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Translink Buzzer Blog

TransLink ridership begins recovery

Ridership has increased by 85 per cent since early April

New figures show early signs of ridership recovery on Metro Vancouver’s transit system. Systemwide boardings last week were 85 per cent higher than the second week of April, which had the lowest ridership levels during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’m very pleased to see our customers gradually returning to the transit system,” says TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond. “We’ve worked hard to ensure our customers have confidence in transit by developing the Safe Operating Action Plan, which keeps our services as safe and reliable as possible.”

TransLink’s Safe Operating Action Plan increases cleaning and sanitizing of transit vehicles and hubs, increases service levels, creates space between customers where possible, and recommends that all customers wear a mask, if they are able to do so.

While ridership has been gradually increasing, systemwide ridership is still low compared to pre-COVID levels. Systemwide boardings are currently at around 33 per cent of the levels they were at last year.

Week Boardings Increase since early April
April 5 – April 11 1,396,000
April 12 – April 18 1,467,000 +5 per cent
April 19 – April 25 1,548,000 +11 per cent
April 26 – May 2 1,580,000 +13 per cent
May 3 – May 9 1,683,000 +21 per cent
May 10 – May 16 1,726,000 +24 per cent
May 17 – May 23 1,876,000 +34 per cent
May 24 – May 30 2,219,000 +59 per cent
May 31 – June 6 2,578,000 +85 per cent

 

Mode Boardings April 5 -11, 2020 Boardings May 31 -June 6 2020 Increase
Systemwide* 1,396,000 2,578,000 +85 per cent
Bus 903,000 1,631,000 +81 per cent
Expo-Millennium 372,000 697,000 +87 per cent
Canada Line 109,000 221,000 +103 per cent
SeaBus 10,000 23,000 +130 per cent
West Coast Express 2,000 6,000 +200 per cent
HandyDART** 4,300 6,700 +56 per cent

*Excludes HandyDART given separate measurement method
**HandyDART measured in trips rather than boardings

5 awesome places to visit on a transit daycation

The last few months have been really quiet around town. However, If you keep your ear to the streets, you can hear a few more things .

Compass taps on buses returned at the start of the month, as did the sound of the front doors opening again. On SkyTrain, you can hear the footsteps of people walking 6 feet apart, following the physical distancing decals and going through the designated fare gates. The pitter-patter of people getting on and off trains is a little louder when you give extra space to get off, and in some places, you can even hear the dispensing of hand sanitizer. That’s right, transit is healing and coming back healthier than ever, thanks to TransLink’s Safe Operating Action Plan.

With all that information, and as quarantine restriction ease up with the advancement of BC’s Restart Plan, the world feels anew with opportunities for adventure. Where you haven’t been in forever feels fresh again! So, without further ado, here are some suggestions for a transit-centric “daycation” for all of you eager to safely get around again.

In no particular order:

1. Stanley Park

How to get there: the 19 Bus

You may not be able to drive into Stanley Park just yet, but you can take the 19 bus! Visit Vancouver’s most famous park and soak in some views as you walk along the famous 28-kilometre seawall. Or, Rack and Ride and bring your bike to get around faster! Explore nearly 30 kilometres of trails or make some waves at Second Beach!

2. Gastown Steam Clock

How to get there: Expo Line or Canada Line to Waterfront Station

Just a few minutes from Waterfront Station stands the Gastown Steam Clock. It’s tall, it’s steamy and it’s usually always crowded. But if you’ve never had the chance to take that perfect picture with it for your Instagram, today may be the day. Enjoy your photoshoot and continue your stroll in Gastown or settle down and grab a bite to eat at a nearby restaurant. Be sure to avoid the construction and grab hand sanitizer at the station if you need it!

3. Lynn Canyon Park

How to get there: the 227 bus

Lynn Canyon Park has been one of Metro Vancouver’s premier picnic destinations for over a century! Open to the public since 1912, it’s also the perfect place for a fun hike or quick swim. If that’s not enough for one day, swing on over to the Lynn Canyon suspension bridge and get a thrilling view from above!

4. Tynehead Regional Park

How to get there: the 388 bus

Cross over to the other side of the river and take a nice hike in Surrey’s Tynehead Regional Park. Check out many of the different routes and if you’re not done after walking nearly 5 kilomertres, head on to the overpass and get an up-close, overhead view of Highway 1.

5. Aberdeen Centre

How to get there: Canada Line to Richmond-Brighouse Station

If being outside isn’t your thing, and you’re tired of all the online shopping – make it real at Aberdeen. The shopping centre located in the heart of Richmond is a unique and exciting fusion of East and West and has everything you need for a fun-filled day! Stop by at the 60 feet tall musical fountain and catch shows every hour!

Waterfront’s Expo Line eastern entrance to temporarily close

Beginning June 12, the eastern entrance to Waterfront’s Expo Line platform will be closed for approximately three weeks. This closure is necessary to ensure customer safety during the replacement of the escalators, which requires the use of heavy machinery.

TransLink has expedited this project while ridership remains low – this will minimize the impact to customers while delivering the project earlier than planned. Once complete, the new escalators will be more durable and reliable for customers using Waterfront Station.

