ALERT! More info
Translink Buzzer Blog

TransLink to begin rolling out Compass Cards to post-secondary students beginning in January 2015

Compass Card

We have a Compass Card update!

TransLink will begin launching Compass Cards to post-secondary students in January 2015. The transition will happen in three waves with the goal of all 145,000 students tapping with Compass Cards by the end of summer 2015.

TransLink will continue to work with post-secondary institutions to prepare them for launch. Full details of the roll out will be announced shortly once consultation with each school wraps up in November.

For now, it’s business as usual for all post-secondary students! You will continue to pick up your paper ticket each month from your school’s dispensing machines or student centre. Remember to sign the back and keep your student ID with you at all times.

We will give students plenty of notice when their institution begins the transition to Compass in 2015.

Which post-secondary institutions are participating in the program?

Participating institutions include the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, Capilano University, Langara College, Emily Carr University of Art & Design, Vancouver Community College, Douglas College, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, British Columbia Institute of Technology, and Nicola Valley Institute of Technology.

How will students get Compass Cards?

TransLink is working with each post-secondary institution to determine the best way to get Compass Cards into their students’ hands. Once we have determined the best course of action, we will work with schools to share those steps broadly.

No more line ups!

Once students have Compass Cards, which they only need to pick up once, they can say good bye to line ups! Each month, students can authenticate their eligibility online and load their transit pass onto their Compass Cards.

If a Compass Card is lost, students can replace it by unlinking their transit pass from the lost card and linking it to a new Compass Card in order to resume travel for a given month.

Going slow, getting it right

We’re continuing with a phased approach to the launch of Compass. This is how other major transit systems have been successful, and it’s the best way to ensure we get it right for our customers.

The Opal Card in greater Sydney, Australia and CharlieCard in Boston both took a phased approach to launch. Opal was rolled out to customers starting in December 2012 on its ferry services before moving to trains and buses by the end of 2014 and light rail in 2015. The CharlieCard was launched for seniors, riders with disabilities, and reduced- and free-fare customers in mid-2006. Roll out to the general public did not begin until December 2006 and January 2007.

Winnipeg and Calgary are both currently working on implementing their own electronic-fare-card systems and are taking their time to get it right. Full implementation on Winnipeg Transit was anticipated to be complete by the end of 2013, but introduction has been pushed back to spring 2015 due to technical glitches and issues. Calgary’s CONNECT was scheduled to be completed and released by late 2014, but cards were just distributed to Calgary Transit staff in September 2014 to begin testing.

Why launch to post-secondary students next?

Because the schools are ready! TransLink has been working with the 10 post-secondary institutions since 2012 to prepare software and systems for the transition to Compass.  Now that the school’s technology is integrated with the Compass system, it’s time to bring the benefits of Compass to another customer group.

Adding 145,000 students to the Compass system will bring the total number of Compass Card users to 230,000, offering insight into how the system performs under heavier loads. Since the 10 participating post-secondary institutions include transit fees in their tuition, and provide for all-zone travel, students cannot be over-charged if they receive a tap error.

What’s next after the launch to post-secondary students?

After our student-customers are online, and everything is running smoothly, we’ll move ahead with the next stage of implementation—releasing cards that can be loaded with cash value.

In the meantime…

For students, until you hear differently, continue to use your paper tickets. We won’t begin distributing Compass Cards to students until January 2015. They’ll be distributed to students in three waves, beginning with small groups at the start.

For everyone else, the launch of Compass to post-secondary students won’t affect you. Customers who pay their fare using a Monthly Pass, FareSaver tickets, cash, and other forms of fare media can continue to do so until we move to the next phase of the roll-out. We will give our customers plenty of notice when they are next to transition to the Compass Card!

Current Compass Card users can continue to “tap in” and “tap out” on the system like they have to date.

_

Are you a post-secondary student at one of the institutions listed above? Are you ready to tap away?! Let us know in the comments section below! Got questions about Compass? Ask away at AskCompass.ca.

