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Translink Buzzer Blog

Today’s forecast…holiday service schedules and winter service changes!

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Winter is just around the corner and we’re getting into the holiday spirit by rolling out our holiday service schedules and winter service changes.

These seasonal changes include:

  • A two-week holiday schedule – December 21, 2015 to January 3, 2016;
  • Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve schedules; and
  • Winter service changes – starting January 4, 2016.

Don’t forget that service changes can affect many routes, so know before you go and use TransLink’s trip planner to check if your route has changed.

Let’s take a look at some of the highlights:

  • Routes serving schools and post-secondary institutions adjusted to better reflect ridership during two- week special holiday schedule.
  • Christmas and Boxing Day will run on a Sunday/holiday service schedule. Some routes modified to provide more frequent service.
  • Free service on New Year’s Eve after 5:00 pm until 5:00 am on January 1 – with extended bus service hours.
  • Welcome back bus service along Capilano Road starting January 4, 2016 as part of our winter service changes.

Want to know more information? Check out the upcoming print Buzzer and our service changes page.

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.

TransLink awarded Platinum level status for sustainability commitment!

APTA PlatinumWe’ve gone Platinum!

TransLink has become the first Canadian transit organization to achieve Platinum level status for sustainability from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).

Moving from our initial Gold status awarded in 2012, achieving Platinum places us at the top of transit organizations in Canada and one in four in North America!

APTA reviewed TransLink’s comprehensive program to improve the management of energy, air pollutants, water, waste and greenhouse gas emissions.

Many of the initiatives that improved TransLink’s sustainability record were at Coast Mountain Bus Company. Since 2010, 58 separate projects:

  • reduced waste by nine per cent
  • reduced water use by 10 per cent
  • reduced green house gases by 17 per cent in its facilities (bus fleet alone has had a 17 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions!)
  • reduced energy consumption by more than seven per cent

TransLink’s commitment to social well-being and long-time support of United Way also helped us achieve the Platinum level status.

In 2014, our employee-driven campaign raised $275,000 for United Way sponsored programs to help those in need across Metro Vancouver!

For more information on our sustainability efforts check out our sustainability policy and see our 2012 Sustainability Report.

Author: Laura Tennant

You are invited to TransLink’s Next Open Board Meeting

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Want to know more about the ins and outs of TransLink beyond the road and rails?

Then you should plan on attending our next Open Board Meeting!

This is the second open meeting and final 2015 meeting of the Board of Directors.

It takes place on Wednesday, December 9th at 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at TransLink Head Office in New Westminster.

If you are interested in attending, please RSVP to: media@translink.ca.

Agenda details can be found on our website.

There will be a brief press conference immediately following the meeting led by the Board of Directors Chair and acting TransLink CEO Cathy McLay.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter for the live Q & A
media event broadcast on Periscope.

New signs make taking the bus a breeze

A wayfinding expert’s rendering of a new bus stop sign and scheduling panel

A wayfinding expert’s rendering of a new bus stop sign and scheduling panel

Starting this month and continuing through the week, bus stop signs in Surrey City Centre are getting a new look!

The design of the new signs, courtesy of TransLink’s Wayfinding experts, display more information and are easier to read.

You’ll also notice something strangely familiar — the new look is consistent with other transit facilities across the system such as SkyTrain stations. The large “T” is for transit (of course!) and will make spotting a bus stop a breeze.

Digital rendering of a new bus stop sign

Digital rendering of a new bus stop sign

Rolling out the new bus stop signs will be a gradual process. To be cost effective, signage and schedules “infotubes” will only be changed out when the existing pieces reach end-of-life or are damaged or require updated route information. The full replacement of all bus stop signs and infotubes will take place over the next few years.

New bus stop signs

New bus stop signs will make it easier for customers to locate bus stops from a distance.

The “T” for transit, route numbers, Next Bus information and the bay number are placed in prominent locations. To differentiate from regular bus service, B-Line information will be highlighted in orange and NightBus in navy blue.

Schedule panels replace infotubes

Many bus stops currently have infotubes on the pole with schedule information, and riders generally give us good feedback about them. Sometimes, however, riders tell us the text is too small. We’re making improvements in this area by replacing the infotubes with schedule panels. The schedule panels are flat, contain larger text and have the same look and feel as the bus stop signs.