During the construction period, Waterfront Station’s Expo Line platform will only be accessible from the western entrance on Howe Street. Customers seeking to transfer between the Expo Line and the Canada Line, SeaBus, or West Coast Express should plan extra travel time into their commute to walk between the Howe Street entrance and the Cordova Street mezzanine. Read more »

National AccessAbility Week: A Conversation with Erin Windross

May 31 to June 6 is the National AccessAbility Week, a week that celebrates the valuable contributions of Canadians with disabilities and recognize the efforts of individuals, communities and workplaces that are actively working to remove barriers to accessibility and inclusion.

Erin Windross is the Manager of Access Transit Planning and Service Delivery (pictured on the right). Together with his team, Erin focuses on developing innovative initiatives to make transit system as inclusive and accessible as possible. 

 

Erin Windross’ eyes light up when he talks about TransLink’s Universal Fare Gate Access Program. It’s already been more than two years since the launch of the Program, but his enthusiasm and passion are palpable. As the lead on the fare policy and eligibility policy development, he’s always delighted to hear how useful customers have found the Program and how it has allowed them to travel more independently.

“One of our goals at Access Transit – and ultimately one of the overall goals at TransLink – we want our customers to be as independent and self-sufficient as possible, to allow them to travel without needing to ask for assistance,” explains Erin. “We all share in wanting to make the system better for customers.”

After three years of working at TransLink, Erin feels like he’s hit a career sweet spot. Professionally, his interests in mobility and regional planning led him to a job at TransLink. But it was his dedication to equity and inclusion that made him a natural fit on the Access Transit team.

“I want to make sure people and communities are given the same access to services and we’re not overlooking anyone,” adds Erin. “I grew up with disability. I have two siblings who have fairly profound disabilities, so it’s always been a part of my life. It’s a great mix being able to combine my educational and personal background with my professional interests.”

In his current role as Manager of Access Transit Planning and Service Delivery, Erin’s work focuses on two key areas: delivering the recommendations set out in TransLink’s Custom Transit Service Delivery Review and developing forward-thinking initiatives that can make HandyDART better for our customers.

His team is committed to creating a transit system that is as inclusive and accessible as possible: “That to me is really at the core of what we do at Access Transit. We enable self-autonomy – for seniors who might feel isolated or for people with disabilities. We want to make sure that regardless of ability, people are able to go out, do the things they want with ease, access the places and communities they need, and live as fully realized human beings.”

One project that is keeping Erin busy is a new pilot program that is testing smaller HandyDART vehicles: “Our larger shuttle vehicles have some issues in terms of navigating through narrower, urban areas, so we’re currently collecting operator and customer feedback on smaller vehicles. We’re looking at whether any adjustments are required to right-size the vehicles for our service needs and make it better for both customers and operators while entering and exiting.”

The team is also exploring additional programs and platforms that will provide an easier, more convenient and more seamless travel experience for HandyDART customers across Metro Vancouver. Erin points out that with a smaller customer base, Access Transit can focus on fostering a more personalized, impactful service:

“HandyDART plays an integral role in many people’s lives. It’s a very personal experience we bring to the transit system. Operators are very involved in our customers’ lives. They meet them at their door, escort them to the vehicle, have conversations with them – it’s this level of personal outreach that really sets us apart from the rest of the organization.”

If you’d like to learn more about the accessibility programs and initiatives at TransLink that are making transit easy to use for as many people as possible, visit Accessible Transit.

Written by Rebecca Abel

Join us for TransLink’s Annual General Meeting and Open Board Meeting on June 18, 2020

Join us for our virtual Annual General Meeting on Thursday, June 18 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

You’ll hear from TransLink Board Chair Tony Gugliotta and CEO Kevin Desmond about TransLink’s vision for the future as BC’s economy restarts. Questions from the public for the Board of Directors and CEO may be submitted during the meeting through an interactive, online Q&A platform.

How to join the Annual General Meeting:

Our June Open Board Meeting will follow after a brief break. You can apply to speak as a public delegate by visiting our Board Meeting page.

How to join the Open Board Meeting:

If you’re unable to attend, you can watch recordings of both meetings on our YouTube channel following the event: youtube.com/TransLink

We look forward to seeing you then.

National AccessAbility Week: A Conversation with Tamara Tedesco

May 31 to June 6 is the National AccessAbility Week, a week that celebrates the valuable contributions of Canadians with disabilities and recognize the efforts of individuals, communities and workplaces that are actively working to remove barriers to accessibility and inclusion.

Tamera Tedesco helps with the Access Transit Users’ Advisory Committee and a lot more to do with accessibility and transportation.

Although Tamara Tedesco jokes that the reason she’s stuck around TransLink for so long is for the five-year anniversary pin, it’s immediately clear that it’s the impact of her team’s work in Access Transit Planning that gets her out of bed and into work each morning.

“Because our transit system covers such a vast geographic area, we service a wide range of people. I think that’s something really wonderful about public transit – all different types of people rely on it,” says Tamara. “Our aim in Access Transit is to enhance the accessibility across the system and make transit inclusive to as many customers as possible.”

