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June 9, 2015 SkyTrain disruption update

Interim CEO Doug Allen and independent reviewer Gary McNeil spoke to the media today about yesterday’s SkyTrain disruption as well as progress made on Mr. McNeil’s report on SkyTrain.

As noted by Doug Allen, TransLink has improved in the response time to SkyTrain disruptions, but work still needs to be done to make it quicker.

After the above press conference this morning, a technical debriefing was held regarding the initial cause of the disruption. Below are a couple images of the damaged linear induction motor on one of our SkyTrain cars. The exact cause of the damage is still being investigated.

linear induction motor damage

linear induction motor damage

Another view of the damaged linear induction motor

Another view of the damaged linear induction motor

If you weren’t aware of the disruption yesterday, below is a statement TransLink issued to media and shared via social media:

We thank our customers for their patience and apologize for the major inconvenience they experienced this afternoon because of the SkyTrain delay. The delay occurred at the peak of rush hour service, which affected our most regular daily customers. While we recognize the inconvenience and longer commute times, we appreciate their patience and calm behaviour while our staff worked to repair the problem and help redirect customers via alternate means.

While the specific cause of the delay is still under investigation, a technical issue at 4:10 p.m. caused 19 trains between Royal Oak and Waterfront stations to stop running. Expo Line trains continued to run between Edmonds and King George stations, and Millennium Line trains continued to run between Columbia and VCC-Clark stations.

Many trains were stopped between stations; several were attended by a SkyTrain Attendant within 5-10 minutes and driven manually to the nearest station. Staff attended the majority of the remainder of the trains within 30 minutes.

Customers broke out of three different trains in the Nanaimo SkyTrain area, so we had to turn off power in the area to ensure customers were safe and clear of trains. Attending to these customers delayed SkyTrain system recovery by an additional hour.

25 buses provided shuttle service between affected stations. We deployed over 100 staff to help customers, respond to questions and assist with crowds – including 60 SkyTrain Attendants on trains and at stations; 16 Transit Police officers and five Transit Security units; 13 support staff; and eight transit supervisors.

7 additional technicians worked to bring the system back on as quickly as possible.

By 6:10 p.m., we were able to provide some service with SkyTrain Attendants manually driving trains in the affected area. We restored full service by 6:45 p.m.

You Keep Us Moving – Sabrina

you_keep_us_moving_header

This is Sabrina Lau Texier and she’s a plan-gineer! Half planner and half engineer, she works in the Engineering department at TransLink where she designs and builds passenger facilities across the system.

Sabrina plans this system for our customers but she couldn’t do it without you. You keep us moving. Thank you!

Fun fact about Sabrina

She is woefully behind on her New Year’s resolution to start riding a Vespa. If anyone out there knows of a good second hand one for sale, leave a comment for her!

The sun is shining and summer service changes are in the air!

june_svc_change_buzzer

Are you ready for the summer? TransLink’s transit services are changing to get more people to more places during these beautiful summer months!

Beginning June 22, you can expect increased trips heading out to Seaside and Buntzen Lake and fewer trips to post-secondary schools. There are also NEW trips during peak hours on some popular routes!

Services changes can be found on our website.

Even if you don’t see your route listed, service changes can affect many routes, so use TransLink’s trip planner to double check if your route has changed.

Take a look at some of the highlights of these service changes:

  • Increased connections for customers travelling between Carvolth Exchange in Langley and Lougheed Town Centre Station. The 555 will now end at Lougheed Station and directly link customers to a regional city centre with connections to key destinations. Late evening service is also being added on this route.
  • Extended route on the 395, which provides customers with more travel options between King George Station and Langley Centre.
  • More frequent trips to Stanley Park, Lynn Canyon Park, Buntzen Lake and White Rock Beach.
  • Late-night service increases between downtown Vancouver and SFU.
  • NEW trips on the 100 and 335 to reduce overcrowding just before/after peak periods. These are made possible by shifting resources from routes that currently have low customer demand.

Learn about all the travel choices in your community by visiting TransLink’s TravelSmart program for information, resources and tips.

How else can you stay in touch? Sign up for Transit Alerts at translink.ca/alerts, visit translink.ca, follow @TransLink or call Customer Service at 604.953.3333.

You Keep Us Moving. Thank you!

you_keep_us_moving_header

Yes, YOU!

We run this transportation system for our customers so we really couldn’t do it without you.

This year alone, we will provide 235 million transit rides and our riders are a key part of our world-class integrated transportation network!

