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Translink Buzzer Blog

Update on the Downtown Bus Service Review

TransLink and the City of Vancouver have partnered to develop a shared vision for the downtown bus network

TransLink and the City of Vancouver have partnered to develop a shared vision for the downtown bus network

Final recommendations resulting from the Downtown Bus Service Review are now live! How did we get here?

First, we identified a long-term vision:

The downtown bus network effectively and reliably connects downtown neighbourhoods and enables convenient transit connections to the broader city and region. The downtown transit network is consistent and easy to understand, with clear communication of temporary detours associated with road closures and special events.

Second, we listened to you and developed a list of priorities to guide how we achieve the network vision for the local bus network in downtown Vancouver. In the next one-to-five years we plan to do work in two focus areas:

Immediate: implement over the next one-to-two years

  • Extend the 6 Davie/Downtown to connect the West End, Yaletown and Gastown.
  • Consolidate the C23 Davie/Main and C21 Yaletown/Beach services.
  • Determine route for the 5 Robson/Downtown to improve consistency and reliability, based on an expected City of Vancouver decision regarding frequency and duration of road closures of the 800-block of Robson Street.

Near-term: complete once funding becomes available or in some cases conduct further analysis.

  • Simplify city-wide/regional transit services (3, 4, 7, 8, 200s) on eastern corridors.
  • Review design of the 17 Oak/Downtown following implementation of changes to the 5 Robson and 6 Davie.
  • Improve service reliability and customer experience.

Stay tuned for consultation opportunities in the future where you’ll have another chance to weigh-in on these recommendations!

Anyone who missed our earlier posts on this process can read more about it (1), (2) and (3). Thanks!

Author: Angela Salehi

The SIMPLE art of transit network design

JarrettWalker

Planning transit – tougher than it looks!

It is a rainy morning at the Vancouver Transit Centre. I’m sitting with a room full of colleagues and five pots of coffee. What do we all have in common? We are all keen to better understand the considerations and strategy behind transit network design…and although we all work for TransLink, none of us are actual transit planners.

As an introduction, our fearless instructor Jarrett Walker performs a soliloquy on ridership, density, frequency and demand. His poetry makes us feel at ease. As he presents us with the network design challenges for the course, we are confident that we can find the solutions. Even without the academic training and years of experience, we are certain that using the tools we’ve only just been taught will be “s-i-m-p-l-e”.

We work in groups to plan multiple transit networks over the two-day course. Our tool kit includes a map and a spreadsheet filled with mathematical equations. Our fictional city map showed land-use patterns, population density, landmarks and major roads and bridges. We have a budget and the spreadsheet helps us keep track of how many buses and at what frequency we can afford.

I realized during the first challenge that I had underestimated the difficulty of the task. I thought I was using common sense to plan an efficient network. I chose a population dense area and identified a number of destinations: the airport, the shopping district, the hospital. I was planning for how a single person could get to each landmark. I assumed that because these were community destinations it would make sense to have frequent service. But I was wrong. When it was time for the trip test – getting a fictional rider from multiple arrival to destination points– all the networks were put to the test.

The network that was most efficient did not focus on single trips; it was designed to connect people from high density areas to as many destinations as possible while maximizing the budget. This was my “Aha!” moment. It was not enough to get the fictional Jane to the airport and hospital, the network had to also get her to the soccer field, her office building and the pet store. Turns out, with finite resources there are mathematical trade-offs and balancing the competing needs to provide access and offer direct and frequent service is not “s-i-m-p-l-e” at all.

The course is over and I’ve put away my design pens. The next time I think “gee, I wish I could take transit to the grocery store, but I have to walk a few blocks and it is slower than taking my car,” I’ll take a minute to remember. I’m going to remember that unless many people in my neighbourhood are traveling to the grocery store, post office and hospital every day, throughout the day, there may not be the ridership demand to justify having a high frequency service to accommodate my whims to take the bus to the grocery store.

Author: Angela Salehi

Spot the Bus Barrier – the next step in the pilot begins

Look closely. There's a bus barrier on the bus!

Look closely. There’s a bus barrier on the bus!

