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Translink Buzzer Blog

Category: Life on Transit

New policy for electric and folding bikes on transit

Fashion Electric BicycleElectric and folding bikes are now being allowed on board the system!

BCRTC and CMBC are updating their operational policies to allow different types of cyclists access.

Electric bikes will now be permitted on SkyTrain, West Coast Express and SeaBus.

UPDATE Folding bikes will be allowed on all modes buses, when folded.

Riders of folding bikes are asked to use a slipcover or carrying pack while on buses.

All the existing rules for bikes on transit still apply. Here’s a refresher:

  • Bikes are not allowed at Metrotown Station at anytime.
  • There is a maximum of two bikes per SkyTrain car and one per Canada line car.
  • No e-scooters allowed on the system
  • Morning and afternoon rush hour restrictions are still in place — Canada Line: Peak times in all directions. Expo & Millennium Lines: Peak times except for the allowances listed below.

Westbound:
7am – 9am Monday-Friday travelling from Columbia Station to VCC-Clark Station; and from Columbia and King George Stations towards Waterfront Station.

Eastbound:
4pm-6pm Monday-Friday travelling from VCC-Clark Station to Columbia Station; and from Waterfront Station towards Columbia and King George Station.

You can read more about our bike policy here.

Author: Adrienne Coling

Life on transit: fantastic tips and tricks for transit from riders like you!

translinklifeontransit

For March/April 2013, we’re spotlighting Life on Transit—observing and illuminating the quirks and habits of daily transit rides around our region!

tipspollresults

We asked you last week if you had any special tips or tools for taking transit—and after 51 votes, 76 per cent of poll takers said they did!

Now to the juicy stuff! We received some fantastic comments with some very hot tips and tricks for transit. One of my favourites came from Cliff:

During the PM peak, board an inbound SkyTrain, then stay on it as it becomes an outbound one. This allows you to secure a seat. Particularly useful if your trip is going to be a long one. For example, Commercial to VCC-Clark or even Stadium to Waterfront.

Crowded bus stop along a crowded route? Reduce your chances of being passed up by walking to the previous stop. Drivers are more likely to pick up a single person at a stop than if there were a crowd.

Picking up or dropping someone off at the airport? Use Templeton Station to do this. Canada Line between YVR and Templeton is free. You don’t have to pay for parking (you can’t park at the station) and you don’t have to worry about timing your arrival so you get there at the exact moment as the person you’re picking up.

Here is Allen with a tip for 49 riders:

Route 49 users: Use the Next Bus feature and Map View. Click on the bus icons. The ones with a bus number in the 8000s is an articulated bus. Time your trip so you get on to an articulated bus for a less cramped/more enjoyable ride.

And here’s JT with some great tips for the 620:

For those who take the 620 Tsawwassen Ferry, I always like to arrive 20-30 mins ahead of the printed departures in the schedule or website, because all too often (especially on Fridays, long and ordinary weekends, and holidays) RTC and Transit supervisors will dispatch an extra express bus that isn’t scheduled to help out with peak demands, especially with trips connecting to sailings for both Victoria and Nanaimo. An example is if you need to make the 3pm sailing to Victoria, or 3:15pm sailing to Nanaimo, the printed schedule says 2pm leaving Bridgeport, and an extra trip around 1:45pm on weekends. About 80-90% of the time, theres an unscheduled trip that leaves Bridgeport sometime just after 1:30pm, and it will be an express trip with no stops, arriving at the terminal sometime around 2:10pm, plenty of time at the terminal. However, if you don’t like a crowded bus, stick with the printed departures, those trips tend to be a much lighter load, arriving only 10 mins after the first trip, and still time to catch your ferry.

Carmen had a great tip for busy bus routes:

One particular bus stop I frequent *can* be pretty packed if arriving at certain times of the day (it’s near a couple schools). If this is the case, I’ve found that the bus takes SO long to load that it’s actually *faster* to wait for the next one, which usually ends up leapfrogging past the first bus (because it takes a long time to unload at each stop as well) and arriving at my final destination on time, if not early.

And to finish it up, Kerry had some fabulous advice for travelling with kids!

