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Here is TransLink's comprehensive winter plan for transit in Metro Vancouver

TransLink has released details of its 'Winter Plan 2019/20' which includes new initiatives and improvements to prepare for adverse weather events.
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 TransLink will use more Kevlar tire socks on its buses this year. Photo: Kelvin GawleyTransLink will use more Kevlar tire socks on its buses this year. (Photo by Kelvin Gawley)

TransLink has released details of its 'Winter Plan 2019/20' which includes new initiatives and improvements to prepare for adverse weather events.

The new plan comes coincides with the launch of the transit authority's new winter marketing campaign aimed at promoting safety for transit users.

TransLink also hosted a meeting between Metro Vancouver municipalities last month to share and discuss winter preparedness plans.

These regional partnerships are crucial to ensuring that any issues can be swiftly dealt with, in order to limit the impact on transit and transportation.

“Our initiatives this winter are focused on increasing safety and customer communication at stations, bus exchanges, and throughout our online channels,” says TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond.  “We’ve learned from previous seasons and have been working hard to ensure customers are kept informed of any significant delays or issues on our system.”

Station upgrades will include new election displays screens and speakers that provide customers with crucial information during delays or weather events. Similarly, new touchscreen transit kiosks can provide screen warnings when emergencies or significant delays occur. When activated, the full screen turns red and a warning message is displayed to customers.

The SkyTrain will also see a number of new updates, with new 'Millennium Line coupling' during heavy snowfall. The transit authority describes how trains on the Millennium Line will be coupled together (four-car trains) to maximize capacity while SkyTrain Attendants monitor guideways.

SkyTrain Attendants will also be positioned at the front of trains during heavy snowfall, which will improve, "reliability on the system by limiting emergency braking, which can be triggered by heavy snowfall."

SkyTrain de-icer trains will also keep power rails free of ice. Further, some trains will run through the night to keep tracks clear.

On the Canada Line, the transit authority notes that it has upgraded de-icing products that are used to keep guideway power rails free of ice. In addition,  heat tracing has been installed on the power rail in sections where heavy ice buildup has previously resulted in service disruptions.

TransLink is also removing problem trees and branches situated within 10 metres of SkyTrain tracks.

The transit authority notes that tire socks will also be adjusted this year, which will allow them to last for twice the distance, without compromising their effectiveness. Tire socks will again be made available for use on Burnaby Mountain and the North Shore.

TransLink is also introducing a designated, ;Snow Desk' in the Transit Communications Centre to monitor bus routes and road conditions. In addition, contractors who plow and shovel at bus loops/exchanges and SkyTrain stations will be encouraged to upload photos of the current conditions.

Trucks will spray de-icing fluid around the entire 300-km electric trolley overhead system when there’s frost or ice risk, while Bus Operators will use a snow switch which gives bus tires better traction in snow.

Articulated buses can be switched for conventional buses. While a 40-foot conventional bus carries fewer passengers, they have better traction in snow, especially on steep terrain.

TransLink will also work closely with municipalities to coordinate service with priority corridors for snow clearing, should conditions become severe.

A new, formal process has been implemented to assess road conditions for customer pickup for HandyDART service. Further, if service disruptions or schedule changes occur, there’s now a strategy in place to notify day programs and health partners of these changes.

Customers who can be difficult to access during winter are being contacted early to discuss a clearing plan. If there is a reduction to service, each bus will have two drivers to help customers load and unload.

24 kiosks have been installed in the locations below:

  1. Stadium-Chinatown Station
  2. Main-Street Science World Station
  3. VCC-Clarke Station
  4. Commercial-Broadway Station
  5. Joyce-Collingwood Station – East
  6. Joyce-Collingwood Station – West
  7. Pattison Station
  8. Metrotown Station
  9. Royal Oak Station
  10. Edmonds Station
  11. 22nd Street Station
  12. Columbia Station
  13. Surrey Central Station
  14. Sapperton Station
  15. Lougheed Town Centre (plaza)
  16. Lake City Station
  17. Sperling-Burnaby Lake Station
  18. Holdom Station
  19. Brentwood Town Centre Station
  20. Burquitlam Station
  21. Coquitlam Central (plaza)
  22. Lincoln Station
  23. Carvolth Exchange (park and ride)
  24. South Surrey Park and Ride