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Pattullo Bridge repaving work starts Sun May 31: means evening and weekend closures

A very important alert for all our customers who use the Pattullo Bridge.

Repaving work will start on Sun May 31, which means the bridge will be closed during weeknights (8 p.m. to 5 a.m.) and weekends (8 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday). Barring weather delays, the work is expected to take two to three weeks.

Please be aware that when the bridge is open during weekdays, some parts of the deck will be rougher than others. A 30 km/h speed limit will be in place at all times until the work is complete.

As well, the N19 Surrey Central/Downtown NightBus, the only one of two routes currently using the Pattullo Bridge, will be re-routed from New Westminster Station via the Port Mann Bridge, 152nd St., 108th Ave. and the King George Highway to Scott Road Station before resuming its regular route. (Final arrangements for the 321 route have not yet been figured out — I’ll keep you posted.)

If you ride this bus, please expect an extra 10 minutes’ travel time in each direction. SkyTrain will run regular evening and weekend service, with additional cars available to meet extra demand if needed.

It really sucks to close the bridge like this, but the repaving work is important and we need to get it done! Here’s some more detail on why the repaving is needed from the official press release:

Work will begin May 31 to repave the Pattullo Bridge. Over the past three years, TransLink has done extensive maintenance work on the 72-year-old structure, including repainting and foundation scour protection (to prevent the piers’ being eroded by the Fraser River), and now the deck will be repaved. Removing and replacing the asphalt will make the road surface smoother and will allow the condition of the underlying concrete bridge deck to be assessed.

“It’s vital to keep the Pattullo Bridge in as good condition as possible while we plan, design and build the new crossing over the next several years,” says TransLink CEO Tom Prendergast. “We did get an inadvertent ‘head start’ during the emergency closure in January, and now it’s time to finish the job.” Following the fire, which destroyed the timber support structure in January, approximately 20 per cent of the paving work was done while the new span was put in place.

The bridge was paved in the 1980s using asbestos-modified asphalt which must be removed carefully. To complete the work as safely and quickly as possible, the bridge will be closed to all traffic while the work is underway. The closures will take place weeknights (8pm – 5am) and weekends (8pm Friday – 5am Monday). Barring possible weather delays, the work is expected to take two to three weeks. Motorists, pedestrians and cyclists should plan alternate routes, such as Port Mann Bridge or Alex Fraser/Queensborough Bridges, for night time and weekend travel.

The work has been scheduled for the early part of June to make use of a “window” when traffic is generally reduced over the bridge. Most post-secondary institutions have finished classes, and the “summer driving season” has not yet begun. It’s also the time of year that is most likely to be dry and not very hot – two conditions necessary for this work. While approaches to the bridges will be closed, there will be access to businesses on the south side of the bridge.

Friday fun poll: have you ever fallen asleep and missed your stop?

If you like, you can skip to the end of this post to answer the sleeping on transit poll.

Results from last poll: running for boarding transit vehicles

Last week I asked about whether you run to catch a boarding transit vehicle.

And after 175 votes, 62% of you said Yes and 38% said no!

The comments were really interesting. Tsushima Masaki said it was dependent on the situation — if it’s an infrequent bus, that’s when you run. However, ;-) said he didn’t run often because more frequent service and better mobile access to scheduling makes it easier to predict when you should be at the stop, so you can plan ahead. And Steven expressed that frantic running for transit could in fact be dangerous for many—drivers, passengers, pedestrians, etc!

We also got a few interesting observation/tips. Here’s Dave2 regarding waiting for the SkyTrain:

Broadway/Commercial is too crowded, and if I miss an E/B Millenium line train I’ll just resign myself to a 5 minute wait for the next train. What gets me is people that run for a W/B train at Broadway in the AM rush…trains dwell there for 45 seconds so usually I just casually walk on after the runners have passed, and if the train leaves it’s only 90-100 seconds until the next one.

And George had a few more thoughts:

I have also noticed that generally drivers on the less frequent, evening, and community shuttle routes are more likely to wait for a running passenger. That makes sense since waiting for another 30 mins would waste so much time. Furthermor I think if you are the last passeneger to enter a bus, you should quickly look back to see if someone is running to catch the bus and maybe you could kindly hold up the bus for that person. Someone did that for me and it’s really appreciated.

Again, Eric, who suggested this poll, wrote a post on his blog explaining why he doesn’t run for buses: his thoughts are very similar to mine, actually. And many more comments can be found at the original post, as always.

This week’s poll: have you ever fallen asleep and missed your stop?

