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Translink Buzzer Blog

One more set of photos from Lansdowne Station

A quick follow up to the earlier post about Lansdowne Station. Terry Muirhead has sent along a set of photos from the Canada Line open house too. Click the thumbnails below to check them out!

TransLink CEO talks about our 10-Year Plan with the Vancouver Sun

Our CEO Tom Prendergast, speaking with the Vancouver Sun editorial board.

Our CEO Tom Prendergast, speaking with the Vancouver Sun editorial board, which you can see in this video.

Our CEO Tom Prendergast went down to talk to the Vancouver Sun editorial board not long ago, and the paper has just put up a video of his talk on their website.

I highly recommend you see the video if you’re interested in our region’s transportation future and you’re not familiar with the issues. Tom does a really good explanation of the long-term plans TransLink is required to come up with, the funding crisis we currently face, and how we’re trying to make informed investments so that we can best manage transportation for the region in the future.

And you can find out more on the issues Tom talks about on the BePartofthePlan website, our discussion site for our current regional transportation plan.

SkyTrain in a Vodafone ad


Vodafone Stadium from Laurent MAKOWSKI on Vimeo.

A few days ago, I posted a clip of Granville Station in the TV show Caprica. So I thought I’d continue with another TV spot showing the SkyTrain: a Vodafone ad from Europe that was shot in Vancouver last year.

The SkyTrain was shot near Stadium Station, and I actually had the fine privilege of supervising this shoot in the wee hours of the morning :)

Register your vehicle now for electronic tolling on the Golden Ears Bridge

Just in case you haven’t heard, the Golden Ears Bridge opened up its Quickpass Customer Service Centre last week, and will now be taking registration for the electronic tolling system.

You can get your vehicle registered through a variety of methods:

  • online at www.quickpasstolling.ca*
  • call 604-460-5050, or call toll-free at 1-877-299-0599*
  • or visit the Quickpass customer service centre in Pitt Meadows (12167 Harris Road) or Langley (12-8948 202nd Street).

*If you call or register online for a transponder, it will be mailed to you.

You can also pick one of three ways to register your vehicle for the Quickpass tolling system:

  1. Lease a Quickpass transponder and save 30% of the standard toll rate. (Transponders are $1 a month plus a $10 refundable deposit.)
  2. Register as a Quickpass video customer and save 15% of the standard toll rate. (You won’t carry a transponder this way.)
  3. Pay as you go and pay the standard toll rate.

For more on the tolling system, check the Quickpass registration site, or have a read through a Quickpass article I wrote in Oct. 2008.

SkyTrain is today’s featured article on Wikipedia

The SkyTrain article, featured on Wikipedia's homepage.

The SkyTrain article, featured on Wikipedia's homepage.

I tweeted this morning about this, but just in case you haven’t heard: SkyTrain is today’s featured article on Wikipedia!

You can check out the Wikipedia homepage to see how they’ve showcased the SkyTrain article there. I’ve also preserved our moment in the spotlight in the screenshot to the left. Anyway, perhaps a few more people out there are getting to know all about our system today :)

SkyTrain ticket machines are cash only from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. tonight

You may have seen the signs about this at the SkyTrain stations already, but here’s a quick reminder.

SkyTrain Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs) will undergo a scheduled upgrade beginning Thursday, April 23 at 10 pm and ending at approximately 5:30am, Friday, April 24. During that time, the TVMs will accept cash only. Debit and credit card transactions will not be processed.

We’ve scheduled the system upgrade for a time that will cause the least disruption or inconvenience, so hopefully this will affect very few of you out there.

We’ve got a brand new TransLink website!

Check out the new <a href=http://www.translink.ca>TransLink website</a>!

Check out the new TransLink website!

The TransLink website has a whole new look — check it out at www.translink.ca!

We’ve totally redesigned it to focus on your needs as customers. The old site was really a corporate-focused site: it just wasn’t properly set up to help you get the information you need.

So now, our revised site has a new look and feel, a much more organized structure, and it’s completely focused on helping you find what you need.

For example, research showed that 90 per cent of visitors to the TransLink website were only there to find the trip planner—so a trip planner widget is now in the middle of the homepage.

The trip planner itself has a new feature too: once you select a trip plan option, alerts will now pop up, notifying you of any situations affecting your chosen bus or SkyTrain routes.

What else is new?

On the Driving page, you can now easily access cameras showing the situation on roads and bridges across the region.

On the Driving page, you can now easily access cameras showing the situation on roads and bridges across the region.

