ALERT! : More info
Translink Buzzer Blog

Links and Tidbits – September 12, 2014

Links and tidbits is our semi-regular roundup of interesting fodder about transportation from the last few weeks or so. If you have links to contribute, put them in the comments, or email us.

Vintage buses, trucks and more this Sunday!

Vintage buses, trucks and more this Sunday!

» Check out the Main Street Heritage Transportation Jamboree and Livable Laneways at the Autumn Shift Festival happening on Sunday, September 14 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the northwest corner of East 7th Avenue at Main Street!

» In the last iteration of Links & Tidbits, we shared with you Transitmix – an online map that lets you design your own bus network. Here’s one transit enthusiast’s redesigned network for Vancouver!

» A blast from the past indeed! “breeone” shared this photo on Instagram of an old bus transfer before the switch was made to current transfers.

» Human is an app that tracks walking, running, and biking for people for the app. The activity data for Metro Vancouver was compiled in this map.

» Brill trolleys roamed the streets of Vancouver for over 40 years, but why are there eight of them parked in Sandon, B.C.? Global News investigates! We have pictures of these buses on the Buzzer blog too!

» Aw, no more singing on Winnipeg buses or riding a unicycle on transit property. The city’s bylaw calls for a $100 fine if you sing. =(

» Helsinki wants to make the private car “pointless” in the city. The Mayors’ Council Vision for Regional Transportation wants to do the same here. Read their vision to find out more!

» This must be catching on! In January, we shared a link to a story about Beijing installing machines that accepts recyclable bottles for transit fares. Now Sydney has done the same!  (Hat-tip to @Gitsegukladud)

» Pretty cool German street art – they’ve turned an articulated bus’s gangway into an accordion!

» Here’s an interesting historical picture from Heritage Vancouver! The B.C. Electric Railway Company (responsible for operating the streetcar in the Lower Mainland) proposed to create an elevated streetcar system in the early 20th century.

» Hush little baby, don’t say a word, Papa’s gonna buy you a mocking bird. This little fox was found sleeping onboard an OC Transpo bus in Ottawa. Should we tell him he just missed his stop?

» This I didn’t know! A hidden gem on TransLink’s website – there’s a map showing where you can find carshare vehicles within one kilometre of SkyTrain stations and SeaBus terminals. 

» Darryl Pogue tweeted us this picture of FareSavers, circa BC Transit days. Are they still valid? Unfortunately, no, since they are without the magnetic strip and were meant to be deposited in the old fareboxes =(

What about my FareSavers when Compass Card launches, will they become obsolete like the old B.C. Transit FareSavers? Not to worry. FareSavers will still be valid as we transition to the Compass Card and you’ll be able to exchange your FareSavers for Stored Value on the Compass Card!

» Stockholm has three lines in its Tunnelbanan system (Green, Red, and Blue) and they are turning to the public to crowdsource the colour for the fourth line.

Author: Allen Tung

#TLHIGHFIVE0: ^at talks to @TransLink’s ^DA about 50,000 followers

Customer Information Workleader Desirée, better known as ^DA!

Customer Information Workleader Desirée, who you know as ^DA on Twitter!

Have you ever called 604.953.3333 for transit information, checked our Transit Alerts, or tweeted @TransLink?

Our fabulous Customer Information team are the folks at the other end of the line when you call and the Customer Information Work Leaders are the ones behind the Transit Alerts and Twitter account!

At the rate TransLink’s Twitter account responds to tweets and pushes out information to our customers, you would imagine a throng of staff all behind rows and rows of computers. But nope, it’s usually just one person – the Customer Information Work Leader!

Desirée, better known as ^DA on Twitter, has been a Work Leader for the past few years. I had the opportunity to ask her a couple of questions about what it’s been like helping to look after the Twitter account!

What does 50,000 followers mean to you and the TL Twitter Team?

It feels like a reward to see this many people follow us! It means over 50,000 of you are looking to us and trust us for accurate and timely information. We always keep that at the front of our minds – just how much impact the information we share can have on our customer’s day.

What do you want to say to the 50,000 followers?

Thanks for the taking the time to contact us, whether it is for good or bad feedback! Thanks for taking the time to notify us when you see something – like an accident on the road or a knocked over bus pole – out on your route that that we should know about. And thanks for sending us positive and kind tweets when you think we might need it. Some of those get passed along so that everyone in our group can see it because we are a team.  We really do feel that we have some of the best followers around the Twitterverse!

One of Desirée's colleagues at the Customer Information Work Leader desk!

One of Desirée’s colleagues at the Customer Information Work Leader desk!

What’s the favourite part of your job?

