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Links and tidbits for January 04, 2012

    A belated Happy New Year to you all! The trolley busses we use may not be that old, but the technology is pretty much the same as when BC Electric ran the trolley buses. Here’s a fun piece on dewiring and resetting trolley wires on Global News.

  • A subway bench that is clean, stain resistant and doubles as an art piece and leaning device. Could this be the coolest/best transit bench yet?
  • Montreal has the biggest one in North America, and Vancouver will soon have its own bike share. But it seems like U.S. cities are not as on board with the idea as their Canadian counterparts for a variety of reasons.
  • A look at the London Tube map of 2015 and 2019 — This blogger talks about expansion of the Ginger Line. I wonder if this will take you to the house of a certain Spice Girl?
  • Melbourne has a new rail stop (Epping), and it looks kinda like something the Empire would build in Star Wars. Here are some time-elapsed videos of the Epping and Thomastown stations and others in the state of Victoria in Australia.
  • Even cooler (and probably nearly as bright) is the new 1.4 billion dollar Fulton Street Transit Centre in New York. It features an amazing skylight called an “oculus” that brings light four storeys below street level.
    • Jarrett Walker of the Human Transit blog writes about a project that asks people to write music about metro stations around the world.
    • The Toronto Star references the Burnaby Gondola in a piece that questions if a gondola is better than boring new tunnels for Toronto transit.
    • No deal yet on the York transit strike as it enters its 11th week.
    • Fare hikes and cuts for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.
    • Googles Mapnificent helps you figure out destinations that are reachable by public transit within a particular time frame. I wonder how this can be used with Trip Planner in the future?
    • By June 2012, there will be 120 Tube stations in England with Wi-Fi. Do you think free Wi-Fi on the SkyTrain would be a real asset or not worth the effort?
    • The Dubai Metro has a 99.69% punctuality rate. And I thought the SkyTrain was punctual!
    • The Evergreen line is mention in a Seattle Transit Blog post that speaks to funding for future transit in that city.


    • By SHANE GROVER, January 4, 2012 @ 7:55 pm

      i think skytrain/canada line should have free wifi good idea

    • By ;-), January 4, 2012 @ 8:58 pm

      I would rather see the money go to more buses and drivers than to free wifi.

      Unlike the old days where it was $100 or more for a single megabyte, cellular data is so affordable now, free wifi is no longer required. You can get up to 6 or more gigs on some cell packages.

      Except for the Dunsmuir tunnel, cellular data is available system wide. There’s even repeaters in the long Canada tunnel for your data needs. Cellular data also means you are not limited to the Skytrain/Canada Line, but can run on the buses, Seabus and West Coast Express.

      In addition to security issues, free wifi is also useless where there are countless people using it at the same time. If you go to some hotels with free wifi, you will be lucky to get a single email out because there are so many people downloading videos on it. While in Hawaii, I was surprised a 5 minute newscast at home takes over 5 hours to download while vacationing.

    • By Robert Willis - Buzzer Editor, January 4, 2012 @ 9:18 pm

      Hi Shane and ;-): As your two comments illustrate, people often have mixed reactions to free wi-fi on transit. ;-) you make some good points about the speed and ubiquity of wireless. I might add that although wireless is more affordable than it used to be, not everyone can afford a data plan. However, if wireless isn’t fast, it’s kind of useless. It’s also a challenge to get coverage system wide when you include West Coast Express.

    • By Steven, January 4, 2012 @ 9:37 pm

      The photo of the Washington DC metro looks pretty cool however in reality the system could do with a refresh as its pretty dirty. I personally like what they have done to Canada Water and Westminster stations in the London, interesting examples of modern architecture.

    • By ;-), January 4, 2012 @ 9:49 pm

      I should also add that data plans today start at less than a cup of coffee a day.

      Also if you use Blackberries, BBM doesn’t need a data plan as it uses cellular signal. What a deal!

    • By Andrew S, January 5, 2012 @ 3:28 pm

      Just watching the video reminded me of something I noticed a while ago. Does anyone else notice that the trolleybuses often have mismatched poles? Like some have a pair of grey, some have a pair of yellow, but some have one grey and one yellow or maybe a white one with a couple blue and yellow stripes or a black one even… =P

    • By Bill Kinkaid, January 5, 2012 @ 9:22 pm

      The refurbishment of Museum Station in Toronto is innovative and looks great in photos (I have some good ones of my own) but it’s still unfinished four years later, and there appear to be no plans to finish the job. There are a number of unfinished wall panels and open cuts in the ceiling, and in places it looks like they just took down some of the lighting and signage and never put it back up.