 

As reported in the media here, here and here, we are working with BC Transit, Unifor 111, Unifor 333 and WorkSafeBC to determine the best design for a safety barrier that will be most effective in preventing assaults on CMBC Transit operators. Check out an earlier announcement on other measures we are taking to prevent operator assaults.

We know you must have some questions – here are five queries asked and answered:

What is a transit operator safety barrier?

Safety barriers are a physical barrier typically made of a hard and transparent material composed of plastic and/or glass. The barrier enables a physical separation between driver and passengers while providing clear sightlines and the ability to verbally communicate with passengers.

Why is CMBC trying out a pilot barrier program?

The safety of our employees and customers is our top priority. Assaults on operators are unacceptable, and can put the lives of many people at risk.

How are operators participating in the pilot?

We are providing operators with a first-hand opportunity to experience the barrier prototype and provide feedback on the design.Feedback from operators will be collected over the next six months and then analyzed. This information will be used tohelp refine the design of the barrier and determine the best approach in protecting our operators from physical attacks.

Where can I see the barrier prototype in service?

The bus will be driven at various times and on various routes.

How can customers provide feedback on the barrier prototype?

Customer feedback is being gathered through all the usual channels. If you have questions or comments to share, contact Customer Relations through the online form or by phone at          604-953-3040 on weekdays from 8 am until 8 pm.

 

Author: Angela Salehi

Delegations from around the globe travel to Vancouver to meet with TransLink

RiyadhDelegation

Left to Right: Guy Akester, Derrick Cheung, Ian Jarvis, Ibrahim Aleid, Saud Al-Saud, Ibrahim Alrajeh, Yosef Aljallal and Yosef AlBanumay.

 

Did you know that delegations from around the world, including Thailand, Sweden, Australia, Japan and Korea, visited TransLink in 2014 to learn about Metro Vancouver’s integrated transportation network?

Metro Vancouver’s transit system has an international reputation for excellence and TransLink’s ability to deliver transit-oriented development investment attracts interest near and far.

A delegation from Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia, was in Vancouver this fall. Five delegates met with TransLink’s real estate group, planning and infrastructure management teams, and the Transit Police.

Ibrahim Aleid, Director of Metropolitan Planning and Urban Design at the Riyadh Development Authority says that TransLink is well regarded globally for delivering an efficient and integrated transportation network that is shaping world class transit oriented communities.

“We are developing a transit system in Riyadh and we hope to learn from the success of Metro Vancouver in creating the necessary conditions to foster and promote highly innovative transit-oriented communities and developments.”

 

What is a transit-oriented development?

Transit-oriented developments enable people to drive less, and walk, cycle and take transit more; and therefore maximize the value of transit investments. TransLink works in collaboration with public and private sector partners to enable the Metro Vancouver region to realize the benefits of transit-oriented communities and foster transit-oriented development.

Since 2011, development near transit has grown exponentially. There are now 35 development projects in construction or planning stages—significantly more than the handful of projects that existed from 1986-2011.

Author: Angela Salehi

Come find a snowman and celebrate winter service changes 2014

Find the Snowman for the chance to win 1 of 3 great prizes!

Find the Snowman for the chance to win 1 of 3 great prizes!

Swapping out your sunglasses for a scarf and mittens? TransLink’s transit services are making some changes too!

Beginning December 15, you can expect new travel options, increased trips and service to better match customer demand. Translation…there are 10 NEW stops and improved service on 8 routes this winter!

Service changes can affect many routes, so “know before you go” and use TransLink’s trip planner to check if your route’s changed.

Highlights

  • NEW trips on the 49, 410, 555 and C28 to reduce overcrowding. This is made possible by shifting service hours from routes with low customer demand.
  • Bigger vehicles on the 188 and C98 serve more customers; conventional buses replace community shuttles on these growing routes.
  • 10 NEW stops for the 116 to better serve Burnaby’s growing Big Bend industrial area.
  • The 404 now ends at Riverport Recreation Complex; passengers travelling to or from the Ladner Exchange can access multiple travel options for various destinations.

