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Translink Buzzer Blog

I Love Transit 2019: Wrapping up a decade of I Love Transit

2019 was another busy year for TransLink. We celebrated many milestones including 10 years of I Love Transit!

This year’s celebrations included, among other things, a free week of bus rides for K-12 students, an interview with one of our favourite retired bus operators, a chat with one of Metro Vancouver’s favourite Wayfinding experts, contests and so much more!

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VanTech students pour a cuppa cheer for the 23rd year!

The last Friday of December’s school year means early alarm bells for Vancouver Technical School’s Grade 9 students who are part of the Summit program. Each year, for the past 23 years, students make and serve hot chocolate to deserving bus operators, bright and early, as they pull up to the Broadway stop outside the school.

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Ride free New Year’s Eve!

Ride Free New Years Eve

New Year’s Eve is heavily rooted in tradition, whether it be celebrating at home or a festive night out in the city.

TransLink’s New Year’s Eve tradition dates back 44 years! Free transit is provided for all of Metro Vancouver to ensure everyone in the entire region has access to a safe ride home as we ring in the new year.

From 5 p.m. Tuesday, December 31, 2019 until 5 a.m. Wednesday, January 1, 2020 service across the entire system will be free! Read more »

The Winter 2019 edition of The Buzzer is now on the system

Print Buzzer

Say goodbye to 2019 with the last issue of The Buzzer for this year! This issue is dedicated in part to our annual Winter Service Changes, which roll out RapidBus to Metro Vancouver!

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TransLink boosting bus service to carry up to 20,000 more people each weekday

RapidBus service starts on January 6 in conjunction with our quarterly service changes.

We’re increasing bus service on January 6 to improve bus service frequency and reliability where customers need it most! The significant increases in service will add 65,000 more annual bus service hours to the system, making space for up to 20,000 more people each weekday.

Bus service changes happen every spring, summer, fall, and winter to reflect seasonal changes in demand and to deliver service improvements.

RapidBus service launching on January 6:

  • R1 King George Blvd (Guildford Exchange/Newton Exchange)
    • Eight-minute service during peak hours
  • R3 Lougheed Hwy (Coquitlam Central Station/Haney Place)
    • 10-minute service during peak hours
  • R4 41st Ave (Joyce Station/UBC)
    • Three to six-minute service during peak hours
  • R5 Hastings St (Burrard Station/SFU)
    • Four to five-minute service during peak hours

Outside of peak hours, all RapidBus routes will have 15-minute service or better from 6 a.m. to midnight, sevendays a week. To make the bus system more efficient, there will also be adjustments to some Metro Vancouver bus routes. Key changes include:

  • 41 Joyce Station/Crown
    • New terminus at Crown Street, instead of UBC Bus Exchange
    • 15-minute service during service hours every day
  • 43 Joyce Station/UBC
    • Service replaced by R4 RapidBus
  • 480 UBC/Bridgeport
    • Will run peak hours only
    • For faster service between Bridgeport and UBC, customers can take the Canada Line and the R4 RapidBus connecting with Oakridge Station

Learn more about how your commute might change at translink.ca/servicechanges.

Holiday Gift Guide 2019: Gifts for the Metro Vancouver transit lover (CONTEST)

Two years ago, due to popular demand, we launched the TransLink Store. Your one-stop-shop for the latest and greatest in Metro Vancouver transit merchandise. Over the years, the shop has grown and is now stocked with a robust collection of your favourite transit memorabilia.

With the holidays fast approaching, we’ve curated the perfect holiday gift guide for the Metro Vancouver transit lover!

Holiday Gift Guide 2019 - Gifts for the Metro Vancouver transit lover Read more »

Customer options ahead of BCRTC job action

We’re pleased to share BC Rapid Transit Company and CUPE 7000 have reached a negotiated, tentative deal. Please expect delays while BCRTC works towards providing regular schedules on the Expo and Millennium Lines this morning, Dec. 10.

TransLink is informing customers of their options if union job action causes a total Expo and Millennium Line shut down December 10, 11 and 12. Customers should be aware the travel options will not match the level of service these SkyTrain lines provide.

