TransLink’s 2021 Year in Photos

TransLink’s 2021 Year in Photos

As we wrap up the year, it’s time to take a look back and reflect on some of the most memorable TransLink moments and initiatives of 2021.

The Burrard Chinook SeaBus sails its maiden voyage

A SeaBus covered in Indigenous art is seen on the water between a water salute by two nearby Vancouver Fire Department boats.

TransLink’s newest SeaBus, the Burrard Chinook sailed its maiden voyage. The SeaBus operates on the shared unceded territories of xʷməθkʷəyə̓m (the Musqueam Indian Band),  Sḵwxw̱ ú7mesh Úxwumixw (the Squamish Nation), and səlilwətaɬ, (the Tsleil-Waututh Nation).

The SeaBus vessel’s name is a tribute to the Chinook salmon, one of the most iconic species in Pacific waters. The Chinook salmon has played a central role in life on the West Coast for generations and is a critical part of the ecosystem in the Burrard Inlet and the Pacific Ocean.

The vessel is also adorned in art designed by local Indigenous artists Kelly Cannell, Siobhan Joseph, and Angela George, who are from the three local First Nations. It surrounds the exterior of the vessel, illustrating the lifecycle of the Chinook salmon as well as its historical significance to the ecosystem. A full artist attribution plaque on board the vessel conveys the artists’ design inspiration for SeaBus passengers to appreciate.

Mobile Vaccine Bus helps boost COVID-19 vaccination

A Fraser Health nurse sits at the back of the bus preparing COVID-19 immunizations. She is masked and wearing a high visibility vest.

Through various programs, TransLink helped more than 100,000 people get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Drive-through immunization clinics were set up at the Coquitlam and South Surrey Park and Rides. The Mobile Vaccine Bus toured the region, bringing the vaccine and health care workers to communities and making it easier for people to get their shot.

For people who couldn’t use the conventional transit system to get to their vaccination appointments, HandyDART was there to help and over 3,200 trips were booked.

The first bus stop receives braille signage

Lynn Jensen feels the braille on the blue bus stop signage

In a major step towards making the transit system more accessible and inclusive, TransLink began installing braille signage at every single bus stop. That’s 8,400 bus stops that will receive the blue, bus-stop signs that have information in both Unified English Braille and raised tactile letters.

The signs will include bus stop ID numbers, bus routes serving that bus stop, bay or bus stop indicators as well as the Customer Information phone number.

In addition, tactile walking surface indicators will be mounted at every bus stop on property that TransLink owns or leases. These indicators will be mounted on the ground and assist partially sighted or blind people find the bus stop pole and bus boarding area.

Once fully rolled out by the end of 2022, TransLink will be the first public transit agency in Canada to use braille signage across its entire bus system.

Spreading cheer and collecting toy donations with the Reindeer Bus

Santa Claus and Mrs Claus pose in front of a TransLink bus that is decorated as a Reindeer, with antlers and a destination sign that reads Happy Holidays

TransLink’s Reindeer Buses are a holiday favourite! This year, nine buses were decorated, by elves at each bus depot, and they hit the streets of Metro Vancouver to spread holiday cheer. But the program is much more than that, it’s part of 36-year initiative known as Toys for Tots where staff across TransLink and its operating companies donate toys and cash for families in need through the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau.

This year, over 2,678 toys and $2,500 in cash were collected. With the help of Santa, Mrs. Claus and several of Santa’s little helpers these two bus loads full of toys were dropped off at the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau.

The program started in 1985 by a group of bus operators at the Surrey Transit Centre, who decided they wanted to do something special for the community and give back during the holidays. The program has grown ever since and the tradition carries on with customers and employees from TransLink, Coast Mountain Bus Company, BC Rapid Transit Company and Transit Police taking part.

Over the years, the toy drive has donated almost 90,000 toys and raised over $53,000 in donations for the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau.

CEO Kevin Quinn joins TransLink

TransLink CEO Kevin Quinn stands on a SkyTrain platform with a SkyTrain passing in the background

Kevin Quinn took the reigns as TransLink’s Chief Executive Officer on July 19, joining us from the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) in Baltimore.

In his role, he’s leading TransLink’s post-pandemic recovery with an emphasis on rebuilding ridership, achieving financial sustainability, supporting employees, and continuing to deliver a reliable and thriving transportation system for Metro Vancouver.

Customers and employees get first look at potential new SkyTrain car for Expo and Millennium Lines

Mark V SkyTrain exterior

To meet the ever-growing needs of transit in Metro Vancouver, the SkyTrain fleet is expanding. We’re improving our existing fleet on the Expo and Millennium Lines to include longer trains that can carry more passengers with even more amenities than ever before. An interior mock-up of the new SkyTrain car, which carries the Mark V model designation, was created to assist with the design process.

We previewed it with our customers and employees! The model is a representation of what our future SkyTrain car might look like, rather than a replica of the final product.

Cyclists start locking up at new on-demand bike lockers

TransLink spokesperson Tina Lovgreen loads a bicycle into the new on-demand bike lockers

On-demand bike lockers are now available at select transit hubs across the region. The new on-demand bike parking facilities are the first of their kind in British Columbia, with keyless entry and mobile payment. Customers can now store their bike in individual outdoor bike lockers at anytime, without booking in advance.

It’s all part of our goal to make it easier for people to combine cycling and transit into their everyday travel.

