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Translink Buzzer Blog

TransLink’s 12 Days of Giveaways: win Capilano Suspension Bridge tickets and DayPasses

We’re taking you to new heights with TransLink’s 12 Days of Christmas Giftmas!

On the 9th day, we’ve collaborated with the folks at Capilano Suspension Bridge to set you up with the chance to win!

In today’s contest, you can get your hands on: a pair of tickets to the Capilano Suspension Bridge and a pair of Compass DayPasses, so you can take transit to get there!

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Attention Delta residents! Westham Island bridge closures coming soon

Westham Island Bridge

UPDATE – February 1, 2019 – There will be overnight closures from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. on the following nights:

  • January 28- Feb 2
  • Feb 11-16
  • Feb 18-23

Two 30-minute daytime closures will be required every day, except Sundays, for the duration of construction.

* No closures from Sunday night into Monday morning.

If you are a pedestrian/cyclist accessing the bridge, please note:

Pedestrian and cyclist access will be maintained throughout construction with an escort. (There was pedestrian/cyclist restricted access at night for the last few weeks, but those restrictions have been lifted.)

The Westham Island Bridge connects Ladner with Westham Island. It opened to traffic on March 29, 1910. The bridge is approximately 325 metres long and consists of a swing span that opens for marine passage below.

The bridge is 108 years old and requires maintenance and rehabilitation work as part of the TransLink Maintenance and Repair Program to keep it safe and reliable.

Major rehabilitation work on the bridge began this fall and will continue until spring 2019. Work involves repairing and replacing components across the entire bridge, including piles and pile caps, floor beams and stringers below the deck, deck and handrail, and the swing mechanism.

During closures, emergency vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists will be allowed to cross with an escort; the bridge will be closed to all other traffic.

 Overnight closures will be from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. on the following nights:

  • December 10 – 15
  • December 17 – 22

There will be no closures from Sunday night into Monday morning and no daytime closures during December. Daytime closures will be scheduled in the new year.

Closure details, including dates of future closures, will be shared through the following channels:

There may be closures of the swing span, the details of which will be communicated regularly to ensure users of the navigational channel are aware of any restrictions.

 Why does the bridge have to be closed?

The bridge must be closed at various times throughout construction to ensure the safety of the workers and bridge users, and to accommodate construction equipment.

Is the bridge safe?

The bridge is safe for use; however, as one of the oldest bridges in the region, there are elements of it that are nearing the end of their useful lives. The upcoming rehabilitation work ensures the bridge remains safe and reliable.

We thank bridge users and nearby residents for their patience while we improve one of the oldest bridges in the region.

Make sure you check www.translink.ca/westham for up-to-date information.

Have questions? For more information, please email Westham.Island.Bridge@TransLink.ca or contact Customer Information at 604-953-3333.

Author: Tanushree Pillai

New Mark III trains undergoing testing and commissioning

New Mark III undergoing testing

This new Mark III train is currently completing a certain number of hours in a variety of different service situations

For those of you who noticed a new arrival on the Expo Line yesterday, it’s the first of the new Mark IIIs that’s getting closer each day to entering service! You heard that right!

We’re happy to say we’re testing and commissioning the newest Mark III train. You’ll see this one 4-car train on the Expo Line during non-peak hours, but no passengers are allowed on until the testing is complete.

The train will stop at all stations and the doors will open – but they will be taped and SkyTrain Attendants will be onboard to ensure no one boards the train.

Here’s what you will see when this train stops at the station and the doors open.

New Mark III SkyTrain testing

Here’s what you will see when this train stops at the station and the doors open.

The train will be tested and commissioned during non-peak hours. It is mandatory for all new trains to undergo eight hours of testing.

As you may recall, we received the first of the new Mark IIIs in September this year. Over the next year, we will be receiving a total of 56 new Mark III SkyTrain cars that will undergo mandated testing to ensure they are safe to travel on. Out of this, 24 SkyTrain cars will arrive early next year and another 28 by the end of the same year, all for the Expo and Millennium Lines.

This is all part of the 10-Year Vision – Phase One! We’re adding 80 new SkyTrain cars on the Expo, Millennium, and Canada Lines to increase service and reduce overcrowding.

All new trains must complete a certain number of hours in a variety of different service situations and testing scenarios before they are given the green light to be used in service. We do this testing to ensure that the new trains are safe for all passengers and staff.

All new trains go through three stages of commissioning:

  • Stage 1: Involves running a total of 140 km on Expo (80kms) and Millennium Line (60 kms) during non-revenue hours.
  • Stage 2: Includes running the train a total of eight hours during non-peak revenue service (current stage for the new trains).
  • Stage 3: Involves running the train in full revenue service (during peak and non-peak hours) while transporting passengers.

Train 2 arrived at the SkyTrain Operations and Maintenance Centre at Burnaby in November and is currently also undergoing testing and commissioning. Train 3 is currently being tested in Kingston, ON, while manufacturing of train 4 is expected to be complete by the end of this year.

