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Translink Buzzer Blog

Category: Blog Stuff

Update from the Buzzer blog team

Hi folks!

You may have noticed that you have been unable to leave comments on some of our more recent blog posts.

Fear not! This is not because we don’t want you to!

We love interacting with our Buzzer audience and answering any and all questions you have about our posts and the system.

Unfortunately, we have been experiencing some major technical difficulties on our end of the blog, including our comment section.

We apologize to all of our readers for this glitch and we hope that we have the issue cleared up so please continue to leave us comments!

Below are some of the posts from the past few weeks. Comment on, Buzzer readers, comment on!

New Mark III SkyTrain cars embark on a cross country road trip
Rider Alert: Expo Line single tracking on October 17, 2015
Want the skinny on single tracking? Ian Fisher fills us in…
Compass 101 videos help you make the move to the Compass Card
Keep those bike wheels rolling with Fall Bike to Work Week
Lots to Learn at!
Compass 101: How to load your Compass Card online

If you experience any more issues with commenting, please email us.

Author: Adrienne Coling

Buzzer blog editor away for a week

I should really get a new photo;) See you all in a week and a bit

I should really get a new photo… See you all soon!

The blog will be on vacation until August 24, 2015. During that time, Laura will be minding the shop.

However, she’ll be busy planning for I Love Transit Week 2015, so don’t expect too many posts and replies to comments between today and the 24th.

There’s a lot to talk about and announce when I’m back.

See you all soon!

The Buzzer blog – what do YOU want to see?

The very first Buzzer, ever.

The very first Buzzer, ever.

Hi everyone!

The Buzzer blog was created eons ago (exaggeration for effect!) as an extension to the print buzzer.

It was crafted with the idea of giving you, our readers, insider knowledge into the workings of our operating companies and our system in an interactive way.

This space is also the corporate blog for TransLink providing updates, policy changes, service issues, etc.

Originally, the blog was really our only social channel. Oh my, how we’ve grown! Now we have several social channels all with varying audiences.

We know that everyone has different tastes and interests and it’s important to us that you are engaged with what we’re providing.

That being said, many things that we post about TransLink as a company will stay.

So will some other elements like Links and Tidbits, Transit in the News, polls, interviews with people, visits to places across the system along with fun “insider” series like Transit Police Academy.

Many of our shorter posts and images are posted on our Facebook and Instagram feeds.

There will be some awesome content in the next few weeks with 125 years of transit in the region AND I love transit at the end of the summer!

But right now, we’re asking YOU for YOUR opinion.

What do you want to see here? What interests you? What do you think will engage people the most on this blog?

Please keep in mind we may not be able to do everything that you can imagine! ;)

Let us know leaving a comment below or  email us!

Thanks for being a part of our community here and out on the system!

Author: Adrienne Coling

The Buzzer has a new contributor: Meet Laura!

Please help me in welcoming Laura to the team!

Please help me in welcoming Laura to the team!

Hello Buzzer Blog readers! I’m the new Student Communication Associate and am excited to be working with the TransLink Communication Team over the upcoming months.

Transit has always had a special place in my heart. In my earlier transit riding days, a bus pass was more than a ticket-to-ride, it represented pure freedom.

It meant no parent chauffeurs, an open road and countless pizza slices at my destination.

My adult self values transit for many of the same reasons. Although less about parents and pizza, the sense of freedom has remained.

Transit gets me where I want to go, reduces my environmental footprint and gives me a chance to relax on my commute.

A transit fan through and through, I am super excited to contribute to this blog and connect with the Buzzer readers!

A few more things about me:

  • I have a background in publishing and I love to read. I’m currently reading Mavis Gallant’s In Transit (total coincidence).
  • Lately, I have been into all foods pickled or spicy.
  • I am a novice gardener learning the ways of plants and soil. So far my struggling basil has kept its ways very secret.

See you all on the blog!