Whether you’re on the bus, West Coast Express, the SkyTrain or the SeaBus, you’re contributing to one of the safest, most environmentally friendly and cost-efficient transit systems in North America.

Your tax dollars and fares help us serve the largest transit area in Canada and one of the largest on the continent.

235 million rides

Today, we are thanking you.

We couldn’t be prouder to have you on board so you will be seeing lots of posts across our channels for the next few weeks showing our appreciation.

This includes employees videos from all operating companies, stories about why our employees love what they do and facts about how you help us be top notch in the transit world.

Join in the conversation on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook with the hashtag #YouMoveUs.

Read more at translink.ca/youmoveus.

Transit Police Academy – Week 3

ctv footage review bullpen HQ

The bullpen in Transit Police HQ

Complex investigations are the real critical part of police work.

Transit Police has a special investigation team called the Crime Reduction Unit (CRU). Members of Transit Police who want to be a part of this team apply separately.

The Crime Reduction Unit works closely with front line Transit Police and collaborates with other police departments within the region.

CRU officers are trained in tactical surveillance, intelligence gathering, offender management and forensic interviewing. This unit utilizes various investigative techniques conducted in both uniform and plain clothes.

The main tasks for this team are:

  • identifying suspects
  • arrests which are often the result of weeks or months of investigation
  • search warrants
  • seizing property
  • surveillance
  • offender management

CRU is doing a great job helping keep the transit system as safe as possible for all riders!

In fact, they are responsible for numerous apprehensions of criminals on and off the system in and around Metro Vancouver.

Did you know that in 2014, alone Transit Police removed 967 wanted criminals and criminals breaching court imposed conditions from the system?

Now, if you’re like me and you like to walk/cycle around your neighbourhood, I think you’d be hard pressed to find an area that has Transit Police arm badgeabsolutely NO graffiti.

It really is a major problem for cities all over the world! Houses, garages, businesses, cars and yes, even our transit system is constantly being defaced by graffiti.

Transit Police Sgt. Wendy Hawthorne is internationally known for her expertise around the culture of graffiti and leading anti-graffiti strategies.

She, along with a joint task force with police departments throughout the Lower Mainland and across BC, handle everything from major gang-related graffiti and hate crimes to prevention work within high schools.

The strategy includes eradication, education, prevention and enforcement.

Wendy also supports the use of restorative justice. I didn’t know what that meant at first either–here’s the official definition from Correctional Service Canada:

“Restorative Justice (RJ) helps meet the needs of people faced with crime and conflict in an inclusive and meaningful way.  RJ practices provide voluntary opportunities for those who have been harmed and those who have caused harm to be active participants in their journey for justice, accountability, and reparation.”

Basically, it is about moving forward from the crime and in the instances of graffiti, having the perpetrators be accountable for their actions beyond the courts.

One way to do this is with art programs that allow people to get out of the graffiti lifestyle and create art that doesn’t hurt or harm anyone or their property.

Which personally I think it fantastic! With mentors, some of these people will truly benefit from it and be able to express themselves in a more positive and meaningful way.

Next up in Transit Police Academy is recruiting (any takers?!) and IRAYL — the Inter-Regional At-Risk Youth Link.

I’ll write all about it in my next installment in a week’s time.

 

AGM marks 125 years of transit!

AGM

It’s the 125th anniversary of transit in our region!

To mark this occasion, this year’s AGM will be more than just a year in review, it will give a shout-out to those that keep us moving today and into tomorrow.

The event goes down Friday, June 26th from 10am to 11:30am at the Anvil Centre (777 Columbia St.), right next to the New Westminster SkyTrain Station.

To stay true to AGM form, in addition to celebrating transit’s big 1-2-5, we’ll also be sharing our 2014 financial and operational milestones with our regional stakeholders, senior TransLink staff, media and those of the general public that wish to attend.

Keep your eyes peeled on our website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more information in the weeks to come!

Transit in the News – June 5, 2015

A weekly section about transit making headlines around the globe. Have an article you want to share?
Comment below or email us.newspaper-568058_1280

Guelph councillors endorse transit after riding city buses for one month.

Bus lane cameras go into operation in Belfast.

Google Maps will show real time public transit schedules for android app.

San Francisco city officials vow to ride public transit for three weeks.

Sarnia brings back free bus rides for Clean Air Day.

Fast-charging electric bus shows promise for regular use.

Bangkok Mass Transit Authority tests out 100% electric city bus.

Washington bans political ads from public transit.

