ALERT! More info
Translink Buzzer Blog

Joy is Riding the Bus and Helping Those in Need!

Joy Clapper and Bus Operator Glen Foster hold knitted items that will be donated to the Helping Hand charity

Joy Clapper and Bus Operator Glen Foster hold knitted items that will be donated to The Great Helping Hand charity

 

Wonderful friendships begin on transit. Just ask Joy Hopper and Glen Foster.

For years, 83 year-old Joy has been riding Glen’s C12 shuttle to Lions Bay. Making the trip every Friday morning, sometimes simply to take in the sights, she stays on the bus as it loops back through Horseshoe Bay.

But Joy doesn’t just sit and stare out the window, she knits. In fact, she’s always knitting. And it was her passion for this hobby that first compelled Glen to ask just how many hats she reckons she’s made over the years. When Joy responded that her hat making numbers totalled into the hundreds, Glen told her about the charity he volunteers for called The Great Helping Hand.

Started by fellow West Van Blue Bus operator David Rai, the charity came about after David was moved by the poverty he saw while driving buses in the Downtown Eastside. Initially making sandwiches with his wife to give to those in need, he eventually expanded and developed the Surrey-based charity to distribute food and clothing on a broader scale.

It’s safe to say that Glen’s story inspired Joy. Having always given her knitting away to friends and family, she started to pass on finished hats, scarves and the occasional baby blanket to Glen, who would then pass them on to David at The Great Helping Hand.

Pretty neat, huh? Glen drives, joy knits and the charity receives handmade garments to help those in need.

There’s more though. Through this giving, Glen and Joy have become great friends, a tight knit pair if you will.

Calling herself Glen’s “Horseshoe Bay mom”, the two sometimes go for lunch or grab a coffee when Glen’s not working. Joy has even met Glen’s family and loves to tune in and watch his daughter, Jennifer Foster, compete with the Canadian Show Jumping Team. Joy is particularly excited to watch when Jennifer competes in this upcoming Olympics in Rio de Janiero.

As a senior living alone in Lions Libby Lodge, Joy says she’s happy to see her knitting go to a good cause.

We are too.

Update! The Vancouver Sun recently ran an article about Joy and Glen’s charity work. You can check it out here

Transit in the News — July 31

A weekly section about transit making headlines around the globe. Have an article you want to share?
Comment below or email us.Newspaper

Vix awarded AU$27m contract to build Malaysia transit ticketing system.

As an MP Chow was a passionate advocate for public transit.

Regional Transit Authority asks for public input at Rochester forum.

Atlanta Bus Journal calculates how much you could save by taking public transit in Atlanta.

Before buses Ohio’s public transit consisted of electric trains: Vintage Photos.

MARTA: misbehavior private concert on public transit.

Dubai Metro: mass transit done right.

Transportation amendment would help Iowa public transit advocates say.

Feds add financial fuel to future of Calgary’s public transit.

Grants to cut emissions encourage public transit.

Metrolinx rail bridge plan angers Davenport residents.

State under pressure to put rail services up for tender.

Milton fire crews battle blazes along CN rail line.

Bombardier denies report of rail merger with Siemens.

A weekly section about transit making headlines around the globe. Have an article you want to share?
Comment below or email us.

Bus Operator Bronco Hyrman recieves 100th commendation!

Bronco

“Good evening folks, it’s 18 degrees and it looks like we’re in for a beautiful sunset!” This is something you might hear over the loudspeaker if Bronco Hyrman is behind the wheel.

A bus operator at Coast Mountain Bus Company for the last eight years, Bronco is known for his mini-news update when leaving a bus exchange. Often researching current events and weather before his evening shift (he drives highway routes between Bridgeport and Tsawwassen and White Rock), Bronco’s energy and personal pizazz has made him a passenger favourite. But don’t take it from me, here’s what a customer had to say:

“He greeted every single person that got on the bus with a smile and lots of energy. After such a long day coming from work, it was super sweet to a see a very positive individual make a change just by smiling and having a great attitude. He made me feel special and greeted every single person differently and thanked everyone when they got off! He made this bus ride a great experience for me and others and I really hope you let him know his work was greatly appreciated!”

Guess how many commendations like these Bronco has received? As of this May, he’s had 100!

But Bronco isn’t in it for the awards. He just wants to give his riders the best possible trip.

Here’s how he sees it:

“I like to make the drive pleasant, entertaining and make it a nice experience. I greet everybody. Shortly after I started driving I realized how we can affect people’s experience on the bus – we can make their day start or end on a good note.”

Recently, Bronco took some time to fill us in on what it’s like behind the wheel.

