Translink Buzzer Blog

BC Parkway construction is now complete!

Exciting news in time for Bike to Work Week! Improvements to the BC Parkway are now complete, so grab your two-wheeler and go for a twirl. These improvements, made over the summer and into fall, will enhance safety and the overall experience for cyclists and pedestrians.

What is the BC Parkway?

The BC Parkway is a 26-kilometre, multi-use path that roughly parallels SkyTrain’s Expo Line, connecting Surrey City Centre, New Westminster, South Burnaby and Vancouver. It’s an important facility for pedestrians, cyclists and wheelchair users in the region as it makes it easy for pedestrians and cyclists to connect to all Expo Line stations and encourages multi-modal transportation.

Continual improvements to the facility help keep the parkway in good condition and increase the safety and accessibility of the path while allowing users to get around with greater ease.

Here’s a quick look at what we did:

  • Removed and re-graded three retaining walls near Gilley Avenue;
  • Removed the wood pedestrian bridge near Bonsor Avenue, raising the BC Hydro vault and re-graded the path; and
  • Replaced the wood-tie retaining wall near Patterson Station.

Before and after pictures of the work done near Patterson Station (left) and Bonsor Avenue (right)

 

Did you know? TransLink is responsible for more than transit.

Author: Christina Jakopin

So you think you can busk?! 2017

Above is a video from the 2011 busker auditions!

Do you have what it takes to be a TransLink busker?! If the answer is yes, you’ve come to the right place! We are holding auditions on Tuesday, October 24, 2017 for new buskers in 2018.

Read more »

Where do our transit vehicles sleep at night?

Buses all settled and snuggled in for the night!

Our transit vehicles spend their days moving many people around Metro Vancouver, but have you ever wondered what happens to them after a long day of work? Each night, our SkyTrain vehicles, SeaBus vessels, buses and West Coast Express trains return to their homes for a well-deserved rest before they gear up for another busy day.

Read more »

Thank you for raising more than $2,100 for the Red Cross wildfire relief fund!

Since April 11, 1,249 wildfires have burned across the province leading to a state of emergency where many people were evacuated from their homes and more than one-million hectares of land was burned.

Read more »

Once upon a chime

Have you ever wondered where the iconic SkyTrain chime came from? Well, today is your lucky day because we’ve got an answer for you!

Once upon a chime…

Our story dates back to 1984, a few years before SkyTrain was operational. As a driverless automated system with no train operator on-board to remind passengers that doors were about to close and the train was ready to depart, we realized the need for some kind of automated on-board message.

FYI: SkyTrain opened in January 1986, on schedule and on budget ($854 million) with an initial 21.4 kms (13.3 miles) of guideway, 15 stations and 114 SkyTrain cars!

Once the decision was made to create an automated message, the next step was to determine what the message would sound like. We tested out many different ideas and even experimented with real bells, but nothing seemed to sound just right.  Since SkyTrain is an automated, high-tech system, the feeling was that a reasonably conventional sounding chime was needed.

Fun fact! The SkyTrain chime isn’t just for SkyTrain! The same chime can also be heard on-board our buses!

We decided to test out some different versions of the chime using a digital synthesizer at Little Mountain Sound Studio. It took some time to come up with a tone that would be usable and would catch people’s attention. After many trials and errors, we decided that the chime would have three tones going up and would serve it’s purpose to draw passengers attention to the train departing and the doors closing.

Did you know that the SkyTrain chime was recorded in the same studio that AC/DC, Bryan Adams, Aerosmith and many other talented musicians recorded in?!

Listen to the SkyTrain chime

This post originally appeared as a podcast on The Buzzer Blog on December 1, 2008.

Author: Christina Jakopin

Hamilton Transit Centre turns 1 today!

One year ago today, Hamilton Transit Centre (HTC) opened its doors in Richmond and started operations! Transit centres are the hubs of our transit system and are one of the most important factors in sustaining the livability of Metro Vancouver. Transit centres also keep buses on the road and help keep you moving daily, all 400,000 of you!

HTC has helped take pressure off our other bus depots and allowed us to increase efficiency and capacity as Metro Vancouver continues to grow. Today, HTC represents an important and sustainable advance in the modernization of our infrastructure.

What makes Hamilton Transit Centre so great?

HTC has the capacity to accommodate 300 forty-foot buses and features a maintenance building, service delivery building, waste water treatment building, bus washing building and fueling building. HTC is a unique and innovative facility that was built to LEED Silver standards and has many sustainable features including salvaged, pine beetle wood ceilings and roofs which helps to support B.C’s timber industry, LED lighting, a heat-reflective roof and much more. These initiatives allow us to be greener while reducing operating and maintenance costs. Lighting design at the Hamilton Transit Centre has been developed to keep as much light as possible directed to the facility and not to the surrounding residential sites.

So what?

The addition of HTC has allowed us to increase efficiency and capacity which allows us to deliver new, annual service hours across the region as part of  the 10-Year Vision.

Did you know that as of September 4, we’ve added 105,000 new annual service hours across the region? To learn more, visit translink.ca/servicechanges to see the full list of improvements.

Author: Christina Jakopin

UBC Exchange bus stops are moving September 4!

UBC Bus Stop Move

Riders of the 99 B-Line and the 49 Metrotown Station this announcement is for you! The bays for both routes will be moved to improve customer queuing. These changes will take effect on Monday, September 4, 2017.

Where can you find your bus as of September 4?

The bays will be switched to their new location at the UBC Exchange as follows:

  • Bay 4 (61935) – 99 B-Line
  • Bay 5 (61979) – 49 Metrotown Station

UBC Bus Stop Moves

For up-to-date transit service information including bus stop changes, sign up for Transit Alerts at translink.ca/alerts,
follow @TransLink or call Customer Service at 604.953.3333.

Author: Christina Jakopin

#ThanksABillion for one billion Compass taps!

It’s time to celebrate!! We are quickly approaching ONE BILLION Compass taps across the system and we want to commemorate this special occasion and to thank YOU, the Compass user, we have an exciting contest where you could win one of ten, special edition #Canada150 Compass Cards loaded with $50 in Stored Value! 

Update: Around 8:30 a.m. on August 24, 2017, a customer who boarded a bus on the 100 22nd Station/Marpole Loop tapped in on the bus’s mobile validator to record the billionth tap since the Compass system was first switched on for testing in September 2013! Read more »

Fun poll results: Your favourite summer spots to visit with transit

The results are in! We asked you what your favourite summer spot is to visit with transit and with 27 per cent of votes, Stanley Park is your favourite summer spot!

Coming in second and not too far behind with 20 per cent of votes is “Other”. Granville Island and New Westminster River Market both tied for third place with 14 per cent of votes each.

If you answered other, where do you love to go with transit in the summer? Summer isn’t over yet so comment below and let us know!

Following the top three summer destinations are White Pine Beach and Lonsdale Quay, each with eight per cent of votes, Queen Elizabeth Park with four per cent of votes, and Kitsilano Beach and Capilano Suspension Bridge coming in with three per cent of votes.

Thanks to everyone for voting!

If you have an idea for a poll, comment below or email thebuzzer@translink.ca!

Author: Christina Jakopin

TransLink is responsible for more than just transit?!

Cycling isn’t just one of the healthiest ways to travel, but it’s also a pollution-free mode of transport. Did you know that cycling 10km each way to work would save 1500 kg of greenhouse gas emissions a year?!

You may or may not know that TransLink is responsible for much more than just transit. Our cycling program is vast and varied, covering everything from regional cycling initiatives to end-of-trip facilities and we’re committed to addressing many of the transportation challenges that Metro Vancouver faces today.

Our multimodal mandate

We’re responsible for providing cycling options in the region and connecting cycling to the wider transportation system of Metro Vancouver while supporting over 107,000 bike trips daily! Our long-term transportation strategy, TransLink 2040 sets goals for the kind of transportation future we want. Within the next 30 years, one of the goals is that most trips in Metro Vancouver will be made by transit, walking and cycling.

If we can reduce the distances driven in the region by 33 per cent by designing our communities and transportation systems to encourage half of our trips to be by walking, cycling or transit, everyone will benefit! This will reduce congestion, make travel more reliable, protect our climate by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and by make roads safer.

Bicycle transportation system

Bikeway network

Did you know that there are multi-use paths that make biking to and from destinations easier, safer and more accessible?

  • The BC Parkway– A 26-kilometre, multi-use path that roughly parallels the Expo SkyTrain Line, connecting Surrey City Centre, New Westminster, South Burnaby and Vancouver.
  • The Central Valley Greenway– A 24-kilometre route for cycling, jogging, walking, wheelchairs, skateboarding and blading that connect Vancouver with Burnaby and New Westminster
  • Canada Line Pedestrian-Bicycling Bridge – The important link connecting the cycling routes of Richmond and Vancouver

Bike racks

Every single vehicle in our bus fleet has racks for your bike. That’s right. You don’t have to leave your bike at home ever again! Check out this Buzzer blog post with a detailed video on how to take your bike on the bus and then test out your skills at our bike rack demo in North Vancouver or on your next transit trip!

Transit tip! Exit from the front door and let the driver know that you need to remove your bike.

Bike Parkades

Currently, our two bike parkades are located at Main Street-Science World Station and King George Station with more parkades en route soon. Bike Parkades are well-lit, indoor bicycle parking facilities where users can lock up their bike for the day. They provide secure and convenient access seven days a week to customers who enroll through their Compass Card.

Bike Parkades cost only one dollar a day, with fees capped at eight dollars a month. Check out our how-to video below! Register online for access by visiting www.translink.ca/bikeparkade.

FYI: In the next two years four more Bike Parkades will be opening at King Edward, Joyce, Commercial-Broadway and Metrotown stations!

Partners

Our TravelSmart team works with a variety of corporate and government partners to ensure that Metro Vancouverites are aware of smarter travel options.

TravelSmart partners with the following organizations to deliver our programs throughout the region:

Some of our awesome bike partners

HUB focuses on showing people that cycling is an attractive and healthy choice for everyone. Their annual spring and fall Bike to Work weeks celebrate bike commuting across Metro Vancouver. We also partner with HUB on their different programs such as their Bike Host orientation program and their Bike to Shop Days.

BEST provides bike valet services at events in Metro Vancouver such as Khatsalano Fest, Celebration of Light, Vancouver Whitecaps home games and the Gastown Grand Prix. The Bike Valet operates at many events that TransLink supports and this year they expect to park 30,000 bicycles at events across the Metro Vancouver region!

Mark your calendar and be part of the change and help make Metro Vancouver a happier, healthier place to live, work and play! This year’s fall Bike to Work week will take place from October 23 to 27, 2017.

Wondering where to bike next? Plan your trip by exploring our online cycling maps and route planning tool!

Author: Christina Jakopin

I Love Transit week 2017 is coming!!

Our favourite week of the year is quickly approaching! I Love Transit Week! Since 2009, we have shared interesting stories celebrating our riders, transit enthusiasts and all the things we love about transit over the course of a special week dedicated to just that, our love of transit!

In the past, we’ve celebrated I Love Transit with a vintage bus, a marriage and so much more! This year, we have a bus load of more fun transit love, appreciation and stories to share with you.

Read more »

Your Guide to B.C. Day Holiday Service, Pride, Celebration of Light and more!

B.C. day is August 7 and that means a long weekend packed with events and of course, holiday transit service!

What’s happening this BC Day long weekend?

