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Transit in Vancouver: Questions and Answers

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16 minutes ago, V3112 said:

Were these just exhibitions for experimental/research technologies kind of like the "testing the power of tomorrow"/H40LF/fuel cell LFS projects? Or, was it that TransLink really did want to replace the suburban 40' and 60' fleet, and were exploring various pilot buses before settling on Xcelsiors (hybrid-electric XDE60s for the articulated fleet, regular diesel XD40s for Richmond, XN40s for the Northeast Sector and Burnaby/New West)?

I think the rumours say they are going for Novas this order. Just rumours though.

 

17 minutes ago, V3112 said:

Furthermore, is TransLink intending on buying more battery electric buses (no having to deal with trolley poles!) like how King County Metro is buying dozens of Proterras, or more double decker buses like Community Transit? Or was the BYD K9 pilot/will the Dennis Enviro500 pilot be a one-off thing?

TransLink is intending to buy more, and the K9/XE40/LFS-E pilots will be finding the best one.

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I notice that the 1995, 1996, 1998 and 1999 D40LFs were retrofitted with LED headlights about 3–4 years ago, but the 2000 and 2001 D40LFs, Orion Vs and D60LFs weren't retrofitted with LED headlights. The 2000 and 2001 D40LFs, Orion Vs and D60LFs all use the same headlights as the 1995, 1996, 1998 and 1999 D40LFs before they were retrofitted with LED headlights. Does anyone here know why they weren't retrofitted with LED headlights?

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10 minutes ago, Dr. BusFreak said:

I notice that the 1995, 1996, 1998 and 1999 D40LFs were retrofitted with LED headlights about 3–4 years ago, but the 2000 and 2001 D40LFs, Orion Vs and D60LFs weren't retrofitted with LED headlights. The 2000 and 2001 D40LFs, Orion Vs and D60LFs all use the same headlights as the 1995, 1996, 1998 and 1999 D40LFs before they were retrofitted with LED headlights. Does anyone here know why?

I've noticed the same with the '95, '96, '98 & '99 D40LF's. Around the same time period Campbell River Transit did the same thing with their '98 D40 LF's

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I find myself somewhat curious about the history of Scott Road Station, particularly the large layover area for buses that I don't think I've ever seen used - operators seem to just lay over in the large number of unused bays on the north side of the station. I'm not sure if 1) the station used to be the terminus for more routes but has since become less used, or 2) the station was designed with more service in mind, but that hasn't happened just yet. From the wiki I know the station was a major terminus from 1990-1994, when Surrey Central opened (which would suggest the first option) but it also says the loop was upgraded in 2014 which to me suggests the second option is also a possibility, especially with plans for a B-line along Scott Road and a route to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal, both of which would likely increase the number of required bays and layover space. If anyone knows something about its history, I would be interested :)

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2 hours ago, ThatBusGuy said:

I find myself somewhat curious about the history of Scott Road Station, particularly the large layover area for buses that I don't think I've ever seen used - operators seem to just lay over in the large number of unused bays on the north side of the station. I'm not sure if 1) the station used to be the terminus for more routes but has since become less used, or 2) the station was designed with more service in mind, but that hasn't happened just yet. From the wiki I know the station was a major terminus from 1990-1994, when Surrey Central opened (which would suggest the first option) but it also says the loop was upgraded in 2014 which to me suggests the second option is also a possibility, especially with plans for a B-line along Scott Road and a route to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal, both of which would likely increase the number of required bays and layover space. If anyone knows something about its history, I would be interested :)

The loop upgrade was mostly the shelters and boarding pads I believe, along with the revamped station entrances, which are part of the station renewals program that also retrofitted this station for faregates. Some of the facilities are probably built with the future Scott Rd B-Line in mind.

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I know nothing about Surrey, but little about bus routes - however - Scott Road was the end of the SkyTrain line for four years or so. No doubt that more buses  were serving the loop?

