TransLink (legally the
South Coast British Columbia Transportation
Authority) is the organization responsible for the
regional transportation network of Metro Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada, including
public transport and major roads and bridges.
TransLink was created in 1998 (then called the Greater Vancouver
Transportation Authority, or GVTA) and fully implemented in April
1999 by the Government of British Columbia to replace BC Transit
in the Greater Vancouver Regional
District and assume many transportation responsibilities previously
held by the provincial government. TransLink is responsible for
various modes of transportation in the Metro Vancouver
its operations extend into the Fraser Valley
Regional District (FVRD).
On November 29, 2007, the province
of British Columbia approved legislation changing the governance
structure and official name of the organization.
Buses in Metro Vancouver are operated by two companies. Coast Mountain Bus Company
subsidiary of TransLink, operates regular transit buses—powered by
diesel or natural gas —in most of the region's municipalities and
primarily within the City
of Vancouver. The District Municipality of West Vancouver owns and operates the Blue Bus system serving West
Vancouver and Lions
The schedules, fares, and routes of these services
are integrated with other transit services operated by
City of Vancouver, buses generally run on a grid system, with most
trolley bus routes operating radially out of Downtown and along north-south arteries, and most diesel
buses providing east-west crosstown service (with the University of
British Columbia (UBC) as their western terminus).
city boundaries, most buses operate on a hub-and-spoke
system along feeder routes that
connect with SkyTrain
, or West Coast
, or on express bus routes that travel directly to
Downtown Vancouver or other regional centres.
One of the new fleet of trolley buses
introduced in 2006.
Two high-capacity, high-frequency B-Line
express routes use diesel articulated buses
, rounding out the regional
public transportation backbone provided by SkyTrain, SeaBus, and
West Coast Express.
trolley buses operate on major routes in
the City of Vancouver, with one route extending to neighbouring
Most trolley bus routes operate in a
north-south direction. Trolley buses receive electricity from a
network of overhead wires. In the fall of 2006, TransLink
introduced a new generation of electric trolley buses
, replacing the old models built in
the early 1980s. The new trolley buses have low floors, replacing
the old high-floor models, and are fully
routes are serviced with buses manufactured by New Flyer, a company based in Winnipeg.
Longer suburban routes use Orion
coaches with high-back seats and
luggage racks. In addition, TransLink is testing diesel-electric
hybrid buses and natural-gas buses, with an additional order of
natural-gas buses scheduled for delivery in mid-2006.
In late 2007, all TransLink buses became designated "fare paid
zones". Under this system a rider is required to retain a proof of
payment (transfer) while on board the bus and produce it upon
request by a transit official. On designated routes the larger
three-door buses allow passengers to board through rear doors. As
they are bypassing the driver and fare box they must have a
previously paid fare in their possession. All other buses still
require passengers to enter through the front door and display
valid fare media to the driver. Carrying proper fare is now the
responsibility of the rider. Fare inspections are conducted by the
South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Police
and by Transit Security. Failure to produce proof of
payment may result in ejection from the bus and a fine of
TransLink also operates a late-night bus service, called NightBus
, along a series of routes extending from
downtown throughout the city and to several suburbs
- See also: List of bus routes in
Metrotown in Burnaby is a high traffic
Originally completed in 1985 as a transit showcase for Expo 86
, the SkyTrain
automated rapid transit
system has become an important
part of the region's transportation network. The original Expo Line now operates from Downtown Vancouver through southern Burnaby, New
Westminster, and into
The system was further expanded upon opening of the Millennium Line
in 2002, which links eastern
New Westminster and northern Burnaby to Vancouver. The Millennium Line
was also expected to eventually branch north-east through Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam, but this proposal has since been given a separate
identity as the Evergreen
Canada Line, which opened on August 17,
2009, runs underground through Vancouver and then along an elevated
guideway with two branches, to Richmond and to Vancouver International
Airport respectively. While it meets the
other two lines at Waterfront Station in downtown Vancouver, it is operationally
independent and has no track connection to them.
The Expo Line and Millennium Line are operated by British Columbia
Rapid Transit Company Ltd., a subsidiary of TransLink. The Canada
Line is operated by ProTrans BC, a private concessionaire.
West Coast Express is a commuter railway connecting
downtown Vancouver to Metro Vancouver municipalities to the east
and terminating in Mission in the FVRD, north of the Fraser River.
It is operated by a
subsidiary of TransLink.
SeaBus is a passenger ferry service across Burrard Inlet between Vancouver and the North Shore municipalities
that is operated by Coast Mountain Bus Company and is integrated
with the transit system. The Albion ferry
was a free automobile ferry service between Langley Township and Maple Ridge across the Fraser River.