Love is in the air… and on transit!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Today is Cupid’s Revenge… sorry, no, that’s not it… It’s Valentine’s Day. Yes! That’s right! Love and hearts and little chubby babies with wings shooting arrows. So, considering today is supposed to be super schmaltzy, we decided to scour the region online and off looking for some not-so-typical love stories.

Besides the fabulous “I saw You” section in the Georgia Straight, which I read religiously, a lot of people actually meet their SOs on transit.

Remember the beautiful wedding of Nina and Jarred that took place on the bus because that’s where they met? *sigh* Love can definitely be in the air across the system.

Check out this romance we found that started on one of our SkyTrains! Laura submitted the story below as her entry in the Cupid’s Crush contest through our friends at the Vancouver Observer in a bid to win the ultimate Valentine’s Day package from Summerland Waterfront Resort & Spa.

Turns out, her tale of SkyTrain soulmates won first prize! Take a read, warm your heart and if you’re single, keep your eyes peeled the next time you take transit. You never know, your next great love may only be a transit trip away. But really, let’s remember what the most important thing is about Valentine’s Day… HUGE sales on chocolate come February 15th!!

“I had just moved from a small town down to the city a couple weeks before I met my man, Mike. I’d gone to a Christmas party with my cousin and was taking the SkyTrain home. It was one of the first times I was taking the SkyTrain alone, and I had a drink or two (no no, I was not drunk!), so I wasn’t completely confident finding my way home. 

There was a very handsome man in a nice jacket sitting a couple empty seats away from me.  I snuck a few peeks thinking I was being sneaky (but have recently found out he had seen me peeking in the reflection in the window).  

The SkyTrain stopped at the station before my stop and the doors wouldn’t shut again. After a few minutes I got up the guts to ask what we should do. It was an instant spark.  He had a wonderful smile and we shared some laughs.   

The SkyTrains started running again, but only going the opposite direction I needed to go, so I had to go all the way back around the track. We sat together and told each other about ourselves and ended up almost at my stop again. I finally realized he hadn’t gotten off at his stop and asked him where he lived. I was headed to New West and he was headed downtown! He’d taken the train all the way around with me to make sure I was going to find my way home – what a sweet heart! He ended up walking me right to my front door.  He leaned in for a hug and I went in for the thank you kiss.  

A few days later I took him to a movie to thank him for making sure I got home. Today we live together with our four month old daughter, Lillianna, and dog Tank. Now when the SkyTrain breaks down, I remember that maybe these things happen for a reason and somebody else is finding their Prince Charming.”

Author: Adrienne Coling

The SIMPLE art of transit network design


Planning transit – tougher than it looks!

It is a rainy morning at the Vancouver Transit Centre. I’m sitting with a room full of colleagues and five pots of coffee. What do we all have in common? We are all keen to better understand the considerations and strategy behind transit network design…and although we all work for TransLink, none of us are actual transit planners.

As an introduction, our fearless instructor Jarrett Walker performs a soliloquy on ridership, density, frequency and demand. His poetry makes us feel at ease. As he presents us with the network design challenges for the course, we are confident that we can find the solutions. Even without the academic training and years of experience, we are certain that using the tools we’ve only just been taught will be “s-i-m-p-l-e”.

We work in groups to plan multiple transit networks over the two-day course. Our tool kit includes a map and a spreadsheet filled with mathematical equations. Our fictional city map showed land-use patterns, population density, landmarks and major roads and bridges. We have a budget and the spreadsheet helps us keep track of how many buses and at what frequency we can afford.

I realized during the first challenge that I had underestimated the difficulty of the task. I thought I was using common sense to plan an efficient network. I chose a population dense area and identified a number of destinations: the airport, the shopping district, the hospital. I was planning for how a single person could get to each landmark. I assumed that because these were community destinations it would make sense to have frequent service. But I was wrong. When it was time for the trip test – getting a fictional rider from multiple arrival to destination points– all the networks were put to the test.