Tamara has been blind since birth, so public transit has played an important role throughout her life. Growing up in a small town on Vancouver Island, she always knew she’d end up in a bigger city one day. A few years after graduating, she packed up and relocated to Vancouver:

“I’ve always been unwaveringly independent. As a young teenager, I recognized that I couldn’t ask my parents to drive me everywhere. I think sometimes we can forget that there are all kinds of reasons that younger people are unable to drive. If you can’t see, that’s a big one. Having a way to get around independently has such a big impact on the quality of life, so it was important to me to find a place to live that was as accessible as it could be.”

Now, in her role as AccessTransit Coordinator, she is able to witness how the freedom of movement benefits other transit customers as well: “it means a lot to me that I’m able to help people and work towards making transit a really valuable and important aspect of their lives as well.”

Tamara’s job involves administrating the Access Transit Users’ Advisory Committee and the HandyDART Users’ Advisory Committee, coordinating their meetings, managing communications with committee members and recruitment. She also helps with the development of accessibility policies and advises departments across the TransLink enterprise on accessibility-related initiatives.

With this work comes unique challenges. As Tamara explains, “accessibility means very different things for different people depending on what their needs are. It’s always a juggling act trying to prioritize projects and determine where the biggest opportunities for improvement are. We really want to improve accessibility for as many customers as possible.”

One barrier that the team frequently confronts is trying to find a balanced solution when customers, especially customers with disabilities, have not only different needs, but often completely opposite and competing needs.

For those interested in promoting accessibility awareness, Tamara suggests a couple of ways that customers can provide feedback and get involved at TransLink:

“One way to submit feedback is through our regular channels – online or by phone. Any feedback or questions for Access Transit Planning gets sent to me. For those who are passionate about making sure accessibility issues are always considered and have a lot of transit experience, we usually have 3-5 openings for new members on the Access Transit Users’ Advisory Committee each year. Whether they are someone with a disability or represent someone with a disability, it’s a great way to be connected to the work we do. Recruitment opens in early August and ends in mid-September. Application information can be found on the Access Transit Users’ Advisory Committee page.”

For those of us at TransLink, we’re grateful for Tamara’s compassion, enthusiasm and commitment to earning that five-year anniversary pin. 😉

Written by Rebecca Abel

The print Buzzer turns 104 years old!

🎉The print Buzzer is turning 104 today🎉

The Buzzer turning 104

The first publication of the Buzzer was released on June 2, 1916.

Throughout the years, the print Buzzer has informed generations of readers about exciting transit news and developments in Metro Vancouver.

From the opening of the Patullo Bridge in 1937 and the launch of trolley buses 11 years later to the launch of the Expo Line in 1986, our readers were updated and entertained one fold at the time!

The first print Buzzer was published on June 2, 1916, and was originally distributed on the hydro-electric streetcars that made up public transportation in Vancouver. The publication was launched to help streetcars compete with jitneys, private citizens who patrolled streetcar routes and offered rides for five cents. By informing the riders about public transport, the hope was that people would be more encouraged to use the streetcars.

streetcar in early 1920s -1940s

Two-car streetcar “trains” ran on main Vancouver routes from 1927 to the late 1940s

An interesting fact – the first publication did not have a name! It was the riders of trams and streetcars, who coined the name by endearingly referring to the publication “our dear Buzzer”.

As one of the oldest publications in the province, the Buzzer has changed companies, themes, mastheads and editors. Its goal of the publication always stayed the same however- to deliver informative and fun transit and community related tidbits to our riders.

old versions of the Buzzer since 1910s

How the Buzzer changed since 1910s

 

Are you interested to see how the Buzzer looked like back in the day? Check out our comprehensive archive that dates back to the early 1900s. You’ll also want to checkout our 100th birthday edition of the Buzzer for a great look at how transportation and the publication has changed over the years.

As we’re facing challenges due to COVID-19 we’re looking into the future for the print Buzzer. We’d love to know you thoughts. What do you like/dislike about print Buzzer and are there changes you’d make to it? Leave a comments and tell us what you think!

National AccessAbility Week – Pamela Findling on her personal experience and things we can do about accessibility during COVID-19

 

Pamela Findling performing at the comedy show

Pamela performing at the stand-up comedy show. She often shares her personal experience of being hearing impaired in her performances.

May 31 to June 6 is the National AccessAbility Week, a week that celebrates the valuable contributions of Canadians with disabilities and recognize the efforts of individuals, communities and workplaces that are actively working to remove barriers to accessibility and inclusion.

Pamela Findling, the Director of Training, Health, and Wellness at BCRTC shares her personal experience with us and talks about things we can do about accessibility in the era of  COVID-19.

What does accessibility mean to you personally?

Pamela – I’ve been hearing impaired since I was little. Then, as an adult, I went profoundly deaf and received a cochlear implant six months later. With my implant, I hear and get by really well and people often know me for awhile before they realize I’m hearing impaired. It’s a daily effort though, and it takes work for me to make sense of the sounds I’m hearing.

For me personally, accessibility is about being able to be independent and not having to rely on others.

