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Translink Buzzer Blog

Compass Beta testing starts Monday!


Are you ready to test the system?

Are you ready to test the system? Follow the hashtag and @TransLink on Twitter

Starting Monday, September 9, you might start to see some people tapping in and tapping out with a Compass Card on the SkyTrain, SeaBus, West Coast Express and buses. They’re part of a group of 10,000 volunteer Compass Beta testers and we’re thrilled to have them helping us get the system right!

What does this mean for you?

If you’re not a Beta tester, just keep doing what you’ve always been doing!

If you’re a Beta tester, please remember to carry your usual valid paid fare—your Compass Beta test card will not be accepted as fare payment, it’s just for testing. Got feedback? Send it our way through the testing website as outlined in your welcome kit. And most importantly, don’t forget to tap in and tap out wherever you can!

What happens after Beta testing?

Once Beta testing is done in early October, we’ll analyze the results and make any changes that need to be made. After that, we’ll start slowly rolling out Compass to our customers in phases, beginning in late fall 2013.

For most riders, you won’t need to get your Compass Card until 2014, and we’ll be sure to let you know how and when to get it so you can start tapping! There’s lots of information coming your way in the next few months, so stay tuned.

For more information on Compass, please visit

You could be a Compass Beta tester

Want to help us put Compass to the test? Now until August 9, we’re recruiting 5,000 people to help us test equipment from across the entire system—and forever change history by helping launch the biggest transit project in Metro Vancouver!

How it works

Your mission as a Compass Beta tester? – simply “tap in” and “tap out” of the Compass system. Easy, right? Your taps will help us make sure the system is working properly and efficiently. It’s an important job, and we need your help.

And, if you’re extra-eager, there will also be extra tests you can help with, such as the testing of Compass Vending Machines. These special tests won’t be included in the general test program, but if you’re chosen as a tester, keep an eye on your email for invitations to these events.

We’ll be taking the results of all the tests and using it to make changes where needed, and fix things that need fixing.

Help us put Compass to the test!

Help us put Compass to the test!

Do you have what it takes?

As much as we’d love to include everyone, we only have a limited number of Compass Beta tester spots available, so get your application in early! When we get all the applications in, we’ll evaluate them based on three main things: routes, frequency and payment method.

All modes of transport, including SeaBus, West Coast Express, SkyTrain and bus, will be included. And, we’ll be trying to get a variety of transit users to best gauge feedback for the whole system. That means we not only want frequent users, but occasional users as well.

Apply now!

Sound good? Head over to and apply today. If you’re one of the lucky ones selected, we’ll send you an email letting you know and give you everything you need to get started testing this fall!

Join us and help us get it right for all our customers!

Northeast Sector Area Transit Plan survey now live

Do you take this bus? Then you should take our survey!

Do you travel regularly in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Anmore or Belcarra? Is so, we want to hear from you!

Be Part of the Plan!

We’ve started updating the Northeast Sector Area Transit Plan. The plan will identify a 30-year transit vision and transit priorities for the next 1-10 years for the area and is an opportunity for you to have your say on the future of transit in the Northeast Sector.

We’re in Phase 1 of the plan, trying to find out what the key issues and opportunities are for transit in the area. What do you think?

Take the survey

Tell us your thoughts by answering our online survey by 4 p.m. on Friday, June 14, 2013. Your input, along with financial and technical information, will help TransLink develop the plan, expected to be completed by fall 2014.

More to come

Stay tuned! There will be more opportunities for you to give your input on the future of transit in the Northeast Sector coming up in future phases.

Evergreen Line extension station names announced

Evergreen Line map

Have you been wondering what the new station names along the Evergreen Line extension project are going to be called? Well, we’re excited to tell you the names were just released this weekend and they are:

  • Lougheed Town Centre Station
  • Burquitlam Station
  • Moody Centre Station
  • Inlet Centre Station
  • Coquitlam Central Station
  • Lincoln Station
  • Lafarge Lake-Douglas Station

The line will provide a valuable transit link for Metro Vancouver residents when it opens in summer 2016. As TransLink’s CEO, Ian Jarvis said, “The Evergreen Line SkyTrain extension is a much needed link in the region’s transportation network and will be part of our communities for generations.”

To find out more, including a construction schedule for the next twelve months, check out the full news release, the Province’s Evergreen Line site or TransLink’s Evergreen Line page. There’s also a photo gallery from the announcement on Facebook!

Funding for the project is a partnership between the Government of Canada, the government of British Columbia and TransLink. TransLink will be responsible for operation and asset management of the Evergreen extension when it opens.

Construction starting at Newton Exchange

If you catch the bus at Newton Exchange, you’ll likely notice some construction activity going on there over the next few months.

TransLink is making improvements to the exchange, partly to accommodate the new B-Line bus service from King George SkyTrain Station to White Rock from Newton Exchange to Guildford via King George Boulevard and 104th avenue which will begin in the fall. The upgrades will also:

  • Enhance passenger safety, security and access
  • Enhance the aesthetic quality of both the exchange and the surrounding areas
  • Optimize operational efficiency

We’ll be adding better lighting, seating and wayfinding singage, and accessible features at bus stop to aid people with disabilities.

What does this mean for you?

Your bus stop at Newton Exchange will move, but not far at all! (Check out the map below for details). And don’t worry, we’ll have lots of signs up so you’ll be able to find your way there easily.


