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Translink Buzzer Blog

Doug Allen on Voice of BC!

You may have heard, that come early August, our Interim CEO, Doug Allen will be leaving.

At this time our current CFO Cathy McLay will become Acting CEO as we continue our search for a permanent replacement.

With just a few weeks left until Doug bids us adieu, he joined Vaughn Palmer on “Voice of BC” to discuss his six-month stint at TransLink.

Chatting with Vaughn about the search for a new CEO, the transit plebiscite and TransLink governance, Doug spoke to a number of important transportation issues.

Growing transit and transportation needs in the Metro Vancouver were also apart of this conversation, as was the exploration of potential funding options.

All in all, the video gives you a good look at Doug Allen’s role over the past six-months at TransLink and his take on current transit matters!

 

16th Avenue Corridor Study is Ready for Your Review!

16th Avenue Corridor

16th Avenue Corridor

The 16th Avenue corridor study through Surrey, Langley and Abbotsford has been completed!

In this study, all three municipalities as well as the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, ICBC and TransLink reviewed current and potential future plans for transportation along 16th Avenue.

Examining an area extending 29 km from Highway 99 in South Surrey to Marshal Road in Abbotsford, the study looked at current issues with the corridor, its primary functions as well as ways in which 16th Ave could be improved.

Now that the study is completed, your feedback is greatly appreciated!

Here’s how you can have your voice heard:

1)     Review the 16th Avenue Corridor Study here.

2)    Complete the survey and tell us what you think!

The survey will only be available until Monday, July 27.  Don’t miss your opportunity to participate!

Extra Transit Service to Get You to the Celebration of Light!

 

Celebration of Light fireworks

Celebration of Light fireworks!

Heading to the Honda Celebration of Light this Saturday? There’s extra transit service scheduled for this weekend’s event as well as for the fireworks on July 29 and August 1st!

To get you to the fireworks at English Bay in the safest and most convenient fashion, the following additional bus and train service has been added:

Bus service will be extended to accommodate increased customer demand. Transit supervisors will monitor service and deploy additional buses as needed. Some buses will be detoured, including, but not limited to, the C21, C23, 5, 6, and 22 routes. The 250, 250A and 257 buses will also see additional service before and after the events.

SkyTrain Expo/Millennium/Canada Lines will run additional trains beginning mid-afternoon, lasting well past the event end. The last train on the Expo/Millennium Line will leave Waterfront for King George at 1:16 a.m. The last Canada Line train will leave Waterfront for Richmond-Brighouse at 1:15 a.m.

To avoid lineups at ticket vending machines after the events, SkyTrain customers can pre-purchase return tickets at King George, Scott Road, Granville, Burrard, Bridgeport, Yaletown-Roundhouse and Vancouver City Centre stations. These fareboxes only accept exact cash and tickets are valid until the close of service.

SeaBus will provide extra and extended service for each of the Celebration of Light events.

  • July 25: service every 10 minutes from 10:00 a.m. to 8:45 p.m.; every 15 minutes until 11:30 p.m.; and every 30 minutes after 11:30 p.m. until the last sailing at 1:22 a.m. from the South Terminal.
  • July 29 and August 1: service every 15 minutes until 11:30 p.m. and then every 30 minutes until the last departure from the South Terminal at 1:22 a.m.

West Coast Express will offer a special train on August 1 only, leaving Mission City at 7 p.m., arriving at Waterfront Station at 8:15 p.m. The return train departs Waterfront Station at midnight, arriving back at Mission City approximately 1:15 a.m.

Before, during and after the events SkyTrain stations will remain open, but some will have modified access to ensure customer comfort and safety. Passengers will not be permitted to board SkyTrain with bikes after the events until crowds are clear.

  • Waterfront Station: After 10:30 p.m., all Canada Line and SeaBus customers, and Expo and Millennium line customers who need an elevator, can access the Waterfront Station through the Cordova Street entrance. Expo and Millennium line customers who do not require an elevator may only access the station from the Howe Street entrance, north of Cordova. The Granville and Hastings entrance will remain fully accessible for Canada Line customers.
  • Granville Station: Customers can enter the station from Dunsmuir Street only, after 10:30 p.m. Also, there will be no access to Expo and Millennium trains heading towards Waterfront Station after this time.
  • Burrard Station: Bikes cannot be locked at the station entrance from 9:00 p.m. onwards, until the expected crowds have cleared. There will be no customer access to Expo and Millennium trains towards Waterfront Station after 10:30 p.m.

TravelSmart continues to sponsor BEST’s Bicycle Valet, which will offer cyclists free, secure temporary bike storage at all three Celebration of Light events. If you plan on enjoying the festivities, you can valet your bike at Sunset Beach on the grass next to the roller sports rink from 6:00 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.

Make sure to keep these service changes in mind when planning your route to the fireworks!

Service adjustments for other summertime events can be viewed here.

For transit service information including bus re-routes during the Celebration of Light, sign up for Transit Alerts, follow us @TransLink or call Customer Service at 604.953.3333.

 

 

The Low Down on Sea Island’s $5 return AddFare

A ticket vending machine on the Canada Line.

A ticket vending machine on the Canada Line.

Whether you are returning to Vancouver from the YVR Airport or the New McArthur Glen Shopping Centre this weekend, don’t forget about the $5 AddFare!

The AddFare is nothing new, but if you’ve never travelled from any of the three stations on Sea Island before, the extra $5 fare may come as a surprise.

Since January 2010, the AddFare has been in place to bridge the $55 million gap in funding for the Canada Line Construction.

Determined as the best funding option with the least impact on transit growth in the region, this AddFare was a part of the agreement with the Airport Authority who contributed $300 million towards construction of the Canada Line.

The Airport Authority actually owns all three stations on Sea Island (YVR-Airport, Sea Island Centre and Templeton) with travel between these stations being free for all passengers.

And although the free ride was originally intended for YVR staff to travel between the three stations, now that the shopping centre is open, more passengers are able to take advantage of the free ride between Sea Island stops.

When is the $5 AddFare required?

Although travel is free between the three Airport Authority Stations, if you are heading to Bridgeport and beyond, the $5 AddFare is required (in addition to your regular fare) if you are starting your trip from Sea Island.

It is important to note that the YVR AddFare only applies to passengers buying fares from the ticket vending machines at YVR Airport, Sea Island Centre and Templeton station.

However, this will change when Compass is launched to the general public. At that time those with Stored Value (Compass version of FareSavers) will be charged the $5 AddFare when they tap in at one of the three Sea Island stations and tap out at Bridgeport Station or beyond.

Who’s exempt from the AddFare?

Riders with a Monthly Pass, DayPass, FareSavers, WCE Fare, U-Pass and BC Bus Pass are exempt from the AddFare. Sea Island residents and YVR employees are also not required to pay the additional fare.

Also, if you a purchase a ticket before travelling to one of Airport Authority stations, and return within the 90-minute fare expiry window, then you are also off the hook for AddFare.

If you are still uncertain whether your trip will cost you an extra $5, there is information about the AddFare posted at the three Airport Authority stations.

You can also check out TransLink’s online Trip Planner! All travel shown on this site includes the  AddFare fee in trips leaving Sea Island stations.

 

 

 

Sign-up 101: How operators choose their work

Guest post by Jessica Hewitt, Internal Communications Advisor at Coast Mountain Bus Company.

Have you ever wondered how Transit Operators pick their bus routes? With six transit centres and 157 conventional bus routes to choose from – how could one pick?

I had the opportunity to visit the Vancouver Transit Centre (VTC) during a local sign-up to find out more about how depot staff, union reps and operators work together to assign operators to specific routes.

How does it work?

