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Translink Buzzer Blog

Open houses for the new Golden Ears Bridge bus route

When the Golden Ears Bridge opens in 2009, we’re going to use the new connection to offer a brand new bus route between Langley Centre and Haney Place. That bus is the #595 Langley Centre (not the #555 as listed in the Buzzer) and we want customer input on it!

So, we’re inviting the residents of Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, North Surrey and Langley to attend our two #595 open houses next week. The listings are the same as in the November Buzzer:

  • Tuesday Nov. 18, 3-8pm: Langley Public Library, 20399 Douglas Crescent, Langley
  • Thursday Nov. 20, 3-8pm: Haney Place Mall, 11900 Haney Place, Maple Ridge

It’s currently anticipated that the route will operate every 30 minutes from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., between Langley Centre, Walnut Grove, Maple Meadows Station (West Coast Express) and Haney Place, using conventional 40-foot buses. It will be a limited stop service, providing a fast connection to significantly shorten existing trips. We’re looking to start service in September 2009!

For more information on the open houses or the new bus route, contact John Timms at the Coast Mountain Bus Company, or (604) 953-3251.

News station violated radio ethics code in reporting on SkyTrain security

My colleague Drew Snider from TransLink media relations just posted the saga of a complaint TransLink filed with the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council over at his blog, Vancouver on the Lines. The long and short of it: we filed a complaint about CKWX (News 1130) misrepresenting and sensationalizing an interview from Doug Kelsey, CEO of SkyTrain—and the Council ruled that News 1130 had indeed violated multiple articles of two broadcast journalism ethics codes in their reporting. Read Drew’s blog for more.

TransLink’s iPhone app is now in the Apple App Store!

Yikes, try saying that headline three times fast. But it’s all true: TransLink’s iPhone app is now available in the Apple App Store!

So if you have an iPhone, this means you can download the TransLink app directly through Apple’s built-in application store. Just search for “TransLink” in the App Store and you’ll find it.

As well, the TransLink app, which is developed by Handi Mobility, now includes location-awareness to find nearby bus stops. Tap on the Bus icon and you’ll see!

What’s TransLink’s iPhone app? Here’s the description from the app store:

Ever wondered when the next bus in Vancouver, Canada is coming? Guess no more! Check out the TransLink application to access complete schedules for buses, SkyTrain, West Coast Express, and SeaBus. You’ll also see service alerts, star your favourite stops and access the GVRD transit maps.

Version 1.1 of the app will be out in late November—I’ll have all the details here when it drops. And if you’d like some further reading on the app so far, here’s the interview I did with Igor Faletski from Handi Mobility about the app, way back in October. Enjoy!

One more time: a poll on Twitter service alerts

Okay, after the last kick at the can failed so miserably, I’m trying this poll thing again.

Again: we’re thinking about using Twitter to send out emergency notices for service disruptions. You know: bus cancellations owing to heavy snowfall, or SkyTrain’s at a halt because there’s a fire on the tracks, that kind of thing.

The poll closes next Thursday at 4pm, so get your vote in now! And to clarify any confusion from the last post, this poll is solely about Twitter – voting no in this poll doesn’t mean you’re against mobile alerts in general.

As well, here’s a recap of the comments in the last Twitter poll post, with a little more about the meaning of this poll and the customer alert systems we’re working on for the future.

Read more »

Canada Line carries its first passengers on a trial run

The Canada Line train approaches Vancouver International Airport Station.

The Canada Line train approaches Vancouver International Airport Station.

The Canada Line took its first passengers on a trial run from Bridgeport Station to YVR this morning!

I wasn’t there, but those on board included Premier Gordon Campbell, the Honourable James Moore (federal Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, there on behalf of John Baird, Canada’s Transport and Infrastructure Minister), as well as Kevin Falcon, provincial Transportation and Infrastructure Minister, TransLink CEO Tom Prendergast, many more MPs and MLAs from the Vancouver region, and a number of members of the media.

The trial run marked a milestone for the Canada Line: testing and commissioning of the trains on the Bridgeport Station to YVR-Airport Station section of the Canada Line is almost complete. Testing is also currently underway on the Richmond and south Vancouver sections of the line, and construction continues on schedule for the line’s 16 stations. (Here’s the full press release for the event.)

Read more »

Name the new SeaBus!

As promised in the November Buzzer, here are all the details for the Name the New SeaBus contest!

If you hadn’t heard, our third SeaBus will arrive in 2009, and we want you to name it. If your suggestion is picked, you’ll win three 3-zone Transit Passes, and a ride on the inaugural sailing! (The three passes will be for any three consecutive months you choose.)

Send us your name, phone number, and SeaBus name suggestion by midnight on November 21, using one of the following three methods:

A panel of judges will choose the best five names, and then the 5,000+ members of the TransLink Listens Online Advisory Panel will vote for the final choice. (Anyone can join TransLink Listens, so sign up at the website if you’re interested.)

Edit: Sadly enough, employees of TransLink, its subsidiaries, related companies, transit service contractors and the household members of any of the above are not eligible to participate in the Contest. You can see the official rules for more information.

So what are the names of the other two SeaBuses?

Read more »

Remembrance Day service and parade reroutes

Just a reminder that on Remembrance Day tomorrow, all transit services will run on a Sunday/holiday schedule.

There are also Remembrance Day parades going on in various parts of the Lower Mainland, which means some bus reroutes. Here’s a link to all the customer alerts:

Vancouver reroutes
Burnaby & New Westminster reroutes
Richmond reroutes
North Vancouver reroutes
Surrey reroutes
Port Coquitlam reroutes

As well, veterans ride free on all TransLink services on Nov. 11, in recognition of Remembrance Day.

The concession applies to Ordinary and Life Members of the Royal Canadian Legion, the Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans and the Korean Veterans Association. Veterans just have to show their membership card to receive free transportation (and sorry, associate members aren’t eligible).

All TransLink services—meaning Coast Mountain buses, West Vancouver Blue Bus, SkyTrain, SeaBus, Albion Ferry and Community Shuttles—will also observe a period of silence at the stop they reach closest to 11 a.m. on Remembrance Day.

Plus, remember! On a holiday, you only need a single-zone fare to travel in all zones all day. As well, on a Sunday or holiday, those with an adult FareCard, West Coast Express 28-Day Pass, or Annual Employer Transit Pass can take either five children or one adult and four children on transit with them for free.

The November Buzzer is out today!

Grab the latest Buzzer on all our buses, SeaBus, SkyTrain, and West Coast Express today!

This issue has tips for winter transit travel, an overview of the Broadway SkyTrain changes, GoCard mobile photo locations, and the dates of the Golden Ears Bus open houses. You also might enjoy the Back Issues history item, about cellular payphones that were once installed on the SeaBus!

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. (And here’s the direct link to the November issue, as requested by sungsu in the comments :)

Don’t forget to enter the FareCard contest too: you can win a FareCard in every issue of the Buzzer. As well, in this issue I mistakenly put the contest’s end date as December 8, so you’ll get an extra week to enter this time around. (The November winner will be announced in the January edition, since our next Buzzer issue is actually December 5.)

So, enjoy the latest Buzzer! And feel free to let me know in the comments: what stories would you like to see featured in upcoming Buzzers?

The trolleys of Mendoza, Argentina

Jorge sent along a photo of a German trolley shipped to Mendoza in 1989. Taken by Osvaldo Manoli, of the Argentinian friends of trams association.

Jorge sent along a photo of a German trolley shipped to Mendoza in 1989. Taken by Osvaldo Manoli, of the Argentinian friends of trams association.

So here’s a quick third part to the saga of the retired trolleys. Yesterday, I got an email from Jorge Guevara, from the Mendoza transit agency that bought our retired trolley buses! He promised to send pictures when our trolley buses arrive, and also sent me a few photos of the trolleys in Mendoza, which he said I could share with all of you.

And here they are, the trolleys of Empresa Provincial de Transportes de Mendoza! (That’s the name of Mendoza’s transit agency, if you didn’t know.)

Read more »

No more registration for comments

Everyone: we’ve dropped registration for comments on the blog!

Why? Because lots of people were having trouble writing comments on blog posts, and we wanted people to be able to communicate with us easily. So, goodbye registration.

Now all you have to do is write in your name and e-mail address to comment on any post. But we still want you to follow our participation guidelines when commenting here, and we’ve placed a link to the guidelines above the comment entry area to remind you of that.

