Translink Buzzer Blog

Category: Web and Mobile Offerings

Live chat pilot is live!

Building on the momentum of an improved Transit Alerts page, we’re piloting a new feature on desktop and mobile versions of our website allowing customers to live chat with our Customer Information team.

Have a question about trip planning? Looking for information about transit services? Just have a general inquiry that you’d like answered? Live Chat is one more way you can connect with us to get the assistance you need.

Live Chat’s hours during the pilot will be Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. If there’s interest, we’ll look into expanding the hours in the future.

Customer Information staff will continue to be available on Twitter and by phone at 604.953.3333 from 5:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. Monday to Friday and 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

How it works

Visit translink.ca or tripplanning.translink.ca, and look for the link in the lower right corner of your screen for Live Chat.

Click the link, enter your details, and you’ll be chatting with a Customer Information representative in no time!

Live Chat

Check out the new Transit Alerts!

Today, we launched an improved Transit Alerts page!

Check out the new Transit Alerts page!

We’ve given our Transit Alerts an update, making it easier for our customers keep informed of changes or disruptions to their routes!

There’s a new look with improved navigation and a responsive design (that means it looks the same on both mobile and desktop devices). There’s now an option to toggle between showing alerts only for today or all alerts.

A comparison of the previous and new Transit Alerts page.

We’ve also done extensive work behind the scenes.

As a result of an improved alerts service, customers can expect to see more clear and timely alerts across our channels.

A new beta General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) Realtime feed is now available for developers.

GTFS Realtime is a feed specification that allows public transportation agencies to provide realtime updates about their fleet to application developers.

The new feed now includes service-alert information, as well as enhancements to vehicle position and trip update information.

Best part is — we’re just getting started! More enhancements are on the way as part our Customer Messaging Project to improve how we communicate service alerts to our customers.

Stay informed about changes or disruptions to your route by subscribing to receive transit alerts via text SMS or email, at alerts.translink.ca.

 

Pay for parking at Park and Ride lots on-the-go using the TransLink Park&Go app

The TransLink Park&Go app is available today from the iOS App Store and Google Play!

Hey Park and Ride customers! The new TransLink Park&Go app launches today for easy and convenient parking payment at our nine Park and Ride lots.

Read more »

Improved Transit Alerts are here!

We’re making it faster and easier for our customers to find transit information with a redesigned Alerts & Advisories page, and improved GTFS data feed and SMS.

In November 2016, we asked our customers how they use and access Transit Alerts. Today, we’re excited to begin rolling out improvements to Transit Alerts to make it easier for you to plan ahead!

Read more »

Help us build a better transit alert experience

Transit Alerts

Last year, you told us how you use and access Transit Alerts, and now we’re back looking for your input on how you want to be notified about transit disruptions or service changes.

Read more »

Introducing our brand new Accountability Centre!

Snapshot
Ridership in 2016 was at an all time high. TransLink’s service area covers more than 1,800 square kilometres. That means that over 90% of the region’s population either lives or works within walking distance of transit.

Do you like numbers and facts like that? Well then, I’d like to introduce you to the TransLink Accountability Centre.

This is your one-stop-shop for the TransLink “big” picture as we focus on a system that is customer-focused as well as being financially and environmentally sustainable.

Here’s what you’ll find in the Accountability Centre (translink.ca/accountabilitycentre):

  • Regional Snapshot – what we do and where we go, including cycling infrastructure and the Major Road Network.
  • Performance Dashboard – performance indicators in six categories; Ridership, Customer Satisfaction, Safety and Security, Service Quality, Efficiency, Environment.
  • Transparency – links to our corporate reports, meetings and Freedom of Information requests.

Our mandate is to get you where you need to go in a safe and efficient manner on buses and by rail and sea. We also know the importance of monitoring our services and examine how we can strive to be better delivering our service and more transparent to our riders.

This is version 1.0 of the centre and we’ll be improving as we go.

So, how can we make it better? What numbers and other items would you like to see?

Leave a comment and let us know because we want to make it as good as we can for you, our customers!

Author: Adrienne Coling

Where do you get your transit information?

Big T
Welcome to the Buzzer blog’s Learn ‘n’ poll!

From construction reroutes and weather to bus stop locations and Compass information, TransLink provides a virtual buffet of transit knowledge in a variety of places.

We strive to get you any and all the details you need to keep you on time, on route and on transit.

Let’s take a look at some of the avenues you can explore for all your transit needs.

The TransLink websiteWe're not the only TransLink out there!

TransLink.ca is our one-stop-shop for all transit information.

