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Category: Something Neat

Experience your own ‘art on transit’ Jane’s Walk

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The festivities and walking tours associated with the worldwide Jane’s Walk are over for another year, but that doesn’t mean we should stop discovering our communities!

With that in mind, we’d like to share the walk and talk that TransLink’s Debra Rolfe lead during the festival.

Below is a step-by-step guide to art found on and around the Expo Line with a few stops in Vancouver and New Westminster.

Enjoy!

Stadium–Chinatown

Alinka Echeverría’s Precession of the Feminine

2017-03-31_Stadium-Chinatown_Artwork_Panorama
Located on the unused platform at the station, and visible from the main platform or from eastbound trains, temporary project 2017-18

This artwork is part of the Capture Photography Festival, a non-profit annual festival devoted to exhibiting local and international photography. Alinka Echeverría’s Precession of the Feminine is a series of three-dimensional simulations of ceramic vases fused with archival photographs of women and presented against vibrantly coloured backdrops. Echeverría shows her viewers the process behind the creation of these images in order to invite them to look at the unconscious beliefs we bring to viewing photographs, particularly of women. Within the transit context, this project demonstrates one of the goals of TransLink’s public art program to surprise and delight customers, with the layers of meaning in this artwork manifesting differently whether customers pass through the station only once or whether they pass through the station daily.

Main Street–Science World

Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky’s Watch Seller

Watchseller
Artwork is on the plaza outside the Thornton Park entrance to the east stationhouse, permanent project installed 2015

The Watch Seller is a bronze sculpture of a watch seller that functions like a deconstructed public clock. Covered in 720 watch faces, the Watch Seller has every possible minute of a 12-hour analogue clock visible on his figure. He is always out of time, but he also always shows the correct time. These aspects of the artwork reference the shared history of train travel and standardized time, which were invented together in the 19th century. Indeed, standardized time was once called ‘railway time’ and public clocks are a ubiquitous feature of old railway stations. Set at the pedestrian level right outside the station entrance and across Thornton Park from Pacific Central Station, the Watch Seller is the size of a real person. It invites interaction and engagement with the station and the history of rail travel.

Commercial–Broadway

Richard Tetrault Cole Bazin, Karen Chan, Emily Gray, Rachel Stableford and Jerry Whitehead mural

Intersections mural on Broadway and inside the south stationhouse, temporary project 2015-18

This series of murals was commissioned in order to improve the experience of the station during renovation and reduce graffiti on the construction hoardings. It was a partnership with the City of Vancouver’s Integrated Graffiti Management Program. Due to the complex nature of the construction process at this station and the expectation that we would have to move the construction hoarding around over time, we asked the artists to create a series of small murals that could be displayed together or separately. Although the artists all worked together and worked with a shared theme and colour palate, they each led on a 12×8 foot section of the mural. The mural’s name and the motif of the SkyTrain windows repeating throughout remind us of the nature of Commercial-Broadway Station as a place of meeting and of departure.

Joyce–Collingwood

Kim Villagante and aly de la cruz yip’s Home mural

JC mural
Found on Vanness Avenue, outside the east station house, temporary project 2016-17

This project was a partnership with the City of Vancouver’s Integrated Graffiti Management Program and the Collingwood Neighbourhood House. The artists worked with youth who are newcomers to Canada, including Syrian refugee youth, to develop designs related to the concept of home. Individual children produced drawings that the artists then integrated into the overall design. The word ‘home’ in blue, like a river, binds the entire mural together.

New Westminster Station

Sean Alward’s New Westminster Glass Mural

Located along the staircase leading to the westbound platform, permanent project installed 2016

The mural at New Westminster Station is a collage of archival photographs of New Westminster and elsewhere in BC overlaid with brightly coloured shapes. The flow of images in the artwork references the nearby Fraser River and, as the artist has described it, ‘the simple paradox that [the river] is an ever-changing yet constant presence’. The artwork examines the history of New Westminster and British Columbia as one in which ‘nature’ is transformed into ‘resources’ and how an economy, political power and culture develops from that process. It also brings a beautiful stream of multi-coloured light and images into the station, whereas before the view from this staircase was of the concrete wall next door.

