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Translink Buzzer Blog

Pattullo Bridge night-time lane closures start early tonight only

The Pattullo Bridge nightly lane closure will start at 8 p.m. instead of 10 p.m. tonight, so permanent lane markings can be applied to the bridge deck.

The lane closures will begin at 8pm sharp and will involve single-lane alternating traffic throughout the work zone. Expect delays and a 30km/h speed limit.

If the work is not finished on Wednesday night, it will be completed on Thursday night, June 11, weather-permitting. The overnight lane closures at on Thursday will begin at 10pm.

Olympic mascots take over transit

Miga and Quatchi behind the wheel of a bus.

Miga and Quatchi behind the wheel of a bus.

Miga and Quatchi, two of the Olympic mascots, were caught on transit at an event a few days ago!

I don’t think they’ve actually qualified as conventional bus operators, so don’t expect to see them on your route any time soon :)

Thank you to the Olympic Transportation team for passing these snaps along!

Quatchi plays with a miniature bus at Surrey Transit Centre.

Quatchi plays with a miniature bus at Surrey Transit Centre.

Pattullo Bridge paving work is complete!

Just a note to say that repaving is now complete on the Pattullo Bridge, and temporary lane markings are in place.

There will be no further bridge closures for this project. The regular nightly centre lane closures from 10pm to 5am will recommence tonight.

Permanent lane markings will be applied, followed by installation of the traffic delineator posts, during the regular nightly lane closures.

Thanks for your patience during this time!

Local band spotlight: The B-Lines

The B-Lines playing the Cobalt on May 8. Left to right we have Scotty Colin on Guitar, Ryan Dyck on vocals, Bruce Dyck on drums and Adam Fothergill on bass. Photo by <a href=>Matt Day</a>

The B-Lines playing the Cobalt on May 8. Left to right we have Scotty Colin on Guitar, Ryan Dyck on vocals, Bruce Dyck on drums and Adam Fothergill on bass. Photo by Matt Day!

A few weeks ago, a co-worker told me about this local band called the B-Lines.

“Really? Are they named after the transit service?”


Which meant the Buzzer blog had to interview them. And Ryan Dyck, the B-Lines’ lead singer, was kind enough to call and tell me all about the band and its name.

(You may have read a slightly shorter version of this in the June Buzzer, btw!)

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The Coast Mountain bus roadeo was on this weekend!

Carmen Chai from the Province drives the bus roadeo course -- oops, a few cones have been knocked over! Photo by <a href=>David Lam</a>.

Carmen Chai from the Province drives the bus roadeo course -- oops, a few cones have been knocked over! Photo by David Lam.

Coast Mountain Bus Company (CMBC) held its 33rd annual bus roadeo last Sunday morning!

The bus roadeo is where CMBC employees pit their driving and maintenance skills against one other. Maintenance employees compete to diagnose and treat buses with problems. For the drivers, the big test is an obstacle course with many precision driving challenges, like trying not to knock over barrels outlining a narrowing course, or maneuver without crushing several tennis balls laid out nearby.

Roadeo trophies, awarded to the winners from each transit depot and to the overall winner. Photo by <a href=>Chris Cassidy</a>.

Roadeo trophies, awarded to the winners from each transit depot and to the overall winner. Photo by Chris Cassidy.

For some fun, Coast Mountain also invited the media out to give driving a bus a try.

So here’s the reports from Carmen Chai at the the Province, and Dave White from News 1130. The general conclusions seem to be that bus driving is much harder than it looks!

The top two from the driving competition and a team of three from the maintenance division will be off to Cleveland in 2010, to compete at the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Roadeo.

I didn’t manage to make it out on Sunday, but David Lam and Chris Cassidy did, and they have photos to share! Check out their galleries here:

Thanks guys, and congrats to the roadeo winners — good luck in the finals!

Reminder: Get your feedback in at BePartofthePlan!

Just want to keep reminding you to go over to and give us your thoughts on the 10-Year Plan options we’re presenting.

The consultation period closes on June 30, so you have 22 days to get your thoughts in as of today.

There’s two key ways to give us your feedback:

  • First, play It’s Your Move, 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!
  • Then, if you want to talk more, 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.

Some perspective: transit funding challenges in other places

View United States of Transit Cutbacks in a larger map

I came across this map a while back and thought it would be interesting to share.

It shows proposed transit cuts in 94 American communities, put together by the Transportation for America advocacy group from media reports and online coverage.

