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Translink Buzzer Blog

A 7 p.m. thank you for frontline workers, plus share your transit story and appreciation with us

Over the past week, every night at 7 p.m., a cheer has been ringing out across Metro Vancouver for healthcare workers and all frontline staff, and we’ve been telling you about it on our social media channels.

We want to give thanks to those on the front lines too — including our transit staff! That’s why for the next little while, you’ll hear a voice announcement onboard all Expo, Millennium and Canada Line trains at 7 p.m., thanking frontline staff and asking customers to cheer for them.

The announcement played for the first time on March 27 and you can watch below. Thanks to the customer that gave a “woo!” I think we can do better, so tonight, let’s hear you cheer even louder!

For us at TransLink and its family of companies, not only are we thankful for the healthcare workers and grocery clerks on the frontlines, we’re also thankful for transit’s frontline staff and all those who work behind the scenes to keep the region moving for essential workers and essential trips like grocery runs.

That’s your bus operators, SkyTrain Attendants, SeaBus Attendants, West Coast Express Attendants, Transit Security officers and Transit Police officers, staff at Customer Information and Compass Customer Service, as well as the operations and maintenance staff — to name a few — for ensuring a reliable transit system for those essential trips.

Are you a customer that’s using transit because you’re an essential worker or need it for essential trips? We want to tell your story about who you are and where you’re taking transit to. Email us at thebuzzer@translink.ca!

Or perhaps you’re just super thankful for transit staff and want to send us your appreciation for them. Snap a photo, write a Haiku, draw a picture, perform a song or whatever you can dream up to show your appreciation! We’ll make sure it share it with our transit staff.

Here’s a selection of what we’ve spotted on social media from you!

View this post on Instagram

Thank you to all the TransLink operaters, workers and maintenance staff. You are making sure us #essentialworkers get to where we need to be. You're essential at @translink and I appreciate all of you. Thank you to all the grocery store workers, pharmacy staff, government workers and child care workers for doing your part. Thank you to those that are staying home. And to those of you who are still out and about for leisure, STOP. GO HOME. #STAYHOME The government needs to do something about all the people still out and about. They are putting us all at risk and belittling the efforts the rest of us are making. #coronaviruscanada is here and if the government needs to step up fines for individuals, I would totally agree with that @justinpjtrudeau @ndpcanada @bcliberals @greenpartybc @conservativebc

A post shared by AVA J 2020 (@thatavaj) on

Enter to win transit passes and tickets to watch the HSBC Canada Sevens on March 7 and 8!

Canada Sevens

HSBC Canada Sevens isn’t just a celebration of sport, it’s the ultimate costume party! Annually, fans don their ‘fanciest’ attire from chicken to egg and everything in between. Come for the costumes, stay for the game!

This year, we’ve teamed up with HSBC Canada Sevens to give away a pair of general admission tournament passes (approximate value of $250) for March 7 and 8! We’ll also include four adult Compass Tickets so you can take transit to-and-from the games.

How to enter for a chance to win:

  • Comment below telling us who you’d take with you to the watch the HSBC Canada Sevens and how you’d get there using transit. (1 entry)
  • Like or follow TransLink and HSBC Canada Sevens on Facebook, and leave a comment below letting us know you did. (1 entry)
  • Follow @TransLink and @CanadaSevens on Instagram, like this post, and tag three friends. (1 entry)
  • Follow @TransLink and @CanadaSevens on Twitter, and tweet or retweet the following message. (1 entry)

    Win a pair of tickets to watch the #Canada7s in #Vancouver on Mar. 7-8! RT and follow @TransLink and @CanadaSevens to enter for a chance to win. https://buzzer.translink.ca/?p=58451

This means if you do all four actions, you’ll have four chances to win. Don’t forget to make sure your social media accounts are public so we can see your entry!

