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Transit service to the Celebration of Light: July 21, 24, 28 and 31

The annual Celebration of Light fireworks display will be held in downtown Vancouver on July 21, 24, 28, and 31!

As usual, we’ll be boosting service to carry thousands of people to the event, and there will be some bus reroutes to accommodate the related West End road closures.

Have a look below for the full transit service details, including some special service notes and cycling info!

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I Love Transit Week 2010: Marian S on 13 years of transit riding

A sunrise over the SkyTrain in New Westminster.

It’s I Love Transit Week from July 12-16 — because even though there’s things we don’t like about transit, there’s much we do like! All week I’ll be sharing essays, stories, and more to celebrate transit. Come to I Love Transit Night on Thursday July 15 too – full details here!

Right after the June Buzzer hit the stands, the following e-mail was sent in by Marion S from New Westminster.

My name is Marian, and since 1997 I have lived in New Westminster, BC, since migrating to Canada with my husband Noel and our 3 children.

I have been riding the SkyTrain ever since 1997, nearly 13 years, mainly to get to work & back. My family of 5 also takes the SkyTrain & buses for their daily commute. On the second occasion of I Love Transit Week, I would like to offer my comments on SkyTrain & TransLink in general.

I must say “Congratulations” to all TransLink staff & all involved in the smooth everyday transit all around BC. I think it is the surest, fastest way to commute safely & comfortably. Transit Police and staff are quick to respond when any issue arise. They efficiently deal with the issue in question & transit keeps moving on as if nothing happened. SkyTrain delays do occur for various reasons, but they are quite rare. Bus drivers are very considerate, kind & patient with passengers, especially the elderly, always waiting until they have been safely seated.

I would recommend the SkyTrain to anyone as opposed to using their car. It is the best, green, quick & fairly comfortable way to travel. Any improvements on timing, convenient routes etc. are most welcome.

Hip, Hip, Hurrah for TransLink – Keep up the good work – we are proud of you!!

Thanks so much for the kind words, Marian!

For everyone else out there: how long have you been riding transit? How has the system served you over the years?

The host command centre: supporting our transit hosts out on the street

The host command centre at Commercial-Broadway Station

The host command centre at Commercial-Broadway Station

The door to the host command centre in Commercial-Broadway Station.

The door to the host command centre in Commercial-Broadway Station.

Tucked away in a tiny room at Commercial-Broadway Station is our host command centre!

The host command centre is our central support system for our 200 transit hosts. They are the brain trust that organizes shifts and keeps everyone informed about key issues happening during the day.

From the other end, our transit hosts can also call the centre if they need help with anything—whether that’s information or to get in touch with the authorities or more. And they also keep the host command centre informed about what they’re seeing on the street.

I visited them this week to see how things were going, and learn a bit more about what they do!

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Lonsdale Quay bus loop & SeaBus service currently suspended due to police incident

Update, 6:13 p.m.
The incident below has been resolved!
SeaBus is now back in service — please expect a few delays while crowds are cleared.
The Lonsdale Quay area is also reopening.

There’s currently a police incident going on at the Lonsdale Quay bus loop. Service at the loop is currently suspended and so is SeaBus service.

So please don’t go to Waterfront SeaBus terminal or Lonsdale Quay SeaBus terminal since SeaBus is currently not running!

Alternate bus service has been set up to get people between Lonsdale Quay and Waterfront (we call this a “bus bridge”). Passengers leaving Waterfront Station (northbound) can board buses on Cordova Street outside of Waterfront. Those leaving Lonsdale Quay southbound are being directed to buses on Esplanade at the foot of Lonsdale, which are taking people to Waterfront.

Please note that SkyTrain and West Coast Express service are NOT affected by this disruption — only SeaBus and the buses at the loop on Lonsdale Quay. Police are saying it will take 1-2h to clear the area (that was reported at 4:30 p.m.)

Please follow our TransLink Twitter account for regular updates on service, or any of our other web and mobile resources for real-time transit info.

Olympic travel tips: a guide to recognizing your transit staff

For those who might be in our region for the first time during the Olympics, here’s a short series of tips to help you get on your way. (If you do know this stuff already, please pass it along to those who might find this useful!)

So far in the Olympic tips series: info on tickets, bike info, Park and Rides, a guide to transit staff, where to find real-time transit info online, and transit etiquette. Let me know if I should add anymore!

Here’s a short guide to recognizing our transit staff, just in case you need help when you’re out on the system.

We have a number of different transit services—buses, SkyTrain, SeaBus, West Coast Express—and staff for each service have different jobs and uniforms. Hopefully this guide will help you find a transit staff member, plus show you a little about what they do.

SkyTrain Attendants (STAs) and Canada Line Attendants (CLAs)

SkyTrain attendants wear a blue jacket or a black sweater. In warmer weather, they may wear a black vest or a white shirt with the SkyTrain logo.

SkyTrain attendants wear a blue jacket or a black sweater. In warmer weather, they may wear a black vest or a white shirt with the SkyTrain logo.

CLAs wear this distinctive green in their uniform. You’ll see them on the Canada Line.

CLAs wear this distinctive green in their uniform. You’ll see them on the Canada Line.

You’ll probably see STAs and CLAs more than any other customer service representative. They sometimes ride the trains, but generally work at SkyTrain stations, helping passengers with information, medical aid, and so on.

STAs can be found on the Expo and Millennium Lines, and CLAs on the Canada Line, which is operated by a separate company under contract to TransLink. Both are a first point of contact in dealing with station alarms and incidents, and will call in resources as needed.

STAs and CLAs may check fares, but do not enforce rules and regulations. They are not police or security guards. They may request compliance with rules and regulations, but they have no powers of arrest or enforcement. For that, they’ll call police.

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Olympic travel tips: All about transit fares

For those who might be on our system for the first time during the Olympics, here’s a short series of tips to help you get on your way. (If you do know this stuff already, please pass it along to those who might find this useful!)

So far in the Olympic tips series: info on tickets, bike info, Park and Rides, a guide to transit staff, where to find real-time transit info online, and transit etiquette. Let me know if I should add anymore!

General info on transit fares for the Olympics

Some tickets can be bought at machines in SkyTrain and SeaBus stations.

Some tickets can be bought at machines in SkyTrain and SeaBus stations.

You can buy a variety of fare options for our transit system, all of which are valid on any bus, SeaBus, or SkyTrain.

However, special fares are required if you want to ride West Coast Express, our commuter train service running to Mission, B.C. You can buy those fares at ticket machines at West Coast Express stations.

During the Games, we’re encouraging you to buy fares in advance to help improve boarding times during this busy period. (Find a ticket retailer here!)

And remember: you must carry proof of payment (a valid ticket or pass) when aboard a transit vehicle or within any station area designated as a Fare Paid Zone.

Fare enforcement is conducted by Transit Police officers and Transit Security members. Anyone who fails to produce proof of payment will be asked to leave the vehicle and risks a fine of $173.

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9am-ish transit update for Wed Sept 9

The latest from Drew:

OK … Canada Line peak time appears to be over at BRIDGEPORT, but there may still be some heavy loads out of RICHMOND-BRIGHOUSE.‬‪ ‬‪

Please remember that there are other ways of getting to UBC besides the 99 B-Line:‬‪‪#41 & #43 (from Oakridge-41st Ave)‬‪#25 & #33 (from King Edward)‬‪#84 (from Olympic Village)‬‪ ‬‪

99B-Line is currently experiencing heavy loads, but “empty” buses are going into service, picking up people from Clark Drive westward.‬‪ ‬‪

The lineup at COMMERCIAL-BROADWAY is snaking out onto the Commercial Drive sidewalk, but it’s staying orderly, thanks in part to the line management efforts by Transit Police and Coast Mountain Bus Co. supervisors and utility drivers.  Thanks to the people who sent out free coffee, too. ‬‪ ‬‪

PRODUCTION WAY had a bit of a peak in the past 45 minutes, but has settled down somewhat.  Very few people if any getting left behind by the #145 bus.‬‪ ‬‪

WEST COAST EXPRESS experienced no problems at all.‬‪

730am-ish transit update for Wed Sept 9

‪‪
From my view, trains to Waterfront are fuller. 30-40 are getting off the trains here at City Hall tho, so there’s lots of room for those boarding. Most ppl leaving here seem to be getting on the eastbound 99, which is not that busy right now.

The update from Drew:

BROADWAY-CITY HALL station is becoming a transfer point for people heading to the 99 B-Line EAST-bound — which is arguably less busy than the westbound 99 B-Line at this time of day.  The Eastbound 99 B-Line is also bringing passengfers to the Canada Line — about half in each direction.‬‪ ‬‪

at COMMERCIAL-BROADWAY station, the lineups are still orderly, with Transit Police helping it stay that way … people are handing out free coffee again …‬‪ ‬‪SkyTrain is now running packed coming into COMMERCIAL-BROADWAY on the upper platform, but it’s still a 1-train wait, at most.  Having more 4-car Mark II trains in service now is proving to be a big help at clearing the platform.‬‪ ‬‪

Canada Line trains are still quite full coming out of Richmond, but anyone being left behind usually gets on the next one.‬‪

A couple of pics of the Waterfront train and more.




