Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Translink Liveries

with 9 comments

This post started life as a comment. Back in 2007. Originally the links in the comment went to a site called which ceased operations in 2011. So I went to my flickr stream to see if I could find similar illustrations.

So why did I “need” this? Becuase of this in my inbox this morning

The pingback was to this post and was from this article . It is nice to see that old stories from this blog continue to have some utility. And now this new post can be the source of reference to the old article and my comment under it.

For a while Translink had plain white buses: this was for buses ordered in the period of transition from BC Transit, before the new blue and yellow livery was decided on.

Translink P8101 Braid Station New Westminster BC

Many remained in service in the old red, white and blue of BC Transit.

Translink P3105 D40HF Braid Station

Note that black paint has been added to to window pillars and on the upper part of the doors. This was peculiar to the Vancouver transit system and was not added to BC Transit buses operating elsewhere.

Translink P4226 Pitt Meadows BC 2006_0908

This was the standard livery in Translink’s first iteration. As the fleet went through its usual maintenance cycle the older buses were repainted white with a blue and gold set of stripes.

TL S058 on C93 Williams Rd

Community shuttles had a variation on the paint scheme.

Translink R8076 D60LF on 98 B Line Richmond BC

The B Line had its own variation, with a blue front to help intending passengers spot the difference from regular services. This was very similar to the BC Transit B Line livery, which had a red rather than the gold swoosh.

Translink B8010 D60LF Broadway at Commercial 2008_0114

Of course that did not stop artics in regular livery being used on the B Line. A number of regular bus services needed the capacity of articulated buses to meet the surge of demand caused by the introduction of U Pass as UBC and SFU

E40LFR 2270 Howe at Smithe 2007_0827

When the new trolleybuses started being delivered they carried this new black and grey livery with the blue stripe converted to a swoosh and the black being expanded on the front and onto the upper panel – not just the window surrounds. New diesel and natural gas buses were similarly treated.


The Novabus did not get nearly as much black paint as the New Flyers, and I think looks the better for it.

S351 on C21 Beach on Burrard at Dunsmuir

But the new Shuttle buses did

R9222 R9247 Bridgeport Stn

The high floor Orion highway coaches used on the express routes got their own yellow livery. This is the first version.

R9282 Burrard Station #602 Tsawwassen Heights

Later versions have grey on the lower panel. This one was photographed at Burrard Station: the introduction of the Canada Line saw these services cut back to Bridgeport Station in Richmond – which is where the previous picture was taken.

Xcelsior bendy on 41st at Arbutus

The most recent variation has also reduced the amount of black paint with grey on the front and sides and is, to my eye, more pleasing.

The last one on the lot

This was a variation used in West Vancouver for a while.

West Vancouver Blue Bus 1204

This is what they use now. There is so little blue visible that the words BLUE BUS have to be added above the bike rack in large, friendly capital letters.

BC Transit 9270 Abbotsford

BC Transit now uses this livery instead of the old red white and blue.

BC Transit 9067

Though in 2015 it could still be seen in Victoria – here on a British built Transbus (Dennis) Dart Plaxton Pointer delivered in 2000.

And, by special request, here is a preserved bus in the old BC Hydro Transit livery

BC Hydro Fishbowl

Photo by Michael Chu on flickr

2040 at Marpole 20080407

And I think this one may be earlier. I am told that in the bad old days buses got repainted with each change of government into the colours of the ruling party – but that can’t be true can it?

For those of you who like such things here is a complete graphic which also has SeaBus and Amtrak

Written by Stephen Rees

April 28, 2017 at 10:21 am

Posted in transit, Vancouver

Tagged with ,

9 Responses

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  1. I appreciate your effort but it has little value as reference because there are only three dates attached to any aspect of this post — two for a bus in Viictoria and one referencing the original post which led you to create this one.

    You list that original post as having been created in 2007 when the WordPress permalink for the post (created when the post is first published) has an embedded date of November, 2006.

    What does it mean in this new post, which contains no other explicit dates, when you write “This is what they use now”?

    Arguably every photo in the post should be captioned with a contextual reference to the date when and the location where it was taken and every reference to the changes of livery over the years should explicitly indicate the date, or date range, when each change took place.

    I’m speaking as a person who has used the Internet for 25 years and who has therefore learned to take the long view about online content.

    Please think about readers coming to this post five years from now and include the necessary contextual information so that this is more than just a bunch of pretty pictures.

    Stanley Q Woodvine

    April 28, 2017 at 6:20 pm

  2. I’m sure it was a tongue in cheek comment, but the changing of the livery definitely changed to align with the government of the day once transit was separated from the clutches of BC Hydro and Power Authority.

