On Friday afternoon, I happened to be in Surrey for a job interview. (Sadly, I did not get the job.) After a quick lunch, I boarded the 375 to South Surrey. The route has been around for a few years, but it’s the first time I’ve actually ridden it. After a brief wait at White Rock Centre (a bit of a misnomer as some of its stops are in Surrey), I got on the 531 to Willowbrook. This is a newer route (introduced this past spring), so it’s nice to get a chance to try this long-awaited regional service. I also extended my trip by going over the Golden Ears Bridge on the 595 (the limited-stop service between Langley Centre and Haney Place), and then the 791 to Braid Station (another first board).
As context, here is my trip on a map, starting at the red place-marker. This is the bulk of it; the rest of the involved taking SkyTrain back to Vancouver.
I’ve crossed off another item crossed off the transit-related bucket list. It was a test of keeping awake and staying warm. At times, I was questioning my sanity. But I survived an epic journey to the fringes of the NightBus network.
TransLink’s NightBus is a network of 12 routes [map*] that mimic their daytime counterparts and/or the SkyTrain lines they parallel (in the case of the N9, N10/N15, and N19). They all leave at about the same time (usually 02:09, 02:39, and 03:09) from a common terminus on Howe Street between Pender and Dunsmuir.
On this particular night, I started by taking one of the last SkyTrains to Surrey Central. By this point, the maintenance “speeders” were already using the westbound track for their shifts checking to make sure the system is in order. Maybe because it was a weeknight, but the train ride and the Surrey Central bus loop were actually sedate.
On August 17, 2009, the newest rapid-transit line in Greater Vancouver, the Canada Line, began operation. Despite the Cambie-Street-long construction headache that ensued, it’s open, and it’s changed the face of public transit in the region.
One year later, to the day, I decided to commemorate the occasion by riding the line, end-to-end-to-end. I paused briefly at Broadway-City Hall, where TransLink was holding a celebration of its own… with cupcakes!
The spur to the airport is one of the great benefits of the Canada Line. I’ve twice used it to take myself there so I can go fly away. And I’m definitely not alone, judging by all the luggage I see whenever I ride the line.
On arriving at the end of the Richmond spur at Brighouse, I realized that this was the first time I’ve stepped onto the street at that station. For while I did a similar trip when it first opened, I just stayed on the same train before it left the station again. Indeed, I really haven’t been in that area of Richmond in a long time, so it’s quite a shock to see all the changes around me.
After a quick jaunt on a community shuttle to the Richmond Olympic Oval, I made my way to Steveston. I’ve really only “passed by” the area (ie. transferring between buses), or shown up at night (Garry Point Park for an off-campus grad celebration), but never have I been in Steveston in daylight for more than a few minutes.
Actually, when I thought of this trip, I dwelt on only one thing: fish and chips at Pajo’s. It took a bit of walking to find it, but it was worth the wait. The food was served in an over-sized cone that kept in all the oil and vinegar and salt. Coat in tartar sauce and/or ketchup, and the experience is complete.
Walking west toward Garry Point Park, I discovered a second Pajo’s outlet. It must be that good to have two locations within blocks of each other. Love it!
What I didn’t really love was the lack of trees in the park. Sure, there were benches, but not of them is shaded. The heat of the day was almost oppressive, and I didn’t have enough water. I did stop under a tree at the entrance of the park to cool off. Even in the walk back toward the bus terminus, I noticed there weren’t a lot of trees on the streets, which made that walk seem longer than it really was.
But I survived that, and an unexpected detour on bus route 402 back to central Richmond, to make my back to Brighouse Station, and a return trip on Canada Line to Waterfront, five hours after I left. All in all, it was a pleasant trip, and I finally got a chance to visit a part of the region I hadn’t visited before. And it was made slightly more accessible thanks to the newest SkyTrain line.
This past weekend, I went on a journey to the fringes of the TransLink service area, to board the Albion Ferry in its final week of operation. With the opening of the Golden Ears Bridge, the 52-year old ferry service will cease operations at the end of the month.
I planned this trip to include a trip on the new bridge via route 595, which links Langley Centre and Haney Place. At the last minute, I added a lengthy side-trip to Downtown Vancouver to check the open house for the new City Centre Station of the Canada Line. This would likely be the last such event before the whole line opens sometime in August.