Q: Being on the front lines is a tough job. How do you stay so positive?

A: Knowing people appreciate what I do keeps me going. I used to perform onstage and feed off the environment. Seeing people in a good mood is a great reward. It’s worth it to put the effort in.

Q. What do you do when you come across people who are negative?

A. If customers are negative due to an issue with transit, I explain to everyone over the PA what the issue is. I see it through the passenger’s perspective. I believe in a human factor – show some empathy and you feel for them and know what they are going through.

If I see someone running for the bus I wait when I can and when it’s safe to do so. It isn’t always possible, but it gives us that human touch instead of calling everyone TransLink.

During our interview we also learned that in addition to English, Bronco speaks basic German, Russian and is fluent in Czech!

We should have asked him if he plans on giving news updates in all four languages during tourist season!

We’ll just have to wait and see.

Thanks for giving it your all, all of the time, Bronco!

Let us be your ride to Pride!

Vancouver Pride 2015 parade map

The 37th annual Vancouver Pride Parade is back and we’re increasing transit service for the big day!

Our Pride Parade is one of the largest and most successful LGBTQ2+ events in the world.

On Sunday, August 2 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., crowds of more than 650,000 will be flocking to our region to celebrate.

Make sure to visit our Events Page to explore your transit options and plan your route!

Transit Service for the parade

Buses will be re-routed to accommodate the parade route. These include, but are not limited to bus routes:

  • 5 Robson/Downtown from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • 6 Davie/Downtown from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • 240 15th Street/Vancouver from noon to 3 p.m.
  • 246 Lonsdale Quay/Highland/Vancouver from noon to 3 p.m.
  • C21 Yaletown/Beach from 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • C23 Yaletown/Davie/Main Street Station from 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Visit the “Transit Alerts” tab on the Alerts page for more specific information.

Expo, Millennium and Canada Lines will provide increased service between 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to get customers to and from the Pride Parade.

To avoid lineups at Ticket Vending Machines after the event, you can pre-purchase return tickets at Burrard, Bridgeport and Vancouver City Centre stations.

Please note that these fareboxes only accept exact cash and tickets are valid until end of service.

SeaBus will operate between Lonsdale Quay and Waterfront every 15 minutes from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m.

TravelSmart continues to sponsor BEST’s Bicycle Valet, which will offer free, secure temporary bike storage at two locations at Sunset Beach from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Due to crowding and safety concerns, please wait to take your bikes on the SkyTrain until crowds have cleared.

Visit VancouverPride.ca for event details and more Pride activities!

You Keep Us Moving — Carolyn

 

buzzer_banner_125_years

Our transit system is one of the largest in all of North America!

Carolyn is helping riders connect from point A to point B across 1,800 square kilometres as an operator with CMBC.

She is trained in everything from fares to air brakes; customer service to operating trolley buses.

Carolyn loves people and loves driving!

Her job is all about getting people where they need to go safely and efficiently.

You keep us moving. Thank you!

Join in the conversation on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook with the hashtag #YouMoveUs.

Read more at translink.ca/youmoveus.

Doug Allen on Voice of BC!

You may have heard, that come early August, our Interim CEO, Doug Allen will be leaving.

At this time our current CFO Cathy McLay will become Acting CEO as we continue our search for a permanent replacement.

With just a few weeks left until Doug bids us adieu, he joined Vaughn Palmer on “Voice of BC” to discuss his six-month stint at TransLink.

Chatting with Vaughn about the search for a new CEO, the transit plebiscite and TransLink governance, Doug spoke to a number of important transportation issues.

Growing transit and transportation needs in the Metro Vancouver were also apart of this conversation, as was the exploration of potential funding options.

All in all, the video gives you a good look at Doug Allen’s role over the past six-months at TransLink and his take on current transit matters!

 

16th Avenue Corridor Study is Ready for Your Review!

16th Avenue Corridor

16th Avenue Corridor

The 16th Avenue corridor study through Surrey, Langley and Abbotsford has been completed!

In this study, all three municipalities as well as the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, ICBC and TransLink reviewed current and potential future plans for transportation along 16th Avenue.

Examining an area extending 29 km from Highway 99 in South Surrey to Marshal Road in Abbotsford, the study looked at current issues with the corridor, its primary functions as well as ways in which 16th Ave could be improved.

Now that the study is completed, your feedback is greatly appreciated!

Here’s how you can have your voice heard:

1)     Review the 16th Avenue Corridor Study here.

2)    Complete the survey and tell us what you think!

The survey will only be available until Monday, July 27.  Don’t miss your opportunity to participate!

Extra Transit Service to Get You to the Celebration of Light!

