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Translink Buzzer Blog

How TransLink Learned to Connect the World to the Olympic Games One Tweet at a Time

Few people know that the 2010 Olympics played a major role in getting the ball rolling on connecting our customer with transit information in real time via Twitter. The games inspired the Twitter pilot project in Fall 2010, and laid the foundation for how we communicate online with over 200,000 customers today. We sat down with Derek Zabel, Manager at Compass Operations Solutions and one of the main initiators of the Olympics pilot project on Twitter , to take a walk down the memory lane and see how everything started. 

 

Derek Zabel talking on the phone at CMBC office, 2015

Derek Zabel at Coast Mountain Bus Company’s office, 2015.

TransLink’s Twitter was around for so long that it’s difficult to imagine TransLink’scustomer service without it. Can you tell us more about how it all began?

Back in 2010, I was working on the Media Relations team with Coast Mountain Bus Company. Winter Olympics brought thousands of people to Vancouver and our team worked hard to make sure we could engage with the visitors and our regular customers in a timely and efficient manner.

The idea was sparked by our Director of Communication at the time, Ken Hardie. He wanted to connect to customers on a completely new platform. So during that time we had some discussions between Ken, others and myself – what can we do to equip people with as much information about transit as possible?

Twitter during that time was a place for people to get information from news media. Initially we planned to use Twitter to communicate with the press. But when we looked at the other transportation agencies, no one was really utilizing Twitter for customer service, so we kind of took a risk.

What were your team’s main objectives with getting Twitter running?

We really wanted to ensure that our customers would have all the information they needed at their fingertips.  We wanted to inform them about all the different service delays, numerous buses that we brought in to try to get people to various venues. And, most importantly, we wanted to make sure we can engage with them almost instantaneously. If anyone had a question about transportation or logistics for the Olympics events, we were on top of it and ready to respond. Our main goal was to make sure everyone could get to their end destinations, whether it was a hockey game, training locations or their homes.

How was the Twitter Team set up?

During the Olympics, I was an acting Director of Communications for a couple of weeks and had a small team of about four people. We would come in at 6 o’clock at night and would leave at about 6 in the morning. That was because various events in the city, including hockey games, were happening in the evening. We each had Tweet Deck set up and we had all those different streams lined up. We’d pick up hashtags and reply to people who’d mention us.

What were you main challenges?  

Having small teams communicating with thousands of new visitors was one of the main challenges. At the end of the day, Olympics for us was really about engagement and connection. We wanted to leave a good impression about Vancouver and our transportation system and ensure our customers’ experience of transit was as seamless as possible so they could enjoy the events. It was a real chance for our organization to shine. Of course, service delays and changes happened too. But our task was always to respond to customers instantaneously. Even if they were saying something about it negatively, it did not matter. We would reach out to them saying “You know we’re sorry you cannot get on that bus, but there is another one coming and it has more space or something like that”.  And I think that made a very good inroads to our customers and helped us to navigate through the major challenges.

What do you think was the legacy of this project on how we communicate with customers today?

Our initiative was so successful that it encouraged TransLink to roll out a month-long Twitter pilot project later that year and was subsequently handed over to the Customer Information team. After the Olympics, a lot of organizations were reaching back to us with positive feedback. I think we broke the ground on trying to engage with customers socially and in real-time fashion for a lot of transportation agencies across the world. We started with a few hundred followers and ten years later our Twitter following is phenomenal.

Today our Customer Information team provides updates about TransLink buses, SeaBus, SkyTrain, Handy DART, and WestCoast Express, responding to over 100 questions on Twitter daily and keeping an eye on important alerts. Do you follow @TransLink on Twitter? Perhaps you were around in 2010 and have a story about your engagement with us on Twitter? If so, let us know – we’d love to hear about it! Who knows, maybe we’ll get the Olympics again.

 

 

TransLink reveals bus fleet electrification plan, requests Mayors’ Council endorsement

TransLink is asking the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation to support its updated Low Carbon Fleet Strategy, which puts the region on the path to converting all buses to zero emissions technology by 2050. Metro Vancouver can make significant progress over the next decade by replacing 50 per cent of the diesel and natural gas fleet with clean, zero-emissions battery electric models.