We expect all the construction to be wrapped up sometime this summer, all ready for the new B-Line!

TransLink 101: Where do our transit vehicles sleep at night?

TransLink 101 blog feature series banner

For February 2013, we’re going back to basics with TransLink 101—explaining TransLink and its work!

Buses settled in for the night.

Buses settled in for the night, in a photo from about 2006.

You ride our buses and trains during the day, but what happens when they go home at night?

Well, just like the rest of us, our vehicles need some downtime and TLC at the end of a long day of work. Each night, our SkyTrains, buses, SeaBuses and West Coast Express trains retire to their own resting places for a well-deserved break. Read on to find out just what happens!


From 2009: two generations of SkyTrain car inside our operations and maintenance centre near Edmonds.

From 2009: two generations of SkyTrain car inside our operations and maintenance centre near Edmonds.

For most of our SkyTrains, the end of the day means heading over to our Maintenance and Storage Facility near Edmonds SkyTrain station (15 stay on the line overnight, some along the Millennium Line and near King George Station).

George Booth, vehicle supervisor, says trains start coming off the line in the evening reduced service times so cleaning can start at 7:30 p.m. and finish by 4 a.m. Crews work through the night cleaning, changing light bulbs, replacing seat covers and doing other maintenance as needed.

And, depending on the temperatures outside, some of the SkyTrains might even head over to our automated train wash (how fun is that?!?). It’s just like a car wash, but for SkyTrains!

Read more »

Links and tidbits – January 3, 2013

Here’s a funky tune to groove to this fine and lovely day.

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


  • We can’t stop staring at this mesmerizing site. Programmer Andrew Walker has put together incredible videos showing people moving on transit throughout the day in various cities, including New York.


  • Celebrities take transit, too–including Jay-Z who recently had a priceless conversation with a senior on the Subway. (Thanks Tyler H. for sending us the link.)


  • Jason Vanderhill sent us a great shot of a night–er, early evening–bus. Thanks, Jason!


  • For all our fellow map lovers, The Atlantic Cities has posted six great transit maps that don’t map transit routes at all.


Our own Bob Paddon is part of this video from CUTA that talks about the economic benefits of transit in cities.

  • Christmas is over, but a new Kickstarter project hopes to make 100 ELFs soon. The ELF combines solar panels and bike pedals to create the ultimate efficient vehicle that keeps you dry and comfortable.  (Thanks Sheba!)


  • Suffering from SAD? Our own Tina Robinson discovered this article about light therapy bus shelters in Sweden. Personally, just looking at it makes me smile.


  • Also from Sheba: What really happens when transit is free? A French town did just that and the findings are fascinating (although experts caution different cities would have different results).


  • Thanks to @vancouvermetro for this tweet: ” Pranksters spruce up Saskatoon bus stop with a door, picket fence, bed, advertise it as a rental:


  • John Carmichael sent us a link to this article out of Calgary. The city has opened the first new LRT line built there in 25 years. It’s also Calgary’s biggest infrastructure project in its history. What’s next? It’s laid out in the Calgary Transit’s new 30-year plan.



The top 5 local transit photos of 2012

Photo by Chelle Patterson

We’re continuing our look back of some of the highlights of 2012 with our five favourite local transit-related photos from the year (check out our top five videos and wacky transit stories). We love the gorgeous photo above by Chelle Patterson, capturing a double rainbow behind the SeaBus. Sigh…love this one.


The first 555 ride

It was a cold, dark morning, but we were bursting with excitement when the new 555 bus started service on December 1. The new route takes riders from Langley to New West in just over 20 minutes. Also love: a rider on took his bike along, too.


The first faregate installed

It was a milestone day when the first faregate was installed at Marine Station and we were there to capture the moment. Since then, faregates have been popping up across the system in preparation for Compass.


Photo by Chris Cassidy

‘Tis the season and our popular reindeer bus has been busy making the rounds. This photo by Chris Cassidy of BusShots Canada really captures the spirit of the bus well (I can almost hear the people laughing and chatting on the bus). Thanks, Chris!


And, of course, we’d like to thank you–our readers and fans. This shot was taken at the 2012 I Love Transit Night (our biggest one yet!) and I love how happy everyone looks. The event is one of the highlights of our years and we always look forward to meeting so many of you in person. It’s so fantastic to know so many people are so passionate about transit. Thank you!

Blanket Drive on the Line, November 23-24, 2012

All smiles while dropping off blankets.

It’s the Blanket BC Society‘s second annual Drive on the Line campaign this Friday, November 23 and Saturday, November 24, 2012!

Feel free to bring your clean, warm blankets to select SkyTrain stations to help out folks in need this winter.

From 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., volunteers will collect blankets at the following stations along the Canada Line:

  • Richmond Brighouse
  • Lansdowne
  • Bridgeport
  • Oakridge
  • Broadway/City Hall
  • Yaletown Roundhouse
  • Vancouver City Centre
  • Waterfront

Blanket BC distributes the donated blankets to the needy through outreach programs and churches throughout Metro Vancouver. The Society is a registered charity, and is in fact the brainchild of a Canada Line employee, Gregory Ould.

For more information, please visit the Blanket BC website, or contact Gregory Ould, founder and executive director, at