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Translink Buzzer Blog

Knight Street Bridge – Mitchell Island Interchange Improvements Project

TransLink Knight Street Bridge - Mitchell Island Improvements

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We’ve made some great improvements to the Knight Street Bridge– Mitchell Island interchange!

These changes will make the bus stops and pedestrian walkways much more accessible and safer for both transit riders and operators alike.

Pedestrian Improvements

There are a few changes for the off ramp to Mitchell Island Northbound and Southbound. Transit riders and pedestrians have been walking alongside traffic, with just a small barrier between walkway and traffic.

The road surface has now been widened up to one metre, to accommodate for more room behind the barriers for pedestrians to walk safely along the expanded path. Over 60 metres of barrier have also been installed to further improve the safety of the walkway.

Pedestrian crosswalk signs are now also up to signal newly painted crosswalks to new traffic islands both north and southbound Mitchell Island off-ramp.

TransLink Knight Street Bridge - Mitchell Island Improvements

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For both the northbound and southbound stops, bus operators have found it difficult to maneuver their buses into the catch basin for transit riders to board easily.

To address this, we’ve created larger passenger landing areas for both bus stops, and replaced the asphalt with new concrete capping.

For the southbound stop, the catch basin has been shifted to accommodate the new landing area and wheelchair ramp access. This helps the operator easily park the vehicle parallel to the landing area.

The passenger crosswalks to both bus stops were also reinforced with repainted crosswalk lines, and new signage was put up to signal drivers to watch for pedestrians.

 

Do you frequent this interchange at all? If you do, we’d love to hear your thoughts! Do these improvements make it more safe and accessible for you to take transit?

Author: Angela Chang

2013 Holiday Service Adjustments: New Year’s Eve & New Year’s Day

 

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Wishing all Buzzer readers a safe and happy 2014!

Happy holidays!

We hope you’ve had a chance to relax and spend some time with family and friends, perhaps enjoy a cup of hot chocolate (or two).

As always, rides will be free of charge on New Year’s Eve (Dec 31) from 5:00 pm until 5:00 am on New Year’s Day. All services (Bus, SkyTrain, SeaBus, West Coast Express) on New Year’s Eve will operate a normal weekday schedule with additional trips or extended service.

New Year’s Day (Jan 1) will offer a normal Sunday/holiday schedule for Buses, SeaBus and SkyTrain. The West Coast Express and TrainBus will not be in operation.

Regular services resume on Thursday, January 2, 2014.

Details can be found on the Winter Holiday Service Schedule page. Please see below for some resources to request current updates in regards to transit service conditions:

Author: Angela Chang

2013 Holiday Transit Service: Christmas & Boxing Day

Sparky the Elf and Santa!

Sparky the Elf and Santa!

Hello Buzzer readers!

With the winter holiday season soon approaching, the holiday service schedule will begin on Christmas Eve (Tues, Dec 24).

On Christmas Day (Dec 25), buses, SeaBus, and SkyTrain will be running on Sunday/holiday schedules. Some routes will be adjusted to reflect customer demand. The West Coast Express and TrainBus service will not operate.

Boxing Day (Dec 26) will have an enhanced holiday schedule for buses, SeaBus and SkyTrain, especially on routes to popular shopping destinations!

Services returns to their normal schedules on Friday, December 27.

You can find all the details on the Winter Holiday Service Schedule page. For the very latest news on transit service conditions or for more details, visit or call:

 

Please Note: The Buzzer blog is on holiday until at least Thursday, December 27, 2012. Tina and Stefanie will be checking in, but brand new content (we have scheduled some content over the holidays) won’t be online until the new year.

We wish all of our Buzzer friends a safe and happy holiday season!

Author: Angela Chang

Spot the Reindeer Bus and Community Shuttle Contest and help TransLink spread some holiday cheer!

TransLink Reindeer Bus at Pan Pacific

The Reindeer Bus at Pan Pacific

You may have already seen these two cheerful transit characters around Metro Vancouver. The Reindeer Bus and Community Shuttle have been making there way on different routes in Metro Vancouver since mid-November and will continue to be in service into January. Have you spotted them yet?