The Low Carbon Fleet Strategy calls for investments in several key areas:

  • Procurement of up to 635 battery electric buses to replace diesel and diesel-hybrid fleet
  • Installation of charging infrastructure on-route and at depots
  • Construction of BC’s first fully electric capable bus depot

TransLink will require $95 million to $447 million in new funding over the next ten years to proceed with the strategy. The amount of funding required is dependent on which approach the Mayors’ Council chooses; cautious, progressive or aggressive. This ambitious plan is unfunded and requires significant support from senior governments.

“Transitioning the bus fleet to zero-emissions technology is an essential step toward breaking the region’s dependence on fossil fuels,” according to TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond. “This strategy sets out a bold course that will eventually allow us to provide 100% green public transportation.”

TransLink is recommending that the Mayors’ Council endorse this phase of the Low Carbon Fleet Strategy and direct staff to start finalizing the plan.

(CONTEST) RapidBus brings faster, more frequent service to eight Metro Vancouver communities

We know that fast, frequent service is key to getting more people onto transit — that’s why we’ve introduced a new service called RapidBus! It comes with faster travel times, more reliable service and new customer amenities.

On these routes, customers will enjoy service that’s up to 20 per cent faster than local bus service. Coming every 10 minutes or better during peak hours and every 15 minutes or better in non-peak hours, customers can now catch a RapidBus on these four routes:

  • R1 King George Blvd (Guildford Exchange/Newton Exchange)
    • Every eight minutes during peak hours
  • R3 Lougheed Hwy (Coquitlam Central Station/Haney Place)
    • Every ten minutes during peak hours
  • R4 41st Ave (UBC/Joyce-Collingwood Station)
    • Every three to six minutes during peak hours
  • R5 Hastings St (SFU/Burrard Station)
    • Every four to five minutes during peak hours

Time-savings have been achieved by introducing bus priority on roadways, such as bus lanes and signal priority, and less stopping.

What’s awesome about RapidBus is not only the service itself, but the new customer amenities at bus stops and onboard buses!

We’ve introduced new bus stops, called RapidBus posts, that have real-time information, telling you upcoming departure times for all the buses that use that stop. There’s an audio button customers can push to hear these next-bus announcements too. The RapidBus routes will also use 60-foot articulated buses that have softer seats.

Isn’t the new RapidBus service great?! We want everyone to know about this new service and could use some help in spreading the word. We want to give you the chance to win a RapidBus prize back that includes a RapidBus toque, gloves and the new model that just dropped on the TransLink Store.

Keep reading to find out how you can enter to win.

Enter to win!

There are three prize packs up for grabs with each of the following:

  • A RapidBus t-shirt
  • A RapidBus model
  • A RapidBus toque
  • Pair of RapidBus gloves
  • A handful of RapidBus buttons
  • A handful of RapidBus stickers
  • A handful of I Love Transit buttons

To enter, simply complete one — or all — of the following actions:

  • Comment below telling us which RapidBus route you’ll be taking and where you’ll be going (1 entry)
  • Follow @TransLink on Instagram, like this post and tag three friends you’d like to tell about RapidBus. (1 entry)
  • Follow @TransLink on Twitter, and tweet or retweet the following message. (1 entry)

If you do all three actions, you’ll be entered to win three times! Don’t forget to make sure your social media accounts are public so we can see your entry.

The rules:

Check out the official RapidBus Prize Pack Contest Terms and Conditions, but here’s the lowdown:

  • The contest for a RapidBus prize pack will open on Monday, February 24, 2020 and all entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. PST on Sunday, March 8, 2020. Late entries will not be considered.
  • We’ll do one draw each for The Buzzer blog, Instagram and Twitter.
  • One entry per method, per person, per day.

Unleash your creativity and love for transit at Towers of Tomorrow with LEGO® Bricks

Immerse yourself into LEGO® Wonderland at the Science World’s newest exhibition! Towers of Tomorrow with LEGO® Bricks presented by Concert Properties and White Spot restaurants and supported by TransLink spotlights 20 of world’s most stunning skyscrapers and TransLink’s very own MicroCity 2050, an animated model of Metro Vancouver’s transportation and transit past, present and future. The exhibition is a 5 minutes walk from Main Street-Science World station. Don’t forget to bring your Compass Card to receive 20% off the general admission. 

Build your own LEGO® masterpiece at hands-on construction area.

The towers built in 1:200 scale from half a million LEGO® bricks will impress you with their architectural accuracy and detail from Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia to Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, Chicago’s Willis Tower and Toronto’s CN Tower and others.

