Translink Buzzer Blog

#WhatsTheLink: Transit has shaped Metro Vancouver

Our hard working transit system gets the region’s 418,000 riders each day where they need to go. Aside from transit, TransLink also manages 2,300 lane kilometres of major roads, five bridges, and helps make 107,000 cycling trips in the region each day possible.

And we are back this week to share with you another #WhatsTheLink tidbit!

There’s a good chance where you spend your days is directly related to where transit and these infrastructures are located in Metro Vancouver. Transit has guided growth and community design in the region from the very beginning!

Miss 604: #WhatsTheLink: Transit Shapes Your Region and Helps to Make it More Livable

1960s Vancouver freeway proposal

Photo: City of Vancouver Archives

From the arrival of the railroad in the late 1800s, to the early street cars of the 1900s, and then the interurban lines that later connected New Westminster, Vancouver, Steveston, Karrisdale and Chilliwack, transit has helped fuel the growth of communities.

The region’s growth strategy was updated in the 1970s and it brought a prohibition on the expansion of highways into the city of Vancouver. Transit was seen as way to facilitate the growth of the region.

This set the stage for the birth of the SkyTrain system in the 1980s. The SkyTrain system today includes the Expo, Millennium and Canada Line, connecting Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond and Surrey. The planned the Evergreen Line expands the SkyTrain system into Port Moody and Coquitlam.

Vancity Buzz: #WhatsTheLink: How Transit Has Shaped Metro Vancouver

The SkyTrain system, from the outset, has been shaping Metro Vancouver development and is helping to determine where we build in Metro Vancouver.

Statements like, “Anything transit-oriented—anything close to a station—is going to be a highly coveted opportunity” and “…The consumer has spoken. They want to live on transit, and they’ll buy without parking” are showing developers as well as buyers and renters see proximity to transit as valuable.

These transit-oriented communities—or transit-oriented developments (TODs)—focus on making transit accessible to everyone.

They promote more walking and cycling than communities without good access to transit, resulting in lower levels of automobile use and greenhouse gas emissions.

By 2018, we anticipate there to be over 70 integrated, transit-oriented developments around SkyTrain stations!

Among them, new communities are sprouting up around Brentwood Town Centre, Oakridge-41st Avenue and Marine Drive Stations.

Small inflation adjustment for Golden Ears Bridge tolls, Mon July 15

GEB aerial

An aerial shot of the Golden Ears Bridge

On Monday, July 15, the planned annual inflation-rate adjustment for tolls on the Golden Ears Bridge goes into effect. The increases range from five to 15 cents, with no increase for registered motorcycle customers. Here are the details!

TRANS-PONDER VIDEO PAY-AS-YOU GO

CLASS

Now
After
07/15

Now
After
07/15

Now
After
07/15
Car $3.00 $3.05 $3.55 $3.60 $4.25 $4.30
Small truck $6.00 $6.10 $6.55 $6.65 $7.15 $7.25
Large Truck $8.95 $9.10 $9.60 $9.75 $10.15 $10.30
Motorcycle N/A N/A $1.50 $1.50 $2.75 $2.80

Click here to see the news release with more about the increase, or visit the Golden Ears Bridge site for even more about tolling and the project.

Canada Day 2014 holiday transit service

Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day!” by Ian Muttoo is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

We celebrate Canada’s 147th birthday next Tuesday!

SkyTrain, SeaBus, and bus will all be running on a Sunday/holiday schedule, but TransLink will be extending services to help get customers get where they need to go.

Customers are advised to check their route before they go and remember, it’s a one-zone fare to travel across all zones!

Service returns to regular weekday schedules for all modes on Wednesday, July 2.

The nitty-gritty!

Bus services will operate Sunday/holiday hours and service, except as noted:

  • Customers going to the Canada Day event in Cloverdale can take the 320 at Surrey Central Bay 2; 12 additional shuttles will leave Cloverdale following the fireworks.
  • “Saturday” late night trips will operate for the 319, 320 and 321 to connect with the last train from Waterfront to King George.
  • To accommodate Canada Day festivities across the region, there will be increased frequency or minor detours on some routes, including multiple routes in downtown Vancouver and the 135, 160, 209, 210, 211, 240, 246, 250, 250A, 257, 320, C43 and C47.