There are a couple of things. One, I really love the team that I work with. Seriously, they are such a great group of people and they’re so knowledgeable. I learn something new all the time from them. Another favourite part is figuring out some of the mysteries of transit. Being part of the Twitter team involves so much more behind the scenes than just what gets tweeted out. I love figuring out why something is the way it is or why something happened.

What’s the most memorable question you’ve received from a tweeter?

We’ve received so many and it always amazing to see how creative people are. Also, I think it is so great to hear how passionate our riders are about transit. Some pretty fantastic and constructive conversations have been had via Twitter about transit so it’s tough to narrow it down to just one. Although, I personally love it when our followers send us funny or interesting pictures – like the one of Darth Vader riding the Canada Line that said he was “Forced” to take transit due to rising gas prices.

What’s it like having to convey information in less than 140 characters on Twitter?

It’s a challenge to be reduced to such a small number of characters, that’s for sure. I’m usually a pretty descriptive person, so I cringe and joke about having to commit “a grammar crime” in order to squeeze it all in one tweet.  I think I’m probably the biggest offender for sending multiple tweets to get an answer out! Sometimes you need to get creative.

How does one become a tweeter for @TransLink?

Apply to work at Coast Mountain Bus Company and TransLink! Most of the people who tweet and respond using @TransLink are Work Leaders in the Customer Information department. The majority of the Work Leaders have been with Customer Information for some time and most of us have worked in other Coast Mountain departments and depots during our tenure with the company. Being a Work Leader requires a higher level of knowledge about the transit system and also we have access to additional tools and contacts within the company.

How has @TransLink changed 50,000 followers later? 

It has evolved. There is a lot more discussion happening and we’re not just using Twitter to push out information. Information is now being exchanged in both directions, between our followers and us. We learn a lot from our riders and often, if there is an issue going on, they have been the first to alert us (accidents, delays, clean ups required, etc.). Also, in addition to our 50,000 followers, when there is any sort of disruption people who don’t follow @TransLink on Twitter are turning to us first for information and updates.

To cellebrate 50,000 followers on Twitter and to show appreciation, we are giving away three FareCards! To enter, simply follow @TransLink and retweet one of the tweets on this page. It’s that simple. =)

Author: Allen Tung

Fall service changes: Increased service to SFU gets the thumbs up from Amanda

Amanda is thankful for the increased SFU service!

Amanda likes the increased SFU service!

 

Amanda doesn’t own a car, so she relies on public transit and walking to get her where she needs to go everyday. In her words, she takes transit “pretty much every day, several times a day.”

On a regular weekday morning, she takes the 22 Knight from her home in Kitsilano to Burrard Station to catch the 135 to Simon Fraser University, where she works.

To get home in the evening, she takes either the 144 to Sperling-Burnaby Lake Station or the 145 to Production Way-University Station before hopping on the Millennium Line to VCC-Clark Station and then the 84 to get home — taking her on a relaxing loop of Vancouver and Burnaby.

“I really appreciate being able to commute to work by bus and read or listen to music while watching the scenery go by,” she says.”It’s really fun to people watch. There’s always such interesting and diverse cross-sections of Vancouver life on the bus or SkyTrain, and I love seeing who gets on next.”

As part of the fall service changes that began on September 1, new trips were added to the 135 and 143 to reduce overcrowding, and regular service on the 145 returns. This means that weekday frequency on the 135 has increased, operating every 12 minutes between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. The 143 now operates every ten minutes during the AM/PM peak periods, every 15 minutes from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and evening service has been extended to 9:52 p.m. On the 145 all weekday trips in the midday and AM/PM peak periods return to regular service from 7:50 to 11:30 a.m. and 3:40 to 7 p.m.

Amanda says the increased service to SFU will mean a lot for her and other commuters, especially on the 135.

“I use the 135 to commute to work, so increasing service is a very good thing,” she says. “Especially during the fall semester at SFU, that’s when the 135 is really crowded. The more buses that can run, the less time people are left at bus stops because the buses are too packed.”

TransLink undertakes a round of service changes four times a year in April, June, September, and December. These changes improve schedules and routes, ensuring a reliable, efficient and safe transit service to help get you where you need to go.

To learn more about the fall service changes and to find the schedules for the 135, 143, and 145, click here.

Author: Allen Tung

Buzzer illustrator interview: Danielle Jette

Danielle with her future corgi on the right and her illustration on the left!

Danielle with her future corgi on the right and her illustration on the left!

Another issue of the Buzzer and another illustrator interview! Yay!

We were lucky enough to have Danielle Jette illustrate the cover for the August Buzzer, which was dedicated to the fall service changes. She was kind enough to take some time out to do a quick interview with us:

Who is Danielle Jette?
Hi, I am a Vancouver based illustrator and designer!

How did you come up with your illustration for the Buzzer?
I was inspired by Vancouver’s big busy skyline.

