Translink

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TransLink Logo-a.png
Overview
Formed January 1, 1998
Preceding agency BC Transit
Vancouver Regional Transit System
Jurisdiction Metro Vancouver
Headquarters 400–287 Nelson's Court,
New Westminster, BC
V3L 0E7
Adminstration
Executive Kevin Desmond, CEO
Minster responsible Selina Robinson,
Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Governance Mayors' Council
TransLink Board of Directors

TransLink, officially the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority, is the statutory authority responsible for transportation planning and management in Metro Vancouver, British Columbia. The organization's responsibilities include public transit, major roads, and bridges.

Transit Service

Buses

Main article: Coast Mountain Bus Company & West Vancouver Municipal Transit

Most buses in Metro Vancouver are operated by Coast Mountain Bus Company, an operating subsidiary of TransLink. Coast Mountain Bus Company's fleet consists of a variety of diesel and natural gas buses, in addition to Canada's only electric trolley bus fleet, which operates primarily in the City of Vancouver. In the District of West Vancouver, service is operated by West Vancouver Blue Bus, also known as "Blue Bus." Schedules, fares and route planning are done by TransLink.

SkyTrain

Main article: SkyTrain

SkyTrain is an automated light rail system that runs mostly on an elevated guideway. The first SkyTrain line, which later was named the Expo Line, commenced service in 1985, connecting Vancouver, Burnaby and New Westminster, before extending further to Surrey. The system was expanded once again with the Millennium Line in 2002, linking New Westminster with northern Burnaby and Vancouver. The Evergreen Extension, opened in 2016, extended the Millennium Line into Port Moody and Coquitlam.

The Canada Line opened in 2009, connecting downtown Vancouver with Richmond and the airport.

The Expo and Millennium lines are operated by British Columbia Rapid Transit Company Ltd., a subsidiary of TransLink. The Canada Line is operated by ProTransBC.

SeaBus

Main article: SeaBus

Connecting North Vancouver and Vancouver, the SeaBus is a passenger ferry service across Burrard Inlet.

West Coast Express

Main article: West Coast Express

The West Coast Express is a commuter railway connecting downtown Vancouver at Waterfront Station with various communities, terminating in Mission City in the Fraser Valley.

HandyDART

Main article: HandyDART

HandyDART is an accessible door-to-door transit service in British Columbia. The Metro Vancouver operations are under TransLink, while the rest of the province is under BC Transit. Operations are contracted to MVT Canadian Bus Inc. since 2009.

Road Network

In partnership with municipalities in Metro Vancouver, TransLink plans the Major Road Network and contributes funding for on-going operation, maintenance and rehabilitation of the Major Road Network.

TransLink also owns and maintains four bridges across Metro Vancouver.

Golden Ears Bridge

Opened on June 16, 2009, the Golden Ears Bridge links Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge with Langley across the Fraser River. The bridge replaced the Albion Ferry, a free vehicular ferry service linking Maple Ridge and Fort Langley.

The bridge was the first in Metro Vancouver to have an automated electronic toll system, which collected car information through a series of camera systems. The tolling system also had the option of having drivers opening a tolling account and receiving a transponder, which detected the vehicle and its registered account and billing a discounted rate to the user, who can pay easier than a non-registered user. However, the tolling system was not without controversy. The detection system billed the wrong users as the system at times misread licence plates or billed incorrect individuals with the same plate numbers from different provinces and states.

The bridge is financed as a Public Private Partnership and will be operated by a private consortium until June 2041.

As of September 1, 2017, tolls were removed.

Knight Street Bridge

Opened in 1974, the Knight Street Bridge is a cantilever bridge spanning across the Fraser River, connecting Vancouver and Richmond via Mitchell Island. The total length of the bridge is approximately 1440 metres. Since 1999, TransLink has been responsible for the bridge and a portion of Knight Street in Richmond up until the Highway 91 interchange.

Pattullo Bridge

The Pattullo Bridge connects New Westminster and Surrey across the Fraser River and is a key link between the South of Fraser municipalities with Metro Vancouver. Opened on November 15, 1937, it was the second crossing over the Fraser River, replacing another bridge, now known as the New Westminster Rail Bridge.

Due to its narrow design, there is no barrier dividing traffic, making the bridge prone to head-on collisions. To keep the bridge operational, rehabilitation work took place in 2016 on most nights, with full bridge closures on select days.