Canada Line will operate Sunday/holiday hours and service, plus:

  • “Rush-hour” service will begin in the afternoon, with every available train in service after the fireworks in downtown Vancouver to clear people out of the area as quickly as possible.
  • The last Canada Line train will leave Waterfront for Richmond-Brighouse at 1:15 a.m.

Expo and Millennium lines will operate Sunday/holiday hours and service, plus:

  • Sunday/holiday start time of 7:08 a.m. from King George, 7:15 a.m. from Lougheed and 7:50 a.m. from Waterfront. The last train will leave from Waterfront at 1:16 a.m. and arrive at King George at 1:55 a.m.
  • Trains will run more frequently starting mid-afternoon.

SeaBus will provide extra and extended service:

  • First sailing: Lonsdale Quay at 8:02 a.m. and Waterfront at 8:16 a.m.
  • Last sailing: Leaves Waterfront at 1:22 a.m.
  • Services will operate every 30 minutes from 8:00 to 10:15 a.m., every 15 minutes from 10:15 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. and every 30 minutes from 11:30 p.m. to the last sailing at 1:22 a.m.

West Coast Express and TrainBus service will not operate. AirCare Inspection Centres will also be closed.

Need more help?

To make sure you get where you need to go on time, you can plan your trip with our Trip Planner. You can also call Customer Information at 604.953.3333 or tweet them @TransLink, 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

Have a happy Canada Day, everyone!

Buzzer illustrator interview: Katie So

Katie So's illustration for the June 2014 Buzzer!

Katie So’s illustration for the June 2014 Buzzer!

Each month we bring you a different illustration on the cover of the Buzzer and this time, we had the privilege of working with Katie So for the June 2014 issue! If you haven’t seen it, be sure to check out the PDF or the Buzzer post.

She graciously took time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions for us:

1. Who is Katie So? Katie is an illustrator and cartoonist from Vancouver.

2. How did you come up with your illustration for the Buzzer?
I was inspired by trips to the beach, and how everyone looks so nice in their summer outfits.

3. Do you take transit? If so, what’s your favourite mode?
I like the Canada Line because it’s clean and efficient.

4. What’s your favourite colour and why?
Right now, I really like pinks and reds because roses and peonies are in bloom.

5. Peer into your crystal ball, and tell us what you see for yourself in the future.
I hope to be sitting on the beach, suntanning and reading a book.

Thanks for your time Katie and a wonderful illustration!

Links and Tidbits – June 20, 2014

Links and tidbits is our semi-regular roundup of interesting fodder about transportation from the last few weeks or so. If you have links to contribute, put them in the comments, or email us.

» HUM Canada recently orchestrated a music flash mob singing songs such as Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are” to spread joy and happiness on the Canada Line.

» Anat found this pin in a consignment shop in Vancouver and tweeted it to @TransLink. Fred Cummings, President and General Manager, British Columbia Rapid Transit Company says the pin was made in the early 1990s, but was not made for a specific event. It was a standard lapel pin for visitors.

» @WeAreHub noticed there are 86 spots in the brand-new Secure Bike Parking facility at Main Street-Science World Station. The facility is of course located close by to the Expo 86 grounds. Coincidence?!?

» Nethangi lost her Samsung Galaxy S3 on the bus so she contacted our folks at the Lost Property Office. There she was reunited with her phone! Her friend, Nadheera, snapped the photograph.

» Speaking of the Lost Property Office… Oh, look, an old farebox!

» Our West Coast Express signage at Waterfront Station caught the eye of George Takei, better known as Hikaru Sulu of the USS Enterprise!

» Here’s an early picture of the Knight Street Bridge from the City of Richmond Archives. #WhatsTheLink

» Krumbach, a small town in Austria, has some of the coolest bus shelters you’ll ever see! In total, there are seven of them and each was designed by an international architect. (Thanks to @heyrickie!)

