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Translink Buzzer Blog

I Love Transit: Redhead Mare guest post – Vancouver Travel Tip

I Love Transit 2016

I love transit week is coming to a close, and I kind of feel like this has been the best week ever! Today, our guest poster vlogger Redhead Mare shares with us how her family uses and loves transit!

Thanks for sharing the love and transit tips! Check out Mare and her other adventures over on her blog!

What are your SkyTrain tips when travelling with kids?

I Love Transit: Spokesmama Guest Post – Camping via Transit

I Love Transit 2016

On the bus in Nanaimo

To help celebrate I love transit week, Lisa – also known as Spokesmama, is guest posting and sharing with us how her and her family use transit on their weekend adventures!

This summer we tried something new to us: camping by transit. We don’t own a car, so we generally rent or use Modo car co-op vehicles, or bike to camp. We heard that Newcastle Island was a great destination, and quickly realized that transit was the best way for us to get there. Taking the bus meant carrying nearly everything on our backs except for a small cart that held our cooler and some of the heavier items; planning what we’d bring was a fun challenge.

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I Love Transit: We found love in a Transit place

I Love Transit 2016

Steven and Meghan

We love transit, and we love that YOU love transit, but what we really love, is hearing about you finding love on transit! And believe us, a lot of love is found on transit!

Over 10 years ago Meghan and Steve found love in the most unexpected of places.

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That’s a wrap! The Mark III enters service

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What a beaut!

August 18th, 2016 “marks” another momentous day in SkyTrain history. The highly anticipated Mark III entered revenue service for the first time and it wasn’t without fanfare!

If you’re as excited as we were about its arrival, you likely followed the Mark III’s journey across the country, endeavoured to #SpotTheMarkIII during system testing, entered our contest to become a Mark III VIP, or stopped by in person to take the inaugural ride.

If not, don’t you worry – you can catch all that you may have missed right here!

Watch as SkyTrain President & General Manager Vivienne King and TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond welcomed the new Mark III into Waterfront station.

If you haven’t had a chance to already, get up close and personal by checking out the behind the scenes tour with Chris Morris, our resident Mark III expert and Director of Engineering Assets at BCRTC.

But wait, there’s more!

Below is a gallery of some of the photos “mark”-ing the special day.

Make sure to check out Facebook and Instagram for even more!

This Mark III is now in regular service and will be joined shortly by its sibling Mark III SkyTrains once they have completed their testing and are rail ready!

Author: Sarah Kertcher

I Love Transit: Tour the new Hamilton Transit Centre!

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HTC Photo

The Hamilton Transit Centre (HTC) is Coast Mountain Bus Company’s (CMBC’s) newest transit bus operations and maintenance centre for buses.

This location will house up to 80 Community Shuttle buses and 150 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fuelled buses. HTC will perform three main functions including bus dispatch, bus service (fuel and wash), and bus maintenance. With its higher capacity for bus maintenance and storage, the HTC will increase efficiency and prepare our transit operations for growth in the region.

In celebration of I Love Transit Week, we’re opening the doors of HTC at UPDATE: 10:00am 5:00pm on Friday September 2nd for 10 lucky Buzzer Blog readers to take advantage of a behind the scenes look at everything that our newest facility has to offer.

How to enter

Entry is simple! Comment on this blog post below with your favourite bus route to be entered to win this one of a kind experience!

Be sure to read the contest rules found here.

All entries must be submitted before 11:59 p.m. on August 26, 2016.

More details of the event will follow for the lucky winners.

UPDATE: Please note the new time of 5:00pm for the event!

Author: Sarah Kertcher

I Love Transit Week 2016 is coming! Register for kids camp!

buzzer_header_template
transit_camp_2015The week we’ve all been waiting for is almost here! I Love Transit Week is taking place from August 29 to September 2, 2016.

This is a week dedicated to all of the things that we love about Transit – like that time Jarred and Nina tied the knot on the bus or when Annie and Mike got married on the 351 Crescent Beach!

We’ve also celebrated transit through poetry, LEGO, and more!

This year, we have a bus load of fun transit love to share with you, but first we’re excited to announce that I Love Transit Kids Camp is back for its third straight year!

 

Kids! Join us for I Love Transit Camp!

I Love Transit Camp is a once in a lifetime opportunity for kids between the ages of 8 and 12 to get a behind the scenes look at TransLink operating companies’ facilities.

Kids will learn about how transit works and have some fun at the same time! Check out all the fun that was had in 2014 & 2015.

This year’s camp is taking place on Thursday September 1st.