You can map your route using Trip Planner, see when your buses are arriving with Next Bus and learn all about TransLink and its operating companies in Schedules and Maps, Fares, Rider Guide, Getting Around, Plans and Projects and About Us.

The homepage also lists other transit resources for you like YouTube and the Buzzer blog!

Transit Alerts

Maybe you’re less interested in the Corporate Reports and more interested in what’s happening right now on transit.

Not a problem! You can visit the Alerts page for an overview of the conditions of all modes of transit, station accessibility as well as any detours, construction or delays that may impact your trip.

The best part about Transit Alerts is that you can sign up for alerts and receive SMS text or emails about your route and be the first to know about any changes in service.

Twitter

Another amazing resource is the Customer Information (CI) team on Twitter.Twitter

You can easily tweet them @TransLink to receive answers to your questions about your bus, Compass information, operating hours, lost property and pretty much anything else you can think to ask!

Not a tweeter? Give them a shout by phone at 604-953-3333.

CI will be there to heed the transit call from 5:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. Monday to Friday and from 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. on weekends.

Facebook

The TransLink Facebook page is a place for discussion, transit news, fun tidbits and lots more!Facebook

The page is manned by the Buzzer blog crew (^rw, ^ac and ^sk, respectively) from around 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday and we are happy to answer your questions during those times.

If a major service delay occurs, CI will post outside of those business hours to update customers of impacts.

Transit Apps

In 2012, TransLink released our transit data as open source.

This means that new transit apps based on our open API crop up giving riders access to information like GPS bus tracking.

Last year we did a poll about your transit app options. Do you use any of these? Have a new one? Comment below and let us know!

Remember! It’s always good to check in with Customer Information for clarification on any service issues.

Radioradio

Remember the radio? It’s that thing that plays songs you can’t skip!

In all seriousness, local radio stations are great resource for transit information.

If there is inclement weather, a disruption or a major accident, local media are informed by TransLink so they can reach out to their listeners who may be affected.

Tune in to News1130, CKNW and CBC 690 AM and 88.1 FM – just to name a few!

In person

For in-person assistance you can visit any of these reliable and accessible places for your specific questions. SkyTrain_Vests

TransLink’s Compass Customer Service Centre for your Compass needs and Lost Property Office are both located at Stadium–Chinatown Station.

The West Coast Express Office is at Waterfront Station and our awesome SkyTrain Attendants and bus operators are across the SkyTrain and bus networks.

Transit Police has hubs at major stations and Transit Security is out and about helping customers across the region.

Take a trip to your local library or rec centre and you’re likely to find transit schedules, system maps and Compass information as well!

The time, as they say, is now. Let’s head to the poll!

**You can vote for two options**

Where do you get your transit information?

  • The TransLink website (35%, 88 Votes)
  • Transit Apps (21%, 54 Votes)
  • Twitter (19%, 48 Votes)
  • Transit Alerts (10%, 26 Votes)
  • Other - comment below! (5%, 13 Votes)
  • Facebook (5%, 12 Votes)
  • Radio (2%, 6 Votes)
  • In person (2%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 151

Weigh in and tell your friends!

Author: Adrienne Coling

More connectivity for SkyTrain passengers!

SkyTrain at VCC-Clark Station
Today TransLink and Rogers announced the next phase in its partnership to enhance wireless connectivity and customer experience for SkyTrain passengers.

Rogers and Fido customers will now have access to Rogers LTE wireless coverage through the Edmonds Tunnel, helping commuters stay connected across Metro Vancouver!

This next phase expands on the LTE and voice access first made available to SkyTrain customers through the Dunsmuir Tunnel in July 2016 – a significant milestone that connects passengers along one of the busiest stretches in the SkyTrain network.

“This is just one way we are working to improve the transit experience by improving cellular coverage for our customers at no cost to taxpayers. We will continue to work with Rogers to build out wireless coverage along the SkyTrain, including Evergreen, Columbia and New Westminster.”

– Guy Akester, TransLink Director of Real Estate and Strategic Sourcing

Rogers and Fido wireless customers can now surf the Internet, make and receive calls, send and receive emails and text messages, stream video and music, and more on their mobile devices while travelling on the Expo Line between 22nd Street and Edmonds stations.

You can read the media release here.

Author: Jessica Hewitt

Take the Transit Alerts survey today!

alerts_survey_promo_buzzer_640x350

Thousands of our riders look to Transit Alerts to learn about service issues, detours and more.

Whether you use our website or get SMS text notifications, these alerts help riders make important decisions about their transit trips.