I have two young children, and transit is our usual method of getting around (we use a co-op car every now and again). My tips for easier transit riding with kids: allow plenty of time to travel so we’re not rushing around in a sweat, and instead can enjoy our day. Sit away from wires and buttons so we’re not constantly ringing the bell to stop the bus (I’ve seen this a few times!). The best seats on the bus for me are at the back, where my older son can sit by the window and look out, and the younger is away from the pull-wire and entertained by the view out the back window. In particular, keeping away from the wheelchair button at the front of the bus and the emergency button by the door seat on the older skytrains. I also use a carrier instead of a stroller; then my youngest son doesn’t take up any space, we can sit where we like, and I can even stand for seniors or wheelchair users.

Other tips: sing songs (not loudly!) – this has gotten me out of trouble on longer journeys soooo many times. And being polite and friendly to the bus driver/transit staff/other passengers is fun! We have made lots of friends on transit over the years. My boys have collected pins, pushed the button to sound the horn on the skytrain at Waterfront (so awesome!), gotten a free “ticket” on the bus (the driver prints a blank). I feel confident that in the years to come, my kids will be able to navigate transit in Vancouver safely and effectively on their own.

Now there are many, many more tips over at the original post—I highly encourage you to go over and have a read! Thanks to everyone who so kindly submitted their suggestions!

Life on transit interview: the authors behind the TransLinked tumblr

translinklifeontransit

For March/April 2013, we’re spotlighting Life on Transit—observing and illuminating the quirks and habits of daily transit rides around our region!

There’s a little blog called TransLinked out there, which spotlights interesting things related to transit — a photo series of people coming through turnstiles, the lovely interiors of past buses, and more.

Well, TransLinked is run mainly by three Vancouver transit riders—Karen Fung, Richard Eriksson, and Jason Vanderhill—and as it’s about keen observations of public transport, I thought they would be perfect to interview for the Life on Transit series. So here they are on TransLinked, its aesthetic, and their own riding experiences. Read on for more!

Can you tell us a bit about TransLinked? How did it get started?

Karen: If my memory serves correctly, Richard and I were talking about transit, which was happening a lot in 2008 as I was working on my thesis about Toronto Transit Camp and was fresh from helping convene the first Vancouver Transit Camp in December 2007. I stumbled upon the name. We wanted to try Tumblr as a platform and, at the time, we noticed people using it in interesting visual ways analogous to the way Twitter was being used in interesting textual ways. I wrote up our very well-hidden manifesto in 2009 a month or two after we started. We’ve been at it ever since!

Jason: I was first invited to join TransLinked as a contributor by Karen in May of 2010, but I don’t think I actually began contributing until about 3 months later when I started my own Tumblr meme, Illustrated Vancouver. I was a very occasional contributor at first, but by 2011, I began spamming the site in earnest!

Wires at Broadway and Main, posted at TransLinked.

Read more »

Life on transit: transit here and beyond

translinklifeontransit
For March/April 2013, we’re spotlighting Life on Transit—observing and illuminating the quirks and habits of daily transit rides around our region!

Ian Fisher, Senior Planner with Infrastructure planning at TransLink

Ian Fisher, Senior Planner, infrastructure Planning at TransLink

As part of this series, we thought it would be nice to talk to one of the people who helps plan our transit system in Metro Vancouver. Ian Fisher has worked on a number of aspects of transit planning for TransLink. He’s also a huge fan of transit. Ian is the guy who wishes he owned a Yamanote Line piggy bank, which we included in our Holiday gift ideas for transit fans. He’s traveled from Portland to Tokyo and all places in between with a eye for transit. So, we thought Ian would be an interesting person to give us perspective on transit here and globally.

Here’s what Ian told us about his life on transit:

What does transit mean to you?

Transit in Metro Vancouver is about providing an attractive, reliable and safe means of getting around that supports the liveability of our region. It’s about making life without owning a car a viable choice in areas where land uses support providing frequent service, and supporting longer trips for people who usually walk or bike when they need to make them.

While it should be cost-effective, it must also make an effort to be something that people can take pride in. It should create positive associations for current users as well as others, to encourage more use and to ensure public support for expansion as needed to meet regional goals. Read more »

Life on transit poll: what are your best tips, tricks, and tools for transit?

translinklifeontransit

For March/April 2013, we’re spotlighting Life on Transit—observing and illuminating the quirks and habits of daily transit rides around our region!

What are your best tips and tools for transit? Do you have a great mobile app that helps you get around?

What are your best tips and tools for transit? Do you have a great mobile app that helps you get around?

When you ride transit a lot, you just start figuring out ways to make your ride better. Maybe you begin aiming for a certain seat on the bus, or you use a certain transit app to buzz you when your bus is almost there. Or you start to rely on a great podcast to help pass the time!

