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Links and Tidbits for May 13, 2011

Thanks to Timothy Choi and Scout Magazine for pointing me to the above video of a six-course meal on the NYC subway!

  • Two Canadian companies are planning on working together to make buses with Wi-Fi. They met at the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) meeting in Vancouver!
  • Chromaroma is an automated Foursquare-like game out of using London’s Public Transportation Smart Card, the Oyster Card – Crazy!
  • One person’s opinion on the virtues of biking in New York.
  • It looks like we’re getting a little closer to a public bike system in Vancouver becoming a reality.
  • A really good read about a female CMBC mechanic!
  • The Main Street SkyTrain Station was captured in a new photo book called This Is East Van.
  • Would you like to to move closer to work but aren’t sure if you can afford it? Maybe $12 000 dollars would make things easy for you! Check out this interesting program the Washington D.C. Office of Planning is heading.
  • Have you ever wondered how to get from San Francisco to Los Angeles using only public transit?
  • Hey look, Calgary is getting on the fare card band wagon! Oh, and they’re also looking into building a gondola. There aren’t many hills in Cowtown, and the ski hill already has one, so it’s anyone’s bet where this would go.
  • There are planes, trains, and now, a plane-train! Japanese researchers are working on a plane that fits into and levitates on a track that could carry passengers at high speeds!
  • Lahore, Pakistan could soon have a monorail.
  • Angus McIntyre sent this YouTube link of a video of the last days of the reroute of the 17 Oak bus. That bus route has returned to traveling over the Cambie street bridge after it was rerouted over the Granville Street Bridge due to Canada Line construction.
  • A classic anti-graffiti video from the NYC Transit Authority cleverly titled (insert sarcasm), Don’t Do It.
  • A photo of what not to do on the bus. Thanks again Buzzer reader Tim Choi!
  • Are these subway ads too good for subways? I think not.
  • A rare and fascinating glimpse of London’s Royal Mail underground mail rail system.
  • Montreal’s ridership is way up and so many more buses on the way to meet the need.
  • A Japanese bullet train promo for the new Kyushu Shinkansen. Man those Japanese love their trains! Thanks for this one Matt!
  • Swift sent us this Popular Science article on this SkyTrain precursor, the ICTS prototype train. He’s working on models of early ICTS trains like this one and this one. We love those trains Swift!
  • If you have any items to suggest, or a photo or video to showcase on these posts, e-mail me at!

    Sapperton/United Boulevard Phase 2 workshops – a recap

    Phase 2 of the Sapperton/United Boulevard Extension Transportation Planning Process has wrapped up. There were two workshops that took place on April 13 and 30, 2011. Here’s what our consultation team said about them:

    About 70 community members participated in each workshop, where they developed and helped review potential concepts for a future UBE. Community impacts, costs and traffic changes were noted as some of the key concerns about the concepts. For background, traffic data and statistics have been posted online, showing traffic volumes, emissions and other data, for today and in the future, and with or without a UBE.

    Participants also spent time discussing local improvements to enhance the concepts and benefit the community. They came up with ideas for pedestrian and bike connections, traffic calming and noise mitigation

    Feel free to check out the presentation, minutes and other material from the workshops. with the assistance of independent consultants are now going through everyone’s feedback from the workshops as they generate a recommended solution strategy. Our effort is focused on finding an agreeable solution that works as well for the community as it does for the transportation network.

    To find out about the recommended solution, come out to the information meeting next week. Here’s the info:

    Thursday, May 19, 2011
    7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
    Sapperton Pensioners Hall
    318 Keary Street, New Westminster

    Thanks to all of you who’ve contributed to the process!

    Surrey Rapid Transit Study Phase 2 – mark your calenders!

    What will the future of Surrey transit look like?

    As you’ve read on this blog, in partnership with the Province of BC, our staff have been working with the public and stakeholders on different alternatives for rapid transit service for the rapidly growing City of Surrey since our first public consultation last October. Today we’re announcing the next phase of the process which is to review the alternatives that came out of the last consultation and ask the public and stakeholders to help determine the best rapid transit solution for Surrey.

    Information about the public consultations, the webinar, the questionnaire, and a recap of the results of Phase 1 can be found on our Surrey Rapid Transit Be Part of the Plan page.

