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Fleet Overhaul Series, Part 2 of 6: Panel fabrication

A template for a bus body panel that fits over a wheel.

A template for a bus body panel that fits over a wheel.

Here is the second in a six-part series about Fleet Overhaul, the vehicle maintenance centre down at Burnaby Transit Centre. (Check out the first article, which talks about the body shop at Fleet Overhaul.)

Did you know that Fleet Overhaul makes all of the aluminum body panels for the vehicles in the fleet?

We started making our own body panels a long time ago, so we can easily get panels for repair jobs or bus overhauls.

As body, paint, and trim manager Jack McKenna explains, it’s tough for bus manufacturers to build and send you the panels themselves, since they’re either using all the panels they have to build more buses, or they’re just generally busy.

Read more »

Retired trolleys in purple and red!

Just wanted to point out another post from Jorge Luis Guevara: it shows two trolleys in purple and red paint schemes, in their new home in Mendoza, Argentina. How lovely!

And as always, here are the past posts on the retired trolleys in their new home:

First phase of the Olympic transportation plan released

Hey, the Olympic and Paralympic Transportation Team has released the first part of their integrated transportation plan this morning.

With thousands of Olympic visitors expected, the team is laying out the transportation challenges they will face, and the travel smart tips that you’ll need to get around the region okay during February 2010.

Take a look at the full press release for many of the details. Edit: The official transportation plan page is now up on the 2010 website too, with a giant PDF full of specifics.

There’s going to be a significant boost in public transit to help manage the huge crowds expected and reduce single occupancy vehicle traffic on the roads.

If you have questions or comments, send them to info@vancouver2010.com, as that’s where the Olympic Transportation team will be able to answer you.

As well, check out many of the plan’s highlights at Ken Hardie’s Twitter account – he’s our director of communications, and he’s tweeting from the press conference this morning. (Edit: The Sun and the Province have stories up now too.)

Ken is a key part of the Transportation Team and will be using Twitter to do key updates about the Olympic plan: if you’re interested, subscribe to his 2010 Transit feed, or again, his own Ken Hardie feed.

The Transportation Team is made up of VANOC, the City of Vancouver, Resort Municipality of Whistler, TransLink, BC Transit, the provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, and the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit. Planning is also supported by other partners, including Transport Canada and the municipalities of Richmond and West Vancouver.

Over the next few months, detailed planning will continue, including fine-tuning plans in the Lower Mainland and Sea to Sky corridor.

Fleet Overhaul Series, Part 1 of 6: The body shop

An articulated bus getting a mid-life overhaul down at Fleet Overhaul, the conventional bus maintenance centre down at Burnaby Transit Centre.

An articulated bus getting a mid-life overhaul down at Fleet Overhaul, the conventional bus maintenance centre down at Burnaby Transit Centre.

So, this is the first in a six-part series about Fleet Overhaul, the vehicle maintenance centre down at Burnaby Transit Centre.

Let me be frank: Fleet Overhaul is pretty much mindblowing.

A huge team of incredibly talented mechanics and tradespeople work there to keep the articulated and conventional bus fleet in good working order. The phrase “vehicle maintenance” just barely hints at what they do, which includes the following:

  • mid-life overhauls on vehicles that are eight to 10 years old (that is, they restore the whole vehicle to good as new condition, so they will last another eight to 10 years)
  • repairs to articulated and conventional buses involved in major vehicle accidents
  • totally rebuilding engines and transmissions for vehicles that have done over 800,000-900,000 km
  • programming the destination signs so they display custom messages like “Go Canucks Go”
  • constructing almost all the body parts for conventional buses in the fleet
  • warehouse storage and inventory control for all vehicle parts
  • and even more, if you can believe that

(I should mention that Fleet Overhaul only takes care of articulated and conventional buses—community shuttle repairs are done elsewhere.)

I was really lucky to go on a tour of the facility a few weeks ago, so in this series, I’ll share lots of behind-the-scenes photos and video to let you see just what they do there.

We’ll start with the body shop!

Read more »

Canada Line stations… in LEGO!

YVR Station, built in LEGO by the Vancouver LEGO Club! This model is now on display at Science World’s LEGO exhibition, Wheels, Wings and Waves—a LEGO® World of Transportation. (Photo by <a href=http://www.flickr.com/photos/tim_tosino/>Tim Tosino</a>.)

YVR Station, built in LEGO by the Vancouver LEGO Club! This model is now on display at Science World’s LEGO exhibition, Wheels, Wings and Waves—a LEGO® World of Transportation. (Photo by Tim Tosino.)

Check out Science World’s LEGO exhibition to see two Canada Line stations modeled in the famous building blocks — YVR-Airport and King Edward Stations!

These station models debuted last Saturday, Mar. 7 to expand the existing exhibition, which originally launched in January.

I’m waiting for more on the King Edward replica, but right now I can share lots of background on the YVR model.

Read more »

Retired trolleys get a new look in Argentina

A retired TransLink trolley has been painted into the colours of the Mendoza, Argentina system!

A retired TransLink trolley has been painted into the colours of the Mendoza, Argentina system!

Jorge Luis Guevara, our dear friend from the Mendoza, Argentina transit system, has posted photos of the Flyer trolleys painted in their new colours!

Check out all the photos at Trolebuses Mendocinos, Jorge’s blog about the trolley system in Mendoza. As well, make sure to watch the video in that post. It shows the the newly blue trolleys driving on the streets, and takes a good look at the updated interiors, where the seats have been reupholstered in grey. (It’s pretty!)

Again, thank you to Jorge for keeping us updated on the trolleys’ progress!

Here’s are the past posts on the retired trolleys:

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

HANDYDART

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 john.timms@coastmountainbus.com.

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 colleen_sondermann@translink.bc.ca.

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: