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Elevators and escalators out of service and how Trip Planner, alerts, SMS, email, Twitter and transit information can help you

The elevator and the escalator and stairs at the North entrance of Surrey Central SkyTrain station are currently out of service until July 31st, 2012. - photo by Anna Mae Abia

Making your connection from one transfer to another can sometimes be a challenge. In some areas of the world, it’s so much of a challenge that some people make it a sport to see who can get from a to b on public transit the fastest (check out transit marathons [1])! For people who have accessibility needs, knowing the right way to get to where you want to go isn’t a sport, it’s a necessity.

When there are repairs on the system, sometimes making connections between buses, SkyTrains, SeaBuses, etc. can be even more of a challenge than usual. Besides the regular station maintenance that can shut down elevators and escalators, TransLink is in the midst of updating SkyTrain stations as part of OnTrack [2] as well as installing new faregates and other items for the upcoming transition to Compass Card [3]. This means a larger than usual number of disruptions to the usual flow of traffic at SkyTrain stations across the system.

Use Trip Planner to search for accessibility

By selecting this wheelchair accessibility option within Trip Planner you can find out which transit routes works best for you.

If you know you’ll be in need of an escalator and/or elevator for your commute, you’ll want to make note of these five tools before you leave your home: Trip Planner, the Alerts page, SMS and email, TransLink on Twitter and transit information.

The TransLink home page widget of Trip Planner [4]or the advanced settings [5] of the regular trip planner provide powerful tools found within. One you choose “Requires Wheelchair Accessibility” from the drop down menu, a bright yellow exclamation mark will appear next to provided trip options if there are accessibility problems.

Besides wheelchair accessibility, there’s also options for bike accessibility, more walking, and to not include transit options like SkyTrain or West Coast Express.

Use the alerts page for detailed and up-to-date transit info

An SMS alert sent earlier this month

If you want to know as much as possible about any noteworthy changes to transit, the Alerts & Advisories [6] page is the place to go. This page can be accessed both on the TransLink website [7] or the mobile website [8].

SMS and email

Another popular option to get info about accessibility on the system is to sign up with TransLink’s SMS (Short Message Service) and email alerts [9]. You’ll need to create a One Customer registration to do this. Once you’ve registered with TransLink, you can use the same username and password for all TransLink services such as TravelSmart [10]. After signing up for alerts, you’ll receive text messages or emails directly to your phone. If you get SMS, you’ll need to reply to the alert text with the word “read” in order to see the alert.  It’s good to note that for people with limited text messaging plans, it’s advisable to sign up for email alerts instead of SMS alerts. Mobile service providers will charge for SMS messages from TransLink that exceed your plans allotted number of messages.

TransLink Twitter service

We passed 20, 000 followers!

Most of you already know about TransLink on Twitter. To date, over 20, 000 people are following us! Our Twitter handle is the most popular way for customers to get up-to-date transit alerts. However, if you are looking for info on accessibility, the above services are still the best routes.

Call transit information

Sometimes it’s just nice to talk to someone on the phone. Seven days a week from 6:30 a.m. until 11:30 p.m, transit information available to help you find the most accessible way for you to get to your destination. Just call 604.953.3333!