Translink Buzzer Blog

Category: Bus

(PICTURES) The Vancouver trolleybus network turns 70 today!

Stanley Park (Chilco) Loop circa 1972

August 16, 2018 marks the 70th anniversary of Vancouver’s trolleybus network.

Today marks the 70th anniversary of Vancouver’s trolleybus network!

The electric trolleybuses first burst onto the scene as part of the ambitious “rails-to-rubber” conversion to decommission the streetcar network. The first trolleybus, a Canadian Car Brill T-44, hit the roads on August 16, 1948, forever changing the way we move around in the city.

Have you checked out the new items in the TransLink Store? We’ve released a commemorative shirt, recognizing the 70th anniversary of Vancouver’s trolleybus network! Available in men and ladies sizes.

For more than 60 years, the streetcar was the backbone of the region’s transit system. The end of the Great Depression and World War II challenged us to rethink public transit: stay with streetcars and their tracks, or look towards rubber-tired buses.  Read more »

Ride a historic trolleybus for FREE on August 16, 18 and 24

Come join us on August 16, 18 and 24 to take a trip down memory lane.

Vancouver’s trolleybus network turns 70 on August 16, 2018 and we’re celebrating with FREE rides on a historic trolleybus!

A 1954 Canadian Car Brill T-48A trolleybus, painted in the B.C. Hydro and Power Authority livery (design on the outside), returns to Vancouver’s streets for three days:

  • Thursday, August 16, noon – 4 p.m. (departs from Cordova St at Seymour St, approximately every 70 mins.)
  • Saturday, August 18, noon – 4 p.m. (departs from Cambie St at Hastings St, stop #50410, approximately every 30 mins.)
  • Friday, August 24, noon – 4 p.m. (departs from Cambie St at Hastings St, stop #50410, approximately every 30 mins.)

We expect the historic trolleybus rides to be very popular, so get there early! It’s first come, first served. Rides end at 4 p.m. on all three days, so the last departure will be about 70 mins. prior on Aug. 16 and about half-an-hour prior on Aug. 18 & 24.

The first trolleybus, a Canadian Car Brill T-44, hit the road on August 16, 1948, operating the 6 Fraser and 15 Cambie route. It was part of the ambitious “rails-to-rubber” conversion to decommission the streetcar network and replace it with trolleybuses.

The last streetcar route departed Vancouver’s streets in 1955. Diesel buses soon joined the fleet, and later came compressed natural gas and diesel-electric hybrid buses.  Next year, we’ll begin trialling four fast-charge battery-electric buses on the 100 Marpole Loop/22nd Street Station route.

Our trolleybus fleet today consists of 262 forty- and sixty-foot buses built by New Flyer. We’re the only transit system in Canada that operates trolleybuses and our fleet is one of the largest in North America!

Take transit to the Celebration of Light—we’re adding extra service!

The Celebration of Light returns on July 28 (South Africa), August 1 (Sweden) and August 4 (South Korea), lighting up the skies at English Bay, the West End and Kits Point!

More than 15,000 people take transit to and from the event each night, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead. We’ll be adding extra service and modifying station access in downtown Vancouver to get you to-and-from the festivities smoothly.

Keep reading to familiarize yourself with everything you need to know to have a fun and safe evening at the Celebration of Light!

Plan ahead and avoid line ups at Compass Vending Machines by topping up your Compass Card or pre-purchasing your return Compass Ticket. And remember—you can tap your contactless Visa or Mastercard credit card or mobile wallet on Compass fare gates and readers to pay for an adult cash fare!

Celebration of Light Tips

Extra service

Bus

Coast Mountain Bus Company and West Vancouver Transit will operate extra trips to downtown Vancouver after 6:30 p.m. and additional service after the events. Some downtown and West End buses will be detoured. For a full list of detours, visit translink.ca/alerts closer to event days.

SkyTrain

The Expo and Millennium Line will operate peak service from mid-afternoon, with the last scheduled SkyTrain departing Waterfront Station at 1:16 a.m. Service will be extended if necessary.

The Canada Line will operate peak service throughout the evening and there will extra service from Waterfront at the end of the fireworks, with trains running every three minutes. The last departure from Waterfront to Richmond–Brighouse Station will be at 1:15 a.m.

SeaBus 

Extra and extended service will be provided for each of the Celebration of Light events (and also Caribbean Days!).

The SeaBus will operate every 15 minutes from 7 a.m. until midnight with the last SeaBus from Waterfront at 1:22 a.m. on Saturdays, July 28 and August 4. On July 28 only, an extra SeaBus will operate between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.

On Wednesday, August 1, it will operate every 15 minutes between 6 a.m. and midnight, then every 30 minutes until the last sailing from Waterfront at 1:22 a.m.

West Coast Express

West Coast Express will operate a special train on August 4 only, leaving Mission City at 7 p.m. and arriving at Waterfront Station at 8:15 p.m. The return train departs Waterfront Station at midnight, arriving back at Mission City at approximately 1:15 a.m.

Station access

To ensure passenger comfort and safety after the events, bikes will not be allowed on SkyTrain after 10:30 p.m. until the crowds have cleared. As well, the following stations will be open with modified access after 10:30 p.m.: 

Waterfront Station: SkyTrain access from the Cordova Street entrance will be restricted to Canada Line, SeaBus and West Coast Express (on Aug. 4 only) passengers, as well as persons with wheelchairs or strollers. All other passengers, including those transferring from SeaBus to the Expo Line must enter from Howe Street, until crowds have cleared.

Burrard Station: Bikes cannot be locked at the station entrance’s bike rack until the expected crowds have cleared.

Granville Station: The Granville Street entrance will be closed until crowds clear (note: the Seymour entrance remains closed as part of the escalator replacement project). Passengers will lineup for the SkyTrain at this station west along Dunsmuir, south on Granville. Platform 1 towards Waterfront will be closed.

Plan your trip at translink.ca/tripplanner and know before you go by checking Transit Alerts at translink.ca/alerts.

Ridership growth trend continues through June

System-wide boardings grew by 6.1% in June!

System-wide boardings grew by 6.1% in June!

We have some exciting news to share. The numbers are in for June and we’re once again reporting ridership growth! Boardings have increased by 6.1% year-over-year, showing transit is continuing to attract new riders. 

We’re racing towards another record year of growth—if this trend continues, 2018 will break last year’s total boardings record of 407 million.

  • Bus: Average weekday boardings are up 8% year over year, while year to date growth is 6.5%.
  • SkyTrain: Expo and Millennium Line average weekday boardings are up 6.1%, which is in line with growth year to date. While average weekday boardings for Canada Line increased by 5.8% year-over-year and growth year-to-date is at 5.1%.
  • SeaBus: Average weekday boardings increased by 5.4% year-over-year and 6.3% year-to-date. This is due in part to frequency increases in the evening launched a year ago.
  • West Coast Express: Average weekday boardings are up 7.6% year-over-year and 6% for the year-to-date. This suggests ridership is rebounding after a drop following the opening of the Evergreen Millennium Line Extension.

Growth is being driven by the substantial addition of new service as part of Phase One, steadily high gas prices and strong employment growth. This underscores the need for projects and service increases coming as part of Phase Two of the Mayors’ Council’s 10-Year Vision, which include:

  • Construction of light rail in Surrey, the Millennium Line Broadway Extension in Vancouver and planning and design for Surrey-Langley rapid transit.
  • New bus service in Vancouver, Surrey and North Vancouver as well as B-Lines in Richmond and Surrey.
  • Addition of new buses and SkyTrain cars to increase frequency and capacity.

According to TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond, the focus is now shifting to Phase Two of the Vision.

“The Phase Two Investment Plan was approved by TransLink’s Board and the Mayors’ Council which gives us the mandate to roll out the biggest package of transportation improvements in Metro Vancouver history. These latest numbers show the region needs this investment if we’re going to avoid major congestion.”

Have you taken any of the Phase One service improvements yet? If so, we’d love to hear your thought on them in the comments section.

 

New NightBus District makes late-night transit easier to find

TransLink After Dark

Finding the NightBus just got easier in downtown Vancouver with the pilot NightBus District—a new, well-lit hub on West Georgia Street at Granville Street to catch the NightBus.

This is where all 10 NightBus routes will now start, making it easier than ever to find transit to take you home after 2  a.m.! It’s cheaper than a coat check, costing less than $3 to get home on NightBus.

NightBus District stops are the ones with the full moons on top!

NightBus District stops are the ones with the full moons on top!

NightBus routes from Downtown Vancouver depart every 30 minutes or better, seven days a week, and pick up customers throughout the downtown core, connecting them to destinations across the region.

The routes include service to Burnaby and SFU, Coquitlam, North Vancouver, Richmond and YVR, Surrey, UBC and several points throughout Vancouver.

Three of the NightBus routes closely follow the same routes as the Millennium Line (N9), Canada Line (N10) and Expo Line (N19). Last departures from downtown on these routes are after 4 a.m. Last departures for other routes range from 3:09 a.m. to 5:09 a.m., depending on the route.

NightBus District and Route Map

The hub, which is a pilot project, was inspired by feedback from TransLink’s Late Night Stakeholder Committee that has been discussing late-night transit services for workers and patrons of the Downtown Entertainment District.

We’ll be monitoring the success of the program as we continue our assessment of late-night services.

Find out more about the NightBus District on translink.ca/nightbus!

 

TransLink’s Summer Service Changes begins on June 25

Summer Service Changes start June 25

This Monday, June 25 we launch our Summer Service Changes on June 25, bringing better transit to our customers!

Ridership in Metro Vancouver smashed records in May thanks in large part to new transit service introduced as part of the 10-Year Vision. On June 25, we’re increasing service on the 319 Scott Road/Newton Exchange at busy times on weekdays to reduce wait times and pass-ups. This is the latest 10-Year Vision investment to improve our transit system.

We’re also adding extra trips on numerous routes to get you to and from popular summer attractions!

Summer is a time for exploring and there are so many places in Metro Vancouver that you can explore using transit, including amazing hikes and doughtnut shops, street festivals, farmers markets, parks and more. If you know some places accessible on transit that we haven’t covered, leave that info in the comments section!

Visiting summer destinations is why we’re adding extra trips to Stanley Park, Lynn Canyon Park, Buntzen Lake and White Rock Beach. We’re also extending service hours on the 620 route to get you to and from Tsawwassen Ferry terminal during the summer season!

On the 20 Victoria/Downtown route, we’re trying something new to improve reliability. Congestion in downtown Vancouver often affects this route’s reliability. That’s why we’re piloting a layover at Richards Street and W Georgia Street, which will allow buses to get back on schedule.

The 44 Downtown/UBC will no longer serve five bus stops to provide express service in downtown Vancouver.

We’re renaming the C45 and C46 as well as the C60 and C61 routes to improve customer experience for new riders!

They are now the 745 Haney Place/Cottonwood and 746 Haney Place/Albion, and 560 Langley Centre/Murrayville and 561 Langley Centre/Brookswood. Buses will operate exactly the same, only the destination sign will change. Customers can remain on the bus when the route number changes.

These are just highlights! You’ll want to visit translink.ca/servicechanges for a list of all the changes and details.

New platforms for Millennium Line at Lougheed Town Centre Station

We’re streamlining the way our Millennium Line trains move through Lougheed Town Centre Station to create a faster and more reliable trip for our customers.

Trains to VCC–Clark Station will depart from Platform 3 and trains to Lafarge Lake–Douglas will depart from Platform 1. Expo Line platforms will not change. Watch the video to learn more!

C-ya later!

The letter “C” used to indicate the route was served with only community shuttle buses. Today, we operate our bus fleet interchangeably, depending on demand, to better serve our customers.

We’re continuing to phase out the “C” on community shuttle bus routes. On June 25, we’re saying “c-ya” to the “C” on the  C43, C44, C45, C46, C48, C49, C60, C61, C62, C63, C64, C70, C75 and C76.

Know before you go! Sign up for Transit Alerts at translink.ca/alerts, visit translink.ca, follow @TransLink or call Customer Service at 604.953.3333.

May’s transit ridership smashes records

May’s ridership numbers are in and we’re seeing unprecedented growth across the transit network! Ridership has reached a new all-time high, with the brief period Vancouver hosted the 2010 Olympic Winter Games being the only exception.

  • Bus: Average weekday boardings for May are up 9.5 per cent, while yearly growth to date is at 6.9 per cent.
  • SkyTrain: May’s Expo and Millennium Line average weekday boardings are up 9.2 per cent, while Canada Line’s grew by 8.1 per cent. Expo, Millennium and Canada Line boardings combined for the year so far are up 5.7 per cent.
  • SeaBus: Average weekday boardings increased by 13.1 per cent. This is due in part to frequency increases in the evening launched a year ago. Year-to-date boardings are up 7.6 per cent.
  • West Coast Express: Boardings for May have increased 6.7 per cent, while the year-to-date growth rate is also 6.7 per cent.

Read more »

Only a few days left to help design the four new B-Line routes

TransLink is rolling out four new B-Line bus routes across 12 Metro Vancouver communities by the end of next year.

When launched, these B-Line routes will bring frequent, reliable service and shorter travel times within walking distance of a whopping 200,000 residents! Now’s the time to help shape these B-Line routes, and make sure they meet your community’s needs. The consultation period has been underway since April and will be closing on May 31.

Seven more B-Line routes that will come after the 2019 launch as part of future phases of the Mayors’ Council’s 10-Year Vision.

Read more »

106 new CNG buses roll into Surrey

Compressed Natural Gas Bus

Clean energy initiatives and safety are two high priorities at TransLink, which is why we’re excited to be adding 106 new Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses to the fleet at the recently upgraded Surrey Transit Centre. All 106 of these new buses will also be equipped with bus safety barriers to help keep our operators, and passengers safe. Transit riders can expect to see these new CNG buses in operation in Surrey starting this week, with full roll out of all remaining new clean energy buses by the end of 2018.

Read more »

Get involved! Take this international benchmarking survey for bus and SkyTrain until May 7, 2018

TransLink is a part of the International Bus Benchmarking Group (IBBG) and CoMET and Nova benchmarking groups, which measure the performance of larger transit agencies across the globe.

Each year, we ask our riders to participate in benchmarking surveys that help us look at best practices, customer satisfaction and performance measurements. Your feedback is extremely important to help make our bus and SkyTrain service better than ever!

Read more »

TransLink leads the charge launching new electric-battery bus trial

At TransLink, sustainability is very important to us and we are always exploring innovative ways to reduce carbon emissions while providing efficient travel for our customers. That’s why we’re excited to announce our partnership with Natural Resources Canada, Metro Vancouver and BC Hydro to bring four fast-charging electric-battery buses to the region starting in 2019.

Read more »

A conversation with James Tanaka, our dapper transit operator!

James Tanaka

James Tanaka

An infectious smile and passion for providing great customer service. Smart, well-dressed and dapper in his bow-tie.

There are just some of the ways customers and colleagues describe James Tanaka, a transit operator with TransLink’s Coast Mountain Bus Company.

It’s an attitude and approach that James brought over from his many years waiting tables and managing various Japanese restaurants, and working as a bank teller. Getting positive reactions from the public is, “The best,” say James.

Board his bus and he’ll always greet you with a smile and a “How are you doing?” Disembarking from the bus? It’s an exuberant, “Have a great day!”

In the food industry, everything has to be on time—sometimes that means rushing. But as a transit operator, James has learned you can’t rush and safety is number one.

“Coming from a customer-focused industry, there is still a part of me that wants to provide great service as much as possible for the company,” says James. “The public has their schedules to keep and they do rely on us.”

That’s why if there’s an incident on the road or bad traffic, and he’s running late, James will make an announcement on his bus, letting customers know what the situation is a apologize for the delay.

“It does diffuse the situation,” he says. “That’s the whole customer service end. It’s ingrained in me. By keeping the passengers informed, it allows a sense of transparency.”

James is committed to making a difference in people’s day, however small.

“If I can get you to your destination safely, and make you smile—add a little sunshine to your day—then that’s great, I’ve done my job.”

Do you think you have what it takes to be a transit operator? Visit translink.ca/drive to learn how you can apply!

Have your say on the new B-Line routes and Maple Ridge–Pitt Meadows Area Transport Plan, April 3 – May 31!

Next year, TransLink’s launching four new B-Line bus routes in 12 Metro Vancouver communities—that means shorter travel times, shorter waits and less crowding!

It’s part of the Mayors’ Council 10-Year Vision for better transportation in Metro Vancouver. The new B-Line routes are:

  • Fraser Highway (Surrey Central to Langley Centre)
  • Main-Marine (Dundarave to Phibbs Exchange)
  • 41st Avenue (Joyce-Collingwood to UBC)
  • Lougheed Highway (Coquitlam Central to Haney Place in Maple Ridge)

The public is invited to weigh in on proposed bus routes, local service changes, and speed and reliability measures! Visit us at a pop-up information session and take the survey from April 3 – May 31 at translink.ca/bline

Read more »

Giving thanks for Transit Driver Appreciation Day

Sunday, March 18, 2018 is Transit Driver Appreciation Day, or #TDAD for short, but we’re celebrating early on Friday, March 16, 2018 to give weekday commuters an extra chance to say “thanks” to their drivers.

Read more »

Psst…more B-Line service is coming to Metro Vancouver!

B-Line bus service offers faster travel time, direct routing and connections to key regional destinations in areas that need it most. It’s a cost-effective way to reduce congestion and overcrowding on transit.

You may have heard, 80 new SkyTrain cars will be available for service in Metro Vancouver by 2020 (28 of which are arriving early!). Now, we’re excited to announce we’re preparing to roll out four new B-Line bus routes by the end of 2019!

Read more »