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Translink Buzzer Blog

Passenger house of third SeaBus arrives at Victoria Shipyards

The SeaBus passenger shell arrives at Victoria Shipyards last week.

The SeaBus passenger shell arrives at Victoria Shipyards last week.

Thanks to the Victoria Shipyards, here is a photo of the aluminum SeaBus passenger house that was floated out to their yards last week. (It was the subject of the SeaBus photo opp from last Tuesday, if you managed to catch it.)

This is the main passenger house of the third SeaBus, the Burrard Pacific Breeze, which is being built out at Victoria Shipyards and should be finished by this fall. If you click the photo for a larger version, you can actually see the words “Burrard Pacific Breeze” written on the middle of the passenger house.

The passenger house actually arrived at the shipyards last Wednesday morning (Feb. 11, as the photo date indicates). The picture shows the house after being offloaded from the barge. From here, the passenger house will be moved into an indoor shop, the wheelhouse/HVAC modules will be mounted above the passenger house, and they’ll start outfitting the interior of the vessel.

Just thought you’d like the update!

Open houses for Canada Line bus changes – Feb. 21 & 23, Surrey and YVR

We’re holding open houses in Surrey and at YVR this upcoming weekend to discuss Canada Line bus route changes. Come on out: we want your feedback on what changes should be made!

The first event will be on Saturday, Feb. 21 • 9:30am – 5pm, at Semiahmoo Mall, 152 Street and 16th Avenue, Surrey.

The second event will be on Monday, Feb. 23 • 2pm – 8pm, at the Vancouver International Airport (in front of Haida Gwaii).

These are the last two open houses in February, so please try to drop by if you haven’t been to one yet!

Note: Just wanted to mention that this is the second round of consultations on Canada Line bus changes — the first round was held in March 2008. (You can see the schedule for the first consultation round in the March 28, 2008 Buzzer, btw.)

For more info, send an e-mail to John Timms, or give John a call at 604-953-3251.

Second open house for Burnaby Mountain Transit Hub on Wednesday

SFU staff, students, residents of UniverCity and other interested parties: come to an open house on Wednesday to see the developing plans for the Burnaby Mountain Transit Hub!

Wednesday, February 18
9:00am – 4:00pm
ASSC 1 Atrium Space – AQ NE (adjacent to Renaissance Coffee)
6:30pm – 8:30pm
Cornerstone Building, 8982 University High Street

This is the second open house to be held regarding this transit exchange, following up on an initial consultation held in November 2008.

At this open house, you’ll see background information and a conceptual design for the Burnaby Mountain Transit Hub and surrounding area, based on the concept that resulted from the November 2008 Community Open House. Feel free to attend and share your comments and ideas!

TransLink, SFU and the SFU Community Trust are engaged in this study to consider the redevelopment of the exchange. With the introduction of the Vancity U-Pass in 2002 and the SFU Community Pass in 2006, transit use has increased significantly and the current exchange at the top of Burnaby Mountain needs to be expanded. And with projects like UniverCity and the SFU Town Centre redevelopment, the SFU area has seen increased growth and more diverse land use.

We’re hoping to create an exceptional urban environment that supports the community’s commitment to sustainable planning, and encourages commuters to choose transit as the preferred mode of travel. We want the hub to be attractive, safe and functional, respecting the campus’ inherent character as well as the urban context of the area, and meeting the needs of the people now and in the future.

For more information, please contact Colleen Sondermann at 604 453 4687 or at colleen_sondermann@translink.bc.ca.

Friday fun poll: where do you like sitting on SkyTrain?

In last Friday’s poll, I asked what you would do when the passenger beside you vacates the window seat, on a full bus.

Out of 116 votes, three-fourths were in favour of moving over and sitting in the window seat (75.86%), while a tiny 6.9 percent thought it was okay to stay sitting in the aisle seat. A further 17 percent thought either option were just fine.

This result might have been obvious though — on a full bus, people generally move over so it’s not difficult for another passenger to get to a seat, which speeds up loading and departure since it doesn’t create any weird passenger traffic issues in the aisle.

