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I Love Transit Camp 2017: fun-filled (and educational!) days at TransLink’s facilities

I Love Transit Week’s theme this year was Beyond—the future of transportation in Metro Vancouver.

We wanted teachers and students to unleash their inner explorer and take learning beyond the classroom. So we challenged them to come up with their own vision for the future of transportation in Metro Vancouver to enter for a chance to attend I Love Transit Camp, a unique opportunity to go on a behind-the-scenes tour of TransLink’s operating facilities. Read more »

#MyTransLink – November 7

Colour changing leaves and misty morning fog are just a few of the signs that fall has graced our picturesque cities. With Metro Vancouver transit spanning from land to sea to sky, our riders – and passersby continue to capture beautiful moments from around the region for this edition of #MyTransLink.

Renfrew Station. #yvr #vancouver #eastvan #translink #mytranslink #millenniumline

A post shared by Blair (@blairphotoblair) on

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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

TransLink 2016: A year in review

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Another trip around the sun. 2016 – what a year! It’s been a busy and productive 366 (leap year) days for TransLink.

Let’s take a look back at 2016 in the world of Metro Vancouver transit!

New CEO.

In the spring, we welcomed new CEO, Kevin Desmond. Kevin came to TransLink from King County Metro Transit that serves the Seattle area.

Kevin jumped in with both feet to lead the charge of a very full and important year while emphasizing our customers’ needs, transparency and excellent service.

We’re so happy to have him at the helm!

Compass.

This word was on everyone’s lips this year!

Compass Card tap outAfter a roll out that started with Upass users then West Coast Express, the general public adopted Compass with Monthly Passes at the beginning of this year.

Then, on April 4, 2016, the fare gates closed requiring riders to tap in on buses and in and out at all gates to pay their fare.

With Compass, you can travel seamlessly across the TransLink transit network with one card! Compass also allows us to gather important data on peak periods, bus route ridership and more – helping us better plan and run the transit network.

Expo ’86.

May 2nd marked the 30th anniversary of Expo ’86 – the 1986 World Exposition on Transportation and Communication held on the north shore of False Creek.

This was North America’s largest World’s Fair and a monumental event for Vancouver that left a lasting legacy – our SkyTrain system starting with none other than the Expo Line!

SkyTrain started regular service on January 3, 1986.

100 years of the Buzzer. 

Happy birthday, Buzzer! The print Buzzer hit a major milestone anniversary of 100 years!

This free, on-transit publication began on June 2, 1916 without a name. That soon changed and it has been delivering informative, fun and interesting transit and community related tidbits to the riders of the transit system ever since.

You can pick yours up on your ride or download here.

Federal funding.

PM Justin Trudeau made some lifelong transit friends when he announced more than $900 million will be invested – by the Government of Canada, British Columbia and municipalities – in public transit projects across the province.

This important funding promise allowed the Metro Vancouver Mayors’ Council to present Phase One of the 10-Year Vision for approval. But we’ll get to that soon enough!

LTE connectivity.

Rogers and Fido customers were treated to not one but two connectivity projects allowing riders to use their mobile devices.

In July, the Dunsmuir tunnel downtown Vancouver was connected and in November, the Edmonds tunnel followed suit!

Up next? We will continue to work with Rogers to build out wireless coverage along the Evergreen Extension, Columbia Station and tunnel and in New Westminster.

#Compass1Million.

This summer we hit one million active Compass Cards.

That means that a million riders across Metro Vancouver embraced the switch to Compass and were tap, tap, tapping their way to and from school, home, work and more!

With such great news, we had to celebrate with a fun contest to thank you for using Compass!

Mark IIIs.

These beautiful new SkyTrain cars were the hit of the summer! Especially because the A/C is just oh, so cool!

Press tourThese cars rode across country – on flatbeds – to reach out region.

Each 4-car set is fully articulated (you can walk from one end of the train to the other), has more room for standing passengers, wheelchairs, bikes, strollers and riders with luggage plus, they are more environmentally efficient!

Transit riders and enthusiasts eagerly awaited the first trip on August 18th and our Mark III VIPs got a front seat for the journey!