Do you take transit? If so, what’s your favourite mode?
I take transit everyday! I like taking the Canada Line SkyTrain because it is fast, clean and close to home.

What’s your favourite colour and why?
My favourite colour is turquoise because it is bright.

Peer into your crystal ball, and tell us what you see for yourself in the future.
In the future I hope to work in publishing, live by the beach, and adopt a Pembroke Welsh corgi.

If you haven’t picked up your copy of the Buzzer yet, be sure to do so or download it here to you check out Danielle’s illustration!

Author: Allen Tung

Fall service changes: Rebecca rides the 555 Port Mann Express to 156th Street

Rebecca is riding the 555 Port Mann Express to 156th Street in Surrey for the first time!

Rebecca is riding the 555 Port Mann Express to 156th Street in Surrey for the first time!

The fall service changes began on September 1 and a new stop at 156th Street and Highway 1 in Surrey has been added to the 555 Braid Station/Carvolth Exchange route. Customers travelling to Braid Station now have an EXPRESS service to the SkyTrain.

Rebecca L., a BCIT student, was waiting for the 555 at Braid Station when I caught up with her. She tells me it was her first time riding the route.

On a typical day, she would take the 337 to Surrey Central Station from her home in Fraser Heights, transfer to the Expo Line to Metrotown Station, then hop on the 130 to BCIT. Rebecca estimates this takes her about an hour to an hour and 15 minutes.

With the help of our Trip Planner and Google Maps, she decided to try the improved 555 service since the new 156th Street stop is close to her home. She took the 25 bus to Brentwood Station from BCIT and rode the Millennium Line to Braid Station to connect with the 555.

“I just want to try it out to see what it’s like,” she says. “I think it will be faster since this bus only takes nine minutes to get to 156th Street.”

If her tweet is any indication, she enjoyed her fast ride on board our super comfy highway coach!

The 555 service operates seven days a week, with trips every 10 minutes during the AM & PM peak periods. For more details, here’s the route map and schedule.

TransLink undertakes a round of service changes four times a year in April, June, September, and December. These changes improve schedules and routes, ensuring a reliable, efficient and safe transit service to help get you where you need to go.

How do I access the stop?

  • Walking along 156th Street
  • Connecting to/from routes 337 Fraser heights/Surrey Central Station or 509 Surrey Central Station/Walnut Grove, which stop at the same intersection as the new 555 bus stop.
  • Connecting to/from routes 326 Surrey Central Station/Guildford, 335 Newton Exchange, 501 Surrey Central Station, or 590 Surrey Central Station/ Langley South, located five minutes away on 104th Avenue.

Author: Allen Tung

Rethinking Transportation: New Voices, New Ideas – talks from Markus Moos and Gil Peñalosa

SFU_banner_

Exciting news – Rethinking Transportation: New Voices, New Ideas, brought to you by TransLink in collaboration with the SFU City Program, is back at Simon Fraser University!

Event Details on both talks:

Markus Moos

Date: Tuesday, September 16, 7 p.m.

Location: Room 1400, SFU Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings, Vancouver

Admission: Free, but reservations are required. Reserve

Live Webcast: http://creative-services.sfu.ca/broadcast/

 

Gil Peñalosa

Date: Wednesday, September 17, 7 p.m.

Location: Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, SFU, Woodwards Building, 149 West Hastings Street, Vancouver

Admission: Free, but reservations are required. Reserve

Live Webcast: http://creative-services.sfu.ca/broadcast/

Markus Moos, Assistant Professor, School of Planning at the University of Waterloo will be speaking on Tuesday, September 16, 7 p.m., at SFU Harbour Centre. The talk, The New Generation: Are Millennials Changing the Game?, will take a look at how Millennials’ values, preferences and priorities could affect your work, commute, home and community — now and in the future.

Internationally acclaimed “healthy cities” expert Gil Peñalosa will be speaking the following day – Wednesday, September 17, at SFU Woodward’s at 7 p.m. His talk is titled, Future Livability: Boast or Bust?, will explore whether Metro Vancouver can maintain its “Livability Credibility” for the next 30 years.

Admission is free for both talks, but reservations are required. Visit www.sfu.ca/rethinking-transportation to register. Unable to attend? Both talks will be available as a free webcast online at creative-services.sfu.ca/broadcast/.

You can tweet your questions and comments using the hashtag #movingthefuture.

Rethinking Transportation: New Voices, New Ideas is a speakers’ series focused on key transportation issues and opportunities facing the Metro Vancouver region. The series will explore new perspectives on the movement of people and goods in cities with thought leaders, decision makers, and experts from across North America who have tackled some of the most pressing transportation challenges.

The New Generation: Are Millennials Changing the Game?

