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Metrotown Station elevator is open for business on March 24, 2017!

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Yes, you read that right. The first two of three brand new elevators will go into service at noon on March 24, 2017.

And hey, these aren’t just any old elevators! These two new speedy elevators are glass (and shiny!) which means you can see them coming and going. They will replace the single elevator that was at the station. Once the remaining elevator completes testing, commissioning and inspecting, it will also open. All elevators are expected to be open by May.

In addition to new elevators, the existing Compass readers will be replaced with permanent Compass fare gates.

This is a huge milestone for the station! The new central stationhouse will fully open, providing customers with a new permanent set of stairs (goodbye temporary staircase!), two more Compass Vending Machines, two elevators and a new entrance and exit out of the station.

With these upgrades, customers on the platform can take the elevator, new stairs or the emergency exit stairs on the west side of the station to access Central Boulevard.

Please note:

  • The Community Shuttle for passengers travelling with strollers will run until March 24 end of service. The HandyDART shuttle will run until March 31, an additional week after the first two elevators open.
  • Customers requiring the use of an elevator are advised to use the wider accessible pathway from the station by using the east crosswalk at the mall parkade entrance.
  • Remember to tap in and out at the fare gates to ensure you are charged the correct fare.
  • Please note that there is currently no escalator access at the station, only stairs and elevators. Four new escalators (two up and two down) will open at the west stationhouse in the summer.
  • We understand everyone will be excited to ride the new elevators! However, please be courteous and remember that there are customers who require the use of elevators and they will be getting used to the new station entrance and layout.

Not sure where to go? No problem! Our friendly Transit Security officers and SkyTrain attendants will all be on hand to help direct customers get where they need to go.

Visit our website for more information on the upgrades at Metrotown Station.

Author: Jessica Hewitt

Results from the Learn ‘n’ Poll about where you get your transit information

meta-chartOur latest poll was something of a hybrid. Dubbed as a Learn ‘n’ Poll, we posted many of the ways you can get information about your transit trips and TransLink.

Then, you voted on which were your “go-to” spots for transit info.

You did some learning, you did some voting and now we know that the majority of you head to the source, the mothership that is translink.ca! The TL website took the top spot with 88 votes.

Next up were the ever-popular transit apps with 54 votes, followed closely by @TransLink on Twitter with 48 votes.

Transit Alerts (either by SMS text or on the Alerts page) garnered 26 votes, “Other” – with a special nod to tcomm.bustrainferry.com – grabbed 13 votes, Facebook, radio and in-person info gathering tallied 12, six and five votes, respectively.

Thanks for everyone who voted! Until the next Learn’n’Poll, keep on keepin’ on!

Author: Adrienne Coling

Introducing our brand new Accountability Centre!

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Ridership in 2016 was at an all time high. TransLink’s service area covers more than 1,800 square kilometres. That means that over 90% of the region’s population either lives or works within walking distance of transit.

Do you like numbers and facts like that? Well then, I’d like to introduce you to the TransLink Accountability Centre.

This is your one-stop-shop for the TransLink “big” picture as we focus on a system that is customer-focused as well as being financially and environmentally sustainable.

Here’s what you’ll find in the Accountability Centre (translink.ca/accountabilitycentre):

  • Regional Snapshot – what we do and where we go, including cycling infrastructure and the Major Road Network.
  • Performance Dashboard – performance indicators in six categories; Ridership, Customer Satisfaction, Safety and Security, Service Quality, Efficiency, Environment.
  • Transparency – links to our corporate reports, meetings and Freedom of Information requests.

Our mandate is to get you where you need to go in a safe and efficient manner on buses and by rail and sea. We also know the importance of monitoring our services and examine how we can strive to be better delivering our service and more transparent to our riders.

This is version 1.0 of the centre and we’ll be improving as we go.

So, how can we make it better? What numbers and other items would you like to see?

Leave a comment and let us know because we want to make it as good as we can for you, our customers!

Author: Adrienne Coling

Where do you get your transit information?

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Welcome to the Buzzer blog’s Learn ‘n’ poll!

From construction reroutes and weather to bus stop locations and Compass information, TransLink provides a virtual buffet of transit knowledge in a variety of places.

We strive to get you any and all the details you need to keep you on time, on route and on transit.

Let’s take a look at some of the avenues you can explore for all your transit needs.

The TransLink websiteWe're not the only TransLink out there!

TransLink.ca is our one-stop-shop for all transit information.

