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Translink Buzzer Blog

Service Optimization – 2014 Report is now available

2014 Service Optimization

The report is now available online!

Hey Buzzer readers, are you on transit right now? As you travel to your destination or think about travelling to your destination, ponder this: How can transit service continue to improve and better meet customer demand with the resources available?

Many transit authorities across North America, including Toronto, San FranciscoMemphis, and Nashville, are exploring ways to answer this challenge. Here at home, we continue to explore innovative ways to provide more service with the available resources. Since 2010, service optimization has played an important role in increasing the productivity of TransLink’s existing bus network. To date, more than 292,000 hours, or 6 per cent of total bus service hours in the region have been reallocated.

Back in February we told you about changes being proposed for routes in Burnaby, Delta, North Vancouver and Richmond as part of the 2014 Service Optimization Program. We listened and gathered your input on six proposed changes.  Based on your feedback and further technical analysis, TransLink will proceed with changes to the C15, C96, 116, 404 and 606/608 routes. TransLink will defer implementation of the proposed changes to the 49 while we continue to study alternative designs to better meet community needs.

The full report is now available.

 

Thank you again, to everyone who participated!

In the news: Generation transit shifts away from driving

Passengers Boarding Bus

According to ICBC data, just over 55 per cent of 20- to 24-year-olds in Metro Vancouver have a driver’s licence.

It’s 2014 and the times have truly changed. Social media has become a factor of life, and driving at the age of 16 is no longer a rite of passage.

In response to the recent news headline in the media, we decided to investigate ourselves why Metro Vancouver’s younger generation is moving towards transit and shifting away from cars.

Allen Tung, our Communications co-op student, shared some insight during this candid interview.

Allen

Allen

How do you commute around town?

Transit is my primary and preferred mode transportation. I use transit every day to commute to and from Simon Fraser University—and now to and from  work (TransLink). The only time I drive is when I go to my hockey games since it would be rather cumbersome to haul a 3½ foot long hockey bag and five foot long hockey stick on transit!

Why do you choose transit over driving?

Transit is convenient and worry-free. I don’t have to pay for gas or worry about finding and paying for parking at my destination.

We also have one of the top transit networks in North America where I am able to easily connect between cities by using the Expo, Millennium and Canada Lines. In particular, I live in a transit hub area where using transit is extremely easy with plenty of options. I feel lucky to live in a region where our transit system is efficient and reliable service.

Why do you think this trend is happening? 

Definitely, the U-Pass. I think it forces us to give transit a try and once we try it, we realize how fast, easy and convenient it is.

Unlike driving, I can focus on other things when taking transit, like finishing my homework on my way to class.

What implication(s) does this have on your generation? 

I think we are starting to break the dependency on cars. This new generation starting a new cycle where taking transit is not only practical, but it has also become socially acceptable. Taking transit is no longer a sign of status, rather it’s a sustainable movement – being green is “the thing” now.

Anything else you would like to add?

I encourage others, especially those older, to try and use transit – you might like it! I recommend starting small by making transit a part of your commute.

My parents are both ardent drivers, but they recently gave SkyTrain a try and they couldn’t believe how convenient and fast it was during rush hour. No more getting stuck in traffic!

We thank Allen for sharing his enthusiastic insight. We hope to see this trend continue and grow in the generations to come!

Friday fun poll: Do you have a favourite TransLink bus to ride?

New Flyer bus

TransLink’s New Flyer DE60LFR bus!

TransLink, through its subsidiary Coast Mountain Bus Company operates a fleet of 1,451 conventional, trolley, and community shuttle buses.

As part of our Ask TransLink series last April, Buzzer reader Nick asked Brian Revel, a bus operator, if he had a favourite one to drive.

Here’s Brian’s response:

Brian Revel, bus operator!

Brian Revel, bus operator!

Which make and model of bus is my favourite? I like different buses for different reasons. I really like the articulated trolley buses. They are heavy so they’re really smooth on the road. I really love the fact that I’m driving a very rare vehicle in North America too. There are trolley systems only in Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco, Dayton, Philadelphia and Boston. I also love the fact that trolley buses are completely zero-emission vehicles, powered by hydro-electricity.I also really like the Nova hybrid buses. They too are smooth and quiet.