Dr. Markus Moos

Dr. Markus Moos

Millennials’ values, preferences and priorities could affect your work, commute, home and community – now and in the future.

The New York Times has mentioned “Millennials” 122 times between January and August 2014 on topics ranging from TV and pop music to travel and literature.  Why the interest?

Millennials, born between the early 80s and the new millennium, are a significant and influential demographic—outnumbering even the baby boomers. The roughly 9 million Millennials across Canada and over 500,000 here in Metro Vancouver think, communicate, travel and work differently. Understanding how they impact housing, transportation, jobs and communities is critical for planners, employers, real estate and technology developers, and anyone who interacts with this new wave of change-makers.

Far fewer Millennials have driver’s licences than previous generations, which is particularly relevant as we reach a critical juncture in transportation planning in our region with 1 million more people expected to join us by 2040.

Join Dr. Markus Moos, Assistant Professor in the School of Planning at the University of Waterloo to learn more about how Millennials are different from young adults in Metro Vancouver 20 to 30 years ago; how their housing and commuting decisions are different from their previous cohorts; and —perhaps most importantly—what this means for transportation and housing in Metro Vancouver and beyond.

About the Speaker

Dr. Markus Moos is a Registered Professional Planner and Assistant Professor in the School of Planning, Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo. Dr. Moos’ research is on the changing economy and social structure of cities. His most recent work has examined the factors shaping Canada’s housing markets, the changing characteristics of our suburbs, and the affordability, sustainability and equity implications of present-day urban change. Dr. Moos has published widely in book chapters and peer-reviewed articles in top-ranked international journals. He is currently co-editing the most recent edition of Canadian Cities in Transition—a compilation of chapters written by some of Canada’s top urban researchers. Dr. Moos holds an Early Researcher Award from the Province of Ontario for his research on young adults’ changing housing needs.

Future Livability: Boast or Bust?

Gil Peñalosa

Gil Peñalosa

Can Metro Vancouver maintain its “Livability Credibility” for the next 30 years?

The Metro Vancouver region is frequently cited among the world’s most livable.  Just this summer, Vancouver – and by extension much of our region – was cited by The Economist as the third most livable city in the world, with particular kudos for our current and near-term rapid transit connections through Burnaby, Coquitlam and Port Moody.

Can we maintain our frequently and broadly cited international livability credibility? With a million new residents, 600,000 new jobs and potentially 3 million more car trips per day in our region by 2040, how will we maintain the unique and treasured qualities we enjoy throughout Metro Vancouver?

Internationally acclaimed “healthy cities” expert Gil Peñalosa believes in the importance of mobility in planning healthy, sustainable cities – cities where people can walk, bike, and access transit to carry out their daily activities, no matter their age, ability, or social status.

As part of SFU’s Rethinking Transportation Speaker Series, Gil will share examples from around the world that show that transportation systems that put people first from the point of view of public health, environment, recreation, mobility, and economic development lead to sustainable, healthier, more vibrant and livable cities.

Join Gil Peñalosa of 8-80 Cities to learn more about what we can all do to protect the future livability of our local communities and the importance of investing in our transportation system so we can preserve our quality of life now and for generations to come.

About the Speaker:

Gil Peñalosa is passionate about cities for ALL people. Gil advises decision makers and community leaders on how to create vibrant cities and healthy communities for everyone regardless of social, economic, or ethnic background. His focus is the design and use of parks and streets as great public places, as well as sustainable mobility. Because of his unique blend of pragmatism and passion, Gil’s leadership and advice is sought out by many cities and organizations. As Executive Director of the Canadian non-profit organization 8-80 Cities for the past eight years, Gil has worked in over 150 different cities in all continents.

Author: Allen Tung

#TLHIGHFIVE0: 50,000 high fives for our 50,000 followers (Win a FareCard Contest)

Thanks for 50,000 follows!

High five! Thanks for 50,000 follows!

It feels like it was just yesterday when we were celebrating 40,000 followers on Twitter, but now we have 50,000 of you following us and counting!

The @TransLink Twitter account got its start in February 2010 during the Winter Olympics, providing riders with breaking news and key service updates.

But it didn’t start answering questions from tweeps until November 2010 when a one-month pilot project was launched. It was extended multiple times before becoming a permanent service in February 2011!

Today, Customer Information staff are on Twitter from 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., seven days a week, to answer all your service-related questions and provide service updates, tips, and information to 50,000+ of you!

Contest time!