Grab the official contest terms and conditions here, and the quick lowdown here:

  • This contest is for two tickets to watch the HSBC Canada Sevens.
  • All entries must be received by noon on Thursday, March 5, 2020. Late entries will not be considered.
  • One entry per method, per day, per person — that means you can enter up to four times in total for this giveaway.
  • Winner will be contacted via their method of entry.

Take transit to the HSBC Canada Sevens

HSBC Canada Sevens are played at BC Place Stadium, conveniently located steps away from Stadium–Chinatown Station, a stop on SkyTrain’s Expo Line. Use our Trip Planner to find your transit route!

New to taking transit?

Watch the video below, or read our Rider Guide, and check out Transit 101!

(CONTEST) RapidBus brings faster, more frequent service to eight Metro Vancouver communities

We know that fast, frequent service is key to getting more people onto transit — that’s why we’ve introduced a new service called RapidBus! It comes with faster travel times, more reliable service and new customer amenities.

On these routes, customers will enjoy service that’s up to 20 per cent faster than local bus service. Coming every 10 minutes or better during peak hours and every 15 minutes or better in non-peak hours, customers can now catch a RapidBus on these four routes:

  • R1 King George Blvd (Guildford Exchange/Newton Exchange)
    • Every eight minutes during peak hours
  • R3 Lougheed Hwy (Coquitlam Central Station/Haney Place)
    • Every ten minutes during peak hours
  • R4 41st Ave (UBC/Joyce-Collingwood Station)
    • Every three to six minutes during peak hours
  • R5 Hastings St (SFU/Burrard Station)
    • Every four to five minutes during peak hours

Time-savings have been achieved by introducing bus priority on roadways, such as bus lanes and signal priority, and less stopping.

What’s awesome about RapidBus is not only the service itself, but the new customer amenities at bus stops and onboard buses!

We’ve introduced new bus stops, called RapidBus posts, that have real-time information, telling you upcoming departure times for all the buses that use that stop. There’s an audio button customers can push to hear these next-bus announcements too. The RapidBus routes will also use 60-foot articulated buses that have softer seats.

Isn’t the new RapidBus service great?! We want everyone to know about this new service and could use some help in spreading the word. We want to give you the chance to win a RapidBus prize back that includes a RapidBus toque, gloves and the new model that just dropped on the TransLink Store.

Keep reading to find out how you can enter to win.

Enter to win!

There are three prize packs up for grabs with each of the following:

  • A RapidBus t-shirt
  • A RapidBus model
  • A RapidBus toque
  • Pair of RapidBus gloves
  • A handful of RapidBus buttons
  • A handful of RapidBus stickers
  • A handful of I Love Transit buttons

To enter, simply complete one — or all — of the following actions:

  • Comment below telling us which RapidBus route you’ll be taking and where you’ll be going (1 entry)
  • Follow @TransLink on Instagram, like this post and tag three friends you’d like to tell about RapidBus. (1 entry)
  • Follow @TransLink on Twitter, and tweet or retweet the following message. (1 entry)

If you do all three actions, you’ll be entered to win three times! Don’t forget to make sure your social media accounts are public so we can see your entry.

The rules:

Check out the official RapidBus Prize Pack Contest Terms and Conditions, but here’s the lowdown:

  • The contest for a RapidBus prize pack will open on Monday, February 24, 2020 and all entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. PST on Sunday, March 8, 2020. Late entries will not be considered.
  • We’ll do one draw each for The Buzzer blog, Instagram and Twitter.
  • One entry per method, per person, per day.

Lonsdale Quay Exchange begins final phase of upgrades

Upgrades to the Lonsdale Quay Exchange are nearing completion and entering the final phase of construction. The improvements will enhance the experience of a growing number of customers coming in and out of the exchange each day. This is the first upgrade to the exchange since it was built in the 1980s.

Construction begins next week on the west side of the bus exchange, opening the upgraded east side to customers. Customers will now benefit from the completed improvements such as new pavement, improved lighting, more space, better accessibility, and tactile walking surface indicators.

