Back to school means transit changes

The Tri-City News

By Diane Strandberg

University students will be the beneficiaries of expanded transit capacity in the Tri-Cities this fall, according to TransLink.

Simon Fraser University students can look forward to better service as the #143 Coquitlam Station to SFU will be roomier because articulated buses that can accommodate more students will be used on the route beginning Sept. 7.

A spokesperson for TransLink said the articulated buses have almost double the capacity of regular buses.

Meanwhile, Port Coquitlam commuters heading to Vancouver will see some change on the #160 PoCo Station/Vancouver route. This route had operated as a “local” service for some years, picking up and dropping off passengers at all stops along the route. But that made the trip slow and unreliable, so in response to customer demand, the #160 will, as of Sept. 7, only drop off passengers going into Vancouver and pick up passengers leaving Vancouver.

SkyTrain customers, meanwhile, will see more 4-car Mark II trains, as more cars from the “new generation” Mark II series will arrive between now and the start of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. These longer trains — along with the use of six-car Mark I trains — will help reduce waiting times on platforms by taking more passengers in a single trip.

For more information on these and other service adjustments effective Sept. 7, visit http://www.translink.ca or call Customer Information, 604-953-3333.

BE PREPARED

TransLink offers the following tips for getting around more easily after Sept. 7 when buses and SkyTrain are expected to be busy.

• Travel outside the peak times, if at all possible. If your job doesn’t require you to be on-site during the traditional 9-to-5 (or 8:30-to-4:30) period, talk to your boss about an earlier or later start to your workday, and leave the “crush hour” for the people who need to be at work at a particular time (a good warm-up for the Olympic Transportation Plan).

• If your trip involves a connection between the bus and Canada Line, take some time and study the route maps and revised bus bay assignments. Even though integration with bus services doesn’t take effect until Sept. 7, that information is now available online at http://www.translink.ca. With the resources there, including TransLink’s Trip Planner, you can plan the trip that’s right for you.

• Look into options such as tele-work and ride-sharing (also on the TransLink website).

• Schedule errands such as shopping, entertainment and appointments for outside the peak periods of 6 to 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.

• Buy a monthly FareCard: They offer substantial discounts over regular cash fares, are tax-deductible and you don’t have to worry about being caught without a proof of payment in a Fare Paid Zone

As well, TransLink urges people to remember basic transit etiquette:

• Stand back from train doors to allow incoming passengers to get off first.

• Leave seats nearest the doors for the elderly or disabled.

dstrandberg@tricitynews.com

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