ALERT! : More info
Translink Buzzer Blog

Search: toys for tots

‘Tis the season for toys! Toys for Tots returns for 32nd year

Toys For Tots 2017

Sparky the Elf, on behalf of TransLink and its operating companies, upped the ante today by committing to a donation of 3.500 unwrapped toys to the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau (LMCB) this holiday season. That’s 500 more than last year’s commitment!

Read more »

The season of giving continues with thousands of donations for Toys for Tots

DSC_1096

Delivering our promissory note of 3,000 toys to the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau!

IMG_1529

Lots’o’toys!

It was a unseasonably chilly morning when Sparky the Elf promised 3,000 new, unwrapped toys on behalf of TransLink and its operating companies to the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau (LMCB), but the air was filled with warm, holiday cheer!

Toys for Tots in our region was developed by a group of BC Transit operators back in 1985.

Each year since, the employees of the TransLink enterprise have donated to the less fortunate during the holiday season.

Donations have been made at all eight transit centres, TransLink Lost Property as well as HQs for TransLink, CMBC, BCRTC and Transit Police.

How do we deliver these packages of Christmas joy to the LMCB? By reindeer bus and shuttle, of course!

Santa, Mrs Claus, Sparky, Prancer (that’s me) and some plucky helpers collected 6,111 toys and items from across the Enterprise! That is on top of over $500 of cash donations!

This year is record-breaking and it wouldn’t have been possible without the immense generosity from all of our staff to make this season a little brighter for those in need.

Author: Adrienne Coling

Toys for Tots is back for another holiday season!

Toys on the ReindeerBus

The Reindeer Bus filling up with toys.

Toys for Tots is a wonderful program where you can donate new, unwrapped toys or money to the less fortunate to brighten their holiday season.

Created by a group of BC Transit bus drivers, we have been donating to this cause since 1985!

Last year, Toys for Tots delivered 3,559 toys to the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau with the grand total of 66,267 since the launch of the program.

Reindeer bus

Sparky the elf delivering our promissory note of 3,000 toys!

Nearly $700 was also contributed to the donations, totalling $43,939.96 since 1985.

This year, we started our collection on November 26 when we promised 3,000 toys to the program!

The donations are being collected today and tomorrow by Santa and Mrs. Claus (plus Sparky the elf!) at TransLink head office and all the operating companies.

The toys will be loaded onto the Reindeer Bus and Community Shuttle and be delivered to the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau agencies on December 17.

Here are some pictures from the Toys for Tots pick up from TransLink head office at Sapperton in New Westminster!

Check out the video from last year!

Author: Adrienne Coling

 

TransLink Reindeer Bus and Community Shuttle delivers two busloads of toys in 2014

On Friday, December 19, the TransLink Reindeer Bus and Community Shuttle delivered approximately 3,500 unwrapped toys to the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau as part of our annual Toys for Tots charity drive!

Sparky the Elf with Global BC's Sophie Lui

Sparky the Elf with Global BC’s Sophie Lui

Toys for Tots collects newly unwrapped toys or money for the less fortunate and since the launch of the program, employees from TransLink and its subsidiaries Coast Mountain Bus Company, BC Rapid Transit Company and Transit Police have donated 61,000 toys to the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau.

Throughout the month of December, the Reindeer Bus and Community Shuttle have been surprising commuters with a unique ride. Sparky the Elf, Mr. and Mrs. Claus along with the bus also visited Ronald McDonald House, Canuck Place, the Simon Fraser Center for Community Assisted Living and various bus loops handing out candy canes and spreading the holiday cheer.

“We were greeted by many in the public smiling, waving and even taking pictures of the bus,” Sparky the Elf said. “We found great pleasure again in pulling the bus to the curb near children and surprising them by having Santa exit the bus giving out candy canes to them.”

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.

#MyTransLink – December 19, 2017

“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”

— Elliott Erwitt

We’re back again with our weekly #MyTransLink series of reader-curated photos, captured by our riders, community neighbours and transit enthusiasts alike. Let’s see what you’ve captured since last week!

Ho-Ho-Hold on to your Compass Cards, Rudolph is comin’ to town!

Reindeer Bus

That’s right, the Reindeer Bus (aka: 9543) has saddled up and is ready to spread some holiday cheer throughout the region. The Reindeer Bus operates out of Vancouver Transit Centre (VTC), so expect to see it on Vancouver streets as soon as tomorrow!

Read more »

Out on the roads, spot the reindeer bus!

We spotted the bus today!

Beep beep! Rudolph is running on a route near you!

**Extra points for you if you sang the title to the tune of “Up on the Housetop!”**

‘Tis the season for the reindeer bus and reindeer community shuttle to be out and about on regular routes around Metro Vancouver starting tomorrow for the whole month of December!

reindeer bus

This community shuttle has a very shiny nose!

For 30 years, these decorated vehicles have spread the holiday cheer and surprise passengers with a unique ride throughout Metro Vancouver!

The reindeer bus kicked into gear a little early last week with a visit to Toys for Tots. This year, TransLink and its operating companies have promised 3,000 toys to help make this Christmas extra special for children in our communities!

When they are not out on the road, the reindeer bus calls the Vancouver Transit Centre home.

Head to Twitter where our team will try their best to tweet out what routes the two reindeer will be serving so you can hop on!

Keep your eyes peeled for our reindeer and send us your pictures of it!

Tweet your photos to @TheBuzzer using the hashtag #ReindeerBus, post them onto Instagram mentioning @TransLinkBC and hashtag #ReindeerBus, or email thebuzzer@translink.ca. We’ll be sharing some of our favourites!

Author: Adrienne Coling

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!

Author: Allen Tung

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

Author: Allen Tung

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

Author: Angela Chang

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 November issue of the Buzzer is now on the system

A brand new print Buzzer is on the system!

There’s lot of great stuff in this issue. The main subject is about the launch of AskCompass.ca. This interactive website is a great resource, besides the Buzzer of course, for answering all of your Compass Card questions. Read all about it here and by using it yourself.

Regular readers of the blog know all about our annual Halloween photo contest. We included a couple of fantastically inventive costumes in the issue.

TransLink, combined with it’s operating companies and it’s predecessor organizations, has been involved with the United Way for more than forty years, and this year was no different. We’re proud to announce that this year we’ve collected over $200,000 for various community programs and counting!

The TravelSmart program has been busy of late.  This issue included two events, which marked partnering with two cities in Metro Vancouver: both the City of Surrey and Coquitlam joined the program this year! TranLink’s TravelSmart program encourages residents to make more sustainable travel choices, specifically through walking.

A couple of holidays are around the corner. Transit service for Remembrance Day and our Toys for Tots toy collection are included in this issue. More on both of these subjects to come on the blog!

Of course, there’s Contest Corner and Back Issue sections, and that pretty much captures what’s in the issue.

Remember, you can always download the Buzzer as .pdf (including back issues). The other option is to pick it up on the bus, SeaBus or SkyTrain!

 

 

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!

 

 

Catching up with the Lost Property Office

Missing your favourite megaphone? No worries, the Lost Property Office has it!

Have you ever visited TransLink’s Lost Property Office before? I hadn’t until recently. Jhen has written about the office and what they do before, but I wanted to see the office for myself and figured it would be worth a check in.

The office can be a busy place.

My first reaction when I was brought behind the counter was how organized it is in there. Gloves collected from bus depots, SkyTrain, and SeaBus come in daily and are divided between matching pairs and singles. Drawers full of cell phones and chargers are tagged with the time and place they were found and any other info that can connect them to their rightful owner.

Backpack season starts after school begins.

Considering the small area the staff have to store bikes, cell phones, umbrellas, books, medication, back packs, strollers, tools and way too many other random and odd items to mention, keeping them well organized is the only way to keep track of them all!

And because of the volume of lost items and the limited space to store everything, rules have been created for how long we hold onto items:

  • Wallets and other valuables are held for 30 days
  • The following items are held for 10 days: Binders, books, gloves, hats, jackets, pants, papers, posters, scarves, shirts, shoes
  • The following items are held for 14 days: Bikes, used bags
  • Items will be retained for a few days to a month, depending on the type of item.
  • Items like Care Cards and birth certificates are sent back to their government agencies, but the rest is donated to charity.
  • Food containers/drink containers are held for just a few days
  • Perishable items are not retained
  • Perishable items and food/drink containers may not be retained or only held for a couple of days.

So, just how many items are left behind? And what are the most popular lost items on transit? Customer Information Supervisor Michelle Poole answered a few of our questions:

1.      How many lost items have we collected so far in 2012?

30,285 items have been logged into our database (over 5000 umbrellas are also turned in every year, but these are not logged into the database).

2.      How many lost items did we collect in 2011?

36,816 items (excluding umbrellas).

3.      How many items do you reunite with their owners every year?

Last year, 28.32% of items were reunited with their owners. So far this year, 29.98% of items have been returned to their owners.

4.      What are the most common items that end up in Lost Property?

Definitely umbrellas would be most common, but a lot of cellular phones as well.

5.      What’s the best course of action for someone to take once they know they have lost something on transit?

Customers can call us during our business hours (Monday-Friday from 8:30am-5:00pm). It is best to ensure they have as much detail as possible including date/time the item was lost, the route the item was lost on, the description of the item lost as well as all their contact information.  Alternatively, we have an online form that can be completed at anytime that will send a report directly to our office.  It can take up to 2 business days for items to arrive in the Lost Property office, and we are in receipt of bikes once a week on Thursdays. (The Lost Property Office handles over 4000 calls from customers each month and nearly 3000 walk-in customers)

6.      Are there any other stories from lost property that you would like to share?

Our Workleader this year went to great lengths to try and locate the owner of a case for glasses with $400 cash inside.  There was no identification and only a bank slip with the cash that was inside.  Workleader Barb Szumilak went to a branch of the bank and explained the situation.  They explained that they could see what they could do, but they would not be able to provide us with customer information. They were, however, able to make contact with the gentleman who owned the bank account, and he was able to retrieve his money and case from our office.

One other interesting fact I discovered on my visit is that nearly 100% of all the unclaimed items turned into the Lost Property Office are donated to charity! United Way and Toys for Tots are just two charities who receive items regularly.

I’d like to express my thanks to Michelle, Barb and everyone else at Lost Property for letting me snoop around their office. If you have a lost item, I encourage you to fill out an online form, give Lost Property a call at 604-953-3334, or stop by the office at Stadium SkyTrain Station, 590 Beatty St, Vancouver, Monday to Friday 8:30 am-5:00pm.

 

 

The 2011 Reindeer Bus

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.

Author: Tina Robinson