As the bridge has been deemed seismically unsound, with a high risk of collapse in the event of an earthquake or high winds, a new 4-lane bridge replacement was announced by the Mayors' Council in 2014. However, funding has yet to be secured, with construction being expected to begin in 2019.

TransLink took responsibility of the bridge in 1999.

Westham Island Bridge

Crossing over Canoe Pass in the Fraser River Estuary, the Westham Island Bridge is a single-lane, wood-deck truss bridge connecting Ladner with Westham Island. Opened in 1912, the crossing is approximately 325 metres in length and opens up to marine traffic upon request. Prior to the installation of an electrical swing motor, the bridge was manually opened by lifting a steel plate on the deck and inserting a bar into a lever to swing the bridge open.

TransLink took responsibility of the bridge in 1999.

Cycling

TransLink allocates funding to municipalities for cycling improvements. In addition, TransLink owns and maintains two urban trails. At most stations and bus exchanges, TransLink provides bike lockers available for rental and at select SkyTrain stations, secure parking for bicycles payable with Compass.

BC Parkway

Opened in conjunction with the Expo Line, BC Parkway is a multi-use path that roughly parallels the Expo Line, connecting Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster and Surrey.

Central Valley Greenway

Opened in June 2009 after approximately six years of development, the Central Valley Greenway is a multi-use path that connects Vancouver, Burnaby and New Westminster, roughly paralleling the Millennium Line.

Bike Lockers

TransLink Bike Locker bullet-b.png
At most SkyTrain stations and major bus exchanges, bike lockers are available for rental. Bike lockers can be rented for $10 per month on top of a $50 refundable deposit for a key for a minimum 3-month rental period. Rentals are made through C-Media on behalf of TransLink and rentals at West Coast Express stations are made through West Coast Express. Bike lockers are for bicycles and related gear only, with Transit Security occasionally checking locker contents to ensure the policy is followed.

The following SkyTrain stations have bike lockers:

The following bus exchanges have bike lockers:

All West Coast Express stations except Waterfront has bike lockers.

Bike Parkades

TransLink Bike Parkade bullet-b.png
Initially introduced at Main Street–Science World as part of the station upgrades. Now available at multiple SkyTrain stations, Bike Parkades are indoor facilities for registered users to park their bikes, with multiple bike racks available for use. The facilities are glass-walled and lit for 24 hours. Closed circuit television systems are in use to monitor the Bike Parkades. The facilities are secure and convenient, with access available 7 days a week, costing $1 per day, capping at $8 per month. Users can enroll in the program by signing up with their Compass Card, which they will use to access and pay for the Bike Parkade. Prior to the introduction to Compass, users were given an RFID card for access.

The following stations have Bike Parkades:

The following stations will have Bike Parkades in the future. The expansion of Bike Parkades also calls for facilities at bus loops and some West Coast Express stations:

Service Area

TransLink provides service in all 21 municipalities that make up Metro Vancouver (the former Greater Vancouver area). These are: Anmore, Belcarra, Bowen Island, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Delta, City of Langley, Township of Langley, Lions Bay, Maple Ridge, New Westminster, City of North Vancouver, District of North Vancouver, Pitt Meadows, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Richmond, Surrey, Vancouver, West Vancouver, and White Rock.

Fares

TransLink and its operating subsidiaries operate under a fare-zone structure. With the exception of daily, monthly, or annual passes, fares are valid for any direction of travel up to 90 minutes, including connections. All fares must be valid while on a TransLink vehicle - those without a proper fare are subject to a $173 fine.

Age categories for fares:

Category Eligibility
Adult
  • 14–64 years of age
Concession
  • Children 5–13 years of age
  • Youth 14–18 years of age with valid photo identification proving age
  • HandyCard holders
  • Seniors 65 years of age and older

Children under 5 years of age ride free when accompanied by an adult (maximum 4 children per adult). Different fares apply for West Coast Express.

Compass Card variants in orange (Concession) and light blue (adult)

Traditional Fare System

As of February 2016, vendors have stopped selling traditional products in favour of the Compass Card. Riders who wish to turn paper products into Compass products may do so at the offices at Stadium–Chinatown Station on weekdays from 7am-5pm.

Cash Fares

Peak hours are normal weekdays from the start of service until 6:30pm. All Compass fare gates are now closed, and any transfer from bus to SkyTrain or SeaBus is invalid. However, any transfer from SkyTrain or SeaBus to Bus will be valid. Thus, one is now unable to purchase a multi-zone ticket from a bus.