SkyTrain Wedding.

Something old, something new, something borrowed something… transit? Hey, whatever floats your SeaBus!Congratulations Nathaly and Jeff!

Jeff and Nathaly met on Canada Line and it was their dream to get married on transit.

Enter a white (naturally) Mark II SkyTrain, a full band, wedding guests and one interloping Buzzer blog writer and you’ve got a SkyTrain wedding!

It was a distinct pleasure to document this lovely couple’s big day aboard our beloved SkyTrain at Stadium–Chinatown Station.

I Love Transit Week.

I love transit week is a time for enthusiasts of all ages can say loud and proud, “I LOVE TRANSIT!”

Poems, colouring contests, a special Buzzer, HTC opening tour, kids camp and more – we felt the transit love from riders of all ages at a variety of events.

Interested in participating in next year’s festivities? Keep your eyes peeled for rumblings on the Buzzer blog in spring!

Hamilton Transit Centre.

In one September weekend we said goodbye to North Vancouver Transit Centre and hello to the brand new HTC building in Richmond! HTC

Did you notice? If not, that’s a good thing! CMBC made the seamless transition from one TC to the other and got your buses on the road from their no locale A.S.A.P.

Hamilton Transit Centre has capacity for 300 forty-foot buses, including up to 80 community shuttle buses and 150 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fuelled buses.

HTC performs three functions: dispatch, fuel and wash service as well as maintenance for buses servicing the Richmond, New Westminster, Burnaby and Vancouver areas.

Pattullo.

Opened in 1937, this bridge is one of the busiest Fraser crossings in the region. So, it’s unsurprising that while we go ahead with plans to build a new bridge, this ol’ girl needs some safety upgrades in the interim.

We know the evening and weekend closures impacted a lot of drivers and we appreciate your patience as we rehabilitated the crossing to ensure its safety for all.

Repairs included:

  • milling off the asphalt surfacing from the deck
  • removing all deck concrete down to the top layer of rebar
  • repairing concrete delamination and cleaning or replacing rebar
  • repaving the deck area with a concrete overlay

Crews managed to finish early allowing for goods and people to move freely over the Pattullo Bridge once again .

CUTA.

CUTA is the Canadian Urban Transit Association and this year’s Fall Conference and Transit Show happened right here in Metro Vancouver on November 5-9.

This year’s theme was Inspiring Sustainable Change with a variety of seminars and speakers discussing today’s demands, tomorrow’s challenges and the possibilities for transit in our country and around the world.

TransLink had many speakers engaging with experts and transit enthusiasts from around the globe. Including CMBC’s Derek Stewart who spoke about the impact of climate change to transit agencies.

New Westminster upgrades.

We are upgrading SkyTrain Stations across the rapid transit network.

New Westminster was one of them. I say was because the work is done! On November 21, we officially completed and opened the overhauled station for riders to use and enjoy!

The completed upgrades at New Westminster Station include:

  • A new elevator and escalators to improve access for customers with disabilities
  • Improved lighting throughout the station
  • Glass panels to replace the mesh screens and improve station visibility from street level
  • Better integration with the surrounding community to make it easier to connect to and from the SkyTrain system
  • New public art that improves the experience of riders

10-year vision.

Our region is growing and along with that comes greater need for public transit.640x194_buzzer_blog-01

The Mayors’ Council 10-year Vision Phase One was approved by the TransLink board and council on November 23.

Along with the federal and provincial funding promised in June, municipalities will pitch in their share with TransLink for some much needed transit upgrades and projects.

Phase One improvements in 2017, 2018, and 2019 include:

  • 10% increase in bus service
  • 15% increase in HandyDART service
  • 20% increase in rail service
  • New or expanded transit services for neighbourhoods that currently have few or no transit options today
  • Safer walking and cycling routes
  • Reduced traffic congestion by fixing bottlenecks on major roads

Metro Vancouver residents will start to see added service in the new year with much more to come in the coming months and years!

Evergreen.

Sometimes, it IS easy being green! EmeansGo

On December 2, the Millennium Line Evergreen Extension opened to great excitement despite the rainy weather!

