ALERT! : More info
Translink Buzzer Blog

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 www.runningroom.com.

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!

BePartofthePlan.ca relaunches for our 10-Year plan consultation

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

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

So now, as of June 1, BePartofthePlan.ca 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.

Read more »

Livability Forum kicks off public consultation on our 10-Year Plan

A group at the Livability Forum plays It's Your Move, the consultation exercise board game.

A group at the Livability Forum plays It's Your Move, the consultation exercise board game.

We held a Livability Forum this morning in downtown Vancouver, launching our consultation on our proposed 10-Year Plan!

The 10-Year Plan outlines the first steps we’ll be taking toward Transport 2040, our region’s 30-year transportation strategy. (We’ll be consulting on it from June 1-30, so please come to our in-person events or visit BePartofthePlan.ca to contribute!)

At the forum, we got a huge group of people in Metro Vancouver together to talk about the related transportation and liveability challenges facing our region. Plus, we heard from experts on similar challenges in other major cities.

And at the end, we got everyone to do a consultation exercise—a board game activity called “It’s Your Move,” that lets you plan and select funding for our region’s transportation priorities.

You can try the board game online, too, at our newly relaunched BePartofthePlan.ca site. (I’ll have more on the new site in a bit.)

Here’s a few more details about what we did today, including details of our draft 10-Year Plan and the financing options available to us, and PowerPoints from all the talks given!

(By the way, this event was originally called the Transportation Forum— I talked about it in May.)

Read more »

Friday fun poll: how do you signal that you don’t want a bus to pick you up?

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

Results from last poll: falling asleep and missing your stop

Last week I asked about whether you had ever fallen asleep on transit and missed your stop.

The results were evenly matched: after 154 votes, 53% of you said yes and 47% said no.

We got a lot of funny stories of people falling asleep on transit and waking up in totally unfamiliar places! Jamey explained that he’d found a solution to make sure he got off at the right stop though:

I used to all the time. A couple times, a driver has had to wake me up at the end of the line (which is quite embarrassing…). Luckily, I take the bus right to the end of the line, so I didn’t have to backtrack too much. I’ve learned my lesson, so I set my cell phone alarm for 10 minutes before my bus arrives at its stop.

But missing a stop happens far less frequently to Richard:

Once and only once, and it was on a frequent service bus, so it was a matter of hopping on the same route going back. Every other time I fell asleep on the bus I woke up a stop or two before, almost as if my brain was trained to know that I was about to get off.

I’m definitely in agreement—as I wrote in the previous post, I always fall asleep on the bus, but somehow wake up just before I’m supposed to get off too! Perhaps it’s something about familiar routines?

Again, read everyone’s “I-fell-asleep-and-woke-up-in-South-Surrey” comments at the original post!

This week’s poll: how do you signal that you don’t want a bus to stop?

Andrew Joyce suggested this poll! Thanks Andrew!

I usually try to make eye contact with the driver and shake my head, actually!

Enter the One in a Billion contest, and win $1,000 and a year of transit passes!

Since we’ve had one billion passenger trips this year, TransLink is celebrating with a contest, organized together with the Province newspaper!

Just send in a 100 word story based on one of the following categories:

  1. Heroes– Tell us about someone you’ve encountered while taking transit who made a great impression on you or just brightened your day!
  2. Secret Admirer– Tell us about a person, past or present, you’ve seen while taking TransLink you secretly had or have a crush on.
  3. The Best Thing about taking transit for me is…– Do you take transit to help the environment? Does it give you a chance to read? Does it give you time to prepare for your day? Tell us what you like most about taking transit.

If you haven’t seen the ads in the paper and on transit, here’s the key details:

  • The contest entry period is from 12:01 a.m. PST on May 29, to noon PST on June 12.
  • One entry per person, and you can enter in two ways: fill out an online form at the Province’s website, or mail your entry to the One In A Billion Contest, c/o The Province at Suite 1 – 200 Granville Street, Vancouver, B.C., V6C 3N3
  • You have to be a resident of British Columbia, and aged 19 or older to enter. Sadly, you can’t enter if you’re an employee of TransLink, The Province, or CanWest publishing, or if you share a household with any of the above employees.
  • The grand prize is $1,000 + a year of transit passes. The winner will be randomly picked from a group of 10 finalists — the other nine finalists will receive a free monthly transit pass for up to 3 zones of travel.

Hop on over to the Province’s website for more on the contest, plus the rules and regulations.

Templeton Station photos from the Canada Line open house

Templeton Station, taken from the north end. Click for a larger version!