Passengers are encouraged to learn how to use the Compass Card instead in order to benefit from savings. Passengers are also warned not to use cash fares purchased from a bus as all gates are now closed [1]. As mentioned above, tickets purchased from a bus are not transferable to the SkyTrain (which defeats the purpose of multi-zone cash fares on buses).

Bus Only travel*

Zones Adult Concession
Any $2.95 $1.90

Regular Fares**

Adult Concession
1 Zone $2.95 $1.90
2 Zone $4.20 $2.90
3 Zone $5.70 $3.90

Discount Fares**

Adult Concession
1/2/3 Zones $2.95 $1.90

Regular fares are in effect Monday to Friday until 6:30pm and discount fares are in effect Monday to Friday after 6:30pm and all day weekends/holidays.

* Not valid for SkyTrain or SeaBus transfers
** Multi-zone purchases available only from Compass Ticket Vending Machines and are valid for multi-mode transfers

Tap to Pay

Starting May 22, 2018, card readers began accepting contactless Visa and Mastercard credit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay. Fares charged are regular Adult fares with the same transfer times. Like Compass Cards, only one card per passenger as card sharing is not allowed. Passengers are asked to avoid card clash by keeping the card they want to use separate from other credit cards and Compass Cards while tapping and to use the same card throughout their journey until their 90 minute transfer window is up.

Unlike Compass Cards, a balance is not provided to the card user immediately as the system debits and credits a Three Zone fare. The amount charged will instead show up on the users' card bills.

Potentially in the future, debit cards may be accepted on card readers.

Compass Card

TransLink Compass logo-a.png

The Compass Card is a stored value smart card used for payment of public transport fares in Metro Vancouver. Testing began in 2012 and starting summer 2015, university students enrolled in the U-Pass BC program, members of the Canadian National Institute of the Blind, West Coast Express riders and those on welfare programs have successfully transitioned.

Overview

Like all other tap-and-pay systems around the world, one must pay a deposit when obtaining their card.

Compass Card
with Deposit
Price
Adult and
Concession
$6.00

One can obtain a Compass Card through one of these methods.

  • Compass Vending Machines (Adult cards only)
  • 18 London Drugs locations [2]
  • Compass Customer Service Centre (Stadium–Chinatown Station, open 7:30am-5:00pm weekdays)
  • West Coast Express offices (Waterfront Station, open 6:45am-6:00pm weekdays)
  • Customer Service phone line
  • Compass website[3]
  • Traditional FareDealers (Initial deposit or cards preloaded with $10)

Upon purchasing the card, users will need to register their card at the website for the following benefits:

  • AutoLoad (for monthly pass users or Stored Value to top up when balance reaches below $5)
  • Balance protection & history for tax benefits

Stored Value

Metro Vancouver is divided into three zones.

Trips paid for using stored value have the same value as the current FareSavers. One can purchase the following using stored value.

  • DayPasses
  • Compass paper tickets (Useful when travelling with others who do not have the Compass Card)
  • Exit Tickets (If said user loses their ticket or has stayed on the SkyTrain network longer than 120 minutes)
  • AddFares

Regular Fares

Adult Concession
1 Zone $2.30 $1.85
2 Zone $3.35 $2.85
3 Zone $4.40 $3.85

Discount Fares

Adult Concession
1/2/3 Zones $2.30 $1.85

Regular Fares are in effect Monday to Friday until 6:30pm and Discount Fares are in effect Monday to Friday after 6:30pm and all day Saturday and Sunday/Holidays.

Monthly Passes

Despite the change to the fare structure on October 5, the value of all Monthly passes have not changed. However, one can still load these such products onto his or her card.

An update released on November 18, 2015 mentioned that the last month for people to buy a paper monthly pass is December. All monthly products transitioned to Compass Products as of January 2016.

Peak hours are normal weekdays from the start of service until 6:30pm.

Zones Adult Concession
1 $95.00 $54.00
2 $128.00 $54.00
3 $174.00 $54.00

DayPass

DayPasses are valid from the start of the service day to the end of the service day. Therefore, any transfer from a NightBus to a normal route on the following service day is not valid. Along with the paper FareSavers, the paper version of DayPasses have stopped selling at the end of January 2016. One can still load these products onto their Compass Card.

