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Translink Buzzer Blog

First phase of running rail replace work complete!

You may have noticed in the past few months that the Expo Line has been undergoing some major upgrades!

As part of those upgrades, we have been replacing major sections of rail along the 30 year old track.

The first phase of the work began last August and has just been completed – replacing 4,550 linear metres of rail at three locations.

Here’s what has been replaced so far:

  • 700 linear metres of rail along the outbound curve east of Edmonds Station
  • 950 linear metres of rail along the inbound curve west of Edmonds Station
  • 2,900 linear metres of rail along the S-curve between Commercial–Broadway and Main Street –Science World stations.

We will be continuing the rail replacement work this summer.

This work is critical to keeping our system in a good state of repair.

Thanks for your patience while we complete these necessary upgrades to the SkyTrain system!

Author: Jordan Keim

TransLink named one of BC’s top employers for 2016!

2016 bc top employers

Sabrina, Project Manager with Engineering and Project services and Dan, Director of Fleet Technical Support for CMBC are just two of the amazing employees at TransLink and its operating companies

It is my absolute pleasure to announce that South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority (aka TransLink) is one of BC’s top employers!

The Vancouver Sun announced the winners in special edition on February 6, 2016, which includes the reasoning behind the selections.

Our almost 7,000 employees across the enterprise support the transit and transportation system in roles ranging from transit operators to support staff, as well as positions in customer service, engineering, planning, marketing and much more!

BC employers pamphlet

12th annual BC’s Top Employers 2016

Take a look at the criteria by which companies are chosen for this award:

Employers are evaluated by the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers using the same eight criteria as the national competition: (1) Physical Workplace; (2) Work Atmosphere & Social; (3) Health, Financial & Family Benefits; (4) Vacation & Time Off; (5) Employee Communications; (6) Performance Management; (7) Training & Skills Development; and (8) Community Involvement. Employers are compared to other organizations in their field to determine which offers the most progressive and forward-thinking programs.

We work hard to deliver a world-class customer experience throughout our entire system every single day.

We’re committed to efficient, safe and reliable service and are so proud to be amongst the other great employers in the province on this list!

Author: Adrienne Coling

Name the new Transit Police dog

 

This puppy was one of the most fun subjects we’ve ever had the pleasure to work with!

Meet the newest member of the Transit Police. She’s a 10-months-old chocolate lab with amber eyes and a playful disposition. She joins three other dogs on the force, and her job will be to help sniff out suspicious packages left on the system.

I say ‘she’ because she doesn’t have a name yet. Think you have a great name for the newest member on the force? Well, here’s your chance to name her!

The Transit Police are asking students from K thru 12 to provide a name they think would be perfect for the puppy. The contest runs until February 12, 2016 at midnight.

The student who provides the winning name will win a visit to their school from the puppy and her police officer handler for a presentation, as well as a bag of special goodies.

Entries should be submitted to: namethepuppycontest@transitpolice.bc.ca

Family Day holiday service, February 8, 2016

Transit can take you where you need to go this Family Day!

Transit can take you where you need to go this Family Day!

Monday February 8th is Family Day! Whatever you’re planning to do, why note take transit to do it!

Dont forget! Because Family Day is a holiday you’ll want to know about the change of service below.

Buses, SkyTrain and SeaBus – will operate on the Sunday/Holiday schedule on Family Day, Monday, February 8, 2015. Sunday/Holiday fares will be in effect.

West Coast Express will not operate on Family Day.

All services will be back on their regular weekday schedules, Tuesday, February. 9.

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.

 

Are you planning on taking transit to Family Day Event on Monday? Comment below and let us know where you’re headed!

Author: Robert Willis

Shelter buses and last weeks’ fire in Langley

Photo by: Dan Ferguson/Langley Times

Our bus and driver were on hand during a fire to help 25 people get temporary shelter. Photo by: Dan Ferguson/Langley Times

You’ve heard of bus shelters but how about shelter buses?

A shelter bus is a bus from the CMBC fleet that is dispatched from Transit Communications (T-Comm) out of the Surrey Transit Centre to local emergencies where people are being displaced.

The bus provides much needed, safe and warm protection for residents in cases such as a fire, until it is deemed safe to return to their homes.

