ALERT! More info
Translink Buzzer Blog

Cutting back on washing to save water

Bus wash closed at Surrey Transit Centre

Bus wash closed at Surrey Transit Centre

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Many riders turn to their phones on transit!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do you use your smartphone on transit?

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

Total Voters: 97

Author: Laura Tennant

Transit in the News – July 17, 2015

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

Management shakeup to TransLink only the beginning of changes.

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

Wind Mobile expands wireless service in TTC subway stations.

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

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

Bus map disclosure reveals massive overhaul planned for Sydney.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author: Adrienne Coling

The conductorettes: the first women to drive transit in Vancouver


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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more »

A day of transit activity visualized through video!


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

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

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

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

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

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

Author: Laura Tennant

Transit in the News – July 10, 2015

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



London Underground strike causes travel chaos for commuters.

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

Hating your transit agency may not make it better.

Londoners share photos of chaos caused by Underground tube strike.

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

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

Fans find a way to Wimbledon despite London rail strike.

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

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

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

VIA Rail Canada renews Cultural Access Pass program.

TransLink extends Bowen Island bus contract.

Wheelchair or Pram? Which deserves space on the bus?

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

Bus AC proposed as Edmonton heats up.

Dedicated lanes for BEST buses in city soon.

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

Author: Adrienne Coling

The Buzzer blog – what do YOU want to see?

The very first Buzzer, ever.

The very first Buzzer, ever.

Hi everyone!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let us know leaving a comment below or  email us!

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

Author: Adrienne Coling

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


Angus back in the day

Angus back in the day

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

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

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

1954 Brill Trolley

1957 Brill Diesel

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

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


Driver’s seat of the 1954 trolley bus!

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

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

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

Angus next to a 1957 GMC bus

Angus next to a 1957 GMC bus

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

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

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

Angus McIntyre

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author: Laura Tennant

King George Station Bike Parkade is now open!

Our new bike parkade!

Our new bike parkade!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transit in the News – July 3, 2015

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

Voters say no to new Metro Vancouver tax, transit improvements

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

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

City of North Vancouver continues fight for bus depot.

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

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

Electric bus maker Proterra rides on with $55 Million.

Calgary cancels its smart card system for transit.

Grants to cut emissions, encourage public transit.

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

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

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

Author: Adrienne Coling

Links and Tidbits – July 3, 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.

Vintage West Coast Express Ticket

»   The Chow Bus is on the move in Tennessee to fight child hunger!

»   Just try and escape the internet! Google Sidewalk makes plans to fit bus stops with WIFI hubs.

»   Subway etiquette breaches are ranked. How is gross kissing only at 54?

»   Build it and they will…blog about it? Our buses have entered the world of Minecraft!

»   I have to agree, technically this is still manspreading.

»   The amount of transit money lost per trip in major U.S. cities has been charted. Looks like everyone is losing!

»   “It’s got its feet on the seats, but I’ll allow it because of that sweet hat.” Apparently, if you are a stylish goat you can break all the rules.

»   How many ways can the Metro ‘M’ be designed? CityLab counted 77 super hero-esque logos!

»   Personalized mass transit? There’s an app for that.

»   Virtual reality transit etiquette at its best or at its worst? You decide.

»   Music to my ears! Former LCD Soundsytem frontman James Murphy is working on a Subway Symphony.

»   Contortionists give us a look at extreme transit etiquette. Kinda looks like it hurts, no?

»   Who wants to get inked on this old TriMet Bus tattoo parlour? Anyone?

»   What do you get when you cross a Concorde, a rail gun and an air hockey table? Meet the ‘fifth mode of transportation’.

»   I dig these smooth transit moves. Watch subway dancers bring the NYC sound to the underground!

»   Stick it to them! Sexist and misogynistic NYC subway ads get sticker bombed.

»   Off the cuff travel planning takes on new meaning with subway bracelets. You’ll never be lost again!