The community celebration at Coquitlam Central Station ran all day with riders eagerly awaiting the first official ride on Evergreen.

With this extension, TransLink has the longest, automated, driverless rapid transit system in the world!

Twitter Heroes.

If you’ve ever called 604-953-3333 or tweeted @TransLink, you’ve interacted with CI (Customer Information).

This crew works tirelessly to help keep riders informed on specific routes, transit timings, disruptions, detours and all things transit related!

Started in 2010 as a pilot project, to date our followers have reached over 135,000 people and CI has sent out 295,039 tweets!

A big thank you to these awesome people who keep us moving!

Well, that about wraps it up. We can’t wait for what 2017 will hold for our region and transit!

Author: Adrienne Coling

VIDEO – 28 new SkyTrain cars ordered to improve rapid transit service in Metro Vancouver

Today is a historic day as pen was set to paper in a deal that will improve transit in our region!

A $93 million order for 28 new SkyTrain Mark III cars from Bombardier Transportation was made by TransLink and the provincial government.

This is part of the $2 billion Phase One of the 10-year vision that is funded 50 per cent by the federal government, 33 per cent by the province and the rest from our region and TransLink.

The new SkyTrain cars will provide additional service and capacity on the Expo and Millennium Lines increasing the rapid transit fleet to 314 cars.

With these new cars coming into service, more people will be able to rely on public transit, helping to reduce road congestion, greenhouse gases and improve efficient movement of people and goods across the region.

“With the critical support of our federal, provincial and regional partnerships, TransLink is ready and eager to start implementing service and infrastructure improvements outlined in Phase One of the 10-Year Vision. Today’s announcement is just one in a series of steps we’re taking to expand service for our customers and reduce wait times and crowding.”

Kevin Desmond, TransLink CEO

The new train cars are scheduled to start arriving in 2018 and after extensive testing, enter into service by early 2019.

Starting in January 2017, TransLink will begin service improvements using the existing fleet for the Expo, Millennium and Canada Lines and SeaBus, with additional bus and HandyDart service improvements beginning in April 2017.

Transit and transportation improvements in Phase One

  • 10% increase in bus service
  • 15% increase in HandyDART service
  • 20% increase in rail service following delivery of new rail cars (Expo Line, Millennium Line and Evergreen Extension, Canada Line, West Coast Express)
  • Pre-construction and consultation on Broadway subway and Surrey-Langley light rail
  • New funding for improvements to the Major Road Network
  • Expansion and improvements to cycling and pedestrian networks

Want more information on the Mayors’ Council 10-year vision?
Head to tenyearvision.translink.ca.


Author: Adrienne Coling

TransLink receives Outstanding Employer Award for Take Your Kids to Work Day

2016 Outstanding EmployerEvery year, TransLink participates in Take your Kids to Work Day.

Kids aged 14 are invited to job shadow their parents or come along on a guided tour at BCRTC, CMBC and Transit Police to explore future workplace opportunities.

work%20day%20for%20kids%202016

Some of the grade nine students on the job for Take Your Kids to Work Day

This year we had 52 grade nine students take part in this event and it was a big success and not just the day!

The Canada’s Outstanding Employer Award recognizes employers for their outstanding performance and contribution to Take Our Kids to Work day activities.

Criteria for the award includes:

  • Promoting the importance of staying in school
  • Promoting pursuing post-secondary studies
  • Demonstrating creativity and innovation through engaging and exciting activities for visiting students
  • Supporting and explaining career choices and benefits of early career exploration

It was a very competitive process, but TransLink, along with 14 other outstanding organizations, stood out to the selections committee.

TransLink and its operating companies were chosen “For providing students with engaging and interactive opportunities to explore career options and learn about TransLink, Coast Mountain Bus Company, BCRTC and Transit Police as a future workplace. Students were given a tour of TransLink’s new Mark III train and received an in-depth look at technology that powers TransLink trains. They even got the opportunity to work with a K9 unit in Transit Police and the Fire Prevention Technicians that oversees fire prevention across the transit network.”

