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Translink Buzzer Blog

Buzzer illustrator interview: Samantha Leigh Smith

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For our special anniversary edition of the Buzzer, we celebrated 100 years by having the fabulous Samantha Leigh Smith illustrate our transit timeline!

Samantha gave us a look behind her illustrations to understand her inspiration, tools and process.

Enjoy!

What inspires you as an artist?

Just being outside! Whether it’s hiking, scuba diving or a exploring a new city and I find all the colours, patterns and shapes a constant inspiration.

What are your favourite subjects to illustrate?

I have a soft spot for illustrating really cute, happy things. Whether it be a little octopus or a girl jumping it puddle, I love drawing something that will put a smile on someone’s face. I don’t get to do it as often, but I really love hand-lettering and custom typography.

You had the chance to design this huge illustration for the 100th anniversary of the Buzzer. How did you tackle this?

A lot of research! I jumped in and learned all things transit in the lower mainland. I enjoyed discovering all the great forums and websites devoted to transit. It’s awesome to see how people collect and archive a big piece of Vancouver’s history. Once I had an idea of how transit changed and developed, I created a few different sketches planning the timeline. With each iteration I added more detail, then finally scanning and digitally illustrating it on the computer.

What are your artist tools of choice?

Depends on the project. Typically I start out with pencil and paper, then scan and move it into Adobe illustrator, sometimes adding texture in Photoshop. Lately I’ve been enjoying experimenting with brush, ink and gouache paint.

What has been some of your favourite projects you’ve created?

What a hard thing to answer. This illustration for The Buzzer is definitely up there, I never knew how much I would enjoy illustrating little buses! As well some of my favourite projects have been for CBC Music, I had so much fun creating the Canadian Music Alphabet and exploring the complexity in Björk’s genius.

What are some of the fun projects you’re working on now?

I’m currently working on a fun Canadian animal themed alphabet, I’ll be posting updates on my instagram and website soon!

Thank you to Samantha for creating such an amazing anniversary illustration for our dear, ol’ Buzzer.

Quick! Pick up this special edition on SkyTrain, SeaBus, West Coast Express and buses before they’re all gone or download it here.

Author: Adrienne Coling

Customer Relations and Customer Information form one call centre

Members of our Customer Relations department in action.

Members of our Customer Relations department in action.

TransLink is combining two of our most popular phone numbers into one – making information and customer service more accessible for our riders.

Starting today, June 6, 2016, Customer Relations (CR) and Customer Information (CI – the folks on Twitter!) are merging into one call centre.

This means when you call 604-953-3333 you will still get transit information, but you can also leave feedback at this number as well!

Creating a one-stop-shop for customer needs also means you can leave feedback during CI’s extended hours – Monday to Friday from 5:30 am to 12:30 am, and weekends from 6:30 am to 11:30 pm.

As of June 6th, all calls coming into CR will be automatically redirected to CI to make a seamless transition for customers.

Have questions or comments on the new call centre?
Comment below or tweet us!

Author: Adrienne Coling

Links and Tidbits – June 3, 2016

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.

»   ^^Straddle bus – yay or nay?

»   Happy birthday, Buzzer! 100 years on local transit vehicles. Talk about standing the test of time!

»   Here comes the bride… on the train!

»   What a sweet moment to witness while on the bus!

»   From eating to grooming; man-spreading to blocking the doors. Are YOU guilty of these subway sins?

»   Now take a look at the results of this study to find out the worst subway sins in NYC.

»   Another celebrity transit sighting. This time, Dakota Fanning takes the subway!

»   ^^I just blew a cute fuse by watching this little baby beaver at a metro station in D.C.

»   Transit meets some delicious detours in Montreal with restaurants mapped right on the metro lines!

»   Check out this list of best places to live in the U.S. if you love transit!

»   Self-driving cars as public transportation in Beverly. Hills, that is. Swimmin’ pools, movie stars.