Part of that is also feeling safe and supported when I do need to ask for help or changes to participate as fully as possible. I recognize that people and organizations often don’t realize the impacts of their design or implementation decisions on people with disabilities, which is why I really appreciate the ones that take the time to ask questions and make adjustments as they learn more.

To me, accessibility is also about having options available and recognizing that there’s no one-size-fits all. What I need as a deaf person with a cochlear implant could be much different than what another deaf person with a cochlear implant needs.

 

What are some small things you do in your day to make everything work for you in terms of accessibility?

Pamela – So much that I don’t even realize anymore!

I don’t hear anything out of my left ear, so in meetings and groups I sit with my right ear towards the most people. I also make sure that I can see people’s faces, since I read lips a lot.

It’s actually much easier for me to follow meeting on Skype and Zoom  – I’m happy to see they’re being used more than conference calls now! The Bluetooth on my phone gives me a direct link to my implant and blocks out background noise, so I use that instead of the computer audio whenever I can.

As to other everyday activities, I use the Next Stop signs on the buses, closed captioning on TV and at the movies. I Google lyrics for new songs, turn off music and loud fans when I’m talking to people, ask strangers to repeat intercom announcements for me, and sometimes, when the noise is too much, I turn off my cochlear implant processor to have some quiet. I also ask people to repeat themselves, or to switch seats—people are always happy to help, but it’s important that I speak up.

How do your personal experiences inform your professional interests and work?

Pamela – Losing my hearing shaped so much of who I am, and I’ve always been interested in what other people’s stories are and sharing those stories. I was in communications for a lot of years. I like writing and visual elements because it’s something I’ve personally always been able to count on to stay connected to people. Now I lead the Training and Occupational Health teams, which is meaningful for me personally.

When I went profoundly deaf and was waiting for my cochlear implant, I was working as a co-op student in a new city, with no family there. I was devastated and planned to quit my job and move home, but my manager said “No. I’m not going to let you do that. You still have a lot you can do.” He set me up with the Occupational Health Nurse and she was amazing to help us figure out how I could complete my work term and contribute meaningfully.

That support and being able to keep working was so important for my mental health and recovery, and I’m still so grateful for it. Because I know how much that meant to me, I really value the work of Training and Occupational Health teams. I know they can literally save lives.

 

The pandemic has posed new challenges for our communities, potentially aggravating some of the existing accessibility barriers. How can we work together to create more accessible and inclusive working environments during these uncertain times?

Pamela – A prime example of this that people might not think of: I haven’t figured out how I’m going to navigate a mask-filled world yet where I can’t read lips!

I think the biggest thing is to ask questions and be aware that people have struggles and barriers that we don’t know about. I’m always happy to answer questions from people about my hearing, because it helps them better understand me and how we can best work together.

Be kind and patient. Know that we’re not always going to get it right at first, but be open to learning how we can do better. Don’t make assumptions: something that worked well six months ago might not work now because things have changed and could have a bigger impact than we realize (like masks!). And we need to advocate for ourselves and be honest about what we need.

Go By Bike Week: mapping your route and the “slow” streets movement

Cyclists on Hornby Street in Vancouver

While transit ridership is down in most cities around the globe you might have noticed more people out walking, cycling and breathing in the fresh air!

In the latest in our series to support HUB Cycling’s Go By Bike Week, we take a look some of the changes to streets happening locally and around the world, as well as some trip planning tools and recommended routes to make sure you can get around Metro Vancouver actively and safely.

Is it me or have I been seeing lots of people out walking and cycling?

It’s not just you! While active commuting trips and commuting trips of all types have decreased during the pandemic, recreational cycling trips are up significantly in cities like Vancouver (an 85 per cent increase during March).

Similar increases have been seen across the globe — in Beijing, New York and London — as people look to stay active, commute to work were needed, and take important mental health and physical activity breaks.

Parks in B.C. have witnessed a 62 per cent increase in visitations in May while in the Lower Mainland, Metro Vancouver parks are seeing similar activity with a 67 per cent increase to the end of April 2020.

What’s happening to streets around Metro Vancouver and the globe?

Now you might have been hearing terms like “COVID streets,” “summer streets” or “slow streets.” Local, federal and global physical distancing regulations have sparked conversation around reallocating more road, park and sidewalk space for people to walk, cycle, roll, sit and queue safely. With traffic decreasing during the pandemic, that’s meant cities around the world have moved to turn car lanes into active transportation lanes.

Cities such as Vancouver (50km of slow streets), Oakland, California (119km of slow streets), Portland, Oregon (slow/safe streets at 160 locations), Milan (35km of Strade Aperte [open roads]) and Paris (50km converted bike streets and 30 pedestrianized streets) have reacted rapidly to re-allocate space for cars, to people.

Locally, the City of Vancouver has launched its Room to Move, Room to Queue and Room to Load initiative, installing new routes that prioritize walking, cycling and rolling to make it easier for people to exercise and access businesses in their local neighbourhood.

The city has closed the eastbound lanes on Beach Avenue to all vehicles from Stanley Park to Hornby Street, as well as closing Stanley Park to all vehicles (excluding the Stanley Park Causeway/Highway 99).

