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Translink Buzzer Blog

Connections to the NEW Pattullo Bridge consultations

It's time to start talking about connecting to the NEW Pattullo Bridge

It’s time to start talking about connecting to the NEW Pattullo Bridge

Hi Buzzer readers. While we rehabilitate the 78-year-old Pattullo Bridge, TransLink is working hard on the NEW Pattullo Bridge!

We’re consulting with the public on proposed bridge connections in New Westminister and Surrey, June 13 – July 11, 2016

Learn more and have your say

First, you’ll want to check the translink.ca/pattulloreplacement page for the most comprehensive and up-to-date info. Below are two ways you can get involved plucked from that page:

Provide feedback online by going to translink.ca/pattulloreplacement and contact us via email.

Surrey – open houses
Wednesday, June 15, 2016 5-8 p.m. Surrey City Hall – 13450 104 Avenue, Surrey

Saturday, June 25, 2016 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Bridgeview Elementary School – 12834 115A Avenue Surrey

New Westminster – open houses
Saturday, June 18 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Sapperton Pensioners’ Hall – 318 Keary Street, New Westminster

Wednesday, June 22 5-8 p.m. Inn at the Quay – 900 Quayside Drive, New Westminster

A bit of history

In their June 2014 “Regional Transportation Investments – a Vision for Metro Vancouver”, the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation identified that the Pattullo Bridge replacement will be a

“new, four-lane bridge, primarily funded by user pricing. The replacement bridge will be designed in a manner so as not to foreclose the consideration to six lanes, subject to all-party agreement and Mayors’ Council approval.”

TransLink has initiated the planning and project development for the replacement bridge, including beginning environmental studies and seeking public input on community connections.

While funding for a new bridge is not yet in place, TransLink is working with senior government partners and the Mayors’ Council to secure the necessary funding for this critical project.

Pattullo, the Buzzer turns 100 and more in our second Facebook Live

Last Thursday I sat down with TransLink spokesperson Jennifer Morland for our second Facebook Live. If you missed it, here it is.

We’re planning on doing live broadcasts more often. Do you have a topic or location you’d like to suggest for a future broadcast? Let us know and we’ll try our best to make them as interesting, informative and as fun as possible. Enjoy!

TransLink in the Media: TransLink CEO, Kevin Desmond, speaks with the media

Kevin Desmond has only been at the CEO of TransLink job for six weeks, but he’s already done a host of media interviews and events.

Last week he addressed media after speaking at the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade Transportation Summit (audio below).


Next up was the Lynda Steele Show on CKNW (Video above) follow by On the Coast on CBC Radio One for a ride on the 99 B-Line and more with Stephen Quinn yesterday (Skip to 2:06:30 to hear Kevin and Stephen).

 

UPDATE: Kevin was also on Global News! (May 5, 2016)

We’re sure Kevin will be doing more media in the future and we’ll keep sharing them with you.

Compass update following our full Compass roll out

Compass has arrived and it’s fully rolled out! And last Thursday TransLink CEO, Kevin Desmond, held a Compass update at TransLink Headquarters.

Above is the recorder of our live Periscope of the event. If you’d like to see the online comments (including hearts!) and answers, you can see them on our Katch of the Periscope.

For all you number crunchers out there, here are the latest Compass numbers!

  • 800,000 customers using a Compass Card on a regular basis.

  • 94% of journeys on our system are made with a Compass Card or Ticket.

  • More than 1.3 million taps are recorded every weekday.

  • 149,000 people loaded an April Monthly Pass to their Compass Card.

  • Approximately 363,000 Compass Cards are registered (46%).

  • Approximately 91,000 customers have signed up for AutoLoad.

Name the new Transit Police dog

 

This puppy was one of the most fun subjects we’ve ever had the pleasure to work with!

Meet the newest member of the Transit Police. She’s a 10-months-old chocolate lab with amber eyes and a playful disposition. She joins three other dogs on the force, and her job will be to help sniff out suspicious packages left on the system.

I say ‘she’ because she doesn’t have a name yet. Think you have a great name for the newest member on the force? Well, here’s your chance to name her!

The Transit Police are asking students from K thru 12 to provide a name they think would be perfect for the puppy. The contest runs until February 12, 2016 at midnight.

The student who provides the winning name will win a visit to their school from the puppy and her police officer handler for a presentation, as well as a bag of special goodies.

Entries should be submitted to: namethepuppycontest@transitpolice.bc.ca

Family Day holiday service, February 8, 2016

Transit can take you where you need to go this Family Day!

