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Look for the Reindeer Bus and Community Shuttle this holiday season starting on Mon, Dec 1, 2014!

We spotted the bus today!

We spotted the bus today!

Photo by David Lam

Photo by David Lam

What’s a sure sign of the holiday season in the Lower Mainland? Sightings of our Reindeer Bus and Community Shuttle!

The reindeer bus and shuttle will be out and about starting on Monday, December 1, spreading the holiday cheer and surprising passengers with a unique ride throughout Metro Vancouver. Santa, Mrs. Claus and the bus operating elf will also be on the bus periodically and stopping at mystery stops!

Keep an eye out to see if they’re in your neighbourhood. But if you do want more specific locations, the TransLink Twitter account will be tweeting the location of the reindeer bus and shuttle when they know where they are.

And just to clarify, the reindeer bus does NOT offer free rides, but there may be some tinsel and holiday treats presented by your friendly transit operator!

Staff from Coast Mountain Bus Company have been dressing up one bus and one community shuttle as a reindeer for over 25 years, starting just after the very first Toys for Tots charity drive done in 1987. Toys for Tots collects newly unwrapped toys or money for the less fortunate and the entire supply of donations to is delivered to the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau agencies by the Reindeer Bus and Community Shuttle.

Keep your eyes peeled for the bus and send us your pictures of it! Tweet them to @TheBuzzer using the hashtag #ReindeerBus, post them onto Instagram mentioning @TransLinkBC and hashtagging #ReindeerBus, or email thebuzzer@translink.ca. We’ll be sharing some of our favourites!

Photo by Laura Wilby

Photo by Laura Wilby

Spot the Reindeer Bus and Community Shuttle Contest and help TransLink spread some holiday cheer!

TransLink Reindeer Bus at Pan Pacific

The Reindeer Bus at Pan Pacific

You may have already seen these two cheerful transit characters around Metro Vancouver. The Reindeer Bus and Community Shuttle have been making there way on different routes in Metro Vancouver since mid-November and will continue to be in service into January. Have you spotted them yet?

The Reindeer Bus’ most recent public event appearance was visiting the Christmas Wish Breakfast, hosted by the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau at the Pan Pacific Hotel on December 11, 2013 (see picture). That particular Reindeer bus had Santa, Mrs. Claus and the bus operating elf Sparky inside.

The festive threesome also visited mystery stops between December 10-13 throughout Metro Vancouver; and will be part of the Toys for Tots campaign run on December 19-20. Both the Reindeer Bus and Community shuttle will deliver two buses full of new, unwrapped toys to the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau as part of its employee-driven Toys for Tots program. Toys for Tots was created in 1985 by a group of eight BC Transit bus operators out of the Surrey Transit Centre. TransLink and its employees are invited to donate to the cause throughout November and December.

Spot the Reindeer Bus or Shuttle and Win one of two monthly January 2014 FareCards!

Want to win? Send your picture our way of the Reindeer Bus or Shuttle in one of three ways:

1. Tweet it to @TransLink with the hashtag #TLReindeerBus.

2. Email it to thebuzzer@translink.ca and make sure to include #TLReindeerBus in the subject line.

3. Post it on our Facebook page with hashtag #TLReindeerBus.

* Remember to read our terms and conditions to get the specifics – contest terms and conditions.

We’ll be randomly drawing two winners on these dates:

Draw #1 will be on Friday, December 20, 2013. Cutoff for entries will be 11:59 p.m. on December 19, 2013.

Draw #2 will be on Friday, December 27, 2013. Cutoff for entries will be 11:59 p.m. on December 26, 2013.

There you go. Get those camera and phones out and snap some holiday transit magic and you might be getting an early or late Christmas present for your trouble!

Photo by Laura Wilby

Photo by Laura Wilby

 

2012 Reindeer Bus and shuttle and photo contest

Photo by Laura Wilby

What’s a sure sign of the holiday season in the Lower Mainland? Sightings of our annual reindeer bus and shuttle, appearing on routes throughout December! If you spot one of the popular buses, be sure to snap a picture and send it our way by December 20 for your chance to win a monthly FareCard.

Santa, Mrs. Claus and the bus operating elf will also be on the bus periodically and stopping at mystery stops between December 10-13 throughout Metro Vancouver. The bus and shuttle will also be part of the Toys for Tots run on December 19-20.

Want to win? Just tweet us your picture of the reindeer bus or shuttle in one of three ways:

1. Tweet it with the hashtag #tlcontest.

2. Email it to thebuzzer@translink.ca.

3. Post it on our Facebook page.

The winner will be announced on December 21, 2012.

Update: The randomly chosen winner of the contest is Kevin W. Congratulations to him and everyone who participated!

Kevin W’s winner Reindeer Bus photo!

 

 

The 2011 ReindeerBus

ReindeerBus

Happy holidays from the ReindeerBus!

You may have noticed the ReindeerBus over the last few weeks, making its rounds of the Lower Mainland. After paying special visits to Canuck Place and Ronald McDonald House (along with Mr. and Mrs. Claus of course), it’s been stopping by TransLink operations, collecting toys donated by employees for our Toys for Tots program. All the toys go to the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau to distribute.

The ReindeerBus popped by TransLink head office yesterday to pick up donations from staff here and, as you can see in the photo below, it was already well on its way to being packed with toys.

John Strachan, Head Elf during the holiday season (and a CMBC operator instructor the rest of the year), says that the bus has collected more than 2,700 toys this year.

You can read more about the origins of the ReindeerBus in this 2008 post, and see some amazing photos of the bus and its community shuttle sibling in this post from last year.

Toys on the ReindeerBus

The ReindeerBus filling up with toys.

The 2010 reindeer bus and community shuttle

The C28 community shuttle, dressed up as a reindeer! Photo by Chris Cassidy.

Our reindeer bus, photographed by David Lam! Click the picture to see David's full gallery of reindeer bus photos.

Chris Cassidy sent along some photos of the 2010 reindeer community shuttle this morning, so I thought I’d give the reindeer buses their own post :)

If you don’t know, one TransLink bus and one community shuttle get dressed up as reindeer every year. Staff from the Coast Mountain Bus Company have been performing this bit of holiday magic for over 20 years, starting just after the very first Toys for Tots charity drive done by the company in 1987. Check out this 2008 post for more history, plus the challenges of finding the right antlers and nose that work on the road!

The bus and community shuttle get dispatched all over the Lower Mainland, so just keep an eye out to see if they’re in your neighbourhood. But if you do want more specific locations, the TransLink Twitter account has also been tweeting the location of the reindeer bus and shuttle when they know where they are.

And just to clarify, the reindeer bus does NOT offer free rides, but there may be some tinsel and holiday treats presented by your friendly transit operator!

For more pictures of the 2010 reindeer buses, check out Chris’s reindeer shuttle gallery, and David Lam’s reindeer bus gallery. Here’s one more picture of the reindeer shuttle’s festive interior!

The interior of the reindeer shuttle. Photo by Chris Cassidy.

The reindeer buses are out and about

Santa and his friends with CMBC's reindeer bus!

Santa and his friends with CMBC's reindeer bus!

Here’s one of our two reindeer buses, who have been out on the road spreading Christmas cheer this week!

Our reindeer bus and reindeer community shuttle have been travelling around Vancouver, surprising passengers with a little Christmas fun on their regular routes. (There’s no telling where they’ll be –operators have to request the reindeer bus each day, and it’s popular!) The reindeer were also in a number of Christmas parades this year, including the Rogers Santa Claus parade and the Hyack parade.

But the chief job of the reindeer is delivering toys to charity every year. On Dec. 17 and 18, the buses will be loaded up with toys collected by TransLink and its subsidiaries, and the reindeers deliver them to the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau. (That’s 46,000 toys and $37,000 so far, and that doesn’t include 2008!)

Read more »

Buzzer illustrator interview: Hazel Cheng

The December 2014 issue of the Buzzer's illustration done by Hazel Cheng!

The December 2014 issue of the Buzzer’s illustration done by Hazel Cheng!

Oh, look what do we have here – another Buzzer illustrator interview! We were lucky enough to have Emily Carr University of Art + Design student Hazel Cheng illustrate the December 2014 issue of the Buzzer.

‘Tis the season of giving and Hazel really captured that for us in her illustration. Throughout the month of December, our Reindeer Bus and Community Shuttle has been out and about spreading the holiday cheer. On December 18, the bus will be delivering toys to the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau agencies as part of our annual Toys for Tots charity drive.

Hazel was nice enough to take time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions about herself and her work:

Who is Hazel Cheng?
I am an illustrator living in Richmond. My website is hazelcheng.weebly.com.

Tell me about the work you do.
Right now, I am working through a children’s book that deals with some struggles of immigration. It’s something that has come to my attention recently after a trip I made this year.

What’s your favourite thing to draw?
A recurring subject in my art are animals, usually small and fuzzy ones.

Do you take transit? If so, what’s your favourite route or mode transit?
Yes, I enjoy taking buses that I’ve never taken before, and going to far away places. I like the routes on the highways, speeding past the farmland with the mountains in the background.

What’s next for you?
Graduating university, and then I’d like to keep on telling stories.

Thanks for your time Hazel! Pick up your copy of the December 2014 issue today on the bus, SkyTrain, SeaBus and West Coast Express or download it here. The next issue of the Buzzer will be out February 2015 – that means the next illustrator interview will be then too!

Links and Tidbits – December 12, 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.


» Chrissy Nommington shared this “TransLink Adventure” postcard on Instagram.

» Our Buzzer readers send us a lot of interesting things and Ivan Chan sent us 3D renderings of Lansdowne Station on the Canada Line that he did!

» A couple of upcoming Christmas events in Metro Vancouver. The Christmas Market in Coquitlam takes place on December 13th at the Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex. Admission is free! The Transit Museum Society is organizing multiple Christmas Lights Tours during the month of December. The tours will be onboard TRAMS’ 1982 General Motors “Reindeer Bus.”

» The New York City Subway turned 110 year old in October 2014 and what did they do to celebrate? They rolled out their vintage subway cars – surprising commuters with an nostalgic ride!

» This cute little girl started a dance party in a New York City Subway station! A band was playing “Me and My Uncle” by the Grateful Dead and she couldn’t help but start dancing. Others couldn’t resist the fun either and joined in!

» More New York: the entire subway system dealt with numerous problems on December 11 from power outages and a manhole fire to doors that opened onto the tracks. )=

» New York Subway wants you to keep your legs shut in this awareness campaign that will be launching in January.

» Moving on to transit etiquette, SEPTA is expanding its “dude it’s rude” campaign. And hey look! Our Pet Peeves campaign is mentioned in the  same article.

» The Daily Telegraph shares 11 things that should be banned from public transport.

» Because you know I’m all about that bus / ‘Bout that bus, no treble / I’m all about that bus! The METRO Regional Transit Authority in Akron, Ohio made this awesome video, “All About That Bus” – parodying Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass.”

» Shiny new buses? You betcha. Winnipeg Transit just launched four New Flyer Xcelsior battery-electric buses and they will operate a 40-kilometre, two-hour route between the city’s airport and Watt Street and Leighton Avenue. The buses will recharge for 10 minutes at the airport after each trip.

» Not to miss out on the electric bus fun, the Chicago Transit Authority also added two all-electric buses to their fleet

» While Winnipeg and Chicago experiment with electric buses, Bath and Bristol in South West England are testing out the “Bio-Bus,” a bus that is powered entirely using gas generated by human waste.

» Over in Philadelphia, the West Philly Runners group took on SEPTA’s 21 bus for their “Beat the Bus” in a race to see whether running from Point A to Point B could be faster than taking the bus. Who won? Read on to find out!

» Tyne and Wear Metro in North East England urges its passengers to “use your brain near a train” in this animated video to educate passengers about the dangers of obstructing train doors.

» This illustration comes from artist Karl Jilg and the Swedish Road Administration. It shows how much public space we’ve surrendered to cars.

» Stockholm made their stairs fun – by turning it into a piano! No word if these are coming to a SkyTrain station near you. ;) (H/T to @AmandaDFrazer)

» Here’s a Bombardier T1 subway train from Toronto dressed up as a refurbished Mark I in a train simulator (OpenBVE) done by our friend Elfren. Want to join the TTC Academy do to runs? Visit TTCAcademy.t2p0films.ca to learn more. You’ll have the opportunity to experience the life of a subway train operator and I’m told it’s lots of fun!

Five Christmas things to do this weekend – Dec 12 to 14, 2014

The Christmas season is in full swing! Santa Claus is now at malls around Metro Vancouver and surely you’ve started your Christmas shopping. The Reindeer Bus and Community Shuttle are spreading the holiday cheer for the entire month of December.

If you aren’t already, here are five Christmas things to do this weekend to get you into the Christmas spirit!

West Coast Express Santa TrainThe West Coast Express Santa Train runs once more this Saturday, December 13!

In exchange for a new unwrapped toy, you get a ticket to ride the train.

The train departs Mission at 10 am and stops at all WCE stations before arriving at Waterfront Station at approximately 11:15 am. The train makes its return trip from Waterfront at 4 pm.

All donations support the Northeast sector Christmas Bureau.

Holidays with Scuba Claus at Vancouver Aquarium

Photo by Vancouver Aquarium

Photo by Vancouver Aquarium

Scuba Claus is back for his annual visit at the expanded Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre.

Enjoy the return of nostalgic memories as you rediscover the wonders of the electric eel-powered holiday tree. Hop on board a 4-D theatre adventure of THE POLAR EXPRESS and get swept away to the North Pole through an exhilarating sensory experience of wondrous sights, sounds and more.

The event runs until Christmas Eve.

Get there by taking transit! The Vancouver Aquarium is located inside Stanley Park, so just take the 19 Stanley Park bus there.

Bright Nights Christmas Train in Stanley Park

Head down to the Bright Nights Train and Plaza at Stanley Park and immerse yourself in three million twinkling lights. It is open until Sunday, January 4 and is closed on Christmas Day.

Entrance to the Bright Nights Train Plaza to see the holiday lights is by donation and will be accepted at the front gate. A minimum $4 donation is suggested.

Admission to ride the train is $11 for adults and $8 for seniors (65 years old or older) and children & youth (3 – 17 years old). Purchase your tickets online in advance at TicketLeader.ca.

Partial proceeds benefit the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund, which helps burn survivors and their families. Over the past 16 years, $1.4 million has been raised.

For full hours of operation and more information, visit the City of Vancouver website. Get there by taking the 19 Stanley Park bus.

Heritage Christmas at the Burnaby Village Museum

The illuminated displays are back at the Burnaby Village Museum this holiday season for Heritage Christmas!

Bring your cameras for a photo opportunity with Father Christmas and an old-fashioned sleigh. Enjoy daily entertainment from theatre and marionette performances, choirs and musicians to craft for children, storytelling sessions and baking in the Farmhouse!

Heritage Christmas is open now until January 2, 2015. Hours of operation are Monday to Friday from 1 pm to 5:30 pm, Saturday and Sunday from 1 pm to 9 pm – until December 12. Then it’s daily from 1 pm to 9 pm (except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) until it closes. Admission is free and carousel rides are $2.50.

The 123 New Westminster / Brentwood Station and 144 SFU / Metrotown Station both stop right outside the Burnaby Village Museum.

Peak of Christmas at Grouse Mountain

Grouse Mountain is transformed into the North Pole for the holiday season. See the SOS Children’s Gingerbread Village, visit Santa’s Workshop for a photo opportunity, meet Santa’s reindeer, embark on a mountaintop sleigh ride (weather permitting), and go for some outdoor ice skating!

Peak of Christmas runs until Christmas Eve. Admission is $41.95 for adults (19 to 64 years old), $37.95 for seniors (65 years old and up), $23.95 for youth (13 to 18 years old) and $13.95 for child (five to 12 years old). A family pass for two adults and two children/youth is available for $109.95.