Not only that, but emergency personnel will often meet the victims right on the bus and if temporary shelter is needed, the bus will then transport the affected people to a hotel.

“Coast Mountain Bus Company has very good working relationships with all of our emergency responders. Shelter buses are requested by Police or Fire Crews throughout Metro Vancouver. When they are requested, we prioritize this request to provide a bus to the incident location,” Derek Zabel, Duty Manager of T-Comm.

This past weekend there was a bus dispatched to a fire in Langley where approximately 25 people took shelter in the bus after they were evacuated from their homes.

This fire was one of four in the month of January to which we dispatched a bus to serve as a shelter.

Two others included the evacuation of a seniors home with approximately 100 tenants in Vancouver, and in Maple Ridge, seniors at the Kanaka Creek Lodge were relocated to a hotel after a fire hit their facility.

We deploy these buses because they can be of great use and comfort for those who are in crisis.

Zabel says this is a service that has a larger effect than just the shelter.

“It is a very important service that we have and if we can assist or help our emergency response teams in these situations, it forms a larger sense of community.”

Author: Adrienne Coling

 

 

Main Street-Science World Station upgrades are now complete!

The finishing touches are all done at Main Street-Science World Station! Much has changed. With a growing region and the introduction of Compass we needed to lengthen the stationhouse and install fare gates. While we were at it, we improved accessibility, visibility and safety and added the secure bike parkade. Check out all the details in the video, when we blogged about it last and on the TransLink website.

Main Street-Science World Station isn’t the only transit property getting a facelift. Upgrades are also underway at Joyce-Collingwood, Commercial-Broadway, Metrotown and New Westminster Station. It’s all part of the Expo Upgrade Strategy.

 

Have you seen or used the upgraded Main Street–Science World Station?
What do you think? Be sure to comment below and let us know!

 

Author: Robert Willis

Testing all gates closed at Sperling-Burnaby Lake Station today

All gates closed at Sperling today!

All gates closed at Sperling today!

Another day, another all gates closed test. Yesterday we were testing having all fare gates closed at Edmonds Station. Today is Sperling-Burnaby Lake Station’s turn.

Like yesterday, we’re testing out having all the gates closed at one station. Reports from the Edmonds test were great with many people using Compass fare products and others being exposed to it and learning how to use Compass tickets.

As noted previously, we’re planning more tests like today’s in the near future. We’ll keep you posted of those on the blog!

UPDATE: We’ll be testing all gates closed at Nanaimo Station tomorrow!

Have you been through fare gates that are all closed yet? If so, let us know your thoughts.

Testing all gates closed at Edmonds Station today

All is going well will all gates closed today!

All is going well with all gates closed today!

As we move along with phasing in the Compass Card system, we’re constantly testing all aspects of the cards, fare gates and readers. Today, we’re testing having all the fare gates closed at Edmonds Station. No worries – it’s just a one-day test! We will have SkyTrain Attendants, Customer Service Attendants and supervisors on both sides of the fare gates to make sure everyone is able to get through. If you show up to the fare gates using old fare media (FareSavers or bus tickets), staff will replace it with a Compass Ticket.

Besides seeing how closing all fare gates goes in general, part of the test is to track the amount of old media being exchanged for Compass products. We will use the information to develop additional plans and schedules to use when implementing full station gate closures throughout the system.

Since November of last year all stations have had a least one Compass fare gate closed to both incentivize using Compass and to allow for both fare media to be used on the SkyTrain system. After all, a closed fare gate is the best reminder to tap in and tap out.

As we move closer to full gate closures on the system you may see more tests like today’s. But don’t worry. We’ll give you all fair warning and will have staff on hand, like we are today, to make sure the transition goes smoothly.

 

BikeMaps.org and other cycling resources on TransLink.ca

cycling into the sunset

TransLink.ca has all your community cycling resources!

Are you looking to get into cycling in Metro Vancouver? Are you unsure of where the best, safest and longest stretches of cycling paths and lanes? Or maybe you want to learn more about the region’s cycling community in general.

TransLink.ca is a great place to start your cycling journey!

Nestled in the cycling section of our website is the Community Cycling Resources page.