»   Transit is often the backdrop for scenes from movies, TV, ads and more but viral videos are adding up day by day! Take a look at these top viral videos shot on the subway. What’s your favourite?

»   The Donald is making an appearance in some altered NYC subway transit etiquette ads. Thoughts? :)

Moscow's metro

»   What is this? ^^ A palace? A castle? Nope, just Moscow’s gorgeous Metro stations! NBD.

»   Another beautiful Metro station, this time in Stockholm.

»   As a self-proclaimed transit people watcher, I think this photo project is pretty cool!

People find a lot of things in the subway, but a baby? Read about this incredible story and its happy ending!

»   Obviously, great photographer minds think alike! (These ones are a bit more retro)

»   ^^Looks like a hard lesson to learn, indeed. Save your face, pay your fares!

»   Pizza delivered right to my bus stop? I’m in!

»   San Francisco will soon allow you to rate your transit ride… and the etiquette (or lack thereof) fellow passengers.

»   What a great idea! The Imaginary Superbus art event and contest brought kids together to make art and poetry as a way to boost public transit use in Winnipeg.

»   ^^Modern dance meets transit at bus stops in Regina.

»   Dreaming of becoming a transit entertainer? Get the inside scoop from the MTA’s buskers.

»   Cars are winning the commuter war – or so they say. What’s your say?

»   What an absolutely perfect gift to give this special transit enthusiast.

»   View the gallery of real life woes of New Yorkers – most are transit related!

»   I would LOVE to find a fun balloon animal on the SkyTrain! What do you think of this man’s art?

»   This new take on an ad campaign in Paris Metro stations aims to encourage riders to visit the real works in local museums.

»   A decades long quest to draw all 469 NYC subway stations is still chugging along!

»   From stations to people, transit rides make for great art projects!

»   How does your commute stack up with other riders in Metro Vancouver?

»   I’ve definitely noticed a theme this past year of transit maps reimagined. Some as 8-bit video games, some as restaurant guides (*see above) and here’s NYC’s subway mashed up with the London Tube.

»   ^^Think pink! The Pink Light Campaign in South Korea is experimenting with an alarm system that alerts passengers when a pregnant woman is in need of a seat.

Author: Adrienne Coling

Get your GradPass today!

Grad Pass

Get your GradPass from your school today!

Another year has come and gone and so another group of high school students are about to get their diplomas, heading out into the real world!

Every graduating Grade 12 student attending school in the TransLink transportation service region can enjoy two free days of unlimited travel by bus, SkyTrain, SeaBus or West Coast Express with a Compass GradPass. GradPass Compass ticket

In the past, the GradPass flash pass was valid for two days of unlimited travel. This year, each student will be issued two GradPass Compass Tickets — each the equivalent of a DayPass Compass Ticket.

The tickets will be valid on our system from Sunday, May 15 to Thursday, June 30, inclusive.

Your GradPass is available at schools around the region, either in homerooms or main offices.

Tips for using your 2016 GradPass:

  • Your Compass Ticket is activated at first tap and can be used throughout the day. The activated ticket will expire at the end of that particular service day.
  • Tickets are valid for unlimited travel on bus, SeaBus, SkyTrain (including Canada Line) and West Coast Express
  • Tickets are valid for unlimited travel across all zones
  • You are required to tap in and tap out at all fare gates and mobile validators

Remember! GradPass Compass Ticket must be used together with a valid GoCard.

For more information, visit our website.

Author: Adrienne Coling

The Buzzer Birthday Giveaway!!

Robert Buzzer

You may have heard that The Buzzer is celebrating it’s 100th Anniversary!

To honour this momentous occasion, we want YOU, our biggest Buzzer supporters to share a #Selfie and/or your favourite Buzzer memory on your social (Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter) channels with the hashtag #BUZZER100.

Entrants are allowed one entry, per channel, per day for a chance to win a Monthly Pass loaded on your Compass Card!