Now you’ve got the tools and the information for your own mini-tour of art on transit. Print this out or save it to your phone, grab your Compass Card and get exploring!

Author: Adrienne Coling

TransLink on the Move: Transportation Improvements

TransLink on the Move Transportation Improvements

Today wraps up our TransLink on the Move series. Over the past five weeks we’ve shared bite sized pieces from our 2016 Annual Report – Mark III SkyTrains, Evergreen Extension Stations, Ridership numbers, Compass, and now Transportation Investment.

You’ve likely heard about The Mayors’ Council’s 10-Year-Vision. Implementing this plan was the first step towards bringing Metro Vancouver the biggest transportation expansion in nearly a decade. With $2 Billion invested in transportation services, Phase One of the plan addresses some of our biggest rider complaints and aims to both reduce overcrowding on our transit system and ease congestion on our roadways. But there’s more to Phase One than new transit services and improvements. This first phase has additional region-wide impacts to alternative travel modes like cycling and walking paths, that brings real improvements to the way Metro Vancouver residents travel.

The next 10 years promise big things for transportation in Metro Vancouver and we hope you come along for the the ride.

Author: Sarah Kertcher

New electric bus rolls on Vancouver streets beginning May 15, 2017

You read that right! On Monday, May 15, 2017, a three-month test of an electric battery-powered bus will begin!

The bus, provided by BYD Canada at no cost to TransLink, uses slow-charge technology to provide enough power to drive approximately 250 kilometres on a single charge!

This trial is just one of the environmentally friendly bus technology tests TransLink plans to launch as part of our commitment to helping the region meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals.

The bus will snuggle in for its nightly charge at the Vancouver Transit Centre where our electric trolley fleet is based.

During the trial, we will be able to test the bus on our system, take a look at its performance according to the bus operators and maintenance crews as well as the satisfaction of the customers in order to determine our next steps with this technology.

DID YOU KNOW??

Almost half of TransLink’s fleet of 1,386 buses is comprised of cleaner-technology buses including 262 electric trolleys, 116 compressed natural gas (CNG) buses and 252 hybrid diesel buses.

BYD battery-electric bus fast facts!

  • Three hours charge time.
  • Battery designed to power bus for one-million kilometers before it needs replacing.
  • Highly efficient and powerful AC in-wheel hub motors provide instant torque to perform in all driving conditions.
  • Battery can also serve as a mobile generator.

Excited about this e-bus? We are too and we’re just getting started! TransLink is developing a Low-Carbon Fleet Strategy and we will be launching a second electric bus trial next year.

We’ll be sure to share all the details right here on the Buzzer blog.

WHERE CAN YOU CATCH THE BUS?

The BYD bus will be on various routes in Vancouver. On Monday, May 15th it will running on the #33 route. Other routes it may service over the next three months are the #25, #41 and #84. We’re going to try to get more specifics on the routes and will post that info right here on the blog.

Check out our Instagram story from today’s demonstration!

Read the media release about this bus trial here.

Author: Adrienne Coling

TransLink on the Move: Compass points the way

TransLink on the Move Fare gates

TransLink on the Move is back again with more info unpacked from the 2016 Annual Report. It’s amazing the changes a year can bring! Today, May 8th marks one year and one month since the full closure of all fare gates at SeaBus and SkyTrain Stations across the system. With Compass in full operation we now have 463 fare gates closed, including the recently opened, or rather closed, permanent Compass fare gates at Metrotown Station!

In year one, Compass celebrated 1 Million active Compass Cards on the system, as well as full integration into our two secure bike parkades! One card loaded with Stored Value gets transit travel and bike parking all in one!