On the site, cycling and driving sections now have much more prominence. And the driving section has a really exciting feature: built-in access to traffic cameras, so you can see the live situation on roads and bridges across the region.

The old Current Operating Conditions page has now been renamed Alerts. It’s going to be updated much faster, as staff at T-Comm, the traffic control centre for our bus fleet, can now input information directly onto the site.

Plus, there’s also fun little toys like a carbon footprint calculator, and built-in Web 2.0 tools to help you share our content through sites like Digg or Facebook.

Much more coming in the future

There are many more features and pages that aren’t ready for launch, but will be rolled out in the coming weeks. I’ll have more info as we get those on the go!

We’re also really committed to updating the site regularly, and adding new features and content as we grow as an organization.

Everybody’s excited about the new site here, and we hope you are too! Let us know if there’s any issues via the web form, or feel free to put them into the comments below.

PS. Yes, we have officially moved over to translink.ca, not translink.bc.ca. No more secondary domains for us anymore! Also, yes, the old site address will continue to work in the future.

Granville Station in Caprica!

Hey, check out this clip from Caprica, shot in Granville Station last year! (Caprica is an upcoming sci-fi TV show spun off from Battlestar Galactica: its two-hour pilot was just put out on DVD.)

Fun facts: the train is totally computer-generated. The scene at the end involving getting on and off the train were done using a custom-built set in a studio. You can check out this on-set report from an extra in the Granville Station scene for more!

(Also, a TransLink bus was spotted in the Battlestar Galactica finale: check it out here, screencapped by magsec4!)

Happy Earth Day!

A full busload of passengers

A full busload of passengers takes 40 vehicles off the road. (This one's just waiting to fill up :)

Happy Earth Day everyone! As we’re all taking the time to appreciate our planet today, I just wanted to mention some of the things TransLink and its family of companies do to help our environment out.

  • One busload of passengers takes 40 vehicles off the road, saving 70,000 litres of fuel, 175 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions and 9 tonnes of pollutants per year.
  • Every year the combined distance travelled by all CMBC bus passengers is about 1 billion kilometres. During peak rush hour, it’s estimated that 25,000 fewer vehicles are on the road because people are taking buses instead of their cars.
  • Did you know if you took all of the SkyTrain passengers that travel from Broadway to Waterfront during rush hour and put then each in a car – you would have to build an eight lane highway? Four lanes to get them into the city in the morning and four lanes to get them home at night. That’s a big carbon footprint!
  • SkyTrain carries an average of 240,000 passengers per day. It carried 73.5 million passengers in 2008!
  • Star performers in air pollution reduction are the electric trolley buses. Because electric power is so much cleaner than the internal combustion engine, these buses contribute 99.5% fewer emissions than conventional buses.
  • Every year CMBC collects 300,000 litres of waste oil and sends it for recycling back into new oil. In addition about 20,000 used oil filters, 20,000 litres of used antifreeze and 20,000 litres of waste paint and solvents are sent for recycling.
  • Because CMBC does the heavy maintenance work on our buses, we can keep a diesel for around 20 years. In a diesel’s lifetime, it will actually consume about half a million litres of fuel.
  • Diesel-electric hybrid buses will save anywhere between 15-20% on fuel consumption, meaning they’re sending out about 15-20% fewer emissions into the air. If you factor in that fuel costs about $1 a litre, this will save $100,000 from 20% in fuel savings. (We’re getting 180 hybrid buses this year!)
  • As well, when we compare the hybrids to the buses they are replacing, the particulate matter levels (the smoke they send out) will be reduced by 90-100%.
  • Hybrid buses also have regenerative braking, and the hybrid synchronizes gears and the electric motor engages the clutch which acts a smooth ride so passengers won’t get that jerking motion. This all means we will save on wear and tear on the bus transmissions. Overall, while these buses have the perception of a high price tag, they stand to save us a lot of money in the long run!

Lansdowne Station photos from the Canada Line open house

Lansdowne Station in Richmond, during the open house on April 9. Photo by <a href=http://www.trans-vancouver.fotopic.net/c1679729_1.html>David Lam</a>.

Lansdowne Station in Richmond, during the open house on April 9. Photo by David Lam.

If you couldn’t get to the Canada Line open house two weeks ago, take a look at some photos of the event thanks to kind contributors David Lam, Tafyrn Palecloud, and CJ Stebbing.

First, David Lam took the photo at the start of this post, and you can find a full set of his photos at the Trans-Vancouver bus photo site. (I did a profile of David & his Trans-Vancouver bus enthusiast associates, if you’d like to read it.)

