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Translink Buzzer Blog

Six events transit can take you to this weekend – Jan 30- Feb 1, 2015

Let transit take you there!

Let transit take you there!

Let transit get you about this weekend. Check out some of these great events!

  • It’s the last weekend to take advantage of the great (and delicious) deals through the Dine Out Vancouver Festival. Take a look at the TransLink Trip Planner to map out the best way to get the restaurant of your choice.
    Where: At participating restaurants around Metro Vancouver
    When: All weekend

 

  • Dine Out does Brunch! Vancouver Foodster has organized this West End event to taste a little bit of everything on a 7+ restaurant brunch crawl. Hopping on the number 6 Davie bus will get you right to the meeting place. Remember to buy your tickets online here.
    Where: Downtown Vancouver’s West end (Meeting at 1034 Davie St, Vancouver)
    When: Saturday January 31, 2015
    Time: 10 am-2 pm
    Cost: $48.75 for Brunch Crawl passport

 

  • GO TOROS! Take in a late night movie at the Rio Theatre. This week’s showing is Bring It On. So be aggressive! Be be aggressive and dress up in your best cheerleader gear to get $2 off the admission price. The Rio is right down the street from the Commerical-Broadway SkyTrain station serving both the Expo and Millennium lines.
    Where: Rio Theatre
    When: Friday January 30, 2015
    Time: Doors open at 11:30, show starts at midnight
    Cost: $8 at the door, $6 in advance or with costume
    Extras: Must be 19+, bring 2 pieces of ID

 

  • The Terminal City Rollergirls are holding pre-season scrimmages in Surrey. The Expo line will take you to the Surrey Central SkyTrain station so you can catch all the action between The Faster Pussycats versus The Riot Girls.
    Where: Central City Arena, 10240 City Parkway (135th st), Surrey
    When: Saturday January 31, 2015
    Time: 10:30pm
    Cost: $5

 

  • Artstarts are continuing their free weekend workshops with Fun and Play! With Vazzy musical workshop. Take either the Expo or Millennium line to New Westminster station or the Canada Line to Vancouver City Centre SkyTrain station for the downtown location.
    Where: River Market at Westminster Quay 810 Quayside Drive, New Westminster AND ArtStarts Gallery, 808 Richards St, Vancouver
    When: Saturday January 31, 2015
    Time: 11 am and 1 pm
    Cost: Free

 

  • Artstarts Art Making event
    Children can stretch their artistic legs with some drop-in art fun!
    Bonus: While the kids are being mini Picassos, parents can experience the rest of the gallery with a free tour starting at 1pm.
    Where: Contemporary Art Gallery, 555 Nelson Street, Vancouver
    When: Saturday January 31, 2015
    Time: 12 pm – 3 pm
    Cost: Free

 

Know before you go!

Use the Trip Planner to check your route and schedule times prior to leaving. The information noted here is subject to change. For the latest and most up-to-date information, bookmark translink.ca on your mobile device so you can know on the go. Customer Information can be reached at 604.953.3333 or tweet us @TransLink.

 

Are you planning on taking transit to an event this weekend? Comment below and let us know where you’re headed!

 

TransLink’s family of companies named one of BC’s Top Employers!

2015 Top Employers pic with Kevin

We are one of BC’s Top Employers!

I have some exciting news! We’re pleased to share a recent award with all our employees, customers, and just about everyone who crosses our path! We’re very proud to announce that TransLink and our operating companies have been named a BC Top Employer.

All of our almost 7,000 employees make us feel like a Top Employer every day. They work hard to provide an efficient, safe and reliable transit and transportation system, supporting the enviable lifestyle we all enjoy in the Metro Vancouver region.

This honour was announced this morning in a special supplement to the Vancouver Sun. As an enterprise, this is the first time we’ve achieved this distinction.

What does it mean to be a Top Employer?

BC’s Top Employers is an annual competition organized by the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers and is now in its tenth year. This special designation recognizes the BC employers who lead their industries in offering exceptional places to work. Employers are evaluated on different criteria ranging from physical workplace to benefits and community involvement. Check out the reasons for selection.

We have a new contributer to the Buzzer blog – Adrienne!

It's me!