    • By Sally, January 6, 2012 @ 7:26 pm

      I’m still wishing the Canada Line stations had more than one entrance/exit, more than one escalator that only goes \up,\ and maybe a confectionary kiosk at some of the stations!

    • By Muiz Motani, January 12, 2012 @ 11:45 am

      I would settle for better 3G coverage in the tunnels. Yes, there is 3G coverage on most of the Canada Line, but there is a drop-out at the south end of the tunnel between Langare-49th and Marine Drive Stations. There are also often drop outs between Broadway-City Hall and King Edward Stations. In addition, if the trains are full to capacity with no standing room (like during rush hour) the 3G and cellular signal often drop out. I am not sure if this is due to the cells and repeaters being over-capacity or if the actual mass of bodies blocks the signal from the repeaters into the cars.

    • By ;-), January 12, 2012 @ 8:43 pm

      @Muiz: What is your cellphone and carrier?

      Many discount carriers ignore serving the Canada Line tunnel. I’m on Telus and find the tunnel offers me better service than walking outside on Granville street.

      Since the iPhone 4s came out, it’s causing bandwidth issues for a lot of people. The “Siri” service gobbles data like a virus.

    • By Muiz Motani, January 13, 2012 @ 10:24 am

      @;-) I’m on Rogers and have had this problem with both my iPhone 3G and my newer iPhone 4S. Perhaps Rogers’ repeaters are not as strategically placed as Telus’ repeaters and their coverage is not as good. The issue is not bandwidth, since it is not just data that I lose in the aforementioned portions of the tunnel; I lose total signal. I should actually do some signal strength measurements this afternoon by putting my iPhone into field test mode. When the jailbreak for the A5 processor devices (iPad2 and iPhone 4S) comes out hopefully in the next few days I should use the Cydia Signal app to figure out which cell towers and repeaters are actually being used and what their comparative signal strength is.

    • By jagga, January 16, 2012 @ 6:23 pm

      Wifi idea is great

    • By Meraki, January 17, 2012 @ 5:18 pm

      @Andrew S re: the colours of trolley poles.

      The new trolleys came with grey poles from the manufacturer. For later replacement units CMBC went with a different manufacturer for the poles. These ones are coloured yellow for quick identification of which type of pole it is. Poles aren’t always changed in pairs, sometimes only a single pole on a bus needs changing and that’s how you get mismatched sets!

      Hope that helps.

    • By Kelly, January 31, 2012 @ 1:31 pm

      I always hear the beeps on the trolleys. There are 2 stitches when buses turn left. Power On and Coaster. You look up to those wires & you see power pointing left or right. If the power is on the left most often times the bus is turning left, but not always (They always try to trick you. Sometimes they turn right or straight through. Again it varies.) One time bus #10 was going along Marine Drive towards the Oak Street Bridge & up ahead was the active switch. The power was to point right, meaning that the poles will be heading to Oak Street. When the bus arrived at the switch, I was waiting for the beep signal in the driver’s cab. No beep signal. I turned around where the shadow of the bus was (It was a clear sunny day) the poles were heading to Oak Street. I shouted “De-Wire! You’re going to Oak Street.” People were looking at me & thought I was nuts. But for self sake the driver sopped the bus & checked it out. Sure enough the, the poles were heading to Oak. The driver thank me. No worries, driver.

    • By Kelly, February 1, 2012 @ 12:45 pm

      I think there should be a road signage in Vancouver saying: “Trolley bus in action. Use Caution if bus de-wires.” And it’s not just in Vancouver. In Seattle, San Fransisco, Boston & Philadelphia. Edmonton used to have trolleys. Not anymore.

    • By JJ, June 22, 2012 @ 4:11 pm

      Wifi is a must!!!!

    • By Jon, July 18, 2012 @ 5:00 pm

      Wifi on west coast express!! There are tables and power outlets so using a laptop is a real possibility but needs wifi. A data plan on a phone is not enough. In my case I would need to connect to my companies VPN and Exchange Server to do anything meaningful, and that would kill my phones data quota very quickly.

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