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TransLink’s draft 2013 Base Plan

The draft 2013 Base Plan

Today, TransLink has released a very important document that lays out our plan for the next three years of transit in Metro Vancouver. Our draft 2013 Base Plan is a blueprint for transit planning, funding and servicing.

We’ve talked about the financial challenges TransLink is facing of late on the blog. The 2013 draft Base Plan provides specifics on how,

Translink’s Board of Directors remain focused on delivering the best possible transportation system to the public, while making the most of every dollar we have.” – Nancy Olewiler, Chair of TransLink’s Board of Directors. Read more »

September service changes and optimization

Changes are coming to some September transit schedules

Changes are coming to some September transit schedules

Fall is quickly approaching (September 23rd to be exact), and with the change in the weather comes changes in commuting patterns. This is especially true for those of us who are returning to school. To accommodate the increase in the number of people taking transit in September, there will be changes to service starting September 5. Like the changes in service in June, the number of changes isn’t huge. However, there are some significant changes for certain routes both permanent and seasonal.

As mentioned in my last post, service optimization is all about managing resources “…as efficiently and effectively as possible”, and that’s what our planning department has tried to do again this time around. For more on service optimization, take a look at my April post.

All the September service changes can be found on the TransLink website. Here are a few of the bigger changes:

  • The 5 will return to its regular routing in the downtown core, from Robson onto Granville northbound to Hastings and then Richards southbound back to Robson.
  • The C74 will be renumbered as 337. The route will remain the same; all existing stops and destinations will continue to be served. All weekday 337 service will be provided by conventional buses, with Community Shuttle vehicles providing the 337 service on weekends/holidays.
  • Weekday westbound service for the 143.will improve to every 15 minutes before 7:30 a.m. and to every 10 minutes between 7:30–8 a.m. for the
  • The following routes will return to their more frequent schedules: :
  • 9 UBC/Alma/Granville/Broadway Station/Boundary
    25 Brentwood Station/UBC
    28 Joyce Station/Capilano University
    41 Joyce Station/UBC
    43 Joyce Station/UBC
    44 Downtown/UBC
    49 Metrotown Station/Dunbar Loop/UBC
    99 B-Line Broadway Station/UBC
    125 Patterson Station/BCIT
    130 Metrotown Station/Capilano University
    143 SFU/Coquitlam Station
    145 Production Way/SFU
    239 Park Royal/Capilano University
    480 Bridgeport Station/UBC

I Love Transit Week 2011: I Love Transit Night is tonight!

I Love Transit Week Logo 2011

I Love Transit Week 2011

Tonight is the big night! If you’ve sent me your RSVP to, that’s great! If you haven’t, just show up! There’s always room for transit fans at I Love Transit Night. If you’re reading about the night for the first time, here’s the info:

Take a bus to the event!

Meet me at the Metrotown bus loop at 5:30 p.m. We have a special 60-foot (18.3 meters) articulated New Flyer Hybrid bus that will take us to the Bamboo Cafe and remain there for the night! The bus will leave Metrotown at 5:45 p.m., so don’t be late! I’ll hold a sign up so you can find us.

Bamboo Cafe – 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

The main event. Everything starts at 6 p.m. at the Bamboo Cafe. Here’s a map with the location.  It’s located just outside of the Joyce-Collingwood SkyTrain station. We have free games, prizes, food and lots of other transit lovers for you to meet. Check out some of the posts from previous years to see what to expect. It’s going to be a lot of fun. See ya there!

The event tonight is at the Bamboo Cafe

The event tonight is at the Bamboo Cafe

I Love Transit Week 2011: photos, models, testimonials, a haiku and more!

It’s I Love Transit Week (July 11-15). All this week, I’m devoting the blog to why we love transit! This week is also special because of I Love Transit Night on Thursday, July 14!