The Reindeer Bus’ most recent public event appearance was visiting the Christmas Wish Breakfast, hosted by the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau at the Pan Pacific Hotel on December 11, 2013 (see picture). That particular Reindeer bus had Santa, Mrs. Claus and the bus operating elf Sparky inside.

The festive threesome also visited mystery stops between December 10-13 throughout Metro Vancouver; and will be part of the Toys for Tots campaign run on December 19-20. Both the Reindeer Bus and Community shuttle will deliver two buses full of new, unwrapped toys to the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau as part of its employee-driven Toys for Tots program. Toys for Tots was created in 1985 by a group of eight BC Transit bus operators out of the Surrey Transit Centre. TransLink and its employees are invited to donate to the cause throughout November and December.

Spot the Reindeer Bus or Shuttle and Win one of two monthly January 2014 FareCards!

Want to win? Send your picture our way of the Reindeer Bus or Shuttle in one of three ways:

1. Tweet it to @TransLink with the hashtag #TLReindeerBus.

2. Email it to thebuzzer@translink.ca and make sure to include #TLReindeerBus in the subject line.

3. Post it on our Facebook page with hashtag #TLReindeerBus.

* Remember to read our terms and conditions to get the specifics – contest terms and conditions.

We’ll be randomly drawing two winners on these dates:

Draw #1 will be on Friday, December 20, 2013. Cutoff for entries will be 11:59 p.m. on December 19, 2013.

Draw #2 will be on Friday, December 27, 2013. Cutoff for entries will be 11:59 p.m. on December 26, 2013.

There you go. Get those camera and phones out and snap some holiday transit magic and you might be getting an early or late Christmas present for your trouble!

Photo by Laura Wilby

Photo by Laura Wilby

Author: Angela Chang

The BC Parkway repaving is complete!

cyclist near Southridge

Cyclist heading north near Southridge Drive

Back in late October, we shared the news that the BC Parkway was to undergo some much needed improvements, since its opening 27 years ago.

The BC Parkway is 26 km of multi-use path that connects Surrey, New Westminster, South Burnaby, and Vancouver. Because it is a multi-use path, it is important to make the parkway safe and accessible for all kinds of travelers, whether you are walking, cycling, or running around wagging your tail (can’t forget our furry friends!).

The 2013 BC Parkway repaving project is now complete! We’ve fixed up a few areas that were previously rough or unpaved:

  • North and south of the Southridge Drive overpass, near the Burnaby/New Westminster border
  • Between Imperial Street and the Metrotown SkyTrain Station
  • South of Southpoint Drive
  • South of Rumble Street
  • West side of London Place

Based on input we heard during the BC Parkway Upgrades conceptual design, TransLink is planning to do more state of good repair work on the BC Parkway in 2014. We’ll keep you posted!

Author: Angela Chang

Today is… So You Think You Can Busk?

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Today is the big day for So You Think You Can Busk?

After preparing all morning, we are looking forward to see all the performances from Metro Vancouver’s talented buskers.

Aside from TransLink’s Cindy Bromley, Director of Communications and Stakeholder Relations, we are also expecting a few guest panelists to be our judges today!

Aamer Haleem, co-host of CTV Morning Live

Jonny Staub, co-host of The Beat 94.5 FM’s morning show

Kenneth Chan, Deputy Editor and Social Media Coordinator with Vancity Buzz.

The four judges will decide who will successfully audition for the first seven busker licenses. Stay tuned – we’ll be announcing how you can cast your vote in deciding which busker should get the eighth and final license!

TransLink So You Think You Can Busk 2013

All set up and ready to go!

Author: Angela Chang

TransLink & CMBC support UBC Safewalk Program

TransLink & CMBC support UBC Safewalk Program

UBC Safewalk Program

You may have heard in the media lately about UBC’s Safewalk Program for students on campus.  It’s a free service from the Alma Mater Society of UBC, which provides an escort for students who are walking to any point on campus after dark. Arrangements can be made by phone.

We know that lots of people rely on transit to get to and from campus, so CMBC and TransLink have a few things on the go to support the Safewalk Program.

