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Translink Buzzer Blog

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.

Read the Transport 2050 Phase One Engagement Report

TransLink is releasing the report from the first phase of public engagement for Transport 2050, Metro Vancouver’s blueprint for the next 30 years of transportation. With input from every jurisdiction in the region, the engagement results will help shape the priorities identified in Transport 2050 when released later next year. This round of engagement had a record-breaking 31,700 responses and over 4,000 ideas submitted.

Most frequently submitted idea:

  • Transit expansion to the Fraser Valley

Most “liked” idea on Transport 2050 ideas board:

  • Gondola to Burnaby Mountain

Idea most commented on:

  • Mobility pricing

Read more »

Reindeer Bus lights up Metro Vancouver streets

The Reindeer Bus rolls into service today, continuing a beloved holiday tradition in Metro Vancouver. In addition to spreading Christmas cheer across the region – the red-nosed reindeer will deliver donated toys as part of the Toys for Tots initiative, which has been operating for more than three decades.

“The Reindeer Bus is one of our proud traditions,” says TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond. “Whether it’s the volunteer decorators, the operators behind the wheel, the passengers in the seats, or the kids on Christmas Day – the Reindeer Bus brings us all together and brings a smile to every street corner!”

Led by Coast Mountain Bus Company, the Reindeer Bus is equipped with an animated Christmas tree, responsive lighting, a flashing nose, holiday carols, and an inflatable Santa Claus to deliver season’s greetings. Read more »

TransLink releases details of Winter Plan 2019/20

New initiatives and improvements to prepare for the season ahead

New initiatives and improvements to prepare for the season ahead

TransLink is releasing details of new initiatives and improvements to prepare for any adverse weather events this winter.  This comes amid the launch of a new winter marketing campaign aimed at promoting safety for transit users this season.

“Our initiatives this winter are focused on increasing safety and customer communication at stations, bus exchanges, and throughout our online channels,” says TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond.  “We’ve learned from previous seasons and have been working hard to ensure customers are kept informed of any significant delays or issues on our system.”

Last month, TransLink also hosted a meeting between Metro Vancouver municipalities to share and discuss winter preparedness plans.  These regional partnerships are crucial to ensuring that any issues can be swiftly dealt with, in order to limit the impact on transit and transportation. Read more »

Metro Vancouver transit strike: carsharing and carpooling options

We’re beyond pleased to share that Coast Mountain Bus Company, and Unifor Locals 111 and 2200 have reached a tentative agreement! We’re working towards providing regular schedules for all transit modes.

Evo at Braid Station

The reserved parking stalls for Evo cars at Braid Station.

While the SkyTrain, West Coast Express and HandyDART will continue to operate during the anticipated three-day strike, we recognize it will be a challenge for the our 350,000 customers who rely on bus and SeaBus services each weekday to get around.

That’s why TransLink’s doing what we can by facilitating options so commuters can reach their destination or connect to transit that’s operating regular schedules. It’s our job to keep the region moving. We’ve reached out to our partners to help give some relief. Read more »

Record-high 31,682 responses for Transport 2050 Phase One engagement

Three of the more than 4,000 bold and creative ideas submitted as part of Transport 2050: Phase One engagement.

Expanding and improving Metro Vancouver’s transit system is a top priority for residents regardless of whether they drive, cycle, or take transit. That is one of the conclusions of the first phase of engagement with Metro Vancouver residents as part of Transport 2050.

To help develop the next 30-year blueprint, TransLink asked the region to share its priorities, concerns, values, and ideas. Through the first phase of public engagement, TransLink reached 159,000 people and received a record-breaking 31,682 responses through its survey. Respondents also submitted over 4,000 ideas for the future of transportation.  Read more »

The 160 bus: perfect for seniors

The 160 Port Coquitlam Station / Kootenay Loop bus is one of the most versatile routes in TransLink’s entire network. It connects communities and municipalities from Burnaby all the way to Port Coquitlam, allowing riders to cross three zones with a single tap.

One group that finds the 160 particularly helpful in their day-to-day lives is seniors, so we decided to take a group out on an expedition along the bus route, so they could show us how they use the route and tell us a little bit about what transit means to them. Read more »

Compass Card taps into new modes of transport

Compass Cards will soon be used to pay for and unlock travel with TransLink, Modo, Evo, and Mobi by Shaw Go, as part of a limited pilot program launching today.  The Shared Mobility Pilot Program will see select Vancouver-based employers provide their employees with co-branded Compass Cards for use on trips with any of the four transportation providers.

“The Shared Mobility Pilot Program is ultimately about providing more choices and more convenience for customers,” says Kevin Desmond, TransLink’s CEO.

“Those participating can take transit on their morning commute, cycle to meeting locations throughout the day, and unlock carshare services for the journey back home. These individual trips will now all be possible with one easy and seamless payment method.” Read more »

More reasons to take the 160 bus: weekday, daytime offers!

If you’re here, you probably already know that TransLink provides one of the fastest, most convenient and affordable ways to zip around Metro Vancouver. We connect you to everything. Your errands, like grocery shopping and going to the pharmacy. Transit connects your social life, like restaurants and coffee shops. And your me-time, like exercise studios, parks and beaches. You can take transit to get anywhere and do anything – and one of our most versatile routes is the 160 Kootenay Loop / Port Coquitlam Station bus.

The 160 bus can take you from East Hastings Street in Vancouver all the way to downtown Port Coquitlam. Zoom through up to three zones with a single tap! Even if your destination is just a little further away, the 160 Bus connects you directly to the 95 B-Line into downtown Vancouver, as well as SkyTrain’s Millennium Line at Moody Centre, Inlet Centre, Lafarge Lake–Douglas, Lincoln and Coquitlam Central stations.

Along the route you’ll find everything you need for a productive day. The bus comes every 15 minutes during the daytime to ensure you’re never waiting too long to get moving. And since the 160 stops every few blocks, you’re never too far from your destination. It’s the next best thing to having a private driver to take you directly to where you’re headed. Once you’re on board, you’ll notice there’s plenty of space and plenty of seats, so you can settle in for a more comfortable ride.

If that’s not enough, there are five more great reasons to take the 160 bus. In partnership with some of the great cafés and restaurants along the route, we’re offering special deals when you show your Compass Card, Compass Ticket or bus transfer. Take advantage of these great offers with the 160 on weekdays, between 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m., until December 31, 2019.

So, stop thinking about traffic, parking, and all the hassles that come with it. Take the 160 bus to your destination – it’s your ticket to the neighbourhood!