    May 26th – June 24th

    This is when you can be part of the process in-person, online, and in your own words. Again, please take note of the specifics on the Be Part of the Plan page. Here are the important dates to remember:


  • May 30, 2011 – preregister now
    7 p.m.
  • Consultations:

  • May 31, 2011
    6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. Langley Hampton Inn
    Rooms A, B & C
    19500 Langley Bypass
  • June 2, 2011
    6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. SFU Surrey
    Rooms 5100 & 5140
    13450 102 Ave,
  • June 8, 2011 Changed to June 14, 2011
  • 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.Newton Seniors’ Centre Auditorium
    13775 70 Ave,

  • June 9, 2011
  • 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. Guildford Sheraton Hotel
    15269 104 Ave,

    Questionnaire – May 26- June 24 – click here for more information

    So now is your time to think about what the future of Surrey transportation should and could be. To recap, you can preregister for the webinar now, and get ready to roll up your sleeves and to help us figure the best options for Surrey transit come the end of the month!

    Burnaby Mountain Gondola – Phase Two

    Whistler's Peak 2 Peak Gondola

    Imagine you’re suspended over Whistler mountain, the hills of Medellín, Colombia, or maybe Interstate 5 in Portland. Now imagine you’re actually above Burnaby Mountain in a gondola!

    It could be real: TransLink is currently exploring the viability of a high-capacity gondola linking Burnaby Mountain, including the Simon Fraser University campus, to SkyTrain. Phase One was a pre-consultation phase that involved six small group meetings of stakeholders including students, recreational users, environmental advocates and residents.

    Phase Two

    We’re hosting public consultations on the business case for the project in May, and we’d love your input! Here’s what’s going on:

    May 25, 2011
    5 p.m. – 8 p.m. – Cameron Elementary School
    9540 Erickson Drive, Burnaby
    *Project Presentations: 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.

    May 26, 2011
    1 p.m. – 4 p.m. & 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. – Saywell Hall Atrium,
    SFU Burnaby Campus
    *Project presentations: 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.

    Portland's Aerial Tram

    The third and final phase will take place if the project is given a green light. Make sure to check out the Burnaby Mountain Gondola page to get more information and provide your input until June 30th!

    Sarah Taylor: Buzzer illustrator interview!

    Sarah Taylor and her illustration for the May Buzzer.

    The illustrator for the May issue of the Buzzer is Sarah Taylor. We think her image of a Penny-farthing bicycle is quite enchanting! Read more about her in this interview.

    Tell us a bit about yourself and your art!
    I am currently studying design and illustration at Capilano University’s IDEA Program. My style is always changing as I experiment with different mediums and art forms. I strive to continuously grow as a designer and artist.

    How did you come up with the Buzzer cover? Can you talk a bit about the other concepts?
    I began by sketching out different concepts until a few appealed to me. From there, I defined those ideas into tighter sketches (which included various bike-themed illustrations). My favorite of the bunch was the penny-farthing illustration and the folks at The Buzzer liked that idea as well.

    What kind of work are you doing lately, and where can we see it?

    I’m in university full-time with one more year until I graduate. So, a lot of my time has been dedicated to school projects and not as much personal artwork as I would like. However, during the summer I hope to catch up on my painting and illustrating! I have an online portfolio you can check out.

    Do you have a regular transit route that you take? And do you have a favourite seat on the bus or SkyTrain?

    Almost everyday I take the skytrain then two buses into North Vancouver for school. Window seats are my favorite because I love to people watch.

    Thanks for all the hard work Sarah!

    Check out more interviews with our past illustrators here:

    The results of the 2011 Buzzer blog reader survey

    Just before Jhenifer left on maternity leave (sad for me, good for her), we posted a readers survey. In total, 225 people took the survey! Here’s some of what we learned:

    Not surprisingly, most people who read the blog take transit, walk, or bike instead of using a car as their main mode of transportation. In fact, only 43 out of the 225 people surveyed indicated that they mostly drive to get around.

    According to the results of the survey, the percentage of people who typically read only the blog (46%) versus those who typically read both the blog and the print newsletter (54%) were fairly close. We’ve tried to make the two versions of the Buzzer different, so it makes sense that some of you enjoy reading both, while others read only this blog.

    Some of TransLink’s other social media properties are also followed by Buzzer readers. The most popular is the TransLink Twitter account with 101 people responding that they’re followers. Next, with 56 followers, is the Buzzer’s Twitter account, followed by TransLink’s Facebook page with 47 people and then the TransLink Foursquare account with 18 people.

    We asked you: “What do you like best about the blog?” The answer that scored the highest was: “It keeps me in the loop on TransLink issues, consultations, and more” (87.1 %), followed closely by “I like the behind the scenes stories about our system” (79.6%), then “I like learning about transportation planning and urban issues both here and around the world” (78.7%), “I like history items” (56.4%), “I like getting a chance to interact through polls and contest” (37.3%), and finally “I like the comments on the blog” (28.9%).

    Most of you said you were quite happy with the number of posts and subject matters we’ve been writing about. On the subject of what we could do better on the blog, 55.5% of those surveyed answered that they would like to see more in-depth coverage. Others said they would like more community participation features, as well as more real-life events to go to.

    I’m still poring over the results of the survey and finding new insight each time I look at them. Thanks to everyone who took the survey! I’ll be using your feedback to help make this blog as good as it can possibly be.

    If you didn’t get a chance to take the survey or if you have some thoughts on the survey itself, please leave a comment. I’ll take these in mind when I put together the next survey!

    Win a pair of tickets to EP!C 2011

    It's EP!C!

    Andria S is the winner of the pair of tickets to EP!C 2011! She knew that CMBC’s anti-idling policy has reduced CO2 emissions by 1.365 million kg, with a savings of approximately $500,000 in fuel costs. Thanks for all the entries everyone, and congratulations Andria!

    The 2011 edition of EP!C, the Vancouver Sun Environmental Living Expo, is this May 13th – 15th. CBC’s George Stroumboulopoulos (try spelling that twice) is one of the many interesting speakers for the event. There are also scads of earth-friendly exhibitions that most anyone would find relevant to their daily lives. If you are wanting to attend, we can save you and a friend the cost of admission! We have a pair of tickets to give away for the event (a $30 value). All you have to do is email with your name, address and answer to this sustainable-minded question:

    Question: How many kg of CO2 emissions has CMBC reduced with their anti-idling policy? *Hint: The answer is in TransLink’s Sustainability Report found on the TransLink website.

    I’ll be mailing the tickets to the first person who emails me with the correct information.  If you don’t win here, do check our facebook page because I’ll be giving another pair of tickets away there! If you make it down to EP!C, make sure to visit the TravelSmart booth. I’m told they have a bike some lucky person can win. Good luck!

    Accessible transit – part 1

    Derrick Bayer, training instructor with the Coast Mountain Bus Company

    One of our goals at TransLink is to get more people in Metro Vancouver to do most of their trips by transit, walking and cycling. In fact, this is Goal 2 of Transport 2040, our 2010 10-year plan! Now, it’s one thing to have a goal; it’s another to actually reach it. Well, luckily we have a department at TransLink called Access Transit.

    As the name suggests, the aim of Access Transit is to make the public transit system more accessible for people with disabilities, seniors and new user groups like immigrants. TransLink has focused on people with disabilities in the past (and still does), and recently, the focus has been on seniors. Helping new users, immigrants and refugees become more confident with our transit system is a new initiative, and last week, along with a Vancouver chapter of Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia, a pilot project was held to assess their needs.

    It was a nice and sunny day for a change in Vancouver, so I thought I go a check out the event. Part of the pilot included having an out-of-service bus and two Coast Mountain Bus Company training instructors guide the nearly 200 people who showed up for the day of learning. Participants learned the ins and outs (literally) of boarding the bus including confirming the correct bus and desired stop as well as how to convey that to the driver and how to use bike rack. They also learned about seating priorities and standing on the bus, locating your stop and disembarking.

    If you think about it, we take a lot for granted when we take transit. If you’re new to our transit system, don’t speak English or simple see the transit system as an unknown questions like, “How do I let drivers know I’m waiting for the bus?” or “How do the bus doors work?” can be a real barrier for new users of the system.

    Nick Sandu, training instructor with the Coast Mountain Bus Company

    Nick Sandu, one of the trainers, says it has been a learning experience for both TransLink and the participants, “The language… it’s trying to make sure that they understand what we’re trying to say that’s a challenge.” When something wasn’t understood the instructors changed the way they said it or used body language to drive the point home. When the language barrier proved difficult, other participants helped out.