The network that was most efficient did not focus on single trips; it was designed to connect people from high density areas to as many destinations as possible while maximizing the budget. This was my “Aha!” moment. It was not enough to get the fictional Jane to the airport and hospital, the network had to also get her to the soccer field, her office building and the pet store. Turns out, with finite resources there are mathematical trade-offs and balancing the competing needs to provide access and offer direct and frequent service is not “s-i-m-p-l-e” at all.

The course is over and I’ve put away my design pens. The next time I think “gee, I wish I could take transit to the grocery store, but I have to walk a few blocks and it is slower than taking my car,” I’ll take a minute to remember. I’m going to remember that unless many people in my neighbourhood are traveling to the grocery store, post office and hospital every day, throughout the day, there may not be the ridership demand to justify having a high frequency service to accommodate my whims to take the bus to the grocery store.

Author: Angela Salehi

We have a new contributer to the Buzzer blog – Adrienne!

It's me!

It’s me!

Oh, hello, I didn’t see you there. Pull up a seat and let’s chat! I’m Adrienne and I am happy to make your electronic acquaintance here on the fabulous Buzzer blog. I am also very excited to be a new addition to the communications team at TransLink!

Public transit is my go-to mode of transportation. When I travel the world, which I love to do, I always rely on the city’s buses, trains, metros and trams to take me where I need to go and see the sights as I do so. I truly believe that the best way to experience a city through its transportation systems and Metro Vancouver is no different. Bike trails and lanes, walking paths as well as roads and bridges all feed into a successful overall transportation experience. I’ll be blogging about all of these subjects as well.

Coming from a journalism background, I’m always looking for the story behind the story. What makes people tick and why? You’ll be seeing my posts here as well as some of our other social media accounts, probably saying something terribly witty and insightful about transportation in this region and how it affects life, the universe and everything. Hmm…Is the answer 42? I hope to bring you the stories behind the stories of our operators, employees, riders and the cities that make up Metro Vancouver. I’m going to try some fresh ideas and I’d love to get your input. So, dish! What would you like to see on the blog??

Just FYI, here are three things I could never live without:
1)      My fluffy beasties (3 cats, 2 dogs)

2)      Music of all kinds – I’m usually humming or singing something

3)      My mum (Aww!)

Author: Adrienne Coling

The Buzzer blog is on vacation until January 2, 2015

We're on vacation until Friday, January 2, 2015!

We’re on vacation until Friday, January 2, 2015!

If you’re taking transit on Christmas or Boxing Day you’ll want to read this post. Need service updates and trip planning help? We will still be available on Twitter (@TransLink) and by phone (604.953.3333), 6:30 am to 11:30 pm, seven days a week including Christmas Day.

We’d like to thank the Buzzer readers for making 2014 an awesome year and wish you happy holidays!

Author: Allen Tung

Introducing Allen!


Happy to join the TransLink team!

Hello Buzzer readers! My name is Allen and will be a member of the TransLink communications team over the summer as its Student Communications Assistant.

Receiving that first pack of Concession FareSaver Tickets is a significant milestone for any teenager in Metro Vancouver. It represents an increase in mobility and a new-found ability to travel anywhere by themselves — a taste of adulthood. Since I received my first pack of FareSavers, I’ve become hooked on transit and it is has become my primary means to get around.

Being both a Geography and Communications student at Simon Fraser University has made me appreciative of the important role TransLink plays in the overall livability of our region by reducing our carbon footprint.

Three things about me:

I’m proud to call myself a transit geek and I look forward to sharing my enthusiasm for transit with you all over the next few months!

Author: Allen Tung

Transit Driver Appreciation Day is Tuesday, March 18th!

Downloadable Bus Driver Appreciation Day Cards

Downloadable Bus Driver Appreciation Day Cards

They’re the people that many of us see almost everyday. Some of us speak with them regularily others may simply exchange a, “hello”, a smile or maybe nothing at all. They can make or break your commute and when the make it, it can really change you day. They’re your transit operators and tomorrow is a day to say thanks for getting me to where I need to go.

It’s called Transit Driver Appreciation Day, and it’s tomorrow! If you check out the website, you can download!