Edmonton Metro Line LRT opening postponed.

Bystanders in East London band together to lift bus off of trapped unicyclist.

Ericsson unveils connected bus stop and other public transport innovations.

Sofia, Bulgaria residents leave cars to ride subway amidst street repairs.

Sofia Citizens Leave Cars to Ride Subway amidst Street Repairs – See more at: http://www.novinite.com/articles/168993/Sofia+Citizens+Leave+Cars+to+Ride+Subway+Following+Street+Reconstruction+Works#sthash.bspi3oWN.dpuf

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

Links and Tidbits – June 4, 2015

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.

 

SkyTrain shark

»   Check out the Xoupier! (Pronounced Soup-ee-er, apparently) A space-aged idea for some TTC buses in Toronto. What do you think?

»   A company in NYC is helping you navigate the bus system by having your iphone literally point you to a bus stop!

»   Some art students right here at home turn a bus shelter into a SkyTrain.

»   “Ladies and gentlemen: We are being held momentarily by the train’s dispatcher. The train’s dispatcher is a wicked man who gets a sick thrill from toying with your lives like a god. Please be patient.” Finally, some honesty!

»   I can haz fancee buz, too? Wait, six bucks? Hmmm, maybe not.

»   Angeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelllll. Angel of Harrrrrrrrrrrrrleeeeeeeeeeeeemmmm. U2 is the best!

»   Edmonton taking a page out of Denmark’s book, making transit cool again. Personally, I always thought it was cool!

»   Let’s all take a video tour inside the tunnels of the Spadina Subway extension in Toronto.

»   What happens on the night bus, stays on the night bus in this new London documentary series.

»   Chachachacha changes for iconic NYC subway lettering.

»   My fave! Seinfeld always kept it real(ish) with their subway scenes!

A beautiful image created by Arthur Simpkins

A beautiful image created by Arthur Simpkins

»   Allllllll aboard the second avenue subway! Well, virtually at least with a new, interactive video game.

»  First people arrested for “man spreading” on NYC subway. This is a thing now.

»   Curious about where a train is in Israel? How about a bus in Western Australia? Wonder no more with this world transit real time map.

»   That familiar delivery company with the brown, smiley box may be sitting next to you for your commute in NYC.

»   There’s a fabulous artist take-over happening at a newsstand in Chester station in Toronto!

»   8-bit lovers unite! And then check out this great video showing what happens when a train is delayed.

»   This is not the bus you are looking for! (Star Wars anyone?)

»   All in the family breakdancing on Philly’s subway system!

»   Some more subway dancers captured in some mid-move photos.

»   Now this is great for the environment AND your wallet!

»   I wouldn’t have believed it without the video. The “poo bus” in the UK has broken a land speed record for buses!

»   NYC’s street beautification project extends underground, too.

»   I am living for these living bus shelter roofs in Boston!

»   Kudos to this bus operator out of London, Ontario. 45 years of safe driving = provincial record!

»   Vincent, is that you? Your ear seems to have magically grown back!

»   We wish you love, peace and soul (and quiet?) during this silent soul train dance party in Miami!

»   Hey, all you hep cats! Tune in to this slick daddy-o with and his beatnik talk show on a bus!

»   Questions about the L train in NYC top Google searches for the past six months. WOWZA!

»   Public art really makes a difference on and around transit and across cities!

»   The future is NOW! A robot is being developed to help visually impaired riders navigate transit systems.

@evolve_photo aka Scott Brown shared this with us on Twitter. Many a year of U-passes!

@evolve_photo aka Scott Brown shared this with us on Twitter. Many-a-year of U-Passes!

 

TravelSmart to the FIFA Women’s World Cup

Shuéme is hoping on the system to get to the games!

FIFA mascot, Shuéme is hoping on the system to get to the games!

The moment Vancouver soccer fans have been waiting for is nearly upon us – the FIFA Women’s World Cup is coming to BC Place!!

From June 8 to July 5, 2015 Vancouver will host six soccer matches plus the World Final Game.

Hosting the world’s best female soccer players is an honour that will inspire us all, but especially women and girls who love the sport.

The FIFA matches will bring thousands of additional people to the downtown core, so now is a great time to start thinking about the most TravelSmart mode of transportation to avoid heavy traffic and parking stress.

FIFA matches will take place at BC Place Stadium located at 777 Pacific Blvd. BC Place is easily accessible by SkyTrain, SeaBus, Bus and the Seaside Bike Route.

