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Translink Buzzer Blog

Category: Bus

Low-floor community shuttles fully rolled out

45 new, low-floor community shuttles are now in service!

Exciting news for customers who take the bus on routes that are operated with community shuttles! Our roll out of 49 new “low floor” community shuttles, which began last October, is now complete. This means more customers will benefit from a sloped ramp — instead of stairs — making it easier for all our passengers to board the bus.

What’s new?

  • Low-floor access through the front door using a deployable ramp (no more stairs!)
  • Winch (electric motor with a cable/rope/strap) to help operators guide customers who are using mobility devices into the bus, if necessary
  • Initial field-testing surveys suggest these shuttles are quieter and vibrate less than their predecessors, leading to an improved customer experience
  • New shuttles are ~305mm from the ground while older shuttles (2014 Eldorado’s) are close to 1 foot higher at ~323mm from the ground
  • Higher ceilings in the new shuttles (2.16m in the front, 2.01m in the rear) compared to approximately 1.94m in the front and rear of the Eldorado’s
  • A redesigned interior layout which allows for easier access for mobility customers to enter and move around the shuttle
  • A dedicated HVAC unit (combined heating and air conditioning) which runs quieter and is more powerful than anything currently installed on any CMBC Community Shuttle
  • Larger windows and upgraded emergency exits
  • Improved seat covers that are more comfortable and easier to clean (identical to conventional buses)
  • Interior and exterior LED lights
  • A Vortec 6.0-litre fuel efficient, low-emission gas engine

TransLink first tested out low-floor community shuttles in 2017 when West Vancouver Blue Bus piloted five of them on North Shore routes, including the former C12 Lions Bay/Caulfield and the 251 Queens/Park Royal. After receiving positive feedback from customers, as well as the operations and maintenance teams at Coast Mountain Bus Company, we decided to expand our community shuttle fleet to include more low-floor community shuttles.

Forty-five of the new shuttles are based at Hamilton Transit Centre bus depot and are replacements for buses that have reached end-of-life. Four shuttles from the new order will also be going to West Vancouver Blue Bus, completing their full transition to low-floor shuttles.

COVID-19 transit safety tip

Customers are reminded to consider travelling outside of busy times if they can and to stay home when unwell. We’re recommending customers to wear a face covering when riding transit. Non-medical masks, bandanas, scarves and cloth can all be used. Please maintain physical distance from other passengers and transit staff when possible and follow our physical distancing markers where outlined.

From one Metro Vancouver institution to another: a retired bus operator on Army & Navy

I Love Transit - Angus McIntyre

Retired bus operator Angus McIntyre on his first day of work in 1969.

After temporarily closing like other retailers in March to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Canadian department store Army & Navy recently announced their closure is now permanent. The COVID-19 pandemic’s economic impacts proved to be insurmountable. This ends the Canadian institution’s 101-year run that began in 1919 as Canada’s first discount department store.

Just like Woodward’s and Eaton’s before that, Army & Navy holds a special place in Metro Vancouver’s collective hearts.

TransLink’s part of a storied history of transit in Metro Vancouver than spans more than a century — it celebrates its 130th anniversary this June 27. Our buses today and streetcars before that brought generations of families to Army & Navy.

Retired bus operator Angus McIntyre was no different. He steered his way through four different employers during his 41 years as a bus operator. His incredible journey began in 1969 when he went to Army and Navy to purchase a pair of Oxford shoes for his job interview with BC Hydro, which operated transit in Metro Vancouver between 1962 and 1973.

Read his guest post on what Army & Navy meant to him and transit.

Angus McIntyre

By Angus McIntyre

I shopped occasionally at the Army and Navy downtown, when skid road was an area of the city that was a bit rough, but still considered approachable by most people.

When I moved out on my own at age 19, I bought kitchenware at the Army and Navy.

At age 21, I didn’t have a lot of money, and I needed to buy a pair of black Oxford shoes in July 1969 to go for my job interview as a bus driver with B.C. Hydro. The shoe department of the Army & Navy was in a separate building on the south side of Hastings, next to Wosk’s huge appliance store. They had an affordable pair of shoes and I got the job.

Once in training, we were supplied with a changer, a transfer punch and a change fund of $120. An instructor said the best thing for our supplies, including rolls of tokens and coins, was a tackle box from the large basement fishing department at the Army & Navy. I bought a Canadian-made Beach tackle box, which sat on the front dash of the bus next to the bracket for the changer and transfer clips.

I worked the Nanaimo bus in the evening for many years, and one of my regular passengers worked in the shoe department of the Army & Navy. He always dreaded the huge annual shoe sale, which involved bringing in the inventory and dealing with massive crowds that showed up for the sale. When he boarded the bus to head home, he would give a run-down of the day’s events.

I bought a bicycle in 1970, and about a year later met another cyclist during a rainfall. He had on a lightweight, waterproof jacket and pants that he wore over his clothes. I asked where he bought it, and he told me to go to the Army & Navy. I made the purchase, and it lasted for many years.

In the 1970s the Christmas rush downtown was always very busy, and all the department stores filled with shoppers. A visit to the Army and Navy or Woodward’s usually included a snack or a meal at the Only Seafoods at Hastings and Carrall. Over the years I also shopped occasionally at the Army and Navy store in New Westminster, which was in the former Eaton’s building on Columbia Street.

Take part in the international survey and help us improve bus and SkyTrain

We need your help so we can make our services even better! 

Did you know that TransLink is a member of two international benchmarking communities, the International Bus Benchmarking Group (IBBG) and CoMET and NOVA Metro Benchmarking Group?

Both organizations were founded to create an international network for transit agencies to learn best practices, share knowledge and innovate. Each year they also measure the performance of transit systems across the world in their annual surveys.

Join the conversation and share you experience with TransLink’s bus and SkyTrain services in the 2-5 minutes surveys before April 5, 2020.

Share your experience with SkyTrain  service here

Share your experience with bus services here

Vancouver’s SkyTrain (BCRTC) is a part of CoMET and Nova Metro Benchmarking Groups, a global metro benchmarking community comprising of 42 metro systems in 39 international cities. Current members are some of the world’s largest metro systems, including Beijing Subway, Tokyo Metro, and Moscow Metro, as well as medium to small-sized ones, such as Tyne & Wear Metro (Newcastle) and Singapore SMRT.

IBBG features 15 medium and large international bus organizations, including London Buses, MTA New York City Transit (New York), and Vancouver’s Coast Mountain Bus Company.

Check out our interview from 2015 with IBBG associate director Mark Trompet to learn more about their organization:

 

 

Spring service changes to boost North Shore bus service

The new R2 Marine Dr RapidBus launches on April 6.

Beginning April 6, transit on the North Shore is being boosted to provide more frequent and reliable bus service. With the upcoming introduction of the R2 RapidBus along Marine Drive, there will be several additions of new routes and adjustments to existing routes on the North Shore. These changes will allow the North Shore transit network to better integrate with the high frequency RapidBus route.

New North Shore bus routes

R2 Marine Dr (Park Royal/Phibbs Exchange)

  • High frequency RapidBus service with limited stops
  • 8 to 10-minute service every day from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • 15-minute evening service every day from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.

222 Willingdon Express

  • Express service with only six stops
  • Serves Phibbs Exchange, the Kootenay Loop, Hastings and Willingdon, Brentwood Town Centre SkyTrain Station, BCIT, and Metrotown
  • 10-minute peak service
  • Former 125 (Patterson/BCIT) customers are encouraged to switch to the new express service

245 Phibbs Exchange/Capilano University

  • 10-minute peak service during summer months
  • More service coming fall 2020 for the new school year

Adjusted North Shore bus routes

240 Lynn Valley/Downtown

  • Terminus extending from Grand Boulevard to Lynn Valley to integrate with the R2 RapidBus

28 Joyce Station/Phibbs Exchange and 130 Metrotown/Phibbs Exchange

  • Terminus moved from Capilano University to Phibbs Exchange

239 Park Royal/Capilano University

  • Service replaced by R2 RapidBus, and increased service on routes 240 and 255

Other major permanent service increases

 31 River District/Metrotown (New Service)

  • Will provide a direct bus connection to the Expo Line for residents of the River District

319 Scott Road Station/Scottsdale Exchange/Newton Exchange

  • Introducing 4 to 8-minute service all day on weekdays until 10:30 p.m.
  • Increasing to 4-minute peak service between Scottsdale Exchange and Scott Road Station

Seasonal changes

Each year, TransLink temporarily increases service during the spring and summer months to key tourist destinations like ferry terminals, parks, and beaches. On April 6, service will increase on route 620 (Bridgeport Station/Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal). In May, service will increase on route 19 (Metrotown/Stanley Park) to reflect growing demand.

In May, service will be temporarily reinstated on the 42 (Alma/Spanish Banks), 150 (White Pine Beach/Coquitlam Central Station), 179 (Buntzen Lake/Coquitlam Central Station), and 236 (Grouse Mountain/Pemberton Heights/Lonsdale Quay) until the fall.

TransLink also temporarily decreases service to post-secondary institutions in these months, as there are less students travelling to and from campus. Service will temporarily reduce on routes 9, 42, 145, 258, and 480.

River District and North Shore Express to Metrotown bus routes approved

The new 31 and 222 bus routes start operating on April 6, 2020.

Two new major bus routes have been approved to serve residents in Vancouver’s East Fraser Lands (the River District), the North Shore, and Burnaby. Beginning April 6, the new services will connect North Shore and River District residents directly to the SkyTrain at Metrotown Station.

New routes:

31 River District/Metrotown – A new service operating between Metrotown Station and the River District. This new route will serve the River District’s growing levels of residential and commercial development by providing a direct bus connection to SkyTrain.

222 Willingdon Express – This new route provides an express service connecting Phibbs Exchange in North Vancouver to Metrotown in Burnaby via Willingdon Avenue. This will be a limited-stop service with only six stops on the entire route. It will serve key transit hubs such as Phibbs Exchange, the Kootenay Bus Loop, Brentwood Town Centre SkyTrain Station, BCIT, and Metrotown. The demand for this route was identified as part of the Integrated North Shore Transportation Planning Project (INSTPP).

Both routes were accepted as part of the 2019 Transit Network Review – which consults on new ways to optimize the transit system for customers. The full Transit Network Review consulted on proposed changes to 12 routes last year, and these are the first two to have their proposals implemented. These and other transit expansion projects are funded through the Mayors’ 10-Year Vision.

Engagement results:

In total, there were 4,000 surveys completed for the two new routes. Nearly 80 per cent of respondents said they would be likely to use the Willingdon Express, and two-thirds of respondents said they would be likely to use the River District service.

More information:

Transit Network Review

(CONTEST) RapidBus brings faster, more frequent service to eight Metro Vancouver communities

We know that fast, frequent service is key to getting more people onto transit — that’s why we’ve introduced a new service called RapidBus! It comes with faster travel times, more reliable service and new customer amenities.

On these routes, customers will enjoy service that’s up to 20 per cent faster than local bus service. Coming every 10 minutes or better during peak hours and every 15 minutes or better in non-peak hours, customers can now catch a RapidBus on these four routes:

  • R1 King George Blvd (Guildford Exchange/Newton Exchange)
    • Every eight minutes during peak hours
  • R3 Lougheed Hwy (Coquitlam Central Station/Haney Place)
    • Every ten minutes during peak hours
  • R4 41st Ave (UBC/Joyce-Collingwood Station)
    • Every three to six minutes during peak hours
  • R5 Hastings St (SFU/Burrard Station)
    • Every four to five minutes during peak hours

Time-savings have been achieved by introducing bus priority on roadways, such as bus lanes and signal priority, and less stopping.

What’s awesome about RapidBus is not only the service itself, but the new customer amenities at bus stops and onboard buses!

We’ve introduced new bus stops, called RapidBus posts, that have real-time information, telling you upcoming departure times for all the buses that use that stop. There’s an audio button customers can push to hear these next-bus announcements too. The RapidBus routes will also use 60-foot articulated buses that have softer seats.

Isn’t the new RapidBus service great?! We want everyone to know about this new service and could use some help in spreading the word. We want to give you the chance to win a RapidBus prize back that includes a RapidBus toque, gloves and the new model that just dropped on the TransLink Store.

Keep reading to find out how you can enter to win.

Enter to win!

There are three prize packs up for grabs with each of the following:

  • A RapidBus t-shirt
  • A RapidBus model
  • A RapidBus toque
  • Pair of RapidBus gloves
  • A handful of RapidBus buttons
  • A handful of RapidBus stickers
  • A handful of I Love Transit buttons

To enter, simply complete one — or all — of the following actions:

  • Comment below telling us which RapidBus route you’ll be taking and where you’ll be going (1 entry)
  • Follow @TransLink on Instagram, like this post and tag three friends you’d like to tell about RapidBus. (1 entry)
  • Follow @TransLink on Twitter, and tweet or retweet the following message. (1 entry)

If you do all three actions, you’ll be entered to win three times! Don’t forget to make sure your social media accounts are public so we can see your entry.

The rules:

Check out the official RapidBus Prize Pack Contest Terms and Conditions, but here’s the lowdown:

  • The contest for a RapidBus prize pack will open on Monday, February 24, 2020 and all entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. PST on Sunday, March 8, 2020. Late entries will not be considered.
  • We’ll do one draw each for The Buzzer blog, Instagram and Twitter.
  • One entry per method, per person, per day.

Lonsdale Quay Exchange begins final phase of upgrades

Upgrades to the Lonsdale Quay Exchange are nearing completion and entering the final phase of construction. The improvements will enhance the experience of a growing number of customers coming in and out of the exchange each day. This is the first upgrade to the exchange since it was built in the 1980s.

Construction begins next week on the west side of the bus exchange, opening the upgraded east side to customers. Customers will now benefit from the completed improvements such as new pavement, improved lighting, more space, better accessibility, and tactile walking surface indicators.

The upgrades are projected for completion in the spring of this year, key improvements include:

  • Adapted bus bays for the R2 Marine Drive RapidBus
  • New pavement throughout the exchange and the passenger hub
  • Improved accessibility for wheelchairs and strollers
  • A new ceiling above the exchange to provide better lighting
  • Tactile walking surface indicators at bus stops and passenger crossings for customers with vision loss
  • New public art installation

The $14.7 million budget for improvements is paid for through contributions from the Government of Canada, the Province of British Columbia, and TransLink.

Quick facts:

  • Lonsdale Quay Exchange is the second busiest transit hub on the North Shore
  • Over 5,000 customers catch a bus at the exchange on an average weekday
  • 12 bus routes serve the exchange travelling to Vancouver, West Vancouver and the District and City of North Vancouver
  • 20,000 SeaBus trips are taken each weekday

Electric bikes can now ride the bus too!

Electric bikes are now allowed to ride the bus!

As Metro Vancouver’s transportation authority, we’re more than just transit! Among our responsibilities is providing cycling options in the region and supporting the more than 107,000 bike trips that happen daily.

We know cycling with a little help from an electric boost is becoming more popular. That’s why we’ve updated our rules to allow electric bikes to be placed on our bus bike racks.

There are a few conditions though, the electric bikes must:

  • Weigh less than 25kg (55 lbs.)
  • Wheels fit properly in bike rack
  • Include a lithium battery
  • The customer removes the battery and brings it onboard the bus

There are a few electric bikes that are still not allowed on bike racks such ones that are like a scooter. They weigh too much and don’t fit properly in our bike racks.

Electric bikes are also welcome onboard SeaBus, SkyTrain and the West Coast Express.

If you have any questions, please ask transit staff before boarding or contact Customer Information at 604.953.3333. Visit translink.ca/bikesontransit to learn more about how can you incorporate cycling into your commute.

Happy cycling!

TransLink celebrates Lunar New Year

The Lunar New Year-wrapped bus will make its debut at the Vancouver Chinatown Spring Festival Parade and will start serving customers this coming Monday.

The Lunar New Year-wrapped bus will make its debut at the Vancouver Chinatown Spring Festival Parade and will start serving customers this coming Monday.

TransLink is joining Lunar New Year celebrations this weekend by participating in the Vancouver Chinatown Spring Festival Parade on Sunday with a specially themed Lunar New Year Bus.

“The Lunar New Year is a time to celebrate the diverse communities who live together in Metro Vancouver,” says TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond. “We are proud to participate in the parade with our Lunar New Year bus which celebrates the beginning of a new year.”

The new year will be the year of the rat, a symbol of wealth and good fortune. The Lunar New Year bus livery features the rat on both sides with lanterns signifying life and prosperity.

After the parade, the bus will enter service on various Metro Vancouver bus routes.

Due to street closures on Pender and Keefer between Cambie and Gore, some bus routes will be temporarily diverted during the parade. To find out if your route is affected, sign up for Transit Alerts (translink.ca/alerts), follow TransLink on Twitter (@TransLink) or call Customer Service at 604-953-3333.

TransLink launches new RapidBus service

TransLink launches RapidBus on four routes – bringing customers up to 20 per cent faster bus service with higher frequencies, fewer stops, dedicated bus lanes, bus priority changes to intersections, and all-door boarding.

RapidBus provides a more reliable bus service that can move more than 10,000 people per hour at peak times. The new service is made possible through investments from Phase One of the Mayors’ Vision, the Government of Canada, and the Province of BC.

“We’re stepping up our bus game,” says TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond. “RapidBus is a crucial part of improving the region’s bus service through the Mayors’ Vision. These RapidBus routes will benefit eight communities and bring our customers a more reliable bus service that they deserve.” Read more »

Reindeer Bus lights up Metro Vancouver streets

The Reindeer Bus rolls into service today, continuing a beloved holiday tradition in Metro Vancouver. In addition to spreading Christmas cheer across the region – the red-nosed reindeer will deliver donated toys as part of the Toys for Tots initiative, which has been operating for more than three decades.

“The Reindeer Bus is one of our proud traditions,” says TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond. “Whether it’s the volunteer decorators, the operators behind the wheel, the passengers in the seats, or the kids on Christmas Day – the Reindeer Bus brings us all together and brings a smile to every street corner!”

Led by Coast Mountain Bus Company, the Reindeer Bus is equipped with an animated Christmas tree, responsive lighting, a flashing nose, holiday carols, and an inflatable Santa Claus to deliver season’s greetings. Read more »

TransLink releases details of Winter Plan 2019/20

New initiatives and improvements to prepare for the season ahead

New initiatives and improvements to prepare for the season ahead

TransLink is releasing details of new initiatives and improvements to prepare for any adverse weather events this winter.  This comes amid the launch of a new winter marketing campaign aimed at promoting safety for transit users this season.

“Our initiatives this winter are focused on increasing safety and customer communication at stations, bus exchanges, and throughout our online channels,” says TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond.  “We’ve learned from previous seasons and have been working hard to ensure customers are kept informed of any significant delays or issues on our system.”

Last month, TransLink also hosted a meeting between Metro Vancouver municipalities to share and discuss winter preparedness plans.  These regional partnerships are crucial to ensuring that any issues can be swiftly dealt with, in order to limit the impact on transit and transportation. Read more »

The 160 bus: perfect for seniors

The 160 Port Coquitlam Station / Kootenay Loop bus is one of the most versatile routes in TransLink’s entire network. It connects communities and municipalities from Burnaby all the way to Port Coquitlam, allowing riders to cross three zones with a single tap.

One group that finds the 160 particularly helpful in their day-to-day lives is seniors, so we decided to take a group out on an expedition along the bus route, so they could show us how they use the route and tell us a little bit about what transit means to them. Read more »

More reasons to take the 160 bus: weekday, daytime offers!

If you’re here, you probably already know that TransLink provides one of the fastest, most convenient and affordable ways to zip around Metro Vancouver. We connect you to everything. Your errands, like grocery shopping and going to the pharmacy. Transit connects your social life, like restaurants and coffee shops. And your me-time, like exercise studios, parks and beaches. You can take transit to get anywhere and do anything – and one of our most versatile routes is the 160 Kootenay Loop / Port Coquitlam Station bus.

The 160 bus can take you from East Hastings Street in Vancouver all the way to downtown Port Coquitlam. Zoom through up to three zones with a single tap! Even if your destination is just a little further away, the 160 Bus connects you directly to the 95 B-Line into downtown Vancouver, as well as SkyTrain’s Millennium Line at Moody Centre, Inlet Centre, Lafarge Lake–Douglas, Lincoln and Coquitlam Central stations.

Along the route you’ll find everything you need for a productive day. The bus comes every 15 minutes during the daytime to ensure you’re never waiting too long to get moving. And since the 160 stops every few blocks, you’re never too far from your destination. It’s the next best thing to having a private driver to take you directly to where you’re headed. Once you’re on board, you’ll notice there’s plenty of space and plenty of seats, so you can settle in for a more comfortable ride.

If that’s not enough, there are five more great reasons to take the 160 bus. In partnership with some of the great cafés and restaurants along the route, we’re offering special deals when you show your Compass Card, Compass Ticket or bus transfer. Take advantage of these great offers with the 160 on weekdays, between 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m., until December 31, 2019.

So, stop thinking about traffic, parking, and all the hassles that come with it. Take the 160 bus to your destination – it’s your ticket to the neighbourhood!

Charging ahead into transit’s next frontier: battery-electric buses

Our new battery-electric bus on the left and an OG electric bus on the right.

We’ve set an ambitious goal: a bus fleet that’s powered with 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050.

And we’re well on our way to our goal with more than half of TransLink’s fleet now operating on clean energy, including compressed natural gas and hybrid diesel-electric buses, as well as zero-emission trolleybuses.

Starting today, we’re charging full speed ahead with our battery-electric bus pilot! The buses, which are smoother and quieter than the rest of our fleet, are rolling into service on route 100 Marpole Loop/22nd Street Station. Read more »