The upgrades are projected for completion in the spring of this year, key improvements include:

  • Adapted bus bays for the R2 Marine Drive RapidBus
  • New pavement throughout the exchange and the passenger hub
  • Improved accessibility for wheelchairs and strollers
  • A new ceiling above the exchange to provide better lighting
  • Tactile walking surface indicators at bus stops and passenger crossings for customers with vision loss
  • New public art installation

The $14.7 million budget for improvements is paid for through contributions from the Government of Canada, the Province of British Columbia, and TransLink.

Quick facts:

  • Lonsdale Quay Exchange is the second busiest transit hub on the North Shore
  • Over 5,000 customers catch a bus at the exchange on an average weekday
  • 12 bus routes serve the exchange travelling to Vancouver, West Vancouver and the District and City of North Vancouver
  • 20,000 SeaBus trips are taken each weekday

Electric bikes can now ride the bus too!

Electric bikes are now allowed to ride the bus!

As Metro Vancouver’s transportation authority, we’re more than just transit! Among our responsibilities is providing cycling options in the region and supporting the more than 107,000 bike trips that happen daily.

We know cycling with a little help from an electric boost is becoming more popular. That’s why we’ve updated our rules to allow electric bikes to be placed on our bus bike racks.

There are a few conditions though, the electric bikes must:

  • Weigh less than 25kg (55 lbs.)
  • Wheels fit properly in bike rack
  • Include a lithium battery
  • The customer removes the battery and brings it onboard the bus

There are a few electric bikes that are still not allowed on bike racks such ones that are like a scooter. They weigh too much and don’t fit properly in our bike racks.

Electric bikes are also welcome onboard SeaBus, SkyTrain and the West Coast Express.

If you have any questions, please ask transit staff before boarding or contact Customer Information at 604.953.3333. Visit translink.ca/bikesontransit to learn more about how can you incorporate cycling into your commute.

Happy cycling!

TransLink celebrates Lunar New Year

The Lunar New Year-wrapped bus will make its debut at the Vancouver Chinatown Spring Festival Parade and will start serving customers this coming Monday.

The Lunar New Year-wrapped bus will make its debut at the Vancouver Chinatown Spring Festival Parade and will start serving customers this coming Monday.

TransLink is joining Lunar New Year celebrations this weekend by participating in the Vancouver Chinatown Spring Festival Parade on Sunday with a specially themed Lunar New Year Bus.

“The Lunar New Year is a time to celebrate the diverse communities who live together in Metro Vancouver,” says TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond. “We are proud to participate in the parade with our Lunar New Year bus which celebrates the beginning of a new year.”

The new year will be the year of the rat, a symbol of wealth and good fortune. The Lunar New Year bus livery features the rat on both sides with lanterns signifying life and prosperity.

After the parade, the bus will enter service on various Metro Vancouver bus routes.

Due to street closures on Pender and Keefer between Cambie and Gore, some bus routes will be temporarily diverted during the parade. To find out if your route is affected, sign up for Transit Alerts (translink.ca/alerts), follow TransLink on Twitter (@TransLink) or call Customer Service at 604-953-3333.

New Canada Line trains increase service for customers

First wave of new trains will carry up to 800 more people per hour at peak times. (left to right: Scott Norris, YVR’s vice-president of commercial development; Hedy Fry, Member of Parliament, Vancouver Centre; Malcolm Brodie, Mayor, City of Richmond; Bowinn Ma, Parliamentary Secretary for TransLink; and Kevin Desmond, TransLink’s CEO)

Four new Canada Line trains begin service today, increasing customer capacity by 15 per cent during peak hours. The brand-new trains will provide more space, frequency and comfort to customers.

These are the first of 12 new trains, which are being rolled out as part of Phase One of the Mayors’ 10-Year Transit Expansion Plan. Once more trains are in service later this year, there will be a total increase in capacity of approximately 35 per cent compared to 2019 service levels.