Transit can take you where you need to go this Family Day!

Monday February 8th is Family Day! Whatever you’re planning to do, why not take transit to do it!

Dont forget! Because Family Day is a holiday you’ll want to know about the change of service below.

Buses, SkyTrain and SeaBus – will operate on the Sunday/Holiday schedule on Family Day, Monday, February 8, 2015. Sunday/Holiday fares will be in effect.

West Coast Express will not operate on Family Day.

All services will be back on their regular weekday schedules, Tuesday, February. 9.

Know before you go!

Use the Trip Planner to check your route and schedule times prior to leaving. The information noted here is subject to change. For the latest and most up-to-date information, bookmark translink.ca on your mobile device so you can know on the go. Customer Information can be reached at 604.953.3333 or tweet us @TransLink.

 

Are you planning on taking transit to Family Day Event on Monday? Comment below and let us know where you’re headed!

Author: Robert Willis

Main Street-Science World Station upgrades are now complete!

The finishing touches are all done at Main Street-Science World Station! Much has changed. With a growing region and the introduction of Compass we needed to lengthen the stationhouse and install fare gates. While we were at it, we improved accessibility, visibility and safety and added the secure bike parkade. Check out all the details in the video, when we blogged about it last and on the TransLink website.

Main Street-Science World Station isn’t the only transit property getting a facelift. Upgrades are also underway at Joyce-Collingwood, Commercial-Broadway, Metrotown and New Westminster Station. It’s all part of the Expo Upgrade Strategy.

 

Have you seen or used the upgraded Main Street–Science World Station?
What do you think? Be sure to comment below and let us know!

 

Author: Robert Willis

Testing all gates closed at Sperling-Burnaby Lake Station today

All gates closed at Sperling today!

All gates closed at Sperling today!

Another day, another all gates closed test. Yesterday we were testing having all fare gates closed at Edmonds Station. Today is Sperling-Burnaby Lake Station’s turn.

Like yesterday, we’re testing out having all the gates closed at one station. Reports from the Edmonds test were great with many people using Compass fare products and others being exposed to it and learning how to use Compass tickets.

We will have SkyTrain Attendants, Customer Service Attendants and supervisors on both sides of the fare gates to make sure everyone is able to get through. If you show up to the fare gates using old fare media (FareSavers or bus tickets), staff will replace it with a Compass Ticket.

As noted previously, we’re planning more tests like today’s in the near future. We’ll keep you posted of those on the blog!

UPDATE: We’ll be testing all gates closed at Nanaimo Station tomorrow!

Have you been through fare gates that are all closed yet? If so, let us know your thoughts.

Testing all gates closed at Edmonds Station today

All is going well will all gates closed today!

All is going well with all gates closed today!

As we move along with phasing in the Compass Card system, we’re constantly testing all aspects of the cards, fare gates and readers. Today, we’re testing having all the fare gates closed at Edmonds Station. No worries – it’s just a one-day test! We will have SkyTrain Attendants, Customer Service Attendants and supervisors on both sides of the fare gates to make sure everyone is able to get through. If you show up to the fare gates using old fare media (FareSavers or bus tickets), staff will replace it with a Compass Ticket.

Besides seeing how closing all fare gates goes in general, part of the test is to track the amount of old media being exchanged for Compass products. We will use the information to develop additional plans and schedules to use when implementing full station gate closures throughout the system.

Since November of last year all stations have had a least one Compass fare gate closed to both incentivize using Compass and to allow for both fare media to be used on the SkyTrain system. After all, a closed fare gate is the best reminder to tap in and tap out.

As we move closer to full gate closures on the system you may see more tests like today’s. But don’t worry. We’ll give you all fair warning and will have staff on hand, like we are today, to make sure the transition goes smoothly.

 

BikeMaps.org and other cycling resources on TransLink.ca

cycling into the sunset

TransLink.ca has all your community cycling resources!

Are you looking to get into cycling in Metro Vancouver? Are you unsure of where the best, safest and longest stretches of cycling paths and lanes? Or maybe you want to learn more about the region’s cycling community in general.

TransLink.ca is a great place to start your cycling journey!

Nestled in the cycling section of our website is the Community Cycling Resources page.

FYI, you’re going to want to bookmark it because it’s a great repository for all things cycling!

bikemaps

Head to BikeMaps.org to view your cycling routes

Our latest addition to the page is a link to BikeMaps.org a crowdsource tool for the global mapping of cycling safety.