The plan

Meet at Gilmore Station for 9 a.m. then hop on a bus and ride to Burnaby Transit Centre (BTC)!

BTC is home to little known transit operations such as fleet overhaul, where they fix and update almost everything on a bus, including the painting of buses and reupholstering of seats.

We’ll also get a tour of the bus yard with articulated and 40-foot buses!

After that, we’ll have a little lunch then say goodbye to BTC.

Next, we’ll hop on SkyTrain and head to Edmonds Station and walk down to where SkyTrain Operations and Maintenance Centre (OMC) live.

At OMC, campers will get a behind the scenes look at the facility where SkyTrains are maintained and cleaned as well as visit SkyTrain Control! They will also get a chance to use the SkyTrain simulator, ask questions of SkyTrain staff.

Finally, a visit with Transit Police and Transit Security to tell us all about everything they do. I’m told they’ll be bringing their vehicles and a special guest if we are lucky!

We’ll wrap the day up around 4 p.m.

Throughout the day we’ll be taking breaks for fun games and more!

How to take part

Due to safety concerns for both OMC and BTC, we’re only able to take a maximum of 20 people in the camp. That means 10 kids (ages 8-12) and their guardians will be able to participate in the camp.

Interested in a fun day on transit? If you’d like to participate, we’ll need potential transit campers to tell us (in 50 words or less) what they love about transit!

If you like, you can also submit a photo and/or a video as part of your entry. Before you or your little one starts typing or writing, you’ll want to read the participation guidelines.

Send your submissions to thebuzzer@translink.ca with “I Love Transit Camp Kids” in the subject field, or you can mail it to The Buzzer, 400 – 287 Nelson’s Court, New Westminster, BC, V3L 0E7.
Be sure to include the following:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Where you heard about the camp
  • The phone number and name of the guardian you wish to bring with you

The deadline for submissions is August 22.
If you are selected, participation forms are due BEFORE August 26.

Looking for some inspiration for your submission? Check out some past successful applications.

We’re looking forward to learning about why you love transit and to seeing you at camp!

Author: Sarah Kertcher

Update: Check out our awesome pics from the 2016 I Love Transit camp!

The Buzzer Birthday Giveaway!!

Robert Buzzer

You may have heard that The Buzzer is celebrating it’s 100th Anniversary!

To honour this momentous occasion, we want YOU, our biggest Buzzer supporters to share a #Selfie and/or your favourite Buzzer memory on your social (Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter) channels with the hashtag #BUZZER100.

Entrants are allowed one entry, per channel, per day for a chance to win a Monthly Pass loaded on your Compass Card!

Buzzer100 selfie 3 edit

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Contest closes at 11:59 p.m. on June 10th, 2016 and we’ll randomly select a winner on June 14th, 2016. Make sure to check out the contest terms and conditions for all the details on the contest.

Author: Sarah Kertcher

It’s Bike to Work Week! May 30 – June 5, 2016

Bike to work week

HUB Bike to Work Week starts today – May 30th, 2016, and it couldn’t be a better day to dust off the old bicycle and pedal your way in to work.

Not only is it fun, but it’s easy to participate in Bike to Work Week! All you have to do is:

  1. Register yourself here, and either ride solo, or join a team
  2. Log your trips online to be eligible for some awesome prizes!

Did you know that the entire fleet of CMBC buses are equipped with bus bike racks?! If your commute seems to daunting to tackle on two wheels alone, why not integrate a mode of transit for part of your trip!

Never used a bus bike rack before? No worries! They’re super simple to use, even for a newbie! Check out our Facebook live demo below, our YouTube channel, or you can try for yourself our bus bike rack demo located in North Vancouver between City Hall and the library in Civic Plaza.

 

Don’t forget these useful tips when using a bus bike rack:

 

  • Before the bus arrives, remove loose items such as water bottles, pumps, and panniers.
  • Tell the driver you want to load your bike, and then lower the bike rack by pulling on the handle.
  • Lift your bike onto the rack. If no other bike is on the rack, place your bike in the slot closest to the bus.
  • Lift the support arm up and over the front tire. On newer racks you might have to push the black button at the end of the support arm in order to release the ratchet mechanism.
  • Sit at the front of the bus and keep an eye on your bike.
  • When leaving the bus, please tell the driver that you need to remove your bike. Exit from the front door.
  • Remove your bike and raise the rack to the upright position if it’s empty.
  • Slip-covers are recommended for folding bikes.

Author: Sarah Kertcher

#ThankYou100K: Celebrating 100,000 followers with a contest!

ThankYou100KWe’ve been celebrating a lot here at TransLink! There was 40,000 followers on Twitter, then 50,000 of you following us and now you’ve helped us reach a monumental 100,000 Twitter followers!

