ALERT! : More info
Translink Buzzer Blog

Snow service update for 9:40 a.m.

The 130 at Metrotown Loop was carrying a layer of snow this morning.

The 130 at Metrotown Loop was carrying a layer of snow this morning.

Not only did we lose an hour on Sunday, but there’s snow this morning? What a day…

Anyway, so far, snow and icy conditions on roads around Metro Vancouver are affecting bus service throughout the region.

Problem areas include Granville Street, 41st Avenue, any south slope hills in Vancouver and Burnaby (although the #20 is still making it to Harrison Loop at this time), and Westwood Plateau in Coquitlam — Community Shuttles serving the area are being held at the base of the hill.

Here’s some regional specifics:

Surrey – the #314 line is avoiding hills at 124 & 96, 123 & 100.

Richmond – No known major issues in Richmond. But the 98 B-Line is encountering major delays on the Granville corridor.

Port Coquitlam/Coquitlam/Maple Ridge/Port Moody – Community bus is not attempting to access Westwood Plateau. Service is terminating at Poco Stn. Mariner is clear.

North Vancouver – Roads are mostly cleared with some minor delays.

Vancouver – #7, #16, and #20 line are experiencing delays.

West Vancouver – All service on regular route


Due to the increasing snow fall in the greater Vancouver area HandyDART has reduced service in the New Westminster, Coquitlam, Maple Ridge and south of the Fraser River to essential medical services only for this morning. Stay tuned for an update this afternoon (the weather forecast promises the snow will stop by then, but we’ll see).

As always, we appreciate your patience during such inclement weather. Please remember to dress warmly and be aware you might have to walk if your bus is forced to turn around earlier than expected.

Belated Friday fun poll: where do you like to sit on the SeaBus?

(Yarrgh — I didn’t realize this got stuck in the backend last Friday! Anyway, here is the belated Friday fun poll from last week.)

Last week, I asked if you stood up early on the bus when you got close to your stop, if you happened to be in a seat in a full bus.

With 97 votes counted, the result is a blowout in favour of standing up ahead of time — 78 per cent said they get out of their seat and head into the aisle early, so they are all set to get off the bus. The remaining 22 per cent say they stay seated and wait for the bus to get to the stop before making their way off the bus.

I’m obviously not a good predictor of these polls — I thought we’d have a much more even showing between the two sides. Personally, I’m with the minority for this one, as I don’t like shoving into people and making their transit experience uncomfortable while we’re in transit—plus I always feel like everyone on the bus will help keep the doors open if I’m struggling to get to the exit.

LisaB was also on the sitters on this one, as she explained in the comments:

Dude, I deal with this EVERY day – the people who stand up (in a crowded bus where there is no room for them to stand up) and make a commotion to get to the door blocks (and minutes) ahead of their stop. If they would just wait – since 70% of the people on the bus are getting off at the stop, there would be no need to push and shove and disrupt all the sardined people! Just relax and wait!

And Dan said that it really depended on many factors: whether you were on an express or local service, how full the bus is, where your stop is, and more. He wrote:

This really does take some thought and practice when you’re in the moment, though. Interacting with people in cities can sometimes be quite a chore — likening it to a logic puzzle is bang-on. Who needs Sudoku when you’re trying to calculate whether to give-up your seat, get-up before your stop, board through the front door of the B-Line to beat the rear-door crowds, get-off an express one stop early to do a running transfer to a local so you can save 5 minutes of walking, etc.?


New poll time! This one is a request from Eugene.

We settled on just two choices since there are so many possible places to sit on the SeaBus. But feel free to share in the comments if you have some specific SeaBus seats you like to sit in!

Spring ahead for Daylight Savings Time

Just a tiny reminder to set your clocks ahead one hour on Sunday, Mar. 8.

The official change is Sunday morning at 2 a.m., but our transit services will finish their Saturday night service on Standard time. Sunday scheduled service will then start on the new Daylight time.

Video: all about how SkyTrain operates

Clicking around Youtube this morning, I found a really great video by Metro Vancouver about how the SkyTrain system operates. I’ve been trying to get to an article about SkyTrain and SkyTrain control for some time, but I think this video really covers all the basics really well. It’s from March 2008, so some of you certainly might have seen it before — but if not, enjoy! (And nice work on the video, Metro Vancouver!)