Several of our bus routes headed out to UBC have added reminders to some of the regular UBC stop announcements that let people know they can call Safewalk for an escort. Bus operators are also distributing Rider Alerts to passengers bound for UBC after dark.

TransLink’s Twitter team is tweeting out Safewalk’s message recommending people on campus avoid walking alone after dark, and encouraging students to call Safewalk for an escort.

TransLink & CMBC support UBC Safewalk Program

99 B-Line Bus

All customers riding buses between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. (anywhere in the transit system, not just UBC) can also make use of TransLink’s Request A Stop program.

If you feel safer getting off the bus at a point between two regular bus stops during these hours, you can “Request a Stop”.

At the bus operator’s discretion, you will be let off if it is safe to do so. Requesting a stop can allow you to get to your destination sooner, and minimize the amount of time you spend walking alone after dark!

However, passengers can’t request a stop on express and limited stop sections of a route.

If you’re bound for UBC on one of our buses after dark, we hope you’ll take advantage of Safewalk – it’s a great service to help you feel safe and comfortable while getting where you need to go on campus.

Author: Angela Chang

Remembrance Day 2013 Holiday Service – Monday Nov 11

Remembrance Day is Monday, November 11th.

The Bus, SkyTrain and SeaBus services will run on regular Sunday/holiday schedules.

West Coast Express trains and TrainBus service will not operate.

Veterans ride free on Nov. 11

Remembrance Day

Lest we forget

This applies to Ordinary and Life Members of the Royal Canadian Legion, the Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans and the Korean Veterans Association.

Veterans just have to show their membership card to receive free transportation. Free service does not apply to associate members of these organizations.

Free transit service also extends to current members of the armed services including police (including auxiliaries), firefighters, the Coast Guard, BC Ambulance Paramedics and Department of Fisheries and Oceans Officers. They may ride free in uniform or by presenting their badge.

A moment of silence at 11am

All TransLink services including: Coast Mountain buses, West Vancouver Blue Bus, SkyTrain, SeaBus, and Community Shuttles will observe a period of silence at the stop they reach closest to at 11am on Remembrance Day.

Remembrance Day Parade reroutes – Monday, November 11

There are a number of Remembrance Day parades around Metro Vancouver. This means that some buses will be rerouted on Monday, November 11. For a complete list of reroutes please check the Alerts and Advisories page.

Transit service on Tuesday, November 12

On Tuesday, all transit modes return to their regular schedules!

 

Again, for specific info on reroutes, check out the Alerts page on the main TransLink site or call Customer Information at 604-953-3333.

Author: Angela Chang

We are donating a bus to Hope for Freedom Society!

Group picture of Coquitlam & Port Coquitlam MLA's and Mayors, with TransLink EVP Bob Paddon and Rob Thiessen from Hope for Freedom Society.

Group picture of Coquitlam & Port Coquitlam MLA’s and Mayors, with TransLink EVP Bob Paddon and Rob Thiessen from Hope for Freedom Society.

As an organization, we are always looking for ways to reach out and connect with communities in Metro Vancouver. When we were approached by the Hope for Freedom Society, it was an obvious choice – we were determined to make their request happen!

Hope for Freedom Society is a not-for-profit organization that offers assistance to those who face substance abuse, mental illness, violence and homelessness. They provide some great programs and resources to help their clients get back on their feet!

On behalf of the Hope for Freedom Society, City of Coquitlam and Coquitlam Councillor Brent Asmundson put forward a request for a retired HandyDART bus from TransLink.

Today, we are happy to share the news that TransLink will donate a decommissioned HandyDART bus to the Hope for Freedom Society. Since the bus has reached its seven year service term, it would have been decommissioned and replaced as part of regular service protocol.

Seeing it is still in a state of good repair thanks to regular maintenance by staff, TransLink is able to donate this bus so it can be used to transport clients to access food, shelter and other basic needs.

TransLink EVP Bob Paddon handed over the keys to Rob Thiessen, the Managing Director for Hope for Freedom Society today at 2:30pm at their Coquitlam location.

Author: Angela Chang

Halloween Photo Contest 2013

It’s Halloween tomorrow! Have you picked out your costumes yet?

