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Open houses for Canada Line bus changes – Feb. 7 & 8 in Vancouver

We’re holding two Vancouver open houses this upcoming weekend to discuss Canada Line bus route changes. Come on out: we want your feedback on what changes should be made!

The first event will be on Saturday, Feb. 7 • 9:30am – 5pm, at Oakridge Shopping Centre, 650 West 41st Avenue, Vancouver.

The second event will be on Sunday, February 8th • 10:30am – 5pm, at Vancouver Public Library (Atrium), 350 West Georgia, Vancouver.

There will also be four more open houses that will be held throughout February:

Saturday, Feb. 14 • 11am – 5pm
Tsawwassen Town Centre Mall
5499 12th Avenue, Delta

Sunday, Feb. 15 • 10:30am – 4pm
Ladner Pioneer Library
4683 51st Street, Delta

Saturday, Feb. 21 • 9:30am – 5pm
Semiahmoo Mall
152 Street and 16th Avenue, Surrey

Monday, Feb. 23 • 2pm – 8pm
Vancouver International Airport
(in front of Haida Gwaii)

For more info, send an e-mail to John Timms, or give John a call at 604-953-3251.


23 Comments

  • By David, February 3, 2009 @ 3:27 pm

    HI Jhenifer,

    There’s been much talk about this over at Skyscraper Page, so I thought I’d ask here.

    Will Translink start adding the Skytrain Symbol pm bus stops next to those routes that go to a Skytrain station (expo, millenium or Canada line – doesn’t matter)? Or should I say, Translink should start doing this to help identify those routes that go to Skytrain. This system is used in Montreal – in fact they have two symbols – one for the Metro and the other for the commuter trains.

    For example, buses on Route 321, all the bus stops heading towards Surrey Central would have the Skytrain symbol next to the bus route number (but bus stops going away from the skytrain wouldn’t have of course).

    Finally, a symbol could also be used to indicate those routes running into the early hours of the morning – or hopefully, 24 hours a day by the 2010 games.

    Thoughts?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, February 3, 2009 @ 3:29 pm

    Sure, I’ll ask about it and get back to you.

  • By John, February 3, 2009 @ 4:48 pm

    Is it possible to get these proposed route changes placed somewhere on the internet so that those who cannot attend the open houses can at least review the plans?

  • By ;-), February 3, 2009 @ 4:58 pm

    I went to one of the Richmond Open houses and asked if the long tunnel section is cellphone or EVDO friendly. If not, I guess the buzzer blog will be silenced on 60% of the Canada Line as it is today with the Dunsmuir tunnel. What a shame!

    In my recent trip to San Francisco, online CDMA/EVDO services was very handy on their BART system. Cellphone triangulation let me know if I had overshot my stop or was travelling on the wrong line. It also allowed me to dynamically plan my bus connections.

    I’m shocked that no cellphone carrier has tried to offer service in the Dunsmuir tunnel after 20 years of Skytrain. If we can’t have along the entire route, please put repeaters at least at the stations.

    BTW…. If people think online data rates are expensive, it costs me just $1 a day with Telus. That’s less than a cup of coffee! I no longer deal with printed timetables anymore.

  • By Reva, February 3, 2009 @ 6:06 pm

    Hi Jhenifer,

    I second John’s suggestion to get the proposed bus route changes up on the website. I would also be highly in favour of a “TransLink Listens” poll examining the proposed changes, with its results being made available to the public.

    I also agree with ;-) — why haven’t they put cellphone and/or radio signal repeaters in the Dunsmuir tunnel after all these years?! I avoid the downtown portion of the Skytrain as much as I possibly can, and will likely avoid the underground portion of the Canada Line, for this exact reason. I feel very uncomfortable being cut off from outside communication, especially in the event that my train gets stuck in the tunnel for any length of time. SkyTrain passengers should at the very least have the ability to send and receive cell phone calls in the event of an emergency (such as an earthquake, power outage, major service disruption, etc.). In the event of an earthquake or major disaster, being able to access AM/FM radio broadcasts on one’s personal audio device to get important emergency information would also be extremely valuable. I strongly urge TransLink to consider this. Thanks.

  • By Sean, February 4, 2009 @ 8:39 am

    Hello! This is off the topic, but I just came across the Westcoast Express page almost by accident, and noted that they have just added 2 more eastbound TrainBus trips, but NOTHING is mentioned on the main Translink site??? OR the Buzzer??