Well, have you?

Also, if you have fallen asleep on transit, did you pass several stops before you woke up? (Personally I fall asleep on transit a lot, but I’ve never actually missed my stop!)

Traffic and transit info for the BMO Vancouver Marathon on Sunday

The BMO Vancouver Marathon is coming up on Sunday, May 3, and here’s some transportation info that you might find handy.

First, traffic in Vancouver will be affected, especially downtown, Granville Island, and the Kitsilano/Point Grey neighborhoods.

There will also be some Vancouver bus reroutes owing to the marathon, in effect from 6 a.m. until about 1:30 p.m. That includes routes #3, 4, 6, 8, 17, 19, 22, 50, 84, 98, 210, 211, C21, C23. (You can find the full list of reroutes on the Alerts page, over at the main TransLink website.)

If you’re taking transit to the marathon, SkyTrain will start 90 minutes early, with the first train leaving King George at about 5:38 a.m., and arriving at Stadium by 6:15 a.m. First trains also leave Lougheed station in both directions at 5:45 a.m., and the first eastbound train departs Waterfront at 6:20 a.m.

Expo and Millennium Line service will be every six minutes, resulting in three minute service between Columbia and Waterfront. Regular Sunday and holiday (single zone) fares are in effect.

SeaBus will be operating on its regular schedule on Sunday, with an 8:02 a.m. start from Lonsdale Quay. (The #242 provides earlier service to downtown Vancouver via the Lions Gate Bridge.)

For those not running in the marathon, please be aware that there may be some bus delays, so try to give yourself extra time to reach your destinations on Sunday.

And nicely enough, the BMO Vancouver Marathon website has a PDF with all of these transportation schedules listed. For more about the race, explore the official site, or check out a recent post at Miss 604. Apparently the marathon really needs volunteers!

We’ve got a brand new TransLink website!

Check out the new <a href=>TransLink website</a>!

Check out the new TransLink website!

The TransLink website has a whole new look — check it out at!

We’ve totally redesigned it to focus on your needs as customers. The old site was really a corporate-focused site: it just wasn’t properly set up to help you get the information you need.

So now, our revised site has a new look and feel, a much more organized structure, and it’s completely focused on helping you find what you need.

For example, research showed that 90 per cent of visitors to the TransLink website were only there to find the trip planner—so a trip planner widget is now in the middle of the homepage.

The trip planner itself has a new feature too: once you select a trip plan option, alerts will now pop up, notifying you of any situations affecting your chosen bus or SkyTrain routes.

What else is new?

On the Driving page, you can now easily access cameras showing the situation on roads and bridges across the region.

On the Driving page, you can now easily access cameras showing the situation on roads and bridges across the region.

On the site, cycling and driving sections now have much more prominence. And the driving section has a really exciting feature: built-in access to traffic cameras, so you can see the live situation on roads and bridges across the region.

The old Current Operating Conditions page has now been renamed Alerts. It’s going to be updated much faster, as staff at T-Comm, the traffic control centre for our bus fleet, can now input information directly onto the site.

Plus, there’s also fun little toys like a carbon footprint calculator, and built-in Web 2.0 tools to help you share our content through sites like Digg or Facebook.

Much more coming in the future

There are many more features and pages that aren’t ready for launch, but will be rolled out in the coming weeks. I’ll have more info as we get those on the go!

We’re also really committed to updating the site regularly, and adding new features and content as we grow as an organization.

Everybody’s excited about the new site here, and we hope you are too! Let us know if there’s any issues via the web form, or feel free to put them into the comments below.

PS. Yes, we have officially moved over to, not No more secondary domains for us anymore! Also, yes, the old site address will continue to work in the future.

(Updated) Cambie Street roadwork, Fri Apr. 10 – Sun Apr. 12

Look out: roadwork on Cambie Street from Broadway to Cambie Bridge will cause traffic congestion in all directions this weekend, due to two jobs beginning Friday, April 10.

Here’s project one: repaving will take place on Cambie from Broadway to Cambie Bridge, from 6am – 6pm on Friday Apr. 10 and Saturday Apr. 11. If the work is not completed on Friday, they will finish the job on Sunday, April 12. Southbound traffic will be single lane only. Northbound traffic will detour at Cambie & 12th Ave., although trucks and buses will be allowed to use Cambie & Cambie Bridge.

Project two: On Friday, Apr. 10, a manhole will be installed on Broadway at Cambie from 7am – 7pm.
Traffic will be one lane in each direction during that time.