8:20am transit update for Sept 8

Update from Drew Snider:

Day One appears to be going well on a number of fronts …‬‪ ‬‪CANADA LINE … buses are arriving packed at Richmond-Brighouse station, and the trains are leaving close to full, but in many cases customers are holding back to get a seat on the next train … at Bridgeport, where the South of Fraser buses are terminating, people are a little disappointed to see the trains coming in full from Brighouse, but then the YVR trains arrives nearly empty, and the sun shines a bit brighter …‬‪ ‬‪

A lot of students are getting off at 41st-OAKRIDGE to transfer to $41 and #43 buses to UBC.  Good strategy.  Lots of people are getting off at BROADWAY-CITY HALL, but if they’re planning to transfer to a Broadway bus (like the 99 B-Line), they’ll be in for a bit of a wait.‬‪ ‬‪

Speaking ofthe 99 B, the lineup at COMMERCIAL-BROADWAY has been long throughout the morning rush, which is not surprising.  Coast Mountain Bus Co transit supervisors and security personnel have been managing the lines … thanks to the gang at Ethical Bean for handing out coffee to the people waiting … (don’t know if it was free coffee or not, but bringing it to the people is always a good move – it worked for Nat Bailey!) …‬‪ ‬‪

On the SkyTrain platforms, police have been helping to keep things orderly … trains have been full but only a 1-2 train wait … SkyTrain has been running turnback trains from COMMERCIAL-BROADWAY to Waterfront through the “crush hour” … also, more 4-car Mark II trains have helped … thanks to the new shipment of cars, we’ve been able to put together 12 4-car Mark II’s, as opposed to the 6 we’ve had prior to expansion of the fleet.  Can’t run more trains, but we can make them longer.‬‪ ‬‪

at PRODUCTION WAY, it’s really busy now: double-heading the #145 — running two buses together — is helping keep the platforms clear there, although there was still approx. an entire busload left behind around 8am.‬‪

WATERFRONT TRAIN AT 41ST


Weekend transit service: extra SkyTrain service, Critical Mass, and B.C. Day info

A couple of things to be aware of for the weekend!

Edit: Make sure you check the Alerts page for many more events besides the ones mentioned below, including the Vancouver Pride Parade and Dyke March!

SkyTrain ramps up service for the World Police and Fire Games

The enormous World Police and Fire Games is in town, and owing to the opening ceremonies tonight, SkyTrain will run at “rush hour” service levels all evening, with last trains leaving Waterfront Station for King George at 1:15am, VCC-Clark at 12:31am and Lougheed at 1:11am.

The Games will also prompt earlier Sunday service: the first train from King George station in Surrey starts at 6:08 am on Sunday, August 2. But Skytrain will close the system at its regular/Holiday time, with the last Expo Line train eastbound from Waterfront to King George leaving at 12:15 am. The last Millennium Line train leaves Waterfront station at 12:16am.

Critical Mass may cause bus service delays on Friday, July 31

Coast Mountain Bus Company (CMBC) is expecting major traffic congestion and the possibility of lengthy bus delays due to the Critical Mass bike event on Friday, July 31.

Since it’s not a licensed event, a designated ride route and schedule has not been provided to CMBC.
With a designated parade route, decisions can be made in advance specific to the routing of bus service during the period of concern. Without this knowledge CMBC has not been able to set up reroutes and unfortunately doesn’t know when the event will start or end.

CMBC Transit Supervisors will be at the scene following the procession and transit service will be adjusted and or held as required. We do expect if there are road closures, bus service could be compromised.

If you have time sensitive appointments to make, please give yourselves extra time to where you need to go tonight!

B.C. Day holiday service

All transit services will run on a Sunday/Holiday schedule for B.C. Day on Monday, August 3.

Remember, on a holiday, you only need a single zone fare to travel in all zones all day!

As well, on a Sunday or holiday, those with an adult FareCard, West Coast Express 28-Day Pass, or
Annual Employer Transit Pass can take either five children or one adult and four children on transit with them for free. Enjoy the long weekend, everyone!

Transit service to the HSBC Celebration of Light, Wed July 22

Fireworks from the HSBC Celebration of Light!

Fireworks from the HSBC Celebration of Light!

We’ve scheduled service to help you get to and from the HSBC Celebration of Light fireworks festival on Wed July 22 (Canada), Sat July 25 (South Africa), Wed July 29 (U.K.), and Sat August 1 (China).

SkyTrain will operate at “rush hour” service levels for the evening, with last trains leaving Waterfront Station for King George at 1:15am, VCC-Clark at 12:31am and Lougheed at 1:11am.

Extra trains will be available in case there are customers still inside stations when the last scheduled trains leave – no one will be left behind!

Also, due to expected crowds, bicycles may be restricted westbound to downtown at the discretion of transit staff when trains are crowded, and will not be permitted on SkyTrain after 10pm on fireworks days until crowds have cleared. If you’re biking, travel early and avoid the inbound peak of 8 pm to 9:30 pm. As you likely know, bikes are limited to two per SkyTrain car, and please be mindful of the safety and comfort of other passengers.