The ferry service
was retired when the Golden Ears Bridge opened, on June 16,
Below are the fare prices in Canadian
effective January 1, 2008:
All Transit Fare holders are permitted to unlimited transfer
throughout the amount of zones stated on the ticket withing a 90min
Concession fares apply to children aged 5–13, seniors aged 65+, and
high school students aged 14–19 with a valid student identification
card from a school in Metro Vancouver (known as a GoCard). Children
aged 4 and younger ride for free. Zone fares apply weekdays before
6:30 pm; during evenings and on weekends, passengers can
travel throughout the system on a one-zone fare. UBC, SFU, Langara, and Capilano
U students receive a U-Pass,
which is included in student fees and is valid across all three
These U-Pass programs are negotiated as a service
contract between Translink and an individual university or student
Failure to pay the fare is an offence under the Transit Conduct
and Safety Regulations
. Persons found without a valid fare are
served with a Provincial Violation Ticket of $173 ($150 statutory
fine and $23 Victims Surcharge). Fare inspections are conducted by
South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Police
and Transit Security. Fraudulent use of fares (using a
fake pass, using someone else's non-transferable pass, etc...)
could result in criminal charges against the offending
Beginning December, 2009, limited edition transit pass for the
2010 Winter Olympics
available for purchase. The pass will be valid for the entire
duration of the Olympics & Paralympics Game (February 8, 2010
to March 21, 2010).
In addition, an event ticket for the Games will give the holder
unlimited access to all of TransLink’s transit services for the day
of that event.
Transit Police Vehicle, with new black and white livery
TransLink replaced its Special Provincial Constables, which held
limited policing power, with the Greater Vancouver Transportation
Authority Police Service (now the
South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Police
, or SCBCTAPS), in December 2005. The move was not
without controversy, as some riders objected to armed officers
patrolling the system. A court case in which a woman was awarded
$52,000 for allegedly being beaten by a flashlight-wielding
officer, in an incident that occurred before the transition,
confirmed such fears for some. In contrast to the former TransLink
special constables, SCBCTAPS constables have full police
Coast Mountain Bus Company operates the security department,
commonly known as the Transit Security Department. Transit Security
are mobile, ride buses and trains, and patrol TransLink properties.
They work closely with the SCBCTAPS to ensure safety throughout the
transit network. Transit Security are authorized to arrest persons
committing criminal offences on or in relation to any TransLink
property, as per the Criminal
Code of Canada
. Transit Security are also authorized to enforce
Transit Conduct and Safety Regulations
pursuant to the
South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Act
and to enforce the Transit Tariff.
On November 14
, the Canadian government announced the approval of
$37 million for improvements to transit security across Canada,
including $9.8 million for the Vancouver area, although no details
have been released as to how this money will be spent. CCTV cameras
have started to appear on some Translink buses.
Shortly after its inception, the TransLink board of directors
approved replacement of the old colours of BC Transit with
TransLink's new blue and yellow colour scheme or livery
. It also created brands for the body's
different services, each with a different logo based on these
colours, with the exception of the West Coast Express
. The board decided
against changing the West Coast Express's purple colour to blue,
since purple and yellow create a premium brand differentiable from
TransLink's blue and yellow livery. Repainting of vehicles did not
incur any additional costs, as it was completed during regular
maintenance repaints or new vehicle purchases. At the time of
approval, TransLink estimated that it would take until the end of
2007 to convert the entire fleet to the new livery.
TransLink owns and maintains the Major Road Network, which
comprises most major regional arteries not owned by the provincial
government. It includes 2,200 lane-km of roadways and
Street Bridge, Pattullo
Bridge, Westham Island Bridge, and Golden Ears Bridge.
TransLink coordinates and funds major
capital projects on the Major Road Network. For minor projects,
TransLink contributes up to half of the costs of municipal capital
projects, up to the maximum funding allocated to each
TransLink allocates funding to each municipality for transit
improvements, such as transit priority signals, queue-jumping lanes
for buses, and bus lanes. TransLink contributes up to half of the
costs of municipal capital projects, up to the maximum funding
allocated to each municipality.
TransLink employs several engineers and planners who administer
various aspects of the bicycle program. TransLink has a good
working relationship with its many cycling stakeholders, such as
the VACC (Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition).
TransLink invests $6 million in cycling each year (as at 2007).
This money is spread across the various capital and operating
projects, some in cost-sharing programs which result in even more
investment in cycling each year.
A growing network of cycling paths exists throughout Metro
Vancouver. TransLink allocates funding to each municipality for
cycling improvements, such as bike paths, through a cost-sharing
program known as the Bicycle Infrastructure Capital Cost Sharing
Program (BICCS). TransLink contributes up to half of the costs of
municipal capital projects, up to the maximum funding allocated to
Cities are eligible to apply for a share of the available funding
each year. Most of the funding is allocated this way whilst some
funding is available in a competitive process called Regional
Needs. The funding process is overseen by the Bicycle Working Group
which comprises municipal bicycle representatives.
TransLink also produces a regional cycling map which is available
for sale or for free as a pdf on its website. Many municipalities
also produce their own local cycling maps which vary in style and
are distributed free of charge.
TransLink also supports many cycling related community initiatives
and events, particularly, "Bike Month", every June.
All modes of transit in Vancouver carry bicycles. Most buses
operated by TransLink have bike racks supplied by SportWorks. Bikes
are allowed on the SeaBus. Bikes are also allowed on SkyTrain,
except during weekday rush hours in the peak direction of travel
(inbound to Vancouver in the morning rush hour and outbound from
Vancouver in the evening rush hour).
During 2007, many of the new New
buses were unable to carry bikes after dark as the bike
rack design was incompatible with the placement of the headlights
on the new buses. After a winter of inconvenience, the bike racks
were redesigned to hold the bikes in a new position and refitted to
all new buses by March 2008.
TransLink also installs and maintains bicycle parking racks and
lockers at SkyTrain stations and transit interchanges through
is a regionally-mandated automobile
emissions program and is operated by a subsidiary of TransLink.
TransLink plans to phase out the program by 2011.
Although improvements have been made, wheelchair accessibility
remains a problem on parts of
the system. Accessibility issues will become particularly important
for the company with the hosting of the Paralympic Winter Games in 2010
Because of this, TransLink initiated the Access Transit Project
, whose final report was
completed in June 2007.
While most diesel buses are accessible by specially-designed lifts
, some stops are considered
inaccessible if there is deemed to be insufficient room to deploy
the lifts/ramps, and some trips on some routes are non-accessible
for various reasons. Occasional equipment problems have been an
issue as well.
In addition, some wheelchair users have complained that drivers
sometimes fail to board wheelchairs before other passengers, which
results in difficulties boarding, turning, and parking in the
designated wheelchair areas. There is only space for two
wheelchairs on each accessible bus, and the wheelchair area is also
used for walkers
and baby strollers
, however passengers in
wheelchairs have highest priority for these positions and lower
priority users (such as strollers) are required to vacate the space
as needed. Unfortunately, with the transit system in such high
demand, wheelchair users sometimes have to wait for several buses
to go by before they can board on popular routes during peak
New fareboxes introduced on all buses have been the subject of
complaints from many wheelchair users, since their size and
placement makes it difficult for users of certain types of chairs
or electric scooters
In August 2006, TransLink began replacing its entire fleet of
inaccessible electric trolley buses
trolley buses, 188 standard
12.2 m (40-foot) vehicles. In mid-2008, it introduced 40
articulated 18.3 m (60-foot) buses, reserved exclusively for
the #3 (Main) & #20 (Victoria) routes.
At the end of 2008, TransLink introduced voice announcement systems
on most buses to help those with vision impairments or those
unfamiliar with the region, as well as helping operators focus on
the road instead of doing the announcements manually. The
annunciators, the actual name of the announcement systems, call out
bus stops and other messages via a computer-generated voice which
is programmed to say the stops. The annunciators use GPS
technology installed on each bus to recognize what
bus stop names it needs to say and in which order. There are still
a few problems with the system however, such as audio quality and
While all SkyTrain vehicles are accessible (each older Mark I car
has one wheelchair-designated spot, and newer Mark II cars have
two), two SkyTrain stations are not fully accessible. The stations with
accessibility issues are Columbia Station and Scott Road Station. Previously Granville
Station lacked an elevator, but this was rectified in late
2005. Finally, from April 2006, to 2008, Sapperton
Station was not accessible due to construction of a nearby
residential building, which had closed the station entrance ramp
(but not the stairs).
This station has since been
Elevator problems have also been a concern, with work on elevators
at some stations rendering them inaccessible for up to a month at a
time. In addition, while many of the elevators at the new stations
along the Millennium Line
and enclosed by glass, some elevators at older stations are small,
dark, and removed from main entrances and exits, giving rise to
concerns about personal safety.
is a supplementary system that
provides transportation service to those who are unable to use the
regular system due to mobility problems or a lack of accessible
transit. HandyDART service is operated by seven different
contractors throughout Metro Vancouver, which are generally
HandyDART users apply for a pass and pay for each trip. Each trip
must be pre-booked, up to one week in advance, and is subject to
availability at the desired time. Each contractor operates
regionally, meaning that it is not always possible to use HandyDART
for an entire trip (for example, from Burnaby to Vancouver). In
addition, some riders have been refused permission to use the
system as they have been deemed "too independent."
