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Snow service update for 9:40 a.m.

The 130 at Metrotown Loop was carrying a layer of snow this morning.

The 130 at Metrotown Loop was carrying a layer of snow this morning.

Not only did we lose an hour on Sunday, but there’s snow this morning? What a day…

Anyway, so far, snow and icy conditions on roads around Metro Vancouver are affecting bus service throughout the region.

Problem areas include Granville Street, 41st Avenue, any south slope hills in Vancouver and Burnaby (although the #20 is still making it to Harrison Loop at this time), and Westwood Plateau in Coquitlam — Community Shuttles serving the area are being held at the base of the hill.

Here’s some regional specifics:

Surrey – the #314 line is avoiding hills at 124 & 96, 123 & 100.

Richmond – No known major issues in Richmond. But the 98 B-Line is encountering major delays on the Granville corridor.

Port Coquitlam/Coquitlam/Maple Ridge/Port Moody – Community bus is not attempting to access Westwood Plateau. Service is terminating at Poco Stn. Mariner is clear.

North Vancouver – Roads are mostly cleared with some minor delays.

Vancouver – #7, #16, and #20 line are experiencing delays.

West Vancouver – All service on regular route

HANDYDART

Due to the increasing snow fall in the greater Vancouver area HandyDART has reduced service in the New Westminster, Coquitlam, Maple Ridge and south of the Fraser River to essential medical services only for this morning. Stay tuned for an update this afternoon (the weather forecast promises the snow will stop by then, but we’ll see).

As always, we appreciate your patience during such inclement weather. Please remember to dress warmly and be aware you might have to walk if your bus is forced to turn around earlier than expected.


14 Comments

  • By Steven, March 9, 2009 @ 1:16 pm

    I checked on conditions on the main Translink website before I left for work this morning (6.45) and there was little information on service disruption. It’s not until I’m waiting in the freezing cold that I realize something is not quite right. It would be really useful to see updates on your main website rather than the blog. By 9.32am, the time of your post, many commuters are in work already.

    I know you are working on improving mobile services, currently I cannot view service updates via my blackberry, just a timetable. This would be a really welcome development when this is rolled out, would be useful to hear an update on how this is progressing.

    Thanks.

  • By ;-), March 9, 2009 @ 1:48 pm

    Bookmark this on your Blackberry!
    http://www.translink.bc.ca/Transportation_Services/Cust_Alert/default.asp

    During December storms, the information was updated hourly. However weekend and after hour updates are seriously being neglected, especially when the storms serious escalates.

    I notice the service alerts also never made it to http://m.translink.ca/

    Yes, I’m looking forward to the GPS timetables which would eliminate the human factor in these situations.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, March 9, 2009 @ 2:13 pm

    Thanks Steve and ;-) — I’ve passed your comments on to staff. We are recognizing now that mobile services were not being updated, and we plan to fix this — and we are quite sorry for any inconveniences this morning/afternoon!

    Also, here’s a bit more information about the Current Operating Conditions page. (I posted this in reply to a different comment a long time ago, so sorry if you’ve read this already!)

    Current Operating Conditions is updated on the TransLink website by call-centre supervisors and work-leaders. They receive information straight from TCOMM, SeaBus, SkyTrain control and WCE when there is a situation affecting service.

    Their process also includes updating an internal system to provide this information to call-centre clerks and rewriting it from technical language into something the public can understand. Updates are made as conditions change.

    And apparently, with the new TransLink website that we’re launching this year, current operating conditions will be captured in data and displayed within the Trip Planner/Schedule Lookup. An alert will display if the problem impacts your itinerary, route or stop.

    So, really, as far as I know, the information on the Current Operating Conditions should be quite accurate — and as ;-) noted above, you can access that page via your BlackBerry.

    It should also be about as current as you can get, since Customer Information staff are on duty 7 days a week for far longer hours than I am.

  • By Dan, March 9, 2009 @ 2:44 pm

    Im not trying to sound mean but i kinda got fed up and was really annoyed on how this whole snow situation was handled. Im starting to really question the new TMAC radio system when drivers are on hold for 2 1/2 hrs and at points T-Comm keeps “clearing the board” and calls do NOT get answered. It also seems when you ask Customer information about bus breakdowns and cancelations and such when there were about 5 on the 135 as well they are calling people a liar on the phone saying service is operating “normally” It turns out yet again T-Comm never forwarded over information to Customer information or to the website. Transit Supervisors were freaking out on the 135, 143, 145, 160 runs as they were freaking out the need more salt. None of the buses had snow tires on them and they mainly put artics up to SFU. I looked at the emergency plan posted earlier and it failed miserably today as it said it was suppose to snow today. Maybe if i can give some “ideas” to management on how to not have this mess happen again it would make some sense. Cause “bald” all season tires on these coaches are a complete joke. I will say PLEASE review this policy as complaining to Customer relation does not really go anywhere.

  • By Scott, March 9, 2009 @ 10:23 pm

    There aren’t snow tires on any buses and several drivers have said this to me.

  • By Sungsu, March 10, 2009 @ 7:47 am

    Based on my experience, customer information staff often do not have up-to-date information. They sometimes do not even have information about scheduled disruptions. As an example, a while back the 424 was delayed over an hour (it was scheduled to run every 30 minutes at the time) and customer information had no idea that the buses were delayed. They didn’t even know that the reason the buses were delayed was the gantry crane move for Canada Line construction, as published on the Canada Line website.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, March 10, 2009 @ 4:04 pm

    Dan:

    Thanks for your comment! You’ve provided quite a lot of detail – I’m just wondering if you’re an CMBC employee? If so, I would encourage you to speak to your direct supervisor or manager and share your ideas. If this doesn’t work out for you, there are other options as well, such as service comment sheets, or safety committee reps etc. I know CMBC is committed to mitigating the impact to our service and would value your feedback. If you want action, try those official channels available to you, and if you feel your questions aren’t being addressed to your satisfaction, you can escalate the issue.