 

Celebration of Light fireworks

Celebration of Light fireworks!

Heading to the Honda Celebration of Light this Saturday? There’s extra transit service scheduled for this weekend’s event as well as for the fireworks on July 29 and August 1st!

To get you to the fireworks at English Bay in the safest and most convenient fashion, the following additional bus and train service has been added:

Bus service will be extended to accommodate increased customer demand. Transit supervisors will monitor service and deploy additional buses as needed. Some buses will be detoured, including, but not limited to, the C21, C23, 5, 6, and 22 routes. The 250, 250A and 257 buses will also see additional service before and after the events.

SkyTrain Expo/Millennium/Canada Lines will run additional trains beginning mid-afternoon, lasting well past the event end. The last train on the Expo/Millennium Line will leave Waterfront for King George at 1:16 a.m. The last Canada Line train will leave Waterfront for Richmond-Brighouse at 1:15 a.m.

To avoid lineups at ticket vending machines after the events, SkyTrain customers can pre-purchase return tickets at King George, Scott Road, Granville, Burrard, Bridgeport, Yaletown-Roundhouse and Vancouver City Centre stations. These fareboxes only accept exact cash and tickets are valid until the close of service.

SeaBus will provide extra and extended service for each of the Celebration of Light events.

  • July 25: service every 10 minutes from 10:00 a.m. to 8:45 p.m.; every 15 minutes until 11:30 p.m.; and every 30 minutes after 11:30 p.m. until the last sailing at 1:22 a.m. from the South Terminal.
  • July 29 and August 1: service every 15 minutes until 11:30 p.m. and then every 30 minutes until the last departure from the South Terminal at 1:22 a.m.

West Coast Express will offer a special train on August 1 only, leaving Mission City at 7 p.m., arriving at Waterfront Station at 8:15 p.m. The return train departs Waterfront Station at midnight, arriving back at Mission City approximately 1:15 a.m.

Before, during and after the events SkyTrain stations will remain open, but some will have modified access to ensure customer comfort and safety. Passengers will not be permitted to board SkyTrain with bikes after the events until crowds are clear.

  • Waterfront Station: After 10:30 p.m., all Canada Line and SeaBus customers, and Expo and Millennium line customers who need an elevator, can access the Waterfront Station through the Cordova Street entrance. Expo and Millennium line customers who do not require an elevator may only access the station from the Howe Street entrance, north of Cordova. The Granville and Hastings entrance will remain fully accessible for Canada Line customers.
  • Granville Station: Customers can enter the station from Dunsmuir Street only, after 10:30 p.m. Also, there will be no access to Expo and Millennium trains heading towards Waterfront Station after this time.
  • Burrard Station: Bikes cannot be locked at the station entrance from 9:00 p.m. onwards, until the expected crowds have cleared. There will be no customer access to Expo and Millennium trains towards Waterfront Station after 10:30 p.m.

TravelSmart continues to sponsor BEST’s Bicycle Valet, which will offer cyclists free, secure temporary bike storage at all three Celebration of Light events. If you plan on enjoying the festivities, you can valet your bike at Sunset Beach on the grass next to the roller sports rink from 6:00 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.

Make sure to keep these service changes in mind when planning your route to the fireworks!

Service adjustments for other summertime events can be viewed here.

For transit service information including bus re-routes during the Celebration of Light, sign up for Transit Alerts, follow us @TransLink or call Customer Service at 604.953.3333.

 

 

The Low Down on Sea Island’s $5 return AddFare

A ticket vending machine on the Canada Line.

A ticket vending machine on the Canada Line.

Whether you are returning to Vancouver from the YVR Airport or the New McArthur Glen Shopping Centre this weekend, don’t forget about the $5 AddFare!

The AddFare is nothing new, but if you’ve never travelled from any of the three stations on Sea Island before, the extra $5 fare may come as a surprise.

Since January 2010, the AddFare has been in place to bridge the $55 million gap in funding for the Canada Line Construction.

Determined as the best funding option with the least impact on transit growth in the region, this AddFare was a part of the agreement with the Airport Authority who contributed $300 million towards construction of the Canada Line.

The Airport Authority actually owns all three stations on Sea Island (YVR-Airport, Sea Island Centre and Templeton) with travel between these stations being free for all passengers.

And although the free ride was originally intended for YVR staff to travel between the three stations, now that the shopping centre is open, more passengers are able to take advantage of the free ride between Sea Island stops.

When is the $5 AddFare required?

Although travel is free between the three Airport Authority Stations, if you are heading to Bridgeport and beyond, the $5 AddFare is required (in addition to your regular fare) if you are starting your trip from Sea Island.