Buzzer100 selfie 3 edit

IMG_6839

 

Contest closes at 11:59 p.m. on June 10th, 2016 and we’ll randomly select a winner on June 14th, 2016. Make sure to check out the contest terms and conditions for all the details on the contest.

Author: Sarah Kertcher

Connections to the NEW Pattullo Bridge consultations

It's time to start talking about connecting to the NEW Pattullo Bridge

It’s time to start talking about connecting to the NEW Pattullo Bridge

Hi Buzzer readers. While we rehabilitate the 78-year-old Pattullo Bridge, TransLink is working hard on the NEW Pattullo Bridge!

We’re consulting with the public on proposed bridge connections in New Westminister and Surrey, June 13 – July 11, 2016

Learn more and have your say

First, you’ll want to check the translink.ca/pattulloreplacement page for the most comprehensive and up-to-date info. Below are two ways you can get involved plucked from that page:

Provide feedback online by going to translink.ca/pattulloreplacement and contact us via email.

Surrey – open houses
Wednesday, June 15, 2016 5-8 p.m. Surrey City Hall – 13450 104 Avenue, Surrey

Saturday, June 25, 2016 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Bridgeview Elementary School – 12834 115A Avenue Surrey

New Westminster – open houses
Saturday, June 18 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Sapperton Pensioners’ Hall – 318 Keary Street, New Westminster

Wednesday, June 22 5-8 p.m. Inn at the Quay – 900 Quayside Drive, New Westminster

A bit of history

In their June 2014 “Regional Transportation Investments – a Vision for Metro Vancouver”, the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation identified that the Pattullo Bridge replacement will be a

“new, four-lane bridge, primarily funded by user pricing. The replacement bridge will be designed in a manner so as not to foreclose the consideration to six lanes, subject to all-party agreement and Mayors’ Council approval.”

TransLink has initiated the planning and project development for the replacement bridge, including beginning environmental studies and seeking public input on community connections.

While funding for a new bridge is not yet in place, TransLink is working with senior government partners and the Mayors’ Council to secure the necessary funding for this critical project.

It’s Bike to Work Week! May 30 – June 5, 2016

Bike to work week

HUB Bike to Work Week starts today – May 30th, 2016, and it couldn’t be a better day to dust off the old bicycle and pedal your way in to work.

Not only is it fun, but it’s easy to participate in Bike to Work Week! All you have to do is:

  1. Register yourself here, and either ride solo, or join a team
  2. Log your trips online to be eligible for some awesome prizes!

Did you know that the entire fleet of CMBC buses are equipped with bus bike racks?! If your commute seems to daunting to tackle on two wheels alone, why not integrate a mode of transit for part of your trip!

Never used a bus bike rack before? No worries! They’re super simple to use, even for a newbie! Check out our Facebook live demo below, our YouTube channel, or you can try for yourself our bus bike rack demo located in North Vancouver between City Hall and the library in Civic Plaza.

 

Don’t forget these useful tips when using a bus bike rack:

 

  • Before the bus arrives, remove loose items such as water bottles, pumps, and panniers.
  • Tell the driver you want to load your bike, and then lower the bike rack by pulling on the handle.
  • Lift your bike onto the rack. If no other bike is on the rack, place your bike in the slot closest to the bus.
  • Lift the support arm up and over the front tire. On newer racks you might have to push the black button at the end of the support arm in order to release the ratchet mechanism.
  • Sit at the front of the bus and keep an eye on your bike.
  • When leaving the bus, please tell the driver that you need to remove your bike. Exit from the front door.
  • Remove your bike and raise the rack to the upright position if it’s empty.
  • Slip-covers are recommended for folding bikes.

Author: Sarah Kertcher

Happy 100th Birthday, Buzzer!!!!! – The 100th anniversary edition of the Buzzer is now on the system

First Buzzer front page

The 100th anniversary issue!
































The Buzzer has come a long way since June 2, 1916!

