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Translink Buzzer Blog

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.

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.

SeaBus terminals are getting a much needed upgrade

SeaBus terminals

Construction is expected to last until 2018

Some SeaBus facts:

The SeaBus terminals and administration buildings are 40 years old.

SeaBus trips carry about 16,000 passengers a day.

That equates to 43,290 crossings each year carrying over 6 million people!

Talk about wear and tear!

The envelopes of all three buildings – essentially the walls and roofs – including the roofs of the two terminals, are in poor condition and no longer working as designed.

So, naturally, these buildings need some upgrades and rehabilitation work to keep them safe and functioning for both riders and employees.

Don’t fret! SeaBus service will continue to operate as normal during construction and terminals will remain accessible, however customers can expect small detours when entering or exiting the terminals.

What work is being done

  • The exterior metal cladding, roof, and windows on the north and south terminals will be replaced.
  • Stucco siding and windows on the administration building in North Vancouver will also be replaced.

Work is expected to begin this spring and continue until mid-2018.

We thank you for their patience while we do this necessary maintenance work.

Author: Adrienne Coling

Trans Canada Trail run across the Golden Ears Bridge this weekend

Race day route along the Trans Canada Trail

Race day route along the Trans Canada Trail

‘Tis the season for runs, races and cycling events and this Sunday is no exception!

On Sunday, May 15 between 7:00 am and 1:00 pm, The MEC Langley run Two will follow the Trans Canada Trail across the Golden Ears Bridge, finishing in Fort Langley.

This event includes a 5K, 10K, half and full marathon.

The half marathon starts in Pitt Meadows and goes over the Golden Ears Bridge and finishes in Fort Langley. The full marathon will start in Fort Langley and head to Pitt Meadows and back. While the 5K and 10K will be an out and back on the Fort to Fort portion of the Trans Canada Trail starting and finishing in Fort Langley.

The runners will be crossing the bridge from approximately 8:30 am. to 10:30 am on the West sidewalk. Be sure to keep that in mind if you’re driving, biking or walking in the area.

You can see the route with detailed instructions here.

For start times, places, aid stations and registration information,
visit the MEC event page.

Author: Adrienne Coling

Bus rack demo now in North Vancouver!

City of North Van FB pic

Test out your bike rack skills in North Vancouver (Photo courtesy of City of North Vancouver)

Did you know that every single vehicle in our bus fleet has racks for your bike?

That’s right! And with Bike to Work week quickly approaching, why not try loading your bike on a  bike rack without the bus?

That way, you’ll be a bus rack superstar when you use the real thing!

Well, you’re in luck!

TravelSmart and North Vancouver have paired up to provide a demo bike rack between City Hall and the library in Civic Plaza.

Have you spotted this new cycling gem?

We tested out a bike rack (we practised first!) in our first Facebook LIVE streaming.

Some tips for using the bike racks:

  • 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.

Check out a rider’s first hand experience documented in this great blog!

For more information on bikes on buses and transit in general, head to our website.

Author: Adrienne Coling

Talking Transit: An afternoon tea with Levi

Meet Levi!

Meet Levi!

I met Levi on a lovely afternoon at Brentwood Town Centre Station in Burnaby.

I must admit, this was not a typical stop for me as I usually use the Expo Line and the other side of the Millennium Line, but I love exploring the transit network and meeting riders where they use the system!

Levi is just 18 and uses transit daily to commute from her home on the North Shore to her job downtown and to school at BCIT.

She says transit does more than just gets her where she needs to go, it creates a community of those who use it and connects our region in a way nothing else can.

Levi has lots to say about transit, so let’s get to it!

What does transit mean for someone growing up in this region?

When I was in grade five, one of my best friends had so much independence and I had very protective parents and if I wanted to go anywhere, I was given a ride. Sometimes I didn’t want a ride, I wanted to take the bus! That never happened. Somehow, the bus turned into the symbol of independence for me that represented true mobility and maturity. It may sound funny but it really was for me!

When was the first time you took transit?

I think the first time I got to take the bus all by myself was finally in grade eight and I was so scared! I remember a million things going through my mind: What if I got on the wrong bus? What if I pulled the cord at the wrong time? What if it doesn’t stop when I need to get off? It turned out absolutely fine and from then on, it was my favourite way to get around.

Why do you take transit now, as an adult?

Honestly, parking is super expensive at school and I have a UPass! It would just be so silly of me not to use it. I live just on the other side of the water so it doesn’t take me very long to get to school. It seemed redundant to me to live so close to transit and pay for another mode of transportation including gas, insurance, parking and deal with traffic just for a tiny bit more convenience. Plus, I would only drive myself, I don’t have anyone to carpool with so that would be pretty wasteful and expensive.

What is your favourite mode of transit?

Out of all the modes, I would say SeaBus. Mainly because I think there’s an operator or captain person. I like the idea of seeing the person driving my vehicle — the SkyTrain is super fast and awesome but no driver kinda creeps me out. I know that’s strange, call me old fashioned!

Plus, it’s the only transit that you can never miss your stop! When I worked downtown on the later shifts, it was great because I could have 15 minute power naps without worrying about not getting off at the right place!

Do you have any fun or sweet stories about transit?

One day when I was first commuting to and from BCIT, I was on my way home and the buses were very busy. It was looking like the bus was full so I would have to wait another 30 minutes for the next one.