»   Hop, skip, Skedaddle to Crane beach (and take me with you).

»   It seems suffering for your art is still a thing: transit travel acts as a muse for NYC art show PLATFORM.

»   Love may conquer all, but paint helps too! A scary subway in England is transformed by artists into a tunnel of love.

»   Here’s 21 reasons why Canadian public transportation isn’t so bad. Our system makes a cameo in 13 and 20!

»   It looks like waiting for the bus just got a bit more fun in Gloucester as Zumba makes its way to the platform!

»   Here are five things to know about Toronto’s love affair with subway tokens and some cool old photos of the fare system. Check out that old paper transfer design!

Compass Card vs. paper transfers

Author: Laura Tennant

The results of Metro Vancouver’s Transportation and Transit Plebiscite

Elections BC announced the results of the Metro Vancouver Transportation and Transit Plebiscite today.

The results were that voters were not in favour of the 0.5% sales tax increase to fund transit expansion and increased service in the region.

While the outcome isn’t what we hoped for, we respect the decision of voters.

We will be live streaming a press conference with interim CEO Doug Allen on Periscope for Twitter (@TransLinkBC) at 12pm today from Waterfront station. Tune in and join the conversation.

Here is a statement from Doug Allen.

Today, Elections BC reported that 61.68% of voters rejected a 0.5% PST increase to fund the transportation improvements outlined in the Mayors’ Plan.

We are disappointed, but we respect the decision of voters and the fact that a majority do not support the proposed tax as the way to meet the transportation needs of a growing population.

The Premier decided to hold a plebiscite on funding to meet the transportation needs of Metro Vancouver.

And the Mayors responded by creating a well thought-out investment plan for better transit and transportation.

They did a great job of explaining the plan to citizens and defending the need for a tax in order to fund it.

The people of this region were asked to make a two-part decision: 1) Does the 10-year plan make sense; and 2) is the half-a-percent sales tax warranted?

In talking to hundreds of people over the course of the plebiscite, what we heard — especially from the younger generation — was support for:

  • More public transit
  • The good service we provide
  • The plan put forward by the Mayors

But convincing people to vote for a tax increase is a tough sell, even when it will pay for much-needed transit and transportation improvements.

Our region expects to welcome over one million new residents over the next 30 years. A “no” vote doesn’t change the fact that our current transportation system will be challenged by this growth.

With no new funding, we will have no capacity to expand the transit system or provide increased service. Costs and customer demand will rise at a time when funding is essentially frozen. As a result, current service levels may be affected and we could face tough decisions in the weeks and months ahead.

Respected independent experts and analysts repeatedly point to TransLink’s record of cost efficiency and sound financial management. We will continue to earn that reputation by cutting costs and maximizing revenue opportunities wherever we can.

The need for funding has not gone away and we expect that the search for an acceptable source of regional funding will continue.

In the months ahead, we will work with the Province, the Mayors’ Council, our customers and the public to find a way to fund much-needed transit for our rapidly growing region.

Our commitment to running a safe and reliable transit and transportation system remains as strong as ever.

Although it ended with a no outcome, the plebiscite started a good debate across the region on the importance of transit. That debate will continue.

Thank you to everyone who participated.


Doug Allen

Interim CEO, TransLink

You can view the press conference from noon today at Waterfront station here:

Author: Adrienne Coling

A day in the life of Metro Vancouver transit


A streetcar in North Vancouver sets out for its first ride, 1906

A streetcar sets out for its first ride, 1906

A lot has changed over the last 125 years in this region and transit has changed right along with it!

Take a look at some of the Buzzer’s posts about our history.

Say hello to The Conductorettes! A group of 180 women from 1943 to 1975 blazing the trail in the industry as the first female operators.

Hop on the SkyTrain to the past for some memorabilia and collectables.

See how the interurban trams mapped transit for the entire region! (Psst. An interurban is like a street car only bigger and more powerful.)