Four times a year (April, June, September and December) service level or sheet changes occur. At this time, adjustments are made to routes and schedules to ensure we continue to provide reliable, efficient and safe transit service to get our customers where they need to go. These schedule changes can be either permanent or seasonal depending on the route.

Once the schedules have been determined, operators then sign up for routes. Sign-ups occur about three weeks before a new sheet is in effect. There are two types of sign-ups. A local sign-up allows operators to sign for work in their own depot and a consolidated sign-up  (occurs once a year) gives operators the opportunity to choose work at any depot.

The consolidated sign-up lasts for four weeks with sign up dates being determined by seniority. During this process, operators choose the depot they want to work at as well as their weekday, weekend, and holiday shifts. Operators can opt to sign up for regular work or can choose to be on the spare board in which they receive work assignments on a day-to-day basis.

Who does what?

Depot Coordinators, given leave from their regular duties, ensure correct operator data is entered into the system—they are instrumental to ensuring a smooth sign up!

Bus operators, with the help of an online sign-up planner, can review new routes, availability as well as ensure that they select work that is compliant with the Safety Code limits on driving hours, overtime, rest time and more.

Unifor representatives and depot staff then double and triple check work selections to avoid mistakes.

Depot Coordinator, Rita Barha says “I’ve worked in different areas in the depot and even after 10 years, there is always something new that you haven’t seen before.” She says “I learn something new every day”.

Why paper?

In the age of apps, smartphones and real-time updates, it seems that paper would be the way of the past.

However, for CMBC, the operator sign-up process is so complex that a significant business technology project will be required for automation. Also, training for all of our staff will be needed to ensure the transition from paper to online is seamless.

The move to automation is important for CMBC. Although preliminary discussions are underway to transition to online sign up in the future, with the number of current projects on the go such as Compass, we’re waiting for the resources and time to develop the sophisticated software to meet our needs.

Want to know more about the service our operators who sign up for work provide? Read more about our seasonal service changes here!

Cutting back on washing to save water

Bus wash closed at Surrey Transit Centre

Bus wash closed at Surrey Transit Centre

Reducing water use isn’t just happening in your home, it’s also happening at our bus depots. That’s right, we’re cutting back on washing buses to help with water conservation efforts in Metro Vancouver. I’ve copied and pasted our press release about it below:

In an effort to conserve water during the current water shortage in the region, TransLink has suspended washing the exterior of its buses until further notice.

An unusually dry and hot May and June has depleted Metro Vancouver’s water reservoirs.

Buses are typically washed at our transit centres at the end of each service day. Our bus wash system uses reclaimed water for the majority of the wash cycle, except the final rinse which uses fresh water.

Last week, we started washing buses every second day. And now, we will only do exterior washing in exceptional circumstances. At our largest facility, Vancouver Transit Centre where we maintain more than 500 buses, that translates to 30,000 litres of water conserved each day.

The decision to suspend bus washing is something we’ve done during previous water shortages, as part of our commitment to conservation.

The interior of buses will continue to be cleaned for the comfort of passengers and employees.

Interested in how we wash our buses normally? Check out the Surrey bus wash facility and how it reclaims 80 per cent of the water used!

Fun Poll: How do you use your smartphone on transit?

Many riders turn to their phones on transit!

It’s pretty normal to be surrounded in a sea of smartphones while in transit.

Gone are the days of chatting to your neighbour, burying yourself in a book or daydreaming out the window.

Now, I know this isn’t necessarily true—lots of people still participate in these activities.

A past Buzzer Blog poll on how you spend most of your time on transit confirms it even.

So why in my daily commute do I see so many people gazing into their smartphones?

Maybe I’m just sensitive because I don’t have data on my phone. Confined to WIFI zones, my internet connection is rarely mobile.

So despite previous poll results, from personal observation I’m inclined to believe that a good portion of riders are still hanging out with their smartphones while in transit.