FYI, you’re going to want to bookmark it because it’s a great repository for all things cycling!

bikemaps

Head to BikeMaps.org to view your cycling routes

Our latest addition to the page is a link to BikeMaps.org a crowdsource tool for the global mapping of cycling safety.

The focus on the map is, “… to identify areas with cycling safety issues. These results can be used by municipalities to prioritize infrastructure investments, resulting in safer streets for cycling.”

It’s pretty cool as you zoom into your area!

The map shows you detailed locations of bike thefts, accidents, rough or unfavourable cycling conditions and traffic jam hot spots.

Take a look and let us know what you think by commenting below.

Happy riding!

Our Breaking Bad bus operator

Bill Laird, Coast Mountain Bus' very own Walter White...of sorts

Bill Laird, Coast Mountain Bus’ very own Walter White…of sorts

If you take the 135 regularly or stumbled upon the story on Internet, you’d know that one of our CMBC bus operators looks a lot like the famous TV drama character Walter White of Breaking Bad.

He looks so much like him that he’s spawned memes and numerous nicknames. If you haven’t come across the one who stops, then you’re in luck! The Buzzer interviewed him. Enjoy!

How long have you been a bus operator?

I got started 25 years ago, September 1990.

Do you watch Breaking Bad?

I watch it lots, and I love it. I’ve seen all the seasons a couple of times. It’s a wonderful show. It’s well written, the cast is great as well as the acting – I think they nailed it.

Any favourite parts that stand out?

There are lots of them, but I’ll narrow it down for you. The part where Hank and Walter finally confront each other about who Walter really is, OK, and Hank realizes all this time under my nose it’s been my brother in law, and he’s been a meth dealer.

The other time is when Walter’s talking to Skylar and he says he’s not really the man she thinks he is. And he gets to say that classic line (goes into character) I am the one who knocks.

What do you think of Walter?

Walter starts out as a normal family guy, but out of a misguided sense of necessity, changes into something totally different and not very nice.

Anything in common with the character?

The only thing we have in common is we’re both family guys, and we do care for our families. The difference is that I’m happy with my life and where I’m going, and I don’t feel any need to be doing anything different.

Your passengers say you’re affable and really seem to enjoy your job.

That’s true. I’m very happy. The people are wonderful and I appreciate all the kind things that have been said.

When were you first eyed as Walter?

Last September, a co-worker named Bob looked at me and said, “Oh my god – Heisenberg!” And then of course every time we saw each other after we’d be joking about it, and making references to the show.

When did you grow the goatee?

That would be September, around the same time. I saw a picture of Walter online and I thought, I really like that, I could do that. With a little bit of help from Just For Men (laughs) and, there we go!

People point it out a lot?

Yeah, a fair amount.

What do you say?

I laugh and say thanks I really appreciate that. Because it’s a whole lot of fun.

Does it start conversations?

Oh definitely. People will say, ‘hey, do you have any little bags of blue rock candy?’ Or ‘this is what happened! – you didn’t really die in the show! You snuck into Canada, (laughs) and you became a bus driver.’ The funniest thing I had happen is I had a gentleman get on the bus at SFU and he does this double take and walks to the back. Later, he walks up to me and says ‘I thought this was a prank thing with the guy from Breaking Bad pretending to be a bus driver so they could get people’s responses’ – like a Candid Camera-type thing. We had a good laugh over that.

What’s strangest thing you’ve been asked as a bus operator?

After all the things I’ve heard over 25 years, nothing is strange.

Best part of driving 135 bus?

The people. The students up at SFU, the business people I pick up, and the people I pick up on their daily shopping trips. I have a lot of regular customers. It’s great.

If not a bus operator, what would you do?

There was a time I looked at being a motorcycle mechanic. I looked at being a commercial pilot, too, because I have my pilot’s license, but (points to his fairly thick eyeglasses) back then in the ‘80s there wasn’t any wiggle room.

Any hobbies?

I work on motorcycles. I fabricate parts. I do airbrush work on motorcycle helmets. I build models, and one of my passions is online gaming. My son Trevor got me into that. I’ve got my Xbox 360 and I absolutely love that.