For most of us, a bus is a bus is a bus. They start slowly. Turn slowly. Stop slowly. And they all carry a lot of people. But there are small differences between them. Some are more powerful, on some the doors open more quickly, and others are more quiet. Seating position and ergonomics differ greatly and some prefer the Novas to the New Flyers to the Orions just because of that.

Now over to you Buzzer readers! Do you have a favourite TransLink bus to ride? If so, which one is it?

Which one is your favourite TransLink bus to ride?

  • New Flyer XD40/XDE60 (27%, 29 Votes)
  • New Flyer D40LF/C40LF/D60LF (25%, 27 Votes)
  • New Flyer E40LFR/E60LFR (20%, 21 Votes)
  • Nova Bus LFS/LFS HEV (13%, 14 Votes)
  • New Flyer D40LFR/C40LFR/D60LFR/DE60LFR (8%, 9 Votes)
  • Orion V (7%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 107

Fleet Pictorial

#WhatsTheLink: What is TransLink?

We have a new video for #WhatsTheLink!

“Probably SkyTrain.”

“Bus.”

“SkyTrain.”

“Oh, SkyTrain.”

Those are all correct, but TransLink’s mandate as Metro Vancouver’s transportation authority covers much more. In addition to public transit, we are also responsible for maintaining the Major Road Network including five bridges, developing the Regional Cycling Strategy and more!

Over the next couple of months, we’ll be rolling out one fact a week and sharing it with all of you here as part of #WhatsTheLink. We will also share this weekly fact on our Instagram, Twitter and Facebook channels as well as other blogs.

In our first week, we shared the fact TransLink manages 2,300 lane kilometres of road and profiled the Kingsway corridor on Miss 604, Vancity Buzz, and the Vancouver Observer.

Check back soon as we reveal more facts about #WhatsTheLink!

#WhatsTheLink: TransLink manages 2,300 lane kilometres of road

That's a lot of road!

That’s a lot of road!

Our first fact about all that TransLink does has been making the rounds on the web this past week. The graphic above shows just how many lane kilometres TransLink is responsible. Unfortunately, we can’t reorganize these roads in the Major Road Network. They’re busy moving people and goods around the region!

You might be thinking that you’ve seen the above graphic before. Well, you’re partly right. We posted a similar image in February. The number of kilometres has been updated for this latest image. Not all the roads we manage are part of the MRN. Therefore, we’ll just have to dream of sunny spots of California rather than Mexico ;).

This first fact has been shared with local blogs along with some stories about the MRN and Kingsway written by yours truly. In case you haven’t come across them yet, here’s a snippet from each. I encourage you to read them in their entirety. Let us know what you think.

Miss 604: Macrons and Kingsway are part of your Major Road Network

Kingsway is a road unlike any other in Metro Vancouver. At first a walking trail for local First Nations, it then became a wagon road in the mid-19th century….Kingsway is also part of TransLink’s Major Road Network (MRN). The MRN is a network of major arterial roads that stretches across the region and connects people and transports goods across municipal boundaries.

Catherine Introligator of French Made Backing

Catherine Introligator of French Made Baking

Walking the north end of Kingsway you find yourself surround by all types of business and people. Coffee drinkers imbibe at coffee shops next to hair salons, eateries and various shops.

One place I stopped in was the unassuming bakery at 81 Kingsway. It was the pastel colours of macarons that caught my eye and the smell of butter that lured me through the doors of French Made Baking. Once inside, I was met by almond croissants hot from the oven and Parisian-accented English.

VancityBuzz: From trail to street, Kingsway is part of our history and the Major Road Network

Have you ever wondered why Kingsway is unlike other roads in Metro Vancouver? Why, unlike most streets in Vancouver and Burnaby, does Kingsway cut across the grid in a seemingly brazen diagonal from the northwest to the southeast?

The answer is that Kingsway is older than most roads in the region. It came into being before our cities were well established and before planners had the bright idea to make a system of roads following a grid design….

Artwork by Sonny Assue, image by Lila Bujold.

Artwork by Sonny Assue, image by Lila Bujold.

In 2012, the City of Vancouver commissioned artist Sonny Assu to design a street marker as part of Vancouver’s 125th Anniversary. What Sonny created speaks to both the collective history of the street as well as the personal history of the artist. I had the opportunity to ask Sonny as few question about his work and the street that inspired it.

What does Kingsway mean to you?