Zones Adult Concession
All $10.25 $8.00

Universal Pass

TransLink offers students at participating post-secondary institutions a separate fare category, known as "U-Pass BC." Loaded onto Compass Cards, students are able to access all types of transportation offered by TransLink, across zone boundaries. Students pay monthly, as part of their fees payable to their post-secondary institution. Enrollment in the U-Pass program is mandatory, though "a limited number of exemptions [is] set by each post-secondary institution and their respective student association." [4] Students must also carry their Student ID Card, which may serve as verification during fare inspections. U-Pass was previously offered as a separate product but fully transitioned to Compass Card in August 2013. Compass Cards must also have a stored value above or equal to $0 or the pass will not work.

There are ten post-secondary institutions that participate in the program:

  • University of British Columbia
  • Simon Fraser University
  • Capilano University
  • Langara College
  • Emily Carr University of Art & Design
  • Vancouver Community College
  • Douglas College
  • Kwantlen Polytechnic University
  • British Columbia Institute of Technology
  • Nicola Valley Institute of Technology

Limited Edition Compass Cards

From time to time, TransLink releases limited edition, limited release Compass Cards, available at select Compass Ticket Vending Machines and at the Compass Customer Service Centre and West Coast Express office. Limited edition cards cost the same as regular Compass Cards.

Year Fare Category Description
2016 Adult
  • 2016 Commemorative Edition for the completion of the Evergreen Extension
  • Green with an evergreen tree pattern background in place of the Compass symbol background
2017 Adult
  • Canada 150 commemorative edition
  • Canada 150 emblem in the centre with a white background and red Compass branding
2018 Adult
Concession
  • 2018 Remembrance Day in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War
  • Adult cards: Dark blue background with poppy illustration
  • Concession cards: Photo of poppy field at sunset

August 6, 2015 Announcement

On August 6, 2015, TransLink decided to start distributing Compass Cards to the general public. They also announced the temporary elimination the current zone fare structure. As of October 5, both adult and concession categories have been paying a single zone 90-minute fare for strictly bus service. [5] However, one can transfer from SkyTrain to bus using the same paper ticket, as long as the trip originated on SkyTrain. It was also announced that passengers will not need to tap out of the system when exiting a bus, except on the SeaBus, West Coast Express and SkyTrain.

March 9, 2018 – Tap to Pay

TransLink released the "Tap to Pay – Tap your card, not your wallet" ad campaign to educate riders to tap only their Compass Card and not their wallet before rolling out contactless and mobile payment options at fare gates and card readers. This public awareness campaign was to ensure users would not create a card clash when tapping multiple cards at once. On April 23, TransLink announced that the Tap to Pay program will go live on May 22.

December 3, 2018 – Compass Wearables

On December 3, 2018, TransLink introduced Compass Wristbands (officially Compass Wearables), which function the same as Compass Cards. 1000 Adult and 1000 Concession Wristbands were available to the public as part of the product's soft launch and were available at the Compass Customer Service Centre and West Coast Express office at the cost of $6 per Wristband as a deposit fee, the same as a standard Compass Card. The Wristbands sold out in two hours and the next batch is expected to arrive in February 2019.

Transit Police

The Metro Vancouver Transit Police, or formally the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Police Service, is the police force for TransLink services. The Metro Vancouver Transit Police is the only police force in Canada solely dedicated to transit. Officer have the same authorities and powers as other police officers and are sworn in as provincial constables with full police powers throughout British Columbia. Despite their focus on primarily protecting transit property, employees, passengers and fare revenue, Metro Vancouver Transit Police officers also enforce the Criminal Code of Canada and any other federal, provincial, or municipal law both inside and outside of transit property.

Established in 2005, the Metro Vancouver Transit Police replaced the former TransLink Security Special Constables, which formed in 1999 to replace the BC Transit Security Special Constables. The Special Constables did not carry firearms nor have much power and authority, requiring the need to contact the Vancouver Police Department for database searches and checks. Authority was also limited to transit property, so any crimes directly outside transit property was out of jurisdiction.

Transit Security

Coast Mountain Bus Company's Transit Security officers inspect fares and patrol transit property, particularly buses, bus loops and SeaBus terminals. Transit Security is also responsible for the security camera systems on buses.

Future Projects

Presently, there are three projects in consideration, depending on funding:

  • Millennium Line Broadway Extension
  • Surrey Light Rail
  • Pattullo Bridge replacement

Broadway Extension

Main article: Broadway Extension

With construction starting as early as 2019 depending on funding, the Millennium Line Broadway Extension will be elevated from VCC–Clark along Great Northern Way, where it will go underground and along Broadway. Currently, the stations will be located at:

  • Great Northern Way & Thornton Street
  • E. Broadway & Main Street
  • Broadway–City Hall
  • W. Broadway & Oak Street
  • W. Broadway & Granville Street
  • W. Broadway & Arbutus Street

At the moment, the extension is planned to be open as early as 2025.