Templeton Station, taken from the north end. Click for a larger version!

Well, the Templeton Station open house was yesterday, and lots of us have returned with photos!

Templeton is quite a gorgeous station—it’s all glass and wood and feels really light and airy. There are wonderful views of the surrounding area from the top level. Also, I’m told that YVR is planning to put its long term and possibly employee parking in this area, so eventually there will be parking structures nearby, not just empty field.

In this post you’ll find the panoramic photos I took of the station plus a few more (okay, the panoramics are stitched together with Photoshop, if you must know). David Lam, Tafyrn Palecloud, and CJ Stebbing also have more great photos of the station and trains. Here’s the links to their pictures:

And here’s the rest of my photos!

Read more »

Info tubes — send us your feedback!

An example of an info tube from Metrotown bus loop. Bus loop tubes are currently being maintained but others have been replaced with contact info for TransLink's scheduling services.

An example of an info tube from Metrotown bus loop. Bus loop tubes are currently being maintained but others have been replaced with contact info for TransLink

So, you may have noticed that info tubes at many stops no longer contain scheduling information — instead, there’s a notice asking you to call Customer Information or try our website.

Well, we really want to know what you think about this situation! So please send a note to Customer Relations with your feedback.

We want to know so we have a better sense of whether this change is working for you or not. Very few pieces of feedback have come in about the tubes so far, although we do know people have been grumbling about this — just not directly to our Customer Relations department.

Here’s why many of the info tubes were changed about a month ago, too.

Basically, the info tubes were changed because our customer information department no longer has the resources to keep them all updated. (The tubes are at about 1,200 of the region’s ~9,000 bus stops.)

The information in many of the tubes was also quite out of date, and given the situation, they figured that no information was better than wrong information.

However, I should mention that not all info tubes have been discontinued — there are 300 info tubes at bus loops that are still being updated.

So again, please tell us what you think about this info tube change! Tell your friends, pass this around, we want to hear from all of you.

Again, write to Customer Relations with your feedback. (Of course, you can also leave comments on this post, but I’d urge you to also submit them to Customer Relations so that it’s definitely logged in the system.)

Tom Prendergast editorial in the Vancouver Sun

Just a quick note: our CEO Tom Prendergast has an editorial in the Vancouver Sun today. It’s another good introduction to our transportation challenges in the future and the tough decisions our region faces in the near future. Here’s a quote from the end:

Over the last 30 years this region has made some very wise transportation and growth management decisions to achieve a quality of life that is the envy of the world. But making those choices work in the long run means we’ll have to follow through with alternatives to the freeways we haven’t built.

That’s why we’re now considering an important decision. Having already set our course, do we move our transportation network forward now or allow it to be overtaken by our future growth and development? There are costs involved with either decision that will be difficult to cover, but I submit only one decision maintains the quality of life we enjoy.

I am confident, trusting and hopeful that the decisions the people of the Metro Vancouver region make today around that question will serve us all for the next 30 years.

We all have a stake — and a choice –in the answer.

FYI, Tom also spoke to the Vancouver Sun editorial board a while back, and the Sun has video of Tom explaining the transportation challenges in our region.

Sneak peek of Templeton Station on the Canada Line — Thu. May 28, 2pm-7pm

Templeton Station on Sea Island (near the airport). Photo by <a href=http://canadalinephotos.blogspot.com/2009/04/2009-04-05-templeton-station.html>Tafyrn Palecloud</a>.

Templeton Station on Sea Island (near the airport). Photo by Tafyrn Palecloud.

InTransit BC is hosting an open house to see inside Templeton Station tomorrow!

That’s Thursday May 28 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. And sorry for the short notice, because I just found out myself!

A map of the station location: north of Grant McConachie Way near Templeton Road.

A map of the station location: north of Grant McConachie Way near Templeton Road.

Templeton Station is located north of Grant McConachie Way near Templeton Road on Sea Island.

Access for people with disabilities will be provided in the station, and parking for the disabled will be available at the northwest side of the station. General parking for this event is also located at the northwest side of the station.

Remember that the Templeton Station area continues to be an active construction site, and the public should dress accordingly for this event: InTransit BC recommends comfortable, casual and warm clothing, and flat closed-toe shoes. Follow all safety guidelines and use extra care and attention while on site.

Two more open houses are planned for the Canada Line stations this summer, and I’ll have more detail on those as I hear about them. (Hopefully with more notice than just a day!)

The last open house was at Lansdowne Station in Richmond this April: here’s the initial post about that open house, plus two pages of photos – post 1, post 2.