It’s me!

Oh, hello, I didn’t see you there. Pull up a seat and let’s chat! I’m Adrienne and I am happy to make your electronic acquaintance here on the fabulous Buzzer blog. I am also very excited to be a new addition to the communications team at TransLink!

Public transit is my go-to mode of transportation. When I travel the world, which I love to do, I always rely on the city’s buses, trains, metros and trams to take me where I need to go and see the sights as I do so. I truly believe that the best way to experience a city through its transportation systems and Metro Vancouver is no different. Bike trails and lanes, walking paths as well as roads and bridges all feed into a successful overall transportation experience. I’ll be blogging about all of these subjects as well.

Coming from a journalism background, I’m always looking for the story behind the story. What makes people tick and why? You’ll be seeing my posts here as well as some of our other social media accounts, probably saying something terribly witty and insightful about transportation in this region and how it affects life, the universe and everything. Hmm…Is the answer 42? I hope to bring you the stories behind the stories of our operators, employees, riders and the cities that make up Metro Vancouver. I’m going to try some fresh ideas and I’d love to get your input. So, dish! What would you like to see on the blog??

Just FYI, here are three things I could never live without:
1)      My fluffy beasties (3 cats, 2 dogs)

2)      Music of all kinds – I’m usually humming or singing something

3)      My mum (Aww!)

Spot the Bus Barrier – the next step in the pilot begins

Look closely. There's a bus barrier on the bus!

Look closely. There’s a bus barrier on the bus!

 

As reported in the media here, here and here, we are working with BC Transit, Unifor 111, Unifor 333 and WorkSafeBC to determine the best design for a safety barrier that will be most effective in preventing assaults on CMBC Transit operators. Check out an earlier announcement on other measures we are taking to prevent operator assaults.

We know you must have some questions – here are five queries asked and answered:

What is a transit operator safety barrier?

Safety barriers are a physical barrier typically made of a hard and transparent material composed of plastic and/or glass. The barrier enables a physical separation between driver and passengers while providing clear sightlines and the ability to verbally communicate with passengers.

Why is CMBC trying out a pilot barrier program?

The safety of our employees and customers is our top priority. Assaults on operators are unacceptable, and can put the lives of many people at risk.

How are operators participating in the pilot?

We are providing operators with a first-hand opportunity to experience the barrier prototype and provide feedback on the design.Feedback from operators will be collected over the next six months and then analyzed. This information will be used tohelp refine the design of the barrier and determine the best approach in protecting our operators from physical attacks.

Where can I see the barrier prototype in service?

The bus will be driven at various times and on various routes.

How can customers provide feedback on the barrier prototype?

Customer feedback is being gathered through all the usual channels. If you have questions or comments to share, contact Customer Relations through the online form or by phone at          604-953-3040 on weekdays from 8 am until 8 pm.

 

 

New Westminster Station Upgrades

Hey Buzzer Readers!

As you know, we’re holding an Open House tomorrow at New Westminster Station to share details about the upgrades which are expected to start later this winter. Some of you have asked questions about the project, so we wanted to share some info here on the blog in case you can’t make it out tomorrow.

How the upgraded station will look from the outside

How the upgraded station will look from the outside!

What’s happening at New Westminster Station?

TransLink is upgrading several existing stations and exchanges along the Expo Line in order to accommodate increasing passenger volumes, meet accessibility commitments and improve the customer experience. Commercial-Broadway, Joyce-Collingwood, Main Street-Science World (over 80 per cent complete), Metrotown, New Westminster, Scott Road (completed) and Surrey Central have all been identified as priorities for upgrades.

New Westminster Station is integrated into the mixed-use development beside and around the station. As the neighbourhood around the station continues to grow and develop, the station requires updates to better meet the needs of SkyTrain customers.

The project includes:

  • upgrades to existing escalators and stairs to increase capacity and improve accessibility
  • replacement of the original south elevator
  • improved station design with better lighting and visibility for a safer and improved customer experience
What you can expect inside the station once upgrades are complete!

Station interior once upgrades are complete!

When is construction?

Construction at New Westminster Station is scheduled to begin in early 2015 and is expected to be complete in 2016.