Drivers, expect severe congestion in the area—you may want to plan alternate routes! Bus customers should also expect longer than normal trip times, although the buses will stay on their regular routes and no stops will be missed.

Roadwork on Cambie Street between Broadway to the bridge will cause traffic congestion in all directions at various times this weekend, due to two jobs beginning Friday, April 10.

Friday fun poll: have you ever talked to a transit crush?

Last week, I ran a poll asking if you had a secret friend on transit: somebody you see on transit all the time, but never talk to.

And after 118 votes, 73% said they DID have a secret friend! (The remaining 27% didn’t, of course.)

Comments on this poll were a lot of fun to read. So many of us have secret friends that we never ever engage with! Here’s a great story from Dan B:

I see two guys on the bus — one gets on one stop after mine, another two stops after mine. We ride the same bus and train every day and we work at the same company, yet we’ve never spoken to each other nor do we know each other’s names. We spend a total of 45 minutes of travel time using the bus and SkyTrain — even the elevator sometimes! — yet we never feel this urge to even say “hi”. I like to call those people my “secret transit co-workers”.

And here’s a comment from EL — who actually did make a real friend from a transit friend :)

Several years ago when I was still going to school, I would bump into the same girl who takes the exact same route as I to school every morning. Now, our commute is approx. 1.25h in the morning, and 1.5h back in the afternoon. After a few weeks into the semester, I started talking to her and we became “commuting buddies” for that semester. We had quite a bit in common, took the very same undergrad courses, etc. We added each other to MSN, and still run into each other from time to time after that semester. It pays off to meet new people while at the bus stop. Although it’s probably easier to chat up people if you’re the around the same age and if you’re a girl. =P


Time for a new poll! This one was suggested by Dan B during the last poll.

Discuss why or why not in the comments :) And for crushees — what’s it like to be approached? Do you find it weird when people just start talking to you on transit? Has it ever actually lead to some kind of relationship?

Take transit to the Juno Awards

The Juno Awards are in town for four days (Thursday Mar. 26 to Sunday Mar. 29), and we’d just like to suggest taking transit to get to the celebration. Here’s some useful info on the transportation situation.

The City of Vancouver will be closing roads in the Granville Street Entertainment District and some sections of Abbott Street around GM Place. (These closures don’t affect bus routes!)

Stadium-Chinatown Station is the nearest SkyTrain stop to General Motors Place, where the Junos will be held. You can reach GM Place by taking the east exit and crossing Expo Boulevard via the Abbott Street crosswalk.

Please note the last Skytrain to Surrey on Sunday leaves Waterfront at 12:15 a.m. After this time, you can use night bus service, which operates every 30 minutes, seven nights a week, from approximately 1:30 a.m., with the last bus leaving downtown Vancouver at 3:09 a.m.

You can use our online Trip Planner to plan your trip to the Juno celebrations, or give Customer Information a call at 604-953-3333.

By the way, here’s a list of our 12 NightBus routes:

A short history of interurbans in the Lower Mainland

The very first interurban on the Burnaby Lake line, leaving New Westminster. (Item 166-001, from the Burnaby Historical Society Community Archives Collection, courtesy of the City of Burnaby Archives.)

The very first interurban on the Burnaby Lake line, leaving New Westminster. (Item 166-001, from the Burnaby Historical Society Community Archives Collection, courtesy of the City of Burnaby Archives.)

Today, I’m pleased to present a look at the history of interurbans in the Lower Mainland.

Lisa Codd, the fantastic curator at the Burnaby Village Museum, helped me put this article together. She first shared a luncheon menu and programme from the 1937 Pattullo Bridge opening in January – and this is a continuation of that collaboration, to explore transit history and Burnaby’s archival holdings!

Read more »

Snow service update for 9:40 a.m.

The 130 at Metrotown Loop was carrying a layer of snow this morning.

The 130 at Metrotown Loop was carrying a layer of snow this morning.

Not only did we lose an hour on Sunday, but there’s snow this morning? What a day…

Anyway, so far, snow and icy conditions on roads around Metro Vancouver are affecting bus service throughout the region.

Problem areas include Granville Street, 41st Avenue, any south slope hills in Vancouver and Burnaby (although the #20 is still making it to Harrison Loop at this time), and Westwood Plateau in Coquitlam — Community Shuttles serving the area are being held at the base of the hill.

Here’s some regional specifics:

Surrey – the #314 line is avoiding hills at 124 & 96, 123 & 100.

Richmond – No known major issues in Richmond. But the 98 B-Line is encountering major delays on the Granville corridor.