You can map your route using Trip Planner, see when your buses are arriving with Next Bus and learn all about TransLink and its operating companies in Schedules and Maps, Fares, Rider Guide, Getting Around, Plans and Projects and About Us.

The homepage also lists other transit resources for you like YouTube and the Buzzer blog!

Transit Alerts

Maybe you’re less interested in the Corporate Reports and more interested in what’s happening right now on transit.

Not a problem! You can visit the Alerts page for an overview of the conditions of all modes of transit, station accessibility as well as any detours, construction or delays that may impact your trip.

The best part about Transit Alerts is that you can sign up for alerts and receive SMS text or emails about your route and be the first to know about any changes in service.

Twitter

Another amazing resource is the Customer Information (CI) team on Twitter.Twitter

You can easily tweet them @TransLink to receive answers to your questions about your bus, Compass information, operating hours, lost property and pretty much anything else you can think to ask!

Not a tweeter? Give them a shout by phone at 604-953-3333.

CI will be there to heed the transit call from 5:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. Monday to Friday and from 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. on weekends.

Facebook

The TransLink Facebook page is a place for discussion, transit news, fun tidbits and lots more!Facebook

The page is manned by the Buzzer blog crew (^rw, ^ac and ^sk, respectively) from around 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday and we are happy to answer your questions during those times.

If a major service delay occurs, CI will post outside of those business hours to update customers of impacts.

Transit Apps

In 2012, TransLink released our transit data as open source.

This means that new transit apps based on our open API crop up giving riders access to information like GPS bus tracking.

Last year we did a poll about your transit app options. Do you use any of these? Have a new one? Comment below and let us know!

Remember! It’s always good to check in with Customer Information for clarification on any service issues.

Radioradio

Remember the radio? It’s that thing that plays songs you can’t skip!

In all seriousness, local radio stations are great resource for transit information.

If there is inclement weather, a disruption or a major accident, local media are informed by TransLink so they can reach out to their listeners who may be affected.

Tune in to News1130, CKNW and CBC 690 AM and 88.1 FM – just to name a few!

In person

For in-person assistance you can visit any of these reliable and accessible places for your specific questions. SkyTrain_Vests

TransLink’s Compass Customer Service Centre for your Compass needs and Lost Property Office are both located at Stadium–Chinatown Station.

The West Coast Express Office is at Waterfront Station and our awesome SkyTrain Attendants and bus operators are across the SkyTrain and bus networks.

Transit Police has hubs at major stations and Transit Security is out and about helping customers across the region.

Take a trip to your local library or rec centre and you’re likely to find transit schedules, system maps and Compass information as well!

The time, as they say, is now. Let’s head to the poll!

**You can vote for two options**

Where do you get your transit information?

  • The TransLink website (58%, 88 Votes)
  • Transit Apps (36%, 54 Votes)
  • Twitter (32%, 48 Votes)
  • Transit Alerts (17%, 26 Votes)
  • Other - comment below! (9%, 13 Votes)
  • Facebook (8%, 12 Votes)
  • Radio (4%, 6 Votes)
  • In person (3%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 151

Weigh in and tell your friends!

Author: Adrienne Coling

TransLink 2016: A year in review

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Another trip around the sun. 2016 – what a year! It’s been a busy and productive 366 (leap year) days for TransLink.

Let’s take a look back at 2016 in the world of Metro Vancouver transit!

New CEO.

In the spring, we welcomed new CEO, Kevin Desmond. Kevin came to TransLink from King County Metro Transit that serves the Seattle area.

Kevin jumped in with both feet to lead the charge of a very full and important year while emphasizing our customers’ needs, transparency and excellent service.

We’re so happy to have him at the helm!

Compass.

This word was on everyone’s lips this year!

Compass Card tap outAfter a roll out that started with Upass users then West Coast Express, the general public adopted Compass with Monthly Passes at the beginning of this year.

Then, on April 4, 2016, the fare gates closed requiring riders to tap in on buses and in and out at all gates to pay their fare.

With Compass, you can travel seamlessly across the TransLink transit network with one card! Compass also allows us to gather important data on peak periods, bus route ridership and more – helping us better plan and run the transit network.

Expo ’86.

May 2nd marked the 30th anniversary of Expo ’86 – the 1986 World Exposition on Transportation and Communication held on the north shore of False Creek.

This was North America’s largest World’s Fair and a monumental event for Vancouver that left a lasting legacy – our SkyTrain system starting with none other than the Expo Line!