You too are encouraged to unleash your creativity and imagination by building your own creations in the dedicated hands-on construction areas with over 200,000 lose LEGO® bricks.

The exhibition also features TransLink’s animated 3D model of the Metro Vancouver’s Transport 2050 MicroCity, a dynamic show that seamlessly weaves in the light, narration, sound, and music to showcase the history of the region across several different time periods.

The experience will encourage you to think about the future of transportation in our region – a particularly timely topic, as we are in the process of designing the transit system for the next thirty years. To leave your feedback and learn more head over to www.transport2050.ca.

Imagination is your only limit! So what are you waiting for? Make sure you check out the exhibition and add your own creations to a steadily rising futuristic LEGO® metropolis inside the Science World.

 

A Love Connection that was nearly missed

How many coincidences are you allowed before it’s considered fate? Robyn and Josh met on the SkyTrain, by squishing into a packed train during rush hour (who hasn’t been there). But there was a special connection between the two… to find out what happened check out our interview with Robyn below.

How did you two meet?

Robyn: That’s kind of a long story, it took over eight months. The first time we met, I was dragon boating at Science World, and he worked at a visual effects studio in the area. When I was done my dragon boat practice he was just coming off of work. I was on the Main Street-Science World platform and he was standing and the SkyTrain came up and everyone had just started leaving from work, so it was jam packed. And there wasn’t much space and I had my big sports bag. So, we kind of looked at each other and the doors open, and he said, “Oh, you go ahead, I’ll wait for the next one.”

 

And I said, “Oh, no, no, no, I’m not going to make you wait, we can squish.”

 

So, we both squished on to the SkyTrain and I was crushing him with all my bags. He went, “Oh, are you just coming from school, like what’s going on?”

 

I said, “Oh no, like, I’m coming from dragon boating, the sport that I play.” He got off two stops later. And I just thought, wow, that was a nice guy.

 

So, that was in October. In November, I hadn’t seen him for a month, so I had not thought about him but, like, what are the chances of meeting someone again, that you just met randomly on the SkyTrain.

 

Now it’s November, and I went up to the Main Street Science World after I was finished dragon boating, and lo and behold, he was heading up the platform and I was shocked. He came up to me and said, “Hey, how’s dragon boating going?”

 

I was taken aback that he had remembered the obscure sport that I did.

 

We both went on to the train and we started talking and he rode all the way with me to my stop which was way farther than mine I found out later. He would just ride all the way to my stop and one stop past so it didn’t look like he was creepily following me. Then he would walk across the platform and take the train back to his stop.

 

So yeah, that was the second time we met, and we just had a great conversation. I found out that he was close to the school that I was going to in the fall and his sister was in the same program I was going into. He volunteered at a church and was involved in summer camp which I was big in. He was just an amazing guy, but of course like he’s a stranger on the SkyTrain, so I’m not going to do anything about it. But I got off at my stop and I called my best friend, and I told her that I met him again, and she goes, “Robyn! Okay, like, did you get his number?” and I said no. She said, “Did you get his name?” and I said no. And she goes, “Robyn! What are you doing? You don’t just bump into people like that on the SkyTrain, like what are you doing?”

She said, if you see him next time, it’s meant to be.

 

So, six months go by, and I’m still dragon boating. I’m still taking the train, a couple times a week, down to the docks at Science World and for six months didn’t see him. At that point I had kind of given up and I went well, I just missed my shot. Oh well.

 

But it was the first day of May, I walked out of dragon boating. We’re not even on the SkyTrain yet and my friend and I were just on the sidewalk, walking from the docks, up to the SkyTrain platform. And he was just walking by on the sidewalk and we saw each other after six months and our jaws both just dropped, like we had no idea what to do. So, finally, he asked for my name and said, “Oh, are you going up to the SkyTrain?”

 

I said yeah, and he said, “Oh, I’ll take you there.”

 

So, we went up to the train, just talking the whole time, he was super nice. We’re getting closer to my stop and I’m thinking, I’ve got to do something or I’m never going to see him again. What are the chances that I’ve seen him three times in Vancouver, on the SkyTrain? But I couldn’t do anything, so I walked off and I went well. That was it, like, that was it.

 

And then the next week, after practice, I went up to the SkyTrain and I was looking around for him. He wasn’t there, and I waited for a couple of SkyTrain’s and he still wasn’t there. And so finally I thought, I have places to go, things to do – I have to get on a SkyTrain and go. So, I got on and I took out my book. Then two stops before my stop, I felt a tap on the back of my shoulder and I looked around and there was Josh and he goes, “Hey Robyn!”