You asked, we listened! Earlier this year, due in part to overwhelming customer demand, we lowered the minimum Stored Value requirement on your Adult Compass Card from $10 to $5, making transit more accessible to more customers.

And that’s not all on the Compass front! Our recent partnership with United Way Lower Mainland brought five Compass Donation Kiosks to SkyTrain Stations across Vancouver giving customers the ability to donate their unregistered Compass Cards to a great cause.
Year one has been chock-full of great Compass News, and we’re excited to see where the future of Compass takes us!
Want to know more about highlights to the transit system in 2016?
Stay tuned to the blog for a new feature every week!
Author: Sarah Kertcher

Ridership is on the rise: Q1 2017 reports continued growth

Q1 2017 Infographic

The annual trend of breaking ridership records continues through the first quarter of 2017. A 5.6% increase in individual Boardings, and a 5.1% increase in Journeys (number of start-to-finish trips taken on transit) shows transit ridership growing significantly compared to the same period last year.

Contributing to the growth is an increase in the number of average weekday Boardings for all modes with the exception of West Coast Express which saw a slight decrease.

  • Expo/Millennium Line – up 13.8%
  • Canada Line – up 7%
  • Bus – up 4.6%
  • SeaBus – up 3.6%
  • West Coast Express – down 5.8%

Explanation of growth

Various key factors play a role in ridership growth. We have identified some of the biggest players:

Transit Service Hours – Overall increased service hours in 2017 including the implementation of the Evergreen Extension.

Number of working days – There were 2 more working days in Q1 of 2017 over the previous year.

Weather – Metro Vancouver saw unseasonably cold and snowy conditions this winter. While the impact of weather on transit is not clear, data shows that commuters often substitute modes from walking/cycling to transit/driving during inclement weather.

Fuel Prices – Fuel prices in Q1 of 2017 averaged 15% higher than during the same time last year, and is a likely cause for commuters to park their vehicles and hop on transit.

Transit Fare Prices – With no change in transit fares over the past year, transit remains an attractive option.

Economic Growth & Activities – Various economic factors have contributed to growing ridership such as highest new housing starts, increased tourism, increased retail sales, and increased population and employment.

For more information check out our Accountability Centre.

Author: Sarah Kertcher

TransLink on the Move: Looking back on record ridership

TransLink on the Move Ridership

For TransLink on the Move this week, our five week series where we look at some of the many highlights from our 2016 Annual Report, we’re taking a look back on ridership from 2016 where we logged 384.83 million boardings! Our highest ever!

Last year saw an increase of 4.5% over 2015’s ridership levels, and we have YOU, our riders to thank for that! Thank you for helping us build and maintain momentum. We are proud of the work we do, and strive to continue improving with a commitment to focus on what matters to our customers.

Snapshot

In 2016, we launched our new Accountability Centre, a one-stop-shop in tracking performance of our regional transportation system, as well as customer satisfaction to ensure we’re meeting our goals and satisfying customer needs.

Want to know more about highlights to the transit system in 2016?
Stay tuned to the blog for a new feature every week!

Author: Sarah Kertcher

Links and Tidbits – April 28, 2017

Links and tidbits is our semi-regular roundup of interesting fodder about transportation from the last few weeks or so. If you have links to contribute, put them in the comments, or email us.

»   A peek into the past as Rome’s latest subway dig unearths ancient artifacts.

»   Check out some of these rents near busy NYC subway hubs. Can anyone say STICKER SHOCK?!

»   Public transit = the great equalizer, connecting people from all walks of life!

»  Major #TBT for the TTC when the Yonge Line opened in 1954!

»   Meet the innovative musician who makes every second count on NYC’s subway.

»   Toronto gets comic-fied with a special nod to the TTC!

»  Good samaritans to the rescue on transit.

»  Being nosy on the subway was no problem for James “Smelly” Kelly.

»   Need some tips to make your commute more enjoable? Here are 11 ways to boost your transit ride.