Delivered through the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund (PTIF), this $88 million investment is funded 50 per cent by the Government of Canada, 33 per cent by the Province of British Columbia, and 17 per cent by TransLink.

To support this increase in service, the Canada Line Operations and Maintenance Centre was upgraded and three additional escalators were installed at Canada Line Stations in 2019. This $36 million investment was also funded through PTIF.

The remaining trains are in the process of being delivered from Hyundai Rotem in South Korea. Upon arrival, the new trains will go through testing and commissioning before being certified for revenue service later this year. Read more »

New maps and signs help improve wayfinding at YVR–Airport Station

New bilingual signs at the YVR–Airport Station letting customers they can head straight for the faregates if they have a contactless Visa, Mastercard or American Express credit card.

New bilingual signs at the YVR–Airport Station letting customers they can head straight for the faregates if they have a contactless Visa, Mastercard or American Express credit card.

We’ve made it easier for tourists, many who are first-time transit users in Vancouver, to find their way from the Canada Line’s YVR–Airport Station!

We want to be the best hosts that we can be, so that’s why we teamed up with YVR to improve signage at YVR–Airport Station to help customers decide what transit fare they need and how to pay for it. There’s now:

  • Bilingual awareness signage conveying Tap to Pay benefit for travellers
  • Maps with colour-coded fare zones
  • Signage with fares to popular tourist destinations

With better signs, our hope is more customers will skip the lines for a Compass Vending Machines, head straight to the faregates and use Tap to Pay option to pay their transit fare using a contactless Visa, Mastercard or American Express credit card. For customers who are purchasing a fare from Compass Vending Machines, new colour-coded maps help with identifying fare zones for popular destinations such as the outlet mall, ferry terminals and cruise ship terminals.

New colour-coded maps on Compass Vending Machines makes trip planning easier for transit users at YVR–Airport Station.

New colour-coded maps on Compass Vending Machines makes trip planning easier for transit users at YVR–Airport Station.

New colour-coded maps on Compass Vending Machines makes trip planning easier for transit users at YVR–Airport Station.

Previously, Canada Line Attendants would sometimes have to help customers calculate the fare to popular tourist destinations such as downtown Vancouver, Canada Place and the ferry terminals. Now, with better signage, it’s clearer and all our customers can have a better experience at the YVR–Airport Station – and we’re still always there to help!

But the best part of all? The new signage was installed December 17th, 2019 – so we were ready for all of our city’s visitors this holiday season!

Author: Mohak Sood

Your questions answered about snowy weather preparations

Today is an extreme travel day and our transit system hasn’t escaped the impact of the snow.

We’re receiving a high volume of enquiries about transit conditions, so we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions by you, our customers, on social media.

Don’t forget! Sign up for Transit Alerts to be notified about updates, changes, and disruptions to the transit services you take:

Q: How’s SkyTrain preparing?

A: SkyTrain Attendants are onboard all trains monitoring the tracks to improve reliability on the system by limiting emergency braking triggered by heavy snowfall. We also run trains throughout the night to keep the tracks clear and used a special train to spray de-icer on the power rails. On the Millennium Line, we’re operating four-car trains instead of the usual two-car trains to increase capacity, but that will mean longer than usual waits for customers.

Read more »

Smart lockers coming to SkyTrain stations

A rendering of what the future PigeonBox locker at Stadium–Chinatown Station could look like.

A rendering of what the future PigeonBox locker at Stadium–Chinatown Station could look like.

TransLink has selected PigeonBox, a smart locker service, as the first winner of the 2019 Open Call for Innovation on Customer Services and Amenities. The Open Call for Innovation solicited proposals for new services for customers as they travel through the transit system.

With the new PigeonBox smart lockers, beginning this spring, customers can have their deliveries sent to lockers at three SkyTrain stations: Joyce-Collingwood, Stadium-Chinatown, and Commercial-Broadway.