    Inside in the classroom, Sarah Chung, Community Relations Coordinator for Access Transit, guided participants through the intricacies of what transit options are available to them as well as transit fares, language services (special translator phones at SkyTrains and fare machines, etc.), safety and security, SkyTrain and Canada Line staff and trip planning. Sarah said the day was a resounding success. Here’s a bit of what she told me about the event:

    “The majority of the participants took both the classroom and bus workshops. Even the students who had the very low English skills were excited and smiling after their bus training. It was a very busy day but extremely rewarding.

    Most of the questions we were asked were about fares, how prices and fare zones work, and what options would work best depending on the situation.

    A lot of the information we provided during the presentations was information our current customers may not be aware of because they do not necessarily have the need. For example, many of the students and staff were surprised to find out that we could provide a phone-based translator service at SkyTrain stations for people who are more comfortable asking their questions in other languages. This kind of information can help people be more confident when they first try out the system. We want to help new immigrants access the public transit system, but I think that this first event in our pilot project helped our core understanding of their needs as well. The students we worked with may not jump on the SkyTrain or bus the very next day, but we have at least made accessing public transit more approachable.”

    Sarah Chung, Community Relations Coordinator with Access Transit

    Links and Tidbits for April 21, 2011

    Interesting tidbits and links about transportation from the last few weeks or so!

    If you have any items to suggest, or a photo to showcase on these posts, e-mail me at! (Seriously: photos. Send them to me!)

    Reminder: April 2011 changes to service

    It’s that time of the season for bus schedule changes. Have you noticed on this Monday, April 18th that your bus route changed? Every year we adjust bus service in April, June, September, and December. For specifics on the changes can be found in this previous blog post and the Translink service changes page. All the best with your commute!

    UBC Line phase 2 workshops and webinar – a recap

    Now that the workshops and webinar portions of UBC Line Phase 2 have wrapped up, here’s some highlights: For those of you who are new to what’s going on with transit at UBC, our planning and infrastructure department have been working on designs for a future UBC Line and are asking for your feedback.


    About 40 people tuned in to our webinar. If you missed it, I’ve attached it here for you to watch. Please note that this video only captures the hosts leading the discussion — the slide deck Jeff is showing to the audience at home, unfortunately, does not show up here. You can, however, download a PDF of the slide deck and try following along at home.

    You can also check out the submitted questions that did not get answered during the webinar and the answers we put together for them later.

    Alternatively, you could watch the webinar here at our provider’s website where the video and the slides are matched, but you will have to register .

    Phase 2 workshops

    Two workshops took place last week. Here’s what our consultation team said about them:

    Workshop at Tenth Avenue Alliance Church

    The last two workshops and webinar took place in the UBC Line study Phase 2 consultation last week. About 90 people attended each of these workshops with another 40 joining us online for the webinar.

    We continued to receive feedback on the designs including how to reduce costs of the RRT alternative, reduce parking impacts of the street-level alternatives, and suggestions for station locations.
    Participants also provided input to the evaluation, including considering the impact of all alternatives on urban development and neigbhourhood character, and ensuring the alternatives contribute to livability.

    Still want to participate? You can!

    Our questionnaire will be available online until April 22, 2011. Thanks for participating!

    Getting to and from the Sun Run, April 17, 2011

    Sun Run 2010! Photo by Derek K. Miller

    What’s 55 000 people strong, sweaty, and all for a good cause? The Sun Run, that’s what! Yes, it’s that time of year again, and yours truly will be participating for the first time. I’m really looking forward to the adrenaline rush and excitement of running with thousands of people for the same goal.

    To get you to the run as hassle free as possible (there are numerous road closures to accommodate the runners), you’ll want to take note of all the transit options that can get you there in good time and ready to hit the pavement.

    Remember, the run is this Sunday (April 17, 2011), so transit customers need only pay a single-zone fare of $2.50 for adults and $1.75 for children, high school students with a valid GoCard, seniors aged 65 or older and HandyCard holders.

    The following are the buses that will be rerouted for the run: 4, 5, 6, 10, 15, 17, 19, 20, 22, 50, 84, 135, 240, C21, C23, SeaBus. Reroutes will be in effect from the start of service until approximately 2:00 PM.

    For the full details, please check the Translink alerts page or call our customer information line at 604-953-3333!