To celly, we’re going to give away three FareCards! To enter, simply follow @TransLink and retweet one of the following tweets from our Twitter team:

RT @TransLink: High Five x 50k!!! Ohhh our hands hurt, BUT every one of you is worth it! You’re AWESOME! #TLHIGHFIVE0 http://ow.ly/B3AzP

RT @TransLink: Nearly 4 years ago, we became a permanent service as a result of YOUR support. THANK YOU! #TLHIGHFIVE0 http://ow.ly/B3AzP

RT @TransLink: 2, 4, 6, 8, who do we appreciate? YOU – ALL OF YOU! Thank you for your ongoing support. #TLHIGHFIVE0 http://ow.ly/B3AzP

RT @TransLink: From us to all 50, 000+ of you – THANK YOU! Your tweets and kind words really mean a lot! #TLHIGHFIVE0 http://ow.ly/B3AzP

RT @TransLink: Many ways of spelling our ^ initials, but only one way to show appreciation. T-H-A-N-K-S #TLHIGHFIVE0 http://ow.ly/B3AzP

Contest closes at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, September 11 and we’ll randomly select a winner on Friday, September 12. The FareCard will be for one, two, or three zones, depending on where the winner travels. You’ll want to read the terms and conditions for all the details on the contest.

One person cannot win more than once, so if we draw your name, you will be excluded from the other FareCard draws.

Author: Allen Tung

 

I Love Transit 2014: Your painting, cake, crossword, poem, letters, song, and video!

I Love Transit 2014 Banner

It’s I Love Transit Week and what makes this week so special are the riders sharing their transit with love us. We received many submissions, but here are some of our favourites! Check it out!

Burnaby Sunrise – a painting by Larry Mason

This painting was sent in by Larry’s niece Terri. Larry shares his inspiration behind the painting:

While living in New York City, Denise and I annually flew west to spend the Christmas Holidays with her family in Burnaby. One balmy December day I walked to Central Park. The sky was clear and brisk; the temperature not quite nippy. There I saw the SkyTrain structure; I thought it a handsome design and made a pen and ink sketch. After returning home I painted from the sketch. Taking artistic license, I changed the season to somewhere between spring, summer and fall.

Burnaby Sunrise by Larry Mason

A Mark I SkyTrain cake!

Yummm! Looks delicious! 

Transit crossword puzzle fun

Looking for some crossword puzzle fun? Give Matthew’s a try!

Looking for some crossword puzzle fun? Why not give Matthew's crossword a try?!

Poetry in Transit by William F.

Riding the bus is really cool
Whether your are off to work or school
Or just for the fun of it
The ride is enjoyable every minute
Riding the bus is so slick
Why drive your car in heavy traffic
The transit bus will drive you wherever you need to go
Riding the bus is also educational
You hear languages so international
You are bound to learn the lingo
And eventually converse with an amigo
So ride the bus everyone!
It’s worthwhile and fun!

Transit love from Australia

Annette visited Metro Vancouver from Australia and she sent this in.

I am writing to compliment you on your transit service. In April-May 2014 I visited Vancouver, along with my husband and a friend. We used the transit system extensively during that time (bus, SkyTrain and SeaBus). We found your transit system easy to use from a visitor’s point of view, as well as being efficient. We were able to get to our destinations relatively quickly and easily. Your fares are also well priced (compared to those here in Australia). We mainly used your DayPasses, which we felt were very cost effective. So a big thank you from me. Please keep up the good work. Many thanks.

A letter from Ontario

Dear Mr. Jarvis, from Maia

I Love Transit 2014: Letter from Maia

I Am A Pilgrim by Rod Drown

Rod was reading The Buzzer while travelling on the 106 from New Westminster to the Tommy Douglas Library near Edmonds and Kingsway. He submitted us this song he wrote several years ago about a love he met on the 135 bus. It was arranged, composed, produced by Pim Bouwens of Sam’s Falling. 

West Coast Express Train Set

Richard sent this one in of his West Coast Express train set!

_

If you have other things you’d like to share with us, feel free to send it to thebuzzer@translink.ca. We’d love to see it!

Author: Allen Tung

I Love Transit 2014: A fun day at I Love Transit Camp!

I Love Transit 2014 Banner

It’s summer time and that means it’s time for camp…transit camp! Yup, this year for I Love Transit Week we organized an I Love Transit Camp for kids between the ages of eight and 12. We took them on a tour of SkyTrain and SeaBus as well as a visit with Transit Police, Transit Security, and a Coast Mountain bus operator! 

Photos

Submissions

Matthew, Andy, and Trevor were among the lucky kids that had the opportunity to attend I Love Transit Camp, check out their submissions!

Andy with his bus and SkyTrain cut outs!

Andy with his bus and SkyTrain cut outs!

Trevor and his collection of bus models!

Trevor and his collection of bus models!