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I mentioned this question before in a facebook groupchat, but hypothetically lets say if the Skytrain bridge connecting New West and Surrey randomly collapsed ... How much of an impact would it affect transit users and what sorts of actions would Translink do to keep a steady transit connection between the NoF and SoF communities. 

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2 hours ago, Ninja Bus Fan said:

I mentioned this question before in a facebook groupchat, but hypothetically lets say if the Skytrain bridge connecting New West and Surrey randomly collapsed ... How much of an impact would it affect transit users and what sorts of actions would Translink do to keep a steady transit connection between the NoF and SoF communities. 

There is a significant number of Compass entries and exits from SoF stations on the Expo. Now suppose that the Skybridge collapses, you have numerous Skytrain users having to resort to an alternate mode of crossing. Possibly a bus bridge, but many questions arise, such as the sustainability of this method. Many variables come into mind affecting the ease of operation of a major bus bridge, such as fleet capacity, personnel, timeliness, congestion on arterials/crossings during rush hour, etc. Let alone having the need to support an augmented amount of crossings with the current state of our road network (lol). Transit users may resort to alternate crossings such as the supposed bus bridge, 340 or the 555, though the two latter alternatives seem somewhat/too out of the way for a number of users to possibly consider. This could push users to drive instead, though numerous others have no other choice but to commute using public transit.

However, with more travelers choosing to drive, this contributes to the already present congestion we see on a regular basis on the PMB, AFB, and the Pattullo. The Pattullo saw an average of 75,000 to 80,000 total crossings on a weekday- November 2016. The Alex Fraser saw an annual average of 115,829 crossings in 2016. And in September of 2017, the Port Mann saw 153,700 average crossings, up from 133,200 the month before, prior to toll removal. Maybe our crossings could handle more volume, although congested? Maybe the impact on travel times would not be too noticeable? Habits will change out of this hypothetical ordeal, with travelers changing their routines, employment, or mode of transportation. Data is beautiful, but this all boils down to many, many different factors. This only opens it up for further discussion- I cannot state with certainty that it will be business as usual with an inconvenience, or the opposite.

There are a number of studies that come to mind when it comes to a collapse of a bridge- specifically the I-35W Mississippi River Bridge, where the DOT released material on the economic impact of the collapse. This leads to further contemplation if something were to happen in the Lower Mainland- with our region being connected by numerous crossings, how would we cope if we lost one?

I appreciate your post, thanks for the read/research.

Compass data (2016 TSPR). Pattullo Bridge (TransLink 2016), AFB (BCMoT 2016), PMB (TICorp 2017), Traffic Statistics. I-35W Bridge Collapse Impact (MnDOT).

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22 hours ago, Ninja Bus Fan said:

I mentioned this question before in a facebook groupchat, but hypothetically lets say if the Skytrain bridge connecting New West and Surrey randomly collapsed ... How much of an impact would it affect transit users and what sorts of actions would Translink do to keep a steady transit connection between the NoF and SoF communities. 

I do somewhat agree with @Mountie that the 340 and 555 would increase frequency to alleviate some capacity, but also I can see the 388 going to a frequent all-day express/B-line route as well which would likely serve more people than the 340 and 555 due to closer proximity to the current Skytrain stations. 

If just the bridge collapsed, and the track was fine between stations in Surrey, I would keep shuttle trains running in Surrey to allow for local service still. However, If the Skybridge collapsed, I would not trust the Patullo at all (at least until it is replaced) due to the super sketchy condition already, not to mention the bridge right next to it collapsing and wanting to run tons of heavy buses across it. That would make me think a bus bridge from Scott Rd to 22nd or Edmonds via the SFPR and Alex Fraser/Queensborough would be likely. That could even be set-up as just an extension of the 319 due to the already relatively decent frequency, although more buses just for the bridging portion would be needed still.

In the short to medium term, I would definitely think a gondola from New West to Scott Rd (if the track in Surrey is fine still) or Surrey Central via Scott Rd would be built. Gondolas, depending on the type, can go from idea to being operational in 6-12 months (maybe even less?), as long as the political expediency is there. This would be by far the fastest way to get new fixed transit crossing operational across the river again, and have sufficient capacity to replace the Skybridge (excluding using the existing Westminster rail bridge, as noted below). 

