Buzzer logo

TransLink news, commentary, and behind-the-scenes stories.

What are those weird poles at the Main Street bus stops?

What are those weird poles at the Main Street bus stops?

The metal poles at some Main Street bus stops will carry real-time bus arrival displays this fall.
The metal poles at some Main Street bus stops will carry real-time bus arrival displays this fall.

If you’ve been to Main Street lately, you might have noticed that some bus stops have gained a weird metal pole that juts out horizontally.

Well, they aren’t just bizarre metal sculpture art! The poles are for real-time bus arrival displays, which will be installed by the fall.

The displays are part of the Main Street Urban Showcase Project, an innovative transportation improvement program launched in 2004 and jointly funded by Transport Canada (through the Urban Transportation Showcase Program), TransLink and the City of Vancouver.
(Check out the official Main Street Showcase page for more on the project!)

A broad suite of improvements like urban design (like bus and pedestrian bulges), new transit technology (including these displays), and a fleet of larger buses (the new trolleys on the #3 route!) all contribute to more efficient traffic flows and make Main Street more welcoming for pedestrians, drivers, and transit riders, in turn serving the ultimate goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

An example of the real-time information displays that will be installed at 29 Main Street stops. (Although the 301 Rotnes is not coming to Main St!)
An example of the real-time information displays that will be installed at 29 Main Street stops. (Although the 301 Rotnes is not coming to Main St!)

So the real-time arrival displays are just another feature to improve the transit experience and make your wait a bit less onerous.

The displays will be installed at 29 stops: stops with high volumes of riders, and stops with transfers to other routes. Information from the GPS system on the buses is used to estimate the next bus’s arrival time.

They’re similar to the displays previously found on the 98 B-Line route—however, a key difference is that we’re using a different supplier with improved technology.

As well, in the coming months, we’re working to let on-bus technology ‘talk’ to traffic signals to help keep the buses on time—this is also known as “transit signal priority,” and it’s explained quite well on this page. (I’ll have more on that when the project gets underway!)

And by the way, Main Street was chosen for this pilot project because is the busiest local bus route in Metro Vancouver — it carries more riders than many light rail systems in North America!