 

Five (last minute) things to do this Halloween on transit — win two passes to Fright Nights (contest)

The Car-N-Evil haunted house at Fright Nights at Playland! (Photo by John Biehle, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The Car-N-Evil haunted house at Fright Nights at Playland! (Photo by John Biehle, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Haven’t decided what you’re going to do? There’s still tons of last minute things to do this celebrate! Here’s five:

Fright Nights at Playland

Billed as “Western Canada’s scariest haunt,” Fright Nights has taken over Playland. The event features seven haunted houses, 13 rides, the Monsters of Schlock sideshow, and the Kinshira Fire Performers. New this year is a brand-new haunted house – the Keepers Doll Factory!

Fright Nights is open from 7 pm to midnight nightly until November 1. Admission is $32 at the gate and $29 online.

Get there by taking transit! The 14, 135, and 160 all stop right outside Playland and the 16 (connection with the Expo and Millennium lines) stops at the corner of Renfrew and Hastings Street.

CONTEST: Want to go to Fright Nights this weekend? We have two passes to give away!

All you have to do is comment on this post letting us know what you are doing this Halloween and how you’ll get there or simply retweet this message on Twitter!

Check out @thebuzzer’s 5 things to do this Halloween. RT to win passes to Fright Nights! http://ow.ly/Du5Kw #TLContest

Contest closes at 1:00 pm PDT on Thursday, October 30 and we’ll immediately randomly select a winner from all entries.

The winner must be available to pick up the prize on Friday, October 31 in-person from TransLink’s head office at 287 Nelson’s Court in New Westminster, between 8 am and 4 pm.

You’ll want to read the terms and conditions for all the details on the contest.

Stanley Park Ghost Train

Another annual Vancouver favourite is the Halloween Ghost Train in Stanley Park! The theme this year is “Experience Mother Goose’s Ghastly Garden.”

The train operates Monday to Thursday evenings from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm and Friday and Saturday from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm.

Admission is $11 for adults (18 – 64 years), $7 for children and youth (3 – 7 years), free for small children (2 years and under) and $7 for seniors (65 years and over). Purchase your tickets online in advance at TicketLeader.ca.

You can also enjoy the Spooky Barn for just $2 per person or go on a 30-minute lantern-lit walk with the Stanley Park Ecological Society, from Thursday to Saturday, starting at 6:30 pm.

Get to the ghost train by taking the 19 to Stanley Park.

Gravecouver

The weather forecast calls for rain and temperatures in the low teens for the rest of the week, so if you’re looking for an indoor Halloween activity, head down to one of Vancouver’s newest Halloween attraction – the Gravecouver Haunted House.

Featuring 13 individual scary rooms, rides, zombies, and much more, Gravecouver is located inside Metropolis at Metrotown on the upper level between Winners and SilverCity Metropolis. The house is open nightly from 7 pm to 10 pm and admission is $13 per person.

Get there by taking the Expo or Millennium Line SkyTrain to Metrotown Station or one of our many buses that terminate at the station including the 19, 49, 106, 110, 116, 129, 130, 144 and 430.

Halloween in Yaletown

Photo by Yaletown BIA

Photo by Yaletown BIA

Have a young one? Take them trick-or-treating! It’s a timeless tradition.

The Yaletown Business Improvement Association is holding their 15th annual trick-or-treat in Yaletown event on Friday, October 31 from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm. A carnival band will be marching through the streets and there will be hot chocolate for children in costumes at Xoxolat!

Parents and kids will want to look for the Spidey posters on the windows of businesses to see if they are handing out Halloween treats.

From 4 pm until 7 pm, there will also be a haunted hearse travelling throughout the neighbourhood.

Get to Yaletown by taking the Canada Line to Yaletown-Roundhouse Station.

Can’t make it out to Yaletown? Trinity Street in Vancouver between N Slocan Street and N Renfrew Street is apparently one of the best spots in the city.

Just take a walk!

My favourite thing to do every Halloween is to just take a talk around town on Halloween! It’s free and exciting seeing all the costumes and displays people come up with.