Broadway Station construction update for February-March 2009

Fencing is now up in the lane by Broadway Station's entrance, in preparation for the installation of the west glass wall.

Fencing is now up in the lane by Broadway Station's entrance, in preparation for the installation of the west glass wall.

The second update on the Broadway Station upgrade project is now out!

(If you hadn’t heard, Broadway Station is getting an upgrade to better handle customer traffic and security. I wrote all about the details of the upgrade on the blog in November. There was also an update on the station’s progress in December 2008.)

Read more »

Canada Line open house presentation boards are now online

Hey, the presentation boards from the eight Canada Line open houses in February are now online!

Visit the Canada Line Bus Integration page at the main TransLink site to see the boards, which are available as four separate PDFs.

The 10 boards show proposed changes to current bus routes, in order to integrate bus service with the Canada Line. Have a look and offer your feedback in the form on the Canada Line Bus Integration page.

For more info, you can also contact John Timms, Community Relations Officer at the Coast Mountain Bus Company: try him at 604-953-3251 or

Just a few more photos from I Love Transit Night

Here’s a few more photos from I Love Transit Night, last Thursday’s transit-games-and-fun extravaganza. The photo with everyone holding numbers is the second games round—a tremendous amount of fun! Thanks to Terry Muirhead for sending these along!

Open houses for Waterfront Station hub, Thu Mar. 5 & Sat. Mar. 7

Here's the area around Waterfront Station that's being considered in these open houses.

Here's the area around Waterfront Station that's being considered in these open houses.

Come down to one of two open houses about the Waterfront Station hub in downtown Vancouver!

The City of Vancouver and TransLink want your feedback on a framework to guide future development around Waterfront Station — the Central Waterfront Hub.

This is the second third round of open houses to be held (the first was in March 2007 and April 2008), so you’ll be able to see a draft framework that resulted from the earlier consultation.

Here are the dates and locations you’ll need:

Thursday, March 5, 2009 – 3:00 – 7:00 pm
Waterfront Station Concourse, 601 West Cordova St.

Saturday, March 7, 2009 – 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Central Library Concourse, 350 West Georgia St.

As the City of Vancouver’s Hub website says, the main objectives of the Central Waterfront Hub program are to:

  • Create a transportation hub which better integrates the many transit modes which converge in this area – Skytrain, Canada Line, West Coast Express, Seabus, Helijet and numerous bus lines.
  • Establish planning and urban design guidelines for the various development sites which exist in the area.
  • Introduce measures to enhance the public realm – streets and open spaces – in this important location.

The City of Vancouver’s website has much more info on the earlier open houses and the plans so far. Grab the open house flyer from the site too: you’ll notice it has a few pictures of Canary Wharf and Liverpool Street Stations in London as possible inspiration for the Waterfront hub.

Canary Wharf Station (left) and Liverpool Street Station serve as possible inspirations for the Waterfront Station hub.

Canary Wharf Station (left) and Liverpool Street Station serve as possible inspirations for the Waterfront Station hub.

And for more information, please contact Colleen Sondermann at 604 453 4687 or at

Video of the retired trolleybuses on the streets of Mendoza

A still from the video of a retired trolley on the streets of Mendoza, Argentina, taking a test drive.

A still from the video of a retired trolley on the streets of Mendoza, Argentina, taking a test drive.

Visit the Trolebuses Mendocinos blog to see video of a retired trolley on a test drive in Mendoza, Argentina! (They are uploaded via Blogger’s video service so I can’t embed the clips here, sorry!)

Again, a big thanks to Jorge Luis Guevara, who works for Mendoza’s public transit agency and runs the Trolebuses Mendocinos blog. He filmed the videos and let me know they were up!

And here are the past posts on the retired trolleys:

Bus re-routes on Hastings, Sun Mar. 1

Just a heads up that on Sunday, March 1, Hastings Street will be closed to all traffic between Seymour and Howe Streets to allow trolley overhead wires to be repositioned.

