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Translink Buzzer Blog

Fun Poll: How do you use your smartphone on transit?

Many riders turn to their phones on transit!

It’s pretty normal to be surrounded in a sea of smartphones while in transit.

Gone are the days of chatting to your neighbour, burying yourself in a book or daydreaming out the window.

Now, I know this isn’t necessarily true—lots of people still participate in these activities.

A past Buzzer Blog poll on how you spend most of your time on transit confirms it even.

So why in my daily commute do I see so many people gazing into their smartphones?

Maybe I’m just sensitive because I don’t have data on my phone. Confined to WIFI zones, my internet connection is rarely mobile.

So despite previous poll results, from personal observation I’m inclined to believe that a good portion of riders are still hanging out with their smartphones while in transit.

So here’s my question: what are you doing on your phone?

Playing games? Streaming videos? Reading the news? Maybe you are randomly clicking your way deeper into the internet abyss?

I want to know! Take the poll and let a girl in on what it’s like to be connected.

Let us know by voting for your top-seven below, leaving a comment, tweeting us @TheBuzzer, or emailing us at thebuzzer@translink.ca! Also, let us know in the comments if we missed anything you like to do on your smartphone while on transit!

How do you use your smartphone on transit?

  • catch up on emails, texts and other messages (27%, 57 Votes)
  • read (news, articles, blogs) (24%, 50 Votes)
  • connect on social media (18%, 38 Votes)
  • play games (12%, 24 Votes)
  • stream music (11%, 22 Votes)
  • other (7%, 14 Votes)
  • stream videos (1%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 97

Author: Laura Tennant

A day of transit activity visualized through video!

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Static transit maps are great, but dynamic ones are better!

You don’t have to tell that to Andrew Walker, Vice President of development at Sumus Technology.

Andrew is all about bringing life to data using a GTFS video creator, something he has done for around 100 cities’ transit schedules from around the globe.

Each visualization map traces one day of transit service schedules during a 24 hour period. Colour coded and set to music, these maps allow us to see the size of the system in a way that static maps cannot.

Metro Vancouver’s routes have been mapped a few times by Andrew.  You can check out his video from 2012 and view his other maps of transit across the globe on his YouTube channel

And don’t forget to check out the rest of our 125 Years of Transit posts on the blog and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by searching for the #Transit125 hashtag

Author: Laura Tennant

Looking back at Metro Vancouver’s Transit History with Angus McIntyre!

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Angus back in the day

Angus back in the day

June 27th marked 125 years of transit in the region. To honour this special occasion we have been mining old photos, stories and even brought a 1954 trolley bus out of retirement to celebrate!

If buses could talk, we’d probably ask the old Brill trolley how things have changed since it first hit the streets in 1954.

Seeing as talking is not yet a feature of buses, I thought it best to catch up with someone who has not only seen our system evolve over the decades, but is also able to share their experiences!

1954 Brill Trolley

1957 Brill Diesel

So, last week I visited TRAMS BC and chatted with retired bus operator, Angus McIntyre. Having spent 41 years driving buses in Vancouver, Angus knows the transit system well and was nice enough to gives us an overview of transit history and his time behind the wheel.

According to Angus, he started as an operator when he was 21, back when BC Hydro was the transit authority.

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Driver’s seat of the 1954 trolley bus!

Initially covering the evening shift route along Nanaimo, Powell St. to Stanley Park, he says, that back then, being an operator was both physically and mentally challenging.

He explained  “there wasn’t any power steering or right hand mirrors and drivers also had to handle money.” “You’d be steering with your left hand and filling the [money] changer with the other!”

Staying on similar routes for years at a time, Angus  says he loved getting to know his passengers. He even tallied the number of people that boarded his bus and bought his one millionth passenger a book of faresaver tickets!

Angus next to a 1957 GMC bus

Angus next to a 1957 GMC bus

During our chat, Angus also gave me a quick rundown of the history of transit in the region.

As Angus tells it,  Metro Vancouver’s transportation network has changed hands more than a couple of times since the first streetcars rumbled through Vancouver in 1890.

Citing transit history like a pro, Angus  led me down the path of changing transit authorities over time from its start with independent companies in 1890 to BC Electric company in 1897, BC Hydro in 1962, Metro Transit Operating Company in 1973, BC Transit in 1983 and then TransLink in 1999.

Angus McIntyre

Here’s Angus holding a license plate perfect for celebrating 125 years of transit!

Looking at this timeline, Angus said during his career he had “four employers, three different unions and four major labour disputes”!

Despite these many changes he insists that although “bus schemes [liveries] changed and uniforms changed, the transit service still remained the same”.

When I asked Angus what crosses his mind when he thinks about 125 years of transit in the region, he said he thinks of “The early pictures showing the first streetcar running within the tiny city limits, and how the transit system is now so huge.”