Port Coquitlam/Coquitlam/Maple Ridge/Port Moody – Community bus is not attempting to access Westwood Plateau. Service is terminating at Poco Stn. Mariner is clear.

North Vancouver – Roads are mostly cleared with some minor delays.

Vancouver – #7, #16, and #20 line are experiencing delays.

West Vancouver – All service on regular route


Due to the increasing snow fall in the greater Vancouver area HandyDART has reduced service in the New Westminster, Coquitlam, Maple Ridge and south of the Fraser River to essential medical services only for this morning. Stay tuned for an update this afternoon (the weather forecast promises the snow will stop by then, but we’ll see).

As always, we appreciate your patience during such inclement weather. Please remember to dress warmly and be aware you might have to walk if your bus is forced to turn around earlier than expected.

Canada Line open house presentation boards are now online

Hey, the presentation boards from the eight Canada Line open houses in February are now online!

Visit the Canada Line Bus Integration page at the main TransLink site to see the boards, which are available as four separate PDFs.

The 10 boards show proposed changes to current bus routes, in order to integrate bus service with the Canada Line. Have a look and offer your feedback in the form on the Canada Line Bus Integration page.

For more info, you can also contact John Timms, Community Relations Officer at the Coast Mountain Bus Company: try him at 604-953-3251 or

I Love Transit Week essay: Dave Olson

For I Love Transit Week, I’m happy to share a contribution from Dave Olson, who is a prolific and talented local writer, podcaster, poet, Canucks superfan, and much more. You can find all of his work on his Feasthouse blog. Find more of Dave’s podcasts, essays, presentations and documentaries at his archive:

So without further ado, here is “Rolling to the End of the Line,” an essay about transit by Dave Thorvald Olson.

P.S. Dave has also put together a related podcast here, tracking his transit trip from North Vancouver to Kitsilano (it’s not the same text as this essay, btw):


Read more »

I Love Transit Week essay: John Calimente on exploring cities via transit

For I Love Transit Week, I’m happy to present an essay from John Calimente, who writes the TransitFan column over at Regarding Place. It’s about tourism on transit — feel free to chime in via the comments with your own transit holiday experiences. And thanks so much to John for sharing this with us!

Transit is the best way to explore a city

by John Calimente

I’ve rarely rented a car when travelling. I’m an urban dweller and what I most enjoy is exploring cities by transit. Automobiles shield you from the true city experience. Adventures happen using transit.

A busy Metro train in Montreal.

A busy Metro train in Montreal. Photo by caribb via Flickr.

Montreal’s metro stations are each unique, covered in wild art from the 1960s, and made me want to go back in time to work at Expo 67. For some reason you feel like you’re travelling much faster than on the SkyTrain – probably because the train cars are on rubber wheels, increasing the noise level and the feeling of speed.

New York has a great subway system with clear maps and a logical fare system. I never tried the buses. When you’re above ground in Manhattan, you just want to walk to everything. As I was sitting in the Carnegie Deli eating a pastrami sandwich with my subway map laid out in front of me, I had no less than three people advise me on the quickest route to my destination. New Yorkers are very hospitable once you get to know them.

San Francisco has kept its streetcars, which make the city feel much more accessible. Besides the one and only cable cars, the F Line running along Market Street and the Embarcadero uses heritage streetcars, packed at most hours of the day by tourists. The BART system probably has the most complicated fare calculation system in the world. Little gatherings form around the fare machines composed of tourists who have no idea where to begin.

Berlin has both the S-Bahn, a rapid rail service similar in style to our SkyTrain, as well as the largest tram network in Europe. The trams are a subtle reminder of the wall that used to slash through the middle of the city – the East kept its trams, the West ditched them. Guess which side gets all the tourists these days? I almost had to pay a fine for buying the wrong ticket – luckily the fare inspector had been to Canada, and loved it! Fifteen minutes of talking about how beautiful the fall colours are in Ontario and I was off with a warning.

The Yamanote Line in Tokyo. Photo by <a href=>eerkmans via Flickr</a>.

The Yamanote Line in Tokyo. Photo by eerkmans via Flickr.

And Tokyo. Its transit system is rather daunting at first, but so user friendly that you’re an expert in a couple of days. Buy one stored fare card and you can sail through the system without thinking about how much from station A to station B. Ride the Yamanote Line that loops around Tokyo in 29 minutes flat. Listen to the motorman announce each of the stops. Yoyogi is my favourite for some reason. They always accentuate it a bit: Yo-yohhhhh-gi. How safe is Tokyo? My friend left a bag on the baggage rack on a Yamanote line train car. He managed to intercept the same train on the other side of the loop. The bag was untouched.