The @TransLink Twitter account started way back in February of 2010 during the Winter Olympics, providing riders with breaking news and key service updates.

In November of 2010 we launched a one-month pilot project in an effort to better serve our customers. It was extended multiple times before becoming a permanent service in February 2011!

In fact, our Customer Information team is in such high demand, on March 14th of this year, we extended our Customer Information service hours on Twitter from 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., seven days a week to:

Monday to Friday: 5:30 a.m. – 12:30 a.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 6:30 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.

to answer all your service-related questions and provide service updates, tips, and information to all 100,000+ of you!

Contest time!

To celebrate this excellent milestone, we’re having a giveaway (Prizing to be announced soon!) To enter, simply follow @TransLink and retweet one of the following tweets from our Twitter team:

 

Contest closes at 11:59 p.m. on June 1st, 2016 and we’ll randomly select a winner on June 2nd, 2016. Make sure to check out the contest terms and conditions for all the details on the contest.

Author: Sarah Kertcher

It’s time to talk about transit fares

Regular blog readers have been asking about this for years and we’re super excited to announce we’re looking at our transit fares again!

Over the years, the transit system in Metro Vancouver has grown into a diverse and expansive network that now provides nearly one million rides every day. But since 1984, one thing hasn’t changed much.

With the rollout of Compass, we now have new tools to create a fare system that provides a better customer experience.

What do you like about the current fare system? What would you change? As part of the first of four phases in the TransLink Transit Fare review, we want to hear what’s important to you.

As you know, our current fare system is made up of six core components that determine how much you pay to use transit in Metro Vancouver.

  • Distance travelled
  • Transit service
  • Time of travel
  • Fare product
  • Customer group
  • Journey time

In the Fare Review, everything is on table — don’t take anything for granted and get ready to share your opinions.

Take the survey between May 24 and June 30, 2016 at translink.ca/farereview and have your say on how to improve the transit fare system.

History of Fare Systems

As noted in our 125 Years of Transit series, Vancouver’s first public transit vehicle was an electric streetcar that rolled down Main Street for the first time in 1890. Soon, it was transporting Vancouver’s early residents and visitors along nine kilometres of track throughout the city. A few months later, an expansion line was opened to New Westminster.

From its earliest days, public transit in Metro Vancouver has focused on crossing municipal boundaries to connect the region. After nearly 100 years of experimenting with zones and boundaries, in 1984 a three-zone fare structure similar to the one we have today was created. From one flat fare for all trips to over 100 fares to choose from, our transit system has tried it all.

1958: 100 Fare options

1958: An 11- zone system is introduced with 100 different fare options based on where your trip starts and ends

1958: An 11- zone system is introduced with 100 different fare options based on where your trip starts and ends

Read more »

Pattullo Bridge upcoming Thursday night closure

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Definitely not a shot taken from the SkyTrain.

As part of the ongoing rehabilitation project, the Pattullo Bridge will be closed to vehicle traffic (the sidewalk will remain open for cyclists and pedestrians) overnight starting from 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 12 to 5 a.m. on Friday, May 13, weather dependent.

We encourage drivers to plan alternate routes to cross the Fraser River during this overnight closure. Transit customers planning on crossing the Fraser River should plan on longer travel times on the N19 NightBus which will re-route via the Alex Fraser and Queensborough bridges.

Drivers are reminded that when the bridge is open, the speed limit is 30 km/h. This ensures the safety of workers and all users of the bridge.

The Pattullo Bridge is one of the oldest bridges in the region. Comprehensive deck rehabilitation work is needed to maintain road safety and bridge functionality. TransLink thanks everyone for their patience while we do this important work.

For additional information on the Pattullo Bridge, including travel resources and upcoming closures customers can:

 

Author: Sarah Kertcher

Then and Now: 30 years of Expo

Expo 86

It was 30 years ago…

May 2nd marks the 30th anniversary of Expo ’86 – the 1986 World Exposition on Transportation and Communication held on the north shore of False Creek. North America’s largest World’s Fair was a monumental event for Vancouver that left a lasting legacy, notably, Metro Vancouver’s first Rapid Transit SkyTrain – the Expo Line, built for and named in anticipation of the fair. SkyTrain debuted as the first and one of the longest, fully-automated, driverless, rapid transit systems in the world

“Transportation and Communication: World in Motion – World in Touch” coincided with Vancouver’s centennial celebration and was opened by Prince Charles and Princess Diana.

expo prince and princess

Prince Charles and Princess Diana riding the Expo Line in 1986

 

Charles and Di

The Royal Couple

A lot has changed in 30 years, and we’ve summarized some fun facts below about SkyTrain, Metro Vancouver, and BC in general.