The Mayors’ Council
The Mayors’ Council is composed of the 21 mayors of Metro Vancouver
municipalities, who represent the interests of citizens of the
region. The Mayors’ Council appoints the Board of Directors for
TransLink and the Commissioner. It approves plans prepared by
TransLink, including the transportation plan, regional funding, and
TransLink Board of Directors
The TransLink board is made up of individuals selected based on
their skills and expertise, who must act in the best interests of
TransLink. They do not represent any other interests or
constituencies. They are responsible for hiring, compensating and
monitoring the performance of the CEO and for providing oversight
of TransLink’s strategic planning, finances, major capital
projects, and operations.
The members are in three groups, with three, two, and one-year
terms. The members are:
||SFU Director of the Public Policy Program & Professor of
||Director of Union Gas
||Chair of the 2010 Games Operating Trust Society
||A VP at Weyerhaeuser
Chief Executive Officer
The CEO runs TransLink, as directed by the board, and is
responsible for preparing plans and reports for approval by the
board and for building and operating TransLink’s transportation
services in line with its annual and long-term plans.
Regional Transportation Commissioner
The Commissioner must approve all cash fare increases greater than
the rate of inflation. The Commissioner also approves TransLink’s
plans for annual customer satisfaction surveys, its customer
complaint process, and any proposed sale of major assets. The
Regional Transportation Commissioner operates separately from the
Mayors' Council, the TransLink Board of Directors, and TransLink
On March 8
Minister of Transportation Kevin Falcon
announced a restructuring of TransLink. Major changes include new
revenue-generating measures, a restructuring of the executive of
the body, and increases in the areas under TransLink's
The reorganization of TransLink proposed the following
- TransLink will have the authority to generate revenue by
controlling development of land near and around transit stations,
including overriding municipal land-use planning.
- The old board will be replaced by a Council of Mayors from the
municipalities in the area served by TransLink, a board of
non-political experts appointed by the provincial government, and
an Independent Commissioner of TransLink appointed by the Council
- The Provincial Government will set the regional transportation
- The Board will guide the operation of TransLink as per the 3-
and 10-year transportation plans. It will also develop the options
for 3- and 10-year plans; one option will be a base option which
maintains the status quo.
- The Council of Mayors will vote on which 3- and 10-year
transportation plan options to adopt. Mayors will receive one vote
per 20,000 people, or portion thereof, in their jurisdiction.
- The TransLink Independent Commissioner will ensure that
TransLink's 3- and 10-year transportation plans are consistent with
the regional transportation vision set by the Provincial
- TransLink's jurisduction is initially
planned to be expanded to include Mission, Abbotsford, and Squamish. In the long term, this may be further
expanded to include the area along the Sea-to-Sky Highway as far north as
Pemberton and east into the Fraser Valley to Hope.
- TransLink will be funded using an approximate ratio of 1/3 of
revenue from fuel taxes, 1/3 of revenue from property taxes, and
1/3 of revenue from other non-government sources (e.g., fares,
advertising, property development).
- TransLink will hold the power to increase funding from fuel tax
from 12 cents per litre to 15 cents per litre.
- TransLink will increase funding by raising property taxes,
parking sales taxes, and other sources of revenue (e.g., fares,
- TransLink will eliminate the parking tax (different from
parking sales tax) and the BC Hydro transportation levy.
- AirCare will be removed from TransLink's
authority and will become the responsibility of Metro
- The Provincial Government will continue to contribute toward
rapid transit projects, but funding will be contingent on
municipalities increasing population densities around planned rapid
Falcon had previously called the old board "dysfunctional", saying
that board members were focused on the interests of their own
municipalities instead of the broader interests of the region.
According to Falcon, the board of directors had "no ability there
to develop the skill-set to understand major, multi-billion
Columbia New Democratic Party
critic David Chudnovsky
saying that the reorganization was "ludicrous" and that its purpose
was "to get power away from our elected municipal politicians
because once in a while they disagree with the aggressive
privatization agenda of Mr. Falcon". Chudnovsky was also worried
about the consequences of a property development slowdown.
On April 26, 2007, legislation was introduced by the British
Columbia provincial government to restructure TransLink. The
proposed successor body was to be known as the South Coast British
Columbia Transportation Authority. The legislation received
on November 29, 2007 and
came into effect on January 1, 2008, with some parts of the
organization, like the Council of Mayors, beginning functions the
day after the legislation was approved.
On March 19, 2008, the Vancouver Sun reported that TransLink is
launching a real estate division that may produce over $1.5 billion
in revenue over the next 10 years.
NDP critic Maurine Karagianis
introduced a private member's bill dubbed the "TransLink Openness
- TransLink - South Coast British Columbia
- TransLink - Vancity U-Pass Program
- Transit Fares during the 2010 Winter Olympic and
- Transit Fares during the 2010 Winter Olympic and
- 24 Hours Vancouver - News: Court rules in favour of
- Transit systems get $37M to boost security
- MFT 005 - Tax Rates on Motor Fuels
- Translink's $1.5B real estate empire