To find out more about these developing changes visit the city’s temporary road closures and changes during COVID-19 page, have a read of their FAQs on Slow Streets, or email the city directly: slowstreets@vancouver.ca

What are some things to keep in mind when planning my bike trip?

TransLink recommends using routes with dedicated cycling infrastructure separated from motor vehicles, such as bike lanes, as much as possible. To map out your cycling route, there are a few tools we recommend.

1. Visit TransLink’s Cycling Maps page to view several major TransLink-funded cycleways running parallel to SkyTrain routes.

2. Use Google Maps for trip planning and the estimated time it will take you, but please be mindful, particularly beginner cyclists, that Google Maps does not always recommend the safest cycling routes or take new and existing protected infrastructure into account. If you want to make sure you’re accessing cycling routes for all ages and abilities, please check out these other trip planning platforms:

3. Vancouver Bike Route Planner allows you to filter for “bike routes” and “safer” bike routes as well as a full list of SkyTrain stations, Mobi Bike Share stations and elevation gains.

4. Bikemaps.org is a useful mapping tool that also allows you to filter through new cycling infrastructure, collisions reports, hazards and bike thefts.

5. Bike Citizens Vancouver Did you know that nearly half of all trips under 5 km in Metro Vancouver are made by car? Many of these trips for groceries, prescriptions, and other essentials can easily be done by bicycle. In fact, running errands by bike for trips of this distance is often faster and more convenient than driving. Bicycles are one of the most efficient forms of transport so if you want to SEE how far you can go on a city bike, road bike or mountain bike over 5, 10, 15, and 30-minute increments, check out this handy mapping tool. You might be surprised!

What are other cities in Metro Vancouver doing to open streets?

For a full list of temporary streets changes during COVID please visit your municipality’s website for the most recent updates. In the meantime, here are a few that have been confirmed in the Lower Mainland:

New Westminster

  • McInnes Overpass – Closed the northbound vehicle lane to vehicles, opening it to pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Sixth Avenue – reallocated some curbside parking spaces on Sixth Street (near Sixth Avenue) to a place where pedestrians can wait for the traffic lights to change and pass one another on the sidewalk.
  • Central Valley GW – Closing a southbound curb lane on East Columbia Street / North Rd north of Hume Park to motor vehicles to improve conditions for people walking and cycling along the Central Valley Greenway.

City of North Vancouver

  • Grand Boulevard – Converted road space west between Keith and 19th and Grand Boulevard between 19th and 23rd (these routes are also appropriate for commuting traffic to and from Lynn valley to central Lonsdale).
  • Proposed – All local neighbourhood routes with low traffic volumes (St Andrews, 17th, 4th, 27th and Sutherland)
    • Esplanade, Lonsdale with focus at the intersections of 13th, 15th, 17th streets.
    • Existing bike routes that do not facilitate passing with physical distance without taking the vehicle travel lane: 3rd and 15th streets, 1st/2nd Street west of 3rd, East and West Keith, 13th Street.

Maple Ridge

  • Proposed
    • 123 St Avenue between 203 St to Laity St
    • 227 St between Brown Avenue and Abernethy Way

Port Moody

  • Recommended Routes
    • Neighbourhood bike routes: George Street, Glenayre Drive, Glencoe Drive, Ailsa Drive, College Park Way, Washington, Princeton Ave, Harvard Drive, as well as the Shoreline Trail (some portions are one way only).

Richmond

  • Bayview Street – Established temporary walkway in Steveston Village along the south side of (No. 1 Road-Third Avenue) that provides additional space for safe distancing.
  • Garry Point Park – Implemented one-way walking routes in Garry Point Park in
  • Other recommended routes – Railway Greenway, Railway Ave (Granville Ave-Moncton St), Crabapple Ridge Neighbourhood Bike Route, Granville Ave (Railway Ave-Garden City Road), Parkside Neighbourhood Bike Route, Shell Road Trail (Hwy 99 Overpass-Steveston Hwy)
  • Perimeter Dyke Trails: South Dyke, West Dyke, Middle Arm

Surrey

  • Proposed
    • Surrey reports a 40% decrease in traffic volumes and is exploring 7-8 ‘recreational’ cycling routes around the city to connect to civic facilities, parks and close roads around parks to create loops.

UBC

  • Proposed
    • North West Marine Drive

City of Vancouver

  • Stanley Park – close to cars (some exceptions apply)
  • Beach Avenue – Eastbound lane closed to vehicles on Beach Ave (including Park Lane) from Stanley Park to Hornby St.
  • From May 22, Vancouver is added a further 12km of Slow Streets. Visit the website for more information.

Author: James Ranson

Knight Street Bridge is ready to support the restart of BC’s economy

Cars and trucks crossing the Knight Street Bridge

We are excited to announce that the Knight Street Bridge’s Rehabilitation Project is now complete and the bridge is ready to support the restart of BC’s economy.

Bridges play a vital role in the movement of goods and people in our region. The movement of goods includes anything from the shipment of produce to local grocery stores and food to your doorsteps to components and materials required to manufacture finished products, such as plexiglass partitions and protective barriers.

Together with various modes like roads, waterways, rail facilities and air and sea ports, bridges form an intricate network that enables us to access essential goods and services so that we can carry on with our day-to-day lives.