Author: Allen Tung

I Love Transit 2014: Jason Vanderhill, TransLinked and Illustrated Vancouver curator, guests posts

I Love Transit 2014 Banner

It’s I Love Transit Week and we’re lucky to have Jason Vanderhill, Translinked and Illustrated Vancouver, write a guest blog post for us sharing some of the top transit related images he has found over the years. You can follow him on Twitter at @jmv. We also had the pleasure of having Jason and cohorts on the blog for our Life on Transit series.

Jason Vanderhill

Jason Vanderhill

I have had an interest in transportation related imagery ever since I can remember.

In 2010, I joined Tumblr, and along with Richard and Karen at Translinked.com, we have now compiled over 850 posts on the subject.

The classic travel poster is easily a favourite subcategory of mine, and along with many national airways and railroads, the London Transport and New York’s MTA have a proven track record in this realm.

Not simply confined to the poster, transit related imagery can also appear in brochures, flyers, maps, newspaper ads, and magazine covers.

Below are a few of my favourite posts from around the world, featuring two from London, one from Copenhagen, two more from NYC, and one from the CPR here at home.

Summer Outings by Private Bus (via LTMuseum’s year of the bus)

Summer Outings by Private Bus (via LTMuseum’s year of the bus)

The Tube Train, by Cyril Edward Power (via auctioncentralnews.com)

The Tube Train by Cyril Edward Power (via auctioncentralnews.com)

Read more »

I Love Transit 2014: Pictures from the Transit Museum Society vintage bus event

I Love Transit 2014 Banner

It’s I Love Transit Week and we kicked it off on Monday with a vintage bus from the Transit Museum Society at the EasyPark lot at Cambie and Georgia Street. We had a blast giving away buttons, t-shirts, tote bags, colouring books as well as bus, SkyTrain, and SeaBus cutouts!

Julian Fok captured everything, so check out some of the photos!

Welcome to the I Love Transit 2014 vintage bus!

Welcome to the I Love Transit 2014!

Some transit lovers checking out the display and picking up some free swag!

Some transit lovers checking out the display and picking up some free swag!

Dropping off a donation to the Transit Museum Society

Dropping off a donation to the Transit Museum Society

One of the many pictures of vintages

One of the many pictures of vintage buses on a vintage bus

*Snap* *snap*

One of the visitors grabs a picture

In the driver's seat!

In the driver’s seat!

Author: Allen Tung

I Love Transit 2014: Sun Fang, VP of Maintenance, tells his story of SkyTrain

I Love Transit 2014 Banner

Sun Fang

Sun Fang

Sun Fang has been hailed as the ‘godfather of SkyTrain’ by his colleagues.

You don’t need to dig too deep to find out why. He’s been at the helm of the British Columbia Rapid Transit Company’s maintenance division for nearly three decades in which he’s seen it all.

From humble beginnings as a single-train, two-car demonstration project along a one-kilometre track on Terminal Avenue, SkyTrain is becoming a network of soon-to-be 53 stations and 79.6 kilometres of track following the opening of the Evergreen Line in 2016.

Today, SkyTrain boasts an on-time reliability of 95 per cent and 99.4 per cent of all SkyTrain service was delivered in 2013. However, there were some growing pains in the early days of SkyTrain, recalls Sun. After Expo 86, the noise level in the train cars was very high, the doors would misbehave, and there were often problems with train communications, requiring attendants to manually recover trains.

As one of the first operators of this new system, Sun and his team of technical, maintenance, and operations personnel at BCRTC were challenged to develop and implement solutions to all the train and wayside related issues without the help of other transit agencies.

Sun’s innovative mind and futuristic ideas would help him meet the challenges presented by SkyTrain’s new and unique technologies.

Under his leadership, a large number of significant projects were undertaken over the next several years to successfully address noise, the wheel rail interface, and to retrofit the bogie (the SkyTrain chassis of wheels). BCRTC implemented a second-generation automatic train control, upgraded the platform intrusion detection system, and introduced an automated car wash system.

“We beat the odds, taking a unique transportation system from the drawing board to real world application,” Sun says. “I am proud of what we have accomplished in solving numerous technical and operational interface difficulties at the start to setting a set of new standards for the automated driverless transit industry.”

Sun will be retiring in March 2015 and it’s these very challenges that he says he will miss.

“I will miss the challenges of the ever-changing technologies in train control, telecommunications and passenger information systems and having to resolve technical problems in this high-tech transportation system. I will miss the dialogue, exchange of information and experiences around the world,” he says.

Due to the success of SkyTrain, Bombardier Transportation now sells this technology worldwide under the name INNOVIA Metro worldwide dubbing it the “flagship of driverless, urban transit systems.”

“System problems in the early days made us strong in this unique transit technology and also gave us the opportunities to share our experiences with other transit operators around the world,” Sun says.

“The many comments I have received from industry colleagues and experts visiting from different parts of the globe have made it clear that we have maximized the use of the technology to meet the demand of a fully automated, driverless and unattended rapid transit system.”