Existing infotube (left) and new scheduling panel (right)

Existing infotube (left) and new scheduling panel (right)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keep your eyes open!

If you’re in Surrey City Centre over the next few days, make sure to check out the new signs. There are also a few new ones dotting other areas of the region, so keep your eyes open for them too!

 

 

Author: Jordan Keim 

Out on the roads, spot the reindeer bus!

We spotted the bus today!

Beep beep! Rudolph is running on a route near you!

**Extra points for you if you sang the title to the tune of “Up on the Housetop!”**

‘Tis the season for the reindeer bus and reindeer community shuttle to be out and about on regular routes around Metro Vancouver starting tomorrow for the whole month of December!

reindeer bus

This community shuttle has a very shiny nose!

For 30 years, these decorated vehicles have spread the holiday cheer and surprise passengers with a unique ride throughout Metro Vancouver!

The reindeer bus kicked into gear a little early last week with a visit to Toys for Tots. This year, TransLink and its operating companies have promised 3,000 toys to help make this Christmas extra special for children in our communities!

When they are not out on the road, the reindeer bus calls the Vancouver Transit Centre home.

Head to Twitter where our team will try their best to tweet out what routes the two reindeer will be serving so you can hop on!

Keep your eyes peeled for our reindeer and send us your pictures of it!

Tweet your photos to @TheBuzzer using the hashtag #ReindeerBus, post them onto Instagram mentioning @TransLinkBC and hashtag #ReindeerBus, or email thebuzzer@translink.ca. We’ll be sharing some of our favourites!

Author: Adrienne Coling

Buskers strum their stuff during auditions!

Buskers 2015 judges

So much talent at this year’s Busker auditions!

Last week, our annual busker auditions took place at TransLink’s head office in New Westminster and it was a day full of extremely talented musicians!

Musicians have been part of the transit culture in Metro Vancouver since 1986.

The music really helps to create welcoming public spaces for riders on the system and surrounding communities.

There were nearly 50 musicians vying for one of available licenses to busk at SkyTrain stations.

They performed for a panel of three judges  who were treated to a variety of performances!

From instrumental classical violinists to pop-cover accordionists, everyone had something a little different to bring to the stage.

Thanks to all the musicians that came out to perform!

Stay tuned to our Instagram account for quick
15-second snippets of some of the auditions!

Author: Adrienne Coling

Compass brochures now available online!

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If you are looking for informational brochures on the ins-and-outs of Compass, look no further than our website.

Now you can download the Learn about Compass Brochure and the Compass Customer Guide Brochure for tips on the Compass basics.

The brochures cover everything from how to load, tap and register your card to info on fares and fare products, registration benefits and privacy information.

These brochures are jammed packed full of all you need to know about Compass.

But, don’t take my word for it, download the brochures and check them out!

Here’s a few more ways to learn more about Compass and get tapping!
Order cards: compasscard.ca or 604.398.2042 or toll-free at 1-888-207-4055
View our Compass 101 video playlist: youtube.com/translink
Have questions? Ask away at askcompass.ca!

Author: Laura Tennant

 

 

Evergreen project tunnel boring is complete!

Tunnel boring from Coquitlam to Port Moody was completed today, marking an important milestone in the Evergreen Line project.

The completion the two-kilometre tunnel means TransLink is one step closer to operating an expanded transit system that will give the people who live here a new and fast option for getting around.

The Evergreen extension is a significant expansion of our integrated transit network. In fact, the full 79 km of SkyTrain means that TransLink will soon operate the world’s longest fully-automated rapid transit system.

We’re hard at work readying our system to ensure that customers have an easy transition when we integrate the Evergreen extension into the SkyTrain network. We’re:

  • Determining how to integrate bus services with the expanded SkyTrain network;
  • Testing train control software and new tracks;
  • Readying staff to support our customers when Evergreen opens; and
  • Developing operating plans, schedules and information for customers.

The Evergreen project is an example of all levels of government coming together to invest in much needed transportation infrastructure to support and shape growth in the region.