Nostalgia. With certain stretches that seem lost in time, the element of nostalgia that is inherent within Kingsway is probably the most compelling element of the road itself.

Vancouver Observer: Your Major Road Network Leads to Kingsway

If you’ve ever walked along Kingsway, you might think, like I have, of its history…

The community at Kingsway and Main is diverse. People from around the world and close to home have made this triangle of major roads their place of business. That includes Jae, owner and manager of Gene Café

“It’s low key, there’s a good community here and there are regular customers. What Gene is today has naturally built up over the years. I really like that about this part of Kingsway. I’ve only been in Vancouver for a short time, but while I’ve been at Gene, I’ve noticed changes in the area. There are more buildings, and we’re a little busier now than we were a year ago.”

Kingsway and Main 1908 and 2014. Kingsway and Main, 1908. Philip Timms. VPL# 6780 (left), Kingsway and Main, 2014 Robert Willis

Kingsway and Main 1908 and 2014. Kingsway and Main, 1908. Philip Timms. VPL# 6780 (left), Kingsway and Main, 2014 Robert Willis

Storify: #WhatsTheLink: Major Road Network (MRN)

We also had a guessing game on our Instagram page asking you to identify different roads that are part of the Major Road Network. Check out our Storify summary to see the different photographs we uploaded!

Getting to the 2014 BMO Marathon start line

 

runners

The Oakridge/41st Station on the Canada Line is the closest stop to get you to the start line.

 

Kudos to everyone tying up their laces on May 2nd to run 21.2 km or 42.2 km! Whether you are planning to run or cheer, head to the start line in Queen Elizabeth Park via the Canada Line Oakridge/41st Station.

 

Service adjustments:

 

Canada Line: The first train from Waterfront Station is at 4:48 a.m. and from Richmond Brighouse at 5:02 a.m. To prevent line-ups before the event, portable fare boxes will be set up at Waterfront, Vancouver City-Centre and Yaletown-Roundhouse Canada Line stations.

 

Coast Mountain Bus: Regular Sunday service will be provided, with some routes modified at certain times during the day to accommodate the marathon.

 

Shuttle Bus: Translink, in partnership with the Vancouver International Marathon Society, is offering a free shuttle service from Scott Road Station, Lonsdale Quay, Brentwood Mall and Patterson Station to the start line. Space is limited, and is booked on a first come first serve basis.

 

Cyclists: TravelSmart is sponsoring BEST’s Bicycle Valet, which will offer secure temporary bike storage for up to 120 bikes, free of charge. The valet will be open from 6 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Bute Street, between Hastings and Cordova.

 

Reminders:

  1. SkyTrain’s Expo and Millennium Lines, West Vancouver Blue Bus and SeaBus will operate their regular Sunday service. There is no Sunday service on the West Coast Express.

  2. The Train2Main will be in operation for all runners or spectators travelling to or from the Main Street-Science World Station.

 

Make sure to check your route before you go! Sign up for Transit Alerts, visit our mobile site, follow us on Twitter or call Customer Service at 604-953-3333.

#WhatsTheLink

#whatsthelinkIt’s pressure free test time. What is TransLink responsible for?

A)   Public Transit

B)   The Major Roads Network

C)   Five Bridges

D)   The Regional Cycling Strategy

E)   All of the above and more

If you answered ‘E’ you get a gold star!

 

We’re not just transit

Transit is what we are often known for in the region, but TransLink’s mandate covers much more. Today we’re starting a new series called #whatsthelink. It’s all about what TransLink is responsible for in Metro Vancouver and some little known facts about what we do.

Over the next couple of months, we’ll be rolling out one fact a week and sharing it with all of you here. We will also share this weekly fact on our Instagram, Twitter and Facebook channels as well as other blogs. These facts will be accompanied by graphics, photos and maybe even the chance to win some prizes!

Whether you get around by the road, bridge, train, bus, boat and/or bike, the work we do at TransLink has an effect on almost everyone in Metro Vancouver. We want to spread the word about all that TransLink does. We also want to share some of the amazing facts about our transportation system with you.

So join us, learn a little, and share your images and thoughts on the work we do along the way! Want to learn more beyond this series? Check out the TransLink website or our previous Buzzer series, TransLink 101.

Introducing Allen!

Allen

Happy to join the TransLink team!

Hello Buzzer readers! My name is Allen and will be a member of the TransLink communications team over the summer as its Student Communications Assistant.