It is important to note that the YVR AddFare only applies to passengers buying fares from the ticket vending machines at YVR Airport, Sea Island Centre and Templeton station.

However, this will change when Compass is launched to the general public. At that time those with Stored Value (Compass version of FareSavers) will be charged the $5 AddFare when they tap in at one of the three Sea Island stations and tap out at Bridgeport Station or beyond.

Who’s exempt from the AddFare?

Riders with a Monthly Pass, DayPass, FareSavers, WCE Fare, U-Pass and BC Bus Pass are exempt from the AddFare. Sea Island residents and YVR employees are also not required to pay the additional fare.

Also, if you a purchase a ticket before travelling to one of Airport Authority stations, and return within the 90-minute fare expiry window, then you are also off the hook for AddFare.

If you are still uncertain whether your trip will cost you an extra $5, there is information about the AddFare posted at the three Airport Authority stations.

You can also check out TransLink’s online Trip Planner! All travel shown on this site includes the  AddFare fee in trips leaving Sea Island stations.

 

 

 

Sign-up 101: How operators choose their work

Guest post by Jessica Hewitt, Internal Communications Advisor at Coast Mountain Bus Company.

Have you ever wondered how Transit Operators pick their bus routes? With six transit centres and 157 conventional bus routes to choose from – how could one pick?

I had the opportunity to visit the Vancouver Transit Centre (VTC) during a local sign-up to find out more about how depot staff, union reps and operators work together to assign operators to specific routes.

How does it work?

Four times a year (April, June, September and December) service level or sheet changes occur. At this time, adjustments are made to routes and schedules to ensure we continue to provide reliable, efficient and safe transit service to get our customers where they need to go. These schedule changes can be either permanent or seasonal depending on the route.

Once the schedules have been determined, operators then sign up for routes. Sign-ups occur about three weeks before a new sheet is in effect. There are two types of sign-ups. A local sign-up allows operators to sign for work in their own depot and a consolidated sign-up  (occurs once a year) gives operators the opportunity to choose work at any depot.

The consolidated sign-up lasts for four weeks with sign up dates being determined by seniority. During this process, operators choose the depot they want to work at as well as their weekday, weekend, and holiday shifts. Operators can opt to sign up for regular work or can choose to be on the spare board in which they receive work assignments on a day-to-day basis.

Who does what?

Depot Coordinators, given leave from their regular duties, ensure correct operator data is entered into the system—they are instrumental to ensuring a smooth sign up!

Bus operators, with the help of an online sign-up planner, can review new routes, availability as well as ensure that they select work that is compliant with the Safety Code limits on driving hours, overtime, rest time and more.

Unifor representatives and depot staff then double and triple check work selections to avoid mistakes.

Depot Coordinator, Rita Barha says “I’ve worked in different areas in the depot and even after 10 years, there is always something new that you haven’t seen before.” She says “I learn something new every day”.

Why paper?

In the age of apps, smartphones and real-time updates, it seems that paper would be the way of the past.

However, for CMBC, the operator sign-up process is so complex that a significant business technology project will be required for automation. Also, training for all of our staff will be needed to ensure the transition from paper to online is seamless.

The move to automation is important for CMBC. Although preliminary discussions are underway to transition to online sign up in the future, with the number of current projects on the go such as Compass, we’re waiting for the resources and time to develop the sophisticated software to meet our needs.

Want to know more about the service our operators who sign up for work provide? Read more about our seasonal service changes here!

Cutting back on washing to save water

Bus wash closed at Surrey Transit Centre

Bus wash closed at Surrey Transit Centre

Reducing water use isn’t just happening in your home, it’s also happening at our bus depots. That’s right, we’re cutting back on washing buses to help with water conservation efforts in Metro Vancouver. I’ve copied and pasted our press release about it below:

In an effort to conserve water during the current water shortage in the region, TransLink has suspended washing the exterior of its buses until further notice.

An unusually dry and hot May and June has depleted Metro Vancouver’s water reservoirs.

Buses are typically washed at our transit centres at the end of each service day. Our bus wash system uses reclaimed water for the majority of the wash cycle, except the final rinse which uses fresh water.

Last week, we started washing buses every second day. And now, we will only do exterior washing in exceptional circumstances. At our largest facility, Vancouver Transit Centre where we maintain more than 500 buses, that translates to 30,000 litres of water conserved each day.

The decision to suspend bus washing is something we’ve done during previous water shortages, as part of our commitment to conservation.

The interior of buses will continue to be cleaned for the comfort of passengers and employees.