TransLink is honoured as an Enterprise to accept Canada’s Outstanding Employer 2016 Award for our participation in this annual event of fun, learning and exploring transit jobs.

We can’t wait until next year to host more eager students looking to get behind-the-scenes job experience in the world of public transit!

Author: Adrienne Coling

Meet our newest contributor – Jessica!

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Welcome Jessica!

Hello hello! Although, you may have seen a few of my posts already, I’m happy to get my official introduction to you.

While I’m relatively new to the TransLink communications team, I’m not new to the organization.

Previously, I worked in communications at Coast Mountain Bus Company, where I learned the nitty gritty about the bus world. Now that I’m a quasi bus nerd, I’ve become the go-to bus expert in communications.

Like most of my TransLink peeps, I use transit ALL. THE. TIME. Although I share a car with my husband, it’s so busy in Vancouver and I absolutely hate traffic, so I much prefer to walk or take SkyTrain (hello, Mark III).

My favourite bus route is #99 – I love that I never have to check the schedule and it’s super handy for me!

My best transit memory was when I was working at Coast Mountain Bus Company, I had the opportunity to learn more about Transit Security firsthand. Read more about my experience in Bike Patrol training.

I will hopefully be posting and interacting with all of you on a regular basis.

Stay tuned to the blog so you’re in the loop on new and exciting TransLink projects.

Some of my favourite things include:

  • Chicken strips and fries (I’m 29 going on 12)
  • All things CATS!
  • Reality TV (it’s so bad, it’s good)
  • My weekend wardrobe: aka jeans and hoodies
  • Costco (my faves: peanut butter, cereal, rotisserie chickens and pot pie)

Fun Facts:

  • First job: McDonald’s, but mostly in the drive-thru. That’s where they put the all-stars.
  • First car: ‘89 Dodge Aries in maroon. The lock on the driver’s side door was broken, so I’d unlock it on the passenger side and crawl over to the driver’s seat EVERY TIME.
  • Favourite chain restaurant: Red Robin. The only place where you can get a plate of fries as an appy for FREE!

Author: Jessica Hewitt

It’s going to be a ‘green’ Christmas on the Millennium Line!

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This is the first test train on the Evergreen Line alignment in Port Moody. The train is travelling from Inlet Centre Station to Moody Centre Station. Courtesy of B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure

BIG NEWS from the province today! I’ll give you two hints just in case the title didn’t resonate.

  1. Ever.
  2. Green.

So, not only is the Evergreen Extension to the Millennium Line going to be open before Christmas, but stations will also be provided with parking for commuters.

This includes 150 new spaces available for transit users at the Lafarge Lake-Douglas Station that are fully funded within the project’s $1.43 billion budget and are on top of the 500 parking spaces outlined in the project’s scope!

What is TransLink doing now?

We here at TransLink are so thrilled with today’s announcement!

We continue to get ready behind the scenes to ensure that customers will have an easy transition right out of the gates.

There’s a lot to do and want to get it right before the extension officially opens.

What about the Mark IIIs?

A few Mark III trains have been on the system since August 18 and will continue to roll out and used where customers need them most.

Read the province’s entire press release here.

Want the latest on Evergreen?
The Evergreen Line Project: evergreenline.gov.bc.ca
Information in other languages is available at: evergreenline.gov.bc.ca/languages.htm
Twitter: @TranBC #EvergreenlineBC
Facebook: facebook.com/evergreenline

Author: Adrienne Coling

Congrats to our #Compass1Million winners!

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A few weeks ago, we hit one million active Compass Cards!

To celebrate we wanted to thank you, our customers, who embraced Compass and use it to tap, tap, tap their way across the system.

Hence the awesome #Compass1Million contest!

We had 500+ entries and the lucky eight chosen at random will receive $50 of Stored Value on their Compass Card and a nifty transit prize pack.

Congratulations to our winners!

Jason – Surrey (Twitter)
Ben – Vancouver (Instagram)
John – Port Coquitlam (Twitter)
Jeannie – Vancouver (Instagram)
Michal – Vancouver (Twitter)
Claire   (Twitter)
Katelyn – Surrey  (Facebook)
Romela – Vancouver (Twitter)

Thank you to everyone who took pictures with us out on the system, shared the photos across social channels and celebrated one million Compass Cards with us!