The Vancouver Public Space Network is also holding the ninth instalment of their Halloween SkyTrain Party this Friday. Get together with other ghosts and goblins and ride the Canada Line! Remember have your proof of payment before entering a fare paid zone. (Note: This is not an official TransLink event!)

Meet Matthias – one of TransLink’s biggest fans!

DSC_0569

Our transit loving friend – Matthias Leduc!

We had the chance to meet of our biggest fans, Matthias Leduc—an eight-year-old with a love of the transit system!

“My son literally walks, talks, thinks and breathes transit,” says Rosemarie, Matthias’s mom. “If we dropped him off in downtown Vancouver, he could find his way home all by himself. He even puts up bus stops around the house and makes up his own stations.”

Matthias rides transit every day with his mother and enjoys travelling on the 96 B-Line—his favourite route. You’ll often find him sitting at the front of the bus or sitting in the pivoting joint of an articulated bus (his favourite spot!).

Matthias riding in his favourite spot!

Matthias riding in his favourite spot!

Recently, Matthias received an award at his daycare for being a TransLink expert and unlike your typical kid, he’ll read updates on the translink.ca website to make sure he’s in the loop. He’s also collected over 100 transfers and has big plans to border his bedroom walls with them. He’s excited for Compass and is eager to replace those transfers with his very own card so he can tap in and out of the system.

Rosemarie reached out to us looking for some help with a Halloween costume idea Matthias had – a Coast Mountain Bus Company operator! We sent her a picture of the CMBC uniform to help him started on his costume.

He tells us being a bus operator is not just a costume idea, but something he wants to be when he grows up!

Be on the lookout for our little bus driver this Halloween night trick-or-treating and don’t be alarmed if you see a second bus driver riding in the articulated joint of the 96 B-Line!

Matthias says he’s also excited at the idea of possibly attending I Love Transit Camp next year during I Love Transit Week and receiving a tour of the SkyTrain Operations and Maintenance Centre and the SeaBus docks in North Vancouver.

Buzzer illustrator interview: Julian Lawrence

The October 2014 Buzzer illustration by Julian Lawrence

The illustration (left) by Julian (right)!

Each month we feature a different artist’s work on the front cover of the Buzzer. This month, we invited the award-winning Julian Lawrence to illustrate the cover of the October 2014 issue. If you ask me, what he came up with ranks up there among the very best Buzzer covers!

He took time out to do this quick interview with us:

Who is Julian Lawrence?
A Vancouver-based cartoonist and educator. You can find out more at julianlawrence.net.

Tell me about Drippytown.
It’s a project created by Robert Dayton and myself. You can find out more at drippytown.com.

What’s your favourite thing to draw?
Drippy the Newsboy. You can see him at drippytown.com.

Have you ever drawn a bus before this gig?
Yup. A few times. Please find attached one I drew based on a recent bus ride.

What’s next for you?
The Adventures of Drippy the Newsboy Volume I: Drippy’s Mama published by Conundrum Press is out in May, 2015.

Thank you to Julian! If you haven’t picked up the October issue, you can download it here and check out his illustration. Like his work? Consider taking one of Julian’s courses in contemporary comics at the  Emily Carr University of Art + Design!

TransLink 101: What does farside and nearside bus stop mean?

TransLink 101 blog feature series banner

We’re going back to basics again with TransLink 101—explaining TransLink and its operations!

Why is this bus stop located where it is?

Why is this bus stop located where it is?

Have you ever used Google Maps to plan your trip or called 604.953.3333 with your transit stop number? Then you might have heard of farside (FS), nearside (NS), and mid-block bus stops.

What does that exactly mean?

Nearside is the side of an intersection before you cross and farside is the side after. Mid-block bus stops are located in between intersections.

Katherine McCune, Manager of Service Planning at Coast Mountain Company tells us farside stops are the standard due to safety and customer convenience considerations.

