I have a confession to make. I am, for the most part, a Surrey bus virgin. I don’t know much about the bus system south of the Fraser River. I’ve taken the SkyTrain into Surrey a few times, but I rarely ever take the bus in Surrey. Yeah. I’ve taken the R1 one stop. And then I started to travel up and down Scott Road … Continue reading Where’s the double-decker bus?
So we’re finally here in October 2015. I’ve already got my Compass Card and loaded it with a 1-zone monthly pass. I get to use the full version of this Compass Card for the first time today. That’s exciting for a transit geek like me. So you might be wondering how I got my Compass Card when it’s not readily available. Also what’s with this October 5th thing I keep hearing about?
After a two-year wait, it’s finally here in my hands. A real, functioning Compass Card. The new smart cards for use on all TransLink vehicles is available to the general public. I had my taste of the Compass Card 2 years ago as a beta tester, but now I can finally say goodbye to my monthly paper FareCard and to those paper FareSavers that go missing oh so easily.
Last Thursday, TransLink announced a big move ahead in the Compass Card and new zone-free bus rides for October. Here’s what the Buzzer Blog has to say:
By late October, Compass Cards will be available to the general public to buy for use on all transit services — just in time for monthly pass holders to load November’s month pass on their Compass Card!
After this date, Compass Cards will be available from CVMs, by mail, online, phone request and in person at the Compass retailer network or Compass walk-in centres.
Another transit policy wonk post here. In an earlier post, I looked at a bar graph talking about the Cost per Boarded Passenger by Sub-Region. It helped to illustrate which sub-regions were the most and least cost-efficient. Here’s another handy graphic from the 2014 TransLink Bus Performance Review [PDF] showing what makes for cost-efficient bus routes.
A lot of the local media has been featuring the 5 most overcrowded bus routes in Metro Vancouver. That’s a nice and easy headline that people can latch onto. However, that data is actual part of a bigger document that TransLink has released. This document is the 2014 TransLink Bus Performance Review [PDF].
There’s one graph in particular that highlights how TransLink has made buses more cost-efficient over the past 5 years.
We started the last day of our Rocky Mountain Bus Tour at an early, early hour. Was it 6am? Something like that. We didn’t go back to the WK Garden for a 3rd meal. Thank goodness. That would have really done me in. Instead, we headed down the Trans-Canada Highway to Sicamous about an hour away. We pulled into the Husky gas station. Western breakfast? Sort of…
After a long day of checkout problems in the morning, lunch in Lake Louise, and an afternoon pit stop with a pig, we arrived in the evening in Revelstoke. Dinner was back at the WK Garden again. It seemed slightly better than the other morning we had the food. Maybe because it was more suited for evening dining.
We were back in Revelstoke with a good deal of time left in the evening. So were left to our own devices to explore what we could of Revelstoke.
After a pleasant time at Lake Louise, we were corralled back onto the bus. We were heading back into B.C. I thought we’d be making a stop in Golden, like we did on the way into Alberta. However, we just kept on driving. So I wondered where our first highway pit stop of the afternoon would be. We pulled over inside Glacier National Park at Rogers Pass. And that’s where we met a cute little four-legged friend in the parking lot. It was a pig on a road trip.
Lake Louise, to me, is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. It has a beautiful view of the glacier on the opposite end of the lake. On either side, the mountains seem to cradle the glacier, thus creating a natural frame for a beautiful scene.
With the morning gong show behind us, we pulled into the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise for our lunch reservation. We had to pre-order our food on the first morning of our bus tour. I had chosen beef. It wasn’t steak, but when in Alberta, you just have to have beef. That was my thinking.