Here’s the legend:

  • Yellow = Service Cuts
  • Green = Fare Increases
  • Purple = Service Cuts and Fare Increases
  • Red = Service Cuts and Job Losses
  • Turquoise = Fare Increases and Job Losses
  • $$ = Service Cuts, Job Losses, and Fare Increases.

(Transportation for America also has more data from this map in its transit cuts section.)

Now, the analogy between TransLink and these American communities is by no means perfect. We have a unique structure with many dedicated revenue sources that other communities do not enjoy, and our transportation mandate and spending histories are different from many agencies.

But it’s still worthwhile to point out that many agencies are struggling with the cost of funding their services even as ridership increases, and are grasping at funding mechanisms like fare increases to meet their costs. (Mass Transit magazine has a good article explaining the transit funding “paradox.”)

It also shows that to keep systems running, transit agencies are often forced to make service cuts, much like the drastic cuts TransLink will be forced to make if we have no new funding. (We do have scenarios for mid-level investment and maximal investment too, never fear!)

Closer to home, an article in the Toronto Star today discusses the funding challenges facing Metrolinx, the regional transportation agency in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

Which is all to say that these transportation funding challenges that face TransLink and our region today are challenges present elsewhere too. The cost of transportation is high. And we need you to weigh in at so you can have a say in how much we invest in our transportation future, how we should pay for it, and what that transportation future should look like.

Okay, serious talk over! More Buzzer blog fun stuff soon :)

Friday fun poll: if you already have a seat, do you jump to a more empty seat if it becomes available?

If you like, you can skip to the end of this post to answer the empty seat poll.

Results from last poll: signalling to a driver that you don’t want their bus

Last week I asked about how you signal to a driver that you don’t want them to pick you up.

The winning strategy: step back from the bus stop, which swept the poll with 71% of votes. “Use some sort of hand signal” was a distant second with 16% of the vote. Hide behind the bus shelter (5%), just ignore the bus (4%) and “other” (4%) were less popular options.

In the comments, some said they try to really not look at the bus to indicate they don’t want it. Here’s Holly:

I step back, turn around and start admiring the building behind the bus stop. I don’t even look in the direction of the bus!

Others try to shake their head “no” as the bus approaches. Joseph Bilac wrote:

I normally shake my head, it’s the most universal signal there is for no, no chance of them getting confused.

And as a side note, Dora mentioned the different strategy applied at London’s request stops.

Something I found really confusing the first time I visited London is that some stops (generally ones in less busy areas) are “request stops”, meaning that if you’re waiting at the stop you have to wave to the driver if you want the bus to stop and let you on. It takes a bit of getting used to if you’re more familiar with our system here, where the driver will always stop if there is someone waiting, unless you indicate that you don’t want to be picked up.

In other words, if you don’t signal for your bus, at a request stop, your bus will just pass you by! Very interesting.

Again, you can find everyone’s full comments at the original post!

This week’s poll: do you jump to an empty seat if it becomes available?

So here’s the situation:

You’re in an aisle seat on a two-seater bench facing forward, with someone you don’t know sitting beside you. All the other seats on the bus are occupied.

However, at the next stop, two people leave and now one of the two-seater bench seats is entirely empty.

Sometimes I see people leap for those seats like crazy, and in other cases nobody seems to mind. What are your thoughts?

Two nice little changes on the TransLink website

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but there are two nice little changes on the main TransLink website.

Trip planner now shows five trip options

Five options now appear when you use the trip planner!

Five options now appear when you use the trip planner!

First, the trip planner now gives you five trip options instead of three!

And yes, this change was directly due to a comment left on the Buzzer blog. Thanks for the suggestion, ;-) — it turned out we could do it, so we did!

(Also, for all those who are probably saying “Yes, but it’s still the same old trip planner,” improvements are coming to the planner in phase 2 of the site’s development, which will launch very soon. Soon, I tell you!)

WestCoast Express map now up

The WestCoast Express map is now on the website!

The WestCoast Express map is now on the website!

The second change is that the West Coast Express map with travel times is now on the site.

So if you liked seeing the WCE travel times in map form, go to Schedules & Maps/West Coast Express and click the “West Coast Express Map” link. (Here’s the direct link too).

And a big thanks to our web staff for these changes. They’re working very hard on updating the site content and implementing more features right now. I’ll keep you posted on what’s new as it happens!