And this is where we ask you to SPILL THE BEANS! If you’ve got any tips, tricks, or tools that help you have a better transit ride — do your fellow transit riders a solid and let us know!

I’ll go first: for me, apps on my mobile phone are a lifesaver. To wit:

  • I use TransLink’s mobile site to help me quickly see where the next bus is. And sometimes, I’ll use it for a list of a route’s bus stops when I’m not sure which stop I need to exit at.
  • I zoom into Google Maps to figure out the best walking route to the nearest bus stop in an unfamiliar part of town.
  • I use the Kindle app to read books on longer journeys!

I also take the 99 a lot, and I always board in the back: faster rider flow!

Now it’s your turn! Take the poll and tell us in the comments: what helps you out on transit?

Got any tips, tricks or tools that help make your transit ride easier?

  • Yes! I'm the tricksiest. (76%, 39 Votes)
  • Nope: I don't think that hard about it! (24%, 12 Votes)

Total Voters: 51

Life on transit: talk Buzzer history in a Google Hangout today, March 27, 2013!

translinklifeontransit

For March/April 2013, we’re spotlighting Life on Transit—observing and illuminating the quirks and habits of daily transit rides around our region!

Update: our Google Hangout has wrapped and here’s the video above!

As we mentioned last week: today we’re talking about The Buzzer, our 96 year old transit newsletter!

Join us for a Google Hangout today for a video chat. The details:

  • Date and time: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 – noon to 1pm!
  • Where: Online! The Hangout can be viewed on our Google+ profile page. You don’t need a Google+ account to watch the stream!
  • Who: Jhenifer Pabillano and Robert Willis, Buzzer editors!
  • What: All about the history of the Buzzer, plus answers to any questions you might have.
  • Be aware that this is our first Hangout, so it won’t be perfect, though we’ll do our best!

We’ll post the Hangout here as it happens! Check back at noon or later today and you can see exactly how it all went down :)

Life on transit: 70% have a secret friend on transit

translinklifeontransit

For March/April 2013, we’re spotlighting Life on Transit—observing and illuminating the quirks and habits of daily transit rides around our region!

secretfriendpollresults

We asked you last week if you had a secret friend on transit—someone who you see all the time on transit, but have never spoken to.

And after 119 votes, 70 per cent of our poll takers say they do have a secret friend!

There was also a little bit of discussion on the subject. Wendy shared the story of her morning commute:

I take the first 345 every day. My stop has several regulars. There’s myself, the older white woman, the older aboriginal woman, the two male construction workers and myself. We don’t spend a lot of time on the bus as it’s only 10-15 minutes but we do spend a lot of time waiting for the bus together. The first to arrive is always myself or he older white woman. We are always at the stop by 5:10-5:20. I do not know a thing about her. I often wonder what she does as I can only assume that’s she’s going to work that early on a regular basis. She looks so statuesque and never says a word. The other woman looks like she does labour based on her workboots. The two men know each other and talk to each other. Other than that we make a silent group. When he bus is running late we all keep checking by leaning out into the street but we never say “I see it” or “hey, did we miss it?” We get on the bus in our order (my only words being “good morning” to our bus driver) and even if we sit next to each other we don’t say a word. These are my transit friends.

We posted this over on Facebook too, where Spencer noted:

I always enjoy the “missed connections” in the Straight right around the start of every new school year. Dozens of “I saw you on the 99, you looked at me for 1 second” posts.

Anyway, thanks so much to everyone who took the poll! Hopefully it helped you notice something new about your transit ride :)

Life on Transit: Young people choosing public transit over a driver’s license

translinklifeontransit

For March/April 2013, we’re spotlighting Life on Transit—observing and illuminating the quirks and habits of daily transit rides around our region!

What choices have you made when it comes to transit?

What choices have you made when it comes to transit?

Data from our most recent Trip Diary Survey was included in a recent Vancouver Sun article. In short, the article is about how many young people in the region are choosing transit over a driver’s license.

The article includes some of our findings about travel mode preferences in the region, as well as some interesting insights from a young woman from Surrey who says, “It’s just easier and faster for me to take transit.” As Maria Su, senior manager of research analytics with TransLink, points out,

“It used to be when people got out of school, the first thing they did was get a used car because it was a sign of freedom… Now you can meet up with a friend without a car.”