SkyTrain started regular service on January 3, 1986.

100 years of the Buzzer. 

Happy birthday, Buzzer! The print Buzzer hit a major milestone anniversary of 100 years!

This free, on-transit publication began on June 2, 1916 without a name. That soon changed and it has been delivering informative, fun and interesting transit and community related tidbits to the riders of the transit system ever since.

You can pick yours up on your ride or download here.

Federal funding.

PM Justin Trudeau made some lifelong transit friends when he announced more than $900 million will be invested – by the Government of Canada, British Columbia and municipalities – in public transit projects across the province.

This important funding promise allowed the Metro Vancouver Mayors’ Council to present Phase One of the 10-Year Vision for approval. But we’ll get to that soon enough!

LTE connectivity.

Rogers and Fido customers were treated to not one but two connectivity projects allowing riders to use their mobile devices.

In July, the Dunsmuir tunnel downtown Vancouver was connected and in November, the Edmonds tunnel followed suit!

Up next? We will continue to work with Rogers to build out wireless coverage along the Evergreen Extension, Columbia Station and tunnel and in New Westminster.

#Compass1Million.

This summer we hit one million active Compass Cards.

That means that a million riders across Metro Vancouver embraced the switch to Compass and were tap, tap, tapping their way to and from school, home, work and more!

With such great news, we had to celebrate with a fun contest to thank you for using Compass!

Mark IIIs.

These beautiful new SkyTrain cars were the hit of the summer! Especially because the A/C is just oh, so cool!

Press tourThese cars rode across country – on flatbeds – to reach out region.

Each 4-car set is fully articulated (you can walk from one end of the train to the other), has more room for standing passengers, wheelchairs, bikes, strollers and riders with luggage plus, they are more environmentally efficient!

Transit riders and enthusiasts eagerly awaited the first trip on August 18th and our Mark III VIPs got a front seat for the journey!

SkyTrain Wedding.

Something old, something new, something borrowed something… transit? Hey, whatever floats your SeaBus!Congratulations Nathaly and Jeff!

Jeff and Nathaly met on Canada Line and it was their dream to get married on transit.

Enter a white (naturally) Mark II SkyTrain, a full band, wedding guests and one interloping Buzzer blog writer and you’ve got a SkyTrain wedding!

It was a distinct pleasure to document this lovely couple’s big day aboard our beloved SkyTrain at Stadium–Chinatown Station.

I Love Transit Week.

I love transit week is a time for enthusiasts of all ages can say loud and proud, “I LOVE TRANSIT!”

Poems, colouring contests, a special Buzzer, HTC opening tour, kids camp and more – we felt the transit love from riders of all ages at a variety of events.

Interested in participating in next year’s festivities? Keep your eyes peeled for rumblings on the Buzzer blog in spring!

Hamilton Transit Centre.

In one September weekend we said goodbye to North Vancouver Transit Centre and hello to the brand new HTC building in Richmond! HTC

Did you notice? If not, that’s a good thing! CMBC made the seamless transition from one TC to the other and got your buses on the road from their no locale A.S.A.P.

Hamilton Transit Centre has capacity for 300 forty-foot buses, including up to 80 community shuttle buses and 150 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fuelled buses.

HTC performs three functions: dispatch, fuel and wash service as well as maintenance for buses servicing the Richmond, New Westminster, Burnaby and Vancouver areas.

Pattullo.

Opened in 1937, this bridge is one of the busiest Fraser crossings in the region. So, it’s unsurprising that while we go ahead with plans to build a new bridge, this ol’ girl needs some safety upgrades in the interim.

We know the evening and weekend closures impacted a lot of drivers and we appreciate your patience as we rehabilitated the crossing to ensure its safety for all.

Repairs included:

  • milling off the asphalt surfacing from the deck
  • removing all deck concrete down to the top layer of rebar
  • repairing concrete delamination and cleaning or replacing rebar
  • repaving the deck area with a concrete overlay

Crews managed to finish early allowing for goods and people to move freely over the Pattullo Bridge once again .

CUTA.

CUTA is the Canadian Urban Transit Association and this year’s Fall Conference and Transit Show happened right here in Metro Vancouver on November 5-9.

This year’s theme was Inspiring Sustainable Change with a variety of seminars and speakers discussing today’s demands, tomorrow’s challenges and the possibilities for transit in our country and around the world.