And where are we now? Let’s find out! Watch a day in the life of our operating companies and some of the great staff that keep us moving year after year.

Stay tuned for more awesome 125 celebration posts on the Buzzer blog, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Have something you want to share? Comment below, email us or join in the celebration on social media with the hashtag #transit125

Author: Adrienne Coling

A recap of TransLink’s 2014 AGM

TransLink AGM 2014!

TransLink AGM 2014 took place at the Anvil Centre June 26.

In case you weren’t able to attend our annual general meeting for 2014 last week, fear not!

Here is a a video of the event including employee speakers, presentations and questions from attendees.

Author: Adrienne Coling

Let transit get you to your Canada Day events!

Flag in Vanier Park, Vancouver - Courtesy of I am I.A.M.

Flag in Vanier Park, Vancouver – Courtesy of I am I.A.M.

Canada Day is upon us and we want to help you enjoy all of the great celebrations our region has to offer.

Take a look at some of the bigger events and how to get there on transit!

Surrey is celebrating in style this Canada Day!

It’s a great (and free!) day of family fun for all ages – music, face painting, the works!

You’ll find midway games and rides, an expanded kids play area, over 100 exhibitors, live entertainment and a fireworks show in the evening.

My advice? Get there early because they are expecting more than 100,000 people to attend!

This is an easy one to get to. Take the Expo Line to Surrey Central station, hop on the 320 to Langley Centre at Cloverdale park and you’re there!

Where: Bill Reid Millennium Amphitheatre, 17728 64 Avenue, Surrey
When: 10:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Feeling fishy? The Steveston Community Centre is hosting the 70th Annual Salmon Festival!

You can check out the parade with more than 100 floats, marching bands, celebrities and other personalities who will wind their way down Moncton Street beginning at 10 a.m.

But the real star of the day will be the annual ultimate salmon barbecue — nearly 550 kilograms of BBQ salmon!

Other activities like a vintage car show, craft and food fair, Japanese cultural show and children’s festival will be running throughout the fair grounds including local performers.

Where: 4111 Moncton Street, Richmond
When: Breakfast starts at 6:30 a.m., main event begins at 10 a.m.

TransLink is providing a special event shuttle service on Wednesday, transporting passengers from Richmond’s Bridgeport Station to Lord Byng Elementary School in Steveston.

  • Shuttles start at 9 a.m. from Bridgeport Station to Steveston, with return shuttles starting in the afternoon, with the last shuttle leaving at approximately 4:30 p.m. Shuttles may continue later if the demand is great.
  • Lord Byng Elementary School (1 Road and Georgia Street) will be the shuttle’s temporary terminus, with a short walk to the festival site. The terminus may move to 1 Road and Steveston Highway if the area is heavily congested.
  • Additional shuttle service will back up regular service routes (C93, 401, 410) to ensure all customers can get where they’re going on Wednesday. Regular bus routes for the Steveston area will terminate at 1 Road and Steveston Highway due to congestion.
  • The shuttle are three articulated buses that are expected to run approximately every 20 minutes, leaving Bay 3 at Bridgeport Station.
  • The cost is a regular one-zone fare.

If you’re looking for crowds and Canada Day craziness, look no further!It's firework time again!

Canada Day at Canada Place is back for its 28th year.

This is a huge all day event including  live music and dance performances with popular acts and interactive activity zones featuring food carts, street hockey, an armed forces display, Salty’s Fun Zone and a circus show.

After all of that, you can check out the Canada Day Parade at 7:00 p.m. and the Fireworks at 10:30 p.m.

Where: Canada Place, Vancouver
When: 10 a.m. to end of Fireworks

To accommodate Canada Day festivities across the region, there will be extended service on SkyTrain, SeaBus and Canada line.

There will also 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.

For other events, take a look at this great list from VanCity Buzz.

Know before you go! Use our Trip Planner to help you on your way to Canada Day fun!

Author: Adrienne Coling