One of our bus operators!

One of our undead bus operators.. scary!

There are lots of festivities happening all over Metro Vancouver for this spooky holiday. The Vancouver Public Space Network (VPSN) will host their annual Halloween SkyTrain party tomorrow Thursday, Oct 31! Take a look at their website for more details.

If you were on the SkyTrain or anywhere else on the system last weekend, today, tomorrow, or sometime in the next week, and dressed in costume, we want to see pictures!

Before you enter, please take a read through the contest terms and conditions. Below are the basics to enter the contest:

We’re giving away a FareCard for one lucky person who tweets, posts or emails us a photo that falls within these guidelines:

  • A photo of yourself in costume on transit
  • A photo of yourself wearing a transit-related costume
  • Your photo must be submitted no later than November 3, 2013 at midnight.

Here’s how to enter:

 

Photos may be used in the print Buzzer, the Buzzer blog, tweeted by @TransLink and posted on the TransLink Facebook page. Send us what you have – we’d love to see your pictures, whether they are silly, scary or spooky!

 

 

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Update: Thank you to everyone who submitted photos via Buzzer email, Facebook, or Twitter! It was fun to see so many creative or spooky costumes on our transit system. Congratulations to the winner: Kevin F.,  who posted a picture of his Ironman costume on the Canada Line on our Facebook page.

TransLink Halloween Photo Contest 2013

Kevin as Ironman on the Canada Line

Author: Angela Chang

Fall Bike to Work Week Oct 28 – Nov 3, 2013

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We tip our bike helmets to all of you who participate in this great week of cycling!

Fall Bike to Work Week starts next week, October 28 to November 3! It’s time to go from four wheels to two, and cycle your way to work or school.

If you are more accustomed to other forms of transportation, Bike to Work Week is the perfect opportunity to try cycling to your destinations and enjoy the health benefits. It’s a great way to incorporate exercise into your daily routine, reduce stress, and minimize your eco-footprint on the community!

The HUB Bike to Work Week website is a fantastic resource to log your daily commutes, learn about the celebration stations with free bike tune-ups and snack giveaways, and learn about new cycling skills.

Every year our friends at TravelSmart join in the fun and help out at celebration stations. Swing by and visit their booth, and perhaps pick up some great bike goodies to take home! The celebration stations are a fun place to be, with giveaways, free refreshments, bike services, prizes, and more. Here are the locations where you can find the TravelSmart team:

Tuesday October 29, 2013  |   6:30 – 9:00am 

Location: Chesterfield Ave and Esplanade Ave

Tuesday October 29, 2013  |  4 :00 – 6:00pm 

Location: Foster and Poirier, Coquitlam (near Coquitlam Rec Centre) 

The HUB will also be hosting a Bike to Work Week Hot Chocolate Social on Friday, November 1st. Enjoy a cup of hot cocoa to celebrate cycling!

Take a look into the cycling category on the Buzzer blog for more information about Bike to Work Week.

Happy cycling!

Author: Angela Chang

Thankgiving transit service, Monday October 14, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

A reminder that most transit service (Buses, SkyTrain, and SeaBus) will run on a Sunday/Holiday schedule for Thanksgiving on Monday, October 14, 2013.

The West Coast Express and TrainBus will not be operating.

Remember, on a holiday, you only need a single-zone fare to travel in all zones all day!

Service returns to regular weekday schedules for all modes on Tuesday, October 15, 2013.

Author: Angela Chang

Fun Poll Results: Many of you have tried different smart-card systems!

Two weeks ago, we asked you what kind of electronic fare-systems you have tried around the world.

This week, we get to take a look at the results!

Out of the total 164 votes, 36% of voters have tried the Octopus Card. Hong Kong had introduced the system in 1997, which now boasts over 23 million cards in circulation.

The Oyster card was launched in 2003 and was designed, developed and installed by Cubic Transportation Systems – the company behind TransLink’s Compass Card.

New York City introduced the MetroCard with the magnetic strip in 1993, and adopted the new contact-less smart card system in 2007, also manufactured by Cubic Transportation Systems, Inc.

