'Snow desk' among TransLink's new plans to deal with winter weather

With winter on the way, TransLink is unveiling plans to handle ice and snow.

“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,” said TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond in a statement.

The transportation agency said it has rolled out several new initiatives this year to help it cope with winter weather.

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TransLink says it has improved its ability to communicate with passengers, including new electronic display screens and speakers at many stations, and the deployment of new touchscreen information kiosks.

The agency says it will also begin coupling trains on the Millennium Line together into four-car units during heavy snow to maximize capacity.

It says it has also upgraded de-icing capabilities on the Canada Line.

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And it says it has improved sizing on “tire socks” for buses on steep routes such as Burnaby Mountain and the North Shore, so that the products last longer.

TransLink is also creating a new “Snow Desk” in its communications centre to monitor bus routes and road conditions on snowy days, while contractors who plow bus loops and transit exchanges will upload photos to verify snow conditions.

Changes to the HandyDART system will see a formal process implemented to assess road conditions for pickup, and to better communicate with partner agencies when there are service disruptions.

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In addition to the new changes, TransLink will be engaging in its usual winter strategies, including SkyTrain guideway monitoring, heat tracing on the Canada Line power rail, and de-icing on SkyTrain tracks.

It says it will also coordinate with municipalities to ensure priority bus routes are plowed, and will deploy trolley wire de-icing trucks.

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