One of the most striking discoveries I’ve made since I’ve taken over the reigns as editor for the Buzzer is the passion people have for different modes of public transit. Transit enthusiasts show their love in many creative ways, and that certainly includes Buzzer Blog! Here’s a sampling of submissions I’ve received for I Love Transit Week.:

An I love transit haiku by Barbara-Anne Eddy

Every night and day,
Everywhere you need to go,
Transit takes you there.

Classic transit

Reva G certainly has an eye for an image. She took these beautiful shots in the central Kootenay. Thanks Reva! Check out more photos here!

An old BC Transit Brill trolley bus in Sandon, BC

An old BC Transit Brill trolley bus in Sandon, BC

An old Buzzer holder on the trolley

Check out the old Buzzer holder!

Old gate on the trolley

The swinging peanut door!

Lego articulated bus and photo by Daniel Nguyen

An articulated SoundTransit bus by TransLink fan Daniel Nguyen

An articulated SoundTransit bus by TransLink fan Daniel Nguyen

Joyce-Collingwood SkyTrain Station at dawn

Joyce-Collingwood SkyTrain Station at dawn

What can’t you make with Lego, paper and some creativity? I’d love to see a B-Line immortalized in Lego! Daniel also took this pretty picture of Joyce-Collingwood SkyTrain Station (the stop to get off for I Love Transit Night!), which can be found on his blog Translinkfan pictures.

Why Richard loves transit

Richard is a devotee of transit. To say taking a bus or SkyTrain is his preferred mode of transportation is an understatement. He wrote a little something for I Love Transit Week that shows how central transit is to many of our lives. Richard also has some great photos of buses, trains and his model SkyTrain set! Check them out here.

I love transit because I am one of those so-called transit enthusiasts. I have liked transit since high school, and whenever I have time I would take transit around the Lower Mainland just for fun.

Everywhere I go, I use transit. If someone offers to give me a ride somewhere I want to go, I would always reject the ride because I just have to use transit. When I go on vacation, I always travel around on transit rather than taxi.

I have a collection of transit items ranging from the classic paper tickets/transfers to transit pins of all sorts. Many of the items I will be bringing to I Love Transit Night. Bus drivers that I consider my friends also look for transit-related items for me to add to my collection. I even have a toy train set, which actually runs, that I have modified to look like our Mk 1, Mk 2 and Canada Line trains, which I will be bringing to I Love Transit Night,

I also love transit as I find it more convenient than driving. I also find that using transit is a lot faster than driving, no matter where I have to go.

I travel around the Lower Mainland with my camera whenever I have time, taking pictures of the buses. My plan is to take a picture of every single one of the buses in the Lower Mainland, and by every single one, I don’t mean just one of each model but the entire fleet from that model year. I know exactly what model year each bus is just by looking at the vehicle number on the bus.

Maverick’s paper models

Maverick does these great archival paper models of transit. Here’s a prototype of the SkyTrain! Why not down one and make your own prototype SkyTrain model. Maverick has been gracious enough to supply a white one and a grey one!

A SkyTrain prototype paper model!

A SkyTrain prototype paper model!

A Bus for I Love Transit Night!

Happy I Love Transit Week, everyone! I hinted that we would be getting a bus this year for I Love Transit Night, and now I can happily say that it’s true! Yup, there will be a bus (not just any bus either) available to us to use this Thursday for fun, games and travel. Now, I tried my best to get the New Flyer Xcelsior, but that wasn’t possible this year (sorry Ben Lam). I did, however, managed to get a pretty cool bus.

A New Flyer articulated hybrid bus

New Flyer bus

Our own private New Flyer hybrid for the evening!

Yup, we got the big boy this year! Here are the stats for you bus enthusiasts:

Make: New Flyer
Model: DE60LFR
Quantity in fleet: 39 (all currently operating in Burnaby primarily)
Year: 2009
Length: 61′ (18.6 m)
Seats: 48
Total Capacity: 115
Curb Weight: 20,400kg (44,774 lbs)
Front Axle: 4,200kg (9,259 lbs)
Middle Axle: 5,770kg (12,721 lbs)
Rear Axle: 10,430kg (22,994 lbs)
Characteristics: All floor articulated, wheelchair (1 forward, 1 rear), Cummins ISL Engine/Allison EV50 Hybrid drive, diesel particulate filter.

