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Translink Buzzer Blog

Category: SkyTrain

New details on Surrey Langley SkyTrain Project!

We have new details and cost estimates for the Surrey Langley SkyTrain project!

The project could be completed within five-and-a-half years from a full project approval date. Currently, we have about $1.6 billion available to fund the project, which is enough to the SkyTrain go from the current King George Station to Fleetwood. Any more work needed for the project to reach Langley is unfunded and would require additional financial contribution from other sources. The total cost to take the SkyTrain to Langley is about $3.12 billion. Take a peak at the breakdown of the financial costs and project components for the Surrey Langley SkyTrain project below. 👇

This project would see trains operate every 4 to 5 minutes during peak periods and the total travel time from King George Station to the proposed Langley City Centre Station would take approximately 22 minutes. Proposed stations for this new SkyTrain line include eight in the locations below:

  • 140 Street, City of Surrey
  • 152 Street, City of Surrey
  • 160 Street, City of Surrey
  • 166 Street, City of Surrey (Fleetwood scenario, interim terminal)
  • 184 Street, City of Surrey (Clayton scenario, interim terminal)
  • 190 Street, City of Surrey
  • 196 Street, Township of Langley
  • 203 Street, City of Langley (Langley scenario, final terminal)

TransLink will recommend that a full business case be developed for the Surrey Langley SkyTrain project by early next year. In the meantime, the Mayors’ Council will look over these proposals at their next meeting on Thursday, July 25.

 

Refresh of 22nd Street Station bus exchange now complete!

We’ve some good news!

Upgrades to the bus exchange at 22nd Street Station are now complete. Let’s talk about just how cool the station is because let’s be honest, it’s often overlooked amongst the architectural marvels of our vast transit network!

One of the older transit hubs in the region, the elevated 22nd Street Station was built in 1985 as part of the original version of the Expo Line. Located on a hill above the Queensborough Bridge interchange, you can enjoy panoramic views of the Fraser River and Mount Baker from the SkyTrain platform.

But, it’s what lies below the SkyTrain station that matters most: an eight-bay bus loop that was constructed along with the original station. This is what gives the exchange its true value to our transit network.

Read more »

Get to celebrations and home safely with Canada Day 2019 holiday transit service!

Making my way downtown, walking fast… because I want to see the firework show!  🎉

We know that Canada Day celebrations are a big thing, cause we are excited for them too! That’s why on Monday July 1st, the SkyTrain, SeaBus and buses will be running on the holiday schedule, but with additional service to help you get to the celebrations and getting you home safely. 🤗

Because of this spectacular event, that also means that there will be changes to our regular bus routes and access to SkyTrain stations downtown. Don’t worry, it’s just for Canada Day! Read more »

TransLink releases report on late-night transit service

TransLink today released the results of an independent technical study of trade-offs associated with operating SkyTrain all night Fridays and Saturdays as well as a report outlining other transit options that could be effective in getting late night patrons home safely.

The independent, year-long technical study found that to ensure the SkyTrain system could be properly maintained, significant operational changes would be required including a reduction of SkyTrain operating hours during weekdays and full closures of the system on some statutory holidays. Read more »

Raven Rescued by Your Friendly Neighbourhood SkyTrain Attendant

Being a SkyTrain Attendant means you’re a jack-of-all-trades. On any given day, you may need to help someone find their destination, assist a customer having a medical issue, or even manually drive the SkyTrain (if needed in extreme weather). The list of situations SkyTrain Attendants may find themselves in is long and often falls into the, ‘and other duties’ portion of the job description.

That’s what SkyTrain Attendant Pat discovered last week when he encountered a distressed raven that trapped itself behind a fenced off area.

During his shift at Holdom Station, Pat heard what he described as a child crying loudly. After analyzing the area, he found a raven mimicking the call for help, and a friend circling around to keep it company.

If you ever find a distressed animal by transit centres and don’t know what to do, we recommend notifying our SkyTrain Attendants or call the Wildlife Rescue Helpline (604-526-7275) with a message detailing what you have observed. This is for the best interests of the animal and you.

In this situation, Pat was able to help. Going beyond the ordinary is just one of the things our SkyTrain Attendants do everyday.

Your friendly neighbourhood SkyTrain Attendants have a broad responsibility to provide all our passengers (feathered or not) with a smooth transit experience. To learn more about what they do, take a look at Cheri’s interview as she talks about her 17+ years dedication to the job.

Turning the Tides on Temperature: Buses and SkyTrains

Winter is gone, and summer is coming! Aside from the season and unpredictable Vancity weather, the temperatures are changing too. We’re here to explain the variance of heat and AC you’ll encounter on your commutes and give tips on how you can make it a more comfortable experience too.

Temperature on the Bus

Buses that have joined the TransLink fleet since 2012 are climate controlled, so that means there’s air conditioning onboard! As we renew and expand our fleet, they’re making up a larger portion of our fleet. If you’re onboard a bus that has air conditioning, let’s keep those windows shut so the air conditioning can do its job.

As well, climate control means there are times when it seems that both the heating and cooling is on simultaneously. This is so the system can “dry” or dehumidify the air on a cold or humid day.