 

As the new Mark III trains are commissioned, they will be introduced to service on all-day Expo Line runs now operated by Mark I trains.

These trains are fully-articulated (you can walk from one end of the train to the other), have more room for standing passengers, wheelchairs, bikes, strollers and riders with luggage, and are more environmentally efficient, and so much more!

Every 4th new Mark III train will allow us to update the Expo/Millennium service timetables, thereby increasing capacity on both the lines.

Stay tuned to know when the new trains go into service! You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay up-to-date with service information, and to share cool transit stories with us!

Author: Tanushree Pillai

Choo-choo-choose the West Coast Express Santa train this holiday season!

West Coast Express Santa Train

The Santa Train departs Mission City at 10 a.m.

The West Coast Express Santa Train is back on track again, benefiting community toy bureaus! It’s a great kick-off to the holiday season and such a worthy cause.

Please bring your entire family and invite all your friends on Saturday, Dec. 8 and 15, and help make Christmas brighter for kids in your community! Read more »

Transit safety tips for children from the Metro Vancouver Transit Police

Transit Police

Transit Police jurisdiction is the entire transportation service region – an area crossing twenty-one municipalities and one First Nation, served by a combination of seventeen independent police forces and RCMP detachments.

As a Neighbourhood Police Officer with the Metro Vancouver Transit Police, I get to attend community events and give talks in the Tri-Cities. One of the best things about my job is meeting children and teaching them about transit safety. Read more »

Transit-friendly Christmas activities in Metro Vancouver this weekend

A round of Santa-plause because The Buzzer blog is back with some cool things to do this weekend – all of which are transit-friendly! We take you from Vancouver to Surrey, from New West to Langley – because, Xmas has us feeling extra santa-mental!

Read on, you snow the drill!

Note: Event timings, locations, and prices may be subject to change. Check each event’s website for exact details. 

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A little more about that colour green and our new buses

TransLink Green New Flyer Bus

Colours in the green-yellow spectrum are perceived as conveying movement and speed.

As we mentioned in a previous post, we’re changing the colour of our B-Lines when the new ones launch in late 2019.

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A record breaking 40 million boardings on public transit in October in Metro Vancouver!

More and more customers are taking advantage of transit and new service introduced as part of the 10-Year Vision

Transit ridership in Metro Vancouver smashed a new record in October, with more people riding transit than ever before.

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Why are TransLink buses green now?

TransLink Green New Flyer Bus

As these new buses arrive, we’ll put them into service on the existing network

Hey Metro Vancouver! As some of you might have noticed, new buses have been arriving to the fleet only, they look a little different than existing buses!

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Donate a blanket! Drive on the Line is back and needs YOUR help

Gregory Ould heads BlanketBC and his kids volunteer to help collect blankets for those in need

When Gregory Ould offered a blanket to a homeless man back in 2005, he didn’t realize he was about to change his life’s focus.

Ould is the co-founder, along with his son Ben, of BlanketBC Society, an organization based in Mission that collects and distributes blankets to those in need.

Ould is a Canada Line Attendant and his organization has collected over 400,000 blankets to date!

This year, BlanketBC’s ‘Drive on the Line’ celebrates 10 years of changing lives and bringing warmth to people blanket by blanket.

North America’s largest blanket drive, this two-day donation initiative involves over 175 blanketeers ranging from individuals to families to corporate and sporting teams.

These volunteers collect blankets from our customers and the public at eight stations from downtown Vancouver to Richmond.

If you’d like to donate, you can head to:

  • Waterfront Station
  • Yaletown/Roundhouse
  • Vancouver City
  • Broadway/City Hall
  • Oakridge/41st
  • Marine Drive
  • Bridgeport, and
  • Lansdowne

Donations accepted are: socks, scarves, mittens, toques, and of course – blankets. All donated items are divided up and distributed to over 100 shelter programs and organizations that work directly with society’s most impoverished individuals and families throughout Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island.

BlanketBC requests that you ensure the items you donate are clean.

Last year’s blanket drive successfully collected over 6200 blankets, 1200 articles of clothing and over $7600! Every year, the goal is to collect over 10,000 blankets.

For more information, or to volunteer, please visit the BlanketBC website, or contact Gregory Ould.

Author: Tanushree Pillai

Transit-friendly fantastic Phở and more places in Metro Vancouver

Did you know there are two styles of Phở?

A piping hot bowl of Phở sounds quintessential of rainy Vancouver evenings, or rather late nights. This simple beef noodle soup – traditionally, but you can also get different kinds of stock – from Vietnam has come to be its most-prized culinary assets.

In fact, this humble dish even had Vietnamese poet Tu Mo wax eloquent about it in his poem, ‘An Ode to Phở’. This flavoursome mix of beef bones, charred onion and ginger, spices that include star anise, cinnamon, cloves, black cardamom and coriander – all used to make the slow-cooked broth that defines Phở – is the epitome of egalitarianism. The Phở brings the rich and poor together. Period.

Did you know there are two styles of Phở?  Phở bac, which is Phở from the northern regions of Vietnam, is made quite differently from how Phở is prepared in southern Vietnam (Phở Sài Gòn). The northern-style broth is traditional and simple with wider noodles, while the one from the south is somewhat sweeter, with lots of herbs, and even hoisin and chilli sauce. An important takeaway – not all Vietnamese-noodle-in-hot-broth-in-a-bowl dishes are Phở!

And since Metro Vancouver has so many fantastic Phở and more places, we thought we’d list some of those that are easily accessible by transit. Why? Because, we love all things transit, and we sure love us some Phở – Phở-real!

Let us know in the comments below which one is your favourite Vietnamese restaurant!

Note: Restaurant timings, locations, and prices may be subject to change. Check each restaurant’s website for exact details. 

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Now showing: award-winning public artwork at Joyce–Collingwood station!

Have you checked out this amazing artwork at Joyce–Collingwood SkyTrain station yet?

We have some news to share!

For those of you who board/alight the Expo Line at Joyce–Collingwood SkyTrain station, a new piece of public art has probably drawn your attention.

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Meet Laureen: Your evergreen SkyTrain voice lady

It’s been nearly two decades since Laureen came on board

Hop on a SkyTrain and you’ll hear a woman’s voice on the public address system, telling you what line you’ve boarded and what station is coming up next.

Well, that voice belongs to Laureen Regan, president of Regan Productions, a video production company in Calgary, Alberta.

She’s been the voice of the SkyTrain since 2001, when the Millennium Line opened and new station announcements were required. We brought her back again when the Canada Line and Evergreen Extension opened to record additional announcements.

In July this year, we brought Vancouver-born actor Seth Rogen as the guest voice on transit. Seth added to Laureen’s SkyTrain station name announcements and talked about etiquette on transit and entertained and educated our customers on priority seating, bags and feet on seats, and many more transit etiquette issues. He also had interesting nuggets to share about Vancouver. If you missed your chance to listen to them on the system, worry not, because we’ve put them up online!

Laureen Regan

It’s been nearly two decades since Laureen came on board, and she continues to be THE SkyTrain lady for us and our customers.

Regan heard her voice on the train system for the first time shortly after the Millennium Line began service.

“I took the train and I laughed,” she says. “It was so amazing to hear it—to sit there and go, ‘Oh my God, that’s my voice.’ You remembered when you recorded it. … And everybody has no idea, which makes you laugh.”

Regan came to be the voice of the SkyTrain through her connection to Interalia, another Calgary-based company.

Interalia makes automated voice systems, and knew Regan had done voice work for her own productions in the past. They asked her to do a demo voice for their system, which they were about to show to TransLink for the Millennium Line.

Then, when TransLink bought the Interalia system, Regan was asked to record the real announcements for the trains.

 

Recording wasn’t too tough.

“Millennium Line is hard to say, I’ve got to say,” she says. “But I don’t remember any of the names being particularly difficult. The challenge sometimes with recording for places you don’t know is that you may not know the proper pronunciation [of local names].”

It’s a challenge she’s faced again over the years.

Regan has also done voice work for the Salt Lake City train system and the BART trains in San Francisco, both through Interalia

The chance to do voice work like this has been a gift, she says.

“It’s not been something that I’ve planned—it just happened. I enjoy it every time I do voicing. I love it.”

Do you have a favourite SkyTrain announcement? Tell us which one!

Listen to the Podcast

Regan’s interview was conducted as part of The Buzzer blog podcast. Have a listen!

This post originally appeared in the October 10, 2008 issue of The Buzzer. 

Winter is coming! How TransLink prepares for wintry weather

Winter officially doesn’t arrive for another month-and-a-half, but at TransLink, customer safety is our number one priority. In anticipation of adverse winter weather conditions, our operating companies have plans in place to ensure service stays as reliable as possible for you.

We work expeditiously before and during winter to ensure our buses — including our trolleybus fleet — and SkyTrain all continue to run smoothly, so that we can get you home safe. But, as you know, sometimes traffic woes and slippery roads mean there are some inadvertent delays.

Read on to find out what this means for your winter commute.

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Goodbye and Thank You: Transit Police Sergeant Wendy Hawthorne to retire

Transit Police Sergeant Wendy Hawthorne started with the Metro Transit Security Service in early 1984 as a Transit Security Officer

On November 21, at the Canadian Urban Transit Association Conference in Toronto, Metro Vancouver Transit Police Sergeant Wendy Hawthorne will receive the 2018 Leadership Award in Excellence to acknowledge the benefits our transit system has gained thanks to her specialized expertise in graffiti on transit. We caught up with Wendy for an interview before she heads off into retirement at the end of this year.

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