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.
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.
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!
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!
Regan’s interview was conducted as part of The Buzzer blog podcast. Have a listen!
As 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.
We have some exciting news to share! The first four of 56 cars for the Expo and Millennium Lines, built by Bombardier Transportation, are now on the way to Vancouver from Kingston, Ontario where they recently completed testing. Once they arrive in Vancouver, they’ll will undergo additional testing before entering 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!
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
The New Westminster Museum’s People Gotta Move project might just be the World Cup of Lego building, bringing together the very best builders in Metro Vancouver to recreate the city’s iconic downtown and waterfront.
This ambitious exhibit transcends time—showcasing the past, present and near future of transport in the city. Included is everything from the historic B.C. Electric Railway streetcar to the now-iconic “W” made from shipping containers on the waterfront, and of course—SkyTrain!
Completely rebuilt in Lego form by the Vancouver Lego Club for the exhibit is New Westminster Station along with a pair of Mark I trains, a Mark II train and a New Flyer Xcelsior bus!
William Fong tells us he built the Mark I trains after car 001 Spirit of Kelowna and car 002 Spirit of Peachland in their livery from around 1990–1992. They even got a fully lit interior, as well as headlights and taillights!
“I’ve tried to keep the graphic design as accurate as possible to the time period, but there’s not many photos to draw reference from,” he says.
The People Gotta Move exhibits runs until November 16 at the New Westminster Museum (Anvil Centre, 777 Columbia Street, New Westminster, BC). The museum is open daily, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
“Anyone who has kids, or loves Lego or transit should come check out the display,” William says. “I think everyone would derive some enjoyment from seeing how much detail the club has packed into it.”
The exhibit was a culmination of a year’s work for William and his colleagues at the Vancouver Lego Club, who were first approached by the New Westminster Museum to build this display back in spring 2017.
“This is one of the largest displays in terms of volume and detail that the Vancouver Lego Club has put on to date and has been an unprecedented undertaking for us,” William says.
It was a no brainer for William that he wanted to be part of this as he’s always been interested in Lego and transit growing up. He already had experience reimagining transit as Lego.
The first build he did was a Mark II SkyTrain car in April 2016 for Vancouver’s Lego convention, BrickCan. In December 2016, as part of the Vancouver Lego Club, he built the Lafarge Lake–Douglas Station display for the Millennium Line Evergreen Extension opening. He had also built a 1983 New Flyer E902 trolleybus.
Photos courtesy of William Fong
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.
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:
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.
Heads up to Expo Line commuters in the downtown Vancouver area! Starting Monday, July 2, we resume running rail replacement, which will result in modified late-evening service.
On most Sundays through Thursdays, from 9:30 pm until end of service, Expo Line trains travelling towards Waterfront will terminate at Stadium – Chinatown Station.
A shuttle train will provide 10-minute service in both directions for customers travelling between Waterfront and Stadium–Chinatown stations. Customers connecting at Stadium–Chinatown Station should allow for 5-10 minutes extra travel time.
You’ll want to watch destination displays and listen for train destination announcements. Extra SkyTrain staff will be out on the system to help direct customers.
The schedule will be adjusted to accommodate special events such as the Celebration of Light fireworks this summer.
Know before you go – this work will require single tracking and changes to regular operating patterns. For up-to-date information on what this means for your commute, please visit translink.ca/alerts.
We thank our customers for the patience while we complete this important work. It’s all part of the TransLink Maintenance and Repair Program to keep customers safe, comfortable and moving across a reliable transit network everyday.
Over the next 8 to 10 years we’ll be replacing approximately 5,000 metres of running rail annually to help ensure a smoother and quieter ride for our SkyTrain customers. The running rail is the track the SkyTrain cars operate on.
Since 2015, 9,400 linear metres of running rail have been replaced. Last year, we replaced approximately 5,000 metres of rail at four main locations close to Metrotown, Main Street–Science World, Stadium–Chinatown, and Waterfront stations. We also replaced 21,000 rail pads on the Expo Line between Scott Road and King George between October 2017 and May 2018.
Running rail replacement work in this portion of the Expo Line is expected to be complete by the end of the year.
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.
We’re constantly working on our system, and as part of the TransLink Maintenance and Repair Program, Commercial–Broadway Station’s receiving upgrades to meet the needs of our growing region.
Improvements include an additional platform for Expo Line trains, a widened crossing over the Grandview Cut and a new pedestrian walkway over Broadway. Two new elevators and four up-and-down escalators are also being added to improve accessibility and customer convenience.
Check out the progress that’s been made since our last post!
The project, which is nearing completion, hits another major milestone on Friday, June 15. This will result in temporary changes for people travelling in the area.
From 9 p.m. June 15 to June 25, the westbound 9 and 99 stops will move to the west side of Commercial Drive while crews make repairs to the existing sidewalk and plaza area, and complete the new bus shelter and permanent queuing system for the 99 B-Line.
The station entrance beside Shoppers Drug Mart will also be closed during this time. SkyTrain customers will enter or exit the station from the Commercial Drive entrance or the Broadway entrance on the south side of the street.