Other thoughts on Breaking Bad?

They balance it out so well in this show. It’s a serious drama – and I guess a statement on choices we make – but they’ve also balanced in the humour perfectly. You never lose the dark side that they’re really trying to get across.

Are you enjoying this little bit of attention you’ve been getting?

This is fantastic. I’m having fun with it, and I think there’s some really, really good people who are having fun with it too.

Have you met Walter, er, I mean Bill on the bus yet? We’d love to hear about your encounter with our famous operator!

Interview and photo: Chris Bryan

Fun Poll: When did you start taking transit?

kidsonbus

When did you first ride public transit?

The first time I was on transit, I was only knee-high to a grasshopper.

Story is, my mum used to take my on the subway in Toronto to get me to sleep when I was an infant so I’m a transit rider almost since birth!

But not everyone needs the roar of the tracks to get some shut eye as a wee babe so first time transit users can be of all ages and all walks of life.

Vote below to let us know when you started using public transit.

Be sure to comment and let us know why you started taking transit and what mode of transit you took!

When did you start taking transit?

  • 0-5 years old (35%, 79 Votes)
  • 6-12 years old (22%, 49 Votes)
  • Teenager (21%, 48 Votes)
  • 18-24 (14%, 31 Votes)
  • 25-32 (4%, 9 Votes)
  • 33-40 (2%, 5 Votes)
  • 41-50 (1%, 2 Votes)
  • 51-60 (0%, 1 Votes)
  • 65+ (0%, 1 Votes)
  • I've never taken public transit (0%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 226

Superhero on the system!

Superheroes are among us and apparently they are racing SkyTrains!

Here’s the gist:

Our regional Deadpool (aka Nathan MC) leaves a SkyTrain at Waterfront then races towards Granville to see if he can catch the very same train he was on before!

Does he make it? You’ll have to watch and see!

Spoiler alert: he’s a Compass Card user. Thanks for tapping in and out!

**Although this is a very fun video, remember to be safe when you’re using our system. Please walk on all platforms and stairs to ensure everyone’s safety.**

Author: Adrienne Coling

Joyce-Collingwood SkyTrain station is about to get a makeover!

Joyce

Artist rendering of Joyce-Collingwood station

We’re about to start our much needed upgrades to Joyce-Collingwood Station.

Once complete, the upgrades will improve accessibility, capacity, safety and security at the fourth busiest Expo Line station outside of Downtown Vancouver.

Some of the changes you will see

  • New elevator and up and down escalators in the east stationhouse.
  • Improved station design with better lighting and visibility.
  • Better integration with the community for easier SkyTrain connections.

Project status

On site setup is expected to begin late this month.

During the first few weeks, equipment will be brought in and hoarding (fencing) will be installed around work areas. Construction is expected to continue until fall 2017.

What to expect as construction begins

Construction impacts include noise, traffic disruptions, and changes to SkyTrain service and station access. Our top priority is the safety of the public, passengers, employees, and contractors.

Work will be focused on the east stationhouse. Ongoing information about construction impacts can be found on the Joyce-Collingwood Station Upgrades page. Please note that timelines are subject to change based on construction activity.

  • Beginning in late-January, hoarding (fencing) will be installed on the platform and outside the east stationhouse, which will affect how you can enter and exit the stationhouse. Watch for entrance/exit signs to help you get around.
  • A temporary staircase will be built in the east stationhouse in February. Once complete, you’ll only be able to exit the east stationhouse until construction is complete fall 2017. Use the west stationhouse to enter the station, and watch for signs to help you get around.
  • Single tracking of SkyTrains in the area may be required.
  • Neighbours of the station can expect varying levels of nighttime noise while trains aren’t operating. Notifications will be sent in advance of particularly noisy work.

Got questions? We’re here to help!

Customer Service: 604.953.3333
Monday to Friday: 4 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Overnight Station Upgrade Customer Service: 1.866.979.0930
Monday to Friday: 12:30 a.m. to 4 a.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 11:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.

For more information visit: www.translink.ca/joyce or www.translink.ca/customerservice.

An update from Commercial-Broadway Station construction!

Summary of Phase 2 upgrades at Commercial-Broadway Station

Summary of Phase 2 upgrades at Commercial-Broadway Station

Construction is well underway at Commercial-Broadway Station!

Upgrades to the station will improve accessibility, capacity, safety and security at one of the busiest stations in the SkyTrain system.

Some of the changes you will see

  • An additional platform for Expo Line trains, a widened crossing over the Grandview Cut and a new walkway over Broadway to enable the system to expand for future customers as our region grows.
  • New elevators, stairs and up and down escalators to improve access and passenger flow for customers.
  • Updated design features to improve safety and security for all our customers.
  • Better integration with the surrounding community to make it easier to connect to and from the SkyTrain system.

Since construction work began in April, crews have been working on the Broadway east stationhouse and within the Grandview Cut constructing the new pedestrian crossing.

Work in the Grandview Cut includes the excavation for the columns to support the new pedestrian overpass. The clearing, shoring and piling works behind the Shoppers Drug Mart is also complete and the column footing in this area will follow shortly.

Below-grade work for the new Broadway platform is complete including the south column foundation for the Broadway pedestrian overpass. Current works include the forming, rebar and concrete for the new east wall of the station.

Steel fabrication work, including the new pedestrian overpass, is being completed offsite. Structural steel installation works will begin early in 2016 for the east platform of the Broadway station.

Here are a few pictures of station construction:

What to expect moving forward

Our top priority is the safety of the public, passengers, employees, and contractors.

Due to the nature of construction activity, we recognize there will be impacts to the public, including noise, traffic impacts, and changes to SkyTrain service and station access.

Here is a summary of the short-term work that passengers and neighbours can expect:

  • Construction of the new Grandview Cut crossing will continue and the existing overpass will be narrowed.
  • Construction of the new platform east of the existing Broadway guideway will continue. This work includes making cuts to the existing roof beam, erecting new support columns, and removing, reattaching, and in some places demolishing, overhead structures. Much of this work will happen at night due to the close proximity to the SkyTrain guideway.
  • Noise associated with large construction projects, including nighttime work with varying levels of noise while trains are not operating will continue.
  • Westbound 9/N9 and 99 bus stop relocations:
    • From Jan. 21 to March, the westbound 9/N9 and 99 bus stops will move temporarily while we build a new overhead walkway.
    • Bus stops will move several times with most changes happening during the day on weekends. Please follow signs to find your stop.

Thank you for your patience as we complete these much-needed upgrades to Commercial-Broadway Station and stay tuned for additional updates throughout the project!

Got questions? We’re here to help!

Customer Service: 604.953.3333
Monday to Friday: 4 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Overnight Customer Service: 1.866.979.0930
Monday to Friday: 12:30 a.m. to 4 a.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 11:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.

For more information visit: www.translink.ca/commercialbroadway or www.translink.ca/customerservice.

Author: Jennifer Morland

Compass Update: Pre-loaded Compass Cards now available at Fare Dealers!

Great news for Compass users and those who are making the switch!

Most FareDealers now sell $10 pre-loaded Stored Value Adult and Concession Compass Cards for $16 – these cards include $10 of Stored Value and the standard $6 card deposit.

This means you can buy your card and hop right on transit without having to load any other products!

Speaking of Compass, Monthly Pass users are able to load February’s pass onto their Compass Card today!

You can purchase next month’s pass online or by phone starting on the 16th of each month or at a Compass Vending Machine starting on the 20th of each month.

This way, you can load the pass early and avoid any last minute rush at the end of each month.

Remember!

You can load a Monthly Pass at a Compass Vending Machine (CVM) – it loads immediately!

You can find CVMs at all SkyTrain, SeaBus and West Coast Express stations, BC Ferries Tsawwassen and Horseshoe Bay terminals and 18 different London Drugs locations across the region.

You also have the option of AutoLoad when you register your card at compasscard.ca.

This means your Monthly Pass or Stored Value will always load automatically so you never have to worry about it!

Balance protection is another great benefit of registering your card!

So, if your card is ever lost or stolen, you won’t lose the products you’ve purchased.

Have more questions about Compass?
Ask away at askcompass.ca
Learn lots more with our Compass 101 video playlist: youtube.com/translink

Author: Adrienne Coling