And of course these aren’t the only choices. In the comments, Stephan Alexander Scharnberg highlighted the strategy he takes based on proximity to his stop:

If I am relatively close to my stop, I say that I’m getting off soon and offer the window seat (they might be riding further than myself). If they decline, then I take it. If the bus is coming to a terminus (such as Metrotown) and we both are travelling the same distance, I still offer the window seat. If they decline, then I take the window seat. In fact, if I am nearing my stop, once I get up to let the previous window sitter by, I often remain standing, offering both seats to others.

And Eugene Wong has again provided some interesting thoughts:

I chose “always move over”, with the idea that all situations are equal. That being said, each situation is unique, and talking about it with other passengers is always the best way to go. Talking with others with a genuine concern for them will help us to be as polite as possible.

It’s true: talking with your fellow passengers about the options can really help and avoids needless misunderstandings. Which echoes Steve’s comment that there “probably isn’t a right or wrong answer here anyway, as long as people are considerate of others.”

———

Anyway, I thought we’d switch modes from buses to SkyTrain for this week’s poll. And it’s a preference rather than behaviour one, so who knows what the winner might be?

Feel free to discuss your choice in the comments. (Anybody a big fan of the captain’s chair, btw?) And vote away until next Friday!

The February Buzzer is out today!

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

The issue celebrates a huge SkyTrain milestone: 1 billion riders! There’s an article about the origins of SkyTrain, a little SkyTrain fill-in-the-station-name game, some astronomical stats about the SkyTrain system, and more.

We’ve also put out a call for loose issues of the Buzzer from 1916-1974: we’d like to scan them to create a digital Buzzer archive. (Our collection is in little bound books, and we’re hesitant to unbind them for fear of destroying the actual issues.) And there’s info about two new TrainBus trips, a reminder of the Canada Line open house dates, and reroutes scheduled for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in March.

The Back Issues history item is also possibly my favourite so far — it’s from 1936, quoting transit rules from 1836, and you’d be surprised at how many of them still apply today.

And again, we are pleased to feature the work of a Canadian illustrator on the cover, by illustrator Nickelas Johnson, who also heads the lo-fi rock band Field and Stream.

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 February issue PDF.)

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, Mar. 2 at 9 a.m. to win!

Enjoy the latest Buzzer: comments are welcome below!

Don’t be alarmed, SeaBussers — it’s just Exercise Silver out on the water

SeaBus, going about its business on a regular day.

SeaBus, going about its business on a regular day.

Just a warning that the SeaBus will be part of an Olympics security exercise this evening — so don’t worry if you see more marine security vessels in Burrard Inlet at about 7:45 p.m.

The SeaBus should be empty for this exercise, so passengers shouldn’t be inadvertently involved!

The details from the release I was given:

The V2010 Integrated Security Unit is conducting Exercise Silver this week in the Vancouver and Whistler areas. Exercise Silver is a functional, integrated command and coordination exercise developed to test security, safety and emergency management frameworks from local to the National levels.

The exercise will provide a believable and realistic environment and will test relationships and organizational limits.

Exercise Silver will continue this evening with a ‘live action’ event in the Burrard Inlet. At approximately 7:45pm, the Integrated Security Unit will coordinate a marine based exercise. The public should be advised that there will be an increase in marine security vessel activity during this time. The exercise will involve a response to an emergent criminal incident on a TransLink SeaBus. The exercise will be highly controlled, and access to the area will be restricted.

The exercise is expected to take place over a two hour period. Public Affairs staff from the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit and Joint Task Force Games will be available on the promenade at Canada Place. Please be advised that the scenario will occur in darkness and at a significant distance from shore.

A look at T-Comm, the Transit Communications centre

A glance at T-Comm, the Transit Communications centre out at the Surrey Transit Centre.

A glance at T-Comm, the Transit Communications centre out at the Surrey Transit Centre.

When a transit operator talks on their radio, have you ever wondered who’s answering at the other end?

It’s the men and women working at Transit Communications, which is located out at the Surrey Transit Centre.