The focus on the map is, “… to identify areas with cycling safety issues. These results can be used by municipalities to prioritize infrastructure investments, resulting in safer streets for cycling.”

It’s pretty cool as you zoom into your area!

The map shows you detailed locations of bike thefts, accidents, rough or unfavourable cycling conditions and traffic jam hot spots.

Take a look and let us know what you think by commenting below.

Happy riding!

Our Breaking Bad bus operator

Bill Laird, Coast Mountain Bus' very own Walter White...of sorts

Bill Laird, Coast Mountain Bus’ very own Walter White…of sorts

If you take the 135 regularly or stumbled upon the story on Internet, you’d know that one of our CMBC bus operators looks a lot like the famous TV drama character Walter White of Breaking Bad.

He looks so much like him that he’s spawned memes and numerous nicknames. If you haven’t come across the one who stops, then you’re in luck! The Buzzer interviewed him. Enjoy!

How long have you been a bus operator?

I got started 25 years ago, September 1990.

Do you watch Breaking Bad?

I watch it lots, and I love it. I’ve seen all the seasons a couple of times. It’s a wonderful show. It’s well written, the cast is great as well as the acting – I think they nailed it.

Any favourite parts that stand out?

There are lots of them, but I’ll narrow it down for you. The part where Hank and Walter finally confront each other about who Walter really is, OK, and Hank realizes all this time under my nose it’s been my brother in law, and he’s been a meth dealer.

The other time is when Walter’s talking to Skylar and he says he’s not really the man she thinks he is. And he gets to say that classic line (goes into character) I am the one who knocks.

What do you think of Walter?

Walter starts out as a normal family guy, but out of a misguided sense of necessity, changes into something totally different and not very nice.

Anything in common with the character?

The only thing we have in common is we’re both family guys, and we do care for our families. The difference is that I’m happy with my life and where I’m going, and I don’t feel any need to be doing anything different.

Your passengers say you’re affable and really seem to enjoy your job.

That’s true. I’m very happy. The people are wonderful and I appreciate all the kind things that have been said.

When were you first eyed as Walter?

Last September, a co-worker named Bob looked at me and said, “Oh my god – Heisenberg!” And then of course every time we saw each other after we’d be joking about it, and making references to the show.

When did you grow the goatee?

That would be September, around the same time. I saw a picture of Walter online and I thought, I really like that, I could do that. With a little bit of help from Just For Men (laughs) and, there we go!

People point it out a lot?

Yeah, a fair amount.

What do you say?

I laugh and say thanks I really appreciate that. Because it’s a whole lot of fun.

Does it start conversations?

Oh definitely. People will say, ‘hey, do you have any little bags of blue rock candy?’ Or ‘this is what happened! – you didn’t really die in the show! You snuck into Canada, (laughs) and you became a bus driver.’ The funniest thing I had happen is I had a gentleman get on the bus at SFU and he does this double take and walks to the back. Later, he walks up to me and says ‘I thought this was a prank thing with the guy from Breaking Bad pretending to be a bus driver so they could get people’s responses’ – like a Candid Camera-type thing. We had a good laugh over that.

What’s strangest thing you’ve been asked as a bus operator?

After all the things I’ve heard over 25 years, nothing is strange.

Best part of driving 135 bus?

The people. The students up at SFU, the business people I pick up, and the people I pick up on their daily shopping trips. I have a lot of regular customers. It’s great.

If not a bus operator, what would you do?

There was a time I looked at being a motorcycle mechanic. I looked at being a commercial pilot, too, because I have my pilot’s license, but (points to his fairly thick eyeglasses) back then in the ‘80s there wasn’t any wiggle room.

Any hobbies?

I work on motorcycles. I fabricate parts. I do airbrush work on motorcycle helmets. I build models, and one of my passions is online gaming. My son Trevor got me into that. I’ve got my Xbox 360 and I absolutely love that.

Other thoughts on Breaking Bad?

They balance it out so well in this show. It’s a serious drama – and I guess a statement on choices we make – but they’ve also balanced in the humour perfectly. You never lose the dark side that they’re really trying to get across.

Are you enjoying this little bit of attention you’ve been getting?

This is fantastic. I’m having fun with it, and I think there’s some really, really good people who are having fun with it too.

Have you met Walter, er, I mean Bill on the bus yet? We’d love to hear about your encounter with our famous operator!

Interview and photo: Chris Bryan

Links and Tidbits – December 18, 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.

Rudolph reindeer bus

Our very own Rudolph ready to drive the Reindeer Bus!

