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Translink Buzzer Blog

Category: Buses

Bus Operator Bronco Hyrman recieves 100th commendation!

Bronco

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s how he sees it:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We’ll just have to wait and see.

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

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

 

Celebration of Light fireworks

Celebration of Light fireworks!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Service adjustments for other summertime events can be viewed here.

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

 

 

Sign-up 101: How operators choose their work

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

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

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

How does it work?

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

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

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

Who does what?

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

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

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

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

Why paper?

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

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

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

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

Cutting back on washing to save water

Bus wash closed at Surrey Transit Centre

Bus wash closed at Surrey Transit Centre

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A day of transit activity visualized through video!

buzzer_banner_125_years

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy 148th, Canada!

We hope you all enjoy Canada Day!

We hope you all enjoy Canada Day!

Ohhhhhhhhhhh Canada we stand on guard for theeeeeeeeeeeee!!

I do love a good anthem.

Canada Day is this Wednesday, July 1st and there will be tons of activities happening all over the region.

Know before you go! Check out the holiday service schedule for detours and extended service.

Heading downtown Vancouver to see the fireworks at Canada Place?

Avoid those crazy long lines and pre-purchase return tickets for the SkyTrain!

Customers can buy tickets at Vancouver City Centre, Granville, Burrard and Waterfront stations.

Portable fareboxes only accept exact cash fare and tickets are valid until the end of service.

Perhaps you’re more of a Granville Island Canada Day celebrator. If you’re planning to ride your bike there, prepare to feel pampered!

BEST’S Bicycle Valet will be providing cyclists FREE, secure temporary bike storage from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m.

You can check out more details here.

Wherever you celebrate this great land of ours, let us help you get there!

Plan your route with our Trip Planner or call Customer Information at 604.953.3333.

Remember! On holidays you only need a one-zone fare for the entire system!

Bus operator goes above and beyond to fight roadside fire!

Earlier this week, bus operator George Simnos was driving a full 84 UBC bus along West 6th Ave when he noticed something unusual. Smoke was coming from a patch of bushes near a wooden fence, about a 100 metres from a few townhomes and parkland.

Immediately, George’s operator training kicked in. Stopping the bus (with hazards on, of course), George checked for passenger safety before grabbing the onboard fire extinguisher and starting work on the blaze.

The flames, now about a foot high, had started to climb the six-foot tall fence nearby. George quickly doused the flames. However, the blaze was resilient and continued to spark, until a passenger with a bucket of water from the pub across the street, came and soaked the fire.

Then, another passenger helped George finish it if off by kicking dirt on the area. Fire trucks arrived on the scene minutes later and took over. That’s when George got back on the bus and was greeted with a standing ovation from his passengers.

According to George he acted on the fire because he likes helping people. Shrugging off the “hero” title, he says he wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.

We’d like to tip our hat to George and his passengers for helping put out a fire before it got out of hand and making sure everyone was safe.

FREE TRANSIT

TransLink bus

PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT ALL MODES OF TRANSIT WILL BE FREE TODAY, MAY 22, DUE TO THE MAJOR DISRUPTION.

UDPATE: 12:14pm: Thank you all for your patience and understanding today. We understand the inconvenience and are happy to announce that full service has been restored to the Expo Line.

The SkyTrain disruption that was due to a fire destroying one metre communications cable is now over. Please allow time for the service to catch up to regular timings. Shuttles will continue to be used as needed to help with the flow of riders. ^ac

UPDATE: 10:43am: Follow us on Periscope at noon today (handle: TransLink BC) for a live update on the Expo Line SkyTrain disruption.

UPDATE: 10:36: For those of you who have already paid for transit today, please hold on to your tickets and/or receipts. We are working on a way to make sure you benefit from this.

UPDATE 9:29am: Trains are now able to get to and from (East and Westbound) Broadway-Commercial station. Shuttles will be in place to get people to and from downtown from this point. Please keep in mind it will take a while to get service back to regular timings.

We appreciate your patience as crews continue to work to fix the damaged communications cable caused by a fire.

We will continue to keep you updated on the Buzzer blog, Facebook, Instagram (@TransLinkBC) and Twitter (@TransLink) until the system is back to normal.

Vancouver Sun Run 2015

 

Sun Run photo

More than 50,000 people expected at 31st annual Vancouver Sun Run.

The Vancouver Sun Run is upon us. This Sunday, in fact!

This is Canada’s largest 10K road race and has been such since it started in 1985.

Considering its size, lots of routes will be affected to clear the way for all the participants.

This may affect your transit trip on Sunday so make sure you know before you go!

Our alerts page has the full list detours and changes.

For runners and cheering sections, the Expo and Millennium Lines will start service half an hour earlier.

SeaBus will begin at 7 am running on a 15 minute schedule until 3 pm when it will return to a regular Sunday schedule.

To prevent long line-ups after the Sun Run, SkyTrain riders can pre-purchase return tickets prior to the race.

Portable fareboxes will be set up at Bridgeport, Burrard, Granville, King George, and Vancouver City Centre stations.

They will also be set up at Stadium-Chinatown Station, Granville Station, Vancouver City Centre Station and Yaletown-Roundhouse Station after the race.

For more information and a map of the affected area, take a look at the event posting on the TransLink’s website.

Looking for some inspiration to get ready for next year’s race?
Check out this training blog from the Vancouver Sun.

Transit has got you covered for the playoffs!

GO CANUCKS GO!

First round of playoffs start tonight at Rogers Arena

Heyyyyyyyyy Canucks fans! Guess what?

SkyTrain service on both the Expo and Millennium Lines is boosted for the playoffs starting with game one tonight against the Flames.

Additional trains will be in service and will continue if the game goes into overtime.