The Knight Street Bridge (2020)

Everyday about 100,000 vehicles cross the Knight Street Bridge, the second busiest bridge in the Lower Mainland. The bridge acts as the main corridor from Downtown Vancouver terminals to industry in North and South Richmond North as well as the Tilbury Industrial area out to Delta Port. Many of these are trucks support the goods movement in/between the region and the rest of Canada/US.

On the regular days, you are most likely to encounter various trucks delivering containers from the ports in Vancouver, Seattle and Tacoma to destinations in British Columbia, Alberta, Yukon Territory as well as Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. Even during the pandemic, the bridge continues to play an essential role in the movement of goods.

The Knight Street Bridge was opened on January 15, 1974. To ensure safe and efficient operations for all bridge users, we conduct significant rehabilitation work of this nature approximately once every ten to 15 years, in addition to ongoing maintenance, as a part of TransLink Maintenance and Repair Program. This work also safeguards the bridge from the effects of climate change and allows for seismic preparedness and resilience.

The 2020 Knight Street Bridge Rehabilitation Project commenced in January and was conducted overnight from 10 p.m and 5 p.m to minimize the impact on bridge users. The work included:

    • Concrete pier repairs, bearing and expansion joint replacement
    • Replacement of signage, including warning signs, regulatory signs and pedestrian crosswalks signs
    • Lighting upgrades for better visibility and energy efficiency
    • Replacement of crash cushions (impact attenuators)

We have recently successfully completed the upgrades on time, just as the province announced the plan for easing COVID-19 restrictions. The Knight Street Bridge is refreshed and ready to support the gradual restart of our economy. Learn more about TransLink’s role in Metro Vancouver’s goods movement by checking out Regional Goods Movement Strategy.

A sneak peek at the redesigned bus transfers for community shuttle buses

The new bus transfer customers will receive on community shuttle buses starting on June 1.

Starting Monday, June 1, fare collection and front-door boarding resumes on all buses, and seating restrictions will be eased. Customers who ride a bus route that’s operated by a community shuttle will also see a redesigned bus transfer if they’re paying by cash.

What’s new?

  • New transfers use a colour and icon system to show the day the transfer can be used. Our old transfers printed each date on the ticket.
  • There are five colours and five symbols that will alternate each day.
  • They are also reusable. Using symbols instead of dates allows us to reuse transfers that aren’t distributed each day, reducing waste across the system.

What’s the same?

They’ll work just like the current paper transfers on community shuttle buses.

Operators will provide customers who pay their fare with coins, bills or FareSavers, with a new transfer tickets that’s cut to indicate a time 90 minutes in the future. The ticket then becomes a “flash pass” for transfers to other shuttles and regular, conventional buses. That means you won’t need to insert the transfer into the farebox — just show it to the operator. As usual, please have an exact fare.

Just like before, customers who are planning to transfer to SkyTrain, West Coast Express or the SeaBus should consider using a Compass Card or Tap to Pay with a contactless credit card as the paper bus transfers don’t open the faregates. As well, a reminder if you’re paying by cash, we recommend you keep paying with exact change as the fare boxes don’t dispense it.

The current bus transfers issued on community shuttle buses.

Why the change?

While we continue to replace and expand our fleet, we needed a solution for our end-of-life fareboxes.

Last year, we transitioned our Community Shuttle fleet to “mechanical” fareboxes. In July, the same fareboxes will start appearing on our regular, conventional buses too, replacing the “electronic” fareboxes. Soon, our whole fleet will be rocking this back-to-the-future-style machine.

The paper transfers we currently use on our Community Shuttle fleet won’t work with our conventional fleet, so, we developed a new paper transfer ticket compatible with both fleets (pictured right/above).

The bus transfers from the 1990s before the switch to the “magnetic strip” transfers in 2001.

COVID-19 transit safety tip

Customers are reminded to consider travelling outside of busy times if they can and to stay home when unwell. We’re recommending customers to wear a face covering when riding transit. Non-medical masks, bandanas, scarves and cloth can all be used. Please maintain physical distance from other passengers and transit staff when possible and follow our physical distancing markers where outlined. To reduce the risks caused by the pandemic, we installed new temporary barriers on our bus fleet. There will be a slot in the barrier for our operators to safely hand cash paying customers their paper transfer.

Fare collection and front-door boarding to resume, bus seating restrictions eased

On Monday, June 1, Coast Mountain Bus Company (CMBC) will resume fare collection and front-door boarding on buses throughout the region. Bus seating restrictions will also be eased, and buses will be able to accommodate approximately two-thirds capacity before being deemed full.

The increase in passenger capacity on buses will allow CMBC to accommodate the growing number of customers who are returning to the transit system, in alignment with British Columbia’s Restart Plan. CMBC has restored bus schedules to what they were before the COVID-19 pandemic to add as much capacity as possible. However, with bus ridership increasing by more than 30% over the past month, demand cannot be met with the current seating arrangements.

These necessary steps are being taken following the installation of temporary plexiglass extension barriers or vinyl barriers on all buses to protect transit operators.