The following bus lines will be re-routed, beginning with the first bus Sunday morning:

#10 Granville, #16 Arbutus, #135 Burrard Stn & #160 Vancouver will turn off Hastings on Richards, then onto Pender to Howe Street and pick up their regular routes.

#135 SFU and #160 Port Coquitlam Stn will turn off Burrard onto Pender, then onto Seymour to Hastings and resume their regular routes.

The re-routes will stay in place until approximately 5 pm, or as directed by Transit Supervisors.

Friday fun poll: do you try to stand up before you get to your stop?

Last Friday, I asked if you had given up your seat in the past month — no judgment of course!

We had 87 people answer, and the majority (72% – 63 votes) said they had indeed given up their seat in the past month. The rest said they hadn’t (28% – 24 votes).

So that’s an interesting yardstick, although of course this might have been a bit skewed — no one really likes calling themselves out for not giving up a seat.

However, as usual, the comments delivered some very interesting perspectives on the whole issue of giving up your seat to others. Offering your seat up can be done — but it doesn’t mean someone wants to accept the seat! Scott Clayton describes it here:

I prefer giving up seats when there are no others available, and since I don’t sit up front, it is only in these instances. However, some people can take offense to being offered a seat, and I don’t want to offend anyone, so offering a seat can be tricky—I can’t count how many times people have said to me “I’m not that old yet.”

He also mentioned a situation that made me laugh out loud — and I have indeed seen it on many a bus before:

If there are no seats and someone has to stand, I’d prefer that person be me. I’m 23, fairly energetic, and can balance myself alright. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m alone on this standing-front. Often there might be >5 people standing and <5 available seats, so it can turn ridiculous. Like a reverse ‘tragedy of the commons’ or something.

LisaB points out that sometimes it can be hard to know when to give your seat up.

I virtually never sit in the courtesy seats up front ever since a friend pointed out that not all disabilities that would make one need a seat are visible/obvious. I prefer not to have to judge/guess who needs the seats, especially since I can certainly stand without hardship.

And Dion mentions that the seat-entitlement situation is totally different in Hong Kong:

On the bright side, as much as I love Hong Kongs transportation network, seats there are almost always first come first serve no exceptions. There are the rare times where a seat will be offered, but aside from that, usually everyone too busy to care who’s getting on and getting off. VERY sharp contrast to Vancouver.


Okay, new poll!

I’m curious to see what you think. Do you think one choice is more efficient than the other, too?

I Love Transit Week essay: Jon Coleman, about the #4 bus

To cap off I Love Transit Week, here’s another essay. Amazing local blog VancouverIsAwesome once ran a tribute to the #4 bus, written by contributor Jon Coleman, and I asked Jon to expand on it for I Love Transit Week.

Feel free to share your own favourite routes in the comments. And remember your responses might end up in the March Buzzer, as I’ll be putting reader contributions from I Love Transit Week into the next print edition!

Speaking of buses: the #4

by Jon Coleman

The #4, cruising down 4th Ave in Kitsilano.

The #4, cruising down 4th Ave in Kitsilano.

As a Kitsilano resident working in Gastown, my commuting method varies day to day. I most often hop on my bicycle for the journey but there are times when the weather isn’t in my favor or I am just too damn lazy to put in that kind of effort. Driving is almost always out of the question as the parking in the east of the city is both scarce and over priced. I enjoy hoofing it but that is dependant on me getting out of the house early enough. When all else fails I find myself on the #4 and have grown to love and look forward to the ride.

One of the #4’s obvious attractions for me is that its route has stops within a minute walk of each of my destinations, essentially providing door-to-door service. That is not what draws me to the ride however. It’s the filling of the transportation sandwich that really provides the flavor to the journey. Ooh “transportation sandwich”. That’s a good one! I think if I am gonna run with it then the #4 would have to be the toothpick that reaches each end of the city sammie by stabbing straight through the middle and pulling it all together.

In terms of people riding the #4 on any given day, it would equate to walking in a deli and ordering a sammie with “the works”. No ingredients left out. And as the toothpick pushes through that sandwich it passes the layers of ingredients until finally it pops out the other end.

