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Translink Buzzer Blog

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.

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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.

Friday fun poll: more questions for the window seat

So last Friday, I ran a poll about how to properly move so that others could vacate the window seat.

After 181 votes, the vast majority voted for “As much as possible, you should get up and out of your seat to let the passenger pass by” (77%). Only six per cent said it was best to turn your legs into the aisle without getting up. Another 22 per cent thought it was fine to use either method.

A comment from Eugene Wong probably sums the results up best:

“I think that just rotating legs is okay when the person doesn’t need much space. In general, though, the correct thing to do is to stand up, and give the person more space.”

But while the results were pretty strong, I should probably point out diversity of opinion still exists on this issue. So next time you find somebody just turning to let you by, hey — they just might be part of the six per cent above, or those 22 percent who were okay with both.

I don’t think we heard much from the six-per-centers in that earlier post, by the way. As reader Rob pointed out in a comment:

“I wonder about the people who vote for the second option… it suggests that standing up is not ok (if it was, they’d pick the third option). Who are these anti-standers? Do they walk (sit?) among us?”

Are you out there? Would you like to speak up regarding your position? I think we’d love to hear from you!

———

New poll time! As suggested by Holly in the comments from the last poll, it’s going to be about the window seat again.

Again, here’s the situation:

You’re on a bus that is full. You’re in the aisle seat of a two-seater bench (There’s another two-seater bench immediately in front of this one.)

Suddenly, the passenger beside you gets up and gets off the bus. (You of course get up out of your seat to let them by!)

Get your votes in before next Friday!

The third SeaBus finally gets its name!

Our two existing SeaBus vessels, as pictured above, will be joined this fall by a third SeaBus: the Pacific Breeze!

Our two existing SeaBus vessels, as pictured above, will be joined this fall by a third SeaBus: the Pacific Breeze!

Hey, it’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for — the third SeaBus is named the Burrard Pacific Breeze!

A big congratulations goes out to Robert Waldman, who was the only one to suggest the name out of over 1,200 entries.

“It was a no-brainer,” said Robert, who works at Hastings Park Racecourse. “B.C. is Canada’s Pacific province, and ‘breeze’ suggests the tropical [influenced] weather we often get around here.”

How did the name get picked? Once all the entries were in, the mayors from the North Shore selected their top six names. Then the 5,000+ members of the TransLink Listens Online Advisory Panel voted for the final choice.

For submitting the winning name, Robert gets to take part in the official launching and christening ceremonies and ride on the inaugural voyage of the Burrard Pacific Breeze. He also receives three three-zone monthly FareCards, which will certainly come in handy for Robert.

“I take the bus to work every day,” he says, “even though the others at work laugh and say, ‘you’ve got a car – why take the bus?’ But I love not having the hassle of traffic.”

As for the third SeaBus, the Burrard Pacific Breeze is currently being built and should be on the water in fall 2009. When the Breeze initially goes into service, the other two SeaBuses, the Burrard Otter and Burrard Beaver, will take turns getting a full refit.

Between them, the Burrard Otter and the Burrard Beaver provided over 5.5 million rides in 2008. Having all three SeaBuses in operation will allow capacity between Lonsdale Quay and Waterfront Station to be increased by 800 customers per hour, in each direction.

Congratulations again to Robert! The Pacific Breeze is a lovely name!

Vancouver transit on The Nature of Things

By the way: CBC’s The Nature of Things has a feature on Vancouver tonight, with some attention to SkyTrain and our public transport system in general. I’m told there are shots inside the SkyTrain control room, showing how it works, and an interview with some of our staff. The show airs Thursday, Feb. 5 at 8pm (Cable 3), and this documentary is part of their Living City series, looking at the livability of five Canadian cities. You can find out more information at the CBC’s Living City website.

Open houses for Canada Line bus changes – Feb. 7 & 8 in Vancouver

We’re holding two Vancouver 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, Feb. 7 • 9:30am – 5pm, at Oakridge Shopping Centre, 650 West 41st Avenue, Vancouver.

The second event will be on Sunday, February 8th • 10:30am – 5pm, at Vancouver Public Library (Atrium), 350 West Georgia, Vancouver.

There will also be four more open houses that will be held throughout February:

Saturday, Feb. 14 • 11am – 5pm
Tsawwassen Town Centre Mall
5499 12th Avenue, Delta

Sunday, Feb. 15 • 10:30am – 4pm
Ladner Pioneer Library
4683 51st Street, Delta

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.

Friday fun polls: Exit strategies for the window seat

Last Friday, I ran a poll asking where you like to sit on the bus.

After 143 votes, we have the results at right — an almost dead even split between the middle and the back, with a minority picking the front.

Who’d have thought this? I always thought the back was way more popular than the middle. But commenters pointed out that they avoid the front to give the seats to others, and that access to fresh air, smoothness of ride, and time of day are important seat-choice factors when deciding on middle or back seating.

———-

Anyway, for this Friday’s poll, here’s a transit behaviour question I’ve always pondered.

Here’s the situation:

You’re on a bus that isn’t full, and you have the aisle seat in a two-seater bench facing forward. A passenger that you don’t know has the seat next to you, at the window. There is also another two-seater seat in front of you.

Suddenly, the passenger beside you has to get up and get off the bus.

Vote away: I’ll keep this one open until next Friday!

Transit riders, take note: Saturday night will be busy

Saturday night is always a busy night in downtown Vancouver, but a heavy date calendar for Saturday, Jan. 31 means larger crowds than usual on that evening.

What’s happening on January 31?

  • A Vancouver Canucks game means 18,000+ expected at GM Place
  • Monster Jam will likely bring another 30,000 to BC Place next door;
  • three major live theatre events – Three Broadway Divas at the Orpheum, Carmen at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre and the Vancouver Playhouse production – are expected to add another 6,500 people to the mix
  • and 30,000 people will be coming to MissionsFest 2009 throughout the day at the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre, which wraps up for the evening at 10 pm.

So, Coast Mountain Bus Company will have Transit Supervisors on the scene in downtown Vancouver and in Surrey, and will be able to call in additional resources, as required.

And SkyTrain will run near-rush-hour service levels prior to the events, and will maintain the higher level of service until 11 pm to make sure the platforms are clear and no one is left behind.

To make things go a bit faster, you can pre-purchase return tickets at Stadium Station (valid until midnight) so they can bypass lineups at ticket vending machines. Having exact fare will also help speed up the process — you can check out our fare prices at the main TransLink site.

Also, because Stadium is the closest station to many of these events, be prepared for crowded conditions on that particular platform: you might want to consider leaving early, to avoid the rush.

For more information, please contact Customer Information at (604) 953-3333 or visit www.translink.bc.ca.

Something neat: How we get to work

For all those who like transportation data, Erick over at Regarding Place magazine has a new feature up on how we get to work in our region. He’s generated a map based on data from the most recent census, plus TransLink and Metro Vancouver information, and shows the percentage of trips made to work throughout Metro Vancouver via transit, walking and biking combined. Have a look!

From the opening of the Pattullo Bridge, 1937

A detail from the cover of the 1937 Pattullo Bridge souvenir programme. Scans provided courtesy of the <a href=http://www.burnabyvillagemuseum.ca>Burnaby Village Museum</a>.

A detail from the cover of the 1937 Pattullo Bridge souvenir programme. Scans provided courtesy of the Burnaby Village Museum.

Thanks to Lisa Codd, the curator at the Burnaby Village Museum, here’s a special history treat to celebrate the Pattullo Bridge reopening this week. It’s the souvenir programme and luncheon menu from the 1937 opening of the Pattullo Bridge!

Download the items here:

I’ll run through some of the highlights from both in this post. I’ve also got some great historical background from Lisa to share with you!

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