»   Naomi Watts just cruising around on New York’s transit system. Snapping pics people snapping pics of her!

»   A first (to my knowledge!) as Berlin declares subway stations as historic monuments!

»   The Weeknd is paying homage to his hometown of Toronto in a new video with his co-star, the TTC subway!

»  Suprise – Subway rave! Would this ^^ delight or deter you?

»  What does it mean to rely on public transit? Read these people’s stories.

»  Who owns transit data? Most transit agencies have open source data but Germany chooses not to do this. Where do you stand?

»  10-year-old goes from selling napkins in Cairo subway to launchin his own art exhibition.

Subway1-778x1024»  Subway seat urinal or urinal subway seat? Art. It’s subjective!

»  What beautiful Moscow subway car art. These are reproductions of 78 notable Russian artists’ works showcased on their public transit.

»  Finally, please enjoy these awesome “slow-tv” GIFS of NYC subway from 1905-1980s.

Author: Adrienne Coling

Capturing Art on Public Transit – 2017 Capture Photography Festival

We recently had the pleasure of catching up with British Mexican photographer Alinka EcheverrÍa, a featured artist in the 2017 Capture Photography Festival.

The Capture Photography Festival is an annual not-for-profit festival that strives to nurture emerging talent, engage community and spark public dialogue about photography as an art form and a vessel for communication.

This year, Capture has once again partnered with TransLink, this time on an art installation on the SkyTrain system.

This series titled Nicephora, is installed at Stadium–Chinatown Skytrain Station and can be viewed until 2018.

Alinka Echeverria
Precession of the Feminine
(2015), which is part of the larger series of works entitled Nicephora, was born during EcheverrÍa’s BMW Residency program at the Musée Nicéphore Niépce in France, a museum named after Nicéphore Niépce, the inventor of photography.

Capture Photography Festival
The Capture Photography Festival runs from April 1 – 28, 2017.

For more information, head to capturephotofest.com
Be sociable! Check out Capture’s Facebook and Instagram.

#MyTransLink – April 25, 2017

Ok transit shutterbugs, it’s that time again!

It’s time to feature some of the latest, awesome pics in our social photo series #MyTransLink!

#288 #🌈 #translink #skytrain #citylights #vancouver #scienceworld #nightphotography #mytranslink

A post shared by Linda & Christopher (@oneyearcanada) on

Sea Bus

A post shared by Philipp Postrehovsky (@philpostro) on

SkyTrain. #TheTraveller #Vancouver #TransLink #Canada #Sky #Train #mytranslink

A post shared by Channy Anand (@channyanand) on

Keep those Instagram #MyTransLink posts coming. Get snapping on your commute and you could be featured on our social channels, too!

Author: Adrienne Coling

From Rails to Rubber: A look back at the region’s transition from streetcars to buses

Print buzzer front page

April 20, 1955 Print Buzzer

Today marks the 62nd year since the last streetcar ride in Vancouver! We’re definitely a bus region nowadays whether they be conventional diesel, hybrids or trolleybuses, but it wasn’t always that way.

Metro Vancouver used to have interurban rail and urban streetcars connecting and moving the Lower Mainland until April 24, 1955 when we said goodbye to Vancouver streetcars with a fitting send-off at the PNE.

To know where you are, is to know where you’ve been. So, let’s take a quick look at the major milestones that transitioned our region from rails to rubber!

Transit Timeline

1889 – Laying Vancouver’s streetcar rails

laying tracks

Constructing streetcar tracks on Powell St.

1890 – First electric streetcar in Vancouver

The beginning of transit in Metro Vancouver

The beginning of transit in Metro Vancouver

First streetcars quick facts!

  • 4 wheeled
  • open sides and front
  • Bench seating
  • Ran at 6 m.p.h
  • Originally made to be horse-drawn

Two lines:

1. Down Westminster Avenue (now Main St) from 1st Ave to Powell.
2. Along Powell and Cordova from Campbell Ave to Granville St.