The second phase calls for an extension from Arbutus to UBC, opening as early as 2028, with the University of British Columbia willing to commit funding for the extension to the university.

Pattullo Bridge Replacement

As the bridge has been deemed seismically unsound, with a high risk of collapse in the event of an earthquake or high winds, a new 4-lane bridge replacement was announced by the Mayors' Council in 2014. However, funding has yet to be secured, with construction being expected to begin in 2019.

Surrey LRT

Surrey LRT Surrey LRT Phase 1
Names Surrey–Newton–Guildford Line
L Line
Type Light rail transit
Status Cancellation pending
Number of stations 11
Cities serviced Surrey
Termini Guildford Exchange
Newton Exchange
Operations
Planned completion 2024
Owner TransLink
Operator TBD
Rolling stock TBD
Technical
Line length 11.0 km (6.8 mi)
Electrification Overhead

The Surrey Light Rail system was a planned and proposed 27-kilometre network split into two phases: the first to connect Newton with Guildford via Surrey Central and the second to Langley. The system was first proposed in 2012.

The first phase from Guildford to Newton was to replace the current 96 B-Line. The second phase and proposed phase was to connect Surrey City Centre with Fleetwood and Langley. The project gained some criticism regarding the expense of the project and the lack of travel time improvement.

On March 16, 2018, the provincial government approved the construction of the project with works slated to begin in 2019 and completed by 2024.

At the inaugural meeting of the new Surrey City Council on November 5, 2018 following a municipal election, the council voted to cancel the project in favour of a SkyTrain extension to Langley Centre. On November 15, 2018, the Mayors' Council voted to indefinitely suspend the light rail project, with the next steps to be determined in the December 2018 Mayors' Council meeting.

Phase 1: Surrey–Newton–Guildford Line

Related work has already commenced as part of the City of Surrey's Early Works project, which were funded by the federal Public Transit Infrastructure Fund. The works are:

  • 104 Avenue Feeder Watermain relocation
  • 104 Avenue Trunk Storm Sewer relocation
  • Bear Creek Bridge replacement
  • Various BC Hydro transmission infrastructure

Construction was slated to begin in 2019 and completed by 2024. The Surrey–Newton–Guildford Line, or the L Line as it is occasionally called, was to run along 104 Avenue from Guildford Exchange before turning south on City Parkway to Surrey Central, then onto 102 Avenue and south on King George Boulevard to Newton Exchange. The proposed stops were:

Details such as station names, line name, rolling stock, network identity, and operator were not been finalized nor announced prior to the project's pending cancellation.

Phase 2: Surrey–Langley Line

To be built after Phase 1, Phase 2 was a proposed network expansion to Langley, travelling along Fraser Highway.

History

  • 1999 - Vancouver Regional Transit System division of BC Transit separates to create the Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority.
  • 2005 - Transit Police force established.
  • 2007 - Name changed to South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority and this came with controversial reorganization.
  • 2015 - First Canadian transit referendum in modern times.

External links

References

  1. Testing all gates closed at Sperling–Burnaby Lake Station today, translink.ca, retrieved 04-02-2016
  2. London Drugs Compass Vending Machine Locations, translink.ca, retrieved 11-10-2015
  3. Compasscard.ca, CompassCard.ca, retrieved 11-10-2015
  4. https://www.translink.ca/en/Fares-and-Passes/U-Pass/U-Pass-FAQ.aspx
  5. Compass Project moves ahead this fall, translink.ca, retrieved 06-08-2015
TransLink Logo-a.png
Transit Services

Coast Mountain Bus Company Logo-a.png SkyTrain Logo-a.png SeaBus West Coast Express Branding Logo-a.png West Vancouver Transit HandyDART

Fare Information

Compass CardCash FaresFare StructureUniversal Pass (U-Pass)TransLink West Coast Express bullet-a.png West Coast Express Fares

Plans and Projects

Expo Line Expo Line Fraser Highway ExtensionMillennium Line Millennium Line Broadway ExtensionPattullo Bridge Replacement

Other Divisions

Cycling NetworkRoads and BridgesTransit Police