T-Comm, as it’s often called, is like an air traffic control centre, but for public transit instead. Twenty-four hours a day, three to seven T-Comm supervisors are constantly monitoring the buses on the system. They manage the flow of bus traffic as much as possible, and provide information and support to operators as needed.

I was lucky enough to visit T-Comm, meet the fine folks who work there, and see their brand-new real-time communications system in action. So, let’s take a closer look and see what managing a bus system is all about!

Read more »

Transit operator job fair, Fri Feb. 13 – Sun Feb. 15

Want to be a transit operator?

Coast Mountain Bus Company (CMBC) will be hiring hundreds of operators at their job fair this weekend!

So if you’re interested in operating a conventional or community shuttle, come down to the Transit Operator Career Fair:

  • Friday, Feb. 13 to Sunday, Feb. 15
  • 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • at Canada Place in downtown Vancouver

CMBC is looking for customer-service driven people to join the company. Just bring a resume and a driver’s abstract, and they’ll take you through the application process in one to two days, rather than the normal six to eight weeks.

Come early: last year, there were 1,600 applicants! You might also be interested to know that Coast Mountain was named one of the 2009 Top 50 employers in BC, the third year in a row that they have has received this honour. (Check out the 2009 B.C. Top Employers page to see the reasons why.)

For more information, please call 604-453-3100 or visit www.coastmountainbus.com/careers.

On Thursday at 6pm, transit will make some noise for the Olympics!

Trains, buses, and more will be making noise for the Olympics on Thursday! (Yes, I like writing speech bubbles for trains and buses.)

Trains, buses, and more will be making noise for the Olympics on Thursday! (Yes, I like writing speech bubbles for trains and buses.)

It’s one year to the 2010 Winter Olympics on Thursday, Feb. 12! The Olympics organizing committee is calling for our region to make some noise at 6 p.m. that day to recognize the milestone — and transit will be answering the call!

So at 6 p.m. tomorrow, all SkyTrain passengers will be encouraged to MAKE SOME NOISE. A pre-recorded announcement just prior to 6 p.m. will remind people to take part. Horns, cowbells, tambourines, and those paper thingies that you use at parties are more than welcome!

All West Coast Express trains en route at the time will also blow their whistles at 6 p.m., so people living and working along the WCE route should be aware that the whistles will sound in an unusual circumstance. Both SeaBuses will also join in the noisy event, blasting their horns at four bells of the “first dog watch.”

Coast Mountain buses will get into the Olympic Spirit, too. Beginning Thursday, the route destination signs will alternate with the words, “Countdown 2 Gold”. As the year progresses, the messages “Go Team Canada” and “Go Canada Go” will also be displayed.

I’ll make sure I’m on SkyTrain at 6pm to get some video. Feel free to send in your own pics and video too, if you see the buses, trains, and SeaBuses celebrating!

The Olympic and Paralympic Games are a unique opportunity for Metro Vancouver to welcome the world, and TransLink and its family of companies are excited and honoured to be part of it!

Two more photos of the retired trolleys off to Argentina

One of our retired Flyer trolleys, crossing the Andes! Photo courtesy of CTL Westrans Shipbrokers.

One of our retired Flyer trolleys, crossing the Andes! Photo courtesy of CTL Westrans Shipbrokers.

CTL Westrans Shipbrokers, the company shipping the trolleys, sent us a few more photos of our retired trolley fleet crossing the Andes by truck. There’s one more photo below. Click each one for a much larger version! You can also check the Mendoza trolley blog run by Jorge Luis Mendoza for more photos of the trolleys as they move into their new home.

Another of our retired trolleys crossing the Andes. Photo courtesy of CTL Westrans Shipbrokers.

Another of our retired trolleys crossing the Andes. Photo courtesy of CTL Westrans Shipbrokers.

And again, if you’d like to catch up with my earlier posts on the retired trolleys heading to Mendoza, Argentina, here they are:

SeaBus photo opp: 4pm

Update to the last post about the SeaBus photo opp: the barge will apparently be leaving the dock at 4pm. Not sure when it will pass under the Lions Gate Bridge from there… but keep an eye out if you’re in the area! Sorry for the short notice — I just found out!