1891 – Interurban tram line opens connecting New Westminster and Vancouver
1905 – Construction of North Vancouver tracks
1922 – Rebuilding of doors on streetcars when the rule-of-the-road switch from left to right.
1923 – First BCER bus on Grandview Highway route

first bcer bus 1923
1927 – Two-car “trains” were introduced on major routes

Two-car streetcar "trains" ran on main Vancouver routes from 1927 to the late 1940s

Two-car streetcar “trains” ran on main Vancouver routes from 1927 to the late 1940s

1945 to 1955 – Streetcar rails removed

rail removal

Removing streetcar tracks on Broadway near Cambie

1946 – Streetcars start to be replaced with buses
April 22, 1955, 3:30 am – The last official revenue streetcar went out of service
April 22, 1955 – Last streetcar route replaced with trolley bus
April 24, 1955 –
Last streetcar (free!) ride and No. 53 display at the PNE
1958 – The end of interurban service

“If the next 65 years are anything like the last, there will be lots to keep us busy – whether it’s streetcars or helicopters!”

– The Buzzer, April 20, 1955

Although the vehicles have changed, the impact of public transit and transportation continue to mould our present and future!

Thanks for coming along for the ride down the tracks of our transit history.

Have a hankering to see a streetcar today? Just head to the Old Spaghetti Factory in Gastown to see the No. 53 or cruise by East Broadway at the Kingsway and….. tada a lovely little streetcar replica!

No 21 Mount Pleasant

A nod to transit years gone by

You can also view the special Rails to Rubber 1955 edition of the Buzzer and read more about our streetcar past here.

Author: Adrienne Coling

TransLink on the Move: Evergreen means Go!

TransLink on the Move Evergreen

Last week marked the start of our TransLink on the Move series where we’re breaking down some of the highlights of our 2016 Annual Report.

This week, we’re featuring the long awaited Evergreen Extension!

The opening of the Evergreen Extension was a milestone event for TransLink and for Metro Vancouver. This significant expansion of our integrated transit network brings us to 79 km of SkyTrain meaning that TransLink now operates the world’s longest fully-automated rapid transit system!

Included in the Evergreen Extension is a two-kilometre Tunnel (the longest in the SkyTrain network) connecting Coquitlam to Port Moody, a new SkyTrain operating pattern and six new stations connecting riders to more destinations in our region.

The Evergreen Extension boasts beautiful new open concept stations with plenty of glass allowing for natural light, picturesque views and beautiful public art.

If you haven’t yet had a chance to check out the new stations, have a look at some of the shots captured by transit enthusiast Ivan Chan. Or better yet, become your very own #EvergreenExplorer by checking out some of the great java stops along the new route.

Want to know more about highlights to the transit system in 2016?
Stay tuned to the blog for a new feature every week!

Author: Sarah Kertcher

Earth Day 2017 – Driving green across the region

April 22nd is Earth Day! A day observed globally with the aim of encouraging and educating people to be more environmentally friendly. The TransLink enterprise takes sustainability seriously and works diligently in our daily operations to protect our Earth!

TransLink has taken part in a variety of environmentally-focused projects in 2016 – here are a snapshot of some of these initiatives:

apta platinum logo

Going platinum

In 2015, TransLink moved up from gold and became the first Canadian transit organization to gain platinum level status for sustainability from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). Since 2010, 58 separate projects reduced waste by nine per cent, water use by 10 per cent, and greenhouse gas emissions by 17 per cent in its facilities. The bus fleet alone has had a 17 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. CMBC also reduced energy consumption by more than seven per cent.

Cutting back on washing to save water

In 2016, CMBC committed to reduce bus washing by at least 50% each summer between June and the end of September! In addition, anytime Metro Vancouver introduces Stage 2 water restrictions, CMBC voluntary stops all bus washing, except in special circumstances. These changes yield BIG water savings! At Burnaby Transit Centre alone, suspending bus washing translates to saving up to 35,000 litres of water each day! Additionally, all transit centres, use recycled or “wastewater” for the wash and fresh water is used only for the final rinse. These water recycling systems reduce the amount of water required to wash each bus by about 75 per cent!