Will the station be closed during construction? Will there be any major changes to SkyTrain service? 

The station will remain open during construction and SkyTrain service is expected to remain normal during peak periods.

However, access into the station will be restricted at certain times and passengers may find their travels plans disrupted while essential work is being done. There are also plans to single track trains outside of peak periods, creating longer wait times for SkyTrain. Service disruptions will not coincide with special events.

Will construction work require any road closures? 

There may be minor impacts to traffic during construction. Any road or sidewalk detours will be communicated well in advance.

Will there be construction work at night? 

Nighttime work with varying levels of noise is required while trains are not operating. It is necessary to perform this work at night to ensure the safety of SkyTrain passengers and contractors. TransLink’s contractor will make significant efforts to minimize the impact of this construction on the public. Notification of construction work at night will be provided to directly impacted citizens well in advance of the night construction beginning.

Allowing construction work at night also helps ensure the project progresses as scheduled while avoiding a full station shut down – something we want to avoid.

Find out more!

For more information about the project and to share feedback, visit translink.ca/newwestminster; feedback will be accepted until February 11.

Or better yet, visit us tomorrow from 2:30 to 6:30 at New Westminster Station, on the ticket vending level between CIBC and Tim Hortons and ask your questions in person! 

Open House for New Westminster Station on January 28, 2015

Here's whats coming up at New Westminster Station!

Here’s whats coming up at New Westminster Station!

We’re inviting you to attend an open house to learn about the station design, construction plan and project timeline for the upgrades coming to New Westminster Station.

New Westminster Station Open House

Date: January 28, 2015
Time: 2:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Location: New Westminster Station, ticket vending level between CIBC and Tim Hortons

Get involved online

Can’t make it to one of the sessions? No problem! We will also have information and a feedback survey posted at translink.ca/newwestminster. Feedback will be accepted between January 28 and February 11.

We hope to hear from you soon! Oh, and we’ll be posting more info about upgrades at New Westminster Station soon.

5 Transit trips to make this weekend

Cambie and Broadway

The forecast is in, and it’s looking like grey sky and rain for this weekend. Don’t let the gloomy weather stop you from getting out and enjoying all that Metro Vancouver has to offer. Here’s a quick list of five fun transit accessible activities to get you out of the house.

1. TravelSmart to the Art - Show your validated TransLink fare and receive a discounted admission to the Vancouver Art Gallery.

2. Dine Out Vancouver Festival – Check out Canada’s largest food and drink festival. With over 277 restaurants participating, there’s something for everyone with many restaurants located on, or just off the SkyTrain line!

3. Ice Skate at Robson Square – This free (fee for skate & helmet rental if required) activity is located just steps away from Expo/Millennium and Canada Line stations. Psst! Robson Square is also steps away from the Vancouver Art Gallery! Why not make a day of it by doing both!?

4. Gluten Free Expo – Located at the Vancouver Convention Centre East, just steps from Waterfront Station (terminus for the SeaBus, West Coast Express, Expo/Millennium, and Canada Lines) this event is the perfect opportunity to discover, sample, and save on hundreds of gluten free products.

5. Hot Chocolate Festival – Get your chocolate fix at the 5th annual Hot Chocolate Festival. Twenty-four different venues and 57 different flavours! Check out the website for a walking map to assist you in getting around.

Know before you go!

Use the Trip Planner to check your route and schedule times prior to leaving. The information noted here is subject to change. For the latest and most up-to-date information, bookmark translink.ca on your mobile device so you can know on the go. Customer Information can be reached at 604.953.3333 or tweet us @TransLink.

 

Are you planning on taking transit to an event this weekend? Comment below and let us know where you’re headed!

TravelSmart to the Art! January 12 – February 13, 2015

TravelSmart to the Art photo

Vancouver has no shortage of diverse events and activities to experience at any given time. Now, thanks to a partnership between Travel Smart and the Vancouver Art Gallery you can TravelSmart to the Art to your event calendar!

By taking any mode of public transit to the Vancouver Art Gallery between January 12 – February 13, 2015, you will receive a discounted Gallery admission ticket and a beautiful, limited edition Emily Carr poster!