When I hop on in Kits each morning I start in the company of a mix of UBC students heading into the city, downtown bound suits, west side residents on their way to Capers or maybe a yoga class and the entrepreneurial binner who has risen with the sun to scour the west sides alleys for it’s recyclable riches. Pushing on along fourth you lose some errand runners and perhaps an Emily Carr student or two at Granville Island.

Once over the Granville Bridge the suits have all filtered off by Georgia and more and more people begin to board. This crowd is usually a little more talkative and in fact if they aren’t talking to myself or someone close by, then often they are talking to themselves. Either way the conversation is usually quite interesting.

By the time I reach my stop in Gastown the amount of passengers has thinned out and over the course of the trip I have gotten in the mindset for work. The same process works in reverse on the way home also and the #4 can gradually wind me down as it makes its way through the city back in to the quiet west side. In one trip you see the diversity of multiple neighborhoods and witness the passengers unique interaction as their paths cross in the tight quarters of the #4.

I Love Transit Night = great success!


A huge thank you to everyone who came out and participated in I Love Transit Night yesterday! It was lovely to meet all of you in person!

Check out some photos of the evening from Jason Vanderhill’s Flickr account, which I’ve embedded as a slideshow above. (If you have any photos to share, send me an e-mail — I was so busy I didn’t manage to take any pictures!)

For those who didn’t make it out, here’s what happened: about 30 people were on hand to play transit games, grab buttons, and fold bus and SkyTrain cutouts. David from Trans-Vancouver also brought albums of bus photos to share.

I organized three rounds of games and divided everyone into two teams: Team Buses and Team SkyTrain. The teams competed to identify SkyTrain stations on a map without names, worked out transit-related numbers based on clues, did some straight-up transit trivia, and also did an instant scavenger hunt.

And Team SkyTrain won the whole thing, in no small part to transit enthusiast Reva. During the instant scavenger hunt, teams got five points for every 3-zone adult FareCard they could produce – Reva happened to have her collection of historical bus passes on hand, giving Team SkyTrain 19 FareCards for their side!

I also brought a giant bus model and giant SkyTrain model, which were won in a draw by George from Trans-Vancouver and Terry Muirhead respectively. (Although, in a shocking turn of events, somebody absconded with the SkyTrain model at the end of the evening!)

All in all, however, it was a great evening and wonderful to meet everybody. Thank you again for coming out to the End Café – it was lovely to have you there.

And I’m almost clean out of buttons, but here’s a gallery of what each button looked like, in case you were wondering :) Edit: I should mention that I designed the two I Love Transit Week buttons; Jason Vanderhill did the yellow bee button, the MkI/MkII buttons and the bus with a giant heart above it; and the Mustache Press designed the rest. Thank you to Jason and the Mustache Press for such fine work!

Read more »

Reminder: Buzzer blog live meetup tonight

Here's what the End Cafe looks like, as you approach it from Commercial Drive Station.

Here's what the End Cafe looks like, as you approach it from Commercial Drive Station.

Just a reminder that I Love Transit Night is tonight, if you’d like to join us.

I have a space at the End Café reserved on Thursday Feb. 26, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Look for us in the back of the restaurant! (The address is 2360 Commercial Drive, Vancouver – it’s located right next to Commercial Drive Station.)

At about 7:30 p.m., we’ll start playing transit games to test everyone’s knowledge of the system. Again, I’ll also have buttons, bus and SkyTrain cutouts, and more fun transit-related items on hand. And while we can’t provide the drinks, appetizers will be supplied. All ages and levels of transit-nerdery are welcome!

As always, if you’re coming, it would be nice to have an RSVP at, so I can get a head count and plan for food and the like.

I Love Transit Week essay: Dave Olson

For I Love Transit Week, I’m happy to share a contribution from Dave Olson, who is a prolific and talented local writer, podcaster, poet, Canucks superfan, and much more. You can find all of his work on his Feasthouse blog. Find more of Dave’s podcasts, essays, presentations and documentaries at his archive:

So without further ado, here is “Rolling to the End of the Line,” an essay about transit by Dave Thorvald Olson.

P.S. Dave has also put together a related podcast here, tracking his transit trip from North Vancouver to Kitsilano (it’s not the same text as this essay, btw):


Read more »