September 3, 2019

Art and Improvements at Joyce-Collingwood Station

Bob Ransford got it right: the public art piece – ‘Off Centre’ by artist Renee Van Halm – is at the Joyce-Collingwood Station.

It’s a small but colourful piece of the just-completed station upgrade funded in the blandly named TransLink Maintenance and Repair Program – a $200 million program of 70 projects that have been rolling out since 2016.

As these small and large improvements continue, it feels like a golden age of renewal for TransLink, reflected not only in physical changes but also in additional capacity and ease of use.  Like these, as reported in The Sun:

On Tuesday, 24 new Skytrain cars will increase capacity by five per cent on Expo Line and nine per cent on the Millennium Line during peak periods.

As well, commuters can expect more frequency on 12 key bus routes with the addition of 40,000 service hours. On Seabus, sailings are being increased to every 10 minutes during peak periods. …

The regional transportation authority has implemented a new artificial intelligence algorithm that improved the accuracy of bus departure estimates by 74 per cent during a pilot project.

It can even seem excessive:

When headways are every two minutes on a Sunday afternoon, passengers don’t really need a schedule.  But hey, it shows they care.

Let’s remember this as we reflect back on the 2015 referendum – a totally cynical move by the BC Liberals, which delayed the inevitable funding and cost millions, only serving to demonstrate how easy it is to trash government if you make the price visible.  The Liberals have barely acknowledged (and never apologized) for imposing that referendum on the region.

The least they could do now is to recognize how TransLink has improved, helped shape the region, and is more necessary than ever.

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  1. An independent review of transit operations in Canada using 2015 data (the year of the referendum) found TransLink to be the most efficient operation in the country and was second to Montreal in overall scores as the best in the country. TransLink never was broken.

  2. Gordon,

    I recognized this wonderful public art installation because, in my daily commute, I often stop and transfer at Joyce Station. The fact that public transit is today my main transportation mode is a testament to how much our mass public transit system and its supporting transportation elements have improved in recent years. I was a lifelong driver until about three and a half years ago, living deep in the suburbs (Steveston) and commuting to my office as a single occupant of my car (to downtown Vancouver and then Surrey City Centre). I realized that I didn’t need to own a car any longer when I looked at the multiple transit connections terminating in Steveston and connecting me to the Canada Line, all across Richmond and throughout the region. I became fully auto-liberated and would never want to own a car again. I use Modo and Evo, at most for a few hours, a month. I walk a lot more– thankfully for my health. I have fewer worries, less expenses and I interact with a diverse cross-section of people every day as I commute by bus and SkyTrain between my home in Steveston and my office next door to New Westminster Station. Translink is getting better and better every day serving the needs of its customers!

  3. Having every-2-minute info may seem excessive but as a user of systems all over the world, that kind of information instantly conveys not just when the trains or busses are coming but also what the typical gaps are so that I know I’m on a frequently served line, not just a line with something coming two minutes from now and maybe not for an hour.

  4. For me, the 2015 transit referendum was a breaking straw of similar magnitude to the 1990’s fast ferry fiasco. Sometimes governments screw up so badly that you really have no choice but to turf them out on their heels…

  5. I am currently in Paris. The two minute headway is at par or better than several Metro lines. In addition, the rickety old lines (#10, #8, #12) make SkyTrain and the Canada Line seem space age. This was really driven home yesterday when our very hot and crowded Line 8 train lost power in the tunnel directly below the Seine for 10 minutes. My immediate thought was of the NYC blackout years ago, and that we may have to walk in the tunnel to the Invalides station under emergency lighting only. There were lots of jokes in French and the occasional “Merde” as the windows steamed up from the evaporating sweat of several hundred bodies.

    The only thing we experienced that can compare to Vancouver’s quality is the newer RER B. Even that system had issues on our first day in town. We intended to transfer to RER C at Saint Michel Notre Dame station only to learn that several sections in the city core were shut down for maintenance for two weeks, with a couple of other stations (yes, ours) shut down until year’s end for accessibility upgrades. Laden with bags we lost 45 minutes scrambling to figure out alternative Metro lines, and learned that the rumour about the French being poor with wayfinding and signage was true.

    Having said all that, there is no better way to get around great cities like Paris and London (which too has some decrepit older lines like Bakerloo and Northern), except if your destination is reachable by shoe leather. I have a new appreciation for TransLink’s abilities given all the constraints it was placed under by politicians, and will have a renewed sense of appreciation for Vancouver’s system and the upcoming Broadway subway.

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