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Translink Buzzer Blog

I Love Transit 2020: K–12 students ride the bus for free, Oct. 5–9

Kids Ride Free

Every day is a great day to take transit, but there’s no better week to hop on a bus than I Love Transit week! From October 5–9, 2020, students in kindergarten through Grade 12 ride the bus for free!

Grab your walking shoes and get trip ready with our Trip Planner, or reach out to our Customer Information team on Twitter or by phone at 604-953-3333.

Please note this offers applies to bus only and does not include SkyTrain, SeaBus and West Coast Express. As well, regular fares apply to teachers, parents and adults accompanying children and high school students on the system. Read more »

This is the ultimate guide to a bicycle adventure to Green Timbers in Surrey

Green Timbers Urban Forest

We know parks are a popular place to visit — that’s why we shared five Metro Vancouver Regional Parks to explore this summer by transit. We’re back to share with you how you can take a cycling adventure to Green Timbers Urban Forest in Surrey! Read more »

PHOTOS: Behind the scenes printing decals for mandatory masks

TransLink’s service area spans more than 1,800 square kilometres, which makes it the largest in Canada by far! What does that mean? It means more than 8,300 bus stops across the region and more than 1,600 buses in our fleet.

The small but mighty sign shop at Coast Mountain Bus Company looks after fabricating and installing signs for all these bus stops, as well as creating the decals for all the buses.

What are some of the decals they create? It runs the gamut! It includes the fleet numbers (the single letter and four-to-five digit number you find on the front, back and sides of buses like B18001 or V2101), “Fare Paid Zone,” no smoking, the “Thanks for the brake” bumper sticker and so much more.

With masks mandatory onboard transit, it means new and updated decals and signs across the transit system. In total, we’re installing more than 8,000 signs:

  • 2,300 signs installed on the bus system
  • 2,350 signs installed on SkyTrain and Canada Line
  • 2,315 interior ads on vehicles
  • 700 signs installed on HandyDART vehicles
  • 418 signs installed on Compass faregates

Read more »

Bhangra dancer Gurdeep Pandher of Yukon spreads mask-wearing message

Gurdeep Pandher has been travelling all over Vancouver Island spreading happiness, hope and togetherness through Bhaṅgṛā. His stops included Kennedy River Love Locks, the Ucluelet lighthouse, beaches in Tofino and the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia.

Before returning to Yukon, Gurdeep delivered one final, important message: wear a mask on transit, which is mandatory onboard bus, SkyTrain, SeaBus, West Coast Express and HandyDART.

“For those who are not wearing face-masks on transit, I would like say that please do it,” says Gurdeep, who is from Yukon Territory. “Wearing masks, it’s very important. It’s important for your health, it’s also important for people who are sitting besides you.

“And if we keep everybody, including ourselves safe, then we can create a healthy society which will benefit all of us.”

Read more »

This is where you can buy a mask in Vancouver

Starting on Monday, August 24, masks will be mandatory on board transit vehicles. That means your fellow transit riders will expect you to be wearing a mask unless you are a customer who’s exempt from the policy due to a underlying medical condition or disability.

We’ve taken a look at our peer agencies across Canada and the United States, and found most customers started wearing masks once it was made mandatory. For example, the Toronto Transit Commission reported 90 per cent of its customers are now wearing masks after implementing a mandatory mask policy. Don’t be spotted without a mask on August 24 because everyone who’s able to will be wearing one.

But don’t worry, there’s still time to buy a mask if you don’t have one already. We’ve compiled a list of places where you can pickup a mask both online and locally. Read more »

6 ways to explore Metro Vancouver without a car

Car ownership is declining in Vancouver, according to data provided by ICBC to Business in Vancouver in 2017. More residents are choosing other ways to get around — whether it’s because of rising car ownership costs or transit has become an even more attractive option with new investments such as RapidBus service and other 10-Year Vision improvements coming online. Or maybe you have a car, but just want to find ways to reduce your carbon footprint wherever possible. We got you! Here are six ways you can explore Metro Vancouver without a car.

COVID-19 Information

Although we have restored transit service to near-regular schedules, our buses are operating at two-thirds capacity as part of our Safe Operating Action Plan to help keep the system safe for everyone. Please plan for extra travel time, be prepared to wait and consider travelling outside of the busy times on transit. As well, please wear a mask while waiting for or on transit, and practice physical distancing.