“We are always looking at creative ways to utilize our transit spaces so that we can better serve our customers,” says TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond. “The last round of submissions received many thoughtful proposals and I’d like to congratulate PigeonBox for their successful pitch. Having secure lockers for pick-ups at transit stations will reduce unnecessary trips and simplify the lives of our customers.”

How does it work?

First, customers need to sign up to use a locker on the PigeonBox website or PigeonBox App. Customers can then use the provided PigeonBox address as their mailing address when making any online purchase. Once the order is complete and delivered, PigeonBox will send the customer a locker number and access code for a smart locker.

“The PigeonBox dream is to make every online delivery experience as seamless as possible,” says PigeonBox CEO Seunghwan Son. “We’ve built our smart lockers for those who want to protect their online orders and pick up their packages with ease. When we first launched PigeonBox, our customers told us they wanted to see us grow and expand at our transit stations. We are excited to finally launch this partnership with TransLink.”

This initiative is a one-year pilot from the TransLink Tomorrow program to test the demand for smart locker services on the transit system. The continuation and expansion of this service will be determined by the results of the pilot.

About Open Call for Innovation

There were 45 proposals submitted in TransLink’s second annual Open Call for Innovation to help innovate and enhance customer journeys. The 2019 finalists were selected through an internal panel. Other successful ideas will be announced in the coming months. Previous winners include a shared mobility service with Evo, Modo, and Mobi, and a partnership with carpooling company, Poparide.

The Open Call platform is an opportunity to partner with industry leaders, innovators, academics and policymakers to collaborate on new mobility solutions that will help enhance the livability of Metro Vancouver and address transportation-related challenges that we face as a region.

TransLink activates snow plan to keep customers moving

Customers should plan ahead for potential weather-related delays

Customers should plan ahead for potential weather-related delays

With the likelihood of snow in the early morning hours tomorrow, TransLink is activating plans to ensure transit service stays as reliable as possible.

Environment Canada is forecasting late night rain, followed by snow through the morning commute. This sequence of precipitation will not allow for early salting and sanding as the materials will wash away before snow hits. We are encouraging customers to dress for the elements and use proper footwear to avoid slips and falls.

Customer information will have extra staff on hand, but customers should expect larger-than-normal call and social media request volumes.

Here’s what we’re doing right now

  • Calling in extra staff to assist customers and coordinate service.
  • Coordinating with municipalities on snow clearing if priority routes are impacted.
  • Coupling Millennium Line trains into 4-car configurations to increase capacity while SkyTrain attendants monitor guideways.
  • Deploying special trucks to spread anti-icing solution on trolley wires.
  • Installing brass “cutters” on some trolley buses to cut through ice on trolley wires.

Read more »

TransLink launches new RapidBus service

TransLink launches RapidBus on four routes – bringing customers up to 20 per cent faster bus service with higher frequencies, fewer stops, dedicated bus lanes, bus priority changes to intersections, and all-door boarding.

RapidBus provides a more reliable bus service that can move more than 10,000 people per hour at peak times. The new service is made possible through investments from Phase One of the Mayors’ Vision, the Government of Canada, and the Province of BC.

“We’re stepping up our bus game,” says TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond. “RapidBus is a crucial part of improving the region’s bus service through the Mayors’ Vision. These RapidBus routes will benefit eight communities and bring our customers a more reliable bus service that they deserve.” Read more »

TransLink boosting bus service to carry up to 20,000 more people each weekday

RapidBus service starts on January 6 in conjunction with our quarterly service changes.

We’re increasing bus service on January 6 to improve bus service frequency and reliability where customers need it most! The significant increases in service will add 65,000 more annual bus service hours to the system, making space for up to 20,000 more people each weekday.

Bus service changes happen every spring, summer, fall, and winter to reflect seasonal changes in demand and to deliver service improvements.