While it will not be possible to replicate Expo and Millennium Line service, TransLink is highlighting options for customers should a full strike occur tomorrow. Most transit service will be operating normally including:

  • Canada Line
  • West Coast Express
  • Coast Mountain Bus
  • West Vancouver Blue Bus
  • HandyDART
  • SeaBus

TransLink has been told that given operational constraints and labour considerations, Coast Mountain Bus Company (CMBC) is not able to increase bus service in response to the planned strike by employees of the BC Rapid Transit Company (BCRTC). CMBC advises that service will be operating as it would on any regular weekday.

Customers should be prepared for heavier passenger volume as people migrate from Expo and Millennium Line to other services. If possible, customers are advised to make other arrangements such as:

  • Using one of our park and rides to connect to bus service
  • Travelling outside of rush hours
  • Working from home
  • Using a carpooling service such as Liftango and gobyRIDE
  • Walking or cycling to work
  • Free bike valet service at Vancouver Public Library from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

To plan a trip without SkyTrain, both TransLink’s Trip Planner and Google Maps have an option to exclude SkyTrain. Visit translink.ca/stayinformed to learn more about alternative travel options.

BCRTC remains committed to getting a deal done and will continue bargaining until the last moment to avoid disruptive job action for customers. Customers should check the status of service before travelling in the morning in case a deal has been reached.

TransLink launches Compass Mini

Adult and concession Compass Minis go on sale on December 6 at Stadium–Chinatown Station’s Compass Customer Service and Waterfront Station’s West Coast Express office.

Tapping with Compass has never been more convenient! We’re introducing Compass Mini as another way to pay for transit in Metro Vancouver. Compass Mini looks just like a small Compass Card that attaches easily to keychains and backpacks.

“The launch of Compass Mini is a part of our commitment to enhance the customer experience,” says TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond. “Compass Wristbands have been a real hit and I’m sure customers will enjoy the convenience and practicality of the new Compass Mini.”

Compass Mini works the same as the Compass Card and Compass Wristband. Tap in and out when travelling on transit and reload online at a Compass Vending Machine, by phone or in person.

During its initial release, 5,000 adult Compass Minis and 2,500 concession Compass Minis will be available starting on December 6. Read more »

Tactile and braille signage to be installed at bus stops across Metro Vancouver

TransLink Board approves $7 million for industry-leading accessibility program.

TransLink moves ahead with plans to implement an industry-leading program benefiting customers who are blind or partially sighted. Beginning in 2020, tactile and braille signage will be installed at every bus stop, and tactile walking surface indicators (TWSI) at stations and bus exchanges – making TransLink one of the first transit authorities in North America to provide this level of information across the bus network.

“We are committed to making our transit system accessible for as many people as possible,” says TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond. “We know that a lot of our customers with vision loss rely on transit to get around the region and this is another example of the work we are doing for a very important community.”

The tactile and braille signage will be installed at approximately 8,500 bus stops with:

  • The unique five-digit bus stop ID number;
  • The words “STOP” or “BAY #” to identify the bus stop;
  • Route numbers; and
  • The customer service telephone number.

TransLink will also be looking at developing a wayfinding technology pilot that will help customers better navigate the system using data sent directly to a phone or tablet.

“It is important to understand that changing an environment actually lessens the affect of the disability,” says Rob Sleath, Member of the Access Transit Users’ Advisory Committee (UAC). “I applaud TransLink for being a leader and continuing to provide accessible public and custom transit services for people who need it most. Today marks a special milestone for our community.”

The work to test Universally Accessible Bus Stops first started in 2012 and included the installation of TWSI, tactile and braille at various bus stops including Joyce-Collingwood Station as part of a pilot project. Throughout the process, TransLink has consulted with representatives from the community through a wide-reaching survey and direct engagement with key stakeholders.

“The Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) Foundation BC/Yukon are proud of the strides that TransLink is undertaking to become a leader in accessibility by making the investment to ensure that bus stops are equipped with the TWSI and the addition of braille and tactile signage,” says CNIB’s Executive Director Jennifer Yankanna.

Read the Transport 2050 Phase One Engagement Report

TransLink is releasing the report from the first phase of public engagement for Transport 2050, Metro Vancouver’s blueprint for the next 30 years of transportation. With input from every jurisdiction in the region, the engagement results will help shape the priorities identified in Transport 2050 when released later next year. This round of engagement had a record-breaking 31,700 responses and over 4,000 ideas submitted.