So here’s my question: what are you doing on your phone?

Playing games? Streaming videos? Reading the news? Maybe you are randomly clicking your way deeper into the internet abyss?

I want to know! Take the poll and let a girl in on what it’s like to be connected.

Let us know by voting for your top-seven below, leaving a comment, tweeting us @TheBuzzer, or emailing us at thebuzzer@translink.ca! Also, let us know in the comments if we missed anything you like to do on your smartphone while on transit!

How do you use your smartphone on transit?

  • catch up on emails, texts and other messages (59%, 57 Votes)
  • read (news, articles, blogs) (52%, 50 Votes)
  • connect on social media (39%, 38 Votes)
  • play games (25%, 24 Votes)
  • stream music (23%, 22 Votes)
  • other (14%, 14 Votes)
  • stream videos (3%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 97

Transit in the News – July 17, 2015

A weekly section about transit making headlines around the globe. Have an article you want to share?
Comment below or email us.Newspaper

Management shakeup to TransLink only the beginning of changes.

New Jersey transit approves increasing fares an average of 9%.

Wind Mobile expands wireless service in TTC subway stations.

Jamaican Urban Transit Company adjusts bus schedule to facilitate police travel.

Guelph Transit lockout one year ago this month still fresh for bus drivers.

Bus map disclosure reveals massive overhaul planned for Sydney.

The U.S. House of representatives passes five-month transportation funding extension.

Ottawa transit riders raise a stink about overflowing garbage at bus stops.

Five visions of the future for Preston’s bus station unveiled.

Columbus light rail talk turns to the idea of a subway.

Open Mobile Ticketing Alliance aims for global public transport ticket system.

Indianapolis encourages less parking, more mass transit and car sharing.

 If you’re looking for interesting facts and fun stories about transit, check out our monthly Links and Tidbits series.

The conductorettes: the first women to drive transit in Vancouver

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A group of conductorettes after finishing a training course in the 1940s. They were at first issued skirts as part of their uniform, but this image shows the transition to pants. Skirts were difficult to manage when climbing the trolley to reset the poles! Photo courtesy of the Coast Mountain Bus Company Archives.

A group of 33 conductorettes posing in front of the 16th Avenue streetcar at Prior Street barns in 1944. They were at first issued skirts as part of their uniform, but this image shows the transition to pants. Skirts were difficult to manage when climbing the trolley to reset the poles! Photo courtesy of the Coast Mountain Bus Company Archives. Click for a larger version.


Repost: Written by Jhenifer Pabillano and originally published November 9, 2009

Today, I’m pleased to present the story of the conductorettes, a group of 180 women who were the only women operating transit vehicles between 1943 and 1975.

And I’m especially pleased to tell you that this article includes an audio podcast containing interview excerpts from three former conductorettes.

Again, Lisa Codd, the curator at the Burnaby Village Museum, helped me put this article together, based on the research of Lynda Maeve Orr, the Museum’s Assistant Programmer. It’s a continued collaboration to explore transit history and Burnaby’s archival holdings!

Read more »

A day of transit activity visualized through video!

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Static transit maps are great, but dynamic ones are better!

You don’t have to tell that to Andrew Walker, Vice President of development at Sumus Technology.

Andrew is all about bringing life to data using a GTFS video creator, something he has done for around 100 cities’ transit schedules from around the globe.

Each visualization map traces one day of transit service schedules during a 24 hour period. Colour coded and set to music, these maps allow us to see the size of the system in a way that static maps cannot.

Metro Vancouver’s routes have been mapped a few times by Andrew.  You can check out his video from 2012 and view his other maps of transit across the globe on his YouTube channel

And don’t forget to check out the rest of our 125 Years of Transit posts on the blog and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by searching for the #Transit125 hashtag.

Transit in the News – July 10, 2015

A weekly section about transit making headlines around the globe. Have an article you want to share?
Comment below or email us.

