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Translink Buzzer Blog

Lady on the poster

A Weekly Pass Saves Gas

Click the image for a larger version!

For some Friday fun, here’s bit of transit history hanging around the office that I thought we should share.

This B.C. Electric transit poster from 1941 hangs on a cubicle wall in our offices. It was obviously to urge gas conservation during wartime, but the message could be just as applicable today!

We also actually know the identity of the model in the poster – but not much else.

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Transit police shave heads for charity

Transit police officers Cst. Keith Grace and Bernard Florido had their heads shaved for charity this weekend.

Transit police officers Cst. Keith Grace and Bernard Florido had their heads shaved for charity this weekend.

Our colleagues over at the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Police Service sent along a note about two of their officers, who had their heads shaved for charity this weekend.

Cst. Keith Grace and Bernard Florido went down to an event called the Baldy Bash in Las Vegas, participating to raise money for PEP, an organization of professionals helping parents and families of very sick children.

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Bike lockers still available at Metrotown

Bike lockers at Rupert station

An example of bike lockers in use at Rupert station

We’ve still got bike lockers available for rent at Metrotown!

If you didn’t read about it in this month’s Buzzer, bike lockers are for people who want to ride their bike to connect with rapid transit. Each locker has space for one bicycle and related equipment (sorry, you can’t put anything else in there), and costs just $10 a month, with a minimum three month rental period.

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About the SkyTrain disruption this morning

There was a rather unusual SkyTrain disruption this morning, and I thought you might be curious about just what happened.

Essentially, 17 trains just stopped on the SkyTrain tracks at around 9 a.m., disrupting service for two hours.

Why? Because a problem with the electric motor on one train caused it to “time out,” or lose contact with the central computer.

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Get ready for electronic tolling on the Golden Ears Bridge

We’re currently building the Golden Ears Bridge over the Fraser River, connecting Surrey and Langley to Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows—hurrah!

Golden Ears also features the first electronic tolls in Western Canada, and we’re trying to get the word out about how the system works. I sat down with Mahrokh Arefi, tolling manager for the Golden Ears Bridge project, to talk about the subject. Feel free to add your own questions in the comments below – I’ll get Mahrokh to answer them at a later date.

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Quality over quantity

It turns out that putting together good blog posts takes a lot longer than you think–especially when you’re writing the print Buzzer at the same time.

As such, I’m going to have to withdraw my earlier promise of putting out one piece of new content every weekday, and pledge instead to update the blog as often as I can.

Never fear though: I am fiercely devoted to keeping this arm of the Buzzer media empire going, so keep on checking back for more! There just might be a space of a day or so between posts, as I gather the research and write up the posts for you.

Quality over quantity, right?

Buzzer Podcast: Voice of the SeaBus

Listen to the voice of the SeaBus in our very first podcast!

(Some of you might be asking “What’s a podcast?” Well, a podcast is a lot like radio-on-demand. Podcasting Alley has a good definition of podcasting, and Wikipedia has info too. But for our purposes, it means the Buzzer can bring you radio-quality sound stories in files you can download — and this, believe it or not, is a really exciting thing.)

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The October Buzzer is out today!

Look out for the new Buzzer on buses, SeaBus, SkyTrain, and West Coast Express today! (And click the read more thing below – there is more to this entry!)

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All about the TransLink deficit and our second quarterly report

You may have already heard it in news reports this morning, but yes: TransLink is currently running a deficit. This made the news because yesterday, TransLink released its second quarter report on financials and performance for 2008, which outlines the situation in great detail and which you can download here.

So, since we have this fancy blog up and running now, I thought I’d take a look at the report and talk about some of the issues which you no doubt have questions about. Have a read through and feel free to ask any additional questions in the comments below.

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Registration issue fixed!

Great news, Buzzer fans: we’ve fixed the e-mail issue! Commenting can begin!

New registrants will now be e-mailed a password when they sign up. But if you’ve already registered on the site and haven’t received a password, please visit this page and fill in the e-mail address you signed up with. A password will be sent to you. And everyone, please be aware of the Buzzer’s participation guidelines before you start commenting! Thanks for all your patience!

Edit: We’ve adjusted the registration page! Instead of a password being mailed to you, now you can create your own password, and then you’ll get an e-mail confirming that your e-mail address is valid. Plus you can read and agree to the participation guidelines!

Technical difficulties with user registration – plus, the Buzzer on CTV

I’ve received some emails, and we are now aware that nobody is being emailed a password after they register. Hence, no comments, which I must really apologize for: we really do want to hear from you. The Buzzer’s hardworking web staff is now trying to sort the issue out!

So far, I’ve been told that it is a technical issue with how the email is set up on the server. Once it’s fixed, everybody should get their passwords mailed to them. Send me a note if your password arrives – then we’ll know from all sides that the problem is resolved.

And now, if you caught it last night, CTV News did a segment on the Buzzer blog! If you’re interested, you can see the clip online here.

Massey Tunnel bike shuttle service operates this winter

The Massey Tunnel - bikes can shuttle through it all winter!

The Massey Tunnel - bikes can shuttle through it all winter!

Big news in the world of regional cycling! The Massey Tunnel bike shuttle service will be extending its weekday operation through the wintertime, as a service trial project by the B.C. Ministry of Transportation.

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TransLink Ride-Share Week kicks off with Spirit of the West!

Well, if you haven’t heard already, TransLink Ride-Share Week starts today! We’re encouraging everyone in Metro Vancouver to rideshare whenever possible, and we’re giving away over 300 prizes if you use ride-share.com—a free online ride-matching database—from October 6-10.

To get a little attention, we kicked things off with a free Spirit of the West lunchtime concert in downtown Vancouver. Staff were on hand to help people sign up at ride-share.com, and I got Vince Ditrich, Geoffrey Kelly, and John Mann from the band to talk a little about their ridesharing experience:

(much thanks to Kris Krug for the camera work!)

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Welcome to the Buzzer blog!

Hello everyone, and welcome to the Buzzer blog!

Your Buzzer editor I’m Jhenifer Pabillano, and I edit the print Buzzer for TransLink. I’ll be the chief writer behind this new blog, which will be the online companion to the Buzzer newsletter.

There are a few reasons we’ve decided to take the Buzzer into the digital realm. First, having a blog lets us update you directly on the latest TransLink news, commentary, and behind-the-scenes stories. We can also start publishing things that wouldn’t usually make it into the print version, or can’t be showcased in the newsletter format (hello, photo galleries, podcasts, and video clips!).

Second, a blog lets us open up a two-way conversation with you, our customers. Comments are built into every blog post, giving you the chance to provide your feedback or spark up a constructive discussion about what’s happening at TransLink. We’ve also got an e-mail address in case you’d prefer to communicate with us that way. (Please read our participation guidelines before you jump in, though!)

I’ll be updating the Buzzer with new content at least once every weekday—you can check back at buzzer.translink.ca, or subscribe via RSS to see the updates. I’ll also respond to comments regularly during normal business hours (around 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday).

(Edit: Also, since each post takes a fair amount of work, I’m now simply pledging to update the blog as often as I can. Hope that’s not too much trouble.)

Once again: welcome! We can’t wait to start talking with you about TransLink and its work!