I want to give a very big thank you to @Translink (Vancouver’s Transit authority) for finally improving visual next train announcers on the Expo Skytrain line.
Skytrain opened on December 11, 1985 and has been growing since.
The first line was from New Westminster to Waterfront station (downtown Vancouver), some time later, Columbia station was added. And in 1990 Skytrain went to Surrey. One full line! No transfers or switching. If you got the Skytrain, you didn’t really need to worry about where it was going, you just needed to know where your stop was!
But in 2002, there was a new line built, called Millennium Line, which split from Expo Line just after Columbia station. Millennium Line, originally went from Waterfront, through Broadway station, continuing along the same path as Expo line, but after Columbia went to Lougheed Town Centre, then looping back to Broadway station.
Now the problem arises!
If you wanted to go to Lougheed station, as I often did, you need to be aware of the trains and where they are going!
Translink used voice announcers “Train going to King George” would be loudly proclaimed at each station. This train goes to Surrey, not my train! Heck, I don’t know if they still verbally call each station! I am Deaf-Blind and can’t hear diddly-squat!
I am guessing that shortly after the schism (split) of trains in 2002, one line ending in Surrey and other ending back in Vancouver, the Deaf community rallied! They wanted visual signage that told where the train was going!
Was this a concerted rally or just a few complaints? I don’t know! But, Translink listened and created these ugly visual announcers!
It is a rectangular block that hangs from the roof, with a blue border, black background and red text. Yes, RED text! These are Impossible to read! I cannot tell you how painful these things are to read, especially in bright sunny weather! UGH!
I would spend many a minute staring at these signs trying to figure where it went to.
Then I figured it out, do you see the sign above? It uses the whole tableau, the full screen. When I saw that, I knew it was not going to Lougheed Town Centre.
In 2016, the new Millennium Line went from VCC-Clark (last stop past Commercial/Broadway) to through Lougheed Town Centre to Lafarge Park, in Coquitlam. This goes by very close to my home! Now the Expo Trains would go from Waterfront to either King George in Surrey or Production Way/University in North Burnaby.
If looking at the Black box, I’d look for Production Way on the screen, which comes out as more condensed, tighter!
But it was still impossible to know for sure! Many times I would be happily reading a book while aboard the Skytrain, then oh shit, going to Surrey! Damn!
Now! Skytrain has finally updated their visual stop announcers! Take a look!
Wow! What an improvement! It lists the Next Three Trains! Black background with white digital text! Super clear! It also lists the times of arrival! What an improvement!
Yet, that is only at one station! Hey, Translink, please expand this amazing improvement to all stations!
A bit of a story, I visit a friend close to the station that these new announcers are installed at. Previously, I would stand close to the red box and wait patiently, straining my eyes to see the red text, then get the train, looking inside to make sure it is going to Production Way. Focused! Yet, recently I visited my friend again, when I arrived at the Skytrain platform, I glanced up, saw that this was my train arriving, and got on. I was confident, because I could see clearly, without strainingn, where it was going!
Thank you for listening!