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Translink Buzzer Blog

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.

Read more »

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.

Read more »

UBC students: you’ve got many ways to get to school

A chart of the different routes you can take to get to UBC.

A chart of the different routes you can take to get to UBC.

If you’re a UBC student, check out this handy chart showing all your bus route options to campus.

We gave it out in a wallet-size card for the first week of school, but I think it’s worth sharing again, especially if you didn’t grab a copy.

What we want to emphasize is that there are MORE options than the 99 B-Line, and MORE places to catch UBC buses than Commercial-Broadway. If it’s at all possible, please do give the alternate routes a try!

Read more »

2009 U-Pass photo contest: win $200 and star in a transit ad!

Your photo could be on the side of a SkyTrain!

Your photo could be on the side of a SkyTrain!

Vancity and TransLink are running a back-to-school U-Pass photo contest!

Just like last year’s contest, all you have to do is enter a photo of yourself showing how you help save the environment.

Three winners will be professionally photographed for an ad on a bus and SkyTrain, plus a $200 Vancity Mytreat Visa.

So visit to upload your photo or to vote for the photos entered so far!

The contest runs from September 10-30 and it’s open to all students with a valid Vancity U-Pass Card. Winners will be announced at the end of October. (Here’s last year’s winners if you’re curious!)

My City Moves Me: an amazing SkyTrain video by Kristopher Grunert

“My City Moves Me” KG. from KRISTOPHER GRUNERT on Vimeo.

Here’s an amazing SkyTrain video by Kristopher Grunert, a Vancouver photographer who uses lines, atmosphere, movement and light to create architectural/industrial and landscape photographs.

Kris used 712 images of SkyTrain and its stations to construct the time-lapse video, which is called “My City Moves Me.” It won first place in the Moving Image category of the International Photography Awards, a significant industry honour!

Kris sent along this quote to describe why he made My City Moves Me:

The project actually started as a small series of stills (6 images). When producing personal photographs I almost always create a series of images that make up a sort of cinematic sequence. I think of it as a narrative that simply documents a personal journey from point A to point B. This particular journey happens to be from the VCC-Clark skytrain station to Commercial Drive. I have been fascinated with Vancouver’s Skytrain system since first experiencing it when I was 7 years old during Expo ’86. After taking the first 6 images, I decided to return and thIs time take a lot more photographs than usual. Ever since first watching Baraka (a beautiful non-narrative film by Ron Fricke) year ago, I have always loved how time-lapse is able to give the viewer a pulled back perspective on the world. I feel this technique has the ability capture the breath of the architecture and infrastructure around us, which is very exciting for me as an image maker. Brandon Edwards at Tidal Audio then took the project to another level by adding the perfect soundtrack; giving it the emotional element it needed.

For more, check out more of Kristopher Grunert’s personal work at his website. Or to inquire about his large-scale limited edition prints, contact Cecilia Denegri-Jette at Trunk Gallery.

Friday fun poll: which type of train do you like best? (Now includes new SkyTrains and Canada Line cars!)

If you like, skip to the end of this post to answer the favourite train poll.

Last week’s survey: what do you read when you ride transit?

Last week the New York Times asked people what they read on the subway, so I thought it would be fun to run the same survey here.

So, see the full Times results here; the full Buzzer results are in this Excel spreadsheet.

Here’s a summary though!

While 8,000 people answered the Times survey, a modest 48 put their answers into the Buzzer poll :)

In the comments it seemed that some didn’t really read on transit: Steven caught up with news on his BlackBerry/iPhone, and some couldn’t read on the bus without feeling sick (Sally, I feel for you)!

Just like the Times, I asked about the last book, magazine, and newspaper everyone read — however I didn’t analyze by bus routes/train lines since there was such a wide variety.

The only category with some clear results were the newspapers:

New York Times survey Buzzer survey
1. New York Times (3,143 readers)
2. AM New York (a free paper – 1,117 readers)
3. Metro (524)
4. Wall Street Journal (337)
5. New York Post (226)
1. 24 Hours (18 readers)
2. Metro (10)
3. Vancouver Sun (3)
4. The Province (2)
5. Surrey Leader/The Peak (SFU) (1)

(Seems likely that the Times would come out tops in its own poll, no? Free papers did definitely dominate in both surveys though. And four kind people listed the Buzzer as their newspaper reading.)

Books and magazines were much harder to report on, since every single person surveyed was reading something different. The Times survey seemed to show this too: while 8,000 did the survey, the top books have just 58 readers each (there was a tie for first).

Our survey reported 31 different books, and here’s some commonalities:
- Three books were sci-fi (Traitor’s Sun, Lord of the Rings, Handmaid’s Tale)
- One person was reading Pride and Prejudice, and another was reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
- Two books were by Margaret Atwood (Negotiating with the Dead, Handmaid’s Tale)
- Several were nonfiction or educational (Shock Doctrine, Post America World, Bottom Billion, or training manuals or textbooks)
- The rest were a wide range of novels!

We also had 20 different magazines. Observations:
- A lot had to do with hobbies, arts and/or crafts (Photo Life, What’s Cooking, Somerset Studio and Altered Arts, MARK Magazine, Room Magazine)
- Sports and cycling had fans (Runner’s World, Sports Illustrated, Canucks Yearbook)
- General interest popped up (Time, The Walrus, Economist)
- And someone was reading the H&M Magazine!