We applaud the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia for all the hard work that has been put into this project to date.

Thank you to our passengers and neighbours for their continued patience and support throughout the construction of the Evergreen extension.

We look forward to having you ride with us in the near future!

Author: Laura Tennant

 

 

Poll Results: one-zone bus fare has made travel less expensive for some

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The numbers are in and New Poll: How has the one-zone bus fare changed the way you travel?! The results are split. Here’s the break down:

43 per cent voted that the one-zone bus fare has saved them money per trip, while 40 per cent voted that the change in fare structure did not affect them one bit.

12 per cent voted they are trying to avoid the bus altogether because they feel the one-zone bus fare has made their commute too busy.

And a handful of voters (5 per cent) are a bit confused as to what one-zone bus fare is all about!

Those of you who cast their vote in the last category, feel free to ask away about the one-zone bus fare in the comments section. You can also check out videos and one-zone bus fare information on our website.

 

 

November 24, 2015 SkyTrain disruption

Hi all! Here’s a bit of info about yesterday’s SkyTrain disruption which affected service between Broadway-Commercial and Waterfront stations. The power-rail-collector shoe on a train was damaged and subsequently caused a power outage on that portion of the system. See image below.

Damaged power-rail-collector shoe

Damaged power-rail-collector shoe

A SkyTrain Attendant was at the problem train within minutes of the problem occurring and all passengers on the affected train were safely evacuated within an hour. The area was powered down, brakes applied, and a second train was pulled up alongside the train to evacuate and move the passengers to a station.

Up to 69 extra shuttle buses were put in place between Commercial-Broadway and Waterfront stations. Extra staff were deployed to stations to assist customers and provide information. Additional Canada Line trains were added to assist with greater volumes as people sought alternate routes out of the downtown core. Additional Transit Security and Transit Police were at stations to ensure passenger safety and crowd control.

We know this was a huge inconvenience for our riders. We thank our riders for their patience and the media for their help in disseminating information to our customers during this incident.

I’m off to the SkyTrain Operations and Maintenance Centre shortly and will be updating this post will more info later today.

 

All aboard the 20th anniversary West Coast Express Santa Train!

WCE Santa Train 1
Back for another year of holiday fun for a great cause is the West Coast Express Santa Train!

This annual toy drive is a great day for the whole family!

To ride the Santa Train, all you need to do is bring along a new, unwrapped toy as a donation.

Trade your toy for a ticket to ride and make the holidays a little brighter for families in need.

Last year over 3,760 Santa Train riders donated a record-setting 4,219 toys!

There are two rides on December 5th and December 12th.

WCE Santa Train 2
The ride begins in Mission City at 10 am. It will then stop at all WCE stations along the way picking up excited holiday riders.

Pssssst… Santa will be there too!

Once in Vancouver, you have the day to explore and have fun downtown.

Don’t forget to bring your camera because Santa will be at Waterfront Station (aka The North Pole) for photo ops at 3 pm before boarding the train home.

The train leaves Waterfront at 4 pm.WCE Santa Train 3
Author: Adrienne Coling

More Compass fare gates closing at SkyTrain stations this weekend!

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You’ll be able to try our more gates starting this weekend!

As we mentioned in our last Compass post, over the next two weekends, we’re closing additional fare gates at SkyTrain stations across the Millennium and Expo Lines.

For start of service on November 21 and 28, you may find more closed gates at your station.

This is BIG news because after the work is completed on the 28th, there will be about 50% of all fare gates on SkyTrain closed!

What do we mean by closed? I’ll tell you!

It means that the gate paddles will be set in the closed position and when tapped with a Compass Card or Compass Ticket, the gate will open allowing you to pass through.

By December, 98 out of the 197 gates will be closed on the Expo Line and 30 out of 74 gates will be closed on the Millennium Line.

An accessible gate will remain open at all stations until Compass is completely rolled out to everyone.

Bonus! More closed gates are a great reminder to tap in and out on rail and SeaBus.

So, get out there and start tap, tap, tapping!