West Coast Express will run a special train on August 1 only (that’s finale night). The train will leave Mission City Station at 7:00 pm and return from Waterfront at Midnight.

SeaBus will have both vessels in operation throughout the evening: 15-minute service will run between Lonsdale Quay and Waterfront station until 12:15am on Wednesdays and 12:45am on Saturdays.

West Vancouver Blue Bus will also provide more buses from Dundarave and Park Royal. Buses returning to West Vancouver will load east of the regular bus stop (nearer to Stanley Park) at Georgia and Denman.

For buses, please note that several bus routes will be re-routed away from the immediate area of the fireworks in the evening, so you’ll need to walk a few blocks to get to your viewing point after:

  • #5 Robson will go as far as Denman and Georgia
  • #6 Davie will terminate at Davie and Thurlow
  • C21 Beach will go as far as Beach and Hornby
  • C23 Davie will go as far as Davie and Thurlow
  • #22 Knight/Macdonald will use Granville Street Bridge, 4th Ave., Burrard and Cornwall in both directions

Transit supervisors will be on-hand to decide if additional buses are needed. And as always, Transit Police and Transit Security will assist Vancouver Police in crowd management, particularly on transit vehicles. A zero-tolerance policy for drugs, drunkenness and open liquor will be maintained.

The HSBC Celebration of Light remains one of the premier events in the Metro Vancouver calendar, and we are happy to help as many people enjoy it as possible!

A look at T-Comm, the Transit Communications centre

A glance at T-Comm, the Transit Communications centre out at the Surrey Transit Centre.

A glance at T-Comm, the Transit Communications centre out at the Surrey Transit Centre.

When a transit operator talks on their radio, have you ever wondered who’s answering at the other end?

It’s the men and women working at Transit Communications, which is located out at the Surrey Transit Centre.

T-Comm, as it’s often called, is like an air traffic control centre, but for public transit instead. Twenty-four hours a day, three to seven T-Comm supervisors are constantly monitoring the buses on the system. They manage the flow of bus traffic as much as possible, and provide information and support to operators as needed.

I was lucky enough to visit T-Comm, meet the fine folks who work there, and see their brand-new real-time communications system in action. So, let’s take a closer look and see what managing a bus system is all about!

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Police dogs, text-message crime reporting: SkyTrain ramps up security measures based on new research

Doug Kelsey and Ward Clapham at the press conference, held at Broadway Station today.

Doug Kelsey and Ward Clapham at the press conference, held at Broadway Station today.

We held a press conference at Broadway Station today about new security measures SkyTrain is putting in place (or already has put in place!) on the system.

Doug Kelsey, president and CEO of SkyTrain, and Ward Clapham, Chief Officer of our Transit Police, talked about these changes at the conference, and explained that they are happening due to the results of major research and public consultation initiatives on the topic of SkyTrain security.

Here’s the items we released to the press, for your reading pleasure:

I’ll also talk a little more about the major items from the announcement below.

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Profile: the transit fans behind the Trans-Vancouver bus photo archive

Chris Cassidy, George Prior, and David Lam, the photographers behind Trans-Vancouver. (They\'re wearing safety vests because the docks made us all wear them.)

Chris Cassidy, George Prior, and David Lam, the photographers behind Trans-Vancouver. (They're wearing orange vests because the docks made us all wear them for safety reasons.)

For your Friday Buzzer fix, here’s the first in a series of profiles I hope to do with transit enthusiasts from the Lower Mainland.

Poke around the web in search of Vancouver transit info, and you’re bound to come across Trans-Vancouver, an insanely comprehensive bus photo site.

Online since 2004, the site’s neatly organized galleries boast over 1,400 photos of every single bus in the Lower Mainland. That includes almost every ad wrap, heritage bus, and even one-offs like TransLink’s alternative energy test buses, or the time we tried out a double decker bus.

You can’t go through the site without wondering who’s behind it, so I got in touch and did an interview with David Lam, George Prior, and Chris Cassidy, the photographers behind the gallery. (David started the site and has taken about two-thirds of the 1,400 photos—the rest are from George and Chris, who began contributing their photos to the site a few years after its start.)

As you’ll find out, they’re all very young guys who just happen to love buses. I got to meet them in person at the send-off for the retired trolleys in October, and managed to grab some photos of them in action. (Fun fact: at the send-off, the guys told me that they had previously located the retired buses at the Fraser-Surrey docks, sleuthing out the location from just one photo they saw on Flickr. They’d already been down to photograph the buses at the docks, albeit from outside the fences.)

My full interview with David, George, and Chris is below!

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Christmas came early: Over 3,000 toys donated to the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau

Toys for Tots

It was a beautiful downtown Vancouver morning, when Sparky the Elf, alongside Mr. & Mrs. Claus, delivered a promissory note of 3,000 new, unwrapped toys on behalf of TransLink and its operating companies to the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau (LMCB).

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