Cool trains, nifty buses running us all over town, happy little sea buses carting us over to the mountainous North Shore, why
This wasn’t a day to rant about Translink (for some people) but it was a day to talk, discuss, brainstorm, address hot-button issues and make some cool art. Some of the session titles were: Ask the Gurus, Best Practices, Car Free Day/Events, Transfers, Building a Community within the Community, Social Media for Transit, Wireless Everywhere Transit… and more.
Here’s a short summary from the two sessions I attended:
Evolving from the free day we get on New Years, the topic of encouraging others to take transit instead of their cars generated much discussion.
Should a group of individuals sponsor a pro-active campaign, handing out cards and fliers to riders to promote another “free day” of transit? Something like this would certainly be at a cost to Translink and offering pamphlets to commuters wouldn’t be very effective.
The thought I shared with others in the room was to get Translink to participate in events instead of actually being the initiator ie. there’s a community festival out in Tsawwassen, and all those who attend are encouraged to come by transit. You could even have prizes for those who submit their fare stubs for added incentive. Translink could then be a PARTNER in the event alongside cycling coalitions or other societies and groups.
We also had a brief presentation from Carol Vignale. Along with Ruth who is an Elder with Tsawwassen First Nation, Carol’s group partnered with a member of the CNIB, and the Delta Police/Community Police Station to create “Safe Route Tsawwassen”. The goal here was to reduce numbers of cars coming to schools, provide information about safe routes to schools (new lines, remove shrubs, crosswalks etc.) and to build up the community shuttle program for Tsawwassen.
Carol, who was also on the GVTA committee and helped with the community shuttle bus initiative, offered up some great information about their group. She was also a part of their local cycling initiative [Canada.com Article]. Carol’s initiative really provides a great module that other communities could put in place and build upon.
A few more topics that came out of this session were: Getting better access to community data, an increase in dialog between riders and Translink, a summarization policies on their website ie. “What is Bill 44?”, and more communication about what resources are available, how they’re available and how Translink actually connects communities.
Topics for discussion: Why is it so hard to get wifi in public spaces (not just cafes or apartments)? Most are City, Translink owned spaces so herein lies the problem. Are we getting wifi on buses? No, a recent article in a local paper basically made it seem like it but this is actually an internal communication system for operators, which won’t be for the public. However when they implement GPS tracking for the public it will work hand in hand with their new scheduling system, which you can text to get ‘next bus’ information for the stop where you’re waiting.
Back to the wifi discussion: Who would provide the blanket bandwidth at transportation hubs/stations? Who would provide the support? Where would it be, places you wait, places where you spend the most time?
What about bandwidth hogs? Where would the hot spot be? Could Translink partner with local shops as access points? Dave points out that in all these scenarios the biggest costs would be tech support and bandwidth.
This particular discussion seemed to really promote FreeTheNet Vancouver, then it turned into something about social networking and media then veered in all other directions before the conch blew announcing time was up.
Things got a little scrambled in a few of the sessions, which mostly consisted of pockets of people in deep discussion, but for the most part things stayed on track. I ducked out before the arts and craft fun times but still got to experience some great conversations. I’m sure more summary posts will pop up, but here are some samples from my photo-documentation this afternoon – the rest are in the Flickr Set.
View more in the Flickr Set.