TransLink had many speakers engaging with experts and transit enthusiasts from around the globe. Including CMBC’s Derek Stewart who spoke about the impact of climate change to transit agencies.

New Westminster upgrades.

We are upgrading SkyTrain Stations across the rapid transit network.

New Westminster was one of them. I say was because the work is done! On November 21, we officially completed and opened the overhauled station for riders to use and enjoy!

The completed upgrades at New Westminster Station include:

  • A new elevator and escalators to improve access for customers with disabilities
  • Improved lighting throughout the station
  • Glass panels to replace the mesh screens and improve station visibility from street level
  • Better integration with the surrounding community to make it easier to connect to and from the SkyTrain system
  • New public art that improves the experience of riders

10-year vision.

Our region is growing and along with that comes greater need for public transit.640x194_buzzer_blog-01

The Mayors’ Council 10-year Vision Phase One was approved by the TransLink board and council on November 23.

Along with the federal and provincial funding promised in June, municipalities will pitch in their share with TransLink for some much needed transit upgrades and projects.

Phase One improvements in 2017, 2018, and 2019 include:

  • 10% increase in bus service
  • 15% increase in HandyDART service
  • 20% increase in rail service
  • New or expanded transit services for neighbourhoods that currently have few or no transit options today
  • Safer walking and cycling routes
  • Reduced traffic congestion by fixing bottlenecks on major roads

Metro Vancouver residents will start to see added service in the new year with much more to come in the coming months and years!

Evergreen.

Sometimes, it IS easy being green! EmeansGo

On December 2, the Evergreen Extension to the Millennium Line opened to great excitement despite the rainy weather!

The community celebration at Coquitlam Central Station ran all day with riders eagerly awaiting the first official ride on Evergreen.

With this extension, TransLink has the longest, automated, driverless rapid transit system in the world!

Twitter Heroes.

If you’ve ever called 604-953-3333 or tweeted @TransLink, you’ve interacted with CI (Customer Information).

This crew works tirelessly to help keep riders informed on specific routes, transit timings, disruptions, detours and all things transit related!

Started in 2010 as a pilot project, to date our followers have reached over 135,000 people and CI has sent out 295,039 tweets!

A big thank you to these awesome people who keep us moving!

Well, that about wraps it up. We can’t wait for what 2017 will hold for our region and transit!

Author: Adrienne Coling

An important service reminder plus the Buzzer blog wishes you happy holidays!

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Yet again I have roped my colleagues into a group photo – this time, to spread some Christmas cheer to you, all of our amazing Buzzer blog readers.

We strive to bring you informative, fun and interesting transit happenings from our agency and from across the globe.

Thank you for being a part of our online community!

Just as a reminder, with Christmas drawing nigh, transit will operating slightly differently over the next few days.

Christmas Day – Sunday, December 25, 2016

  • Buses will run on a modified Sunday/holiday schedule; some routes will be adjusted from their normal schedule to reflect ridership levels. Use the Trip Planner (with the date of Dec. 25) to check your route and bus times, or read the Christmas Day Schedules below.
  • SeaBus and SkyTrain will operate with a modified Sunday/holiday schedule.
  • West Coast Express and TrainBus service will not operate.

Boxing Day – Monday, December 26, 2016

  • Buses will run on a modified Sunday/holiday schedule; some routes will be adjusted from their normal schedule to reflect ridership levels. Use the Trip Planner (with the date of Dec. 26) to check your route and bus times, or read the Boxing Day Schedules below.
  • SeaBus will operate regular Sunday/holiday service with extended evening trips.
  • SkyTrain will run Saturday service with extra trains running midday to accommodate shoppers.
  • West Coast Express and TrainBus service will not operate.

**Please check the website as timings are subject to change.

Bonus! On Sunday/holiday schedules you only need a one-zone fare to travel across all zones on all modes!

Remember, if you’re enjoying some libations during your merry merriment, please plan ahead for a safe ride home.

The social team will be off on December 24 and back December 28.
If you have questions please tweet @TransLink or call 604.953.3333.

Happy holidays!

Author: Adrienne Coling

(Video) 6 things TransLink is doing to prepare for more wintry weather


Despite our best West Coast efforts, a snowy winter has arrived in Metro Vancouver.

And it looks like this is just the beginning because there is another dumping of the white stuff forecasted to hit the region.

That means lots of extra safety and operational procedures to keep the transit system running smoothly and safely.