According to Angus, the system was once so small that when he started as an operator, private commuter clubs were chartering buses to Tsawwassen and White Rock to supplement the non existent transit service in these areas.

He explains “the transit system had no money and couldn’t expand [so] people were doing a do-it-yourself transit system without the internet or anything. I don’t know how these people found each other, but you’d go down to Howe and Robson in the afternoon and there would be all these people waiting, but not at a bus stop. Then a school bus would pull up and all these people would get on and head somewhere out of the city”.

To say the least, talking to Angus about Metro Vancouver’s early transportation network was an eye-opener.

It’s hard to fathom getting around today without our current infrastructure — I’m pretty thankful I’m not chartering a bus everyday to get to work!

Author: Laura Tennant

King George Station Bike Parkade is now open!

Our new bike parkade!

Our new bike parkade!

 

For those of you that have been eagerly awaiting the opening of the new Bike Parkade at King George Station — today is the day!

That’s right, it has now become even easier for cyclists to take transit!

For a $1 a day up to a maximum of $8 a month (plus a one-time $8 registration fee) you can now park at one of the 70 new bike lockers at King George Station.

These additional parking spaces are accessible by key card and double the capacity of the existing facility.

The way it works is that you pay a $1 a day, but if you park your bike eight days in a single calendar month, you won’t be charged again until the following month!

So, you may be asking, how do I get my hands on one of these coveted spots?

Well, first you need to register and here’s how you do it:

  • Head to www.translink.ca/bikeparkade and follow the link to the registration site.
  • Fill out the online registration, provide ongoing payment information and then pay the registration fee.
  • Finally, check the mail! Your very own access card will be mailed to you within the next five business days.

The King George Bike Parkade is the second of its kind on our system (first one opened in 2014 at Main St.-Science World Station) and over the next few years, we are expecting to replace even more bike lockers at some of our busiest stations and bus loops!

Improving cyclists’ connections to the transit network and encouraging people to hop on their bikes is pretty exciting.

By making cycling safer and easier we are one step closer to reaching Metro Vancouver’s goal to reduce single-occupancy car use and increase trips made by foot, bike and transit!

Links and Tidbits – July 3, 2015

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 West Coast Express Ticket

»   The Chow Bus is on the move in Tennessee to fight child hunger!

»   Just try and escape the internet! Google Sidewalk makes plans to fit bus stops with WIFI hubs.

»   Subway etiquette breaches are ranked. How is gross kissing only at 54?

»   Build it and they will…blog about it? Our buses have entered the world of Minecraft!

»   I have to agree, technically this is still manspreading.

»   The amount of transit money lost per trip in major U.S. cities has been charted. Looks like everyone is losing!

»   “It’s got its feet on the seats, but I’ll allow it because of that sweet hat.” Apparently, if you are a stylish goat you can break all the rules.

»   How many ways can the Metro ‘M’ be designed? CityLab counted 77 super hero-esque logos!

»   Personalized mass transit? There’s an app for that.

»   Virtual reality transit etiquette at its best or at its worst? You decide.

»   Music to my ears! Former LCD Soundsytem frontman James Murphy is working on a Subway Symphony.

»   Contortionists give us a look at extreme transit etiquette. Kinda looks like it hurts, no?

»   Who wants to get inked on this old TriMet Bus tattoo parlour? Anyone?

»   What do you get when you cross a Concorde, a rail gun and an air hockey table? Meet the ‘fifth mode of transportation’.

»   I dig these smooth transit moves. Watch subway dancers bring the NYC sound to the underground!

»   Stick it to them! Sexist and misogynistic NYC subway ads get sticker bombed.

»   Off the cuff travel planning takes on new meaning with subway bracelets. You’ll never be lost again!

»   Hop, skip, Skedaddle to Crane beach (and take me with you).

»   It seems suffering for your art is still a thing: transit travel acts as a muse for NYC art show PLATFORM.

»   Love may conquer all, but paint helps too! A scary subway in England is transformed by artists into a tunnel of love.

»   Here’s 21 reasons why Canadian public transportation isn’t so bad. Our system makes a cameo in 13 and 20!

»   It looks like waiting for the bus just got a bit more fun in Gloucester as Zumba makes its way to the platform!

»   Here are five things to know about Toronto’s love affair with subway tokens and some cool old photos of the fare system. Check out that old paper transfer design!

Compass Card vs. paper transfers

Author: Laura Tennant

International Bus Benchmarking Group looks at CMBC!

Did you know that CMBC is a member of the International Bus Benchmarking Group (IBBG)?

Joining 14 other bus organizations from cities around the world such Paris, Barcelona and Dublin, being an IBBG member helps us understand how our bus performance and operations stack up globally.