» In Sweden, researchers are proposing water buses as a way to ease congestion in Stockholm and other waterfront cities.

» China is contemplating building a high-speed railway that will connect China to North America. The line would would start in northeastern China, travel over Sibera towards the Bering Strait, travel underneath the Pacific Ocean through a tunnel to Alaska, to Canada and then continental United States.

» Everybody knows the rules on transit — you don’t talk or make eye contact with strangers. Two behavioural scientists in Chicago did an experiment and asked a few commuters to break these rules in exchange for a $5 Starbucks gift card. The results? Those who talked to a stranger had a more positive experience.

» In King County, there’s a book club for transit riders! A new book is chosen by Books on the Bus each quarter for members to read during their commute. (Thanks @mdiane_rogers!)

» A heart-warming moment as a bus driver in Sweden stopped his bus to comfort a crying girl.

» Bus drivers in Vancouver, Washington competed in the 2014 Roadeo — a test of bus driving skills!

» Google has unveiled its latest driverless car prototype, but will it solve our congestion problems? Gizmodo doesn’t think so and BuzzFeed wonders too.

» This is what happens when Árstíðir, an Icelandic band, sings an 800-year-old hymn in a train station. (Thanks Jennifer S.!)

» Somebody made these hilarious fake signs for the London Underground. (Thanks to Jennifer again!)

» Miss 604 shared this video, “Commuting Over the Years: A Brief Introduction to Surrey’s Transportation History,” from the Surrey Archives:

Stay Connected to Transit Police with the new OnDuty Mobile App

Metro Vancouver Transit Police have released OnDuty, a new mobile app that will connect you with all Transit Police’s channels in the palm of your hand.

If you see something, while riding transit, say something! Through the app’s built-in text messaging function, users will be able to discreetly report non-emergency issues to Transit Police dispatch. There is no need to draw attention to yourself and you don’t have to wait to report crime on transit.

The OnDuty app’s Crime Maps feature will allow you to view crime hotspots along the transit system. Transit Police will be updating crime maps section weekly, so you can have a better, up-to-date understanding of where and when crime occurs.

Stay connected to the Transit Police’s Twitter and Facebook pages and real-time alerts will keep you informed about public safety concerns, missing persons or major service disruptions. You will also be able to access TransLink’s Next Bus and Trip Planner features directly from the app!

The OnDuty app, for iOS and Android devices, is free and is now available in the App Store and Google Play.

 

*This app is for non-emergency reporting only. For emergencies, please call 911.

#WhatsTheLink: TransLink transit is working hard in Metro Vancouver

The 99 B-Line, SeaBus, and SkyTrain — our transit superheroes!

The 99 B-Line, SeaBus, and SkyTrain — our transit superheroes!

We’ve let you know TransLink is responsible for much more than just transit — our mandate includes roads, bridges, cycling and walking paths.

But for #WhatsTheLink this week, we’re going to what we’re famous for — transit! We shared with you a number of Metro Vancouver transit photos from yesteryear and introduced you to our transit superheroes, the 99 B-Line, SeaBus, and SkyTrain.

How are they transit superheroes? The 99 B-Line is one of the busiest bus routes in North America, with nearly 17 million boardings in 2012. The SeaBus moves six million people each year across the Burrard Inlet between Downtown Vancouver and Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver. And SkyTrain? It’s on-time 95 per cent of the time!

Miss 604: What a Grade 6 Student Knows About TransLink

Boya Yang

Boya Yang

Boya Yang is a grade six student at Marlborough Elementary in Burnaby and he knows TransLink’s transit system is hard working, helping to keep Metro Vancouver moving and livable.

He used TransLink as the subject of his project, which won him the Rotary Club of Burnaby Ambassador Award at the Rivers to Sea Regional Heritage Fair a couple of weeks back.

» Click here to see a picture of Boya’s project

Boya’s knowledge about TransLink is quite impressive! In his project, he highlights TransLink’s history and its importance as well as the different transit services TransLink offers including buses, SeaBus, SkyTrain, and West Coast Express.