Last notes here. Devin, I didn’t include your answers because you mostly ride in L.A. :) And Cliff had a reading experiment to conduct:

I’m awfully tempted to bring a hidden camera and record people’s reactions to my reading the Kama Sutra on transit.

This week: which type of train do you like best?

Last time I asked about your favourite train car, the new Mark IIs and the Canada Line trains weren’t on the system. So now let’s throw them into the mix!

The Mark I photo is courtesy ms_cwang at Flickr btw. OK, let’s hear your thoughts in the comments!

SeaBus service augmented on Sat Sept 12

Due to a concert Saturday evening in West Vancouver, SeaBus will maintain 15-minute (two-vessel) service until midnight to handle the anticipated extra traffic.

(That’s the Summer Sessions at Ambleside concert with Sarah McLachlan, Neil Young, and Sheryl Crow, btw.)

A 351 love story

Mike and Annie in front of the last 351 -- the very place they met each other.

Mike and Annie in front of the last 351 -- the very place they met each other.

Here’s a fun story for Friday. I got an email from Mike few days ago, along with the photo you see above. He explained what it was all about:

My girlfriend Annie and I met on the 351 Crescent Beach almost 4 years ago and we just came back from riding the *very last* 351 Vancouver out of White Rock as it would be the last time the bus would be passing our meeting place at Broadway and Granville.

How sweet! I asked if I could post this on the blog, and he said sure.

You’re welcome to put our picture up on the blog. I wish we had one of friendly driver, spare-board Neil with us! Like I said, we met Xmas eve, 2005 at Broadway and Granville. Waiting at the bus stop we were subtly eyeing each others’ musical instrument cases (mine a bass clarinet, hers a fiddle). Once we got on the 351 we started talking and the combination of being musicians and being on a 1 hour long highway bus trip helped us break the ice.

Did I mention Annie made cupcakes, which we shared with Neil right before he revved up the bus at 11:35? LOL.

Thanks for sharing, Mike and Annie! Click below to see one more photo of them on the last 351 run (and check this link to see their story in the Peace Arch News!)

Read more »

Two tidbits: Vancouver transit then and now, Next Bus text record

Vancouver 1948 – Photo credit: Jack Lindsay.

One of the historical transit photos showcased at Vancouver 1948 – Photo credit: Jack Lindsay.

Two tidbits you might be interested in:

  • Rebecca at has a post up showing historical Vancouver transit photos and their modern counterparts.
  • We hit a record number of Next Bus texts on September 8 — 35,181 texts! It’s good to see people are using our info services. Here’s a press release with more info and stats.

Five spots to dine along the Canada Line

We’re highlighting spots to visit along the Canada Line, if you need some reasons to explore! Check out earlier posts in this series, and if you have spots to share, e-mail me along with a couple of 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 Karen Hamilton of, a fabulous Vancouver food blog! Check her site out: she’s already doing a terrific Dine the Canada Line series. Mmmm….

The arrival of the Canada Line promises eating opportunities galore for a culinary tourist like myself. The jewels of Richmond cuisine that were formerly too much of a driving headache to visit are now just a hop and a train away from my Yaletown abode. Similarly, the restaurants of downtown and the Cambie corridor are now that much more accessible for those that usually eat south of the Fraser River.

I plan to report on my Skytrain-enabled eating many times as the 2010 Winter Olympics draw closer. Until my Dine the Canada Line Series becomes more robust, enjoy these five restaurants from Yaletown to Lansdowne that make my tummy smile.

Yaletown: Rodney’s Oyster House

Rodney's Oyster House: oysters Rockefeller

Rodney's Oyster House: oysters Rockefeller

Rodney’s Oyster House is the most rambunctious (seafood) restaurant in Yaletown. Eat by the oyster bar and watch your order get shucked while you get wildly entertained by the irreverent service staff. Buy a suggestive souvenir, if you dare.

To get to Rodney’s, exit Yaletown Station at Davie and Mainland and walk uphill on Davie until you hit Hamilton Street. You should see the round blue logo of Rodney’s to the right as you peer down the cobbled alley.

More on Rodney’s Oyster House >

Read more »

Dubai launches its new automated train system

An illustration of Jebel Ali Station in Dubai.

An illustration of Jebel Ali Station in Dubai. Photo from Dubai's Road and Transport Authority.

Well look at that: Dubai opened its new automated train system yesterday. Welcome to the club!

Check out this Washington Post article for more info—the metro apparently has a VIP train section and a section for women and children. Also, the cost of the system is over the original estimates by 80 per cent, a price tag of US$7.6 billion so far.

And for you SkyTrain enthusiasts, yes, Dubai will eventually have the world’s longest automated metro system at 70 km, once its Green Line opens in June 2010 (see Wikipedia). But until then, our SkyTrain system—that’s Expo, Millennium and Canada Lines all together—is still the longest at roughly 67 km :)

Post 9am transit update for Wed Sept 9

Things are quite quiet at City Hall now: the trains are rolling thru much emptier and the lines from the 99 are smaller. Other Canada Line stations are reporting slower traffic now too.
A couple more pics here but I think that’s mostly it from me this morning…