Customers want to get timely, useful and accurate alerts that affect their commutes and to make our alerts service even better, we want to hear from you!

Until November 30, 2016, we’re collecting feedback about how our customers use and access transit alerts.

Your feedback will help us improve Transit Alerts to keep riders informed, allow riders to plan ahead more efficiently and help riders find alternative routes when necessary.

Take the survey at translink.ca/alertsurvey.

Looking to sign up for SMS text message or email Transit Alerts? Register here.

Author: Adrienne Coling

SeaBus is pretty fly with its new WiFi!

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Thousands of passengers travel between downtown Vancouver and the North Shore each day by our beloved SeaBus.

Since December these riders have been able to enjoy Shaw Go WiFi at both SeaBus terminals and now everyone will be able to surf the web right ON the SeaBus!

Did you know?

From launch in December 2015 until the end of July 2016, SeaBus riders have used over one million megabytes of data on the ShawGuest network alone!

Not a Shaw customer? No problem!

You can easily access Shaw Go WiFi by selecting ShawGuest from the list of available WiFi networks.

For Shaw Internet subscribers who’ve used Shaw Go WiFi before you’ll be automatically connected.

You can read more about this great partnership and connectivity in the media release here.

Happy surfing!

Author: Adrienne Coling

Some tweaks to the Next Bus SMS service

Next Text Promo

You can still text to get your bus timings however, how you send and receive SMS information from the service is changing slightly .

What’s new

From August 15, 2016 onward, you will need to text the stop number AND a bus route number in order to receive the next two departure times.

You must include a bus route number in your request in order to get times.

How does it work?

Text the bus stop number and bus route number to 33333 (example: 54440 240) and within seconds, you’ll receive the next 2 departure times for that bus route at that stop.

If you need times for multiple bus routes that service your stop, enter the stop number and up to two bus routes, and text 33333 (example: 50585 44 84).

You’ll get the next 2 arrival times for each bus route in separate texts. You can only request up to two bus routes per text.

If three or more bus routes are listed at a stop and you want times for all of them, an additional text message will need to be sent (example: 54446 240 246 and 54446 241).

Departure times

The predicted departure times are based on the GPS location of the buses and update approximately every two minutes, but sometimes only scheduled times will be available.

Scheduled times are marked with an asterisk (*). When a service is cancelled, we’ll indicate the time with a “C” – same as today.

Need help?

As always, you can text “HELP” to 33333 for assistance.

Remember! Next Bus is also available on our website. So, you can get departure times and all of the route and stop information provided for you on your mobile device or computer.

For more information on the Next Bus SMS service, you can visit our website.
Have questions on the go? Tweet @TransLink or call us at 604.953.3333.

Rogers and Fido customers you are now connected at downtown Expo Line stations

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From left to right: Derrick Cheung, Vice-President Strategic Sourcing and Real Estate, Translink; Gord Nelson, Vice-President, Sales, British Columbia, Rogers Communications; Leon Leroux, Director, Network Implementation, Western Region, Rogers Communications; and Guy Akester, Director, Real Estate Program and Partners, Translink.

Exciting news! Today, Rogers announced it has turned on LTE wireless service in the SkyTrain Dunsmuir Tunnel.

TransLink has partnered with Rogers to provide strong LTE connectivity while on the SkyTrain and – the best part is this service improvement is being made with no cost to taxpayers.

Now, Rogers and Fido customers can surf the web, make/receive calls or texts, stream video and music and catch Pokemon all while travelling through the Dunsmuir Tunnel; including Stadium–Chinatown, Granville, Burrard and Waterfront stations.

Here are all the details on the enhanced connectivity on the SkyTrain!

How do you get wireless service in a tunnel?

This type of install is referred to as a DAS or a Distributed Antenna System. Rogers worked tirelessly over many nights to install equipment in the stations and throughout the Dunsmuir Tunnel.

Non-revenue night work was necessary to ensure passenger service would not be disrupted in any way.  SkyTrain staff also provided great support during this installation.

What are the benefits?

Increased access to cellular data and connectivity is important to our customers!

TransLink has engaged industry experts to ensure that we have a reliable and sustainable network in place.

Rogers and Fido customers now have uninterrupted LTE connectivity while travelling along the Dunsmuir tunnel and can browse the web and make calls.  This improves the safety, security and convenience and is part of our continued effort to improve customer experience.

Are there any plans to expand LTE service to other areas or other carriers?

We are finding innovative ways to expand and diversify revenue sources while delivering a service that customers have requested.