Open houses for Canada Line bus changes – Feb. 14 & 15, Delta

We’re holding two Delta open houses this upcoming weekend to discuss Canada Line bus route changes. Come on out: we want your feedback on what changes should be made!

The first event will be on Saturday, February 14th • 11am – 5pm , at Tsawwassen Town Centre Mall, 5499 12th Avenue, Delta.

The second event will be on Sunday, February 15th • 10:30am – 4pm , at Ladner Pioneer Library, 4683 51st Street, Delta.

Note: Just wanted to mention that this is the second round of consultations on Canada Line bus changes — the first round was held in March 2008. (You can see the schedule for the first consultation round in the March 28, 2008 Buzzer, btw.)

Just two more open houses will be held in February:

Saturday, Feb. 21 • 9:30am – 5pm
Semiahmoo Mall
152 Street and 16th Avenue, Surrey

Monday, Feb. 23 • 2pm – 8pm
Vancouver International Airport
(in front of Haida Gwaii)

For more info, send an e-mail to John Timms, or give John a call at 604-953-3251.

A little more about the talking buses

A stop announcement from the 98 B-Line, illustrated!

A stop announcement from the 98 B-Line, illustrated!

As promised, here’s a supplement to the feature article in the print Buzzer about the annunciators, the voice-announcement system installed on all of our buses.

I had much more info on the annunciators than could be put into the print Buzzer, so I thought I’d give you a more detailed look at the system, how it came to be, and how it operates.

A big thanks to Richard Brown and Marty Williamson over at the Coast Mountain Bus Company (CMBC), who took the time to explain this all! Richard and Marty have a major role in managing the annunciators, alongside many other staff in different departments who also work with our communications system.

Read more »

Heads up: third SeaBus photo opp

One of the older SeaBuses out on the water, awaiting the arrival of its new friend the Pacific Breeze!

One of the older SeaBuses out on the water, awaiting the arrival of its new friend the Pacific Breeze!

Transit photography fans: there will likely be a photo opp for the third SeaBus tomorrow!

Basically, a large portion of the Burrard Pacific Breeze will be taken by barge from a warehouse in North Vancouver to Victoria Shipyards in Victoria, where construction will be completed.

You should recognize it fairly easily — it’s the aluminum shell of the passenger house.

The departure is dependent on tides and currents, so I don’t have an exact time yet—I’ll keep you posted once I get that information. But once it departs, feel free to head out to the Lions Gate Bridge and watch for it.

I won’t be able to make it out, so if you do get some shots, it would be great if I could share them on the blog! Send them to the Buzzer’s email and let me know how you’d like to be credited.

Capilano University interim transit exchange opens today

Capilano University students, your new interim transit exchange opened this morning!

Starting today, buses #130, #28 and #255 will be re-routed to the exchange, located off Monashee Drive, north of the Studio Art Building. (The #255 will be extended to the new exchange and will travel along Lillooet Road—#255 service at Old Lillooet Road and Mt Seymour Parkway will be discontinued.) Route #239 will remain on Purcell Way.

Here’s a PDF detailing the reroutes and some changes to local bus stops.

So why is it called an interim transit exchange?

Well, our ultimate goal is to build an exchange located at the centre of activity at Cap U, where students and customers want to be. We also want it to be integrated with surrounding land uses, and sized for mid-to-long term growth.

However, recent service increases associated with the January launch of the Vancity U-Pass program ramped up the need for a transit exchange. We had to develop a temporary solution, to make sure the extra buses and service were not disrupting the residents in the neighbourhood surrounding Capilano University.

So, we’ve created this interim exchange at a site that was available. It has a five-year expected capacity, based on current ridership growth assumptions. The interim facility will still have new shelters, garbage receptacles, and proper lighting to ensure everything is up to safety and accessibility standards.

During this time, we will work with area residents, the district of North Vancouver, and the University community to site and plan a longer-term facility. So, that’s why this current exchange is “interim” for now.