As he points out in his project, TransLink helps connect people and make the region a better place to live.

To do this, TransLink connects the 418,000 people who take transit each day with a reliable system that is multimodal and seamlessly connected.

Vancity Buzz: Your hard working transportation system

Angus McIntyre

Angus McIntyre

How reliable? Well, here are a few facts from 2013:

  • The SkyTrain is on time 95% of the time for both the Expo and Millennium lines.
  • The West Coast Express is on time 98% of the time.
  • TransLink delivered 99.4% of scheduled service for bus and SkyTrain last year.

Angus McIntyre retired in 2011 after over 40 years as a bus operator in Metro Vancouver.

During his years as a bus operator, Angus has seen a lot of changes to the system. These changes include the buses he operated and people he served.

As you can see from the photo below, he was a bit of a shutterbug and things looked a little different in the 70s and 80s.

Buses at Stanley Park

Buses at Stanley Park

Storify: TransLink transit is working hard in Metro Vancouver

Check out our Storify summary!

Check out our Storify summary!

What hasn’t changed since Angus’ time is a commitment by TransLink to move people and goods across the region.

TransLink has been providing transportation options to people in Metro Vancouver since 1999. For 15 years we’ve been part of your communities, getting you where you need to be.

Check out our Storify to see more of Angus’s photos and others, as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! We’ve also launched a #WhatsTheLink microsite at http://www.translink.ca/wtl.

What is next for the Downtown Bus Service Review?

 

DBRS Phases Diagram

The Downtown Bus Service Review began in summer 2013 and is just wrapping up Phase 2.

 

Hi Buzzer readers – a big thank you to everyone who participated in Phase 2 of the Downtown Bus Service Review! More than 300 of you attended the open houses in April and provided us with close to 1,000 completed questionnaires in-person and online.

The upside of receiving such great input is that we heard about issues and opportunities that are so important to the community. The other side of the coin is that with all these new ideas to consider and reasons to reanalyze some options, the team needs to take more time to provide recommendations.

More time? Yep more time. We are working closely with our partners at the City of Vancouver and really appreciate your continued enthusiasm for this project.

While we continue our technical work to identify the best possible solutions to the issues raised during consultation, we want to share what we heard with you. See the Consultation Summary for more details.

Stay tuned for Phase 3 — where we’ll present the final results of the review.

For anyone who missed our earlier posts on this process, more details can be found here and here.

Notes and Questions & Answers from TransLink’s 2013 AGM at Surrey City Hall

It was a packed house at TransLink’s 2013 Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the new Surrey City Hall on Wednesday, May 28 as hundreds joined us to hear more about our accomplishments and financial highlights of the past year.

TransLink’s achievements in efficiency and customer service were shared by TransLink Board Chair Marcella Szel, TransLink CEO Ian Jarvis and TransLink CFO Cathy McLay.

In 2013, TransLink achieved $16.3 million in efficiencies and reduced costs while maintaining strong customer service ratings. Other achievements shared at the AGM include:

  • $248 million invested in infrastructure and transit fleet upgrades to keep the transit system in good repair today, and for years to come.
  • 58,600 new bus service hours for the new 555 bus route between Langley to New Westminster over the Port Mann Bridge, and for the new King George 96 B-line.
  • Transit customer satisfaction ratings of 7.6 out of 10.
  • 1,760 fewer tonnes of CO2 emitted by reducing bus idling by 161,000 hours since 2009.
  • 10,000 customers participated in Compass Card Beta test, and 80,000 Compass cards are now in circulation.
  • Moved an estimated 233.9 million transit passengers in 2013.
2013 TransLink Annual Report

2013 TransLink Annual Report

2013 Annual Report

TransLink’s Annual Reports highlight the accomplishments of each fiscal period. The Reports are prepared under the direction of the Board of Directors. Each report contains performance measures, selected by the Board, as well as a consolidated Financial Report.

» Read the 2013 Annual Report

Questions and Answers

Due to time constraints, we were unable to get to many of the online questions, but fear not! We have gotten you the answers!