Newspaper

 

London Underground strike causes travel chaos for commuters.

Public Transit in Hampton Roads a long way from alleviating congestion woes

Hating your transit agency may not make it better.

Londoners share photos of chaos caused by Underground tube strike.

Brampton puts off decision on $386 million light rail project.

Northern Rail workers strike called off after RMT hit with legal threat.

Fans find a way to Wimbledon despite London rail strike.

Ottawa Council endorses $3B plan for light rail expansion.

North East state capitals to be connected with rail network by 2020: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu.

Residents question how new light rail lines will change neighbourhood density.

VIA Rail Canada renews Cultural Access Pass program.

TransLink extends Bowen Island bus contract.

Wheelchair or Pram? Which deserves space on the bus?

Water bus to resume service after 3 year break in Winnipeg.

Bus AC proposed as Edmonton heats up.

Dedicated lanes for BEST buses in city soon.

 If you’re looking for interesting facts and fun stories about transit, check out our monthly Links and Tidbits series.

The Buzzer blog – what do YOU want to see?

The very first Buzzer, ever.

The very first Buzzer, ever.

Hi everyone!

The Buzzer blog was created eons ago (exaggeration for effect!) as an extension to the print buzzer.

It was crafted with the idea of giving you, our readers, insider knowledge into the workings of our operating companies and our system in an interactive way.

This space is also the corporate blog for TransLink providing updates, policy changes, service issues, etc.

Originally, the blog was really our only social channel. Oh my, how we’ve grown! Now we have several social channels all with varying audiences.

We know that everyone has different tastes and interests and it’s important to us that you are engaged with what we’re providing.

That being said, many things that we post about TransLink as a company will stay.

So will some other elements like Links and Tidbits, Transit in the News, polls, interviews with people, visits to places across the system along with fun “insider” series like Transit Police Academy.

Many of our shorter posts and images are posted on our Facebook and Instagram feeds.

There will be some awesome content in the next few weeks with 125 years of transit in the region AND I love transit at the end of the summer!

But right now, we’re asking YOU for YOUR opinion.

What do you want to see here? What interests you? What do you think will engage people the most on this blog?

Please keep in mind we may not be able to do everything that you can imagine! ;)

Let us know leaving a comment below or  email us!

Thanks for being a part of our community here and out on the system!

Looking back at Metro Vancouver’s Transit History with Angus McIntyre!

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Angus back in the day

Angus back in the day

June 27th marked 125 years of transit in the region. To honour this special occasion we have been mining old photos, stories and even brought a 1954 trolley bus out of retirement to celebrate!

Now, if buses could talk, we’d probably ask the old Brill trolley how things have changed since it first hit the streets in 1954.

Seeing as talking is not yet a feature of buses, I thought it best to catch up with someone who has not only seen our system evolve over the decades, but is also able to share their experiences!

1954 Brill Trolley

1957 Brill Diesel

So, last week I visited TRAMS BC and chatted with retired bus operator, Angus McIntyre. Having spent 41 years driving buses in Vancouver, Angus knows the transit system well and was nice enough to gives us an overview of transit history and his time behind the wheel.

According to Angus, he started as an operator when he was 21, back when BC Hydro was the transit authority.

DSC_0340

Driver’s seat of the 1954 trolley bus!

Initially covering the evening shift route along Nanaimo, Powell St. to Stanley Park, he says, that back then, being an operator was both physically and mentally challenging.

He explained  “there wasn’t any power steering or right hand mirrors and drivers also had to handle money.” “You’d be steering with your left hand and filling the [money] changer with the other!”

Staying on similar routes for years at a time, Angus  says he loved getting to know his passengers. He even tallied the number of people that boarded his bus and bought his one millionth passenger a book of faresaver tickets!

Angus next to a 1957 GMC bus

Angus next to a 1957 GMC bus

During our chat, Angus also gave me a quick rundown of the history of transit in the region.