“Farside bus stops are preferred so that the cars do not cut in front of the bus stopped nearside or block the right turn lane and cause traffic congestion,” she says. “Also, the bus does not have to stop twice – once for picking up and dropping off customers and then again at the red light. All pedestrian activity takes place behind the bus when it has left the bus stop thus increasing the pedestrian safety.”

Nearside and mid-block bus stops are only used when it is absolutely necessary, such as a driveway is in the way or passenger amenities are poor on the farside.

“Nearside stops result in buses blocking the view of motorists and pedestrians, and often pedestrians running out in front of the bus,” Katherine says. “Mid-block stops are only used when we have a major [pedestrian traffic] generator in the area and generally there is a crosswalk or pedestrian signal nearby.”

When it comes to planning the placement of bus stops, the planning team works with the local municipalities and has spacing guidelines that they follow.

“We do not want stops too close together such that the bus cannot travel in a reasonably quick manner,” according to Katherine. “We also look at where people may be going to and coming from. We look for locations that will provide safety for our passengers, such as the location of crosswalks and signalized intersections nearby.”

GoCard update for students

 

Students on the system

Students out and about

Are you a returning secondary student in Grade 9 to 12 aged 14 to 19? Then your GoCard from the 2013/14 school year is now valid until November 30 while you wait for your 2014/15 GoCards to be issued.

Your GoCard gets you concession fares on all TransLink services in Metro Vancouver, so you can travel for a reduced price.  Just make sure you have your GoCard with you when travelling on the system.

2014/15 GoCards will be issued to new and returning public school students in the coming weeks.

For more information about GoCards, visit www.translink.ca/gocard.

Links and Tidbits – October 24, 2014

Links and tidbits is our semi-regular roundup of interesting fodder about transportation from the last few weeks or so. If you have links to contribute, put them in the comments, or email us.

» Transit buses in North America are built to last about 17 years and after that they hit the scrapper. Check out this photo from the Amix Group of our old buses:

» BREAKING NEWS – TransLink is unveiling a tiny bus program! “Where will these buses go at night? How will we keep them safe?”

» Transit Police’s surveillance footage of a thief losing his pants after breaking into a SkyTrain station has made it onto CBC’s This Hour Has 22 Minutes (starts at approximately 17:40).

» What are you doing on Halloween night? Why not get together with other ghosts and goblins and ride the Canada Line?! The Vancouver Public Space Network is organizing the ninth instalment of their Halloween SkyTrain Party.

» This video will warm your heart as dozens of train riders came together to help a man that was trapped between the platform and train.

» Can’t miss this bus stop! This “obvious bus stop” in Baltimore, designed by an art collective Mmmm, is a typography sculpture that spells out the word ‘bus.’

» Instagram recently introduced Hyperlapse – an app that allows users to create their own time lapse videos right from their phone. Check out these Hyperlapse videos on Miss 604 of SkyTrain, SeaBus, and much more!

» The economic benefits of being linked to rapid transit means developers are stepping up to pay for stations, reports Business in Vancouver.

» The Globe and Mail’s Ian Bailey tweets, “Montreal’s #STM lays down law on fiddling with #Metro doors.”

» Illustrated Vancouver and TransLinked’s Jason Vanderhill has a new book. Titled, Vancouver Confidential, this book is a fresh look at the rare urban culture of a port city in the mid-twentieth century.

» Who can resist a discussion of how to improve online trip planning?  Transport for London’s Digital Blog has had some interesting posts lately about how they’re upgrading their online trip planner.  Things like crowdsourcing points of interest (identifying POIs must be a major task in a megacity) and planning appropriate transit journeys to large sporting venues with multiple access points.

» We love some cool SkyTrain photos! Check these out from Céline Ramoni on Flickr.

» What were you doing in eighth grade? Ivan Specht is designing subway maps for cities that don’t have subways!

» This will  surely brighten up your Monday morning commute. A dance partay onboard this train in Perth, Western Australia.

»  The Associated Press takes a look back at how Japan’s bullet train has revolutionized rail travel in the world as it turns 50 years old.