Taking transit

Our service area spans more than 1,800 square kilometres, covering Canada’s largest transit service area — by far. Public transit reaches 90 per cent of the places where people live and work in Metro Vancouver. That means if you have a place to go, TransLink will most likely be able to take you there! Visit translink.ca to plan your trip and sign up for Transit Alerts to create text message or email notifications for the transit services that matter most to you. Read more »

This is how to take public transit (bus) from Vancouver to Victoria and back

Don’t let the lack of a car stop you from exploring our beautiful capital city, Victoria, this summer because you can easily take public transit to get there! You can visit Tourism Victoria‘s website for all the city has to offer.

In total, the trip from Vancouver to Victoria will take you about four hours, so plan accordingly whether you’d like to do a day trip or spend an entire weekend there. You’ll be riding with BC Transit, BC Ferries and TransLink, so there will be three separate fares.

Check list before you go

  • A face covering for all styles of transportation
  • $5 in coins for your BC Transit fare – $2.50 in coins to pay the fare for the bus ride from the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal to downtown Victoria, and another $2.50 for the return trip. Alternatively, you can purchase a BC Transit DayPASS for $5 for unlimited travel for the entire day on any route! You can find all fare details at bctransit.com/victoria.
  • Your TransLink fare, which varies depending on how many zones you travel. You can easily estimate your fare on our website.
    • For a trip from downtown Vancouver, it’s a two zone fare, which means you’ll need a Compass Card with at least $6.90 in Stored Value, or $8.50 in cash to cover a return trip.

Read more »

Celebrate #VanVirtualPride this year and enter a draw for a Pride-themed face covering

This year, we’ll be celebrating Vancouver Pride a little differently! The Vancouver Pride Society has re-imagined the annual event as a virtual one.

There will be an amazing line-up of events from all-ages family events to educational opportunities to dance parties, starting on Monday, July 27 through Sunday, August 2. Check out their 2020 event lineup! All will be live streamed to their FacebookYouTube and Twitch pages. The virtual Vancouver Pride Parade begins on Sunday, August 2 at 1 p.m.

Read more »

15 years of the low-floor trolleybus in Metro Vancouver

Trolleybuses have been a part of Metro Vancouver’s transportation network for more than 70 years!

The very first was a Canadian Car Brill T-44 , which hit the roads on August 16, 1948, after the streetcar network was decommissioned in a “rails-to-rubber” conversion.

Like all other buses at the time, it was a high-floor bus, which meant you had to walk up a flight of stairs to board. As the fleet renewed and expanded over the years, they were all high-floor buses because the low floor, which is common today, didn’t exist.

It all changed on July 20, 2005 – 15 years ago – we were handed the keys to a prototype low-floor trolleybus at Stanley Park.

Read more »

Face coverings now available in the TransLink Store

The TransLink store has you covered this summer. After launching authentic transit maps from the system a few weeks ago, the TransLink Store’s now bringing you face coverings!

The face covering features a unique pattern consisting of TransLink’s symbols for bus, SkyTrain, SeaBus and West Coast Express. TransLink’s T icon accents the face covering in the top left corner.

It’s available in a multi-colour and two-tone design, and in adult and kids’ size (approximately for ages 4 to 10).

Double up and save with a two pack (one adult two-tone design and one adult multi-colour design) or a family pack (the multi-colour design in both adult and kids, and the two-tone design in adult and kids). Read more »

Enter the draw for a chance at a TransLink-branded face covering

Our street teams have wrapped up giving away face coverings at SkyTrain stations and bus loops — for now. For those who didn’t get one, we’re giving away a few more on our social media channels!

All you have to do is enter a draw. Keep reading to find out how. Read more »

June 27 marks 130 years of public transit in Metro Vancouver

Laying the line for streetcars at Granville and Robson, Vancouver (Photo: City of Vancouver Archives) 

Metro Vancouver’s first public transit vehicle was an electric streetcar that rolled down Main Street in the City of Vancouver for the first time on June 27, 1890.

That makes June 27, 2020 the 130th anniversary of public transit in Metro Vancouver! Read more »

Stefan and Carolini sail into each other’s hearts aboard the SeaBus

Stefan and Carolini met on the SeaBus five years ago. Now, they’re engaged after Stefan popped the question onboard the SeaBus last week.

There’s a saying that love happens when you least expect it.

For Stefan and Carolini five years ago, it was an ordinary day riding the SeaBus from Waterfront to Lonsdale Quay — a quick, albeit often uneventful, 15-minute trip they’ve made countless times. Unbeknownst to them at the time, it would become anything but. It would be the day they meet.

So naturally, a return to the SeaBus was in the books to pop the question five years later. Stefan reached out to us help him pull off the surprise proposal onboard the 7:02 p.m. sailing from Lonsdale Quay to Waterfront Station on June 17. Read more »

From one Metro Vancouver institution to another: a retired bus operator on Army & Navy

I Love Transit - Angus McIntyre

Retired bus operator Angus McIntyre on his first day of work in 1969.