As a part of the group we are given an inside look at global industry trends that help us ensure we have the best practices in place in Metro Vancouver. To check out what IBBG is all about you can watch this informational video (note: the video is six years old, so a little dated) or visit their website. 

This morning we were lucky enough to attend a presentation led by the Associate Director of the Bus Benchmarking, Mark Trompet. Sharing data collected from bus organizations worldwide, Mark gave us an overview of key performance indicators measured by IBBG and how Metro Vancouver’s bus network compares to other systems.

Catching up with Mark, we did a quick interview about his work at IBBG and CMBC’s performance. Enjoy!

Author: Laura Tennant

A celebration of 125 years of transit… with a vintage trolley bus!

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vintage trolley bus

This summer, you’re invited to join our celebration of 125 years of public transit in BC!

And wow, do we ever have a lot to to celebrate!

Transit in the region has come a long way since the first streetcars rumbled through Vancouver’s core in 1890.

Just look at how our system has expanded over the years to meet the growing population.

Following our initial trolley bus and rubber-tired bus fleets of early days, when the SeaBus hit the scene in 1977 our system began carrying more passengers to the North Shore.

Then the SkyTrain cruised in a few years later for EXPO 86 with The Millennium Line following hot on its heels in 2002.

And then the Canada Line infrastructure further grew our system for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Now, the Evergreen Line is set to expand our transportation network even further to the east.

So, all in all, it has been a busy 125 years!

In honour of this special anniversary we have a few things up our sleeves to mark the occasion…including free rides on a vintage trolley bus!

This Sunday, an old 1954 Canadian Car-Brill  trolley bus (originally acquired by BC Electric Railway
Company) will be brought out of retirement to give passengers a free ride to designated downtown stops.

Sunday’s vintage trolley bus route! The bus is running from 11am to 3pm, picking up and dropping off at stops marked on the map.

Running from 11am to 3pm, the old trolley will tour on a 30 minute schedule from these stops:

  • Southbound from Victory Square –
    Cambie St at Hastings St, stop #50410
  • Burrard Station – Burrard St at Melville St, stop #50043
  • Burrard St at Robson St, stop #50045
  • Davie St at Howe St, stop #50011
  • Seymour St at Pender St, stop #61519
  • Waterfront Station – Cordova St at Richards St

A couple of TRAMS BC volunteers will also be on board, so if you have questions about the trolley or just want to chat about transit history, these guys got you covered.

Please note, the trolley is not accessible for passengers with disabilities.

Over the upcoming weeks we will continue to celebrate 125 years of transit, so stay tuned for special interviews, archival photos and more!

Author: Laura Tennant

You Keep Us Moving — Marisa

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Marisa is a puzzle solver. She is a Senior Manager for System Planning.

Her job is to look at all 1,800 square kilometres of our system and see how the pieces of transit and the community fit together to form the bigger picture. Her team works to make the decisions of where to put what and why across the system for all modes of transit and how that will develop in the future.

For Marisa, it’s all about making change in the communities and their futures.

You keep us moving. Thank you!

Join in the conversation on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook with the hashtag #YouMoveUs.

Read more at translink.ca/youmoveus.

Author: Laura Tennant

Be heard at our AGM!

AGM

Our AGM this Friday is fast approaching!

On June 26th from 10am to 11:30am at the Anvil Centre (777 Columbia St.) we will be sharing our 2014 operational and financial milestones with regional stakeholders, senior TransLink staff, media and those of the general public that can attend.

The event will kick off our celebration of 125 years in transit as well as give us a chance to thank those that have kept us moving today and into tomorrow.

Our AGM is an excellent opportunity to ask any burning questions you have or ask a question about the work that TransLink does.

So, what if you can’t make it? If you can’t attend this Friday here’s your chance to put forward a question at our AGM.

Two Ways to Submit a Question:

  • Post your question in the comments section. We’ll try our best to answer it at the AGM and will also post the answer.
  • Send your queries to thebuzzer@translink.ca. Make sure to include “AGM” in the subject line and also include your name (first required both if you like).

While not all questions will be able to be asked live at the AGM (we get a lot of questions…), we will try to respond to your questions via email.

Your input matters — ask away!

Author: Laura Tennant

You Keep Us Moving — Ajay

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Meet Ajay.

He is a General Investigations Officer for Coast Mountain Bus Company.

Ajay takes pride in providing safety and security for employees and passengers.

As a part of the CMBC Transit Security team he handles non-criminal incidents and helps keep an eye on the system to make it a safer environment for everyone.

Ajay has worked for CMBC for the past 10 years and loves that his job makes a difference!

You keep us moving. Thank you!

