Posted tagged ‘students’

Back to school means transit changes

September 6, 2009

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

Advertisements

McMaster, city to consult students and faculty over LRT station

September 3, 2009

Hamilton, Ontario

The Hamilton Spectator

Nicole Macintyre

McMaster University wants rapid transit coming to its campus — but where it stops is the big question.

The city sees tremendous benefits in locating a transit terminal in the heart of the university.

But Mac’s current campus plan protects its core for pedestrians and pushes transit to the perimeter.

Rather than locking horns, both sides have agreed to ongoing talks and consultation with students and faculty this fall.

“Working with Mac, we want to make sure we locate at the best spot,” said Jill Stephen, Hamilton’s director of strategic and environmental planning. “Mac is a key destination point.”

The city is still waiting to find out if Metrolinx will pick light rail or rapid buses for Hamilton. A decision is expected this fall.

West-end Councillor Brian McHattie said he fears if Mac insists on a location that isn’t supported by Metrolinx, it could jeopardize the project’s funding.

“Mac could be responsible for the whole project being killed,” he said, noting his concerns are based on past precedent when the university asked that the city remove bus routes from campus after a disagreement over truck routes.

Downtown councillor Bob Bratina first raised the alarm about the potential clash with the university over rapid transit on his blog.

He’s since heard from the university and believes a compromise is possible. Though he would prefer to see the transit stop near the campus core, he’s open to a location on the edge, like the GO Transit terminal near Cootes Drive.

“I hope there’s still room for dialogue,” Bratina said, noting a prime location will increase ridership and boost the connection to downtown. “It’s an image issue.”

Vice-president Roger Trull said the university remains committed to rapid transit and finding the right spot for a terminal.

“Our plan is to work with the Metrolinx folks and the city to determine the best location.”

If there’s a strong case for changing its plan, Mac is open to the idea, said Trull, adding he’s confident they will find a solution that works for both.

Nicholas Kevlahan, co-founder of the citizens’ group Hamilton Light Rail and a Mac professor said he was initially worried but now feels discussions are going well.

“I don’t want things to get confrontational,” he said, noting a location on the edge of campus would still work as long as students aren’t forced to cross Main Street.

“We have the luxury of a compact campus, so no matter where they put it, it’s going to be a short walk.”

nmacintyre@thespec.com