The platform at Lansdowne Station. Photo by <a href=http://canadalinephotos.blogspot.com/2009/04/2009-04-09-lansdowne-station.html>Tafyrn Palecloud</a>.

The platform at Lansdowne Station. Photo by Tafyrn Palecloud.

Second, you can see Tafyrn Palecloud’s photos at Canada Line Photography. Tafyrn is well known for having the most comprehensive Canada Line photograph site online, which he runs along with Seamora Palecloud. (I wrote a profile of Tafyrn and Seamora on the blog as well, if you’d like to see that!)

And last but certainly not least, CJ Stebbing sent along a set of photos, which he is also hosting in two album on his Facebook account: here’s album 1, and here’s album 2. Here are six of CJ’s photos as an appetizer (and that’s CJ in the last one)!

Cambie All Access party and 54-40 concert on Sat Apr. 25!

Celebrate the completion of Canada Line construction on Cambie Street with a free 54-40 concert and party!

Come down to the Cambie All Access party, held in lower Cambie Village, between 6th Ave and Broadway, on Saturday, Apr. 25, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The 54-40 concert will be at 3:30 p.m. outside the Best Buy at 6th and Cambie. You can also take in lots of free street-side events too—there will be a video game tent, product sampling and giveaways, and other activities for the whole family.

Later in the evening, the Official Cambie All Access After-Party will continue the festivities at Original Joe’s, located at Cambie and Broadway. They’re planning lots of great dinner and drink specials, plus live music!

For more info, check out shoptheline.ca or bestbuy.ca/cambieallaccess.

CMBC has a Twitter account!

I’m back! And here’s a little post to tide you over while I get my content sorted out for the week.

The communications department at the Coast Mountain Bus Company has launched a Twitter account: CMBCtransit.

They’re currently posting stuff about the April service changes that launch today, and also breaking items about service disruptions and other transit news. Follow them if you’re interested!

Sun Run service and reroutes for Sunday, April 19

Note: This is a scheduled post — I’m still on vacation right now and will be back Monday, Apr. 20.

Hop on transit to get to the Sun Run at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Apr. 19!

To help get you there, SkyTrain will start 30 minutes early at rush-hour service levels. The first train leaves King George at 6:38 a.m., arriving at Stadium Station by 7:15 a.m.

Blue, yellow and green numbers should exit at Burrard; white, purple and red numbers are closer to Granville. Remember that you can also pre-pay your return journey as you exit Burrard or Granville Station between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., to avoid ticket machine lineups after the race.

West Coast Express will also operate a special Sun Run Express train, leaving Mission City at 7 a.m., arriving at Waterfront at 8:15 a.m. and returning at 1 p.m.

SeaBus will also start an hour earlier, leaving Lonsdale Quay at 7:02 a.m. (northbound from Waterfront from 7:16 a.m.). It will run every 15 minutes, reverting to the regular 30-minute Sunday frequency after 2:30 p.m.

For bus reroutes, check our Customer Alerts page — lots of downtown Vancouver buses will be rerouted for the race. If you’d like a paper copy of the reroutes, grab the April Buzzer on transit — they’re all listed inside!

And while regular Sunday fares are in effect, using an adult monthly FareCard or annual Employer Pass on Sundays allows group travel of two adults and four children, or one adult and five children. Just remember that you all must ride the same vehicle and have your pass ready for inspection if needed.

Buzzer blogger goes on vacation, back Monday April 20

I’ll be away on vacation next week, returning Monday April 20. There are a few scheduled posts set up to notify you of things like the Sun Run service, but I won’t be on hand to answer questions or anything until I get back. Play nice while I’m away and have a great holiday weekend, everyone!

Thursday fun poll: what’s the best way to pass time on transit?

Since we all have the day off tomorrow, the weekly poll is a day early today!

Last week I asked if you had ever talked to your crush on transit.

There was a fairly low turnout for this one, with just 67 people weighing in on the matter. The vast majority (84%) said no, and the rest said yes (16%). (Do you like how I got the pie chart to split, btw?)

Also, while there were only three comments on this poll, they were all still quite fun. From LisaB:

A happy little story – my friend just married her bus-crush. So sometimes it pays off to chat up your bus buddy!

And Donald Nguyen had some success too!

Oh transit crushes, had a many, talked to none, didn’t think the typical woman would appreciate being hit on during their commute! Although I did write to I Saw You on the Georgia Straight and low and behold she responded! We just had one date but it was nice regardless.

————

On to a new poll now!

If you picked the “iPod/music player” option, care to share what makes for a good transit playlist? I personally think podcasts and radio shows are great for transit: This American Life is particularly terrific :)