 

And, oh my goodness, my mouth just fell open. I could not believe that he was there. But I was thinking, “Oh, no, we only have two stops left, what am I going to do?”

 

We got to my stop and I thought, “Oh, brilliant, I’ll forget to get off and that’ll give us some more time.”

 

The train stopped and I’m pretending not to pay attention, the doors close, and the train starts to go and I’m like, “Oh, dang it! That was my stop, whoops!”

 

So, I get to the next one and I have to walk across the platform and catch the next train to go back to my stop and he goes, “Oh, I’ll take you!” And we both went back to my stop and I thought he needed to get back onto the other train to go the way we were originally going, but I really threw him for a loop, because he had to pretend to be going that way and then loop back again. He really thought it out.

He needed to rush across because the trains came up at the same time. So, we got off one train and he was going on to the next end. But, I missed the chance and he looks at me and says, “Do you want to do something some time?” And I thought my heart was going to fall out of my stomach!

 

I said of course, and I had my phone and I said, “Do you want to go put your number in?”

 

He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out this little piece of paper and gave it to me, didn’t say anything, gave it to me, smiled and then walked onto the other train.

 

And I opened it up. I felt like, like in a movie you know what everyone else is rushing by and one character is just standing still. That’s exactly how I felt. And I opened this little piece of paper, that I learned later, he had been carrying around his number, on this little slip of paper, for the next time he saw me.

Then, two days later, we went on our first date, and now we’ve been dating for two years.

Have you seen the Netflix show ‘You’?

I have not, and I did realize the situation could be sketchy.

On the first date, I made sure to text my friends every half hour, I didn’t get into his car for the first month that we were dating. But, the second time we met, I knew that he went to church and volunteered, not that you can’t make that stuff up. He was just a genuine guy and I did realize it was, you know, not the usual way people meet. But, he was also really aware of the fact, and he put in the extra effort to just be a gentleman.

The first couple months, he was on his best behavior, just to make sure that I was comfortable. We had all our dates in public, we never went anywhere private. He really sought that out too and made sure that I was comfortable because I didn’t know him from a hole in the wall, and he’s a random guy I met on the SkyTrain!

So, when you tell people you guys met on the SkyTrain, what’s their reaction like?

Definitely like, “What kind of person are you, just picking up random people of the SkyTrain?” Because there is a stigma that you get all kinds of people on public transit.

But when I tell people like, “Yeah, we met on a SkyTrain,” they’re taken aback. And then they go, “Okay, I want to hear the story, I want to know everything.”

 

It’s been a big conversation starter and people who I told, who I wouldn’t remember telling, they’ll come up to me like, “Hey, how’s SkyTrain boy?”

People are just so much more invested because of the unlikelihood of how and where we met.

Would you have ever expected to find your partner on public transit?

Not at all. No, and I’ve always grown up being like, don’t talk to strangers, and especially on public transit.

 

Josh’s dad actually works for SkyTrain and I know that TransLink does so much to keep people safe. I feel safe when I’m on transit, but it’s still not necessarily smart to go up to everyone you meet on the SkyTrain or a bus and start up a conversation like that and then start dating. Yeah, I definitely wasn’t expecting that!

Do you have a transit love story to share? Let us know in the comments!

Happy Valentine’s Day from us at TransLink!

Canada Line still winning ridership gold

TransLink celebrates the 10-year anniversary of the Vancouver Winter Olympics

TransLink celebrates the 10-year anniversary of the Vancouver Winter Olympics

New figures show that after 10 years in service, ridership on the Canada Line is still breaking records. The Canada Line had more than 50 million annual boardings for the first time in its history last year, representing a 30 per cent increase in ridership since 2010.

Originally projected to reach 120,000 daily boardings by 2025 – the Canada Line has continued to outperform projections with 150,000 actual boardings on an average 2019 weekday.

“We are proud to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the Olympics today with the region,” says TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond. “With 1.58 million trips taken each day during the Olympics, transit was an integral part of how the world experienced the Winter Games. The Olympics were a time when many people realized just how convenient public transit is.”

To help meet the growing ridership demand, TransLink increased capacity on the Canada Line by 15 per cent in January this year and will increase total capacity by 35 per cent this spring with the addition of 12 new trains.