Here, I like talking with Vancouver’s bus drivers when it’s not crowded, especially the NightBuses. I hopped on the N16 late on a Wednesday to find myself one of only two passengers. The driver told me that people just don’t go out drinking in the middle of the week like they used to – 25 years ago the bus would have been packed with people. Vancouver’s habits have changed. But coyotes are still plentiful. We saw one sauntering across Nanaimo St. heading into Pandora Park. The driver said he sees one almost every night.

John Calimente is enrolled in the Master of Urban Studies Program at Simon Fraser University and writes the TransitFan column for re:place magazine.

A look at T-Comm, the Transit Communications centre

A glance at T-Comm, the Transit Communications centre out at the Surrey Transit Centre.

A glance at T-Comm, the Transit Communications centre out at the Surrey Transit Centre.

When a transit operator talks on their radio, have you ever wondered who’s answering at the other end?

It’s the men and women working at Transit Communications, which is located out at the Surrey Transit Centre.

T-Comm, as it’s often called, is like an air traffic control centre, but for public transit instead. Twenty-four hours a day, three to seven T-Comm supervisors are constantly monitoring the buses on the system. They manage the flow of bus traffic as much as possible, and provide information and support to operators as needed.

I was lucky enough to visit T-Comm, meet the fine folks who work there, and see their brand-new real-time communications system in action. So, let’s take a closer look and see what managing a bus system is all about!

Read more »

On Thursday at 6pm, transit will make some noise for the Olympics!

Trains, buses, and more will be making noise for the Olympics on Thursday! (Yes, I like writing speech bubbles for trains and buses.)

Trains, buses, and more will be making noise for the Olympics on Thursday! (Yes, I like writing speech bubbles for trains and buses.)

It’s one year to the 2010 Winter Olympics on Thursday, Feb. 12! The Olympics organizing committee is calling for our region to make some noise at 6 p.m. that day to recognize the milestone — and transit will be answering the call!

So at 6 p.m. tomorrow, all SkyTrain passengers will be encouraged to MAKE SOME NOISE. A pre-recorded announcement just prior to 6 p.m. will remind people to take part. Horns, cowbells, tambourines, and those paper thingies that you use at parties are more than welcome!

All West Coast Express trains en route at the time will also blow their whistles at 6 p.m., so people living and working along the WCE route should be aware that the whistles will sound in an unusual circumstance. Both SeaBuses will also join in the noisy event, blasting their horns at four bells of the “first dog watch.”

Coast Mountain buses will get into the Olympic Spirit, too. Beginning Thursday, the route destination signs will alternate with the words, “Countdown 2 Gold”. As the year progresses, the messages “Go Team Canada” and “Go Canada Go” will also be displayed.

I’ll make sure I’m on SkyTrain at 6pm to get some video. Feel free to send in your own pics and video too, if you see the buses, trains, and SeaBuses celebrating!

The Olympic and Paralympic Games are a unique opportunity for Metro Vancouver to welcome the world, and TransLink and its family of companies are excited and honoured to be part of it!

Capilano University interim transit exchange opens today

Capilano University students, your new interim transit exchange opened this morning!

Starting today, buses #130, #28 and #255 will be re-routed to the exchange, located off Monashee Drive, north of the Studio Art Building. (The #255 will be extended to the new exchange and will travel along Lillooet Road—#255 service at Old Lillooet Road and Mt Seymour Parkway will be discontinued.) Route #239 will remain on Purcell Way.

Here’s a PDF detailing the reroutes and some changes to local bus stops.

So why is it called an interim transit exchange?

Well, our ultimate goal is to build an exchange located at the centre of activity at Cap U, where students and customers want to be. We also want it to be integrated with surrounding land uses, and sized for mid-to-long term growth.

However, recent service increases associated with the January launch of the Vancity U-Pass program ramped up the need for a transit exchange. We had to develop a temporary solution, to make sure the extra buses and service were not disrupting the residents in the neighbourhood surrounding Capilano University.

So, we’ve created this interim exchange at a site that was available. It has a five-year expected capacity, based on current ridership growth assumptions. The interim facility will still have new shelters, garbage receptacles, and proper lighting to ensure everything is up to safety and accessibility standards.

During this time, we will work with area residents, the district of North Vancouver, and the University community to site and plan a longer-term facility. So, that’s why this current exchange is “interim” for now.