Honda Celebration of Light

The Honda Celebration of Light is one of Vancouver’s largest and most well-known festivals, and is recognized as the longest-running offshore fireworks competitions in the world. You can watch Canada put on a magical display of light on Saturday, August 5. For everything you need to know about the Celebration of Light, take a look here and here.

Vancouver Pride Festival

Vancouver Pride Week is on to paint the city in rainbows and celebrate the LGBTQ2+ community.

The Davie Street Block Party takes place on Friday, August 4 from 6 p.m. until midnight along Davie Street, between Burrard Street and Jervis Street.

Starting at 11 a.m., the Sunset Beach Festival happens on Sunday, August 6 at Sunset Beach.

One of Vancouver’s most impressive parades, the Pride Parade, takes place on Sunday, August 6 at noon at the corner of Robson Street and Thurlow Street. It proceeds west along Robson Street, then south down Denman Street and finally along Beach Avenue before finishing at Sunset Beach.

Look out for us in this historical, 1937 Hayes Anderson in the Pride Parade!

Harmony Arts Festival

The Harmony Arts Festival is a ten day long arts festival that begins this August long weekend on Friday, August 4. The festival is free and takes place in West Vancouver, along the water between Ambleside and John Lawson Park. The festival features live music, free nightly movies and art displays. To learn more, check out the Harmony Arts Festival website.

White Rock Sea Festival

Complete with live music, a torchlight parade, beachside yoga and fireworks, White Rock’s free Sea Festival takes place from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. on Saturday, August 5 and Sunday, August 6. For a complete list of activities and more information, go to White Rock Sea Festival.

Service Information

Celebration of Light Service

There will be added service for the finale of the Celebration of Light on Saturday, August 5. For more information on service changes, take a look here and be sure to check out our Buzzer blog post here for everything you need to know to have a fun and safe time at the Celebration of Light!

Vancouver Pride Parade

On Sunday, August 6 SkyTrain will have increased midday service from 8:30 a.m. until approximately 3 p.m. and will then move to the Sunday/Holiday schedule.

The Seabus and the Canada Line will operate regular Sunday hours and service.

Busses will operate regular Sunday hours and service, however there will be route changes to the 5 Robson and the 6 Davie to accommodate the parade route.

B.C. Day 

On Monday, August 7, Bus, SkyTrain, Canada Line and SeaBus services will operate on a Sunday/Holiday schedule. The West Coast Express will not operate.

Transit Tip: Holiday fares will be in effect. You only need a one-zone fare to travel across all zones!

Know before you go! For full detours and maps, visit translink.ca/alerts.
Help us plan your transit trip by using Trip Planner.
Have questions on the go? Tweet @TransLink or call us at 604.953.3333.

Author: Christina Jakopin

Fun poll! What’s your favourite summer spot to visit with transit?

#DenisthePlanner talks about White Pine Beach and other fun places you can get to on transit.

The birds are singin’, the sun is shinin’ and it’s summertime!  Here in Metro Vancouver, that means getting out and enjoying all that the city has to offer – from a relaxing day at the beach to a summertime hike.

How lucky are we to have so many fun, beautiful places to pick from that are ALL accessible by transit!

Vote below and let us know what your favourite summertime destination! If you don’t see your favourite summer hot spot, leave us a comment and tell us where you love to go.

What is your favorite summer spot to visit on transit?

  • Stanley Park (29%, 22 Votes)
  • Other (19%, 15 Votes)
  • Granville Island (13%, 10 Votes)
  • New Westminster River Market (13%, 10 Votes)
  • White Pine Beach (8%, 6 Votes)
  • Lonsdale Quay (8%, 6 Votes)
  • Capilano Suspension Bridge (4%, 3 Votes)
  • Queen Elizabeth Park (4%, 3 Votes)
  • Kitsilano Beach (3%, 2 Votes)
  • Crescent Beach (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 77

We did this poll last year with a few different summer destinations. Take a look here for more transit accessible summer fun spots!

Did you know? TransLink has seasonal service from Coquitlam Central Station to Buntzen Lake and White Pine Beach! Use our Trip Planner to plan your route.