Please note: questions may have been edited for clarity.

Why aren’t there power outlets on the buses and SkyTrain? There are power outlets on the SeaBus and West Coast Express, so why can’t they be on the buses and SkyTrain as well? In the US, there are power outlets on every single bus, so why can’t that happen here? Richard via email

Convenient outlets on SkyTrain cars and buses are not considered necessary most passenger trips are short – the typical passenger trip is about 17 minutes. The cost of putting in the wiring and outlets in an already crowded space would likely be significant. Furthermore, electronic devices plugged into power outlets are likely to be an obstacle for the smooth flow of the heavy traffic in and out of SkyTrain cars.

I would like to know if you [TransLink executives] regularly use public transit in the Metro Vancouver area? This will tell me if you are aware firsthand what issues us transit commuters are faced with. –Chris via email

All executives at TransLink do frequently use transit, particularly when traveling to meetings around the region.

Read more »

The June 2014 issue of the Buzzer is on the system

junebuzzercoverIt’s mid-June — that means we’re back with another issue of the Buzzer! It’s also the Buzzer’s 98th birthday!

Much of this issue is dedicated to the June service changes, which go into effect on Monday, June 23. Among them, the seasonal Granville Mall detour, expanded 178 Coquitlam Station/Port Moody Station service, and a brand-new express bus service connecting Langley and Aldergrove to Surrey Central Station.

Find the Penguin and you could win one of five amazing Metro Vancouver attraction prize packs.

#WhatsTheLink between cycling and TransLink? Each day, there are 107,000 cycling trips in Metro Vancouver and over 1,000 bikes that ride SkyTrain. TransLink helps make it possible by providing bike lockers, bike racks, infrastrucutre funding, and now Secure Bike Parking.

We have a new SeaBus, the Burrard Otter II, that will be arriving in late July. The Railway Avenue Greenway in Richmond opened on June 7.

Service on Canada Day will run on a Sunday/holiday schedule, which means a one-zone fare will take you across all zones! Transit Police continues with “Don’t Touch the Operator” campaign.

And the Buzzer wouldn’t be complete with our usual favourites, the Contest Corner, Back Issues and Coming Events!

Pick yours up today on the bus, SkyTrain, SeaBus, and West Coast Express or online by downloading it here.

Happy 5th Birthday, Golden Ears Bridge!

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Golden Ears Bridge, happy birthday to you!

GEB landscape

You don’t look a day over four!

On June 16, 2009 the Golden Ears Bridge and 14-kilometre road network opened to traffic, making today it’s fifth birthday! At the time, it was one of the most significant improvements to the Metro Vancouver road network since the opening of the Alex Fraser Bridge. It was also the first electronic toll system in Western Canada.

In honour of the fifth anniversary, we wanted to share some interesting facts that you may not know and show you some ‘baby’ pictures of the bridge.

What’s with the eagles? 

GEB eagle

An eagle on one of the towers

 

The eagle was chosen as a symbol for the bridge and it is displayed on project signs, on the bridge towers, in concrete etchings on some ramps and at the project gateways in Surrey and Pitt Meadows.

Why was the eagle chosen as the symbol, you ask? The Golden Ears is the name of the summit north of the Golden Ears Bridge. The peaks look down on the bridge, and their original name was allegedly “Golden Aeries”, referring to nests of Golden Eagles that live on Canada’s Pacific coast.

Bridge trivia

GEB construction photo July 2008

Taken July 2008

Here’s a look at the different parts that make up the Golden Ears Bridge, which is a cable-stayed bridge in case you were curious:

  • Bridge length: 968 metres
  • Height: Pylons are 82 metres high
  • Number of spans: 5
  • Number of piers: 4

 

 

 

Baby photos

Here are some additional pictures of the bridge during construction!

GEB construction pre-cast panel July 2008

Pre-cast panels – taken July 2008

Bridge deck construction - taken July 2008

Bridge deck construction – taken July 2008

Construction continues - taken January 2009

Construction continues – taken January 2009

Get involved in Phase 3 of the Northeast Sector Area Transit Plan

Northeast Sector Area Transit Plan

It’s your community, have your say!