Then a driver came along and asked if anyone, who wasn’t going to the final destination in North Vancouver, could wait for another bus just behind. A bunch of people were kind enough to get off and get the other bus meaning I could get on and go home after a long day.

It was great on two levels; one, the operator taking control of a situation to be more efficient and just help out and two, the other passengers who did get up and change buses to help some other people out.

Now, THAT bus driver is my favourite in general because he always talks to the riders. He has a series of jokes he goes through and he always says the connecting buses at major intersections so people know. He just goes above and beyond all the time!

If you had a transit wish, what would it be?

I bet everyone says they want more buses on their route or in their neighbourhood, right? Well, I’m no different! Ha ha! I actually completely understand why my bus route doesn’t have a lot of frequency. I know there aren’t a lot of people that take it and it wouldn’t make a ton of sense but I can still wish for more!

Thank you for the tea and the transit talk, Levi! It’s great to learn more about our riders’ experiences on the system.

Do YOU want to be featured in a Talking Transit interview here on the Buzzer blog?
Email us at thebuzzer@translink.ca with the subject line “Talking Transit.”

Author: Adrienne Coling

Pattullo Bridge upcoming Thursday night closure

Pattullo2

Definitely not a shot taken from the SkyTrain.

As part of the ongoing rehabilitation project, the Pattullo Bridge will be closed to vehicle traffic (the sidewalk will remain open for cyclists and pedestrians) overnight starting from 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 12 to 5 a.m. on Friday, May 13, weather dependent.

We encourage drivers to plan alternate routes to cross the Fraser River during this overnight closure. Transit customers planning on should plan on longer travel times on the N19 NightBus which will re-route via the Alex Fraser and Queensborough bridges.

Drivers are reminded that when the bridge is open, the speed limit is 30 km/h. This ensures the safety of workers and all users of the bridge.

The Pattullo Bridge is one of the oldest bridges in the region. Comprehensive deck rehabilitation work is needed to maintain road safety and bridge functionality. TransLink thanks everyone for their patience while we do this important work.

For additional information on the Pattullo Bridge, including travel resources and upcoming closures customers can:

 

Author: Sarah Kertcher

Links and Tidbits – May 6, 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.

lvmarbles26n

Don’t lose your marbles!

»   At the Times Square–42nd Street subway stop in NYC you can take in this ^^ beautiful mosaic by artist Lisa Dinhofer.

»   Move over subway pizza rat and hello subway bagel rat!

»   Watch this video! (Be sure to wait until the passenger chimes in) Warning, colourful language!

»   Washington Metro turns the big 4-0!

»   Hillary had some trouble using the NYC subway – She should visit us, tapping a Compass Card is a breeze!

»   ^^ Of course SNL had to have a crack at poking some fun.

»   Rubber ferry, you’re the one! You make bath time so much fun!

»   BCIT’s, Evolution 107.9 radio’s Harrison Jewell spoke about TransLink and how we compare with other transit authorities in North America.

»   I admit, I’d probably do a double take at some of these books being read on the train!

»   ^^Literally the happiest I’ve ever seen people on transit in this 1964 NYC World’s Fair advert for the “subway special!”

»   You know what really grinds GO transit users’ gears? Take a look!

»   More than one fifth of U.S. urban residents use public transit regularly with NY, LA and Chicago topping the list.

»   Another month, another superhero bus operator – this time in Calgary.

»   Did you know that Cincinnati has a secret, unused subway? Neither did I!

»   From bus to food truck (looks like one of our community shuttle vehicles!) offering fresh produce at reduced rates for low-income families in Toronto. What a great idea!

»   Looks like Halifax has the same idea – full sized bus this time though!

»   Hold onto your hats because TransLink’s own Pet Peeves transit etiquette campaign is making worldwide headlines by being featured at the New York Transit Museum!

»   Another beautiful transit relic saved in London! Take a look at the Crystal Palace.

»   One of my greatest fears – becoming a meme! The late, great David Bowie’s son turned this man into an viral internet sensation!

»   So, this is what it feels like… when doves cry. What a fitting tribute!

»   Much Shiba. Very transit doge. So subway.

»   Posts like this are my bread and butter. I LOVE secrets and transit secrets are even better!

»   Ever wondered why you get sleepy on the train or bus? Looks like there’s an answer!

»   Mexico City has nearly 200 different transit signs on their system. They even tweet out the meanings for passengers. For example! Why is Talismán station represented by a mammoth? Because workers discovered the remains of one while excavating the site!mammoth»   Our region is hot. I mean H-O-T! Especially when it comes to transit. Check out how we show up on this heat map of Metro Vancouver transit users!

»   The man who voiced the “mind the gap” announcements in London’s Underground has passed away. But his wise yet stern voice will remain helping tube riders for generations to come!

»   Death Star transit realness. “Alert all commands. Calculate every possible destination along their last known trajectory!” 

»   Looking to rent in NYC? Then have a look at which subway stops will save you $$! (ps. A one bedroom for $4000 a month? YOWZA! And I thought Vancouver was pricey!)

»   What an amazing tool! All Transit allows you to gauge how well-connected any spot in the United States is by public transit!

»   It’s a museum! It’s a nuclear bunker! It’s North Korea’s subway system!

NK subway

Puhung Station was one of only two metro stations foreign visitors were allowed into before 2010.

»   New Subway ads that KNOW who is looking at them. Creepy or cool? You decide!

Author: Adrienne Coling