    The cyan (sea and sky) and green (forests) was eventually replaced with shades of NDP inspired brown and orange followed by Socred/Liberal red and white w/blue, before the myriad of corporate blue, grey and yellow(gold?) incarnations we see today. Colors as unispired as their name is and so haed to see.

    Can you imagine if a major airline decided to paint every plane in the fleet a different color based on plane type and route type? And do so in the name of a unified, consistent branding message?

    The fleet and examples of its livery history is well documented here:

    I have two thoughts on this. Firstly, I do miss the big, bold, full red square fronts of the D/E901A Flyer buses. You could spot the bus coming literally from a mile away (Not a political reflection)! I do miss the cyan and green colors though; seemed very west coast.

    Secondly, I’m rather surprised there’s even a “Translink livery” these days. Most of the buses and Skytrain have such fully wrapped advertising, they could save the costs and get them delivered with just the base primer coats.

    Ian W

    April 28, 2017 at 11:15 pm

  3. Each picture is in fact a link. I have not uploaded these pictures to WordPress and embedded them into the text. They all link back to flickr. If you click on the picture you will find all the contextual information you seek. That is true of most of the pictures used in this blog. Each picture also has EXIF data and usually a map reference.

    Every post on this blog has the date it was written on it at the bottom so references to “now” can be taken to refer to April 28, 2017 at 10:21 am.

    If you look at the previous comment you will see that others also have information – and indeed there is a group on flickr which I administer called Vancouver Transit.

    Dating pictures by reference to bus liveries is always going to be a bit inexact. While the date a particular scheme came into being is probably clear, there has long been a tendency to try and make buses last longer – and to avoid full repaints. For example on that barp site there is a picture of the buses brought up here from Everett – which ran for as long as they lasted here in the Everett livery. By the way that site doesn’t have the Seattle buses we got at the same time, which didn’t last nearly as long.

    I must admit I am always surprised that anyone is interested in the backlog of posts on this blog – but I think it is worth persevering even if my efforts will never entirely satisfy anyone.

    Stephen Rees

    April 29, 2017 at 12:10 pm

  4. “Can you imagine if a major airline decided to paint every plane in the fleet a different color based on plane type and route type? And do so in the name of a unified, consistent branding message?”

    Well they do do that. For instance, Air Canada has a distinct livery for its recent Rouge services. At other times they have had different variations for Air Canada Vacations or even Tango – which was a separate low fare airline before it became a name of a cheap fare class.

    Most major airlines also distinguish their feeder or regional services – for example American Airlines and American Eagle.

    See also a recent post here about Pullman.

    Stephen Rees

    April 29, 2017 at 12:23 pm

  5. I should have left the remark on the airlines out or elaborated. Air Canada was a perfect example of too many liveries and it often caused them grief when they had to swap aircraft. Thankfully, they have seen the light and are rolling out sharper, uniform look for their entire fleet, save a Rouge variant. Both will be consistent across the fleet.

    Click to access illustrative_guide_en.pdf

    And none will get full body advertising wraps.

    Ian W

    April 29, 2017 at 3:43 pm

  6. Ian: And none will get full body advertising wraps
    Stephen: Like this you mean:

    Yes, exactly. Perhaps for occasional commemorative events it’s tolerable. I wonder if that was the Raptor team charter from Air Canada Jetz?
    Most guiling …? Where the classic maple leaf logo should be trailing Air Canada, a smiley face! Could be the first use of an emoji on an airplane!

    Back to point though. Where the Translink fleet has NOT fully wrapped their fleet, they have done a poor job in branding and education to make customers aware of the visual differences between say, the express buses and the regular bus or why a C-fleet bus, an articulated bus should all have a different scheme. I think the shape gives it away. Would the everyday rider know and be able to distiguish a B-line art from a regular art vs yet another variant for a new flet order? And what happens when they had to switch the buses like they did during the winter weather?

    Would still rather see the bold red front with an easy to read sign coming diwn the road.

    Ian W

    April 29, 2017 at 6:11 pm

  7. Fun Fact: The “Novabus” in the 8th picture actually doesn’t have paint at all – the exterior is made of an easily replaceable grey plastic. The stripes are actually decals that are stuck on the body. These Canadian-designed busses avoid using materials that can corrode due to road salt on their lower panels, plus the panels can easily be popped out and replaced when required. Collision repairs become cheap and fast.


    May 4, 2017 at 9:38 am

  8. I did not know that! Thanks for the comment, Bryn.

    Stephen Rees

    May 4, 2017 at 9:45 am

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