Catch the 236 Grouse Mountain from Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver and take the scenic SkyRide from the base of the mountain to get to the Peak of Christmas!

Vancouver Christmas Market

The annual Vancouver Christmas Market is back for a fifth year! Find a mix of traditional food and beverages, as well a selection of authentic wood carvings and toys, knitted goods, nutcrackers, pottery, and other unique gifts. Stop off at the special children’s area, the Kid’s Market, to make Christmas gifts and ride downtown Vancouver’s only Christmas Carousel.

The market is open daily until December 24 from 11 am to 9 pm at the Queen Elizabeth Plaza, 650 Hamilton Street in downtown Vancouver. Admission starts at $7 for adults, $6 for seniors over 60 years of age, $3 for youth between the ages of seven and 12 and is free for kids up to six years old. You can purchase your tickets in advance online!

Located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, the market is easily accessible by transit! It’s located a block away from Stadium-Chinatown SkyTrain station and many bus routes stop nearby including the 4, 6, 7, 10, 14, 16, 17, 50, 240, 246 and 257.

Know of any other awesome Christmas activities that start this upcoming weekend? Let your fellow Buzzer readers know in the comments section! 

The December 2014 issue of the Buzzer is on the system

December 2014 BuzzerThe final issue of the Buzzer in 2014 of now on the system!

Much of it is dedicated to the winter service changes, which begin on Monday, December 15. Highlights include 10 new stops for the 116 to better serve Burnaby’s growing Big Bend industrial area, new trips and bigger vehicles on select routes to reduce overcrowding and serve more customers.

Winter is coming – December 21 to be exact! We’ve already had our first taste of snowfall and more could be on the way, so we have some tips on how you can stay up-to-date and navigate your winter commute.

What’s a sure sign of the holiday season in the Lower Mainland? Sightings of our Reindeer Bus and Community Shuttle! They are now out and about spreading the holiday cheer throughout Metro Vancouver. Tweet us your pictures and post them to Instagram using the hashtag #ReindeerBus!

On December 6 and 13, in exchange for a new unwrapped toy, you get a ticket to ride the West Coast Express Santa Train! The holiday season is also wonderful time for celebration and Transit Police has tips on how you can stay safe.

There’s also information about holiday transit service! Christmas Day and Boxing Day will operate on a modified Sunday/holiday schedule to better reflect demand. As always, rides will be free on New Year’s Eve from 5 pm until the end of service. New Year’s Day service will be a normal Sunday/holiday schedule.

Starting on December 6, Train2Main will no longer operate, which means you can take any train to Main! The Burrard Otter II made its maiden voyage on December 1. As always, we have our favourites – Contest Corner, Back Issues and Coming Events!

Happy reading! Pick it up today on the bus, SkyTrain, SeaBus and West Coast Express or download it here. The next issue of the Buzzer will be out in February 2015.

Santa taps to the North (shore)

Santa 01

Who wants to be on Santa’s “nice” list? We sure do! That’s why, when Santa came flying into town to do some work recently, and he asked to try out a Compass Card, we could hardly say no.

We gave him a card, told him the basics, answered his questions, and had him tap, tap, tap away as he travelled on buses, on SkyTrains, on the WCE, to the end of the SeaBus, over at the North Shore.

Here’s what he said about the card.

Buzzer: So, Santa, what do you think of the Compass Card?

Santa: Ho, ho, ho! Well, I think it’s just jolly fabulous! It’s really easy to use and, since I’m only in town for a few days in December and a couple of weeks of vacation in the summer,  I like that I can load it up with Stored Value and use it when I want—it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Buzzer:  What about your elves, do you think they’ll use it?

Santa: Well, my elves don’t always come with me, but when they do, they have lots of running around to do, picking up toy-making supplies and tools and whatnot. It’ll probably make more sense to put a DayPass on the card for them.

Buzzer: And Mrs. Claus?

Santa: Well, Mrs. Claus likes to come with me in the summer, but she usually stays for the whole month while I head back to the North Pole. She’ll probably get a Monthly Pass on her card when she comes so she can come and go as much as she likes.

