this time on Monday, I’ll be writing from TransLink HQ in Burnaby again. Goodbye Chicago — it’s been a blast!

Also, while this has nothing to do with Chicago, David Lam sent me a video that just needs to be shared for some Friday fun.

SBS Transit, one of Singapore’s transit operators, partnered with a TV company to produce a wacky soap about bus drivers in 2003 or so.

Here it is: “She Drives Me Crazy”!

Have a great weekend, everybody!

10-Year Plan workshops in Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, Richmond, June 22-24

There are three 10-Year Plan workshops coming up next week — come by if you can!

Monday, June 22, 2009
6:30PM – 9:00PM
Evergreen Cultural Centre
1205 Pinetree Way
Coquitlam, BC

Tuesday, June 23, 2009
6:30PM – 9:00PM
ACT Centre
11944 Haney Place
Maple Ridge, BC

Wednesday, June 24, 2009
6:30PM – 9:00PM
Richmond Cultural Centre
180-7700 Minoru Gate
Richmond, BC

At the workshops, you’ll play the It’s Your Move board game with others and select your transportation priorities and funding options for our future. (You can play the game online too.) And you’ll be able to discuss our draft 10-Year Plan, plus ask our executives and public consultation staff about our budgets and other issues.

Check out our BePartofthePlan consultation website for more information on these events, including maps and tentative schedules for each meeting.

Also, for more info, here’s the Buzzer blog’s past posts discussing the 10-Year Plan.

And you also might want to follow Ken Hardie’s Twitter too — he’s going to the events and tweeting about what’s going on there!

Buzzer in Chicago: Six hours, 10 trains, 11 trips—looping the loop in Chicago!

The map of our 6h train tour around Chicago. Click to see it in detail.

The map of our 6h train tour around Chicago. Click to see it in detail.

What do transportation professionals do for fun? A six-hour train trip on all the region’s rail services, around Chicago and back to our hotel again!

Tours like this have been held at the last two APTA rail conferences – they’re the brainchild of Tom Hickey, from the Houston transit authority. (You might see him in my photos: he’s wearing a hat.)

And for the past 10 years, Tom’s held these tours at APTA operations planning workshops, too. Those versions can be more intense – one tour around Oregon took two and a half days! (People drop in and out of the tour as it goes on: Tom describes the tours as a “transit death march.”)

But this tour was for lightweights — it was called Looping the Loop, and employees from all the services joined us for the trip (or parts of it). We heard system history and stories, and enjoyed a great tour of the Chicago area.

Here’s an illustrated rundown of the tour – I’ll keep it as concise as possible!

Read more »

Golden Ears Bridge + Google Maps

The Golden Ears Bridge!

The Golden Ears Bridge!

A few people have asked why the Golden Ears Bridge isn’t on Google Maps yet, so I thought I’d share what our web staff have said:

For Google, it is up to TeleAtlas as they provide the basemap. A request has been made but they will not say when it will be updated. It is the same for the other major supplier of basemaps, Navteq. Users are encouraged to visit teleatlas.com and navteq.com to report changes to encourage them update the basemap sooner rather than later.

So, just let TeleAtlas and Navteq know that you’d like to see the Golden Ears Bridge on there!

Buzzer in Chicago: Train simulators!

We got to try out Metra’s train simulators on a technical tour yesterday! (I’m in Chicago for the APTA rail conference this week, if you didn’t know.)

Metra is Chicago’s commuter rail service, similar to WestCoast Express. They have five simulators that replicate each of their different train types, to teach new engineers how to drive.

And man, these things are awesomely real. Check out the video and watch how the views in the front and side windows all move seamlessly together. There’s even a rearview mirror, replicating exactly what you’d see behind you! (Tom, an instructor from Metra is the one talking.)

If you’re curious, SkyTrain has simulators for both MK I and MK II cars – I haven’t been down to try them yet, so I don’t know how similar they are to the Metra ones.

Read more »