You have lots of alternatives, so consider leaving your car at home. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Planning your Trip

You can plan your route online on our trip planner by simply typing in your starting location and final destination. You can also get real-time Next Bus information on your mobile device.

Public Transportation

TransLink’s integrated system of buses, commuter rail, SeaBus, and SkyTrain will get you to the game for a fraction of the cost of driving and parking.

If you take SkyTrain just hop off at Stadium-Chinatown Station and walk South along Expo Boulevard to BC Place.

Park & Ride Lots

Save big bucks on parking by leaving your car at one of TransLink’s Park and Ride facilities available at many transit hubs.

Simply park your car, hop on bus or SkyTrain and relax while we whisk you off to the Game.

Carpooling

Save gas and money by carpooling! Don’t have a carpool buddy yet? Or maybe you want to fill that extra seat in your car? Connect with carpoolers along your route at ride-share.com.

Walk or Bike

Why not build some exercise into your FIFA experience? Walking and biking is a great way to arrive energized and to get home quickly.

Take the Seaside Bicycle Route and enjoy stunning views of False Creek on your journey – and yes it’s family-friendly!

Free Bike Valet service will be available at all matches. You can also lock your bike securely at the Main Street Bike Parkade and then ride the SkyTrain the rest of the way.

For more great tips and tricks for driving less and moving your body more, be sure to check out the TravelSmart homepage.

U-Pass BC transition to Compass is in full swing!

Compass Card

On June 1, another 50,000 students say good bye to the paper U-Pass BC and hello to Compass.

Students from BCIT, Langara, SFU and UBC will start using Compass Cards to travel across Metro Vancouver—and never have to line up for a paper pass again.

Compass Card for U-Pass BC – same program, better process

With the Compass system:

  • Students still get all-zone transit across Metro Vancouver and discounted West Coast Express fares
  • No more waiting in line for a paper pass, students can now request their U-Pass BC online each month at upassbc.translink.ca
  • Unlike paper passes, Compass for U-Pass BC helps deter fraud because cards can be unlinked if lost or stolen

Loading is easy peasy

Check out this video for all the steps!

Please tap in and tap out

  • Students must tap in and tap out every time they enter or exit a bus or station, including when they transfer
  • Tapping in and out provides important anonymous ridership data, so resources are placed where they’re needed most

U-Pass BC and West Coast Express

  • Students without a Compass Card should use standard traditional WCE products for the month of June
  • Those with a Compass Card need to load their U-Pass BC onto their Compass Card.
  • To have a U-Pass BC WCE Add-On loaded onto their Compass Card, visit the WCE Office or call Compass Customer Service 604.398.2042.
  • Students need to tap once they’ve loaded their WCE Monthly Pass onto their Compass Card. Until then, U-Pass BC students do not need to tap in and out on West Coast Express.

The next students to get Compass Cards are from Capilano and VCC.

Once they’re tapping on July 1, all schools will be fully converted to Compass.

Have questions? Ask away at AskCompass.ca and see our FAQ page here.

Transit in the News – May 29

A weekly section about transit making headlines around the globe. Have an article you want to share?
Comment below or email us.newspaper-568058_1280

All TransLink transit free last Friday because of SkyTrain shutdown.

New and expanded TTC bus routes to provide reliable overnight and weekend service.

Winnipeg Transit faces long recovery from labour dispute.

Apple Maps’ public transit directions might only support six cities at launch.

Ericsson and Volvo partner on smart public transit.

Vix eyes Malaysian public transport deal.

TTC board expected to approve bus and streetcar service improvements.

Ontario investing up to $1 Billion for light rail transit in Hamilton.

Copper wire theft causes subway headaches for thousands of commuters in NYC.

Voter turnout just shy of 45% for Transit Referendum in Metro Vancouver.

Council hears ideas on how to improve transportation within Fort St. John.

Maryland public transportation fares will soon increase.

Sioux Falls City Council discusses free summer transportation for children.

Scarborough subway route narrowed to three choices.

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

New policy for electric and folding bikes on transit

Fashion Electric BicycleElectric and folding bikes are now being allowed on board the system!

BCRTC and CMBC are updating their operational policies to allow different types of cyclists access.

Electric bikes will now be permitted on SkyTrain, West Coast Express and SeaBus.

UPDATE Folding bikes will be allowed on all modes buses, when folded.

Riders of folding bikes are asked to use a slipcover or carrying pack while on buses.

