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Translink Buzzer Blog

Riding the 531 to Willowbrook

The #531 sets off toward Willowbrook

This morning marked the launch of the new #531 White Rock/Willowbrook bus route, connecting Langley with White Rock. To mark the occasion and experience the trip themselves, three TransLink planners headed out for an early-morning ride along the full route, joining a few transit riders and commuters eager to try out the new route. Read more »

Estimating fare evasion

Over the last day, there has been quite a discussion on the Buzzer blog and on our Facebook page about fare evasion. The discussion has also spread to the Price Tags blog. It’s clearly a hot topic, one that generates a diverse range of opinions.

A Transit Officer in action

One of the questions we’ve heard since the fare evasion discussion started is how exactly TransLink estimates fare evasion each year, particularly on our buses and on West Coast Express (which had a fare blitz earlier this week). I checked in with transit security to find out more about the process. What I found is that fare audits involve much more than simply asking bus operators to press a button that records whenever someone refuses to pay a fare. While this is something that operators do, it’s just to get a picture of where fare evasion might be occurring and the scale of the problem. For official fare evasion estimates, TransLink uses fare audits and “yellow card” checks, both of which are considered best practice by the International Bus Benchmarking Group (IBBG).

Read more »

2011 holiday schedule reminder, plus best wishes for the season

Happy Holidays from the TransLink Family! Click on the picture to see our holiday ecard.

Just a reminder that our 2011 holiday service schedule starts today. You can find all the details on the Winter Holiday Service Schedule page. Don’t forget, for the very latest on transit service conditions or more detail on these items, check the TransLink Twitter account, call 604-953-3333 or try the TransLink Alerts page.

And, of course, happy holidays to you readers and your families! I hope you have a fun and festive holiday season, and a most happy new year!

Note: The Buzzer Blog is on holiday until at least Wednesday, December 28, 2011, when Robert will be back on editorial duties. From me, Tina, thanks and it’s been fun!

Author: Tina Robinson

New bus shelters for the Newton bus exchange

Newton Bus Shelter

Newton bus shelters just installed

The Newton bus exchange is getting a set of eight new bus shelters this week, to replace ones the previous advertising contractor removed more than a year ago. I thought I would post a couple photos of this early Christmas present for residents of Surrey’s Newton area. Read more »

GPS-enabled search added to Next Bus

GPS-enabled search on Next Bus

GPS-enabled search on Next Bus

Today, the team behind TransLink’s mobile site has a holiday present for site users — more updates, including GPS-enabled map search, route links available in the Next Bus bubble, and route text view! Read more »

Holiday gift ideas for transit fans 2011

Though time is short until the biggest gift-giving day of the year, I thought I would continue the annual tradition of gift ideas for transit fans. I realize that many of the items on this list would come a bit late if ordered this week, but these make excellent gifts at any time for the transit fan in your life!

In addition to the ideas below, you should also take a look at the lists put together by Jhenifer in 2009 and 2010. She found some incredible items, with the Lego Public Transport Kit my personal favourite (which, incidentally, I saw in stock at a local toy store just yesterday).

Real stuff off the system

SkyTrain Commemorative Rail

A unique memento for the SkyTrain fan

For many transit fans, there is something thrilling about owning a real piece of a transit system. And right now you have an opportunity to own a piece of real SkyTrain rail. SkyTrain celebrated its 25th anniversary late last year, and had a unique memento created to commemorate the occasion (pictured at left). Wouldn’t you love to have a real piece of SkyTrain rail gracing your desk at home or at work? If you are interested in purchasing one and can pick up locally, they are available for $50 each – contact me directly for more details.

The San Francisco Cable Car Museum also offers real stuff off of San Francisco cable cars, including a key ring made of authentic cable car cable, a 20 lb Gripman’s Bell and pieces of authentic cable and rail from 1909.

Read more »

Bus Driver Appreciation Day at Vancouver Technical School

Thank you from Vancouver Technical students

Vancouver Technical School students showing their appreciation for bus operators.

Starting in the early hours this morning, students at Vancouver Technical School handed out hot chocolate to bus drivers as part of their 15th annual Bus Driver Appreciation Day. Every year on the last day of school before Christmas holidays, the students make hot chocolate and serve it to bus operators as they pull up at their stop on Broadway outside the school. Read more »

The 2011 Reindeer Bus

ReindeerBus

Happy holidays from the ReindeerBus!

You may have noticed the ReindeerBus over the last few weeks, making its rounds of the Lower Mainland. After paying special visits to Canuck Place and Ronald McDonald House (along with Mr. and Mrs. Claus of course), it’s been stopping by TransLink operations, collecting toys donated by employees for our Toys for Tots program. All the toys go to the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau to distribute.

The ReindeerBus popped by TransLink head office yesterday to pick up donations from staff here and, as you can see in the photo below, it was already well on its way to being packed with toys.

John Strachan, Head Elf during the holiday season (and a CMBC operator instructor the rest of the year), says that the bus has collected more than 2,700 toys this year.

You can read more about the origins of the ReindeerBus in this 2008 post, and see some amazing photos of the bus and its community shuttle sibling in this post from last year.

Toys on the ReindeerBus

The ReindeerBus filling up with toys.

Author: Tina Robinson

Calculating savings on the cost of gas

Drivers often compare the cost of gas between stations, choosing the one offering a lower price even when it’s only a slight savings. Who hasn’t seen cars lining up at a gas station where the advertised price is a couple of cents lower than its competitors? Metro Vancouverites, situated as we are so close to the border with the United States, take it to a whole other level. A favourite weekend activity in these parts is a jaunt across the border for cheap dairy and, of course, gas.

But is it really worth it to go out of your way to get cheaper gas? This handy tool from the Globe and Mail can help answer that question.

Calculating gas cost savings

Find out how much you save (or don’t save) when you travel for cheaper gas.

Plunk in the size of your tank, your car’s fuel efficiency, the distance you have to drive, and the price of gas, and voilà! Out churns your expected savings (or cost!). What isn’t included here is how much you value your time. That $4 savings might be worth an extra 20 minutes of driving for one person, but isn’t worth it for you. Try out the calculator and decide for yourself.

Author: Tina Robinson