Remember! Buses can only go as the traffic allows. Be sure to check your municipality’s website for snow removal schedules and give yourself some extra time for your transit trip.

Here are six things that TransLink is doing to prepare for the winter weather:

  • Trolley anti-icing trucks will deploy spraying the entire trolley overhead system if there is a forecast risk of frost or ice.
  • SkyTrain De-icing – De-icer spray trains are used to keep the power rail free of ice. De-icing stations will be set up in covered areas and tunnels to prevent ice and snow compacts on the trains.  During times of overnight snow, some SkyTrain cars will run throughout the night to keep tracks clear.
  • Additional bus tire traction – Operators have a snow/ice switch which gives the bus tires better traction in the snow.
  • Bus switch outs –  If needed, we’ll switch out articulated buses for traditional buses. Although articulated buses are great for turning and maneuvering throughout our streets in Metro Vancouver and allow for quick movement of large numbers of passengers, when travelling up hills or on streets that have poor conditions, the back halves are heavy which can create some traction problems.
  • Canada Line Anti-icing and sanding – ensures the power rail and tracks are clear of ice. Canada Line cars have a braking system similar to ABS brakes on your vehicle which helps avoid slippage in this weather.
  • Extra staff on transit – Extra staff including SkyTrain Attendants and Transit Police will assist customers in getting where they need to go. HandyDART will send two staff out in each vehicle to ensure customers get safely to their door, and assist in digging out the bus if required.

Watch the replay of our Facebook live stream, or catch it on Periscope below!


Know before you go!

If there’s snow or ice ensure you plan ahead with Trip Planner or m.translink.ca on your mobile device, and make sure to allow yourself extra commuting time.

Sign up for transit alerts so you’ll be the first to know if there are changes in the transit schedule.

Follow our customer information team on Twitter (@TransLink) and save their number (604) 953-3333 on your mobile device.

Don’t forget to take a look at our tips for dealing with inclement weather on transit!

Author: Adrienne Coling

Reminder: Black Friday at Metrotown

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Attention all shoppers!

We expect a significant increase of passengers at Metrotown Station accessing the mall for this year’s Black Friday sales.

To ensure the safety of all passengers and the public:

  • Always cross at designated crosswalks and follow pedestrian signs, traffic signals and directions from traffic flaggers.
  • Remain behind barricades at all times, and do not jaywalk or cut across the high-traffic bus loop.
  • Be courteous to other passengers and vehicles.
  • Make use of both exits at the station. The west exit only staircase is often less busy and is a quicker way to exit the platform.

We’ve added additional traffic flaggers to help pedestrians safety cross the street and more SkyTrain attendants will be at the station to help direct customers in and out of the station.

Customers who require elevator or escalator access can use one of the shuttles to connect to Metrotown Station.

The HandyDART and Community Shuttles that have been running since the elevator was taken out of service will continue to run until the new elevators are open.

The HandyDART operates approximately every 20 to 30 minutes between Metrotown and Patterson stations during the following hours:

  • Monday – Friday: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Saturday: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Sundays and Holidays: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Passengers travelling with strollers can take the Community Shuttle to Metrotown Station from Patterson or Royal Oak stations. The Community Shuttle operates daily between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. every 20 to 30 minutes.

While both shuttles are running, service will run between Metrotown and Patterson stations approximately every 15 to 20 minutes.

Author: Jessica Hewitt

That’s a wrap! The Mark III enters service

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What a beaut!

August 18th, 2016 “marks” another momentous day in SkyTrain history. The highly anticipated Mark III entered revenue service for the first time and it wasn’t without fanfare!

If you’re as excited as we were about its arrival, you likely followed the Mark III’s journey across the country, endeavoured to #SpotTheMarkIII during system testing, entered our contest to become a Mark III VIP, or stopped by in person to take the inaugural ride.

If not, don’t you worry – you can catch all that you may have missed right here!

Watch as SkyTrain President & General Manager Vivienne King and TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond welcomed the new Mark III into Waterfront station.

If you haven’t had a chance to already, get up close and personal by checking out the behind the scenes tour with Chris Morris, our resident Mark III expert and Director of Engineering Assets at BCRTC.

But wait, there’s more!

Below is a gallery of some of the photos “mark”-ing the special day.

Make sure to check out Facebook and Instagram for even more!

This Mark III is now in regular service and will be joined shortly by its sibling Mark III SkyTrains once they have completed their testing and are rail ready!

Author: Sarah Kertcher