Votes for the Oyster Card and MetroCard are super close – 32% of Buzzer voters have used the Oyster Card, and 30% have tried the MetroCard.

The Clipper Card for the San Francisco Bay Area, trails behind at 13% of voters indicating they’ve tried the card.

Fun fact: the Clipper card was initially introduced as “TransLink” by the Metropolitan Transpotation Commission as a pilot program! It was later rebranded in 2010 as the Clipper Card.

A whopping 48% of our voters have tried a smart-card that’s not listed here.

Wanna know more about Compass Card? Check out all the Buzzer posts here.

Author: Angela Chang

William’s travels: Visiting the Salem-Keizer Transit Centre

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The Buzzer blog documented the travels of TransLink’s William Hui while he took public transit from Vancouver, British Columbia to Portland, then Salem, Oregon! In the last leg of his travels, William had the opportunity to tour around the Salem-Keizer Transit Centre in Oregon. 

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LEED-quality building for passengers and transit staff.

While I was in Salen, Stephen Dickey, Director of Transportation Development at Cherriots (Salem-Keizer Transit), kindly gave me a tour of their system.

Stephen first showed me around their transit centre downtown. It has the capacity for 20 vehicles, but it was undergoing some rehabilitation when I visited. Hopefully they had the construction done quickly to get the buses back into the facility.

We then went for a quick visit to a maintenance yard, where Stephen showed me the garage, the wash bays as well as their heavy maintenance facilities.

 

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Buses at the transit centre.

Salem- Keizer has a fleet of approximately 100 vehicles, including paratransit and transit specifically for Medicaid.

The service is certainly growing – it is looking into implementing a U-Pass program, as well as a network structure modeled after three C’s: Centers, Corridors (primary frequent service lines), and Circulators (local lines connecting residential and outlying commercial areas to the corridors).

Our final stop was at Salem-Keizer’s newest park and ride, Keizer Transit Center. I was fortunate enough to visit on June 24th, which just happened to be the first day of operations at the state-of-the-art facility.

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Charging stations for electric vehicles.

Currently serviced by four routes, it has the capacity to serve eight. The facility offers 52 park and ride stalls, and is at the forefront of sustainability and innovation.

At the centre of the facility is a building with a waiting area and crew room, outfitted with solar panels, a green roof, and rainwater collection for the rain gardens.

For passengers, there are washrooms, helpful information panels, including schedule information on television screens (real time information to be coming soon), and free WiFi! There are even electric vehicle charging stations.

Congratulations to Stephen and his team on the successful completion of such an amazing facility, and thank you Stephen for taking me around town!

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Stephen Dickey and I at the Salem-Keizer Transit Center

Author: Angela Chang

Fun Poll: What other electronic smart cards have you used?

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Hello Buzzer readers!

21011495 Compass_olympic village_60

Metro Vancouver’s Compass Card is coming soon

If you have been following our recent posts, you probably know that we are now just over halfway through the beta testing phase for the Compass Card. This is an exciting time for all of us as we slowly introduce the first smart-card technology for our transit system here!

Vancouver is not the first to incorporate smart-card technology into their transit systems; there are many major cities who already have successfully implemented the system. Some examples of places include Hong Kong, London, and New York.

In Metro Vancouver, we have culturally diverse communities with people from all over the world. Some may have moved here from their homeland, others may be travellers.

Personally, I have not yet had the pleasure of using an electronic farecard in a different city, but I have heard great things about the Octopus Card in Hong Kong. Some of my friends are very excited to see Vancouver launch a similar smart-card system with the Compass Card.

Today’s poll will be about the transit systems with electronic farecards. Take the poll and tell us: Have you used any other smart-card systems around the world? What was your experience like?

 

Have you tried any of these smart-card systems around the world?

  • Other (30%, 78 Votes)
  • Octopus Card (Hong Kong) (23%, 59 Votes)
  • Oyster Card (London) (20%, 52 Votes)
  • MetroCard (New York) (19%, 49 Votes)
  • Clipper Card (San Francisco Bay Area) (8%, 22 Votes)

Total Voters: 164

Author: Angela Chang