In fact, the first official publication didn’t even have a name! It was the riders of the trams and streetcars that named our dear Buzzer.

Print Buzzer masthead from 1917 and 2016

Print Buzzer masthead from 1917 and 2016

In the beginning, the Buzzer was on area jitneys – competition for public transit ran by private individuals. It wasn’t until the GM of B.C. Electric who ran the transit thought that the Buzzer could keep people informed about service and entice riders to stick with the streetcar that the Buzzer became what we know it to be today.oldbuzzerillustration

The Buzzer is a mix of everything – an events pamphlet, a transit newsletter, a service bulletin, fun stories, interesting factoids, and more!

Over the years, the Buzzer has changed companies, themes, mastheads, editors and content but the focus is always the same: to deliver informative, fun and interesting transit and community related tidbits to the riders of the transit system.

We had so much material to work with for our special collectors edition, not everything could make it in the print Buzzer but lucky you! We’ve included some here:

Be sure to pick up the double-length special collectors edition of the print Buzzer on the system now or you can download it here.!

Author: Adrienne Coling

Pattullo, the Buzzer turns 100 and more in our second Facebook Live

Last Thursday I sat down with TransLink spokesperson Jennifer Morland for our second Facebook Live. If you missed it, here it is.

We’re planning on doing live broadcasts more often. Do you have a topic or location you’d like to suggest for a future broadcast? Let us know and we’ll try our best to make them as interesting, informative and as fun as possible. Enjoy!

#ThankYou100K: Celebrating 100,000 followers with a contest!

ThankYou100KWe’ve been celebrating a lot here at TransLink! There was 40,000 followers on Twitter, then 50,000 of you following us and now you’ve helped us reach a monumental 100,000 Twitter followers!

The @TransLink Twitter account started way back in February of 2010 during the Winter Olympics, providing riders with breaking news and key service updates.

In November of 2010 we launched a one-month pilot project in an effort to better serve our customers. It was extended multiple times before becoming a permanent service in February 2011!

In fact, our Customer Information team is in such high demand, on March 14th of this year, we extended our Customer Information service hours on Twitter from 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., seven days a week to:

Monday to Friday: 5:30 a.m. – 12:30 a.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 6:30 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.

to answer all your service-related questions and provide service updates, tips, and information to all 100,000+ of you!

Contest time!

To celebrate this excellent milestone, we’re having a giveaway (Prizing to be announced soon!) To enter, simply follow @TransLink and retweet one of the following tweets from our Twitter team:

 

Contest closes at 11:59 p.m. on June 1st, 2016 and we’ll randomly select a winner on June 2nd, 2016. Make sure to check out the contest terms and conditions for all the details on the contest.

Author: Sarah Kertcher

It’s time to talk about transit fares

Regular blog readers have been asking about this for years and we’re super excited to announce we’re looking at our transit fares again!

Over the years, the transit system in Metro Vancouver has grown into a diverse and expansive network that now provides nearly one million rides every day. But since 1984, one thing hasn’t changed much.

With the rollout of Compass, we now have new tools to create a fare system that provides a better customer experience.

What do you like about the current fare system? What would you change? As part of the first of four phases in the TransLink Transit Fare review, we want to hear what’s important to you.

As you know, our current fare system is made up of six core components that determine how much you pay to use transit in Metro Vancouver.

  • Distance travelled
  • Transit service
  • Time of travel
  • Fare product
  • Customer group
  • Journey time

In the Fare Review, everything is on table — don’t take anything for granted and get ready to share your opinions.

Take the survey between May 24 and June 30, 2016 at translink.ca/farereview and have your say on how to improve the transit fare system.

History of Fare Systems

As noted in our 125 Years of Transit series, Vancouver’s first public transit vehicle was an electric streetcar that rolled down Main Street for the first time in 1890. Soon, it was transporting Vancouver’s early residents and visitors along nine kilometres of track throughout the city. A few months later, an expansion line was opened to New Westminster.

