Archive for the ‘Public Transit’ Category

Game day Canucks train

Skytrain :: The Spirit of Kelowna

Originally uploaded by Jeffery Simpson

I tend to finish work at around 6 on Sunday nights, so I’m always on the Skytrain just as people are packing into the train to get down to the Canucks game. Though the cars are always crowded by the time I board at Metrotown Station, I always enjoy those rides packed with jerseys.

I find that people are a bit more open then, and though I’m certainly not outgoing enough to talk to anyone, I enjoy listening in as people discuss the team’s recent form. Last night before the game against the Flames [vc], there were a few Flames fans dotting the car that I was in. Each time a red jersey would board the car high fives would be exchanged and the Canucks fans would grumble under their breath.

With the weekend death of an Italian football fan in sporting related violence in Italy [sh] it’s good to see that we can enjoy sporting rivarlies without anyone taking it too seriously. I mean, you know, except for the riots.

So that’s where my $4/month is going…

The provincial government announced an ambitious $14 billion plan today to expand and improve transportation around the Lower Mainland and the rest of BC. However, there is mixed reaction from people and politicians in the Fraser Valley to the plan.


I hate to sound like a grumpy person, but since I paid $99 for the month of January 2008 for a two-zoner, I can’t say I’ve really noticed an increase in my satisfaction with the whole bus experience. Where I notice it the most is in rush-hour coming home from downtown. We are all crammed in the bus with the bus driver yelling at us to move back, “Keep moving back, people! WAY BAAAAAAACK!” It’s like this every night on the way home. The SFU bus clears out by the time it gets to Hastings and Gilmore, but up to that point, it’s not a relaxing ride.

Perhaps I could be a bit more patient then with the changes. I’ve noticed the newer buses on the route I take are hybrid buses (partial battery powered to cut down on fuel, so YAY for that!) but they include fewer seats so there’s more room for stand ups. I can see that being a bit more appropriate for quick downtown rides, but all the way out to Burnaby? Well, I’m back to being grumpy again. If only I could run the show, right? JUST KIDDING.

The $14 Billion Transit Plan


The provincial government has announced a massive plan, with lots of money, to increase the amount of public transit infrastructure in the province.

Of course, by “in the province” I mean $2.8 billion in bus improvements, with much of that going to Vancouver, Victoria, and Kelowna, and $10.3 billion to rapid transit in the Metro Vancouver area.

The key goal is to get the proportion of trips in Vancouver that use transit from 12% (today’s figure) to 17% by 2020.

Smokey Seabus Causes Scene

Last night there was smoke billowing out of a Seabus at the terminal at Waterfront. We have an eye witness report from Dave Olson, local blogger, podcaster and social media evangelist.

The Seabus (not sure if it was the Otter or the Beaver) began smoking heavily upon docking at Waterfront Station. After passengers disembarked and crew investigated the problem, the station was evacuated and firetrucks responded. The counterpart vessel waited in Burrard Inlet and didn’t immediately dock. [NowPublic]

But that’s not all… he’s also got video capture on his cell phone:

and here:

Turns out it was the “Otter” which should now be back in service. When Translink‘s site, i-Move and other usual sources fail to provide sufficient information or updates about an event like this, I’m glad I can turn to local bloggers to provide the missing pieces of the story.

West Coast Express back on track

In other news, the West Coast Express wasn’t running this morning, and according to my lovely bride, the buses weren’t so much picking up the slack as filled to overflowing and no longer stopping for passengers.

A “computer glitch” is being blamed. Oh sure, blame the computers.

The good news is that the WCE website is now reporting on its news ticker that afternoon service is back to normal.

As seen on Transit

Submitted without comment:

oddly operated by Coast Mountain Bus Company

Seen on the 97 B-line.

Vancouver is starting to look a lot like Christmas

The Christmas bus

Originally uploaded by Jeffery Simpson.

Vancouver is starting to put on its Christmas clothes and get all into the holiday spirit. If it weren’t for the fact that this signals the time when I can start to buy egg nog in the stores, I’d say it was too soon. Still with November almost over, I suppose it’s not as bad as it could be.

The hotel across the street from my apartment has it’s Christmas decorations up, so everytime I look out my window I get fed a big blast o’Holiday right into my eyeballs. Yet still I remain upbeat about the holiday.

I know, what a trooper I am.

P.S. The holiday bus that’s running routes is super cute. I’m not sure if it’s the only one or if there are a few that have been so X-Massed.

Vancouver Electric Trolley, Unearthed

trolley1.jpgThe other night we were watching Global News and at the end of the hour, there’s always a cutesy, heartwarming, human interest story. That day, it was about some City of Vancouver construction workers who were digging a trench along Kingsway to put in a median. They had come across wood over a foot down, under the road and concrete. The human interest story dude shows up, says – WOW this is a part of the old Interurban route of the Lower Mainland, and a history lesson begins.

In 1891, Tramway Co. car #13 made the inaugural run between Vancouver and New Westminster on what is widely recognized as North America’s first true railway of this type. [VancouverHistory]. Until February, 1958 the BC Electric Railway had an inter-urban trolley that went from downtown Vancouver, South Vancouver, Richmond or through Burnaby, New Westminster, over to Surrey, Langley and all the way out to Chilliwack.

An Idea for Translink

Lord knows that I’m no fan at all of our local transit system. If you live in the city of Vancouver, you can get bus service as frequently as every five minutes. In the suburbs, however, things rapidly go down from there, with some places having a bus go by once an hour. Just hope you don’t miss it…

About a year ago I thought of a way to help Translink’s riders to get information on when the next bus is due at their stop. Translink has a link on their site ( that allows you to enter the stop number and find out just when the next bus will be arriving. Sounds like an excellent plan, except for one little thing: what is the stop number?? The website allows you to type in a description of where you are and it’ll attempt to guess the location and if you confirm that that is where you’re actually located, it’ll give you the stop number. Not very helpful if you don’t know street names in the area. Sure you could try calling their customer service number (yeah, right) but that won’t get you very far either if you have to sit on hold for 20 minutes to talk to a person.

So, here’s what I propose, Translink. The next time you change the signs at the stop, put a little label on the sign that says “Stop #xxxx”. Then, you can fully automate the system so that if someone is standing in the pouring rain in December wondering when the next bus is going to show up, they can call the support number and punch the stop number into their cell phone. The system then goes and checks it’s database for the next two or three scheduled stops at that location.

Simple, no? Easier than paying that one poor person working at the call center to give the same information to hundreds of callers each day.

Robots on a Train (Rise of the Robots Skytrain party)

Rise of the Robots Skytrain party
Rise of the Robots Skytrain party (18 Aug)
(Photo: Andrew Ferguson | Gallery)

Reader Andrew Ferguson writes in to Vancouver Metblogs about the Rise of the Robots Skytrain party on 18 August. He has put 50 of his best photos of the event on his website: a gallery of robots for all to view. (And if these aren’t enough photos for you, the Rise of the Robots page has links to 9 other photosets and a video.)

Andrew writes: The event was a great time, with tons of people dressed as robots and a a live DJ playing a set on the train. Skytrain cops were all good about it, the Straight sent a photographer, and good times were had by all.

Being one of the robots on the train myself, I concur. There were some hiccups with the plan, but overall, it went well, and I even managed to find a robot afterparty too. (Incidentally, this was why I didn’t show up till very late at the unveiling party of WorkSpace, which was on the same evening.) If you weren’t there yourself, perhaps the photos can give an feel for the fun of the event.

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.