The June Buzzer is out today!

The June 2009 Buzzer is now on all buses, SeaBus, SkyTrain, and West Coast Express!

In this issue we talk about the Golden Ears Bridge opening and celebration, the launch of the #595 bus route across the bridge, as well as the debut of the Central Valley Greenway on June 27.

We’ve also got details of the June bus service changes (it’s a small one this time), Bike Month, and the Design for Diversity event at Oakridge celebrating the end of Canada Line construction.

Again, it is our pleasure from another lovely Canadian illustrator, Genevieve Simms. Wonderful work, Genevieve!

As always, if you can’t get the Buzzer on the system, you can always read it in PDF form on our website. Visit our Buzzer PDF archives, which stretch back to the heady days of June 2006. (Here’s the direct link to the June issue PDF.)

Please don’t forget to enter the FareCard contest too: you can win a free FareCard in every issue of the Buzzer. Read the issue, then answer the question right by Monday, July 6 at 9 a.m. to win! (The date for the next Buzzer issue in the contest section is wrong btw: the next issue is July 10, not Jan 16. Le sigh.)

Enjoy the latest Buzzer! Comments are welcome below!

SkyTrain starts early for the Pattullo weekend closures (#321 riders, take note)

SkyTrain service will start early on Sunday, June 7, to accommodate early passengers during the planned Pattullo Bridge closure that weekend.

The bridge closure for paving means that two early morning trips on the #321 bus, normally running from Surrey to New Westminster (departing Surrey Central Station at 6:33 and 6:50am), will have to terminate at Scott Road Station. They will also not be able to make the usual 6:56am and 7:18am departures from New Westminster to Surrey.

On this date, SkyTrain will start approximately 30 minutes earlier than regular Sunday schedule. First train will leave King George at 6:36am (32 minutes earlier than normal), and every 8 minutes thereafter (6:44, 6:52, 7:00, 7:08, etc.). Eastbound service will also start earlier, with the first train from New Westminster to Surrey at 6:52am, and every 8 minutes. Trains will also start earlier from Waterfront (approximately 7:20am), and on the Millennium Line from Lougheed (6:41am in both directions).

The earlier start will also benefit earlybirds and volunteers going to the Rio Tino Alcan Dragon Boat festival in False Creek, convenient to Main Street station.

In the event that a second weekend closure is required (June 14), SkyTrain service would also be advanced on that date. Service end times will be unchanged on all days, since the N19 NightBus schedule can accommodate a diversion via the Port Mann Bridge. Throughout the Pattullo Bridge closures, SkyTrain will monitor passenger loading, and increase service where and when required.

Video of our retired trolleys in service in Argentina

Our dear friend Jorge Luis Guevara from the transit agency in Mendoza, Argentina, has posted a new video showing our retired trolleys in service. Check out how they reconfigured the interiors at the front of the bus!

Jorge says the trolleys are performing really well and is currently gathering more material to put up online. Here’s Jorge’s blog about Mendoza’s trolleys if you’d like to see more. Thanks to Josh for emailing this video to me too!

The past posts on our retired trolleys and their voyage to Argentina:

More details about the Golden Ears Bridge celebration on June 14!

The Golden Ears Bridge!

The Golden Ears Bridge!

Here’s a few more details about the Golden Ears Bridge celebration on Sunday, June 14—two days before the bridge officially opens on June 16.

The celebration runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Things kick off at 11 a.m. with performances including Kutapira, the Langley Ukulele Ensemble and First Nations blues performer Murray Porter.

The Official Ribbon Cutting ceremony starts at 1 pm, followed by the music of Rick Tippe, Maple Ridge country recording artist and winner of 30 country music awards, The Vancouver International Bhangra Celebration, and Delhi 2 Dublin.

At 2 pm, you’ll have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play hopscotch, hula hoop, breakdance and take part in other activities on the bridge deck. The most enthusiastic participants will be awarded a limited edition “I Made History on the Golden Ears Bridge” button.

Six passport stamping stations will be set up along the bridge deck and guests who collect all six stamps can enter a prize draw.

Also, a fun run across the bridge deck begins at 8:30 am on the north side of the river. Langley’s George Tabert, the winner of the bridge naming contest held in 2004, will lead runners across the bridge on the bicycle he was awarded as a prize for naming the bridge. The run is sponsored by Running Room and pre-registration is required at

How to get to the celebration

A map of the connections to the Golden Ears Bridge, once the bridge is open. Click for a larger version.