Today, Kuala Lumpur, Malyasia; Yongin, South Korea; and New York have followed Metro Vancouver as operators of a driverless, rapid transit system using the same technology as SkyTrain.

“What impresses me the most is our ability to be flexible, resilient and customer service focused,” he says.  “We have undergone many major expansions, station upgrades and system replacement projects without disrupting SkyTrain service or closing down a station.”

SkyTrain is family for Sun – a family of nearly seven hundred members, from SkyTrain Attendants to maintenance workers, totally devoted to the success of a transit system and providing a better place to live built on transportation excellence.

“I am both fortunate and honoured to be part of the success story that is the mass transit system in this region,” he says.

“Whenever I hear the word ‘SkyTrain’ I have a sense of pride and joy to be part of this reliable, efficient and eco-friendly rapid transit system.”

Sun was the winner of the Distinguished Service award for Individual Leadership from the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) in 2013.

Sun’s proudest moments, in his own words:

  • Completed the noise mitigation program in 1990 where seven major initiatives were implemented on trains, wayside and neighborhoods along the SkyTrain route.
  • Completed the Operations & Maintenance Centre Expansion Project (last phase) in 2013 to provide additional train storage lanes, office spaces, maintenance shops and maintenance facilities.
  • Orchestrated and implemented the Main Control Room cut-over in 2002 in conjunction with Bombardier for the start-up of Millennium Line in one non-revenue window. SkyTrain performed the impossible in the eyes of other transit operators.
  • 2010 Winter Olympics was one of the crowning achievements for SkyTrain staff.
  • Y2K” – the count down for the first second of year 2000 sent shivers down my spine. We spent a lot of time, resources and money to prepare for the day. It was feared that some or most computer-based systems might stop functioning. Obviously the hardwork and excellent planning paid off. We welcomed the Millennium with a warm embrace.
  • Successfully completed the Second-Generation Automatic Train Control (ATC) System cut-over in 1994. The field testing and commissioning of the new ATC software was extensive. The support from Control and Field personnel was superb. The second generation ATC software has demonstrated significant benefit in operating reliability, flexibility and users friendliness.

Author: Allen Tung

I Love Transit 2014: Nathan Pachal, transit blogger, tells us why he loves transit

I Love Transit 2014 Banner

It’s I Love Transit Week and we’re chatting with Nathan Pachal, a man with many different hats. He’s a broadcast engineer, urban commentator, blogger at The South of the Fraser Blog, and now is running for Langley City Council. You can follow him on Twitter at @npachal.

Nathan Pachal

Nathan Pachal

Why do you love transit?

For me, transit is an important part of creating accessible communities. I grew up in the small City of Vernon in the Okanagan. My mom actually never learned to drive (my dad could drive, and I got my driver license as soon as I could), so I did a lot of walking, cycling, and taking transit growing up.

Vernon was also a retirement community with a walkable downtown. Many seniors choose to live in Vernon because of its walkability.

Unlike large roads, and huge parking lots, transit actually supports walkability, giving people transportation choices.

On a personal note, transit is a great value for me. The money I save by not owning a car, paying for insurance, gas, and maintenance, can be spent on the things that I enjoy like going to a show, eating out, or travelling.

When did you first start being interested in transit?

Growing up, my family would go to Metro Vancouver at least once a year to visit family and friends. One of my aunts lived in Fraser Heights (Surrey) and the others lived along the Broadway Corridor (Vancouver). Whenever we went to Metro Vancouver, we’d just leave the car at our relatives and use transit; even in Surrey. I still remember the tiny tickets you’d get at the SkyTrain station, and the paper transfers.

As a kid, I thought that the SkyTrain was the coolest thing since sliced bread. It was really high tech, I wished we had SkyTrain in the Okanagan to get from Vernon to Kelowna.

When I left Vernon, and moved to Calgary to go to school, I really saw the value of transit. The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) subsidized transit for its students, so I was able to get pretty much anywhere in Calgary via the CTrain. Because of the cost-effectiveness of transit, I was able to work a minimum-wage job, and pay for school debt-free.

What’s your favourite mode of public transportation?

Honestly, my favourite type of transit is high-quality transit service like the new 503 and 555 Express Bus Services, West Coast Express, and SkyTrain. Since the 503 was introduced in Langley, my travel time has been cut in half from Langley Centre to the SkyTrain.

What do you do with your time while on transit?

On transit when I’m alone, I blog, play video games, watch TV shows and movies. With friends, I normally have some pretty good chats.

You write a lot about transit planning. Why is that an interesting subject matter for you?

Like I said earlier, I believe that transit plays a key role in supporting accessible communities. Maybe I played too much SimCity as a kid, but I want to live in a community where I can walk to local shops and take transit to get to destinations farther away. I find that accessible communities also have a sense of place that I enjoy. For example, it can just be fun to hang out at Douglas Park in Downtown Langley.

Auto-oriented communities don’t have that same sense of place or community to me. One of the things that I really want people to understand is the important role that transit plays in community building. Also, as I’ve travelled to pretty much every major city in Canada and the US, I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t. I want to share that information with others, and share best practices in creating great communities.

Have you had any great experiences on transit that you’d like to share?

The best part about transit is when you run into people you know, and maybe haven’t seen in a while. If you run into someone in a car, it’s normally not a good thing, but on transit it’s an excellent time to chat.

When I run into people on transit, it makes me feel part of a community even though Vancouver is a pretty big place.

Do you have any parting thoughts about transit and your love/interest in it?

The most important thing for me is to let people know how important transit is for creating accessible communities, how good our transit system is in Metro Vancouver, and the importance of continuing to invest in improving access for people that live in Metro Vancouver today while accommodating the close to one million more people that will call our region home in the coming decades.

Author: Allen Tung

I Love Transit 2014: Tell us why you love transit and you could win!

I Love Transit 2014 Banner

Post-its from our enormous wall poster, asking attendees to let us know what they loved about transit!

Post-its telling us why they love transit!

Welcome to I Love Transit Week 2014, everyone!

Yep—it’s the one week we take out of the year to celebrate what we love about transit! From now until Friday, your favourite transit blog will be serving up great interviews, essays, and rider submissions sharing all your transit love.

We want you to tell us why you love transit and by doing so you’ll have a chance to win one of three FareCards we have to giveaway! All you have to do is enter through Twitter, Instagram, or right here on the blog between now and Friday, August 29.

Step 1. Figure out why you love transit. Step 2. Tell us and you’re entered! It’s that simple!

How do I enter?

Enter through Twitter

  • Follow @TransLink and send a tweet to us that includes and completes this sentence:

@TransLink #ILoveTransit because…

  • An acceptable entry (on many levels): “@TransLink #ILoveTransit because it allows me to sleep more!”
  • But this is NOT acceptable as it has no hashtag: “@TransLink I Love Transit because it gets me where I need to go!” Neither is  simply “@TransLink #ILoveTransit” – you didn’t tell us why you love transit. =(
  • This is also NOT acceptable, because it doesn’t include the right hashtag: “@TransLink #iluvtransit because I don’t have to worry about driving!”

Enter through Instagram

  • Follow @TransLinkBC and post a selfie on transit or a great photo of transit with a caption that includes and completes this sentence:

@TransLinkBC #ILoveTransit because…

  • Please note that we’re @TransLinkBC on Instagram, not @TransLink—that’s somebody else’s account!
  • See the Twitter examples above for entries that will and will not work for the contest.

Enter through the Buzzer blog

  • Leave a comment on this post that completes the sentence:

I love transit because…

Rules and answers

Check out the terms and conditions, but here’s the skinny!

  • One entry per person per day for each channel. Yes, you can enter up to three times!
  • The FareCard will be for one, two, or three zones, depending on where the winner travels.
  • We’re going to do the random draws on Tuesday, September 2 for each channel. We’ll announce the winners on the blog, Twitter, and Instagram!
  • To be fair to everyone, one person cannot win all three draws. So, if we draw your name for one of the channels, you will be excluded from the other two FareCard draws.

Photos may be used in the print Buzzer, the Buzzer blog, tweeted by @TransLink, posted on the TransLink Facebook page and @TransLinkBC Instagram account.

Here’s a sampling of past entries!

 

Author: Allen Tung

The August 2014 issue of the Buzzer is on the system

August 2014 Buzzer CoverThe August 2014 issue of the Buzzer is now on the system and much of it is dedicated to the fall service changes, which will take into effect on Monday, September 1.

There’s a lot of changes round, so be sure to check your route before you go! Among them, new trips are being  introduced to the 135, 143, 319 and C92 to reduce overcrowding. Service on the 4 and 7 trolley bus routes also returns to Powell Street.

September 1 is also Labour Day – that means service will run on a Sunday/Holiday schedule.

It’s back to school time and Transit Police has some simple of advice for you, “If you want to keep it, secure it.”

We also have an update on the Burrard Otter II, which arrived on July 31 after a 24-day journey from Singapore to Vancouver. Its unload from the heavylift carrier was documented in this neat time lapse video!

And always, the Buzzer is complete with the usual favourites like Contest Corner, Back Issues, and Coming Events.

Pick up your copy today on board your favourite bus, SkyTrain, SeaBus, and West Coast Express route. You can also download it by clicking here.

Author: Allen Tung