Interested in how we wash our buses normally? Check out the Surrey bus wash facility and how it reclaims 80 per cent of the water used!

Fun Poll: How do you use your smartphone on transit?

Many riders turn to their phones on transit!

It’s pretty normal to be surrounded in a sea of smartphones while in transit.

Gone are the days of chatting to your neighbour, burying yourself in a book or daydreaming out the window.

Now, I know this isn’t necessarily true—lots of people still participate in these activities.

A past Buzzer Blog poll on how you spend most of your time on transit confirms it even.

So why in my daily commute do I see so many people gazing into their smartphones?

Maybe I’m just sensitive because I don’t have data on my phone. Confined to WIFI zones, my internet connection is rarely mobile.

So despite previous poll results, from personal observation I’m inclined to believe that a good portion of riders are still hanging out with their smartphones while in transit.

So here’s my question: what are you doing on your phone?

Playing games? Streaming videos? Reading the news? Maybe you are randomly clicking your way deeper into the internet abyss?

I want to know! Take the poll and let a girl in on what it’s like to be connected.

Let us know by voting for your top-seven below, leaving a comment, tweeting us @TheBuzzer, or emailing us at thebuzzer@translink.ca! Also, let us know in the comments if we missed anything you like to do on your smartphone while on transit!

How do you use your smartphone on transit?

  • catch up on emails, texts and other messages (59%, 57 Votes)
  • read (news, articles, blogs) (52%, 50 Votes)
  • connect on social media (39%, 38 Votes)
  • play games (25%, 24 Votes)
  • stream music (23%, 22 Votes)
  • other (14%, 14 Votes)
  • stream videos (3%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 97

Transit in the News – July 17, 2015

A weekly section about transit making headlines around the globe. Have an article you want to share?
Comment below or email us.Newspaper

Management shakeup to TransLink only the beginning of changes.

New Jersey transit approves increasing fares an average of 9%.

Wind Mobile expands wireless service in TTC subway stations.

Jamaican Urban Transit Company adjusts bus schedule to facilitate police travel.

Guelph Transit lockout one year ago this month still fresh for bus drivers.

Bus map disclosure reveals massive overhaul planned for Sydney.

The U.S. House of representatives passes five-month transportation funding extension.

Ottawa transit riders raise a stink about overflowing garbage at bus stops.

Five visions of the future for Preston’s bus station unveiled.

Columbus light rail talk turns to the idea of a subway.

Open Mobile Ticketing Alliance aims for global public transport ticket system.

Indianapolis encourages less parking, more mass transit and car sharing.

 If you’re looking for interesting facts and fun stories about transit, check out our monthly Links and Tidbits series.

The conductorettes: the first women to drive transit in Vancouver

buzzer_banner_125_years

A group of conductorettes after finishing a training course in the 1940s. They were at first issued skirts as part of their uniform, but this image shows the transition to pants. Skirts were difficult to manage when climbing the trolley to reset the poles! Photo courtesy of the Coast Mountain Bus Company Archives.

A group of 33 conductorettes posing in front of the 16th Avenue streetcar at Prior Street barns in 1944. They were at first issued skirts as part of their uniform, but this image shows the transition to pants. Skirts were difficult to manage when climbing the trolley to reset the poles! Photo courtesy of the Coast Mountain Bus Company Archives. Click for a larger version.


Repost: Written by Jhenifer Pabillano and originally published November 9, 2009

Today, I’m pleased to present the story of the conductorettes, a group of 180 women who were the only women operating transit vehicles between 1943 and 1975.

And I’m especially pleased to tell you that this article includes an audio podcast containing interview excerpts from three former conductorettes.

Again, Lisa Codd, the curator at the Burnaby Village Museum, helped me put this article together, based on the research of Lynda Maeve Orr, the Museum’s Assistant Programmer. It’s a continued collaboration to explore transit history and Burnaby’s archival holdings!

Read more »

A day of transit activity visualized through video!

buzzer_banner_125_years

Static transit maps are great, but dynamic ones are better!

You don’t have to tell that to Andrew Walker, Vice President of development at Sumus Technology.

Andrew is all about bringing life to data using a GTFS video creator, something he has done for around 100 cities’ transit schedules from around the globe.

Each visualization map traces one day of transit service schedules during a 24 hour period. Colour coded and set to music, these maps allow us to see the size of the system in a way that static maps cannot.

Metro Vancouver’s routes have been mapped a few times by Andrew.  You can check out his video from 2012 and view his other maps of transit across the globe on his YouTube channel

And don’t forget to check out the rest of our 125 Years of Transit posts on the blog and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by searching for the #Transit125 hashtag.