Canada Line by the numbers:

  • There were approximately 230,000 daily trips on the Canada Line during the Olympic Games
  • It took four years to build the Canada Line
  • The Canada line cost approximately $2.1 billion
  • The Canada Line is a 19-kilometre route with 16 stations, two bridges and nine kilometres of tunnel
  • 21 per cent of all YVR passengers use the Canada Line for their journey to or from the airport

It’s Sedin Week! Take transit to the Canucks games at Rogers Arena

Dear Daniel and Henrik, THANK YOU! Thank you for 18 years of awesome hockey. Thank you for 18 years of Sedinery on the ice. Thank you for all you’ve down for our community. Thank you for being an inspiration to hockey players and Vancouverites all over. This week, Sedin Week, is your week and an opportunity for all of Metro Vancouver to once again come together to celebrate your amazing careers. Congratulations, Hank and Danny!

To honour the Sedins, the Vancouver Canucks are taking this week’s slate of home games at Rogers Arena to make the most of every opportunity to celebrate them. So, knowing that everyone wants to be there to relive the memories, we’re taking measures such as delaying rail replacement work to accommodate for crowds. Not only that, there are many systems in place to make your trip to celebrate the twins easier. Tap to Pay is one such option; if you don’t have a Compass Card, you can use your Visa, MasterCard or American Express credit cards to pay your transit fare. Just remember, tap your card not your wallet!

Another useful option is Park and Ride. There’s two in Surrey – Scott Road and South Surrey, plus many along the West Coast Express including at Port Coquitlam and Pitt Meadows. You can also use the Park and Ride facility at Carvolth Exchange in Langley, if you’re travelling from there to celebrate the Sedins. Here’s where you can find a full list of Park and Ride facilities, including the cost of parking at each: https://www.translink.ca/Getting-Around/Driving/Park-and-Ride.aspx

Regardless of where you go and how you choose to celebrate Sedin Week, there are lots of options to get there, so figure out the best route, plan a bit ahead, and give yourself some extra travel time – there will be a lot of fans like you wanting to join in on the celebration!

Congrats again, Daniel and Henrik!

Lonsdale Quay Exchange begins final phase of upgrades

Upgrades to the Lonsdale Quay Exchange are nearing completion and entering the final phase of construction. The improvements will enhance the experience of a growing number of customers coming in and out of the exchange each day. This is the first upgrade to the exchange since it was built in the 1980s.

Construction begins next week on the west side of the bus exchange, opening the upgraded east side to customers. Customers will now benefit from the completed improvements such as new pavement, improved lighting, more space, better accessibility, and tactile walking surface indicators.

The upgrades are projected for completion in the spring of this year, key improvements include:

  • Adapted bus bays for the R2 Marine Drive RapidBus
  • New pavement throughout the exchange and the passenger hub
  • Improved accessibility for wheelchairs and strollers
  • A new ceiling above the exchange to provide better lighting
  • Tactile walking surface indicators at bus stops and passenger crossings for customers with vision loss
  • New public art installation

The $14.7 million budget for improvements is paid for through contributions from the Government of Canada, the Province of British Columbia, and TransLink.

Quick facts:

  • Lonsdale Quay Exchange is the second busiest transit hub on the North Shore
  • Over 5,000 customers catch a bus at the exchange on an average weekday
  • 12 bus routes serve the exchange travelling to Vancouver, West Vancouver and the District and City of North Vancouver
  • 20,000 SeaBus trips are taken each weekday

SkyTrain announcements now include which side doors open on

“The next station is … Columbia. Doors will open on the right.”

When riding SkyTrain’s Expo and Millennium Lines, you might have noticed that our “next station” announcements are a little different now — they now announce whether doors will open to the left or right when the train arrives at the station.

It will make an announcement, voiced by Laureen Regan, that’s a variation of, “The next station is … Edmonds. Doors will open on the right,” depending on the station the train’s at.

It’s all part of our effort to make transit more accessible for everyone, and a little bit easier for customers with sight loss as well as those who are new to riding SkyTrain.

These accessibility improvements were the result of advice and feedback from TransLink’s Access Transit Users’ Advisory Committee (UAC) and other stakeholders. The UAC provides ongoing advice on TransLink plans, programs, and initiatives, making sure that accessibility issues are always considered.