A map of the connections to the Golden Ears Bridge, once the bridge is open. Click for a larger version.

There will be no vehicle access to the bridge or new road network on June 14.

Three-hour free parking will be available at the Langley Events Centre, Colossus Langley, Pitt Meadows Regional Airport, Westcoast Express Pitt Meadows Station and Westcoast Express Maple Meadows Station. Coast Mountain Bus Company buses will shuttle guests to drop-off spots at each end of the bridge, about 800 metres from the event. Wheelchair access to the bridge deck is provided through these parking lots. Shuttles from the parking lots are free.

Those biking to the celebration on the north side of the river can proceed southbound on Maple Meadows Way to Stewart Crescent and then take the new paved pedestrian and cyclist path to the new 113B Avenue roundabout.

Cyclists can check their bikes at the free bike valet operated by Better Environmentally Sound Transportation Association (BEST). Bike valet locations are near 201st Street and 100A Avenue in Langley and near the north side bridge approach near 113B Avenue.

Pedestrians can access the bridge deck near the bike valets on both ends of the bridge.

The celebration will take place outdoors on the one-kilometre bridge deck, so guests should wear comfortable walking shoes, bring bottled water and dress for the weather. For safety reasons, bikes, rollerblades, skateboards and pets will not be permitted on the bridge deck.

As well, the celebration is looking for volunteers, if you’d like to help us make history.

We’re all really proud to launch this bridge and hope you can join us!

And for more info on the Golden Ears Bridge, check out TransLink’s Golden Ears Bridge website and the Golden Ears Bridge construction website.

Third SeaBus gets its hulls assembled at the Victoria Shipyards

The Burrard Pacific Breeze, currently under construction at the Victoria Shipyards.

The Burrard Pacific Breeze, currently under construction at the Victoria Shipyards.

Here’s a little update about the third SeaBus, which is currently being built over at the Victoria Shipyards. Along with two photos, I got this email from fleet management this morning:

I thought you might be interested to know that the hulls and the superstructure of the 3rd SeaBus have now been connected! Or at least, they’ve been assembled, and will now be welded together. The mast hasn’t been mounted to the vessel yet, but they’re expecting to do that later this week.

One more photo of the SeaBus under construction is below. FYI, the third SeaBus is slated to go in service at the end of 2009. Here’s an earlier post showing the passenger house arriving at the shipyards in February.

Edit: I asked for more description of the pictures btw, and here’s what I got:

Since the vessel is a catamaran, it has two hulls. The two hulls were being built separately from each other, and the superstructure (passenger house, cross structure, and wheelhouse) were being built separately from the hulls for ease and speed of construction.

The photos show the hulls that have been lined up next to each other, with the superstructure being lowered onto the hulls. Now that the superstructure has been lowered onto the hulls, the shipyard will weld the three units together, thus making a ship out of the three pieces!

Another shot of the Burrard Pacific Breeze at the Victoria Shipyards.

Another shot of the Burrard Pacific Breeze at the Victoria Shipyards.

SeaBus ftw! :D

Hey, the Buzzer is 93 today!

Happy birthday to the Buzzer!

Happy birthday to the Buzzer!

A big shout-out to everyone’s favourite transit newsletter today!

The Buzzer made its debut back on June 2, 1916, making it 93 years old on this very day!

If you’ve never seen it before, I posted the very first Buzzer issue at Christmas time.

And for fun, here’s a couple random June issues from the archives! (They’re all so good, it’s hard to pick just one :)

If you’ve got any good Buzzer stories or just some fun birthday wishes to share, I’d love to hear you in the comments! relaunches for our 10-Year plan consultation

Hey everyone: we’ve relaunched, our online consultation website!

As I explained before, was scheduled for a June relaunch, to coincide with the release of our draft 10-Year Plan.

So now, as of June 1, is all about public consultation for that 10-Year Plan, which lays out the first steps to reaching Transport 2040, the region’s transportation strategy for the next 30 years.

Be warned now: all throughout June, I’m going to harp on about how important your feedback is in this consultation. The decisions we’re making in this 10-Year Plan are about the future of our region and its continuing liveability. It’s so important that you weigh in!

But keep in mind that the public consultation runs from June 1 to June 30 only, so please visit the discussion boards, try the online consultation exercise, or come to an in-person event to give us your thoughts!

Here’s a little more about the site and its new content and features.

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