To take advantage of this offer, show your validated TransLink single fare transfer, FareSaver, Monthly Pass or Compass Card at the Gallery ticket desk to receive your discounted ticket. Discount is tiered depending on which fare media was used to travel.

Regular Fare Tickets: The discount amount will be equal to the exact the cost of the customer’s transit ticket (1 zone – $2.75, 2 zone – $4, 3 zone – $5.50).
DayPass: $5.50 off admission.
Monthly Pass/Compass Card: $3 off admission.
West Coast Express tickets: $3 off admission.

How to get to the Vancouver Art Gallery?

SkyTrain:

  • Take the Canada Line to Vancouver City Centre Station
  • Take the Millennium or Expo lines to Granville Station

Bus:

  • Take the 4, 6, 7, 10, 14, 16, 50, 240, 241, 242, 246, 247, 250, 253, 254 or the 257 to the bus stop at Howe and Georgia.

For more information check out the TravelSmart Blog, and follow on Twitter & Facebook  

 

How will you TravelSmart to the Art? Leave a comment below telling us how you’ll get to the VAG.

Expo Line Power Rail Replacement work – late-night shuttle service begins Jan.6

SkyTrain in action!

SkyTrain in action!

Hey buzzer readers!

As you may already know, we’re replacing 34 km of original power rail on the Expo Line. The power rail supplies SkyTrain vehicles with power, approximately 650 volts DC.

Work is returning to the area between Waterfront and Stadium–Chinatown and there will be service impacts for people travelling to or from those stations during late-night service.

From Jan. 6th to the 8th and the 11th to the 15th, passengers travelling through all stations between Waterfront and Stadium-Chinatown will commute using a shuttle train during late-night service.

  • Shuttle service will begin at 10:15 p.m. on January 6th and 8th, and 9 p.m. on all other days.
  • Passengers travelling west of Stadium-Chinatown must hop off and transfer to a shuttle train. Service east of Stadium-Chinatown will operate normally.
  • Passengers are encouraged to plan for an extra 10 minutes of travel time.
  • SkyTrain services will run as normal during the day, peak times and major downtown events.
SkyTrain staff will be on hand at affected stations to provide directions and assistance. We thank you for your patience and cooperation as we keep our system in good repair for your overall service.

Rethinking Transportation: New Voices, New Ideas – Carl Guardino

The first of the SFU lecture series this year!

TransLink in collaboration with the SFU City Program is pleased to announce another installment of the Rethinking Transportation: New Voices, New Ideas series. This latest installment is with Carl Guardino, widely lauded as one of the most influential forces on transportation policy and funding in the San Francisco and Silicon Valley area, where such ballot measures are routine and have successfully funded major transportation improvements.

Here’s a bit about Mr. Guardino’s talk and about the man himself:

 

Transportation Referendum: Lessons Learned from the Front Line

 

A healthy and competitive economy relies on efficient transportation. In Metro Vancouver, we are increasingly facing some of the worst traffic congestion in Canada. The region’s mayors have developed a Transportation and Transit Plan to cut congestion; keep people, jobs and our economy moving, and accommodate a million more people expected here by 2040.

This spring, Metro Vancouver voters will have a say on these proposed transportation and transit improvements through a referendum—the first of its kind in Canada.

Carl Guardino is widely lauded as one of the most influential forces on transportation policy and funding in the San Francisco and Silicon Valley area, where such ballot measures are routine and have successfully funded major transportation improvements.

Carl will share lessons learned from a region that has been recognized for its progress and innovation, and how this experience might help engage and inform Metro Vancouver residents as we weigh the important decision before us.

 

About Carl Guardino

 

Carl Guardino is the President and CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, a public policy trade association that represents more than 385 of Silicon Valley’s most respected companies.

He also serves as the Chair of the California Transportation Commission, an independent public agency responsible for programming and allocating of funds for the construction of highway, passenger rail and transit improvements throughout California.

Guardino led efforts that resulted in $1.4 billion of funding for 19 key road and rail improvements and co-managed a traffic relief initiative that will generate $5.5 billion in local funds for transit improvements.

His experience in building consensus around transportation measures, successful managing of referenda and activating business leaders to promote sustainable transportation will make an excellent contribution to the current transportation dialogue in our region.