HandyDART customers tap into age-based discounts and Compass

TransLink CEO Kevin Quinn and chair of TransLink HandyDART User Advisory Committee Tim Louis who is in a wheelchair are seen beside a HandyDART shuttle with its doors open

HandyDART customers can now benefit from age-based discounts and contactless payment through Compass Cards and Tap to Pay. These improvements are a result of the HandyDART Modernization Program, and will make HandyDART more equitable with the conventional transit system while simplifying use and payment through Compass.

These improvements will also reduce costs for HandyDART customers aged 65 and older, and for customers between the ages of 13 and 18 (customers 12 and under ride free).

Tap In to Win excitement sweeps the region

Holding up a Compass Card in front of fare gates with Tap In to Win decal

TransLink is launching its first-ever sweepstakes and all transit customers will be eligible to win. The TransLink “Tap In to Win” Sweepstakes is being launched to thank customers, help boost economic recovery in the region and rebuild transit ridership.

For every transit trip a customer takes tapping in with their registered Compass card, they will be entered into the monthly TransLink Sweepstakes. Tap In to Win prizes include a range of travel and transportation-related items from our partners at Destination Vancouver, Rad Power Bikes, BC Ferries and YVR.

Copper pilot project expands and goes national

A customer riding the bus holding the copper-decaled stanchion

Antimicrobial copper coatings have been installed on high-touch transit surfaces on more TransLink vehicles following a successful pilot phase on transit that supports copper’s ability to kill up to 99.9 per cent of bacteria on transit surfaces.

This new round of testing seeks to confirm those results from the first phase in Vancouver by evaluating copper surfaces on more transit vehicles over a longer duration of time across two different regions. For this phase, researchers will be conducting laboratory testing on copper’s ability to kill viruses in addition to bacteria.

This trial, fully funded by Teck Resources Limited (Teck) as part of its Copper & Health program, outfitted copper on high-touch surfaces on several Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) vehicles and buses, subway cars, and streetcars, as well as several TransLink buses and SkyTrain cars.

The Transport 2050 draft strategy delivers on a shared vision for the future of transportation

Rendering of Innisfil's The Orbit development

After three years of development, multiple rounds of public engagement, hundreds of events, and 40,000 survey and idea submissions, the Transport 2050 draft strategy has arrived. Transport 2050 will be the blueprint for our transportation future, shaping future investments, policies, and services. Download the summary document or full 2050 strategy.

The final Regional Transportation Strategy that will be taken to the Mayors’ Council for adoption in early 2022.

TransLink WiFi starts connecting customers onboard

SkyTrain with TransLinkWiFi symbol arriving at Lougheed Town Centre Station

TransLink WiFi launched on board the first SkyTrain cars and RapidBus vehicles, as well as at transit locations.

The rollout continues through 2026 at which point customers will have access to Shaw WiFi on all buses, SeaBus vessels, SkyTrain cars, transit stations, and major transit hubs. We’re prioritizing  RapidBus vehicles, SkyTrain cars, and 60-foot articulated buses to provide WiFi on the vehicles serving the most customers. TransLink and Shaw will then continue to install WiFi on our vehicles until the whole fleet is equipped.

Ridership rebounds to 60 per cent — a North American high

Seated customer using their phone onboard the RapidBus

TransLink and MTA New York City Transit have become the first public transit systems in North America to reach a 60 per cent ridership recovery rate.

On Black Friday (Nov. 26), ridership hit a single-day high since the start of the pandemic, surpassing Halloween, as customers hopped on transit to shop for the best deals. This shows when people have somewhere to go, they choose transit.

A carbon-free future powers forward with more battery-electric buses

The battery-electric bus charging at Marpole Loop

TransLink has awarded a contract to Nova Bus to bring 15 more battery-electric buses to our fleet. This order will more than quadruple our current battery-electric bus fleet, increasing our fleet total from 4 to 19.

This acquisition is a critical step towards achieving TransLink’s aggressive approach to its Low Carbon Fleet Strategy. The 15 new battery-electric buses are expected to arrive and begin rolling into service on Route 100 in 2022.

Each bus is expected to reduce 100 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and save $40,000 in fuel costs per year compared to a conventional diesel bus.

Customers at UBC Exchange the first to experience new next-bus screens

Bay 2 at the UBC Exchange with the new next-bus screens

TransLink has installed new screens throughout UBC Exchange to improve real-time transit information for customers. Following a complete renovation to live customer communication technology at SkyTrain stations, UBC Exchange is the first bus exchange on our system to receive similar technology that tells customers when their next bus is arriving.

Canada Line’s Capstan Station breaks ground

Various planner and politicians wear hard hats and high visibility vets while holding shovels on the grass where the new Capstan Station will be

Construction began on a new Canada Line SkyTrain station that will help deliver better transit to the City of Richmond and the Capstan Village area. The future Capstan Station will provide efficient and environmentally sustainable rapid transit to a rapidly developing Richmond community.

The Capstan Station will have several additional features compared to existing Canada Line stations, such as dual escalator sets, a larger concourse, increased platform length and waiting space, public art and commercial retail space.

Kids 12 and under ride free

A double decker bus is seen wrapped in a campaign ad for Free Transit for children 12 and under

As of Sept. 1, 2021, children 12 and under can ride TransLink services free as part of a new provincial program. This change makes it easier and more affordable for families in and around Metro Vancouver.

While travel for children 12 and under is free, parents and guardians are responsible for educating and making decisions about the safety and care of their children whenever travelling on transit. This includes when children are travelling unaccompanied and determining if their children can or should take transit unaccompanied.