We’ve known for a while that transit ridership numbers are up. The most recent figures show that, transit ridership in Metro Vancouver has increased by 57 per cent over the past decade. While the Vancouver Sun article points towards shifts in the preferred modes of transport for younger populations in Metro Vancouver, others are looking at wider shift across all ages.

The Price Tag blog has also been weighing in on a shift towards increased use of public transit. This post by Gordon Price points to the change in vehicle miles traveled in the U.S. starting in 1987 to today and into the near future.

Personally, I know people of different ages who only use transit, others who only use private vehicles and those who use both in varying degrees and for various reasons.

Have you made the choice for transit like the woman quoted in the Vancouver Sun article, or is your experience and those you know different? We’d love to know!

Life on transit: let’s talk about the Buzzer in a Google Hangout, Mar 27, 2013!

translinklifeontransit

For March/April 2013, we’re spotlighting Life on Transit—observing and illuminating the quirks and habits of daily transit rides around our region!

Buzzer logos through the years!

Buzzer logos through the years!

Well, there’s no mainstay of transit life like The Buzzer, our 96 year old transit newsletter!

So we’d like to offer a chance to learn more about our dear Buzzer with its current editors in a modern way: a Google Hangout!

A Google Hangout is a live video chat run through the Google+ social network. We’ve never done a hangout before, and we’d love to see if it’s a great way to chat with you guys!

So if you’d like to join us, here are the details:

  • Date and time: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 – noon to 1pm!
  • Where: Online! Here’s the Google Hangout event listing. The Hangout can also be seen on our Google+ profile page.
  • Who: Jhenifer Pabillano and Robert Willis, Buzzer editors!
  • What: All about the history of the Buzzer, plus answers to any questions you might have.

As well, if you’re interested in participating live in the Hangout via video, send us a note!

Be aware that this is our first Hangout, so it won’t be perfect, though we’ll do our best. And if we don’t see there’s very much interest in the Hangout for next week, we’ll cancel the event and let you know :)

Life on transit: do you have a secret friend on transit?

translinklifeontransit

For March/April 2013, we’re spotlighting Life on Transit—observing and illuminating the quirks and habits of daily transit rides around our region!

Are any of these people secret friends on transit?

Are any of these people secret friends on transit?

For March/April 2013, we’re spotlighting Life on Transit—that is, observing and illuminating the quirks and habits of daily transit rides around our region!

Life on transit is all about sharing your ride, which means you’re rubbing elbows with a lot of different people throughout your day.

But as we talked about in the print Buzzer this month, amid the crowds you can sometimes find a secret friend—that is, someone you regularly see on transit, but you’ve never talked to before!

In 2010, we ran a blog poll asking readers if they had secret friends on transit, and 73 per cent said they did. And we heard some amazing stories, like the one from Dan B. below:

I see two guys on the bus — one gets on one stop after mine, another two stops after mine. We ride the same bus and train every day and we work at the same company, yet we’ve never spoken to each other nor do we know each other’s names. We spend a total of 45 minutes of travel time using the bus and SkyTrain — even the elevator sometimes! — yet we never feel this urge to even say “hi.” I like to call those people my “secret transit co-workers.”

But it’s 2013 now, and high time to check in again—do people still have secret friends on transit? Cast your vote now!

Do you have a secret friend on transit?

  • Yes (70%, 83 Votes)
  • No (30%, 36 Votes)

Total Voters: 119

Yes or no, feel free to share your stories in the comments. We’ll report back with our findings on Monday, March 25, 2013!

Life on Transit: welcome to our March special post series!

translinklifeontransit

Each month during 2013, we’re exploring a special topic in the Buzzer newsletter and blog!

Last month we wrote about TransLink 101—and for March/April, we’ll be focusing on Life on Transit! (And don’t worry, we’ll still post about other content too!)

What’s Life on Transit about?

With Life on Transit, we’re hoping to spotlight the experience of riding transit—that is, observing and illuminating the quirks and habits of daily transit rides around our region.

We’ll be doing polls, open threads, interviews and more around the following topics:

Longtime Buzzer blog readers might remember some of these topics from polls we ran in the first few years of this blog :) Well, they’re so nice we’re covering them twice!

Talk to us about your transit experiences

Well, as always, we’d love your feedback to help inform our series!

Write to us in the comments about your experiences, or feel free to write to thebuzzer@translink.ca. We’re excited to showcase great submissions to spur more conversations!