Building with the environment in mind

TransLink’s newest building, Hamilton Transit Centre in Richmond is our most energy-efficient facility yet! It boasts a LEED Silver certification thanks to features that include LED lighting, radiant in-floor heating, waste water treatment, and a heat-reflective roof. Many of these sustainable features help to reduce operating and maintenance costs in addition to being green in other ways.

Hybrid Artics

Driving the benefits of alternate fuels

TransLink is rolling out 26 new hybrid diesel-electric articulated buses, bringing our bus fleet to 252 hybrid, 116 compressed natural gas (CNG) and 262 Trolley buses. This means almost half of our CMBC bus fleet uses some form of cleaner technology – either CNG buses or hybrid electric buses. These hybrid buses use 17% less fuel than equivalent diesel-powered models. The quieter CNG buses – with reduced carbon emissions and lower maintenance costs – continue to replace diesel buses as they retire from operation at the end of their service life. We also have one of the largest electric trolley fleets in North America and continue to explore the possibility of adding electric-battery buses to our existing fleet.

Author: Sarah Kertcher

Fun poll: Where did your first transit trip take you?

6Happy to be riding skytrain

Loving life on SkyTrain

Do you remember your first transit trip?

Mine was pretty early in my life (‘baby me’ found TTC subways quite soothing) but the first transit trip I actually remember is when I was five and we took the bus to the library to meet Robert Munsch.

I gleamed as I saw the driver who was smiling and welcoming me aboard. I felt excitement as I got to drop the coins into the farebox and choose our seats. I remember the feel of the vinyl as my legs stuck to the material in the hot summer weather. I can even recall the ding as I yanked on the stop request cord.

To me, this was a totally new experience that was exhilarating and fun and that was BEFORE meeting my childhood literary hero!

There are first time riders at every age with  many different and interesting stories. So, tell us! Where did your first transit trip take you?

Vote below and tell us your story!

Where did your first transit trip take you?

  • School (25%, 21 Votes)
  • Shopping (16%, 14 Votes)
  • Entertainment event (15%, 13 Votes)
  • For fun! (no destination) (12%, 10 Votes)
  • To see family or friends (8%, 7 Votes)
  • Home (7%, 6 Votes)
  • Appointment or meeting (7%, 6 Votes)
  • Other – comment below! (6%, 5 Votes)
  • Sporting event (2%, 2 Votes)
  • Work (1%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 85

Author: Adrienne Coling

#MyTransLink – April 4, 2017

You Metro Vancouver transit riders and enthusiasts don’t seem to disappoint with your amazing transit shots! Since we started this social media photo series, you’ve shared over 400 photos with us across all platforms!

Amazing!

Let’s check out what you guys have captured since last time!

Huge thanks to all of our latest transit photogs! Keep snapping and sharing!

Want to be featured on the blog?
Simply follow us on Twitter and Instagram, tag us and use the hashtag #MyTransLink.

Author: Sarah Kertcher

Secure bike parkades secure top spot at HUB awards!

HUB Bike Parkade Award

HUB Cycling recently hosted their 4th Annual Bike Awards – a celebration of organizations, individuals, schools and municipalities who have led the way in increasing biking across Metro Vancouver.

This year, we took home more than just our bikes! TransLink was awarded Best Public Bike Parking Facilities for our King George Station and Main Street Station Secure Bike Parkades!

TransLink is a big supporter of multi-modal transportation (did you know that our entire bus fleet is equipped with bus bike racks?) and participate annually in Bike to Work Week.

All of our secure bike parkades are Compass enabled, and easy to use! Check Jess out in action!

Thanks to HUB Cycling for this awesome award!

Author: Sarah Kertcher