 

Event Details:

Monday, January 19, 7 to 9 p.m.

Simon Fraser University Harbour Centre

Room 1400, SFU Harbour Centre, 515 W Hastings Street, Vancouver

Reservations: Admission is free, but reservations are required. Reserve

This lecture will also be live webcast. Reservations are not required for the webcast.

 

For more info on this series check out the SFU page or read some our past posts. And remember, you can always post your questions about this series here as well as following the hashtag #movingthefuture on Twitter.

 

 

Take transit in Port Coquitlam? You might have spotted our new CNG buses!

Say ''hello" to one of the newest additions to the CMBC bus fleet!

Say ”hello” to one of the newest additions to the CMBC bus fleet!

If you take transit in Port Coquitlam and neighbouring cities, you might have spotted our new compressed natural gas buses in service! Coast Mountain Bus Company will be receiving 45 of these New Flyer Xcelsior buses in total.

The interior of the new CNG bus showing the courtesy screens

The interior of the new CNG bus showing the courtesy screens

Passengers will notice the roof of the bus is higher and the European-style windows outside, which are flush with the side of the bus. In the interior, courtesy screens have been added in front of the first forward sitting seats on both sides. There’s also a rear-facing wheelchair seat like our trolley buses and Nova Buses.

The rear roof hatch is now a sun roof and the bus has climate control set for 20.5°C, so you’ll want to keep the sun roof and windows closed. Having it open during the winter months can cause rain and snow to enter vehicles too!

Expect a smoother, more comfortable and powerful ride too. Transmission shifting is a lot smoother and comments from drivers and passengers are that the bus seems to glide. The bus also has more power, so it will be able to climb hills such as Gaglardi Way up to Simon Fraser University with a little more ease.

The buses will operate out of Port Coquitlam Transit Centre as it is currently the only centre equipped with CNG refueling stations until the Hamilton Transit Centre in east Richmond opens in 2016.

Renewing our bus fleet is part of our commitment to keep our system in a state of good repair. Most of our 40-foot and 60-foot buses have a 17-year replacement life as this life cycle has proven to have the lowest overall cost and practical life for our fleet. After 17 years, the costs to maintain vehicles increases and the safety decreases due to factors such as:

  • Component obsolescence – for example, the engines in our older buses have been out of production for 14 years.
  • Frame and body corrosion and fatigue – structural repairs can be very expensive or not safe to repair.
  • Overall maintenance costs escalate and reliability is lower as components reach the end of life and/or are rebuilt multiple times.
  • Safety inspections often take a bus out of service around the 17 year life.
  • Environmental and comfort factors – older buses have much more emissions, and are generally noisier, plus possible less comfort for passengers and drivers.

The 45 new CNG buses will replace the 45 older diesel buses that have reached the end of their life and will be retired from service.

Thanks to Eric W. for suggesting this Buzzer blog post! Have something you’d like us to blog about? Email it to thebuzzer@translink.ca or tweet us @TheBuzzer

Free transit on New Year’s Eve 2014 starting at 5 pm and New Year’s Day 2015 holiday service

Transit is free starting at 5 pm on New Year's Eve

Transit is free starting at 5 pm on New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve – Wednesday, December 31

As always, rides will be free of charge starting from 5:00 pm on New Year’s Eve until 5:00 am on New Year’s Day on all buses, SkyTrain, SeaBus, West Coast Express and HandyDART.

Bus, SkyTrain and SeaBus will all operate a normal weekday schedule with additional trips or extended service.

SkyTrain will operate more frequent evening trains and will extend service by approximately one hour.

The last Expo Line train to King George will leave Waterfront at 2:16 am. The last Canada Line train leaves Waterfront at 2:05 am to YVR-Airport and 2:15 am to Richmond-Brighouse.

SeaBus will extend service by about one hour with the last sailing from Lonsdale Quay at 2 am and Waterfront at 2:20 am.

West Coast Express afternoon trains depart from Waterfront at 1 pm, 3 pm, 4:20 pm, 5:30 pm and 6:20 pm. The 12:55 pm TrainBus will be replaced by the 1 pm train. All other TrainBus trips will depart at their regular times.