Also, check out the InTransit BC site for a new “virtual ride” exploring the whole Canada Line route. You can also sign up there to receive InTransit BC updates.

Newton Town Centre land use and transportation consultations – June 2, 3, & 4

Next week, the City of Surrey and TransLink invite you to join them for the next phase of public consultation on the land use, urban design, and transportation plan for Newton Town Centre.

The consultation will take place over three days:

  • TUE JUNE 2
    Public Workshop, 6:15 p.m. to 9 p.m.
    Newton Arena, 7120 – 136B Street

    Join the project team as they present the land use, transportation, and economic context of the area. Participate in this public workshop and share your views on a variety of key issues that will help define a vision for the Newton Town Centre.
  • WED JUNE 3
    Public Open House, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    Unit 110 – 7320 King George Hwy

    THU JUNE 4
    Public Open House, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
    Unit 110 – 7320 King George Hwy

    Drop in throughout the day and see the project team in action as they design and prepare the plan for the Newton Town Centre. Join in the design process and have one-on-one conversations with the project team members on any topics related to the plan.
  • THU JUNE 4
    Public Presentation, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
    Newton Arena, 7120 136 B St

    Come hear the project team present their initial plan for the Newton Town Centre, based on the April open house and current consultation. See how the conceptual ideas generated from the workshop and open houses are translated to specific action items and actual ideas on the ground. Review the initial concepts and elements of the plan and provide your feedback.

Here’s the full flyer in PDF format with all these details and more.

For more information, please contact:

  • Ms. Gertrude Kwan at 604-591-4129 or Mr. Ron Gill at 604-591-4773, both of the City of Surrey Planning & Development Department;
  • or Mr. Vincent Gonsalves at 604-453-3043, Community Relations Coordinator at TransLink.

You can also get more info by visiting the Planning & Development Department at Surrey City Hall, or by emailing rgill@surrey.ca or vincent.gonsalves@translink.ca.

A fond farewell to Bob Banks, 1923-2009

Bob Banks, on a visit to the TransLink offices last year.

Bob Banks, on a visit to the TransLink offices last year.

I’m sad to report that longtime Buzzer cartoonist Bob Banks passed away on Sunday, May 17, at the age of 86.

For those who don’t know, Bob spent 22 years as the Buzzer’s cartoonist, illustrating our newsletter from 1954 to 1976. His cartoons were a beloved fixture of the Buzzer, and still something that many people talk about fondly even today.

I was lucky enough to meet Bob last year, after I tracked him down for a Buzzer anniversary article. At 85, Bob was still spry, amazingly funny, and incredibly humble.

A Bob Banks cartoon from the Feb. 16, 1962 Buzzer.

A Bob Banks cartoon from the Feb. 16, 1962 Buzzer.

He was happy to talk about his time with the Buzzer and his long career as a professional illustrator. He had been illustrating in the Lower Mainland since 1954, drawing everything from annual reports to maps to calendars for clients like B.C. Electric, CP Air, Canfor, the RCMP, and the B.C. government.

He also drew local icons Century Sam and Century Sue, the mascots for B.C.’s centennial celebrations. (Here’s a Globe and Mail article on Bob with even more stories from his career.)

And last year, TransLink was also lucky enough to rekindle a working relationship with Bob.

We commissioned him to do a special cartoon for the 60th anniversary of the trolleys last year, and showcased his work at the Stanley Park trolley celebration. Bob came to the event, and encountered many transit enthusiasts who were so happy to meet him. I’m not certain he knew just how loved his Buzzer cartoons were, and it was wonderful to show him how much he mattered to everyone.

Ah, Bob Banks. I am glad to have met you, and I know you will be missed, sir!

A celebration of his life will be held on Saturday May 30, at 10 a.m. at the Boal Chapel, 1505 Lillooet Road in North Vancouver.

And to celebrate Bob’s memory, I have put together a selection of illustrations from the 1950s and 1960s. I hope you will enjoy them and remember Bob warmly too.

Read more »

Broadway Station elevator closes for three months starting June 1

You may have seen the signs up at Broadway Station already (and the note in the print Buzzer!), but here’s a friendly reminder to all the Broadway Station elevator users out there.

As part of the Broadway SkyTrain Station upgrades, the elevator at Broadway Station will be taken out of service next Monday, June 1 for approximately three months.

If you need an elevator, please go to Commercial Drive Station across the street, take the elevator there, and then cross over to Broadway Station on the platform level.

We’re really sorry about this inconvenience, but when construction is complete, the entire station will be easier to access!

For the full details on the Broadway Station upgrades, have a look at these links: