ALERT! : More info
Translink Buzzer Blog

SkyTrain track maintenance on Wed Nov. 26

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

The following service will be in effect for Nov. 26 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!

Congratulations to our CUTA award winners!

A big congratulations to Che Florant and Cameron Irvine, two Coast Mountain Bus Company (CMBC) employees who were honoured by the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) last week!

At CUTA’s fall conference in Windsor, Ontario, bus operator Che Florant received an Employee Excellence Award for helping a single mother who left her wallet on another bus. The wallet had $200 in it, which she was planning to spend on diapers and groceries for her children.

Che helped track down the other bus, but when the wallet couldn’t be found, Che gave the woman $40 out of his own pocket. He refused any repayment, and didn’t tell the company about his actions—in fact, the only reason anybody found out was when the woman’s ex-boyfriend wrote a letter to the company expressing his thanks. The letter included this comment:

I was completely stunned and absolutely amazed! I have lived in Vancouver for 15 years now and I have never encountered such a completely selfless act of kindness before.

As well, Customer Information Supervisor Cameron Irvine won a Volunteer/Advocate Award, for his efforts to help his co-workers and the company give back to the communities they serve—actions that go far beyond his regular responsibilities.

Cam has worked in transit for more than 23 years, and has always been involved with organizing annual company food and clothing drives, and coordinating monthly employee blood-donor drives. And since 1999, Cam has facilitated the United Way “Days of Caring,” a semi-annual community outreach program, and is currently the Chair of CMBC’s United Way Employee Campaign.

This is in fact the second year in a row that CMBC employees have been recognized by CUTA. Last year, transit operator Jas Grewal was honoured with an award for intervening in an attack.

Jas was driving a Vancouver city bus when he spotted a group of four or five boys beating up another. He chased the attackers away with a wheel block, then attended to the boy who was being beaten. The attackers came back, but police arrived as Jas grabbed the wheel block again. It also turned out the victim had a shunt inserted in his brain, and the beating could have been fatal if Jas had not stopped to help.

Again, a big congratulations and thanks for doing such an amazing job, all of you!

Burnaby Santa Claus Parade reroutes on Saturday

Watch out for a Burnaby bus reroute on Saturday: the #106 will be rerouted due to the Burnaby Santa Claus Parade on Nov. 22.

See the customer alert for the exact rerouting of the bus, or the main customer alerts page for a big list of all the upcoming service reroutes.

Bike to Work Week continues: a morning at the Metrotower II Commuter Station

Paul Cheng from TransLink, watching over the treats at the Bike to Work Week commuter station in Metrotower II.

Paul Cheng from TransLink, watching over the treats at the Bike to Work Week commuter station in Metrotower II.

I spent this morning helping at the Bike to Work Week commuter station at Metrotower II in Burnaby! Here’s some photos and commentary about what went down. (You can see my earlier Bike to Work Week posts here and here.)

TransLink staff Paul Cheng and Polly Ng were in charge of the table, with treats from Cafe Elim kindly donated by Ivanhoe Cambridge. We had about 15 to 20 commuters drop by to grab a snack or get a bike tune-up, courtesy of Cap’s Bicycle Shop.

Read more »

Response to a Province article linking crime to SkyTrain presence

My colleague Drew Snider has a new post up on his TransLink media relations blog, responding to a Province article that appears to link the presence of a SkyTrain station to a crime wave south of the Pattullo Bridge. Just thought I’d let you know in case you wanted to check that out.

More photos of the Canada Line’s trial run with passengers

A Canada Line train approaches YVR Station, carrying its first passengers from Bridgeport Station on a Nov. 12  trial run.

A Canada Line train approaches YVR Station, carrying its first passengers from Bridgeport Station on a Nov. 12 trial run.

Here’s a follow-up to an earlier post, about the Canada Line’s trial run with its first passengers.

As promised, Alan Dever from Canada Line passed along some more photos of the trial run. He was right about everyone’s fascination with the front window—you can see everybody on the train crowded up in front!

Thanks very much to Alan and the staff from the federal Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities for these photos. Click all the pictures for larger versions: there’s just two more photos below!

Read more »

A visit from UCLA and Toyota

Aaron Cohen, a strategic planning administrator for Toyota, joined 25 UCLA students on a trip to study Vancouver's architecture and transportation last week.

Aaron Cohen, a strategic planning administrator for Toyota, joined 25 UCLA students on a trip to study Vancouver's architecture and transportation last week.

Last week, TransLink helped host a really interesting visit from 25 UCLA students. They were here as part of a collaborative program between Toyota and UCLA’s Department of Architecture and Urban Design.

The students were studying the city of Vancouver and its TransLink-managed transportation strategy. As part of their program, the students are creating design scenarios for southern California, and their Vancouver research helps inform that project. (Toyota is providing the transportation expertise, and the firm EDAW is guiding the urban planning element.)