So with that in mind, comment away! And feel free to send me an e-mail if the comment system still isn’t working properly for you.

Edit: If you’ve already created an account, feel free to continue using it if you like. Just login here:

Edit 2: We have removed all existing subscribers from the database to deal with a weird commenting issue described in the comments below. So, unfortunately, it means you can’t log in with your old accounts anymore.

Update on the retired trolleys sailing to South America

Trolleys being loaded into the cargo hold of the vessel Wisdom. Photo courtesy CTL Westrans Shipbrokers.

Trolleys being loaded into the cargo hold of the vessel Wisdom. Photo courtesy CTL Westrans Shipbrokers.

I’ve received some more info and a few more photos of our retired trolleys being shipped to their new home in Mendoza, Argentina, so here’s an update to my earlier post on the trolleys setting sail.

CTL Westrans Shipbrokers, the shipping company sending the trolleys on their way, told us that the motor vessel Wisdom completed loading and lashing operations for all 80 trolleys on Tuesday Nov. 4, and sailed from Fraser Surrey Docks at 1600 hrs (4 p.m.).

The buses will then be offloaded in San Antonio, Chile, and their estimated arrival date in Chile is Thursday Nov. 27, if all goes well and the weather is good.

CTL also sent along some pictures of the trolleys in the cargo hold, and you can see one of them above. For safety reasons, the TransLink staff and photographers weren’t allowed to go up on the ship, so these are probably the only views of the trolleys inside the ship that you’ll probably see!

Here’s a few more photos from CTL Westrans…

Read more »

Thinking ahead: A backgrounder on Transport 2040 and our 2010 10-year plan

TransLink CEO Tom Prendergast gave a speech at the Vancouver Board of Trade this morning, discussing our long-term strategies and the challenges we’re facing as our transportation network grows.

So, I thought I’d take this opportunity to start highlighting the same topics, since we’re actually going to be talking about this a lot over the coming year.

It really might sound kind of sleep-inducing, but please don’t let your eyes glaze over! We’re planning the future of transportation in our region here, and we want you to be informed about what we’re doing and where we’re coming from.

Read more »

Poll: do you want service alerts on Twitter?

Edit: Garr—the poll doesn’t seem to be working for everybody. We’re working on a solution and the poll itself might have to be restarted in another post. But feel free to leave your comments in the interim!

Edit 2: Fixed, yo! We have a new poll up.

You might not be able to vote in the U.S. elections today, but you can certainly vote in our Twitter poll!

We’re thinking about using Twitter to send out emergency notices for service disruptions. You know: bus cancellations owing to heavy snowfall, or SkyTrain’s at a halt because there’s a fire on the tracks, that kind of thing.

Before we jump headlong into tweeting, though, we’d actually like to know whether you would like us to issue these kinds of notices via Twitter.

Please vote in the poll below, and feel free to leave a comment if you have anything to add. The poll will be open until 4 p.m. next Wednesday, Nov. 12.

Would you like TransLink to start issuing service disruption messages using Twitter?

  • Yes (80%, 4 Votes)
  • No (20%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 5

Broadway Station gets an upgrade

Did you see the TransLink staff out at Broadway Station this morning? They were out to let everybody know that the station is getting renovated starting this November! (The staff will also be there on Nov. 6, 12, 13, and 15, in case you want to catch their info session again.)

Before you ask, YES, Broadway Station will remain open during the upgrades!

And here’s a little more information about exactly what renovations you can expect to see at the station, and how the project came about.

Read more »

SkyTrain track maintenance on Wed Nov. 5

Late-night Wednesday SkyTrain travellers, look out! We’re doing some ongoing track maintenance in the Surrey area, which affects service after 9:30pm on Wednesday, Nov. 5. (This maintenance will also happen on Nov. 19, 26, and Dec. 3.)

The following service will be in effect for Nov. 5 after 9:30pm:

  • Normal evening service on Expo Line from Waterfront to Scott Road (every 8 min), and Millennium Line from Waterfront to VCC-Clark (every 8 min); combined service every 4 min between Waterfront and Columbia.
  • Reduced frequency between Scott Road and King George (every 16 min). All passengers must change trains at Scott Road.

Passengers going to or from Gateway, Surrey Central, or King George, please allow an extra 10 minutes for your journey!