Best Suggestions from Vancouver Transit Camp

One of the best TransitCamp sessions was the wide-ranging Suggestions for Transit discussion. That link has a huge number of great suggestions. Here are my picks for getting the most bang for the buck:

Give Skytrain Stations Character
Each station should have a unique character. Murals and artwork should cover all the walls where people wait and pass by. Each station should look different, visually appealing, and represent the style of the area around it. Granville & Burrard stations are indistinguishable currently.

Vancouver has an existing mural program that Translink should take advantage of for this. Skytrain stations right now are boring; there is room for drastic improvement here.

Give Skytrain Stations Activity
Skytrain platforms are high traffic areas, but there aren't any services there. Translink needs to build little villages in these areas. Coffee shops, magazines shops, bakeries (ideally with personality - not just corporate feel).

Bakeries would be fabulous; imagine skytrain stations smelling like freshly baked bread! Make this a nice place to be, not merely a boring place to wait. Burrard station mid-level should have this pronto! Kiosks directly on some skytrain platform are also a great idea.

These things could be money makers for Translink, while improving the rider experience at the same time.

Load Buses Better
Load buses from the back doors anytime there is a bottleneck at the front door. Faster loading speeds speeds up the system for everyone. Front-door only loading is like bad DRM that inconveniences everyone from a fear of a few. Translink is shooting themselves in the foot by introducing a bottleneck into the system at the front door of every bus, at every stop.

Improve Bus Stops
The walls of bus shelters are being wasted right now. Put maps of the city here! And transit maps, and a nice 'You are here' dot. This would be a great boon for tourists and new users.

Open the Data
There are lots of people who would love to build services using the route/timing data Translink has. So open up the data and let them! The core competency of Translink is not information technology; open-source it.

Make It Happen Translink
That's the end of my list. I hope that Translink moves on these items. They could make a big difference to our transit service here. Props to the all the participants at Vancouver Transit Camp for bringing out these suggestions.

Posted by dustin on December 12, 2007 with category tags of

3 comments
Great ideas! I fear these have been on TransLink's to-do list for a while now, and it's a very slow process for them to do most of this (bureaucracy blows).

This is why I really liked the sessions that focussed on things the community can actually do today, with a little hard work, to improve things. Projects that don't require very much of anything from TransLink.

But good ideas nonetheless. I'd like to see them implemented too.
   comment by Paul Hillsdon on December 12, 2007

I updated my post to add the Open the Data section. I like your approach Paul. I'd like to see Translink enable people to do more, but even without them carry on!
   comment by dustin (#1) on December 12, 2007

Here's an inspiring video of a nice transit station for a Bus Rapid Transit system (a real BRT). Looks nice and dry.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UA4IR7PvO6I
   comment by AMM on April 5, 2008

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