On June 25, the new 99 B-Line bus shelter and queuing system will open, and the westbound 9 and 99 bus stops will move to their permanent locations outside Commercial–Broadway Station.
Broadway will be fully closed in both directions from Victoria Drive to Commercial Drive, beginning 9 p.m. Friday, June 15 and continuing until 8 a.m. on Sunday, June 17. There will also be a full eastbound closure from June 17, 11 p.m. to June 18, 5 a.m., and a full westbound closure June 18, 11 p.m. – June 19, 5 a.m.
These closures are required so crews can remove the temporary work platform that has been used to construct the new pedestrian walkway over Broadway, which was lifted into place in fall 2017.
Construction work is weather dependent and the dates/times of the road closures are subject to change. We recognize that some customers and our neighbours will be affected by this work and we thank everyone for their patience while we improve Commercial-Broadway Station.
That’s why starting on June 25, Millennium Line trains will use different platforms at Lougheed. Customers should follow the station signage to ensure they are standing on the correct platform to catch a Millennium Line train:
Expo Line trains will continue to arrive at the same platforms (Platform 1 and 2) as they do today.
Does that make sense to you or is that confusing? Leave a comment and we’ll do our best to help!
Freedom Mobile customers now have access to fast LTE service at Waterfront, Burrard, Granville and Stadium–Chinatown stations, as well as in the Dunsmuir Tunnel that connects them!
We’re excited more customers will now be able to email, text, stream music and surf the web through one of the busiest sections of the SkyTrain network. It’s all part of our commitment to improve the customer experience.
TransLink and Freedom Mobile are working to expand wireless connectivity throughout the SkyTrain network so Freedom Mobile can have access throughout their commute.
“The tunnel between Waterfront and Stadium–Chinatown stations is one of the busiest SkyTrain sections, so we’re pleased to have partnered with Freedom Mobile to offer wireless connectivity to our mutual customers throughout their downtown ride. We know that uninterrupted connectivity is important to transit users and we’re pleased that these kinds of partnerships can improve our customers’ experience at no cost to transit customers or taxpayers.”
—Derrick Cheung, TransLink’s vice-president of strategic sourcing and real estate
This is the latest initiative TransLink and Shaw Communications, Freedom Mobile’s owner, has worked on together to improve the customer experience. We partnered to bring Shaw Go WiFi to the SeaBus terminals in 2015 before expanding it to include the SeaBus fleet in 2016.
Last December, Rogers completed installing cellular-network infrastructure, bringing LTE wireless connectivity to Rogers and Fido customers throughout the entire SkyTrain network.
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!
If you’ve taken the SkyTrain recently, you may have noticed captivating new public art installations at the Expo Line’s Stadium–Chinatown Station, and select Canada Line stations between Waterfront and Richmond–Brighouse!
TransLink is once again teaming up with the Capture Photography Festival, running from April 3 to 30, and installing a public art piece on our SkyTrain system. Public art is a key element to creating a welcoming environment, encourages community connections and encourages gathering places which help reduce crime and vandalism.
In Qimash, Alsaif investigates [the blurring of lines between culture, tradition, and religion in the Middle East], which is considered culturally taboo in her home country [Saudi Arabia]. Initially taking place as a performance and now reformatted as a series of photographs designed for a public artwork, Qimash explores the symbolic action of adorning oneself with the Islamic religious garment worn by women—the hijab—while her performance juxtaposes ownership of cultural identity with absurdity, discomfort, and immobility. Through this cumulative gesture, Alsaif urges us to consider the symbolic weight of the hijab and its nuanced significance to the individual women that wear them.
Qimash will be on display at the station until March 31, 2019. It replaces Alinka Echeverría‘s Precession of the Feminine, which was installed as part of last year’s Capture Photography Festival.
On the Canada Line, work from ten different artists are being featured at Waterfront, Vancouver City Centre, Olympic Village, Broadway–City Hall, King Edward, Marine Drive, Bridgeport, Aberdeen, Lansdowne and Richmond–Brighouse stations. They will be on display until September 1, 2018.
Visit capturephotofest.com/public-installations to learn more about the Capture Photography Festival’s public art installations!
More than 40,000 customers use Granville Station every day, making it one of our busiest stations on the system!
That’s why we’ll be adding two additional fare gates to the Dunsmuir Street entrance to ensure it continues to meet the needs of our growing ridership.
The Dunsmuir Street entrance will close and there will be no elevator service at the station from the end of service on Thursday, March 29 until the start of service on Tuesday, April 3 so crews can install the new fare gates.
During the closure, customers can access the station through both the Granville Street and Seymour Street entrances. Expo Line customers requiring the use of an elevator will need to go to Stadium–Chinatown Station or Burrard Station. SkyTrain Attendants will be present at Granville Station to assist customers during the work.
We recognize that this is an impact to our customers and we thank everyone for their patience while we improve capacity at Granville Station.
Passengers are encouraged to visit translink.ca/alerts for the latest updates.