Physical distancing will not always be possible on transit and that’s why TransLink is encouraging customers to take the following steps to protect themselves and their fellow passengers:

  • Do not take transit when sick.
  • Travel at off-peak times whenever possible.
  • Wear a non-medical mask or face covering while waiting for or taking transit if you’re able to do so.
  • Use bus seating when possible so operators can best estimate the number of customers on board.
  • Allow more time for your commute.

As part of the Safe Operating Action Plan announced last week, CMBC has doubled bus disinfecting sprays to twice per week in addition to daily cleaning schedules. Customers will also notice changes at transit hubs designed to create space where possible, including installing two-metre spaced decals at some bus stops and station entranceways to help guide customers.

Go by Bike Week: what do you need to know about buying an e-bike

Electric bikes have never been more popular than they are now! Interest is e-bikes is booming and for good reason.

More people of different backgrounds and ages and abilities are finding that e-bikes are helping them stay mobile. Whether that’s seniors or people who find conventional biking difficult or impossible or others who just like the technology and don’t mind a little help getting up that last hill.

E-bikes are fun to ride, help to erase hills in our hilly region and can extend the range that the average rider would have considered. Not to mention they’re good for hauling stuff!

The technology has improved by leaps and bounds, improving the quality of manufacturing and bringing the price of entry level e-bikes down to around $2,000 — about one-quarter the annual cost of owning a car.

The diversity of options has rapidly increased, and you’ll find electric options for nearly every flavour of bike – commuter, beach cruiser, folding and cargo bike.

“Electric bicycle” search popularity on Google Trends

What are the electric bike trends for 2020?

Watch this video find how the technology has evolved and what some of the hottest trends are.

What are some of the things you’ll need to keep in mind when you buy an e-bike?

Motor type: the biggest decision you’ll have to make is whether to purchase an electric bike with a hub motor or a mid-drive (or crank) motor. Hub motors sit in the middle of either your front or rear wheel. Mid-drive motors are housed between your pedals on the frame of your bike. Which is better is subject to an ongoing debate as both motor types have distinct pros and cons. To learn more, check out this video by Blue Monkey Bicycles or these motor guides from Bicycling.com, Canberra Electric Bicycles or Electric Bike Report.

Range: how far your battery will last depends on a number of variables, not the least of which are the specs of your e-bike. If you’re hauling cement blocks on a heavy cargo bike, uphill, against the wind, on gravel, in a rainstorm, your battery isn’t likely to last very long. And are you even pedalling? Many e-bikes come with throttle assist, which means no pedalling, but will drain your battery in a flash. To learn more about what affects e-bike range, check out this article by Really Good Ebikes or try your hand at Bosch’s slick range calculator for its mid-drive motors.

Weight: electric bikes come in a diversity of options, with some just a bit heavier than a conventional bike, with others weighing significantly more. When choosing an e-bike, it’s important to consider weight not only for riding, but also for other transport options. If you’re going to use a TransLink bus bike rack, keep in mind there is a 25 kg (55 lb) weight limit – and the battery should be removed. Other carriers also have weight and battery restrictions, including many common bike racks for automobiles, that you’ll want to keep in mind.

With the higher sticker price of e-bikes (hint, check your HUB member benefits for discounts to save a few bucks), always ensure you have access to secure storage. Buy the best lock you can afford (see lock reviews at bikeradar, GearLab, and Wirecutter), and register your bike for free at 529 Garage. Importantly, insurance options for e-bikes are available.

Just get out and try a ride! While buying an e-bike can seem complicated at first with all the technical options, you’ll get a feel for what works through test rides. Just have a clear understanding of how you’ll use the bike, what trade-off you’re willing to make and you’ll be zipping up hills in no time.

Can I convert my conventional bike to an electric?

Yes you can! Two local, popular vendors for conversion kits include EbikeBC and Grin Technologies. There’s also many more vendors online and an extensive DIY community. Just keep in mind that electric bike parts are often expensive and proprietary. Warranty, service, and repair should be top of mind for any purchase – and that goes for buying a used e-bike.

More resources

Reviews: Electric Bike Review has an in-depth guides and videos. Bicycling.com and BikeRadar also offer reviews on a variety of e-bikes.

Buying guides: REI has all the basics on how to choose an electric bike. And electrek’s guide is worth checking out since it’s aimed at first-time purchasers.

Where can I buy an electric bike in Metro Vancouver? Many of your favourite bike retailers will offer electric options alongside conventional models, but there are a retailers that specialize in electric bicycles:

Go By Bike Week: where to start when buying a bike

Bike sales are booming in Metro Vancouver. It’s no surprise.

“[People] need to get out of the house, they need to do something,” John Fialkowski, manager at Bicycle Sports Pacific, is quoted saying in a CBC article. “All of the gyms are closed, they can’t do their normal workout so people are rediscovering cycling.”

His store is among the Metro Vancouver bike shops experiencing daily lineups outside their doors before they open. Visit HUB Cycling’s website to find a bike shop near you that’s open.

What kind of bike should I buy?

The diversity of different bike options has exploded in different years as interest in the transportation mode has increased.