From its earliest days, public transit in Metro Vancouver has focused on crossing municipal boundaries to connect the region. After nearly 100 years of experimenting with zones and boundaries, in 1984 a three-zone fare structure similar to the one we have today was created. From one flat fare for all trips to over 100 fares to choose from, our transit system has tried it all.

1958: 100 Fare options

1958: An 11- zone system is introduced with 100 different fare options based on where your trip starts and ends

1958: An 11- zone system is introduced with 100 different fare options based on where your trip starts and ends

Read more »

Meet the Buskers: Roland

We’re back again with a new profile on our series “Meet the TransLink Buskers!”

Last time we met the multi-talented Amine and today we present a showman for all showmen, saxophonist, Roland!

Roland is no ordinary sax player… if there is such a thing!

Oh sure, he’ll start off playing like you’d expect but the next thing you know the sax is above his head, behind his back, taken apart, played and put back together again!

He certainly loves what he does and we love to listen and watch him perform!

Why did you decide to become a TransLink busker?

I decided to stop playing in nightclubs and I wanted something to do in my spare time. I heard about the program and thought it would be great to play for some groups of people passing by you at the stations. I enjoy meeting people from all walks of life, it has been so enjoyable for me to entertain in this way.

How long has music been a part of your life?

I have been playing for many years and have played with some of the best entertainers around. I am self taught and play by ear. I believe my good ear is a God given talent.

Asking the tough questions… favourite style of music/favourite song?

I loved all different genres in music, but my favourite is blues. My all time favourite song is Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong.

What can riders passing by expect from your set?

They’re going to hear some great music from a great entertainer, I hope! I always get a good reaction from the crowds of people.

Stay tuned to the Buzzer blog for more busker fun in the coming months as we profile other artists in the program!

Author: Adrienne Coling

Holiday service for Victoria Day

Queen Vicki
On Monday, we celebrate Victoria Day – in honour of the first Queen of Canada who just happened to be sitting on the throne when this country was founded in 1867!

What does that mean for transit?

Holiday service!

BusSkyTrain and SeaBus services will operate on a Sunday/holiday schedule.

West Coast Express train and TrainBus service will not operate.

The Compass Customer Service Centre, Customer Relations and Lost Property Office will be closed.

The best news is, as with all holidays, you only need a one-zone fare to travel across all zones!

Know before you go!

Use the Trip Planner to check your route and schedule times prior to leaving. The information noted here is subject to change. For the latest and most up-to-date information, bookmark translink.ca on your mobile device so you can know on the go.

Customer Information can be reached at 604.953.3333 or tweet us @TransLink.

Author: Adrienne Coling

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign… New bus stop signs, that is!

Say hello to your new bus stop signs!

Say hello to your new bus stop signs!

Late last year we mentioned how some bus stop signs around Surrey Central were getting a new look.

Now, you may have noticed that these new signs are popping up at bus stops across the region!

That’s because they will become the new bus stop standard for TransLink.

TIPs

Transit Information Panel

As current signs come to the end of their lives, we will be switching all of our bus stop signage across the region to mirror the new look.

The new signs include 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. Plus, they are reflective and easily seen at night!

The best part is really the fact each new sign will list EVERY route at that stop. No more wondering if you’re waiting in the right place, just check the sign!

Another change you may start to see is the end of infotubes at bus stops where they exist and the installation of Transit Information Panels (TIPs).

The new TIPs bump up the font of the scheduled times, include the stop number as well as the recognizable “T” for transit.

The hardware used is much more durable than the old infotubes, which makes them longer lasting and more cost effective.

Thirty-six stops in downtown Vancouver have been updated with these awesome TIPs!

Next up is Surrey City Centre starting mid-May. The rest of the infotube stops will be updated throughout this year.

Author: Adrienne Coling

TransLink commits more than $48 million to road and cycling projects

TransLink contributes to the annual upkeep and maintenance of all 600 km of the MRN.

TransLink contributes to the annual upkeep and maintenance of all 600 km of the MRN.

As you may or may not know, TransLink is much more than transit!

Did you know that TransLink is funding more than $48 million in major road and cycling projects across Metro Vancouver’s municipalities in 2016?

That’s right!

Translink has committed $9.8 million towards 16 capital improvement road and bicycle projects in 12 Metro Vancouver municipalities.

We have has also committed $38.5 million to operate, maintain and rehabilitate the regional Major Road Network (MRN).Bike infographic

The MRN is a network of more than 2,300 lane kilometres (or 600 road kilometres) of arterial roads stretching across the region that carry the bulk of the region’s commuter, transit and truck traffic.

Funds* are used by municipalities for a range of activities, from street cleaning and snow removal, maintaining streetlights, traffic signals and signs, patching potholes, and repaving.

To get the inside scoop on the MRN and other projects around the region, I spoke with one of our very own engineers, Sam Young.

What type of work do you do for TransLink?

I am a Transportation Engineer and have been with TransLink’s Infrastructure Program Management Department for about three years. We have lots of projects on the go, and I am part of a team that works closely with Metro Vancouver municipalities to fund the maintenance, operation, and upgrades to the Major Road Network, as well as upgrades to the regional cycling network. Our team also works with internal and external stakeholders to make sure that new and existing TransLink services and facilities, such as bus routes and bus exchanges, can operate safely and efficiently.

Can you tell us about how the MRN was formed?

When TransLink was formed in 1999, it became the first multi-modal transportation authority in North America responsible for not only transit within Metro Vancouver, but also cycling, roads, as well as goods movement within the region.

The MRN was born around the same time, comprising of roads across the region that were either declassified from the Province (such as Lougheed Highway and King George Highway), or uploaded from the Municipalities (such as Knight Street and Broadway). At that time, a systematic evaluation was done to assess which roads would be included as part of the MRN; but generally speaking, a Major Road would typically play a significant role in providing mobility and connectivity across our region.

If you study the MRN map closely, you’ll notice that the majority of Major Roads are important transit and goods movement corridors, link multiple municipalities and activities centers, and connect to the Provincial Highway system for travel through the region or outside the region.

What are some major projects that have been completed in years past, that readers might be able to recognize?

Some of the recently completed projects with TransLink funding include the Low Level Road Project in North Vancouver, the Powell Street Overpass Project in Vancouver, the Moody Street Overpass Upgrade Project in Port Moody, and the Fraser Highway Widening projects in Surrey and Township of Langley.

What is the benefit of these investments to each municipality?

Not many people know this, but TransLink also provides funding towards the day to day operation and maintenance of the MRN, including snow removal activities, street cleaning, pavement maintenance such as patching of potholes as well as sidewalk and bike lane maintenance.

MRN: by the numbers

  • The MRN is approximately 2,360 lane-km in length, which is long enough to stretch from Vancouver to San Diego!
  • In addition, TransLink also owns and maintains a portion of the MRN. The MRN extends through three TransLink owned bridges (Golden Ears Bridge, Knight Street Bridge, Pattullo Bridge), as well as Golden Ears Way. There are over 200,000 vehicle crossings on these TransLink bridges every day.
  • When the MRN was formed in 1999, it was only about 2,200 lane-km in length. About 30% of this original network consisted of declassified Provincial roadways. Over the years, the MRN size has increased due to additional major roads being added, road widening projects, and intersection improvement projects such as new turn lanes.
  • There are over 1,000 traffic signals on the MRN alone – the funding TransLink provides also goes towards the operation and maintenance of signals. The replacement of these signals systems occur when they reach the end of their useful lives. Same goes for street lights!

Thanks to Sam for some MRN insights!

For more information you can visit our
Roads, Bridges and Goods Movements Projects page.

Author: Jordan Keim and Adrienne Coling

*Funding is provided per kilometre of MRN within each municipality.