A funitel or monocable gondola (MDG) setup could carry up to ~4500 pphpd and would likely be the fastest systems to build, while a 3S could carry 8000+ pphpd, but may take longer due to larger and more complex, albeit fewer,  towers being required. With any set-up, the frequency would be every 10-30 seconds, carrying up to 40 people per car with the 3S, 30 with the funitel, and 15 with the MDG. Any of these options would be able to replace the capacity used on the Skybridge currently, although funitel and MDG would be close to max capacity during rush hour, while a 3S would have plenty of capacity even during peak periods.

Such a gondola system would likely remain in place until a new rail bridge can be built, after an analysis of the collapse was done and the cause was determined. I could even remain in place after a new bridge was built, if there was enough support for it, or disassembled and moved to a different location.

One last alternate option would be using existing freight tracks from New West across the Westminster rail bridge to Scott Rd Station (or even Newton or Langley via SRY) for passenger service, but that would require all freight trains during the day to use the the CP rail bridge over the Pitt River via the rail bridge by Mission for CN and BNSF trains. Freight trains could theoretically still use the Westminster rail bridge at night when passenger service is not running.  Some trains could also run to Pacific Central Station via Braid Station and the Grandview Cut, allowing to express service to downtown Vancouver. 

 

As for impact on users, initially there would be a massive impact until buses were extended across the Fraser. Even then, it would probably be a worse situation for most people and some would find alternate means. Once a fixed crossing whether it was a gondola or using the existing rail bridge was opened, there would still be a definite change from the Skybridge, but overall, I don't think it would bring people close to "normal" again for how they use transit, although that "normal" would be slightly shifted due to the new short-medium term fixed link using different routes than Skytrain.

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Unfortunately in this scenario, I don't believe the Skytrain could operate from Scott Rd to King George without a connection to control at the Edmonds yard.  Unless they could set up a temporary control center which I'm not sure is even possible or somehow run a communication wire across one of the bridges to the track that is stable.  Power would probably not be an issue since there is a power building (not sure of actual name) at gateway.  They would just have to terminate the track between Scott Rd Stn and the collapsed track.

One could argue the Evergreen Line being tested in Coquitlam before the tunnel was complete, but for that I believe they had run temporary communication cables through the tunnel to do the testing.

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2 hours ago, greenturnedblue said:

Occasionally I see a train coming in to the secondary platform at lafarge lake douglas. usually the trains come in to and leave the primary platform. Why would would some trains use the secondary platform?

Secondary Platform? Platform 3? All EB M Line trains go there AFAIK.

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49 minutes ago, buizelbus said:

Secondary Platform? Platform 3? All EB M Line trains go there AFAIK.

Probably the same reason why some trains at Waterfront take the wrong way in. IDK and IDC.

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1 hour ago, buizelbus said:

Secondary Platform? Platform 3? All EB M Line trains go there AFAIK.

Even though there is "platform 1 and platform 2" all trains go in to platform 1, open and close the doors, leave the station and switch into the tracks going the other way before the next train comes. So usually only one platform is ever used

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11 hours ago, greenturnedblue said:

Occasionally I see a train coming in to the secondary platform at lafarge lake douglas. usually the trains come in to and leave the primary platform. Why would would some trains use the secondary platform?

Maybe something similar to the "2 o'clock swap" on the Canada Line at Waterfront. Trains unload/load on the inbound platform until 2pm, then switch to the outbound platform for the rest of the day. Evens out the wear and tear on switches.

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On 1/29/2018 at 12:23 PM, greenturnedblue said:

Occasionally I see a train coming in to the secondary platform at lafarge lake douglas. usually the trains come in to and leave the primary platform. Why would would some trains use the secondary platform?

AFAIK the train would unload at platform 2, and then taken out of service.

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