Buzzer: I’ve heard your elves can be somewhat mischievous; do you worry about them losing their cards?

Santa: Ho, ho, ho! That’s true! They’re always pulling pranks and up to something.  They certainly keep things interesting—and it wouldn’t be the first time they lost something.

Buzzer: I hear you. Well, if they register the cards, they’ll get Balance Protection, just in case.

Santa: Excellent!

Buzzer: What are you looking forward to about the Compass Card?

Santa: Well, the elves have been trying to get me using the computer the last few years. Being way up at the North Pole, I’m looking forward to firing up the the ol’ machine and poking around on the website. I hear I’ll be able to load passes and Stored Value on my cards from there?

Buzzer: Yep. That’s right. Do you have any questions for us?

Santa: Just one: do the reindeer need cards too?

Buzzer: Sorry, Santa. There’s no reindeer allowed on transit.

Santa: Oh well. Thanks so much for letting me try it out. Ho, ho, ho!

The December 2013 Buzzer is now on the system!

Note: the December 2013 Buzzer is on the system free of charge (as usual)! You’ll want to note that this issue also covers January 2014. The next issue will be in February 2014.

The majority of content for the December issue is devoted to winter bus service changes. The full list of changes are in the Buzzer newsletter as well as on the TransLink website.

The cover illustration was drawn by local artist Zach Bulick! We’ll have an interview with him up very soon.

Also in the issue is info about the Compass Card, the United Way and the Reindeer Bus and Community Shuttle contest.

And of course, there’s always the usual favourites including the Contest Corner, Back Issues and Coming Events.

Now all you have to do is pick one up or download it. Good reading to you all!

Santa to keep steering the sleigh…er, bus

Santa, Mrs Clause, Sparky the elf and the Reindeer bus!

Santa, Mrs Claus, Sparky the elf and the Reindeer Bus!

It’s that time of the year for candy canes, ginger bread houses and Santa Claus. Speaking of the jolly old elf, he’s been the subject of some media attention of late. Santa shows up on a number of routes including the #27 Kootenay Loop/Joyce Station run which sparked media coverage.

Just to be clear, we love Santa, we love the holidays and we love our riders! We’ve heard about your love of seeing Santa on this route and we would like to let our riders and the public know that we will continue to allow our bus operator to wear his Santa suit while on duty. We recognize that we underestimated how much our riders valued his holiday spirit and it was certainly never our intent to offend the public.

Where can you see holiday cheer on the transit system?

The Reindeer Bus and Community Shuttle (November 2013 – January 2014)

The Reindeer Bus, Sparky the bus operating elf and Jiana from TransLink

The Reindeer Bus, Sparky the bus operating elf and Jiana from TransLink

The Reindeer Bus has been driving various routes across Metro Vancouver since November. Recently, the bus made a public appearance at the Christmas Wish Breakfast, hosted by the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau at the Pan Pacific Hotel on December 11. Santa, Mrs. Claus and the bus operating elf Sparky have also periodically been visiting mystery stops this week throughout Metro Vancouver. Here’s some fun facts about the program:

  • Since 1985, Coast Mountain Bus Company annually decorates one bus and one Community Shuttle to resemble a reindeer. This year it will operate from November 12 to January 1.
  • The Reindeer Bus and Community Shuttle visit a number of holiday celebrations including local agencies likethe Canuck Place and Ronald McDonald House (December 9-12).

Toys for Tots

The Reindeer Bus and shuttle are a part of the Toys for Tots campaign. Here’s some info about the program:

  • Created in 1985 by a group of BC Transit bus drivers, Toys for Tots allows TransLink employees to donate newly unwrapped toys or money to the less fortunate.
  • Last year, Toys for Tots delivered 2,709 toys to the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau with the grand total of 57,968 since the launch of the program.
  • In addition, $300 cash was contributed to the donations, totaling $42, 822.86 since 1985.
  • The entire supply of donations to be delivered to the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau agencies from Monday, December 9 to Thursday, December 19.

Canada Line Blanket Drive (November 22 – November 23)

We were part of the fifth annual Drive on the Line campaign -partnership between Blanket BC Society and the Canada Line – that took place along the Canada Line on November 22 – November 23.

  • This year, the two-day blanket drive collected 8500 blankets, exceeding the last year’s record of 6200 blankets.
  • All donated items are distributed evenly to shelter programs and organizations that work directly with most vulnerable individuals and families throughout Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, and this year, Vancouver Island.

West Coast Express Santa Train (December 7 and December 14)

Now in its 17th year, this is an annual toy-drive that collects toys on behalf of the Christmas bureau, serving communities in the Northeast sector including SHARE in the Tri-Cities, the Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society, and the Christmas Bureau in Mission.

This year on Saturday, December 7 and December 14, riders will be able to ride the special train in return for a newly unwrapped toy.

Want more seasonal cheer? Reindeer Bus and Community Shuttle contest coming soon!

Keep watching the blog for a fun contest you can take part of if you see the Reindeer Bus or Community Shuttle!

The top 5 local transit photos of 2012

Photo by Chelle Patterson

We’re continuing our look back of some of the highlights of 2012 with our five favourite local transit-related photos from the year (check out our top five videos and wacky transit stories). We love the gorgeous photo above by Chelle Patterson, capturing a double rainbow behind the SeaBus. Sigh…love this one.

 

The first 555 ride

It was a cold, dark morning, but we were bursting with excitement when the new 555 bus started service on December 1. The new route takes riders from Langley to New West in just over 20 minutes. Also love: a rider on took his bike along, too.

 

The first faregate installed

It was a milestone day when the first faregate was installed at Marine Station and we were there to capture the moment. Since then, faregates have been popping up across the system in preparation for Compass.

 

Photo by Chris Cassidy

‘Tis the season and our popular reindeer bus has been busy making the rounds. This photo by Chris Cassidy of BusShots Canada really captures the spirit of the bus well (I can almost hear the people laughing and chatting on the bus). Thanks, Chris!

 

And, of course, we’d like to thank you–our readers and fans. This shot was taken at the 2012 I Love Transit Night (our biggest one yet!) and I love how happy everyone looks. The event is one of the highlights of our years and we always look forward to meeting so many of you in person. It’s so fantastic to know so many people are so passionate about transit. Thank you!

The December 2012 Buzzer is on the system

Tis’ that time of the season for our annual holiday edition of the print Buzzer! What makes this issue special? Well, it’s chock full of holiday info to help you on your merry way throughout Metro Vancouver.

Many of you already know about the December Service changes which started on December 3. For those who haven’t noticed the changes yet, we’ve printed them in this issue. A couple of changes of note are the new #555 Port Mann ExpressBus and the return of the #5 and N6 NightBus to their previous routes.

Mention is also made of holiday transit service, which includes altered service on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day as well as info about free service on New Year’s Eve (Sorry, you’ll have to check the issue or the blog or TransLink website later this month for specifics).

The holiday season just wouldn’t feel right without the West Coast Express Santa Train. The first ride starts tomorrow, December 8, 2012. Make sure you have your toy to donate and your best holiday clothes on for your photo with Santa!

Also, helping to spread the holiday cheer again this year are the Reindeer Bus and Reindeer Shuttle. We’ve already received photos of the bus in action on the blog and on our Facebook page.

This issue includes info about where you can catch the bus or shuttle and snap your photos and possibly even meet Santa, Mrs. Clause and a Christmas bus operating elf! If you’re a shutter bug, you’ll want to check the blog later today to find out how you could win a Monthly FareCard for snapping a picture of either the bus or shuttle and sending it to us!

Speaking of contests, we announced the winner of our Halloween Photo Contest! The winning photo was of this Jolly Green Giant on the bus!

The Jolly Green won this Halloween!

This issue also includes a list of the fares which will increase starting January 2013. You’ll want to read our post on this if you missed it.

Rounding out the Buzzer are the usual suspects: the contest corner, back issues and coming events.

We also note a very interesting art installation on Main street including the #3 bus. You’ll want also want to check the blog later today for more on this!

If you haven’t picked up the issue yet, you can download as it a .pdf. Happy holidays everyone!