Receiving that first pack of Concession FareSaver Tickets is a significant milestone for any teenager in Metro Vancouver. It represents an increase in mobility and a new-found ability to travel anywhere by themselves — a taste of adulthood. Since I received my first pack of FareSavers, I’ve become hooked on transit and it is has become my primary means to get around.

Being both a Geography and Communications student at Simon Fraser University has made me appreciative of the important role TransLink plays in the overall livability of our region by reducing our carbon footprint.

Three things about me:

I’m proud to call myself a transit geek and I look forward to sharing my enthusiasm for transit with you all over the next few months!

Links and Tidbits – April 25, 2014

Links and tidbits is our semi-regular roundup of interesting fodder about transportation from the last few weeks or so. If you have links to contribute, put them in the comments, or email us.

To prepare for his Grammys preformance, Macklemore and producer Ryan Lewis treated some New York City commuters to a rendition of “Can’t Hold Us”.  What a great way to start your morning!

 

  • As reported in 24 Hours, one bus driver witnessed a touching act of generosity this holiday weekend. Upon noticing a fellow transit rider wearing plastic bags on his feet, a man offered him his own shoes and socks. The act of kidness “made my heart melt”, said the bus driver. We also blogged about it yesterday!

 

  • Talk about a bad day! A couple of months ago, rush hour commuters in London were met with extreme delays after a major London Underground control room was flooded with cement. Service was eventually restored to normal but not before images leaked online of signalling equipment submerged in concrete. Oops!

 

  • Here’s some pretty hair raising advertising at work for Swedish pharmacy chain Apotek.

 

  • Local Vancouver blogger, Nathaniel Christopher, shares photos of fresh new seats on his route 135 bus. Mmm… you’ve gotta love that new bus seat smell.

 

  • You never know who you’ll run into on public transit. Here’s a great story from 1981 about a London Underground encounter.

 

  • Here is a great photo of one of our old trolley buses from 1954. (Photo credit: OAChris Flickr). Thanks to our friends at TransLinked for sharing this!

Vancouver Trolley Bus 1954

 

  • Nathan W. Pyle provides us with a few useful etiquette tips we should all keep in mind when riding public transit. He focuses specifically on New York City but I think transit riders everywhere can relate! Thanks again TransLinked!

 

PYa45T2 - Imgurx9uMfvf - Imgur

 

  • Glow in the dark roads are coming to the Netherlands. Streetlights on a 500m stretch of highway in the Netherlands are replaced by glow in the dark road markings in a pilot project.

 

  • From September 30 – October 4, Transport for London asked local poets to help them encourage commuters to be aware and considerate of each other while riding transit. Some great posters were created as well as this “When travelling in London Town” cartoon.

 

TransLink offers passengers more service on race day

Sun Run photo

More than 50,000 people expected at 30th annual Vancouver Sun Run.

 

Ready, set, GOOOOO!!!! TransLink will extend transit services to help runners and their fans get where they need to go before and following the Vancouver Sun Run on Sunday, April 27.

To plan your trips to and from the race, you can visit here, here and here.

The quick facts:

  • Expo and Millennium Lines will leave King George Station at 6:38 a.m. & Lougheed Station at 6:45 a.m.
  • Canada Line will begin service at 4:48 a.m.
  • Coast Mountain Bus will provide regular Sunday service, with detours in effect in the West End and along Georgia Street.
  • The SeaBus will leave Lonsdale Quay at 7 a.m. and every 15 minutes from Waterfront until 2:45 p.m.
  • West Coast Express will depart Mission at 7 a.m. and arrive downtown at 8:15 a.m. The return trip will leave Waterfront at 1 p.m.
  • West Vancouver Blue Bus will provide regular Sunday service, with increased frequency on the 250 in the morning and after the run.
  • BEST’s Bicycle Valet, will once again offer cyclists temporary and free storage at Gate F on the second level of BC Place.

 

To prevent long line-ups after the Sun Run, SkyTrain customers can pre-purchase return tickets prior to the race. Portable fareboxes will be set up at Bridgeport, Burrard, Granville, King George, and Vancouver City Centre stations. They will also be set up at Stadium-Chinatown and Yaletown-Roundhouse stations  for up to one hour after the race. Exact cash fare is required and tickets will be valid until late afternoon.