As Angus tells it,  Metro Vancouver’s transportation network has changed hands more than a couple of times since the first streetcars rumbled through Vancouver in 1890.

Citing transit history like a pro, Angus  led me down the path of changing transit authorities over time from its start with independent companies in 1890 to BC Electric company in 1897, BC Hydro in 1962, Metro Transit Operating Company in 1973, BC Transit in 1983 and then TransLink in 1999.

Angus McIntyre

Here’s Angus holding a license plate perfect for celebrating 125 years of transit!

Looking at this timeline, Angus said during his career he had “four employers, three different unions and four major labour disputes”!

Despite these many changes he insists that although “bus schemes [liveries] changed and uniforms changed, the transit service still remained the same”.

When I asked Angus what crosses his mind when he thinks about 125 years of transit in the region, he said he thinks of “The early pictures showing the first streetcar running within the tiny city limits, and how the transit system is now so huge.”

According to Angus, the system was once so small that when he started as an operator, private commuter clubs were chartering buses to Tsawwassen and White Rock to supplement the non existent transit service in these areas.

He explains “the transit system had no money and couldn’t expand [so] people were doing a do-it-yourself transit system without the internet or anything. I don’t know how these people found each other, but you’d go down to Howe and Robson in the afternoon and there would be all these people waiting, but not at a bus stop. Then a school bus would pull up and all these people would get on and head somewhere out of the city”.

To say the least, talking to Angus about Metro Vancouver’s early transportation network was an eye-opener.

It’s hard to fathom getting around today without our current infrastructure — I’m pretty thankful I’m not chartering a bus everyday to get to work!

King George Station Bike Parkade is now open!

Our new bike parkade!

Our new bike parkade!

 

For those of you that have been eagerly awaiting the opening of the new Bike Parkade at King George Station — today is the day!

That’s right, it has now become even easier for cyclists to take transit!

For a $1 a day up to a maximum of $8 a month (plus a one-time $8 registration fee) you can now park at one of the 70 new bike lockers at King George Station.

These additional parking spaces are accessible by key card and double the capacity of the existing facility.

The way it works is that you pay a $1 a day, but if you park your bike eight days in a single calendar month, you won’t be charged again until the following month!

So, you may be asking, how do I get my hands on one of these coveted spots?

Well, first you need to register and here’s how you do it:

  • Head to www.translink.ca/bikeparkade and follow the link to the registration site.
  • Fill out the online registration, provide ongoing payment information and then pay the registration fee.
  • Finally, check the mail! Your very own access card will be mailed to you within the next five business days.

The King George Bike Parkade is the second of its kind on our system (first one opened in 2014 at Main St.-Science World Station) and over the next few years, we are expecting to replace even more bike lockers at some of our busiest stations and bus loops!

Improving cyclists’ connections to the transit network and encouraging people to hop on their bikes is pretty exciting.

By making cycling safer and easier we are one step closer to reaching Metro Vancouver’s goal to reduce single-occupancy car use and increase trips made by foot, bike and transit!

Transit in the News – July 3, 2015

A weekly section about transit making headlines around the globe. Have an article you want to share?
Comment below or email us.
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Voters say no to new Metro Vancouver tax, transit improvements

Putco cancels bus services to three municipalities in Gauteng, South Africa.

London will soon have its first all-electric double-decker bus.

City of North Vancouver continues fight for bus depot.

Get ready for the MTA’s $2 Billion subway station.

Road and Transport Authority in Dubai to build solar-powered bus shelters.

Electric bus maker Proterra rides on with $55 Million.

Calgary cancels its smart card system for transit.

Grants to cut emissions, encourage public transit.

Urban transit systems struggle to maintain core service amid calls to meet growth by expanding

Transit authority in Rochester, NY to increase public transit in busy area.

  If you’re looking for interesting facts and fun stories about transit, check out our monthly Links and Tidbits series.