» Honolulu is building the United States’ first “wide-scale” driverless transit system! It is scheduled to be in operation in 2017  and will operate for 20 hours a day. (Thanks Sheba and Stefan)

» Check it out – London Underground’s new planned subway trains designed by PriestmanGoode! They will replace trains on the Piccadilly, Central, Bakerloo, and Waterloo & City lines.

TransLink 101: What’s interlining?

TransLink 101 blog feature series banner

We’re going back to basics again with TransLink 101—explaining TransLink and its operations!

This is our biggest service improvement yet: 14.7 million extra trips were added to the Metro Vancouver region!

What’s interlining?

Interlining combines two or more independent routes into one operational schedule. By doing so, we eliminate extended periods of down time where a bus would just be parked and out of service.

Katherine McCune, Manager of Service Planning at Coast Mountain Bus Company, tells us bus routes are interlined for several reasons, but one of the main reasons is scheduling efficiencies.

“It helps us minimize the footprint we use in the downtown core, for example,” she says. “A bus can arrive downtown as one route and sit very just a very few minutes and then leave as the next scheduled trip on another route.

Examples of interlined routes around the region include the 110, 144 and 116; the 403 and 480; and 601, 602, 603 and 604.

Wouldn’t it be most efficient if the buses ran nonstop – an operator drives his route and immediately goes back the opposite direction? Katherine tells us that is not the case.

“If you run buses nonstop you would no longer have a fixed schedule,” she says. “Customers require a schedule so they can make transfers to other services and have some idea of bus arrival at their stop. Without a schedule customers would not know when to expect the buses.”

One of the challenges of interlining is incidents on one leg of the bus’s journey can impact the service on the other end, Katherine notes.

“An accident on Hastings Street slowing the 135 could result in a delay in service on the 145, for example. However, with any serious incident our Transit Communications centre gets involved and makes adjustments on the road to ensure that service interruptions are minimal.”

Interlining also gives our operators some variety in their work, so they are not constantly driving the same roadways all the time!

Customers in West Vancouver can expect onboard announcements

West Van Blue Bus

A key benefit of TMAC is GPS technology.

Today TransLink introduces the Transit Management and Communications system or “TMAC”, to the 57 vehicle strong West Vancouver Blue Bus fleet. This onboard communications system provides a more predictable and consistent service and delivers increased dispatch support and monitoring to ensure safe and efficient travel for customers and operators.

TMAC benefits include:

  • Onboard speakers and public information displays provide next stop announcements to help customers on new routes, riders experiencing the system for the first time, and customers with seeing or hearing challenges.
  • GPS technology provides customers real-time access to real-time transit information on the Next Bus mobile site.
  • GPS technology is on every bus, providing added security.
  • A fully monitored service, providing operators with real-time information on traffic congestion, road detours and adherence to the published service schedule.

Do you remember this post? Although the system has improved over time, here is a more detailed look at the system and how it operates.

If you are a customer in West Vancouver, let us know what you think of the new system.

The October 2014 issue of the Buzzer is on the system

October 2014 BuzzerCan you believe it’s October already? Another month means another issue of your favourite newsletter!

In this issue – Transit Police has some fall safety tips for commuters as the days get shorter and chillier! Burrrr! Taking transit on Remembrance Day on Tuesday, November 11? Our services will be operating on a Sunday/holiday schedule.

Poetry in Transit is back for an 18th year and in partnership with the ABPBC, we are bringing you 20 poems over the next year. Many of you spend your time on transit by reading. We want to know in this Buzzer poll – what do you read on transit? Is it the Poetry in Transit poems?

TransLink CEO Ian Jarvis, TransLink executives Fred Cummings and Colleen Brennan, and Transit Police Chief Neil Dubord all braved the rain to support Raise-a-Reader on September 24. TransLink has also supported the United Way for over 40 years and this September, our Sapperton office employees helped raise over $70,000 for the organization!

And of course, we have the usual Buzzer favourites – the Contest Corner, Coming Events, and Back Issues.