Buzzer readers, to help thaw the winter chill, we are hosting a contest with three transit prizes (make sure to check out the terms and conditions)! Visit our Facebook page weekday mornings, from December 1 until December 22, every day after 9 am for a clue to where the Snowman icon is hiding on the service changes page. Once you solve the clue, click on the Snowman to enter the contest. Happy Snowman spotting!

Learn about all the travel choices in your community by visiting TransLink’s TravelSmart program for information, resources and tips.

How else can you stay in touch? Sign up for Transit Alerts at translink.ca/alerts, visit translink.ca, follow @TransLink or call Customer Service at 604.953.3333.

Author: Angela Salehi

Customers in West Vancouver can expect onboard announcements

West Van Blue Bus

A key benefit of TMAC is GPS technology.

Today TransLink introduces the Transit Management and Communications system or “TMAC”, to the 57 vehicle strong West Vancouver Blue Bus fleet. This onboard communications system provides a more predictable and consistent service and delivers increased dispatch support and monitoring to ensure safe and efficient travel for customers and operators.

TMAC benefits include:

  • Onboard speakers and public information displays provide next stop announcements to help customers on new routes, riders experiencing the system for the first time, and customers with seeing or hearing challenges.
  • GPS technology provides customers real-time access to real-time transit information on the Next Bus mobile site.
  • GPS technology is on every bus, providing added security.
  • A fully monitored service, providing operators with real-time information on traffic congestion, road detours and adherence to the published service schedule.

Do you remember this post? Although the system has improved over time, here is a more detailed look at the system and how it operates.

If you are a customer in West Vancouver, let us know what you think of the new system.

Author: Angela Salehi

Psst….psst…do you use the BC Parkway?

BC PArkway

Accessibility and safety improvements are coming to the BC Parkway.

 

I’ve got good news if you cycle or walk along this 26-kilometre, multi-use path. We are making safety and accessibility improvements along the BC Parkway which connects Surrey, New Westminster, South Burnaby and Vancouver.

These improvements include:

  • Realignment of the BC Parkway, away from darker areas and bushes and closer to the road at Nanaimo Station, and along Slocan and Rupert streets.
  • New lighting on parts of the parkway in Vancouver, New Westminster and Surrey for increased visibility for BC Parkway users.
  • A new designated route at Nanaimo and Patterson SkyTrain stations to separate cyclists from vehicles and pedestrians.
  • Widened and paved paths, with new ramps replacing steps at Slocan and Rupert Streets. This improves accessibility for parents with strollers, people in wheelchairs and scooters, and cyclists.

Minor detours will be in place at specific sections of the BC Parkway during construction. Cyclists should watch for signs along the corridor.

For more details on the BC Parkway, check out our previous posts here and here or visit our website.

Author: Angela Salehi

Changes at the UBC Loop

 

UBC Loop

Have you seen this sign?

 

TransLink is modifying the UBC Loop to allow for the redevelopment of the campus Aquatics Centre by the University of British Columbia. The 99 bus route will be relocated within the existing loop. Bus stops for the 48,84, 258 and 480 routes will move out of the loop and onto Wesbrook Mall. There are no changes to the trolley or community shuttle service locations.

Look for signs in the Loop with directions and check your route before you go! Thank you for your cooperation.

Author: Angela Salehi

Heading back to your regular routine? Fall service changes begin Sept 1.

Owl Aboard Contest photos

Find the Owl and enter to win each day of the contest.

 

Whoo…whoo is heading back to their regular school or work schedule in September? TransLink’s transit services are adjusting with you!

Beginning September 1, you can expect new services and increased trips, services that better matches customer demand during non-peak periods and the return of frequency to routes travelling to post-secondary institutions.

Highlights

  • To reduce overcrowding on the 135, 143, 319 and C92, NEW trips will be introduced to the schedule – this is made possible through the shifting of service hours from routes with low customer demand.
  • Services with low customer demand in non-peak periods will also be adjusted to better reflect ridership. Routes include, but are not limited to: 209, 214, 236, C9, C43, C44, C50, C51, C52, C70 and C93. The service hours in the balance make adding NEW trips on overcrowded routes possible.
  • Service on the 4 and 7 trolley bus routes returns to Powell Street.
  • Buses to post-secondary schools and summer-only services return to regular routes.