Due to crowding and safety concerns, cyclists may need to wait to take their bikes on SkyTrain until the crowds clear.

 

For more service information follow TransLink on Twitter @TransLink or call Customer Service at 604.953.3333.

TransLink in the media: An act of kindness on transit

 

The image of kindness

The image of kindness – 24 Hours

Hello Buzzer readers,

We often hear about random acts of kindness on our buses and SkyTrain.

Such is the story that took place two days ago on a bus in Surrey. A young man, who prefers to stay anonymous, saw that another rider was barefoot, took off his shoes and socks and gave them to the barefoot man. Asked about how he was going to get around without shoes, he replied: “Don’t worry about me — I live close by and can walk,” and got off the bus. This generous and selfless act was witnessed by an off-duty bus operator who told this story to the media. As he said to CBC News: “It was very inspiring and very soul-touching for me”.

You can read the original story, published by 24 Hours or watch the CBC News clip.

We are deeply touched by this story and proud that such a genuine and generous act happened on our transit system. Have you witnessed an act of kindness on transit? Let us know and leave us your story  in the comments section.

 

 

Who won the Find the Bunny Contest?

Contest winner

Brian takes home his chocolate prize.

Drum roll please…….. a BIG congratulations to Brian Cook!

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Find the Bunny Contest!

We received more than 665 entries since announcing the contest on March 31!

 

Live Chat with The Compass Team on Friday, April 25, 2014

Thanks for all your comments, questions and suggestions about Compass! As the transition continues, we know it’s more important than ever to stay connected and make sure we’re getting you the information you need.

Therefore, starting this month, we’ll offer regular live chats with Compass team members. A different member will attend the live chat each time to answer your questions.

We conducted a survey on Facebook recently to find out your preferred format, and you told us a live chat on our Facebook page was the way to go.

Drum roll please…the first-ever Compass live chat is on! Mark your calendar and join us on Friday, April 25 from 11:30am-12:30pm.

Mike Madill, VP, Enterprise Initiatives

Mike Madill, VP, Enterprise Initiatives

To kick the series off, we’re pleased to welcome Mike Madill, VP, Enterprise Initiatives, to our Facebook page. Mike will be happy to answer your questions about the Compass project, particularly about what you, as a customer, can expect from Compass and the transition.

Bring all your questions and comments and join us for an hour of live interaction right on our Facebook page. If you can’t make it on Friday, please post your questions here and we’ll make sure Mike answers them on Friday. See you Friday!

2014 Easter weekend holiday service

It’s Easter weekend everyone!

Friday, April 18, 2014, is Good Friday. That means transit runs on Sunday/Holiday service for bus, SkyTrain and SeaBus. West Coast will not be running. And don’t forget, Friday is a statutory holiday so you only need a one-zone fare to travel across all zones!

Monday, April 21, 2014, is Easter Monday. That means a return to the regular weekend schedule and regular fares. However, there’s reduced AM and PM peak period service for SkyTrain. West Coast Express will be running trains W1, W3 and W5 westbound and E1, E3 and E5 eastbound. TrainBus will operate its regular weekday schedule.

Have a happy and safe weekend everyone!

Buzzer illustrator interview: Mouki Butt

Mouki and her dancing riders!

Mouki (left) and her dancing riders (right)!

The April 2014 edition of the print Buzzer is on the system and in .pdf! We had the pleasure of working with illustrator Mouki Butt again on the cover of the newsletter. Mouki did her first Buzzer illustration for the October 2010 issue. Once again, she’s captivated us with her cute and stylish work!

Mouki was nice enough to answer a few of our questions about herself, her work and her preferred dance styles.

Who is Mouki Butt?
I’m an illustrator, who loves to draw cute people.

How did you come up with your illustration?

My train of thought was: service changes should be fun…what’s more
fun than a novelty dance?

How does this illustration compare to your first illustration for the Buzzer?
The first one screamed autumn, and I’m hoping this one screams spring!

Do you take transit? If so, what’s your favourite mode?

Yes! I love the Skytrain: it’s quick and the views are so nice.

Have you ever done the service change boogie?
Yes, I’m doing it right now! It’s easier than the Mashed Potato.

Peer into your crystal ball and tell us what you see for yourself in the future.
Plenty of swimming in the ocean (avoiding jellyfish).

Thanks for the great work Mouki!