 

Attention Buzzer readers…do you recall a few posts ago where we told you about Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the Northeast Sector Area Transit Plan? Well, Phase 3 begins today – June 16!

In Phase 1, you shared your thoughts on the key issues and opportunities for transit in your community. Then in Phase 2, you helped us shape the long-term transit vision in the Northeast Sector. Now we invite you to provide feedback on proposed changes that will help achieve the vision for the transit network in Anmore, Belcarra, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody.

To get involved, you can complete an online survey or drop by one of six community events to get more information. The survey will be available until July 14, 2014.

 

Thursday, June 19

Port Coquitlam Farmers Market

Leigh Square, Port Coquitlam

3:00 pm – 7:00 pm

 

Saturday, June 21

BC Highland Games & Scottish Festival

Percy Perry Stadium, Coquitlam

9:00 am – 5:00 pm

 

Sunday, June 29

Coquitlam Farmers Market

Dogwood Pavilion, Coquitlam

9:00 am – 1:00 pm

 

Sunday, June 22

Belcarra Day

4084 Bedwell Bay Rd, Belcarra

10:00 am – 2:00 pm

 

Coquitlam Centre Mall

2929 Barnet Highway, Coquitlam

11:00 am – 6:00 pm

 

Tuesday, July 1

Golden Spike Days Festival

Rocky Point Park, Port Moody

11:00 am – 8:00 pm

 

 

 

Buzzer illustrator interview: Chris von Szombathy

Chris and his bendy bus!

Chris and his #WhatsTheLink bendy bus!

I finally got around to interviewing the crazy talented illustrator of the May 2014 Buzzer, Chris von Szombathy. This is the second print Buzzer we’ve had the privilege of having Chris illustrate. The first was our June 2011 issue of the Buzzer. You may also remember Chris’ excellent 2011 I Love Transit t-shirt design. And now this great illustration depicting the #WhatsTheLink series!

We love Chris’ third take on a bus. What can’t he do with a bus anyway? Here are Chris’ answers to my questions about his work and himself:

1. Who is Chris von Szombathy?

I’m a visual/audio artist and designer living in Vancouver.

2. This is the second time you’ve drawn a bus for the print Buzzer. What’s with you and buses?

I love trying to take objects that are mechanical or complex and attempting to distill them down to just the visual elements that make them recognizable. Satisfying. I’ll probably do a third if you ask me to.

3. How does this illustration compare to your first illustration for the Buzzer?

This one was much harder. The first illustration was depicting an occasion, which is much easier to do. This assignment was a bit more abstract.

4. Do you take transit? If so, what’s your favourite mode?

I do take transit, and my favourite is definitely the SkyTrain. Expo 86! Futuristic!

5. What’s your favourite colour and why?

Right now pinkish grey. I find it comforting and still forward thinking.

6. Peer into your crystal ball, and tell us what you see for yourself in the future.

If I’m lucky, more of the same.

Well, all I can say is that I’m looking forward to his next bus!

Expo Line Maintenance Work

 

SkyTrain in action

SkyTrain in action

Hey buzzer readers,

Here’s a heads up on some maintenance work that we’ll be doing.

Beginning June 13, SkyTrain will single track between Gateway and King George stations on Friday evenings from 11 p.m. until end of service to allow crews to replace the rail clips and pads on that section of the guideway. Customers can expect delays of approximately five minutes during this time.

The work is expected to continue until the end of 2014, but it will be cancelled for major events like the Celebration of Lights and large concerts.

Expo Line passengers may experience minor delays throughout the system and Millennium Line operations will not be affected.

We appreciate your patience as we complete this essential maintenance work!

 

The Mayors’ Council Vision for Regional Transportation

Regional Transportation Investments document

Regional Transportation Investments document

Hello readers. There’s big news today. The Mayors’ Council has approved a Vision for Regional Transportation for Metro Vancouver.

To download documents, watch the video and ask questions, you’ll want to check out www.mayorscouncil.ca.