Temperature on SkyTrain

Over on SkyTrain, our Mark II and III trains both have cooling and heating systems.

Each car has a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) unit on its roof. It uses sensors that determine the outside air temperature versus the air inside the car, then that will follow an algorithm that helps maintain an optimal temperature for passengers.

Our Mark I trains only has a heating system, so over summer, pop those windows open to keep cool. There are also overhead fans that help with cooling too.

The SkyTrain operates admirably with a 95 per cent on-time performance, but from time to time, there are delays. It’s important to note that if your train is stopped in between stations or just outside a station, that you listen to the onboard announcements and check Transit Alerts. If you need to, open a window for ventilation and use the intercom to speak with SkyTrain Control. Not only is forcing doors open dangerous because the tracks carry live power, it can lengthen delays as a SkyTrain Attendant will need to respond to that individual train.

 

How to make your commute more comfortable

  • Plan ahead

Planning ahead with Trip Planner is super helpful to know how much to bring with you and time that you take to commute. Do you have some breather room to take a break from the heat? Or wanting to explore cafes close by SkyTrain stations? (PS: we have another article coming up on that shortly.)

  • Be courteous on the transit to other passengers

Everyone shares the public space on transit, so we can help each other make it a better commute together. When many people are on the bus at once during a hot day, please be mindful of personal hygiene and refrain from wearing scented products.

  • Keep yourself hydrated

Water is always the best option to keep hydrated. While food and drink aren’t allowed on transit for cleanliness purposes and courtesy of others who may not tolerate food smells, water is an exception (if it has a lid). We’d like to provide caution about drinking on a moving vehicle, so it might be best to wait until you reach a bus stop for a quick drink.

  • Dress according to weather

If you are going to be transiting for most of the day, it’s best to plan your outfit that will be convenient for your commute. Wear clothing that is comfortable and an outer layer that will be easy to take off due to changing temperatures.

Lastly, we want to make sure that everyone will have a safe commute no matter where your destination is this summer. Let us know if you have any suggestions on how you keep yourself comfortable during your trip also in the comments below!

Top 10 busiest SkyTrain stations in Metro Vancouver

Transit ridership is on the rise again, in fact, 2018 saw a 7.1 per cent system-wide increase in boardings over 2017 (our biggest annual increase ever!) which brings us to  record 437.4 million!

The 2018 Transit Service Performance Review (TSPR) measures ridership, cost, reliability, on-time performance and crowding across all transit modes. The findings are an important planning tool that help inform upcoming service change requirements and identify other opportunities to improve service for our customers.

Top 10 Busiest SkyTrain stations

SkyTrain ridership alone was up 5.7 per cent in 2018, rising to 160.0 million annual boardings.  The Expo and Millennium Lines together had 111.3 million annual boardings (5.9% increase) and the Canada Line had 48.7 million annual boardings (5.3% increase).

That’s a lot of people Metro Vancouver!

We’ve compiled a list of the Top 10 Busiest SkyTrain stations around the region.

Top 10 Busiest SkyTrain stations

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read more »

Get involved! Take this benchmarking survey for bus and SkyTrain until April 14

From now until April 14, please tell us what you think about bus and SkyTrain service by completing the short surveys.

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 even more awesome!  Read more »

Pilot project introduces birth control for pigeons at SkyTrain’s VCC–Clark Station

Pigeons are a nuisance in most cities. Not only are their droppings messy, but for an automated rapid transit system like SkyTrain, the birds can also put customer safety at risk.

Despite our best efforts to control them, they can trigger track intrusion alarms, causing our driver-less trains to brake automatically. These hard stops can lead to customer falls and unnecessary service delays as staff must investigate each delay before SkyTrain service can resume.

That’s why TransLink and BC SPCA are teaming up on an innovative pilot project at SkyTrain’s VCC–Clark Station to humanely reduce the pigeon population — using birth control! Read more »

First look: the upgraded Commercial–Broadway Station

Get ready to experience Commercial–Broadway Station in a whole new way! The new platform, Platform 5, opens on February 2, along with two new elevators, four new up/down escalators, a new walkway over Broadway and two new “next train” information displays.

TransLink invited news media for a behind-the-scenes tour in advance of its opening. Of course, The Buzzer blog was there too! Check out the photos:

Have your say in the next generation of SkyTrain cars!

We want your feedback on our expanding SkyTrain fleet!

The SkyTrain fleet is expanding! Already on the way are 80 new SkyTrain cars for the Expo, Millennium, and Canada Lines.

On top of that, we’re thrilled to share we’re planning to purchase an additional 203 SkyTrain cars for the Expo and Millennium Lines, arriving in 2023–2024. It’s all part of the 10-Year Vision – Phase 2 to add 100,000 new service hours on SkyTrain. Read more »

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

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.

Read more »

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. 

“Marky” — the newest Mark III SkyTrain is here!


After an epic, week-long journey across Canada, Marky — the newest Mark III SkyTrain — is now here! Marky arrived the evening of Sept. 12 and was unloaded the next morning on Sept. 13. Check out the time lapse above, and the photos below! Read more »