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Translink Buzzer Blog

More trips in Metro Vancouver, and more bike and take transit: initial findings from our 2011 trip diary survey

People in Metro Vancouver are taking more trips in a day, and are more often choosing transit and cycling. So says the early results from our 2011 Trip Diary survey!

Guess what? In 2011, more people were taking trips around the region, but more and more are taking transit and cycling. Those are just some initial conclusions from our 2011 Trip Diary survey that we’re able to share today!

The trip diary, which draws data from over 22,000 households in our region, is a survey we do every three to four years to get a “snapshot” of a day of Metro Vancouver transportation. We’ve been analyzing the results of the 2011 trip diary now, and we wanted to share what we’re learning about the region with you over the coming weeks and months!

The first set of analysis we have is about regional mode share—or how popular each method of transportation is in our region. Here are some of the highlights we pointed out in our press release today:

People in Metro Vancouver are choosing sustainable transportation for more of their trips, but cars still account for the majority

  • Transit use as a proportion of all trips increased to 14 per cent in 2011 from 13 per cent in 2008 — there was a 17 per cent increase in the total number of trips taken on transit. While transit mode share is 14 per cent, the survey found that 19 per cent of people used transit on any one day and 52 per cent used transit in the past month.
  • Cycling trips accounted for 1.8 per cent of all trips – its highest region-wide mode share yet, and a 26 per cent increase since 2008.
  • Trips taken by walking stayed at 11 per cent.
  • The share of people using cars for their trips is down from 2008, but cars still account for the majority of trips: 57 per cent by drivers and 16 per cent by passengers (from 58 per cent and 17 per cent respectively).

Demand for transportation continues to grow – there are more people making trips and individuals are making slightly more trips

  • A total of 6.1 million trips were taken on a typical fall weekday last year – 5.9 per cent more than in 2008, slightly higher than the increase in the region’s population (5.8 per cent) over that time.
  • People are making more trips per day – 2.77 trips, versus 2.70 in 2008.
  • People in their 40s had the highest average number of daily trips – 3.5 for women, 3.1 for men; likely due to increased family activities at that time of life.

It’s a positive trend, but it’s still a long way to go to achieve the region’s long-term transportation goals (outlined here in Transport 2040).

The full briefing paper and graphs for sharing

For all the details, download this in-depth briefing paper, which shares the analysis we’ve done regarding regional mode share based on the trip diary results. You can also see (and share!) these spiffy graphs developed from the info below. (Click to enlarge each one!)

It’s all very useful to know how our region’s doing, especially as we’ll be discussing our 30-year long-range transportation plan in the coming year or so. Feel free to ask us any questions!

How TransLink melds cycling into our transit system: a Streetfilms video

Perfect Match: Metro Vancouver Melds Bikes and Transit from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

We’re happy to preseent “Perfect Match: Metro Vancouver Bikes and Transit,” a terrific video from Streetfilms!

Streetfilms is an American group that produces films about sustainable transportation worldwide. During the Velo-City conference, Streetfilms put this video together showcasing how bikes are integrated with our transit system, working with TransLink cycling staff Helen Cook and Kamala Rao and many more.

It’s a great primer in advance of Bike to Work Week next week, showing just how our transportation network connects bikes and transit, allowing for journeys around the region!

Many thanks to Streetfilms for putting this video together! Enjoy!

Bike to Work Week starts next week, Oct 29-Nov 2, 2012

It’s Bike to Work Week next week: October 29-November 2, 2012!

So if you’re looking for a reason to try cycling to work, now’s your chance. Bike to Work Week features commuter stations set up throughout Metro Vancouver to reward you while you ride. Plus you can team up with your coworkers to compete against companies in the region, giving you a chance to win great prizes!

Sign your team up at the Bike To Work Week website, and you’ll find a place to log your commutes and info about the commuter stations throughout the region. (The stations have snacks and free bike mechanic services!)

And follow the Buzzer along next week: we’ve asked intrepid TransLink cyclist and Vancouver is Awesome cycling blogger Kristin Lillyman to share some of her stories from the road!

Are you pumped for it? Good! Now let’s reach back into the archives and grab some of our existing pointers for biking to work!

And if you need help planning your route, use the “Full Maps” on our cycling page, the UBC Cycling Metro Vancouver page or biking directions in Google Maps.

Bon voyage!

Links & tidbits for October 18, 2012

Links and tidbits is our semi-regular roundup of interesting stuff around transportation from the last week or so. If you have links to contribute, put them in the comments, or email us!

Heads up: our 2013 base plan consultation ends today, Oct 12, at noon!

Cover of the draft 2013 Base Plan

The consultation on our 2013 base transportation plan ends today, Friday October 12, at noon!

So if you haven’t entered your feedback in our online questionnaire yet, get cracking! We want your thoughts!

TransLink’s 2012 Sustainability Report: tracking our environmental performance and more

The cover for our 2012 sustainability report.

Hey! Eagle eyes may have noticed that our 2012 Sustainability Report is now completed and on our website.

What’s the Sustainability Report?

What’s the Sustainability Report? Well, it’s a report card that tracks TransLink’s corporate performance in four key areas: environment, funding, people, and governance and management.

Our commitment to sustainability, enshrined in a formal policy in 2011, recognizes our transportation system’s contribution to a livable region, especially in these four key areas. So the report helps us stay on track in developing a system that meets the needs of the people in our region, as well as its ecological, economic and social well-being.

As well, by voluntarily disclosing performance in areas that go beyond traditional financial reports, TransLink remains accountable and transparent to the people of the Metro Vancouver region, all levels of government and industry peers.

(We’re actually the first transportation agency in North America to achieve Gold Level under the American Public Transportation Association’s Sustainability Commitment in 2011, and one of the few that regularly discloses progress toward corporate and regional financial, environmental and social goals!)

Anyway, in early 2011, we released our first ever sustainability report, benchmarking our performance to date. And this year, the 2012 report follows up on our performance from 2010-2011. It tracks several dozen indicators that meet international standards, including the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and the International Association of Public Transport.

What are the highlights?

Glad you asked! Here’s some great items of note:

Read more »

Notes from the SFU City Conversation about TransLink funding

The SFU City Conversation panel discussion on transit funding in Metro Vancouver.

As previously mentioned, I attended the SFU City Conversations talk today called “Out of Service: The Future For TransLink?” And here are my notes from the event, in case you were wondering what happened! (Corrections welcome, of course: I was just taking notes and could certainly have misheard things.)

First, there were three speakers on the panel, and each made a short presentation before the floor was opened up to questions and thoughts from the public. They were:

Speaker presentations

Nancy gave a presentation about TransLink’s transportation plan for 2013 and the funding challenges we currently face with declining gas tax revenue. Rather than rehashing the whole thing, I’ll just direct you to our website which covers the same material!

Anne McMullin spoke about development and land use as it relates to transit. She noted that rarely do people talk about transit opportunities with higher densities, and said that the UDI believes population growth should be focused in places with transit infrastructure. There’s a need to remove obstacles to developing near existing transit, and infill development must be made more appealing to build than developments on the outskirts of cities. Each person who lives near a SkyTrain station provides TransLink with more revenue with little to no cost on the system. She discussed how transit is now a key item for homeowners choosing a place to live, but municipal taxation often isn’t going to improve transit or connect people better to transit.

Read more »

SFU City Conversations talk about TransLink funding, Thu Oct 4

Hey! Sorry for the short notice, but SFU is holding a City Conversations lunchtime talk tomorrow about transit funding that might be of interest to you and yours.

Out of Service: The Future For TransLink?

When: October 4, 2012
Time: 12:30-1:30 pm
Location: SFU Vancouver, Harbour Centre, Room 1900

Except for funding the Evergreen Line and some bus service when the new Port Mann Bridge opens, TransLink has no money to meet growing transit demand. So, now that we’ve widened our freeway and built the world’s widest bridge– copying the Los Angeles strategy of the past 60 years– where’s the money for transit?

The provincial government says not here, the Mayors Council says not from property taxes if the province doesn’t chip in, gas taxes are down, and on and on. Thus, no 300,000 hours of expanded bus service, no frequent bus service on Highway 1 except at rush hour, no expanded Seabus service, no B-Line service to White Rock on King George Highway, no bicycle programs or work on the Major Road Network. Even Los Angeles has stopped building freeways, now that its residents voted to tax themselves to build rapid rail lines, subways and fast bus routes.

Now comes the Lower Mainland reaction. Transit coalitions are forming. Cities are mobilizing. Business groups that called for more roads now call for more public transit.

To explore the possibilities, City Conversations has invited Nancy Olewiler, chair of the TransLink Board; Tanya Paz, representing new advocacy groups Get On Board and the Sustainable Transportation Coalition, and Anne McMullin, President and CEO of the Urban Development Institute, Pacific Region. Then it’s your turn to identify the needs and help define the strategies. Get on board!

A timely topic considering we’re discussing our transportation plan for 2013! Anyway, I’m planning to attend, and I’ll send some tweets and do a little wrapup post after the event. Maybe I’ll see you there!

Full details of the talk and more about the City Conversations program can be found on the SFU website here. Thanks to Gordon Price for the link!

Look: we’ve got our APTA 2012 awards!

Our 2012 APTA AdWheel awards!

As mentioned before, we won three 2012 APTA AdWheel Awards—and we finally picked them up in person!

The AdWheel Awards are given out by the American Public Transportation Association, and they recognize the best in marketing and communications from transit agencies across North America.

We won for best blog, best Twitter account, and best social networking (for our Pet Peeves campaign), and we picked up the awards at the annual conference in Seattle yesterday!

Sadly, we didn’t manage to win the grand prize for our category. That honour went to the viral video entry from Orange County Transportation Authority!

A big congratulations to all our colleagues who won awards this year: check out the full list of award winners on the APTA site. You can also see a few photos from our part of the award ceremony below!

Burnaby Village Museum interurban anniversary

B.C. Electric's interurban train 1223 circa 1930. Image 204-375 courtesy of the City of Burnaby Archives.

We’re very pleased to welcome Lisa Codd back to the blog. Lisa is the fantastic curator at the Burnaby Village Museum & Carousel. Readers of the blog will remember Lisa from her great help with the past posts on women in transit, interurbans and the history of the Pattullo Bridge.

A Century of Service: Four Metro Vancouver transit artifacts celebrate 100 years – by Lisa Codd

A century ago, in 1912, the B.C. Electric Railway Company placed an order with the St. Louis Car Company in St. Louis, Missouri to purchase 28 passenger cars for use in the Vancouver and Fraser Valley regions.

The BCER had been operating in this region since 1897, when it bought out a group of investors who owned streetcar lines in Vancouver and New Westminster, and an interurban line built in 1891 that connected the two cities. The BCER invested in expansion of the system, and by 1912, this region’s street railway was by far the largest in the country, with over 200 miles of track (Winnipeg was a distant second with 80 miles).

Up until 1912, the BCER had built their cars locally in a shop in New Westminster. But in 1912, they decided to purchase the cars rather than build them themselves, probably because their shop was not set up to build steel-framed cars, which provided more safety to passengers in the event of an accident.

The St. Louis Car Company was a major manufacturer of streetcars and interurban trams from 1887 to 1973. They built vehicles for some of the major transit systems in North America, including New York City and Chicago.

The cars entered service in 1913, and ran throughout the Lower Mainland for 45 years. In the 1950s, electric railway service was replaced by buses. The 1223 was retired from service in 1958. It was one of only ten B.C. Electric Railway cars that were saved from destruction. The 1223 became the property of the Burnaby Historical Society, who put it on display at Edmonds Loop. Today, the restored tram car is housed at the Burnaby Village Museum.

Sister cars to the 1223 include the 1225 owned by the Fraser Valley Heritage Railway Society, the 1231 operated by the Transit Museum Society in Vancouver, and the 1220 currently being restored by the Richmond Museum.

To celebrate this anniversary, the Burnaby Village Museum has organized a programme of expert speakers who will provide fascinating looks into the history of electric railway transportation, as well as the possibilities of reviving the system for future use. It’s called “Going Electric” and it is scheduled for September 29 at the Burnaby Village Museum.

More information is available on the Museum’s website:

In addition to the lecture series, the Burnaby Village Museum will be open to the public on September 29th and 30th from 11:00 am to 4:30 pm, to celebrate Burnaby’s transportation heritage. The Museum’s exhibits will be open, including the Interurban 1223 tram barn, and activities, entertainment, and demonstrations will take place throughout the site.


Links and tidbits for September 7, 2012

An interesting piece of subway art from New York based artist: Sophie Blackall. Thanks Translinked for the link!

Here’s another semi-regular roundup of interesting tidbits and links about transportation from the last week or so. If you have links to contribute, put them in the comments or email us!

  • A bit of Metro Vancouver rail history is on the move again. Gotta love those interurbans! Thanks again Translinked for the great post!
  • Some more love from Translinked. This post is about, Third and St. Davids – a comic cell by legendary underground cartoonist Rand Holmes that has a great image of one of our old buses. And here’s a cool cover of a transit planning pamphlet from 1946.
  • Here are some nice twists on the conventional bus stops. I bet Buzzer readers have some other great interesting bus stop links. Please share!
  • Wouldn’t if be very romantic/unique to propose to your partner who you met on transit on the very transit where you met? Too late, it’s already been done. Watch the video. Extreme cute alert!
  • Frances Bula takes on a transit question in her City Plumber column: Why does West Van operate its own bus system? And did the NDP ever force them to paint their buses orange?
  • OK, there’s no denying that this RER train car converted to look like the Palace of Versailles is truly amazing. When I look at it, I think about what Canadian site a SkyTrain car could be redesigned to look like. Any ideas?
  • Starting on September 15 and running until November 10, 2012, Centre A has an exhibit on 100 years of BC Electric. I can’t wait to see it!
  • Eugene Wong sent this revealing and funny look at how getting a seat on transit is like devising strategies in war. Jhen and I can’t stop thinking how this could be applied to the #99 on a very busy day.
  • Buzzer reader Eric Bucad let us know about this NYC bus driver who sings opera to his passengers.
  • LA is trying to build up their transit system and it’s going to take some time. In order to do this, voters are being asked to extend transit tax another 30 years into the future. Talk about stable funding!
  • Buzzer reader Monty Burt sent in a bunch of links including this article about two new light rail transit stations in Calgary. Here’s a link to the West LRT project.
  • Speaking of light rail, Sound Transit is planning more light rail for the Seattle area including an underground station at the University of Washington.
  • Monty also send us this link of some nice images from Salt Lake City’s light rail system. And this link about Ottawa’s light rail train to be shut down for four months for upgrades.
  • Some allegedly spontaneous Whitney Houston subway dancing.
  • Ireland’s Transportation Minister wants free Wi-Fi across public transit in that country.
  • After 40 years, Seattle puts an end to free downtown bus trips starting September 29, 2012. Money is said to be the reason for the change.
  • The Human Transit blog writes about free transit zones. Here’s an interesting quote:

    “You can do it in rural areas and small cities where demand is low. You can do it in university-dominated towns, where students are most of the market and are riding anyway. And you can do it in a downtown area, specifically to make short trips within downtown easy. In each of those cases, you’re giving away something for which you anticipate low demand, and for which you have adequate supply. But citywide free transit in a big city, especially during the peak commute, is the opposite. You’re giving away something that is in high demand, and for which you have a limited supply.”

  • While I’m referencing Human Transit, I’d like to mention that our Transit Network Primer was mention on that blog.
  • The new operating system for the next iPhone, iOS6, will not be using Google Maps. Instead, Apple will have its own map which doesn’t have transit info included :(. Now a start up app creating company is promising to fill that void. Although, I have a feeling that the service may be U.S. only – at least in the beginning.

Reminder: new fare evasion penalties go into effect today, September 4, 2012

One of our system advertisements about the new fare evasion penalties.

Reminder: the new penalties for fare evasion take effect today, September 4, 2012!

So please do take a minute and make sure you’ve got your pass on you now, so you’re covered when you enter a proof of payment zone on transit. Thanks to everyone who has paid their fare already through a FareCard or other pre-purchased tickets!

For more info on the changes, check out our new fare evasion penalties post on the blog last week, or check the website at

Reminder: bus service changes start today, September 3, 2012

A bus on the move. Photo by Devlon Duthie

A quick reminder that September 2012 bus service changes start today, September 3!

Make sure you’ve checked out the transit service changes list on our website to see whether your journey is affected.

And feel free to reach out to TransLink on Twitter or give our info line a call at 604-953-3333 if you need help with your trip.

The September 2012 Buzzer is on the system

The September 2012 Buzzer is now out!

As always, you can find it free of charge on buses, SkyTrain, SeaBus, West Coast Express or as a .pdf here.

This month’s Buzzer is all about the upcoming September 3 service changes, which we talked about this week. Make sure you’re up to date on the changes!

There’s also a note about the increased penalties for fare evasion (those start September 4), recycling your newspapers, and the Buzzer’s handy community events form!

And as always, our illustration is by a local illustrator. Say hello to Stefan Tosheff and his terrific illustration of a bus driver!

Remember to enter the FareCard contest too! You can win a free FareCard in every issue of the Buzzer: read the issue, then email in your info and the answer to the trivia question by Monday, Sept 24 at 9 a.m.. We’ll pick a winner from all the correct answers, and that person will be notified by phone shortly after the draw.

And we’d love to hear what you think about the print Buzzer. Your contributions help to make the Buzzer better!

New penalties for fare evasion: here’s what you need to know

One of our ads highlighting the increased penalties for fare evasion, starting September 4, 2012

Over the past few weeks, you might have seen ads and posters on our system letting people know we’re stepping up our fare enforcement activities. That’s because effective September 4, 2012, TransLink assumes new responsibility to issue and collect fare infraction tickets, as well as resolve fare infraction disputes.

Our goal with this new responsibility is to cut down on fare evasion, and getting people to pay their fair share. It’s not to give out tickets to collect fines—we just want to make sure that people who fail to pay the correct fare face consequences.

So what does this mean for you?

For most people, it just means you should be prepared to produce your proof of payment at any time while riding on the transit system.

But for people who don’t pay their fare, what’s changing are the consequences. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Failure to show a valid proof of payment may result in a $173 fine.
  • If left unpaid, this fine amount escalates over time.
  • Outstanding fines may be sent to a collection agency.
  • ICBC may refuse to issue or renew your driver’s license, or renew your vehicle insurance if you have an outstanding fine.

And if you want to know more about the new legislation, or how to dispute or pay a fine, you can visit the Fare Evasion section of the TransLink website.