All the existing rules for bikes on transit still apply. Here’s a refresher:

  • Bikes are not allowed at Metrotown Station at anytime.
  • There is a maximum of two bikes per SkyTrain car and one per Canada line car.
  • No e-scooters allowed on the system
  • Morning and afternoon rush hour restrictions are still in place — Canada Line: Peak times in all directions. Expo & Millennium Lines: Peak times except for the allowances listed below.

Westbound:
7am – 9am Monday-Friday travelling from Columbia Station to VCC-Clark Station; and from Columbia and King George Stations towards Waterfront Station.

Eastbound:
4pm-6pm Monday-Friday travelling from VCC-Clark Station to Columbia Station; and from Waterfront Station towards Columbia and King George Station.

You can read more about our bike policy here.

Transit Police Academy – Week 2

SeeSomethingTextSomething

You can text Transit Police anytime at 87-77-77

Week two of Transit Police Academy was very technical. Literally!

It was all about the technology they use to communicate with each other, other police in the region, emergency services as well as you (and me!), the riders on the system.

Something I thought was particularly interesting is the way that Transit Police uses historical data and specialized crime predictive analysis to identify and track hotspots and areas of concern along the system.

Specialized software automatically generates a predictive algorithm which enables Transit Police to forecast where and when criminal activity is most likely to occur.

This information determines where police focus their patrols, greatly reduces response times and helps to proactively reduce and address root causes of crime. Read more »

Compass Arrives at West Coast Express!

Compass is coming soon to West Coast Express

Compass is coming soon to West Coast Express

The convenience of the Compass fare-collection system arrives at West Coast Express (WCE), starting June 8, 2015! Once they receive cards, WCE customers will get to enjoy the many benefits of Compass, such as:

Here's what a Compass mobile validator looks like!

Here’s what a Compass mobile validator looks like!

  • Stored Value: add almost any value you want and pay-as-you-go
  • Online Purchasing: no more waiting at the vending machine to buy your fare
  • Balance Protection: with card registration, your funds are protected, even if your card is lost or stolen
  • AutoLoad: with card registration, you can set up automatic top ups or pass renewals so you’ll never have to worry about forgetting to top up

Staff will hand out Compass Cards to WCE Customers on the concourse at Waterfront Station during June. WCE stations will transition to Compass throughout the month, with two stations switching each weekend.

For WCE customers, once you have your card, load it with a Compass product using the Compass website (coming very soon) or at one of the new Compass Vending Machines—and join the 100,000 Compass users already tapping in and out across Metro Vancouver!

Not ready to make the switch? You can buy existing WCE products until June 26 at Waterfront Station and other WCE stations that haven’t switched over. The last day to use existing WCE products will be July 24. Ask a Station Attendant for more tips on the best Compass transition for you.

For all other customers, it’s business as usual. Compass Vending Machines along the WCE system will not sell Compass Cards at this time, and will sell WCE products only.
Have questions?

Learn more at translink.ca/compasscard
Ask away at AskCompass.ca
Speak with a WCE Station Attendant
Or contact the WCE Office at 604.488.8906, Suite 295-601 Cordova Street, Vancouver

Share the Road Challenge 2015

Share the Road Challenge

Erin and Dave from TravelSmart participate in the Share the Road Challenge 2015

It was a Mad Max showdown (I’m a bit dramatic) of bikes versus transit versus car with HUB’s 9th annual Share the Road Challenge!

It all took place on Wednesday, May 20th with the finish line in downtown Vancouver.

Teams of three (one car, one cyclist, one transit user) started from locations across Metro Vancouver, leaving at the same time with the same amount of distance to travel to see who would get downtown first.

There were teams from Car2Go Vancouver, Vancity Buzz, Dish Jeans & Duer Denim, eProdigy Bikes, Modacity, The Georgia Straight, TravelSmart, Two Wheel Gear, Vancity, the Vancouver Airport Authority and the City of Vancouver with Mayor Gregor Robertson and City Councillors Andrea Reimer and Kerry Jang.

The results? In six out of eleven teams, cyclists reigned supreme!

Councillor Andrea Reimer took first prize for the City of Vancouver for her 14-minute trip on the SkyTrain from Commercial Drive.

Mayor Gregor Robertson came in two minutes later on his bike.

Councillor Kerry Jang placed last with a 22-minute drive in his car.

Even our very own TravelSmart team participated! They came in from the West End, with the bike commuter arriving in just 11 minutes while transit came in second with 20 minutes.

Remember, Bike to Work Week starts today!

Don’t forget to sign up at BikeHUB.