Check out all the ways you can learn more about Compass and get tapping!
Order cards: compasscard.ca or 604.398.2042 or toll-free at 1-888-207-4055
View our Compass 101 video playlist: youtube.com/translink
Have questions? Ask away at askcompass.ca!

Author: Adrienne Coling

Blanket BC’s annual “Drive on the Line” campaign is back and needs YOUR help!

Blanket BC

On November 20th & 21st, Blanket BC Society is launching its seventh annual “Drive on the Line” campaign taking place along the Canada Line.

Last year there were over 5,000 blankets, 1,500 articles of clothing & over $7,200 collected!

This year’s goal is 10,000 blankets!

This two-day blanket drive will be collecting donations from passengers and public alike at 7 different stations.

You can donate at Waterfront, Yaletown/Roundhouse, Vancouver City Centre, Broadway/City Hall, Oakridge/41st, Bridgeport and Richmond Brighouse.

Accepted donations are: socks, scarves, mittens, toques and, of course, blankets.

All donated items will then be divided up and distributed to over 75 shelter programs and organizations that work directly with society’s most impoverished individuals and families throughout Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island.

Volunteers needed!

This great initiative still needs more volunteers for this weekend.

Head to their website to volunteer your time and help #SpreadTheWarmth!

Join the online conversation with Blanket BC on Twitter and Facebook.

Author: Adrienne Coling

Compass Update: Big news for Monthly Pass holders!

imageThe transition to Compass is in full swing!

In fact, more than 300,000 riders now have a Compass Card with more and more people tapping every day!!

What’s next for Compass:

  • December 2015 is the last month to buy and use a paper Monthly Pass (FareCard).
  • For January, customers who want to travel with a Monthly Pass need to get a Compass Card and load a pass.
  • Customers can get a Compass Card today – December monthly passes can be loaded online starting November 16 and at Compass Vending Machines starting November 20.

What else is new?

On November 21, an additional gate will close at most Expo and Millennium Line stations as part of the transition to Compass.

This way, you can start getting used to tapping in and out with more closed gates!

Are you looking for more info? Check out translink.ca/monthlypass.

Remember!

All Compass customers are reminded to tap in and tap out on rail and SeaBus to ensure they are charged the correct fare.

Not tapping out on SkyTrain, West Coast Express and SeaBus could result in additional charges and “insufficient fare” message on the next trip. This is true for Compass Monthly Passes.

On buses, you only need to tap in!

If you get an insufficient fare message, you’ll need to top up your card with Stored Value before you can continue travelling.

Check out all the ways you can learn more about Compass and get tapping!
Order cards: compasscard.ca or 604.398.2042 or toll-free at 1-888-207-4055
View our Compass 101 video playlist: youtube.com/translink
Have questions? Ask away at askcompass.ca!


Author: Adrienne Coling

Running rail replacement continues this Sunday, November 15 2015

This next and final round of rail replacement is a continuation of the work we did this summer.

The final phase of running rail replacement work will begin this Sunday, November 15 and continue until early 2016.

Work has been underway since August to replace 4,550 linear metres of 30-year-old SkyTrain track on the Expo Line.

This work is critical to keeping the system safe and reliable for our riders now and in the years to come.

After months of work, the last 1,450 linear metres of track are set to be completed.

To make this rail replacement less of a headache for our riders we are keeping trains and tracks in service while crews work during non-peak hours.

However, beginning Sunday, November 15 and continuing for several months, customers should expect delays on the Millennium and Expo lines from Sunday through Thursday starting at 9 p.m. and continuing until end of service.

Here’s a quick rundown:

Where is the rail being replaced?

  • In-bound Commercial-Broadway curve

When?

  • Nov.15 to early 2016 – Sunday to Thursday, 9 p.m. to end of service

How will service be impacted?

  • Expo Line service will single track at Commercial-Broadway and Main Street-Science World stations while crews replace rail west of Commercial-Broadway Station.
  • Millennium Line will operate between VCC Clark and Columbia stations only
  • Customers travelling with bicycles should try to travel before 9 p.m. or after 10 p.m. when trains are busiest.
  • Customers should plan for at least 20 minutes of extra travel time while crews are working.
  • Crews will not be working between Dec. 12 and Jan. 2.

Author: Laura Tennant