Whether you’re a first-time rider or an experienced bike user, whether you have short or long commutes, whether you want to cruise the beach, get to work, or haul groceries or your kids – there’s an option for you.

This is the most important question you need to consider. Among the types of bikes are are city, hybrid, road, step-through and folding bikes:

Types of bicycles (Photo: City of Boston)

The answer on what you’ll need will be driven by your travel needs and preferences.

How often and where will you be cycling – hills, paved roads or gravel? Do you value performance or comfort? Do aesthetics matter? Will you be cycling long distances, and/or carrying anything? What kind of weather will you be travelling in? What’s your budget?

The answers to these questions will inform the type of bike that will work best for you.

When it comes to bikes, we often must make trade-offs because there is no such thing as the perfect bike for every occasion.

For example, a bike you’d use to just commute to the office would probably look different from a bicycle you’d only use for long-distance and fast spins to Iona Beach. Although there are multipurpose bikes that are good for everything, but not great at anything.

Some good resources to consult include:

  • Bicycle Planet’s The Five Types of Bikes video
  • City of Boston’s Choose a Bike guide
  • MEC’s How to Buy a Bike page

Some other things to pay attention to:

  • Brakes: light and cheap or high-performance, read about brakes at MEC
  • Budget: while some bikes are quite expensive, for most people a few hundred dollars will be all you need. It’s important to weigh the costs of buying and maintaining a bicycle against car ownership, which averages about $10,000 per year per vehicle.
  • Thinking about buying a strictly commuter bike? See this video by Pure Cycles, which outlines the basics.
  • Thinking about buying a cargo bike? Sales of cargo bikes are increasing as more people and households replace their family cars with these stuff-hauling two-wheelers. Check out Momentum Magazine for cargo bike tips, reviews and buying guides.
  • Thinking about buying an electric bike? Electric Bike Review has great guides and videos. REI has all the basics on how to choose an electric bike.

Buying a bike doesn’t need to be expensive

Consider a used bike: Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, or places that sell pre-loved bikes like Our Community Bikes. Always ensure the bike you’re considering purchasing isn’t stolen by checking 529 Garage. For more information, Average Joe Cyclist has a complete guide on how to buy a used bike on Craigslist.

How should you check out a used bike prior to purchasing? For inspection tips, watch this Global Cycling Network video, read this article by Total Women’s Cycling, or use this checklist submitted by a Reddit user.

What about accessories?

Buying a bike is more than just picking up a bicycle, you’re also going to need to accessorize with essentials. Check out HUB’s Commuter Bike Shopping List to identify all the accessories you may need.

Perhaps the single most important accessory out there – a good u-lock! Prepare to shell out at least $50 if not $100 (or more) for peace of mind. Confused about which lock to buy? Check out these pages, which have scientifically tested dozens of locks on the market: bikeradarGearLab, and Wirecutter.

More low-floor community shuttles rolled out

49 new, low-floor community shuttles are now in service!

Exciting news for customers who take the bus on routes that are operated with community shuttles! Our roll out of 49 new “low floor” community shuttles, which began last October, is now complete. This means more customers will benefit from a sloped ramp — instead of stairs — making it easier for all our passengers to board the bus.

What’s new?

  • Low-floor access through the front door using a deployable ramp (no more stairs!)
  • Winch (electric motor with a cable/rope/strap) to help operators guide customers who are using mobility devices into the bus, if necessary
  • Initial field-testing surveys suggest these shuttles are quieter and vibrate less than their predecessors, leading to an improved customer experience
  • New shuttles are ~305mm from the ground while older shuttles (2014 Eldorado’s) are close to 1 foot higher at ~323mm from the ground
  • Higher ceilings in the new shuttles (2.16m in the front, 2.01m in the rear) compared to approximately 1.94m in the front and rear of the Eldorado’s
  • A redesigned interior layout which allows for easier access for mobility customers to enter and move around the shuttle
  • A dedicated HVAC unit (combined heating and air conditioning) which runs quieter and is more powerful than anything currently installed on any CMBC Community Shuttle
  • Larger windows and upgraded emergency exits
  • Improved seat covers that are more comfortable and easier to clean (identical to conventional buses)
  • Interior and exterior LED lights
  • A Vortec 6.0-litre fuel efficient, low-emission gas engine

TransLink first tested out low-floor community shuttles in 2017 when West Vancouver Blue Bus piloted five of them on North Shore routes, including the former C12 Lions Bay/Caulfield and the 251 Queens/Park Royal. After receiving positive feedback from customers, as well as the operations and maintenance teams at Coast Mountain Bus Company, we decided to expand our community shuttle fleet to include more low-floor community shuttles.

Forty-five of the new shuttles are based at Hamilton Transit Centre bus depot and are replacements for buses that have reached end-of-life. Four shuttles from the new order will also be going to West Vancouver Blue Bus, completing their full transition to low-floor shuttles.

COVID-19 transit safety tip

Customers are reminded to consider travelling outside of busy times if they can and to stay home when unwell. We’re recommending customers to wear a face covering when riding transit. Non-medical masks, bandanas, scarves and cloth can all be used. Please maintain physical distance from other passengers and transit staff when possible and follow our physical distancing markers where outlined.