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, February 4, 2009 @ 8:52 am

    Thanks Sean. It’s more than likely just an oversight. I can certainly put it into the Buzzer.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, February 4, 2009 @ 9:37 am

    John and Reva:
    I’ve asked about whether the route changes can go online, and I’ve been told they will be put online at the end of February or early March. You can then send your feedback along to Customer Relations then.

    I’ve also been told that we would really like to urge people to go to the open houses, because staff will be on hand to talk about the changes and answer any questions you might have. I know, not everybody can make it to the open houses — but I suppose in that case, you will have an opportunity to respond to the boards online at the end of Feb/start of March. Sorry they won’t go up earlier!

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, February 4, 2009 @ 9:43 am

    David:
    So there is a wayfinding study going on to better plan signage and such on the system. But there isn’t anything concrete about such symbols being used on signage. So… that’s kind of where we’re at. Maybe you should check back in with me in a few months and there might be some movement on those plans.

  • By Jordan, February 4, 2009 @ 10:20 am

    It seems from the news articles on the open houses that they are being used more as information sessions to tell the public how it’s going to be, rather than for any feedback (eg. the subtext in one quote seemed to be, “You’ll have to suck it up, just like people did when the Expo line was introduced”). Are they going to seriously consider comments?

    Honestly, the proposal to remove the 98-B Line and the 49X buses is astonishing. I understand the desire to have feeder buses into the Richmond Canada Station, however there are an enormous number of people south of the downtown area that rely on those express buses coming to the Granville and Broadway stop. Anyone who has stood at that stop between 7:30 and 8:30 on a weekday morning can tell you how busy it is – there is always a steady stream of people coming to that stop from the surrounding area. To require all of those people to now get on the 99-B line and go east to Cambie and Broadway to then get on the Canada Line seems a little ridiculous. That extra stop is almost the same distance as the original trip downtown! The consolation in the newspaper is that there will now be a #10 every 9 minutes instead of every 10. Having one additional bus every 90 minutes seems somewhat pointless.

    I’m totally supportive of the Canada Line, and understand the desire to make it the major north/south artery in the area, I just don’t understand why it requires crippling another, well-service, artery. A reduction in service is to be expected, but scaling back to the proposed level seems like an invitation for everyone between Oak and Granville to just start driving downtown.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, February 4, 2009 @ 10:56 am

    ;-) and Reva:
    As far as I know, the Canada Line tunnel *will* have cell phone accessibility built in.

    With the Dunsmuir tunnel — getting cell phone access in the tunnel is certainly something that SkyTrain is aware of, but I haven’t heard of any concrete plans to move forward with that right now. With other systems moving to providing that access, and the Canada Line doing so too, I surmise that this might be explored more in the future. You both might really want to submit your comments to Customer Relations as well, since that is our formal system for tracking and responding to customer feedback. Your comments will get recorded into the system and the appropriate person at SkyTrain will be able to hear what you’d like to see in the system.

  • By ;-), February 4, 2009 @ 12:48 pm

    Thanks for the cellphone commitment, I’m looking forward to the open houses and would like others to express their interest in having the Buzzer blog available in the tunnel. The BART system has cellphone coverage only when the train stops at the stations, but a dark zone is found between the stations. Will the entire tunnel be cellphone friendly like the Cassiar tunnel or will we be have 20 seconds while are stopped at the tunnel.

    With a cellphone commitment, then there is the question of provider and technology. Will Telus/Bell EVDO be available or do we have to pay overpriced Rogers EDGE. I hope Canada Line will not make it an Exclusive provider.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, February 4, 2009 @ 1:05 pm

    I don’t actually know the specifics of *how* the cellphone service will be provided in the tunnels–only that it will be provided. When I know more, you’ll know more :)

  • By Reva, February 4, 2009 @ 4:13 pm

    Jhenifer, thanks for the Customer Relations link, I have sent them my suggestions. :)

  • By Donald Nguyen, February 4, 2009 @ 4:40 pm

    Sorry for going off topic. ;-), I’m not sure where your opinion that Rogers’ data plans are overpriced comes from since Telus and Rogers offer the exact same data plan prices ($30 for 1GB), and same high speeds (3.1mbps for Telus EVDO Rev A, 3.6mbps for Rogers HSPA not EDGE). Please be careful not to spread misinformation next time.

    I’m sure all carriers will be compatible inside the Canada Line tunnel regardless. There would be some sort of outcry to bring back to express buses otherwise.

  • By ;-), February 4, 2009 @ 6:00 pm

    ooops, sorry my bad. I last looked at the plans in June. I see both carriers have introduced lower plans and increased the data usage. Thanks for the correction. I see we can now read the Buzzer blog online for 85 cents a day…. even better deal!

    Either way, I hope the carriers don’t go “exclusive” like Pepsi/Coke do in our schools.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, February 5, 2009 @ 5:01 pm

    Hi Jordan,

    Thanks for your comments. Well, in answer to your first note about information sessions vs. feedback, I guess one thing that I’ve forgotten to mention is that these open houses are actually the second round of consultation we’ve done. The first round of consultations was done in March 2008, where suggested route plans were put out for discussion, and these new 2009 consultations are presenting the changes derived as a part of that earlier consultation.

    So lots of feedback has already been seriously considered at the early stages. And I know the current round of feedback is still being considered just as seriously. I suppose that the scope for the feedback is just a bit more limited, since the route changes have been narrowed down from the more unformed offerings presented in the 2008 consultations. But the bus route changes are not done flippantly or without thought to how they affect customers though — the Coast Mountain Bus Company planners have been working on this for a long time, and really consider how best to serve our region and its residents.

    This sort of leads to my next point. I think everybody would agree that the 98 B-Line route and the 49X buses are very busy — and it’s part of the reason why we built something like the Canada Line. With this new SkyTrain line, we can now provide a rapid transit option with a huge capacity. The equivalent of 10 major road lanes of traffic can now move north-south on a very reliable train line.

    The other thing is that we have a finite number of buses in our fleet, and freeing up buses from the 98 and the suburban routes helps us boost service in regions that need it, like the South of Fraser. Duplicating the Canada Line’s routes along different corridors doesn’t really use our fleet efficiently. So with the Canada Line working to move even more people from Richmond to Vancouver, we can now do more in those other regions that don’t have the same rapid transit service.

    Feel free to submit your comments to our Customer Relations department too — that’s the central system for customer feedback and will make sure the right people hear what you’re thinking.

    If you haven’t gone already, you can always go to an open house too, and CMBC staff will be there to take your feedback and answer your questions.

    I hope this helps somewhat!

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, February 5, 2009 @ 5:19 pm

    Reva — good to hear you sent your suggestions over. I just wanted to add one more thing since you were talking about safety in the SkyTrain tunnel: SkyTrains do have the onboard intercoms that connect you directly to our Control Centre, and we also have the passenger assistance alarm (yellow strip) should you require assistance in an event of an emergency. So, there’s no cell phones access right now, but there are still ways to communicate. Hope this helps too!

  • By Bill Kinkaid, February 5, 2009 @ 8:30 pm

    A bit of perspective on cellphones: a cellphone is something that’s handy to have, but it’s not like it’s essential. The London Underground dates to 1863, before Alexander Graham Bell invented the landline telephone. People were riding subways for a century before cellphones existed and got by. At least here most of the system is above ground and it’s just the downtown core that’s underground – several European cities have much deeper lines. And Montreal’s entire system is underground!

  • By David, February 5, 2009 @ 10:02 pm

    Thought I’d share with you how they communicate on the London Underground. The deep level tube tunnels, running on average 75 ft below the service, are made out of steel (hence the name Tube). The tunnels are only inches wider than the trains that run in them and there are no light and no emergency walkways. Remember that these tunnels date back to 1900.

    There is no radio communication. There are communication wires running along the tube walls. The driver relies on the signals to guide him or her. If the train is stopped by a red light for an extended period of time, or if the train breaksdown, the driver opens his or her window, and connects a radio to the wires to communicate with control. There is also a means to shut off power to the live rail.

    Because there is no gangway for evacuation, British Health and Safety Inspectorate rules require all trains running in single bore tunnels (like the tube) to have doors at the each end of the carriage. In the event of a stalled train, the power would be shut off, then then train evacuated through the end doors and then a walk through pitch black tunnel.

    As they modernise the tube, they are replacing the communication wire with a radio based system, which I believe uses the signalling circuits to provide the bandwidth.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, February 6, 2009 @ 8:57 am

    Thanks for that, Bill & David – very interesting to know about the tube’s communication/evac methods.

  • By Marvin B, March 17, 2009 @ 2:28 pm

    Do you know if the #10 will be using articulated buses instead of standard sized buses once the 98 B-Line is removed from service?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, March 17, 2009 @ 3:00 pm

    Hi Marvin,

    I’ve asked and I’ve been told no, it will not use artic buses. The route goes to Kootenay Loop, which does not have space for artics there at present.

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