  1986 2016
Main line track (km) 21 58
Stations 15 33
Annual boardings (millions) 20 (1987) 80
Fleet (cars) 114 258 (+28 by mid-2016)
One-zone cash fare (at Jan 1) $1.15 $2.75
Metro Vancouver population 1.38 million (census) 2.54 million (BC Stats projection)
Detached home price $130,800 $1,816,487
Minimum Wage (per hour) $3.65 $10.45
Expo 1986

Can you spot the station?

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Do you remember these tickets?

expo 86

The very first Ticket Vending Machines

Do you have an Expo ’86 memory you’d like to share? Did you take SkyTrain when it first launched?

Author: Sarah Kertcher

TransLink is going LIVE! Facebook Live!

Facebook Live

Today is an exciting day for the TransLink Social Media team, as we will be streaming LIVE for the first time from Facebook at 2:00pm PST. For our inaugural stream, we will be doing a demo of how to take your bike on the bus! After all, Bike to Work week is coming soon!

Make sure to tune in and learn how you can take advantage of the great weather we’ve been having in the Metro Vancouver area, and perhaps make your commute multi-modal!

Author: Sarah Kertcher

UPDATE: Here’s the recording of our first Facebook Live!

Earth Day 2016 – Doing our part for the earth

Earth Day

Earth Day takes place annually on April 22, and is celebrated globally with the goal of encouraging and educating people to be more environmentally friendly. The TransLink family takes sustainability seriously and works hard daily to protect the environment!

Here are a few examples of environmentally-focused projects from across the TransLink enterprise in 2015. 

Cutting back on washing to save water

In 2015 we all saw a record breaking long, hot and dry summer. When the region experienced water shortages we voluntarily suspended our regular exterior bus washing and exterior SkyTrain washing at the end of each service day, despite the fact that our bus wash system uses reclaimed water for the majority of the wash cycle.

To give you an idea of how much water was conserved, at Vancouver Transit Centre (CMBC’s biggest bus depot), they saved 30,000 litres each day! Across the bus network, we saved a total of 5.7 million litres of water from July to September. If there is another shortage this year, we will happily do our part to conserve.

Driving the benefits of compressed natural gas

CMBC started operating 31 new compressed natural gas (CNG) buses in 2015. The quieter CNG buses – with reduced carbon emissions and lower maintenance costs – replaced 45 diesel buses that were retired from operation at the end of their service life. The New Flyer Xcelesior buses started on routes in the Tri-Cities (Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody) and operate out of the Port Coquitlam Transit Centre, which is equipped with CNG refueling stations.

Going platinum

Last year, TransLink moved up from gold and became the first Canadian transit organization to gain platinum level status for sustainability from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). Since 2010, 58 separate projects reduced waste by nine per cent, water use by 10 per cent, and greenhouse gas emissions by 17 per cent in its facilities. The bus fleet alone has had a 17 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. CMBC also reduced energy consumption by more than seven per cent. 

How are you going to celebrate? You could turn an eye to increasing the amount you recycle, volunteer for a local green project or install a rain water collection system at your home.

Author: Sarah Kertcher

TransLink’s family of companies and unions raise over $275,000 for a second year in a row

United Way of the Lower Mainland

Photo: (Left to right) David Black (MoveUP – COPE local 378), Kathy Pereira (CMBC), Brenda Aynsley (United Way), Cathy McLay (TransLink) and Kevin Desmond (TransLink).

Thanks again to the hard work and dedication of employees in the TransLink family, for the second year in a row, our donation to United Way of the Lower Mainland exceeded $275,000!

“I am extremely proud of the commitment employees across the TransLink enterprise display to our United Way campaigns each year. We have been strong supporters of United Way for many years because they have the ability to help the people who live in the communities we serve,” said Cathy McLay, CFO and EVP, Finance and Corporate Services, Translink.

Employees from TransLink, B.C. Rapid Transit Company, Coast Mountain Bus Company, Transit Police, MoveUP (COPE local 378), CUPE 4500, CUPE 7000, Unifor 111, and Unifor 2200 contributed their time and generously donated to support United Way’s programs and services.

“United Way works with over 150 community partners and builds strong relationships with government and social services to deliver programs, help people understand issues and create change. These are initiatives our union and members support,” added David Black, President, MoveUP (COPE local 378).

For more information on how contributions to United Way are helping make a difference in the lives of so many in our community, visit United Way of the Lower Mainland online.

Author: Sarah Kertcher