After temporarily closing like other retailers in March to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Canadian department store Army & Navy recently announced their closure is now permanent. The COVID-19 pandemic’s economic impacts proved to be insurmountable. This ends the Canadian institution’s 101-year run that began in 1919 as Canada’s first discount department store.

Just like Woodward’s and Eaton’s before that, Army & Navy holds a special place in Metro Vancouver’s collective hearts.

TransLink’s part of a storied history of transit in Metro Vancouver than spans more than a century — it celebrates its 130th anniversary this June 27. Our buses today and streetcars before that brought generations of families to Army & Navy.

Retired bus operator Angus McIntyre was no different. He steered his way through four different employers during his 41 years as a bus operator. His incredible journey began in 1969 when he went to Army and Navy to purchase a pair of Oxford shoes for his job interview with BC Hydro, which operated transit in Metro Vancouver between 1962 and 1973.

Read his guest post on what Army & Navy meant to him and transit.

Angus McIntyre

By Angus McIntyre

I shopped occasionally at the Army and Navy downtown, when skid road was an area of the city that was a bit rough, but still considered approachable by most people.

When I moved out on my own at age 19, I bought kitchenware at the Army and Navy.

At age 21, I didn’t have a lot of money, and I needed to buy a pair of black Oxford shoes in July 1969 to go for my job interview as a bus driver with B.C. Hydro. The shoe department of the Army & Navy was in a separate building on the south side of Hastings, next to Wosk’s huge appliance store. They had an affordable pair of shoes and I got the job.

Once in training, we were supplied with a changer, a transfer punch and a change fund of $120. An instructor said the best thing for our supplies, including rolls of tokens and coins, was a tackle box from the large basement fishing department at the Army & Navy. I bought a Canadian-made Beach tackle box, which sat on the front dash of the bus next to the bracket for the changer and transfer clips.

I worked the Nanaimo bus in the evening for many years, and one of my regular passengers worked in the shoe department of the Army & Navy. He always dreaded the huge annual shoe sale, which involved bringing in the inventory and dealing with massive crowds that showed up for the sale. When he boarded the bus to head home, he would give a run-down of the day’s events.

I bought a bicycle in 1970, and about a year later met another cyclist during a rainfall. He had on a lightweight, waterproof jacket and pants that he wore over his clothes. I asked where he bought it, and he told me to go to the Army & Navy. I made the purchase, and it lasted for many years.

In the 1970s the Christmas rush downtown was always very busy, and all the department stores filled with shoppers. A visit to the Army and Navy or Woodward’s usually included a snack or a meal at the Only Seafoods at Hastings and Carrall. Over the years I also shopped occasionally at the Army and Navy store in New Westminster, which was in the former Eaton’s building on Columbia Street.

Why are escalators at SkyTrain stations out of service so often?

At a height of 13 metres (43 feet), the escalators at Metrotown Station’s west stationhouse are the second highest in the SkyTrain system, surpassed only by the escalators at Granville Station at 14 metres (46 feet).

It may feel like it, but surprisingly, escalators at SkyTrain stations are not out-of-service that often.

Across the SkyTrain network, monthly escalator availability during January 2020 was 99.42 per cent for the Canada Line, and 93 per cent for the Expo and Millennium Lines.† During the rest of the times when an escalator was unavailable, it usually wasn’t because it was broken, but rather it was undergoing inspection.

There are three types of inspections that happen over the course of year.

  • Monthly: includes checking all external safety devices to ensure they are functioning and a visual of all exterior parts. This inspection takes approximately two hours per unit.
  • Quarterly: involves removing 10 steps, cleaning the top and bottom interior ends of the escalator, checking all internal and external safety devices, and inspecting the interior for wear or damage. This inspection takes approximately two days per escalator.
  • Annually: involves removing 50 per cent of the total steps in the escalator, cleaning the entire inside, checking the entire escalator for wear or damage, and inspecting all safety devices. This inspection takes approximately five days per escalator.

These inspections are part of our rigorous and robust maintenance program to ensure our escalators are safe and reliable for our customers, and ensures we maximize the escalator’s life expectancy.

“Because of this program many customers believe that our escalators are continuously out of service due to break downs when actually we are performing maintenance,” explains Harry Schmidt, manager of elevating devices at SkyTrain.

“Usually our inspections go as planned, and the escalator can be returned to service in a timely manner. However, if our escalator technicians discover any device or part that affects the safety of the unit during inspections, it must be repaired before it can carry customers again.”

Read more »