Take a ride to the meet up

If you’d like to take a ride on the bus to the event, meet me at the Metrotown bus loop at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 14. The bus will leave at 5:45 p.m., so don’t be late! I’ll hold a sign up so you can find us!

Remember to send me an RSVP for I Love Transit Night

If you are planning to come to I Love Transit Night at the Bamboo Cafe outside of the Joyce-Collingwood SkyTrain Station, please RSVP to so I can get a good idea of how many people are coming.

I’ll see you on the bus or at the Bamboo!

I Love Transit Night!

After much searching, we’ve found a venue for I Love Transit Night! This year, it will be on July 14 at Bamboo Cafe across the street from the Joyce-Collingwood SkyTrain station. It’s a laid back place that’s popular in the community and ideal for fun transit games and mingling for the like-minded.

The night is part of I Love Transit Week taking place July 11-15! This is a week to celebrate what we love about transit.

Bamboo Cafe

Bamboo Cafe, just outside of Joyce-Collingwood SkyTrain Station

There will be some food (you’ll be responsible for your own drinks), fun, games and prizes during I Love Transit Night. Transit fans of all ages are welcome, and we expect to have a bus on hand to play games (more on that very soon). Tell your friends. It’s going to be great! Here’s the info:

I Love Transit Night: Bamboo Cafe, Vancouver

Come join us from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday July 14!

Edit: If you’d like to take a free bus trip to the event from Metrotown Station leaving around 5:30 p.m., see all the details here!

Bamboo Cafe is located at 5103 Joyce Street, across the street from the Joyce-Collingwood SkyTrain Station on the Expo/Millennium Line. Here’s a Google Map for directions!

We’ll provide the food, and you’ll be responsible for your own drinks. I’m organizing games with will start shortly after 6 p.m. Some TransLink staff from different department will be joining me so come on by and have some fun and food with us!

Send in an RSVP!

If you are planning on coming, please send me your RSVP so I can get a good idea of the numbers. It’ll help with ordering food as well.

The 14 Hastings returns to Vancouver: an interview with planner Peter Klitz about the iconic bus route

A Brill trolley with the BC Hydro colours, operating as the 14 Hastings in 1967.

Note: This is a scheduled post as I’m away this week, returning Monday April 11, 2011. If you need to reach TransLink info or staff, see this post!

As part of our April 2011 service changes, we are bringing back the 14 Hastings trolley route—an iconic former bus route that ran through Vancouver’s downtown for many years!

The 14—which even had a famous play named after it—makes its triumphant return to the streets due to optimization changes for the 10 and 17 trolley routes.

Here to tell us more about the 14’s history and its current incarnation is Peter Klitz, one of TransLink’s planners involved in the project. Read on for more insights and some classic photos of the 14 through time!

Read more »

Collingwood Days, Sat May 29

Collingwood Days is coming up on Saturday May 29!

It’s a fun-filled family event celebrating community, arts and culture and family, and it’s jointly organized by a number of community partners that we work with regularly: Collingwood Neighbourhood House, The B.I.A. and the Community Policing Centre of the Renfrew/Collingwood neighbourhood.

Head to Joyce-Collingwood SkyTrain station at 9 a.m. for a pancake breakfast, followed by a parade leading you to the Carlton School site, where food, music, dance, BMX demonstrations, international market and an assortment of roving professional performers await!

See the official website, their Facebook page, and the event listing at for more info.

UBC students: you’ve got many ways to get to school

A chart of the different routes you can take to get to UBC.

A chart of the different routes you can take to get to UBC.

If you’re a UBC student, check out this handy chart showing all your bus route options to campus.