Most frequently submitted idea:

  • Transit expansion to the Fraser Valley

Most “liked” idea on Transport 2050 ideas board:

  • Gondola to Burnaby Mountain

Idea most commented on:

  • Mobility pricing

Read more »

Reindeer Bus lights up Metro Vancouver streets

The Reindeer Bus rolls into service today, continuing a beloved holiday tradition in Metro Vancouver. In addition to spreading Christmas cheer across the region – the red-nosed reindeer will deliver donated toys as part of the Toys for Tots initiative, which has been operating for more than three decades.

“The Reindeer Bus is one of our proud traditions,” says TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond. “Whether it’s the volunteer decorators, the operators behind the wheel, the passengers in the seats, or the kids on Christmas Day – the Reindeer Bus brings us all together and brings a smile to every street corner!”

Led by Coast Mountain Bus Company, the Reindeer Bus is equipped with an animated Christmas tree, responsive lighting, a flashing nose, holiday carols, and an inflatable Santa Claus to deliver season’s greetings. Read more »

TransLink releases details of Winter Plan 2019/20

New initiatives and improvements to prepare for the season ahead

New initiatives and improvements to prepare for the season ahead

TransLink is releasing details of new initiatives and improvements to prepare for any adverse weather events this winter.  This comes amid the launch of a new winter marketing campaign aimed at promoting safety for transit users this season.

“Our initiatives this winter are focused on increasing safety and customer communication at stations, bus exchanges, and throughout our online channels,” says TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond.  “We’ve learned from previous seasons and have been working hard to ensure customers are kept informed of any significant delays or issues on our system.”

Last month, TransLink also hosted a meeting between Metro Vancouver municipalities to share and discuss winter preparedness plans.  These regional partnerships are crucial to ensuring that any issues can be swiftly dealt with, in order to limit the impact on transit and transportation. Read more »

Metro Vancouver transit strike: carsharing and carpooling options

We’re beyond pleased to share that Coast Mountain Bus Company, and Unifor Locals 111 and 2200 have reached a tentative agreement! We’re working towards providing regular schedules for all transit modes.

Evo at Braid Station

The reserved parking stalls for Evo cars at Braid Station.

While the SkyTrain, West Coast Express and HandyDART will continue to operate during the anticipated three-day strike, we recognize it will be a challenge for the our 350,000 customers who rely on bus and SeaBus services each weekday to get around.

That’s why TransLink’s doing what we can by facilitating options so commuters can reach their destination or connect to transit that’s operating regular schedules. It’s our job to keep the region moving. We’ve reached out to our partners to help give some relief. Read more »

Metro Vancouver transit strike: cycling the city

We’re beyond pleased to share that Coast Mountain Bus Company, and Unifor Locals 111 and 2200 have reached a tentative agreement! We’re working towards providing regular schedules for all transit modes.

Cycling

We’ve got some good news and some not-so-good news…

The not-so-good news: on Wednesday, November 27; Thursday, November 28 and Friday, November 29, escalating job action will result in the suspension of SeaBus and most bus service in Metro Vancouver

The good news: the forecast is calling for sunny skies for the latter part of the week, which means that despite the cooler temps cycling is a brisk, yet possible option for getting around the city during the transit strike.

Here are some important tips, tricks and reminders to ensure help your cycling commute:

Read more »

Metro Vancouver transit strike: what’s running on November 27, 28 and 29

We’re beyond pleased to share that Coast Mountain Bus Company, and Unifor Locals 111 and 2200 have reached a tentative agreement! We’re working towards providing regular schedules for all transit modes.

Bus Alert

On Wednesday, November 27; Thursday, November 28 and Friday, November 29, escalating job action will result in the suspension of SeaBus and most bus service in Metro Vancouver. 

SkyTrain, West Coast Express and HandyDART will operate their regular schedules on these days. Also running on these days are a very limited number of bus routes operated by West Vancouver Blue Bus and other contractors.

Each day, half-a-million people take transit within our region, and we recognize that this job action will create challenging and uncertain commutes for many.

The following summary breaks down what transit service IS running on November 27, 28 and 29. Read more »