But, that’s not all — we’ve also shortened our boarding announcements on the Expo Line to make it simpler and more succinct. Now, at most stations, you’ll no longer hear, “This is an Expo Line Train to King George,” but rather a simple “Train to King George.”

Have you heard the new announcements? If so, let us know what you think!

Related Stories:

Electric bikes can now ride the bus too!

Electric bikes are now allowed to ride the bus!

As Metro Vancouver’s transportation authority, we’re more than just transit! Among our responsibilities is providing cycling options in the region and supporting the more than 107,000 bike trips that happen daily.

We know cycling with a little help from an electric boost is becoming more popular. That’s why we’ve updated our rules to allow electric bikes to be placed on our bus bike racks.

There are a few conditions though, the electric bikes must:

  • Weigh less than 25kg (55 lbs.)
  • Wheels fit properly in bike rack
  • Include a lithium battery
  • The customer removes the battery and brings it onboard the bus

There are a few electric bikes that are still not allowed on bike racks such ones that are like a scooter. They weigh too much and don’t fit properly in our bike racks.

Electric bikes are also welcome onboard SeaBus, SkyTrain and the West Coast Express.

If you have any questions, please ask transit staff before boarding or contact Customer Information at 604.953.3333. Visit translink.ca/bikesontransit to learn more about how can you incorporate cycling into your commute.

Happy cycling!

TransLink celebrates Lunar New Year

The Lunar New Year-wrapped bus will make its debut at the Vancouver Chinatown Spring Festival Parade and will start serving customers this coming Monday.

The Lunar New Year-wrapped bus will make its debut at the Vancouver Chinatown Spring Festival Parade and will start serving customers this coming Monday.

TransLink is joining Lunar New Year celebrations this weekend by participating in the Vancouver Chinatown Spring Festival Parade on Sunday with a specially themed Lunar New Year Bus.

“The Lunar New Year is a time to celebrate the diverse communities who live together in Metro Vancouver,” says TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond. “We are proud to participate in the parade with our Lunar New Year bus which celebrates the beginning of a new year.”

The new year will be the year of the rat, a symbol of wealth and good fortune. The Lunar New Year bus livery features the rat on both sides with lanterns signifying life and prosperity.

After the parade, the bus will enter service on various Metro Vancouver bus routes.

Due to street closures on Pender and Keefer between Cambie and Gore, some bus routes will be temporarily diverted during the parade. To find out if your route is affected, sign up for Transit Alerts (translink.ca/alerts), follow TransLink on Twitter (@TransLink) or call Customer Service at 604-953-3333.

New Canada Line trains increase service for customers

First wave of new trains will carry up to 800 more people per hour at peak times. (left to right: Scott Norris, YVR’s vice-president of commercial development; Hedy Fry, Member of Parliament, Vancouver Centre; Malcolm Brodie, Mayor, City of Richmond; Bowinn Ma, Parliamentary Secretary for TransLink; and Kevin Desmond, TransLink’s CEO)

Four new Canada Line trains begin service today, increasing customer capacity by 15 per cent during peak hours. The brand-new trains will provide more space, frequency and comfort to customers.

These are the first of 12 new trains, which are being rolled out as part of Phase One of the Mayors’ 10-Year Transit Expansion Plan. Once more trains are in service later this year, there will be a total increase in capacity of approximately 35 per cent compared to 2019 service levels.

Delivered through the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund (PTIF), this $88 million investment is funded 50 per cent by the Government of Canada, 33 per cent by the Province of British Columbia, and 17 per cent by TransLink.

To support this increase in service, the Canada Line Operations and Maintenance Centre was upgraded and three additional escalators were installed at Canada Line Stations in 2019. This $36 million investment was also funded through PTIF.

The remaining trains are in the process of being delivered from Hyundai Rotem in South Korea. Upon arrival, the new trains will go through testing and commissioning before being certified for revenue service later this year. Read more »

New maps and signs help improve wayfinding at YVR–Airport Station

New bilingual signs at the YVR–Airport Station letting customers they can head straight for the faregates if they have a contactless Visa, Mastercard or American Express credit card.

New bilingual signs at the YVR–Airport Station letting customers they can head straight for the faregates if they have a contactless Visa, Mastercard or American Express credit card.

We’ve made it easier for tourists, many who are first-time transit users in Vancouver, to find their way from the Canada Line’s YVR–Airport Station!