Why Vancouver? I asked Aaron Cohen, a Toyota strategic planning administrator on the visit, and he said that, “Vancouver is one of the key input points where we can observe best practices in architecture and transportation.”

The university collaboration, explained Aaron, is a way for Toyota and UCLA to envision future cities from both an architectural and transportation perspective. Aaron said that Toyota believes the kind of transportation people will need will be largely dictated by the surrounding area, the architecture. So, Vancouver serves as an idea for how future cities might function.

Read more »

Bike to Work Week rolls out

The Bike to Work Week banner at the Gilmore commuter station.

The Bike to Work Week banner at the Gilmore commuter station.

As posted last Friday, the first ever winter edition of Bike to Work Week is rolling this week. Polly Ng from TransLink’s Cycling department wanted to share a few photos from the event so far—she helped staff a commuter station near Gilmore Station from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. this morning.

Commuter stations are tents set up along bike routes in the region during Bike to Work Week. (Here’s the locations and times of the stations.) You can take a short break from your ride, have a snack, meet other cyclists, get a TransLink bike map, and join the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition.

Mechanics are also available for tune-ups and small repairs, and Polly says you can also win prizes in a draw at every commuter station, which include bike baskets and bike racks (the kind that go on the back of your bicycle, not bike racks for your car or the street). About 40 to 50 people dropped by the Gilmore commuter station this morning, so those are pretty good odds!

Read more »

Longtime Buzzer cartoonist is part of local art show

A cartoon Bob Banks drew for the March 2, 1962 Buzzer.

A cartoon Bob Banks drew for the March 2, 1962 Buzzer.

Just in case you’re interested, Bob Banks, who drew cartoons for the Buzzer from 1954-1976, is currently part of an art show at Heaventree Gallery. The show is called “Art that Barks” and includes art from 15 local artists about the care and welfare of animals. I’m told that Bob has two prints in the show, and they are of his animal paintings. (He does lots of art besides cartooning!) And the name you should look for at the gallery is Robert Banks, not Bob Banks as we all know him.

If you’re curious for a bit more on Bob, I interviewed him in the Buzzer’s 92nd anniversary issue. He’s now 85 years old and still drawing professionally, and simply a wonderful guy with a great sense of humour.

The details on the art show:

“Art that Barks” – open until November 29
Heaventree Gallery
661 E 15th Ave (here’s a Google map)
604-877-1000
Open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday 12-6pm

Thank you to the customer who emailed this in via Customer Relations!

SkyTrain track maintenance on Wed Nov. 19

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

The following service will be in effect for Nov. 19 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!

Bike to Work Week rolls in on Monday

Bike to Work Week is gearing up again next week! (Sorry for the short notice!)

Get on your bike and join other cyclists on Metro Vancouver streets from Nov. 17 to 23. It’s a great chance to try cycling to work if you’ve never done it before, and to celebrate cycling to work if you already do.

The event, which is run by the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition (VACC), is the third Bike to Work Week since May 2006 and the first winter Bike to Work Week in the Vancouver area. So this time around, you can learn how to cycle to work in the rainier months!

Workplaces can win prizes based on participation and distance travelled — register your office at the official website, so your team can log their commutes. About 1500 people have already signed up!

And keep an eye out for commuter stations set up around the Lower Mainland—they’re tents set up along bike routes where you can take a short break from your ride, have a snack, meet other cyclists, get a cycling map and even join the VACC. Here’s a link to the locations and times of the stations. As well, check out stories from participants in previous Bike to Work Weeks.

And to help get you ready for the road ahead, here are some handy tips for biking to work in the winter.

Read more »

Commentary on this morning’s Province article on TransLink salaries

This morning, the top story in the Province newspaper was all about the salaries of TransLink executives and the increases they’ve seen in recent years. So Ken Hardie from our media relations team put together the following response, which we wanted to share with all of you.

The blazing headlines in this morning’s Province newspaper on salary increases for some of TransLink’s executives gives us an opportunity to do a useful reality check on a number of fronts.

First, the information in the article came from TransLink’s annual “Statement of Financial Information,” which, as a public body, we are required by law to publish and make available to the public each year. This statement must list gross earnings (salaries and benefits) plus expenses for any TransLink staff member earning more than $75,000 per year, as well as a list of companies and amounts paid to them totalling $25,000 or more.

This is a level of transparency that is unique to us and to other public agencies, and over time, each public agency is subject to the nature and tone of the coverage we saw in this morning’s Province. Clearly, the fact that our salaries are public information is just one of the aspects of public service that we ‘sign up for’ when we work at an agency like TransLink. But there are others that the paper chose not to examine.

Read more »

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, john.timms@coastmountainbus.com 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!