Join in the conversation on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook with the hashtag #YouMoveUs.

Read more at translink.ca/youmoveus.

Did you know that Transit Security now has a Bike Patrol? Check out our Buzzer Blog post to get the inside scoop!

Author: Laura Tennant

Transit in the News — June 20, 2015

A weekly section about transit making headlines around the globe. Have an article you want to share?
Comment below or email us.
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Free transit announced for Pan Am Games ticket holders in Toronto.

Mum’s copper coins refused by First Bus.

Hamilton looks at building gondalas as part of public transit.

Preliminary public transportation for Pope’s visit to Philadelphia released.

Weeks of disruption for Edinburgh-Glasgow rail users.

Rail firm ‘breaks promise’ on reviving village station.

Stephen Harper promises funding for Toronto’s SmartTrack transit line.

GetMovingSEQ: Southeast’s public transit among most expensive in the world.

Metro urges attendees to ride mass transit during Special Olympics.

Expect a busy night on transit with World soccer and Shania Twain.

3.9 billion World Trade Center transit hub nears completion.

A Railway City welcome for Pan Am Games torch.

Passenger train service may be arriving in Sarnia.

If you’re looking for interesting facts and fun stories about transit, check out our monthly Links and Tidbits series.

Author: Laura Tennant

Bus operator goes above and beyond to fight roadside fire!

Earlier this week, bus operator George Simnos was driving a full 84 UBC bus along West 6th Ave when he noticed something unusual. Smoke was coming from a patch of bushes near a wooden fence, about a 100 metres from a few townhomes and parkland.

Immediately, George’s operator training kicked in. Stopping the bus (with hazards on, of course), George checked for passenger safety before grabbing the onboard fire extinguisher and starting work on the blaze.

The flames, now about a foot high, had started to climb the six-foot tall fence nearby. George quickly doused the flames. However, the blaze was resilient and continued to spark, until a passenger with a bucket of water from the pub across the street, came and soaked the fire.

Then, another passenger helped George finish it if off by kicking dirt on the area. Fire trucks arrived on the scene minutes later and took over. That’s when George got back on the bus and was greeted with a standing ovation from his passengers.

According to George he acted on the fire because he likes helping people. Shrugging off the “hero” title, he says he wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.

We’d like to tip our hat to George and his passengers for helping put out a fire before it got out of hand and making sure everyone was safe.

Author: Laura Tennant

You Keep Us Moving — Wendy

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Meet Wendy.

She helps our system be one of the safest in North America as a sergeant with Transit Police and one of the original members of our service.

Wendy is internationally known for her anti-graffiti strategy and her work with schools in the Metro Vancouver area and beyond.

She is proud of her job because she knows she is making a difference

You keep us moving. Thank you!

Join in the conversation on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook with the hashtag #YouMoveUs.

Read more at translink.ca/youmoveus.

Author: Laura Tennant

Buzzer Illustrator Interview: Mouki Butt

Mouki (well, her interpretation of herself at least) and her illustration!

Mouki (well, her interpretation of herself at least) and her illustration!

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a…bus!

The cover of this summer’s Buzzer print edition is inspired by both transit and the Women’s World Cup.

Featuring the wonderful work of Mouki Butt, the cover of the June 2015 issue captures the excitement of the FIFA event while still remaining true to our transportation roots.

We were lucky enough to do a quick interview with Mouki about her work:

Who is Mouki Butt?

I’m an illustrator who loves to draw all things cute.

Describe your illustration style in three words.

Cute, clean, colourful.

How did you arrive at this illustration? What was your inspiration?

With such a big soccer event happening this month, and so many attendees taking transit, it seemed appropriate to incorporate both.

Have you ever drawn a flying bus before? Any Keanu Reeves/Speed inspired drawings in the past?

No, this was my first flying bus, but it won’t be my last.

In our last interview you said you love taking the SkyTrain. Still riding and taking in those views?

Yes! The SkyTrain is great! I see so many wonderful faces when taking transit. It’s very inspirational for illustrating.

Any cool summer plans?

Exploring more of BC, stargazing, and swimming in the ocean.

Thanks Mouki! Haven’t picked-up the June 2015 issue of the Buzzer yet? You can download it here!

Author: Laura Tennant

You Keep Us Moving — Cameron

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You may not see Cameron out on the system but he’s always around digitally!

Cameron is a supervisor for Customer Information.

With 235 million rides this year, Cameron and the @TransLink team on Twitter, web forum and phone provide updates about service and responds in real time to all of your concerns.

He helps riders have as much information as possible to get where they’re going safely and quickly!

You keep us moving. Thank you!

Join in the conversation on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook with the hashtag #YouMoveUs.

Read more at translink.ca/youmoveus.

Author: Laura Tennant