We hope you enjoy this month’s issue! Pick yours up on the bus, SkyTrain, SeaBus, and West Coast Express or by downloading it here.

As always, let us know what you think of it. Good reading to you all!

Fun poll: What do you read on transit?

Do you read in transit?

What do you read on transit? Let us know in this poll!

Today, we are spending less time reading recreationally as we spend more of our leisure watching television, streaming video, and checking our social media accounts. The transit system might be the only exception—where reading, perhaps out of necessity, is still quite popular.

In a past Buzzer blog poll, we asked how you spend most of your time on transit. Most of you said you look out the window, listen to music, or read. In another poll, over 77 per cent of you admitted you’ve peered over somebody else’s shoulder to read what they were reading before.

Now we want to know what you read on transit in this fun poll! Is it the Buzzer, a newspaper, your textbooks, or is it a novel?

Let us know by voting for your top-five below, leaving a comment, tweeting us @TheBuzzer, or emailing us at thebuzzer@translink.ca!

What do you read on transit? (Select your top-five!)

View Results

Fall Bike to Work Week is Oct 27 to Nov 2, 2014!

Bike to Work Week is Oct 27 to Nov 2!

Bike to Work Week is Oct 27 to Nov 2!

Join thousands around Metro Vancouver and bike to work this fall! Bike to Work Week encourages both new and experienced riders to try cycling as part of their daily commute.

Cycling can be the fastest way of getting around, especially in more urban areas of Metro Vancouver. It’s also one of the healthiest and most enjoyable ways to travel.

HUB will be setting up over 30 celebration stations across the city offering free bike repairs, coffee, snacks and prize draws! Register and track your commute at bikehub.ca and be eligible to win prizes.

Each day that you log a trip you’ll be entered to win a new bike and you’ll help your organization win an organizational award.

And as always, our friends at TravelSmart will join in the fun and help out at the Celebration Station at King George Station on October 30. Swing by and visit their booth, and perhaps pick up some great bike goodies to take home!

First timer?

Planning to hit the road with your two-wheeler for the first time? It can be a little daunting, but we’re here to give you a few tips on how you can get to work safely, on time and ready for work!

  • Plan your route. Check out TransLink’s cycling maps, plan your trip using cyclevancouver.ubc.ca, or login and create maps of the routes you plan to take on HUB’s website.
  • Park your bike. Find out where at your destination or workplace you can lock your bicycle.
  • Be prepared. Dress accordingly, have a spare tube, pump, and tools, and plan ahead for showers, extra clothes, or extra time for a leisurely ride.
  • Ride safe. Wear a helmet and always follow the rules of the road.

Let’s reach back into the Buzzer blog archives and grab some of our existing pointers for biking to work too!

Do you plan to bike to work during Bike to Work Week or are you always biking? Let us know in the comments section below, tweeting us at @TheBuzzer, or emailing us at thebuzzer@translink.ca!

Thankgiving holiday service on Monday, October 13, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving! (Photo: John/Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0)

Happy Thanksgiving! (Photo by John, CC BY-NC 2.0)

A reminder to our customers that Monday, October 13 is Thanksgiving!

Bus, SkyTrain, and SeaBus will all be operating on a Sunday/Holiday schedule. The West Coast Express and TrainBus will not be operating.

Remember, since it’s a holiday, you only need a single-zone fare to travel across all zones all day!

Service returns to regular weekday schedules for all modes on Tuesday, October 14, 2014.

Need service and trip planning information? Our Customer Information team is here to help! You can reach them at 604.953.3333 and on Twitter (@TransLink), 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., seven days a week.

Have a happy Thanksgiving!

TransLink 101: What is short turning?

TransLink 101 blog feature series banner

We’re going back to basics again with TransLink 101—explaining TransLink and its operations!

A 6 Davie bus on Graville Street

A 6 Davie bus on Graville Street

Sometimes situations beyond our control, such as weather, road conditions or heavy traffic affect how reliable our service can be.