Did you miss this contest? Fret not!
Stay tuned to the Buzzer blog for many more contests coming up for
I Love Transit, Mark IIIs & more!

Author: Adrienne Coling

New buses roll onto routes this summer and fall

New bus_Kevin Plimbley

Pssssst….check out our new buses!

We know that additions to the transit fleet, whether they be buses, a new SeaBus or the much-anticipated Mark III SkyTrain cars are always of big interest to you, our readers and riders.

With that in mind, get ready and get set for some new buses (with allllllllll the info) that have hit the streets and buses on order for the coming months!

Buses on the way

Right now, we’re in the middle of two deliveries of buses:

  • 62 – 2016 Chevrolet/Giradin G5 Microbird cutaway Community Shuttles (16501-16562).

These will be entering service now through the fall.

  • 40 – 40-foot diesel New Flyer Xcelsior buses [XD 40’s](16101-16140) and five West Vancouver Xcelsior buses (1601-1605 ) will be in service by the fall.
  • An additional 26 – 2016 Hybrid Artics are  arriving beginning late this year (16201-16226).

Bonus! All these buses are air conditioned!

More buses will be rolling out of the new Hamilton Transit Centre, opening in September, during the autumn months.

This delivery will be for 51 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses [XN40’s] (16001-16051).

Buses delivered

FYBI (For your bus information):

  • 25 – 2012 XDE60, AC equipped, 60’ Hybrid Articulated buses in Richmond, they are the 12000-series buses
  • 17 – 2012 XD40, A/C equipped, 40’ Diesel buses in West Vancouver (1201-1217)
  • 45 – 2014 XN40, A/C equipped, 40’ CNG buses in Port Coquitlam (14000-series buses)
  • 21 – 2015 XDE60, AC equipped, 60’ Hybrid Articulated buses (15000-series buses operated in Burnaby and Surrey, which entered service earlier this year)

There you go bus fans, all the new bus information you can handle for one post :)

Thanks to Juan Sanchez (loyal Buzzer blog reader and transit enthusiast) for his interest in the newest buses in Richmond that sparked this post.

You can check out his photos of the buses in action here.

Author: Adrienne Coling

Update from the Buzzer blog team

keyboard
Hi folks!

You may have noticed that you have been unable to leave comments on some of our more recent blog posts.

Fear not! This is not because we don’t want you to!

We love interacting with our Buzzer audience and answering any and all questions you have about our posts and the system.

Unfortunately, we have been experiencing some major technical difficulties on our end of the blog, including our comment section.

We apologize to all of our readers for this glitch and we hope that we have the issue cleared up so please continue to leave us comments!

Below are some of the posts from the past few weeks. Comment on, Buzzer readers, comment on!

New Mark III SkyTrain cars embark on a cross country road trip
Rider Alert: Expo Line single tracking on October 17, 2015
Want the skinny on single tracking? Ian Fisher fills us in…
Compass 101 videos help you make the move to the Compass Card
Keep those bike wheels rolling with Fall Bike to Work Week
Lots to Learn at TransLink.ca!
Compass 101: How to load your Compass Card online

If you experience any more issues with commenting, please email us.

Author: Adrienne Coling

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!

A record breaking 40 million boardings on public transit in October in Metro Vancouver!

More and more customers are taking advantage of transit and new service introduced as part of the 10-Year Vision

Transit ridership in Metro Vancouver smashed a new record in October, with more people riding transit than ever before.

Read more »

New SkyTrain cars are on their way to Vancouver!

The first four of 28 new SkyTrain cars are on the way to Vancouver!

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.

Read more »

#MyTransLink – May 8

There’s no denying that you were on track with this week’s #MyTransLink challenge. In this edition of our fun weekly photo series showcasing your best shots of transit life in and around our region, we asked for your West Coast Express shots and once again you delivered. Check out this week’s photos and scroll on down for next week’s challenge!

 

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