We gave it out in a wallet-size card for the first week of school, but I think it’s worth sharing again, especially if you didn’t grab a copy.

What we want to emphasize is that there are MORE options than the 99 B-Line, and MORE places to catch UBC buses than Commercial-Broadway. If it’s at all possible, please do give the alternate routes a try!

Read more »

Summer spots: Surrey Urban Farmers Market, plus a few more

The Surrey Farmers Market, at Surrey Central Station!

The Surrey Farmers Market, at Surrey Central Station!

A map of the Surrey Urban Farmers Market location!

A map of the Surrey Urban Farmers Market location!

There hasn’t been much summer weather this week, but that’s no reason to stop writing up summer spots to visit on transit!

How about the Surrey Urban Farmers Market, conveniently located at Surrey Central SkyTrain Station? (Thanks to Peter Leblanc for the suggestion!)

The market is open Wednesdays from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., and the market runs June 17 to Sept 30. This is an exciting “new” location for the market this year—the market actually used to be here about 8-10 years ago, before construction shut down this spot.

Anyway, check it out: the market has 20 local vendors selling produce, along with unique artisans and educational activities. There’s also a book exchange, plus the market tent will fill up your water bottle and take your batteries to be recycled!

Visit their website for more info, or follow them on Twitter or Facebook.

A few more summer spots…

  • Check out Movies Under The Stars, an outdoor movie series in Surrey! Here’s the schedule of events: the Aug 16 movie (Grease!) will be at Holland Park, just a short walk west of King George Station, and the Aug 23 film (Nim’s Island) is at Station Tower near Gateway Station. Never mind, looks like I’ve linked to the 2008 info! Check the comments: Robert has the right links.
  • The Collingwood Multicultural Summer Market is happening near the Joyce Collingwood Skytrain Station, on Vanness Ave between McGeer and McHardy Street! There’s fresh produce, a spice market, and more. Catch the last two market days on Sunday August 16 & Sunday August 23, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

  • Check Vancouver is Awesome’s event category for more events, and Miss 604 always has listings of community events worth checking out.
  • And email me if you have any more transit-accessible summer spots to add!

More photos and video of the new SkyTrain car in action

The new SkyTrain car at Edmonds Station. Photo by <a href=>Bryan Gal</a> --- see a much larger version <a href=>here</a>.

The new SkyTrain car at Edmonds Station. Photo by Bryan Gal --- see a much larger version here.

The new SkyTrain cars hit the system last Friday, and a few excellent readers have caught more photos and video of the train.

Bryan, who you may have heard in the podcast last week, has photos up at The Transit Site, and a video of the light-up maps and more.

Josh also sent along a gallery of his photos.

Adam also sent along three videos done with his phone camera:

Again, you can see many detailed shots of the interiors + exteriors at the past Buzzer blog posts:

Feel free to email me or write in the comments with more new SkyTrain car sightings/stories!

Hello #595, welcome back C26: June bus service changes start today

The new #595 route connects Langley Centre to Haney Place over the Golden Ears Bridge.

The new #595 route connects Langley Centre to Haney Place over the Golden Ears Bridge.

The June seasonal bus service changes start today—which includes the launch of the new #595 route, connecting communities over the Golden Ears Bridge!

The #595 Langley Centre/Haney Place is a limited-stop run serving the Walnut Grove Park & Ride, Haney Place, and Langley Centre. It also stops at Maple Meadows Station when West Coast Express is running.

It’s a single-zone trip entirely within zone 3, and the bridge toll fee is covered in your fare. Generally, from Monday to Friday, the #595 travels every half hour from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., and on weekends and hoildays, it runs from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Here’s the route map and timetable.)

Edit: Just saw that the Ridge Meadows Post took the 595 this morning and wrote about it!

June also heralds the return of the C26 Buntzen Lake Special/Coquitlam Station Special, providing summer weekend/holiday service between Buntzen Lake and Coquitlam Station. You can take the C26 to the lake on weekends until September 7.