In the rare event that a bus is regrettably significantly behind schedule, Transit Supervisors and Transit Communications (T-Comm), the traffic control centre so-to-speak for our bus operations, use “short turning” as a way to get buses back into the schedule.

“When a bus falls behind schedule, the bus can be ‘short turned’ – meaning the operator is directed to drop any passengers off and then go directly to another location on the route,” explains Fergie Beadle, Supervisor of Surrey Transit Center Operations. “This puts the bus back on schedule and then back into service.”

Often this means a bus ending its trip short of the terminus to begin the return trip in order to get back on schedule.

On the SeaBus, short turning exists too – although its done a little differently since you can’t really shorten the route of the SeaBus! At the direction of the bridge, the SeaBus will simultaneously load and discharge passengers in order to regain schedule.

Poetry in Transit interview with Jane Munro

Poetry in Transit: Jane Munro

Jane Munro (Photo: Imaging by Marlis)

Poetry in Transit, now in its 18th year, aims to profile talented British Columbian and Canadian poets and provide our customers with poetry to read on their commutes. This year, there are a total of 20 poems on the system – 10 poetry car cards on buses and 10 transit shelter ads.

One of them is “Old Man Vacanas, 11″ by Jane Munro. I had the opportunity to chat with Jane about the poem and her work:

Who is Jane Munro?

I’m a Vancouver-based writer and poet.

Would you be able to tell us a bit more about “Old Man Vacanas, 11?” What were the inspirations behind it?

My husband had Alzheimer’s disease. We lived in an isolated area on the “wild coast” of Vancouver Island. I was his caregiver until he had to move into a nursing home. He died in 2013. This is the final poem in a sequence called “Old Man Vacanas.” You can find the whole set in my new book, Blue Sonoma.

How would you classify your style of poetry and writing? What inspires you?

In form, this poem is inspired by vacanas, ancient South Indian prayer-poems. Vacana means “saying” or “thing said” in Kannada, the language in which the 12th Century poems were written. They use colloquial diction and imagery drawn from village life to deal with philosophical questions. Unlike those original vacanas, my poem is not addressed to Siva.

What’s a ‘great’ poem for you?

One that moves me and sticks in my mind – a poem I’ll read again. Jane Hirshfield says, “A good poem is a bit like a volcanic island. It creates new terrain for the soul.” In a volcano, the stuff coming up was previously hidden. Poems can make visible—and invite us to pay attention to—individual and social shadows. If Jung’s right and we need to agree to the whole experience to get a full life, then incorporating what was molten and unformed into a concentrated pattern of words gives us new ground—a place to explore, camp out, maybe even plant a garden. Oddly, though it may at first strike us as “new terrain,” we recognize and trust its reliability and its continuity with the rest of our experience: now that it’s there, it’s there.

Who’s your favourite poet and/or somebody that has heavily influenced your work?

I’ve loved poetry since my mother sang nursery rhymes to me. A wide variety of poetry delights me and enriches my life. I can’t begin to list my favourite poets. Many poems have influenced my work. Even nursery rhymes!

What does Poetry of Transit mean for you?

I love having a poem riding around on transit, catching the eyes of passengers. It’s a wonderful outing for a poem. Too many poems stay closeted in slender volumes. It’s great to have one out and about. I hope lots of people read it.

Do you take transit? If so, what’s your favourite mode?

Yes, I take transit. I often ride the 99 bus to UBC and back. It’s wonderfully convenient to take SkyTrain to and from the airport. Crossing the harbour on SeaBus feels like an adventure.

Peer into your crystal ball, and tell us what you see for yourself in the future.

More writing – more books – more poetry readings – more yoga, and more travel. My next big trip will be to study yoga in India.

Is there anything you’d like to add or share?

I’m a member of Yoko’s Dogs. We write collaborative poetry.

Thanks your time Jane! “Old Man Vacanas, 11″ is from her book, Blue Sonoma, and you can visit her website at janemunro.com. Join the conversation using the hashtag #PoetryInTransit!