Buzzer readers, to help ring in the fall, we are hosting a contest* with three transit prizes! Visit our Facebook page each weekday morning from August 18 until September 15 after 9 am for a clue to where the Owl icon is hiding on the service change page. Once you solve the clue, click on the Owl to enter the contest. Happy Owl hunting!

Learn about all the travel choices in your community by visiting TransLink’s TravelSmart program for information, resources and tips.

Seasonal service changes occur four times each year in April, June, September and December to bring more service to more people with the resources available.

How else can you stay in touch? Sign up for Transit Alerts at translink.ca/alerts, visit m.translink.ca, follow @TransLink or call Customer Service at 604.953.3333.

 

* Contest terms and conditions

Author: Angela Salehi

Enjoy more bus and train service this BC Day long-weekend!

Photo by Jay Siggs

Photo by Jay Siggs

Ready for the long-weekend? There will be additional bus, SeaBus and train service on August 2nd, 3rd and 4th to help you get where you need go, safely and comfortably this BC Day long weekend.

Details on all the specific service changes for the Celebration of Light finale, the Pride Parade and BC Day can be found by visiting our Calendar of Events. Please check your route before you go and allow plenty of time to get to and from the downtown corridor, given the additional volume during these events.

 

Just a couple of notes:

  • To show our appreciation for customers, we’re offering a fare holiday on BC Day! This includes Bus, SkyTrain, SeaBus and HandyDART services.
  • Scheduled power rail maintenance work will affect service on the Millennium and Expo lines from 8 pm to the end of service.
  • The Train2Main will be in operation for those travelling to or from the Main Street-Science World Station. See OnTrack for more details.
  • Transit Police will deploy additional officers to ensure that everyone is able to travel to and from the event safely. You can text all non-emergency reports to Transit Police at 87-77-77 or     call 604.515.8300. In case of an emergency, always call 9-1-1.

 

For transit service information throughout the summer, sign up for Transit Alerts, visit m.translink.ca, follow @TransLink or call Customer Service at 604.953.3333.

Author: Angela Salehi

The Grand Prize Winner of the Penguin Contest is…

Photo of grand prize winner

Congratulations to the grand prize winner Fiona McNinch!

 

Drum roll please…

Congratulations to Fiona McNinch, the grand prize winner of the Playland prize package, courtesy of Pacific National Exhibition.

Four other lucky winners also took home some great prizes:

  • Marla Gordon – Stanley Park Horse-Drawn Tour prize package, courtesy of Vancouver Attractions!
  • Sherry Harder – Capilano Suspension Bridge prize package, courtesy of Vancouver Attractions!
  • Andrew Kwan – Vancouver Art Gallery prize package, courtesy of Vancouver Attractions!
  • William Paskiewich – TELUS World of Science prize package, courtesy of Vancouver Attractions!

Stay tuned for details on our next contest…

Author: Angela Salehi

More bus and train service to get YOU to the Celebration of Light!

Fireworks photos

See fireworks performances by teams from the United States, France and Japan.

 

How are you getting to the fireworks? There will be additional bus, SeaBus, SkyTrain and West Coast Express service on July 26, July 30 and August 2 to help you get to the Honda Celebration of Light performances safely and conveniently.

Full details on all the service changes can be found by visiting our Calendar of Events.

Just a couple of reminders:

  • To avoid lineups at ticket vending machines after the events, you can pre-purchase return tickets at King George, Scott Road, Granville, Burrard, Bridgeport, Yaletown-Roundhouse and Vancouver City Centre stations. These fareboxes only accept exact cash and tickets are valid until the close of service.
  • Before, during and after the events transit stations will remain open, but Waterfront, Burrard and Granville stations will have modified access to ensure your comfort and safety.
  • TravelSmart continues to sponsor BEST’s Bicycle Valet, which will offer cyclists free, secure temporary bike storage at Sunset Beach from 6:00 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. Due to crowding and safety concerns, please wait to take your bikes on SkyTrain until the crowds clear.
  • The Train2Main will be in operation for those travelling to or from the Main Street-Science World Station. See OnTrack for more details.
  • In anticipation of an increased volume of passengers, Transit Police will deploy additional officers to ensure that everyone is able to travel to and from the event safely. You can text all non-emergency reports to Transit Police at 87-77-77 or call 604.515.8300. In case of an emergency, always call 9-1-1.