We want to be the best hosts that we can be, so that’s why we teamed up with YVR to improve signage at YVR–Airport Station to help customers decide what transit fare they need and how to pay for it. There’s now:

  • Bilingual awareness signage conveying Tap to Pay benefit for travellers
  • Maps with colour-coded fare zones
  • Signage with fares to popular tourist destinations

With better signs, our hope is more customers will skip the lines for a Compass Vending Machines, head straight to the faregates and use Tap to Pay option to pay their transit fare using a contactless Visa, Mastercard or American Express credit card. For customers who are purchasing a fare from Compass Vending Machines, new colour-coded maps help with identifying fare zones for popular destinations such as the outlet mall, ferry terminals and cruise ship terminals.

New colour-coded maps on Compass Vending Machines makes trip planning easier for transit users at YVR–Airport Station.

New colour-coded maps on Compass Vending Machines makes trip planning easier for transit users at YVR–Airport Station.

New colour-coded maps on Compass Vending Machines makes trip planning easier for transit users at YVR–Airport Station.

Previously, Canada Line Attendants would sometimes have to help customers calculate the fare to popular tourist destinations such as downtown Vancouver, Canada Place and the ferry terminals. Now, with better signage, it’s clearer and all our customers can have a better experience at the YVR–Airport Station – and we’re still always there to help!

But the best part of all? The new signage was installed December 17th, 2019 – so we were ready for all of our city’s visitors this holiday season!

Author: Mohak Sood

Your questions answered about snowy weather preparations

Today is an extreme travel day and our transit system hasn’t escaped the impact of the snow.

We’re receiving a high volume of enquiries about transit conditions, so we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions by you, our customers, on social media.

Don’t forget! Sign up for Transit Alerts to be notified about updates, changes, and disruptions to the transit services you take:

Q: How’s SkyTrain preparing?

A: SkyTrain Attendants are onboard all trains monitoring the tracks to improve reliability on the system by limiting emergency braking triggered by heavy snowfall. We also run trains throughout the night to keep the tracks clear and used a special train to spray de-icer on the power rails. On the Millennium Line, we’re operating four-car trains instead of the usual two-car trains to increase capacity, but that will mean longer than usual waits for customers.

Read more »

Smart lockers coming to SkyTrain stations

A rendering of what the future PigeonBox locker at Stadium–Chinatown Station could look like.

A rendering of what the future PigeonBox locker at Stadium–Chinatown Station could look like.

TransLink has selected PigeonBox, a smart locker service, as the first winner of the 2019 Open Call for Innovation on Customer Services and Amenities. The Open Call for Innovation solicited proposals for new services for customers as they travel through the transit system.

With the new PigeonBox smart lockers, beginning this spring, customers can have their deliveries sent to lockers at three SkyTrain stations: Joyce-Collingwood, Stadium-Chinatown, and Commercial-Broadway.

“We are always looking at creative ways to utilize our transit spaces so that we can better serve our customers,” says TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond. “The last round of submissions received many thoughtful proposals and I’d like to congratulate PigeonBox for their successful pitch. Having secure lockers for pick-ups at transit stations will reduce unnecessary trips and simplify the lives of our customers.”

How does it work?

First, customers need to sign up to use a locker on the PigeonBox website or PigeonBox App. Customers can then use the provided PigeonBox address as their mailing address when making any online purchase. Once the order is complete and delivered, PigeonBox will send the customer a locker number and access code for a smart locker.

“The PigeonBox dream is to make every online delivery experience as seamless as possible,” says PigeonBox CEO Seunghwan Son. “We’ve built our smart lockers for those who want to protect their online orders and pick up their packages with ease. When we first launched PigeonBox, our customers told us they wanted to see us grow and expand at our transit stations. We are excited to finally launch this partnership with TransLink.”

This initiative is a one-year pilot from the TransLink Tomorrow program to test the demand for smart locker services on the transit system. The continuation and expansion of this service will be determined by the results of the pilot.

About Open Call for Innovation

There were 45 proposals submitted in TransLink’s second annual Open Call for Innovation to help innovate and enhance customer journeys. The 2019 finalists were selected through an internal panel. Other successful ideas will be announced in the coming months. Previous winners include a shared mobility service with Evo, Modo, and Mobi, and a partnership with carpooling company, Poparide.

The Open Call platform is an opportunity to partner with industry leaders, innovators, academics and policymakers to collaborate on new mobility solutions that will help enhance the livability of Metro Vancouver and address transportation-related challenges that we face as a region.