Regular fares apply on New Year’s Eve until 5 pm.

New Year’s Day – Thursday, January 1

Bus, SkyTrain, and SeaBus will all be operating on a regular Sunday/holiday schedule. The West Coast Express and TrainBus will not be operating.

Remember, since New Year’s Day is a holiday, you only need a single-zone fare to travel in all zones all day.

_

You’ll want to use the Trip Planner to check your route and schedule times. The information noted here is subject to change. For the latest and most up-to-date information, visit translink.ca/holidayservice, call Customer Information at 604.953.3333 or tweet us @TransLink.

Service returns to regular weekday schedules for all modes on Friday, January 2, 2015.

The Buzzer blog is on vacation until January 2, 2015

We're on vacation until Friday, January 2, 2015!

We’re on vacation until Friday, January 2, 2015!

If you’re taking transit on Christmas or Boxing Day you’ll want to read this post. Need service updates and trip planning help? We will still be available on Twitter (@TransLink) and by phone (604.953.3333), 6:30 am to 11:30 pm, seven days a week including Christmas Day.

We’d like to thank the Buzzer readers for making 2014 an awesome year and wish you happy holidays!

TransLink Reindeer Bus and Community Shuttle delivers two busloads of toys in 2014

On Friday, December 19, the TransLink Reindeer Bus and Community Shuttle delivered approximately 3,500 unwrapped toys to the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau as part of our annual Toys for Tots charity drive!

Sparky the Elf with Global BC's Sophie Lui

Sparky the Elf with Global BC’s Sophie Lui

Toys for Tots collects newly unwrapped toys or money for the less fortunate and since the launch of the program, employees from TransLink and its subsidiaries Coast Mountain Bus Company, BC Rapid Transit Company and Transit Police have donated 61,000 toys to the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau.

Throughout the month of December, the Reindeer Bus and Community Shuttle have been surprising commuters with a unique ride. Sparky the Elf, Mr. and Mrs. Claus along with the bus also visited Ronald McDonald House, Canuck Place, the Simon Fraser Center for Community Assisted Living and various bus loops handing out candy canes and spreading the holiday cheer.

“We were greeted by many in the public smiling, waving and even taking pictures of the bus,” Sparky the Elf said. “We found great pleasure again in pulling the bus to the curb near children and surprising them by having Santa exit the bus giving out candy canes to them.”

Staff from Coast Mountain Bus Company have been dressing up one bus and one community shuttle as a reindeer for over 25 years, starting just after the very first Toys for Tots charity drive done in 1987.

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Bus Ride” this holiday season!

Shantini Klassen is a woman with many hats – not only is she an Operations Manager for the Vancouver Fringe Festival, but an actor and singer too!

She says she had the “best bus driver in the world” on Sunday, December 14 at 2:30 pm. Shantini recorded her own version of the holiday classic, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” with a unique spin on it as a ‘thank you’ to the driver!

Why was he the best? She tells us:

The funny thing about this man was that he didn’t do any major gestures. There was no singing or trivia or anything goofy. That’s a lot of fun and I enjoy that too, but he was just genuine and kind. He said ‘hello’ to everyone who came on the bus. He had a lot of strollers and wheelchairs to clip in, but for every person he took his time, patiently and graciously helping them. In addition to that, the bus was very full, and at one stop a man screamed obscenities at him. He just responded with a wave and a “Sorry!” It seemed like he had a lot on his plate, but he just continued to be lovely to everyone.

Shantini shared one piece of advice, in closing:

It might sound obvious, but it’s just so important to be kind to the people we meet in every day interactions. As someone who worked in customer service for a lot of years, it can be really tough – especially when people treat you like a machine instead of a human. Everyone should receive basic respect, regardless of how long the line was or how late and grumpy we are. A little kindness can make a big difference, so kudos to Mr. Bus Driver for changing the world one passenger at a time!

NOW, if you’re tired of all this mushiness, you can watch this ridiculous Christmas baking rap video that I made:

Shantini lives in Burnaby and works on Granville Island, so she takes the SkyTrain to downtown Vancouver before catching the 50 bus to Granville Island. She says she loves to bake, make silly YouTube videos and if you’d like to know more about her, you can check out her blog!