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Heads up: possible snowfall Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan 11-12, 2011

A photo of a snowy #130 from March 9, 2009.

The meteorologists are predicting snow flurries today, Tuesday, and Wednesday (January 10-12, 2011), so I thought it would be timely to trot out some reminders for travelling in snowy weather!

As a quick overview of what might happen: buses generally find it hard to reach locations in higher elevations, and HandyDART may also be affected, since it typically goes to locations away from normal bus routes. And of course, heavy heavy snow can make it hard for all vehicles to travel.

So again, hopefully this isn’t news to you, but if you are planning on taking transit on a snowy day, there are a number of things you might do to prepare for your ride. We listed a bunch of them in the November 2009 print Buzzer, and they include:

  • Have a transit plan in place, so you know your options for alternate routes, if any
  • Check the weather before you go out
  • Leave extra time for your journey, in case of delays (start out early or leave early if you need to get somewhere)
  • Bundle up for cold weather and wear appropriate footwear so you don’t slip
  • Hit the bathroom before you travel, in case of delays (so important!)
  • Be aware that hilly areas may have delays as it’s harder to get through
  • Move to the back of your transit vehicle so others can board

For our part, we’ll try to get you the latest info on the transit situation through a number of channels:

  • A super-handy source right now is our TransLink Twitter account, which is heavily staffed owing to a November pilot project
  • Our Alerts page
  • Our media YouTube account — for audio clips, updated as needed (primarily for the broadcast media, but also available to the general public)
  • Customer Information at 604-953-3333 (may be very busy on a snowy day)
  • For info on West Vancouver Blue Bus, please call 604-985-7777
  • The big video screens on the Expo/Millennium/Canada Line platforms
  • The TransLink mobile site:
  • Radio and TV announcements

You can also view our snow plans in these links: here’s a 2011 media release, 2010 media release, a 2009 blog post about CMBC’s snow plan, and a 2009 post about SkyTrain’s snow plan. (Also, here’s a 2009 Vancouver Sun article on how the municipalities are preparing for snow.)

Anyway, cross your fingers! Hopefully there won’t be snow tomorrow. But if there is, safe travels to everyone and we’ll be working hard to keep the system on track!


  • By Cliff, January 10, 2011 @ 7:17 pm

    One tip, is that if you are able to, walk to a place where buses are less likely to be affected.

    In severe snow, buses had a hard time making it around the hills in my area and simply couldn’t make it. If you’re able to walk a kilometre or two to access a route that doesn’t have hilly portions, you may save yourself a lot of time.

    If you see a bus (or any other vehicle) trying to rev up a hill, don’t try to cross the street in front of it. They may need all the momentum they can get! This may seem like common sense, but it happens all too often.

    If your vehicle simply isn’t prepared for snowy weather, please leave it at home and take transit. ICBC isn’t going to cover people who are in accidents that could have been prevented through the use of winter tires. 9 times out of 10, people that get into accidents are people who are overestimating themselves and their vehicle’s capabilities. A bus ticket is a lot cheaper than a traffic ticket. Bus drivers are professionals, you likely are not. Take a bus!

    And be prepared to get out and push! :p

  • By Alan M, January 11, 2011 @ 1:44 am

    I’m glad you added the part about your vehicle being prepared also. It’s so frustraiting having to do a slolm course up (or down) a snow-covered hill with people spun out everywhere!

    Good luck everyone!

  • By Cliff, January 11, 2011 @ 5:27 am

    Here’s another tip: If you can avoid it, don’t wait for a bus or have the bus stop for you to get off on an uphill (or even some downhills) unless someone else has already caused the driver to have to stop.

    Remember, you can always walk downhill. That poor bus driver may not be able to get going after he stops on a hill.

    And while I have an adequately prepared vehicle, I’m going to sit here right at home. That’s the best way to deal with the snow in Vancouver!

  • By Sewing, January 11, 2011 @ 10:41 am

    Also walk to an artery that has more frequent service, if it’s not too far away. By sheer mathematical probability, the odds of any given bus not showing up are going to be lower on streets with higher levels of service. (The more major roads are more likely to be drivable, as well.)

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, January 11, 2011 @ 11:20 am

    These are great tips! One more I might add is, if you have the ability to work from home, plan for the possibility of doing so in advance. Looks like 10-15 cm of snow are predicted for Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning, so this afternoon might be a good time to gather your necessary work items together.

  • By Cliff, January 12, 2011 @ 8:01 pm

    Looks like we dodged a bullet! I suspect only the early morning buses had any problems.

    There’s hardly any snow out there anymore!

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, January 13, 2011 @ 2:32 pm

    Cliff: I know! The overnight flurries on Tuesday night had me faintly worried, but it was all melting by Wednesday morning. Thank heavens :)

  • By Andrew S, January 16, 2011 @ 12:53 am

    For the sake of everyone’s safety and safe transit, I hope for no snow, but at the same time… hmmm snow… what a welcoming thought! =P

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