Rogers will continue to expand LTE service along the SkyTrain, specifically, the Edmonds, Columbia, New Westminster and Evergreen tunnels. The DAS system has been configured to support additional carriers so we look forward to other carriers also taking advantage of this opportunity to improve LTE connectivity to the public.

Is LTE the same as Wi-Fi?

The two major categories of wireless internet access for mobile devices are cellular wide area networks and Wi-Fi local area networks.

The biggest difference and reason why we are pursuing cellular access is that Wi-Fi is tied to a router and has a limited range to a confined area, approximately 50 to 100 feet, whereas a cellular network provides access anywhere, through your data plan when you’re out of Wi-Fi range.

Thank you to Lea Dam, Real Estate Project Manager for the low down on the new connectivity!

For more information, check out this news release.

Author: Jessica Hewitt

Transit Police travels with you on your mobile device

See something? Say something.

See something? Say something.

Whether you are on SeaBus, West Coast Express, SkyTrain or buses, Metro Vancouver Transit Police is right there with you!

Our unique police service has a brand new mobile-friendly website to make it even easier to say something, when you see something, all with your mobile phone.

By visiting transitpolice.ca you are able to discreetly report a non-emergency police issue, contact us, download the OnDuty app or text 87-77-77 and Transit Police takes each report they receive very seriously.

Check out the safety tips section to help keep yourself and your belongings safe while on transit.

Basically, visiting transitpolice.ca means that you have Transit Police in your pocket during your transit journey on all modes at all times.

You can help Transit Police keep transit safe.  If you see something, say something!

Author: Adrienne Coling (with files from Transit Police)

#ThankYou100K: Celebrating 100,000 followers with a contest!

ThankYou100KWe’ve been celebrating a lot here at TransLink! There was 40,000 followers on Twitter, then 50,000 of you following us and now you’ve helped us reach a monumental 100,000 Twitter followers!

The @TransLink Twitter account started way back in February of 2010 during the Winter Olympics, providing riders with breaking news and key service updates.

In November of 2010 we launched a one-month pilot project in an effort to better serve our customers. It was extended multiple times before becoming a permanent service in February 2011!

In fact, our Customer Information team is in such high demand, on March 14th of this year, we extended our Customer Information service hours on Twitter from 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., seven days a week to:

Monday to Friday: 5:30 a.m. – 12:30 a.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 6:30 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.

to answer all your service-related questions and provide service updates, tips, and information to all 100,000+ of you!

Contest time!

To celebrate this excellent milestone, we’re having a giveaway (Prizing to be announced soon!) To enter, simply follow @TransLink and retweet one of the following tweets from our Twitter team:

 

Contest closes at 11:59 p.m. on June 1st, 2016 and we’ll randomly select a winner on June 2nd, 2016. Make sure to check out the contest terms and conditions for all the details on the contest.

Author: Sarah Kertcher

TransLink Facebook reaches 20,000 likes!

Here's to the next 20,000!

Here’s to the next 20,000!

Twenty grand. Likes, that is.

We are so pleased to announce that the TransLink Facebook page has officially reached the milestone of having 20,000 likes. Actually, right now we’re at 20,323 and climbing!

We strive to make our Facebook page accessible, transparent, informative and a whole lot of fun!

Therefore, in honour of our growing online community, we’d like to take a look back at 20 of our favourite Facebook posts.

If you have favourites that aren’t featured here, be sure to comment below!

Enjoy!

Check out the story behind SkyTrain chimes – November 2010

Customer Information on Twitter started out as a pilot project – December 2010

An Olympic look back one year later – January 2011

Pet Peeves Battle Royale – November 2011

SkyTrain photo project by Alejandro Mejía Greene – December 2011

A dress made out of nearly 3,000 fare transfers? YEP! – May 2012

Early edition print Buzzer cartoon – October 2012

Bbbb…rrrraaaaiiiinnnnsssss…I mean, bus operator zombie – October 2012

They found love in a transit place – August 2013

Happy 5th birthday, Canada Line! – August 2014

Our annual I Love Transit Camp – August 2014

Cutest. SkyTrain. Ever. – November 2014

Sparky the Elf, Mr. and Mrs Claus and a Reindeer Bus! – December 2014

Rocky loves transit so much he wants to ride the bus! – March 2015

Transfer throwback – March 2015

A surprise serenade at Burrard Station from PALS Chorus – May 2015

Compass 101 video – Where to get a Compass Card – October 2015

Our region’s SkyTrain riding, celebrity crow, Canuck – December 2015

Compass gates are closing! – March 2016

Be a SkyTrain VIP! – April 2016

Author: Adrienne Coling