Service adjustments for other summertime events can also be seen here and here.

For transit service information throughout the summer, sign up for Transit Alerts, visit m.translink.ca, follow @TransLink or call Customer Service at 604.953.3333.

Author: Angela Salehi

The 2013 Bus Service Performance Review is live!

2013 Bus Service Performance Review

TransLink investment in bus service is helping meet regional growth needs

 

Okay transit enthusiasts, it is that time of the year where TransLink’s Service Planning department takes stock of how the bus system performed the year before and summarizes it in a Bus System Performance Review. Woohooo! Right?

Here are the quick highlights:

  • Customers boarded TransLink buses 228 million times in 2013, up eight million or 3% since 2010.
  • More customers are riding the 215 bus routes across the region and productivity in boardings per service hour has increased by 6%.
  • Bus productivity remained steady in 2013, despite a slight decline in overall ridership compared to 2012. This is in part a result of service optimization, which shifts service to better match demand and optimizes bus schedules.
  • South of Fraser saw the largest increase in service – with an 11% over the last three years, partly due to new services like the King George B-Line and 555 over the Port Mann Bridge, introduced to meet growth in that region.
  • South of Fraser experienced the highest growth in annual passenger boardings of 4.3 million between 2010 and 2013.
  • Since 2010, Bus ridership grew by 10% or more in Ladner/South Delta/Tsawwassen, Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows and Richmond.

This review helps identify trends and opportunities for improvement by looking at the performance of the whole bus system, in smaller regional areas, and for each route. Ultimately, this information informs TransLink’s service optimization program, which helps to provide more service to more people across the region with the resources available .

Curious how TransLink manages the transportation network? Check out the Transit Network Primer.

Here is our post on the 2012 Bus Service Performance Review.

Author: Angela Salehi

Festivals and Races and Fireworks Oh My!

Summer photo

TransLink helps you get where you need to go this summer!

 

To help you get where you need to go this summer, TransLink will adjust services around some events to make your travel more comfortable and convenient. To stay abreast of any detours or service changes related to events around the region, check out the alerts or special events pages.

 

Upcoming events include, but are not limited to:

July 8: UBC Grand Prix

July 9: Gastown Grand Prix

July 10: Giro Di Burnaby Race

July 12: Khatsahlano Music Festival

July 12 to 13: Caribbean Festival – Maple Ridge

July 26 to 27: Caribbean Days – North Shore

July 26, July 30 and August 2: Celebration of Light

August 3: Sunset Beach Festival & Market and Pride Parade

August 16 to September 1: A special shuttle service operates during the Fair at the PNE, 7 days a week.

 

TravelSmart continues to sponsor BEST’s Bicycle Valet, which offers cyclists free and secure temporary bike storage. If you plan on enjoying any of the festivities listed above, check BEST’s calendar of events to see if there is a bike valet that can serve you.

 

For transit service information on the go, sign up for Transit Alerts, visit our mobile page, follow @TransLink or call Customer Service at 604-953-3333.

Author: Angela Salehi

What is next for the Downtown Bus Service Review?

 

DBRS Phases Diagram

The Downtown Bus Service Review began in summer 2013 and is just wrapping up Phase 2.

 

Hi Buzzer readers – a big thank you to everyone who participated in Phase 2 of the Downtown Bus Service Review! More than 300 of you attended the open houses in April and provided us with close to 1,000 completed questionnaires in-person and online.

The upside of receiving such great input is that we heard about issues and opportunities that are so important to the community. The other side of the coin is that with all these new ideas to consider and reasons to reanalyze some options, the team needs to take more time to provide recommendations.

More time? Yep more time. We are working closely with our partners at the City of Vancouver and really appreciate your continued enthusiasm for this project.

While we continue our technical work to identify the best possible solutions to the issues raised during consultation, we want to share what we heard with you. See the Consultation Summary for more details.

Stay tuned for Phase 3 — where we’ll present the final results of the review.

For anyone who missed our earlier posts on this process, more details can be found here and here.

Author: Angela Salehi