    If you’re an external customer, I can tell you that all feedback is logged by Customer Relations, and this feedback is sent to the appropriate departments for follow up. Customer Information is currently receiving a TMAC radio system to which buses can be checked and customers can be notified if there are problems out on the road. This will help to mitigate any communications breakdown between TComm, Customer Information and Customer Relations.

    And to your other points — CMBC would really not allow buses to go out with bald tires, or any other safety related deficiency, for that matter. CMBC’s all season tires are brand new and go on in October right before the winter season. They are Michelin tires which are rated for snow, plus these tires also use micro-siping technology (small grooves in the tread to give a biting edge in snow and wet conditions). These tires are designed for traditional wet west coast weather, including the wet snow we typically have. If the tires are bald, the operator should report this immediately during the pre-trip vehicle inspection and T-Comm can arrange for a bus change. Safety is paramount.

    (As an example, North Van has some of the hilliest areas in Metro Vancouver and the NOVA buses performed magnificently with our current tires. The feedback from operators was very positive at this location.)

    CMBC will continue to work closely with municipalities and districts to address bus routes in respects to salting and sanding. I can assure you that when a supervisor or operator leaves feedback of routes needing to be addressed, calls are made instantly to address the areas. It may take some time before trucks come to assist our buses with clearing the roadways.

    And I should stress that in no way are we perfect and we can always improve—your feedback is valued.

    I hope I’ve answered some of your questions, and look forward to more of your comments!

  • By Dan, March 10, 2009 @ 5:00 pm

    Jhenifer,

    No I am not a CMBC Employee, but would love to work to provide solutions and help the public. But riding the system over the years and talking to many drivers some issues I agree with them and some I don’t. Some issues i can go into full detail cause they seriously need to be reviewed and have a master set of rules that is not different from depot to depot. It is nice to hear that they are expanding the TMAC system to customer information. Maybe some improvements with the talking voice can be done. and maybe a solution so drivers log in to TMAC cause there has been many cases and becoming far too frequent with problems on board the coach with drunks, junkies etc. and the driver says “I Don’t Care It’s Not my Problem” That issue and the earphones or talking on the cell phones MUST BE DELT WITH ASAP. cause there has been some really close head on crashes. And by BC Law Nobody can operate a car/bus/etc with headphones or earbuds on. The only exception i would have if TMAC fails and you can’t get ahold of T-Comm Use a cell phone for 911. Have a good afternoon and feel free to contact me with more questions or ideas.

  • By Apple, March 10, 2009 @ 10:53 pm

    There already has been feedback on the problems already mentioned here on iTunes for the mobile transit app, which is a carbon copy of the mobile version. Clearly, nobody wants to be accountable and are in denial.

  • By Apple, March 10, 2009 @ 10:58 pm

    A lot of negative feedback has already been mentioned on iTunes regarding the issues already raised here as far as the mobile app. In fact, nobody is fessing up there is any problem with the mobile version which is a carbon copy of the online mobile app version. Updating transit info via blog is ridiculous. Whomever thought of this should be forced to take transit. During rush hour for a month. Come on people, do something beneficial for transit riders!

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, March 11, 2009 @ 9:24 am

    Hi Apple,

    Thanks for your note. So, as I mentioned in an earlier comment, for the snow issue on Monday, we did recognize now that mobile services were not being updated with the current info, which we were very sorry about, and we will be making sure mobile services are updated for future situations like this.

    Obviously, updating via the blog only doesn’t make sense, and that certainly isn’t our key strategy to communicate with riders. The mobile updates are key, as well as the Current Operating Conditions page, which should always be updated independently of the mobile site.

    You can find the Current Operating Conditions info at the following link:

    http://www.translink.bc.ca/Transportation_Services/Cust_Alert/default.asp

    This comment details specifically how that page is updated: call centre staff updates it with info they get directly from T-Comm, our bus traffic control centre.

  • By Indi Kaur Sidhu, March 14, 2009 @ 2:45 pm

    Oh, yeah you’re not kiddin’ / this bus goes to BrentWood Towne Center, so better to take the Milleneum Line Sky~Train, there…..also do the buses/Sky-Trains fit ‘twin buggy’? or have one in snuggli and one in singleton buggy and what about in 2010 ….. it’s best to have the kids in a snugli ….. leave buggy at home?

  • By Gayl Hutchison - Coordinator of White Rock / S. Surrey Stroke Recovery Branch, March 29, 2009 @ 11:56 am

    Our groups use about 3 – 5 handydart buses to bring many of our members to our therapy meetings -both Monday and Tuesday mornings. There or many changes in handyDART lately and our members would like to talk to someone about the many questions that they have.
    If that is possible, a Tuesday morning soon at about 11.00 am to about 11:45 am would be great.
    Our branch is in White Rock.
    Please let me as soon as you can.
    Thank You

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, March 30, 2009 @ 9:30 am

    Hi Gayl,

    I’ve passed your message along to our Access Transit group, and they’re working on setting something up for you right now. They will be in touch via email — if you don’t hear from them in the next week or so, let me know!

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