All the June seasonal service changes can be found in the June Buzzer—-but since there weren’t very many of them, I’ll just repeat the info below.
Read more »

Friday fun poll: how do you signal that you don’t want a bus to pick you up?

If you like, you can skip to the end of this post to answer the signalling poll.

Results from last poll: falling asleep and missing your stop

Last week I asked about whether you had ever fallen asleep on transit and missed your stop.

The results were evenly matched: after 154 votes, 53% of you said yes and 47% said no.

We got a lot of funny stories of people falling asleep on transit and waking up in totally unfamiliar places! Jamey explained that he’d found a solution to make sure he got off at the right stop though:

I used to all the time. A couple times, a driver has had to wake me up at the end of the line (which is quite embarrassing…). Luckily, I take the bus right to the end of the line, so I didn’t have to backtrack too much. I’ve learned my lesson, so I set my cell phone alarm for 10 minutes before my bus arrives at its stop.

But missing a stop happens far less frequently to Richard:

Once and only once, and it was on a frequent service bus, so it was a matter of hopping on the same route going back. Every other time I fell asleep on the bus I woke up a stop or two before, almost as if my brain was trained to know that I was about to get off.

I’m definitely in agreement—as I wrote in the previous post, I always fall asleep on the bus, but somehow wake up just before I’m supposed to get off too! Perhaps it’s something about familiar routines?

Again, read everyone’s “I-fell-asleep-and-woke-up-in-South-Surrey” comments at the original post!

This week’s poll: how do you signal that you don’t want a bus to stop?

Andrew Joyce suggested this poll! Thanks Andrew!

I usually try to make eye contact with the driver and shake my head, actually!

SkyTrain question: why do some trains switch at Edmonds?

The SkyTrain, zooming through a station!

The SkyTrain, zooming through a station!

A while back, Dan B emailed this question about SkyTrain, and I thought I’d share the answer with everyone. (Dan B will surely notice this email was sent a LONG while back… so this is better late than never :)

I have a question about how SkyTrain works. I was riding the SkyTrain this morning from Broadway to Edmonds at about 8am . When we approached Edmonds, there was an announcement that the train was going to prematurely terminate there and that passengers continuing to King George would be accommodated by another train that wasn’t far behind. The train I was on stopped and had a longer dwell time than other trains normally have at Edmonds. Afterwards, it left and another train followed about 30 seconds later.

What was the purpose of doing that? Were they going to turn the train to provide additional capacity to the downtown core? Were they taking the train out of service and preparing to take it into the yard? Were they going to deadhead it to Broadway to provide additional capacity for that heavily-travelled segment?

Also, when I look out the window at work, I see other trains stopping at Edmonds for longer than usual times. Usually, another train has to stop behind them just outside the station. Is this because they are taking some of the trains out of service and returning them to the yard once rush hour is over? Do they break-apart the Mark II consists so that they only run with a single trainset?

Read more »

Free pink whistles can help you stay safe

The pink safety whistles from our Whistle Blower campaign -- they are available at Collingwood Community Policing Centre, at 5160 Joyce St in Vancouver.

The pink safety whistles from our Whistle Blower campaign -- they are available at Collingwood Community Policing Centre, at 5160 Joyce St in Vancouver.

We had 1,000 pink whistles in the office this week!

They’re part of the “Whistle Blower” safety program, which was launched in May 2007.

The program provides free, super loud whistles to anyone who requests them, so they can make as much noise as possible if attacked or threatened.

It’s a partnership between TransLink, SkyTrain, the Collingwood Community Policing Centre, Vancouver Police Department and the Transit Police.

You can pick the whistles up at the Collingwood Community Policing Centre, 5160 Joyce Street in Vancouver, which is where we delivered these whistles this week. (We’ve given away 2,000 whistles so far – this is the third order of 1,000 whistles since the program began!)

And check out the Collingwood Policing Centre’s page on the program too—it includes a list of great safety tips for when you’re out and about.