Conceived in Seattle in 2009, the date was chosen because, “That’s the day that bus service is believed to have debuted in Paris in 1662.”, says the organizers

This day is not to be confused with the Bus Driver Appreciation day at Vancouver Technical School or Say Hi on the Bus. And of course, any day can be a day to appreciate your driver.

So, if you haven’t yet, say thanks to the driver you like, give them a card or simply give them a smile. I’m sure they’d love to receive it!

Introducing Julia!

Hello there!

Hello there!

Knock knock.
Who’s there?
It’s Julia.
Julia Who?
Julia the new Buzzer contributor!

Why hello there! Nice to e-meet you.  My name is Julia Ren and I am a new member to the TransLink communications team. Since the Compass Card and fare gates project is my bread and butter, I will do my best to keep you posted on the latest scoop of this very exciting system. Stay tuned…

Three things about me:

  • I am a certified Yoga instructor and I get a little giddy when I see my students carrying re-usable bags and drinking coconut water.
  • I have the cutest puppy in the whole wide world (totally objective), and he sleeps with a baby seal.
  • I always say hi to people in the elevator and I get REALLY offended if someone ignores me and maybe cry a little in the bathroom.

Anyway, I hope to hear from you. Comment away and I will do my best to answer all your Compass related questions.

Merry X-Mas and Happy New Year from the Buzzer!

What we lacked in colour coding we make up for in Christmas decorations.

What we lacked in colour coding we make up for in Christmas decorations.

From our Buzzer family to your family, we wish you all a happy and safe holiday season and 2014. Thanks for reading and contributing to the blog in 2013!

Buzzer blog editor away over the winter holidays

I'll see you all in 2014!

I’ll see you all in 2014!

I’m taking a break from the blog to catch up with family over the winter holidays. I’ll be back in mid-January. But don’t worry, Jennifer, Angela and Jiana will be watching things while I’m away.

This year was a big one and 2014 looks even bigger with Compass Card, a new SeaBus, station upgrades and so much more. Thanks Buzzer readers for making 2013 a great one!

Introducing Jennifer B!

I ride the SeaBus every morning!

Hi Buzzer Readers! My name is Jennifer Binnington and I’m very excited to be a new member of the TransLink communications team. Having worked in the industry since the start of my career, transportation is something that’s very near and dear to my heart.

Work and life takes me all over Metro Vancouver, and public transit has been my go-to form of transportation. But I like to switch it up sometimes and when I’m not on the bus, SkyTrain or SeaBus, you may find me on my bike or Vespa!

Here are some other tidbits about me:

  • I’ll eat almost anything, except for peas or cereal.
  • I started ballet two years ago as a beginner adult. Right now I’m floating somewhere between beginner and intermediate.
  • I grew up just outside of Toronto but have been very happy to call Vancouver my home for the past eight years.

I’m excited to share TransLink news and project updates with you and I hope you find the stories as interesting as I do!

Author: Jennifer Morland

Introducing Angela!

Introducing Angela Blog Post

Happy to be joining the team.

Pssst, Buzzer Readers….pssst, over here! My name is Angela Salehi, and I am so pleased to be meeting you as a new member of the communications team at TransLink. One of my many roles is contributing posts to this awesome blog. I invite you to share your comments and ideas so that I can cover the issues you are interested in.

Below are five interesting (totally subjective) factoids which will close the gap on our long distance relationship and save you time googling me on social media.

  • The tip of my left ring finger has been numb since 1999.
  • I went on my first yoga retreat in September on Salt Spring Island.
  • The book Love You Forever by Robert Munsch makes me cry each time I read it.
  • My kryptonite is a COBS cinnamon bun.

One more insight: This summer I took my five-year old on the Skytrain for the first time. We were headed towards Science World and the look of pure wonder and thrill on her face is burned in my memory. I hope to uncover and nourish this level of joy for transit in Metro Vancouver and I’m excited to be at TransLink.

Author: Angela Salehi