RapidBus service launching on January 6:

  • R1 King George Blvd (Guildford Exchange/Newton Exchange)
    • Eight-minute service during peak hours
  • R3 Lougheed Hwy (Coquitlam Central Station/Haney Place)
    • 10-minute service during peak hours
  • R4 41st Ave (Joyce Station/UBC)
    • Three to six-minute service during peak hours
  • R5 Hastings St (Burrard Station/SFU)
    • Four to five-minute service during peak hours

Outside of peak hours, all RapidBus routes will have 15-minute service or better from 6 a.m. to midnight, sevendays a week. To make the bus system more efficient, there will also be adjustments to some Metro Vancouver bus routes. Key changes include:

  • 41 Joyce Station/Crown
    • New terminus at Crown Street, instead of UBC Bus Exchange
    • 15-minute service during service hours every day
  • 43 Joyce Station/UBC
    • Service replaced by R4 RapidBus
  • 480 UBC/Bridgeport
    • Will run peak hours only
    • For faster service between Bridgeport and UBC, customers can take the Canada Line and the R4 RapidBus connecting with Oakridge Station

Learn more about how your commute might change at translink.ca/servicechanges.

TransLink launches Compass Mini

Adult and concession Compass Minis go on sale on December 6 at Stadium–Chinatown Station’s Compass Customer Service and Waterfront Station’s West Coast Express office.

Tapping with Compass has never been more convenient! We’re introducing Compass Mini as another way to pay for transit in Metro Vancouver. Compass Mini looks just like a small Compass Card that attaches easily to keychains and backpacks.

“The launch of Compass Mini is a part of our commitment to enhance the customer experience,” says TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond. “Compass Wristbands have been a real hit and I’m sure customers will enjoy the convenience and practicality of the new Compass Mini.”

Compass Mini works the same as the Compass Card and Compass Wristband. Tap in and out when travelling on transit and reload online at a Compass Vending Machine, by phone or in person.

During its initial release, 5,000 adult Compass Minis and 2,500 concession Compass Minis will be available starting on December 6. Read more »

Tactile and braille signage to be installed at bus stops across Metro Vancouver

TransLink Board approves $7 million for industry-leading accessibility program.

TransLink moves ahead with plans to implement an industry-leading program benefiting customers who are blind or partially sighted. Beginning in 2020, tactile and braille signage will be installed at every bus stop, and tactile walking surface indicators (TWSI) at stations and bus exchanges – making TransLink one of the first transit authorities in North America to provide this level of information across the bus network.

“We are committed to making our transit system accessible for as many people as possible,” says TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond. “We know that a lot of our customers with vision loss rely on transit to get around the region and this is another example of the work we are doing for a very important community.”

The tactile and braille signage will be installed at approximately 8,500 bus stops with:

  • The unique five-digit bus stop ID number;
  • The words “STOP” or “BAY #” to identify the bus stop;
  • Route numbers; and
  • The customer service telephone number.

TransLink will also be looking at developing a wayfinding technology pilot that will help customers better navigate the system using data sent directly to a phone or tablet.

“It is important to understand that changing an environment actually lessens the affect of the disability,” says Rob Sleath, Member of the Access Transit Users’ Advisory Committee (UAC). “I applaud TransLink for being a leader and continuing to provide accessible public and custom transit services for people who need it most. Today marks a special milestone for our community.”

The work to test Universally Accessible Bus Stops first started in 2012 and included the installation of TWSI, tactile and braille at various bus stops including Joyce-Collingwood Station as part of a pilot project. Throughout the process, TransLink has consulted with representatives from the community through a wide-reaching survey and direct engagement with key stakeholders.

“The Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) Foundation BC/Yukon are proud of the strides that TransLink is undertaking to become a leader in accessibility by making the investment to ensure that bus stops are equipped with the TWSI and the addition of braille and tactile signage,” says CNIB’s Executive Director Jennifer Yankanna.