»   TransLink continued the wonderful tradition of gathering thousands of toys for less fortunate children in the Lower Mainland with our Reindeer Bus!

»   From bus routes to humble abode. This Georgia couple turned an old bus into a house!

»   Serial bus thieves? They exist! You think he would’ve learned his lesson after 10 or 20 arrests!

»   It’s like… a lava lamp. Have some time to kill? Watch this oddly fascinating, real time transit tracker in Germany.

»   A new study suggests that living near transit lines may be good for your mental health!

»   From mind to body! A Japanese study found commuters who take the bus have a lower risk of heart disease and stroke than people who drive.

»   This TTC operator is making the most of his bus break with some push ups!

»   Riders who get stuck on downed trains in NYC can request a late-to-work slip from the MTA. Last year’s count? 100,000!

»   Germaphobes beware!! Take a look at what bacteria are lurking on a subway pole. Lucky you, there are pictures.

»   You have goat to be kidding me…

»   Talkin’ ’bout my generation. In Bostonl, millennials love transit!

»   You know nothing, Jon Snow. We’d LOVE to sit next to you and your posters on the bus!

»   We may have crows but Teipei has cranes!

»   This is like SkyTrain Inception. Thank you to @wetcoastlife for the share!

»   Washington pokes fun at the different types of “transit haters” in their region.

»   Lump. Throat. Watery eyes. These types of transit interactions truly warm my heart!

»   Waste not, want not! London’s old tube cars are being transformed into traditional rail trains for Northern England.

»   Read minds with a new virtual reality experience in the New York subway system!

»   Daycare on a train? How exactly are you going to get the kids to leave? Playtime is WAY better than getting off at your stop! (In reality, I think it’s more likely that this was a converted retired transit vehicle).

Play pen transit car
»   TTC throwback to the first bus route in Toronto and on a double decker no less!

»   FINALLY! I think those grates are scary enough without getting your heel stuck!

»   This new app guides visually impaired riders through London’s Underground through audio instructions. The future is now!

»   The ultimate showdown in transit mapping: Google vs. Apple.

»   Avoid waiting for trains in NYC by walking to your station. This chart shows you how much you’ll burn!

»   At Union Square station in NYC you can find this guy playing a mean sax, dancing like no one’s watching and using transit! That’s my kind of triple threat!

Author: Adrienne Coling

Buzzer blog editor away over winter holidays

It's been a fun 2015!

It’s been a fun 2015!

Hi everyone! I’ll be away from the blog for a couple of weeks.

But don’t worry! Adrienne and Laura will be minding the shop in my absence.

That said, they’ll both be busy while I’m away so reply to comments may take a little longer than usual.

I’ll be back on the blog in the new year!

We have a lot of great stories to share including Talking Transit, Compass and much more.

Happy holidays to you all and here’s to an exciting 2016!

Author: Robert Willis

November 24, 2015 SkyTrain disruption

Hi all! Here’s a bit of info about yesterday’s SkyTrain disruption which affected service between Broadway-Commercial and Waterfront stations. The power-rail-collector shoe on a train was damaged and subsequently caused a power outage on that portion of the system. See image below.

Damaged power-rail-collector shoe

Damaged power-rail-collector shoe

A SkyTrain Attendant was at the problem train within minutes of the problem occurring and all passengers on the affected train were safely evacuated within an hour. The area was powered down, brakes applied, and a second train was pulled up alongside the train to evacuate and move the passengers to a station.

Up to 69 extra shuttle buses were put in place between Commercial-Broadway and Waterfront stations. Extra staff were deployed to stations to assist customers and provide information. Additional Canada Line trains were added to assist with greater volumes as people sought alternate routes out of the downtown core. Additional Transit Security and Transit Police were at stations to ensure passenger safety and crowd control.

We know this was a huge inconvenience for our riders. We thank our riders for their patience and the media for their help in disseminating information to our customers during this incident.

I’m off to the SkyTrain Operations and Maintenance Centre shortly and will be updating this post will more info later today.

 

Yesterday’s Expo Line service disruption

The Expo Line had a disruption in service yesterday

The Expo Line had a disruption in service yesterday

There was a disruption in service on the Expo SkyTrain Line yesterday night shortly after 6 pm. The cause of the disruption is still being investigated. Extra personnel were on the scene quickly to fix the issue and get people moving between stations with added buses. Expo Line service was fully resumed before 9pm last night.

For more info, please see the Oct 24, 2015 Expo Line Service Disruption media advisory.