Transport Action BC

2011, March 31

Lots of TransLink News

Filed under: Buses, city transit, Rapid Transit — Matthew @ 10:45 pm

New Smart Card

There’s lots happening at TransLink these days. Today they announced the name of their new smart-card, to be called Compass.  The smart card will go into service in 2013, after construction at stations, system installation, a pilot project phase.

Compass card image

The look of the new smart card for TransLink.

The main benefits of the new smart card system, according to TransLink are:

  • reduce fare evasion because you won’t be allowed through the gate without the card. Will you be able to hop over the fare gates though?
  • fare gates are thought to be a visual and physical barrier to people trying to use the system without paying
  • the smart-card will allow TransLink to track the number of passengers using the system at any time, where and when allowing them to adjust service to meet the demand where and when it is needed.

To learn more about the smart cards see TransLink’s FAQ page.

The cost of system to set up is $171 million, $30 million from the BC government, and $40 million from the federal government.

UBC Rapid Transit Line

The public consultation goes into phase 2. Another round of open houses are being held for the Broadway-UBC rapid transit line. The list of possible designs show options for Bus Rapid Transit, two for Light Rail Transit, one for Rail Rapid Transit (SkyTrain), two combination options, and doing nothing (ie. the current system of buses with minor improvements.

Spring Service Changes

On April 18th , the spring service schedule goes into effect. Of particular note, is the reinstatement of trolley bus service on the Cambie St bridge. The 17 Oak bus, which was tied into the 17 UBC bus will be separated into its own service. The UBC bus becomes the 14 UBC / 14 Hastings. This should reduce confusion for people. Currently the 17 could be going to UBC or to Oak street while it is travelling south on Granville street. This PDF map shows the changes proposed for the 10, 14, and 17. Route 15 will no longer cross the Cambie bridge, but will be linked with the 50 False Creek South/Waterfront bus at Olympic Village station, see map here.

Not all the changes are positive thought, the 26 Joyce Stn/29th Ave Stn, 27 Joyce Stn/Kootenay Loop, and 29 Elliot/29th Ave. Stn, 110 Metrotown Stn/Lougheed Stn, will see their service drop from 30 min frequency to 60 min frequency after 10PM every day. The 101 Lougheed Stn/22nd St. Stn will be reduced to hourly after 8PM. There are many other examples of decreased frequency mainly on suburban routes in the evenings.

The rest of the changes are mainly seasonal in nature due to the end of the winter semester at most universities and colleges. These changes were driven by TransLink’s Service Optimization plan that aims to increase the productivity of the system by 2% by putting service where it is most needed and match service to the demand.  For a full list of April’s changes, go to TransLink’s service changes.


Yesterday’s speeds, today!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — Matthew @ 9:00 pm

A funny, but sadly very true, video from the Rick Mercer report.

2011, March 15

Amtrak Cascades trains cancelled by mudslides again

Filed under: Inter-city rail — Tags: , , , , — Matthew @ 11:27 pm

Yet again the Amtrak Cascades service between Vancouver and Seattle has been canceled due to a landslide along the track. This is the twentieth time this season! See below the picture for more information about this story.


Sign at Pacific Central says no trains.




2011, March 8

Current issue of Trains should be required reading

Filed under: high speed rail, Inter-city rail — Tags: , , , — Matthew @ 12:25 am

The April issue of Trains magazine has a special 48 page report on fast trains. It describes new high-speed trains in China, Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Europe, relative speed, why some Americans can’t seem to embrace high-speed rail, a map showing the highest speed portions of tracks in the USA (70 mph (112 km/h) is considered high-speed for Amtrak) and many other articles.

A special article on Amtrak Cascades describes how Washington state has grown their system slowly and steadily over the past 10 years by focusing on small incremental improvements to increase the average speed over time, instead of trying to focus on top speeds. It is frequency, reliability and comfort that will bring people back to the train, not absolute top speed.  This article especially should be required reading for folks at the BC Ministry of Transportation who are overly focused on roads.

Fraser Valley Rail – Two conflicting visions

Filed under: Inter-city bus, Inter-city rail, Studies — Tags: , , — Matthew @ 12:10 am

The latest issue of The Sandhouse (Vol 35, No. 4, Issue 140 – Winter 2010/11) which is the journal of the Canadian Railroad Historical Association, Pacific Coast Division has a good summary of the Fraser Valley transit studies, one done for the BC government, the Fraser Valley Regional District, BC Transit and TransLink. The other study was sponsored by the group Rail for the Valley.

The article titled Visions of Fraser Valley rail collide in two studies: by Ian Smith. The first paragraph states:

Duelling visions of the future of rail transit in the Fraser Valley have emerged in two recent studies. One is decidely lukewarm on the prospects for rail even over an extended period, while the other proposes that work should start as soon as possible.

The eight page article describes both studies in depth and is well worth reading. Rail for the Valley is a group of people that want to see the old BC Electric Railway right of way, that is currently used for freight only, restored for passenger use. A major bottleneck would be the single track portion of the line in Langley between Cloverdale and the intersection of Highway 1 and Highway 10. This portion currently sees up to 18 coal trains and 12 container trains from CN and CP as well as trains of the short line operator Southern Railway of BC.

The Sandhouse is not widely distributed, I couldn’t find a current website for the group, but copies of the Sandhouse are available at Central Hobbies in Vancouver, and Kelly’s Kaboose in Kamloops.

For more information:

2011, March 6

Next Meeting Mar 14th

Filed under: Announcement — Matthew @ 1:33 pm

The next meeting will be Monday March 14th at 7pm. We don’t have our usual meeting place at the Firehall library, so please contact us if you want to attend the meeting.

Transport Action BC will also be attending Western Rails – Canada’s Largest Railroadiana Show on Sunday March 20th at Cameron Centre in Burnaby. It will be from 9AM to 4PM, the location is just to the north of Lougheed Mall, easily accessible from the Lougheed SkyTrain station.

Victoria double deck transit bus

Victoria double deck transit bus at UVic exchange.



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