Author: Christina Jakopin

Gearing up for a fun and safe Celebration of Light 2017 – Everything you need to know!

Each summer locals and tourists alike make their way to English Bay, the West End and Kits Point to be treated to the spectacular Honda Celebration of Light fireworks.

This year, starting at 10 p.m. each evening, the Celebration of Light will take place on:

  • Saturday, July 29 – Japan
  • Wednesday, August 2 – UK
  • Saturday, August 5 – Canada

More than 20,000 people take transit to and from the event each night, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead. Keep reading to familiarize yourself with everything you need to know to have a fun and safe evening at the Celebration of Light!

Increased Service

To get you to the fireworks in the safest and most convenient fashion, we have added additional bus and train service. For more information, take a look here.

TransLink Ambassadors

Do you have a question? Wondering which bus will get you to your destination or where the nearest SkyTrain station is? TransLink’s Ambassadors are here to help you! They have oodles of information to answer any questions that you have about the transit system. Word on the street is that they also come equipped with maps of the transit network.

Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for our TransLink Ambassadors, dressed in blue TravelSmart golf shirts! They will be out and about, at the Community Engagement Bus and at SkyTrain stations such as Burrard, Waterfront and Granville from 3:30 p.m. until 11:30 p.m.

Community Engagement Bus

You’ll also want to take in TransLink’s community engagement bus – it’s bright, playful and definitely hard to miss! Outreach teams will be on and around the bus to answer any transit related questions you may have! You can find the community engagement bus at Second Beach from 2 p.m. until 9 p.m. each night of the celebrations.

Transit Police

There will be additional Transit Police out and about to ensure everyone gets to and from their destinations safely! Our Transit Police have a mobile-friendly website to make it easy for you to say something, when you see something.

By visiting transitpolice.ca you are able to discreetly report a non-emergency police issue, contact us, download the SeeSay app or text 87-77-77.

 To stay up to date, you can follow along with a couple of our Transit Police for live tweets:

FYI: Since there will be an increase in riders on transit, take a look at our safety tips section to help keep yourself and your belongings safe while on transit.

Stay in the loop!

For more details, visit hondacelebrationoflight.com. For day-of information about the event, check Twitter at: @TransLink, @CityofVancouver, @VancouverPD, @VanFireRescue, @CelebOfLight. You can also follow along by using or searching the hashtag #CelebofLight.

Author: Christina Jakopin

Five tips and tricks to staying safe on the SkyTrain!

One of our top priorities is to make sure you get to and from your destination safely! Watch the video above to learn all of the best ways to stay safe while using the SkyTrain.

Here are our top five tips and tricks to a smooth journey:

Slow and steady

Don’t run for the train. Trains come quite frequently and there will be another one along in just a few minutes!

On the platform

Always stand behind the yellow line on platforms and wait at the Designated Waiting Areas as they are designed to provide added safety and security. Safety features you can find at Designated Waiting Areas are: enhanced lighting, a red emergency telephone that will connect you directly to the SkyTrain Control Centre, a bench and they are monitored by closed-circuit television.

Hold on!

SkyTrains are moving vehicles!  Make sure you hold on to a yellow marked handrail or bar to keep yourself steady.

Know where to find help

In the case of an emergency, you can contact the SkyTrain Control Centre by pressing on the silent passenger alarm. This is a yellow strip located on every window on board the SkyTrain. Triggering this alarm means that help will be on board as soon as possible. You can also use the on board speakerphone that is located on each car near the doors. By pressing the red button you can speak directly to SkyTrain control operators.

FYI: when in doubt, don`t be scared to ask a SkyTrain attendant for help!

Stay onboard!

Trains will stop between stations if something falls onto the track so make sure to stay on board the train and do not exit between stations. The safest place to be in the case of a stoppage is on the train!

Take a look here for more information on the cool safety features that you can find on board the SkyTrain!

Author: Christina Jakopin