Don’t worry drivers, we haven’t forgotten about you! The PNE has graciously offered their parking lot – FOR FREE – for those commuting to the game.

Lot #16 is located across from the Playland main entrance. Vehicles can enter lot off Pender Street.

So, forget about crazy downtown game night traffic. Keep your sanity and use the Park & Ride!

Commuters can then hop on a variety of frequent buses that stop near Rogers Arena.

From Park & Ride to Rogers Arena:

  • Catch either the 14 UBC or 135 Burrard Station bus on Hastings at Windermere.
    Buses arrive at this stop every 7-12 minutes.

Return Trip from Rogers Arena to PNE Park & Ride lot:

  • Catch the 135 SFU on Hastings at Cambie Street, or on Hastings at Carrall street. Buses will be operating on 15-minute service at this time.

Looking for other ways to take transit to the game? Know before you go! Take a look at our Trip Planner and find your best route.

Oh, and one more thing…………

GO CANUCKS GO!!!!

Trolley buses: a historical transit lesson

The 14 Hastings streetcar: looking north on Granville from Robson, 1950. Photo by Vic Sharman.

The 14 Hastings streetcar: looking north on Granville from Robson, 1950.
Photo by Vic Sharman.

When I moved out here from Toronto nearly two years ago now, one of the first things I did was explore the city. How, you ask? On the bus! So I hopped on a bus to adventure around my new city.

At least, I thought it was a bus. It had large, yellow tubes attached to wires overhead. It reminded me of my streetcars on the TTC… but no tracks. What a strange beast this was. I was informed by a fellow rider that the beast was, indeed, a trolley bus! Huh. Who knew?

But how long has it been around and why do we use it? Being a former journalist and the daughter of a history teacher, I needed to know the answers.

Trolley buses have been in operation in Metro Vancouver since 1948 and the first routes were replacements for the old streetcar routes in the region.

We actually have 188 40-foot conventional and 74 60-foot articulated New Flyer E40LFR low-floor trolleys operated by the Coast Mountain Bus Company. That means we have the second largest and most modern electric trolley fleet in all of North America!

Trolley buses in downtown Vancouver.

Trolley buses in downtown Vancouver.

Each trolley utilizes a network of overhead wires that span 315 kms through Vancouver and Burnaby. Because we’re using electricity, it’s a very environmentally friendly transit option. Yay for greener transportation!

You can still see a few of Vancouver’s first trolley buses manufactured by the Canadian Car and Foundry-J.G. Brill Company. They have been preserved by the Transit Museum Society out of CMBC’s Surrey transit centre. Namely, a 1947 T44 No. 2040 and a 1954 T48A Nos. 2414 and 2416.

If you’re as interested as I am in this cool vehicle hybrid, check out the Edmonton Trolley Coalition for pictures and information on trolley buses from around the world.

Feel free to impart this historical transit trivia to fellow riders the next time you take a trolleybus!

Spot the Bus Barrier – the next step in the pilot begins

Look closely. There's a bus barrier on the bus!

Look closely. There’s a bus barrier on the bus!

 

As reported in the media here, here and here, we are working with BC Transit, Unifor 111, Unifor 333 and WorkSafeBC to determine the best design for a safety barrier that will be most effective in preventing assaults on CMBC Transit operators. Check out an earlier announcement on other measures we are taking to prevent operator assaults.

We know you must have some questions – here are five queries asked and answered:

What is a transit operator safety barrier?

Safety barriers are a physical barrier typically made of a hard and transparent material composed of plastic and/or glass. The barrier enables a physical separation between driver and passengers while providing clear sightlines and the ability to verbally communicate with passengers.

Why is CMBC trying out a pilot barrier program?

The safety of our employees and customers is our top priority. Assaults on operators are unacceptable, and can put the lives of many people at risk.

How are operators participating in the pilot?

We are providing operators with a first-hand opportunity to experience the barrier prototype and provide feedback on the design.Feedback from operators will be collected over the next six months and then analyzed. This information will be used tohelp refine the design of the barrier and determine the best approach in protecting our operators from physical attacks.

Where can I see the barrier prototype in service?

The bus will be driven at various times and on various routes.

How can customers provide feedback on the barrier prototype?

Customer feedback is being gathered through all the usual channels. If you have questions or comments to share, contact Customer Relations through the online form or by phone at          604-953-3040 on weekdays from 8 am until 8 pm.

 

 

Take transit in Port Coquitlam? You might have spotted our new CNG buses!

Say ''hello" to one of the newest additions to the CMBC bus fleet!

Say ”hello” to one of the newest additions to the CMBC bus fleet!

If you take transit in Port Coquitlam and neighbouring cities, you might have spotted our new compressed natural gas buses in service! Coast Mountain Bus Company will be receiving 45 of these New Flyer Xcelsior buses in total.

The interior of the new CNG bus showing the courtesy screens

The interior of the new CNG bus showing the courtesy screens

Passengers will notice the roof of the bus is higher and the European-style windows outside, which are flush with the side of the bus. In the interior, courtesy screens have been added in front of the first forward sitting seats on both sides. There’s also a rear-facing wheelchair seat like our trolley buses and Nova Buses.

The rear roof hatch is now a sun roof and the bus has climate control set for 20.5°C, so you’ll want to keep the sun roof and windows closed. Having it open during the winter months can cause rain and snow to enter vehicles too!

Expect a smoother, more comfortable and powerful ride too. Transmission shifting is a lot smoother and comments from drivers and passengers are that the bus seems to glide. The bus also has more power, so it will be able to climb hills such as Gaglardi Way up to Simon Fraser University with a little more ease.

The buses will operate out of Port Coquitlam Transit Centre as it is currently the only centre equipped with CNG refueling stations until the Hamilton Transit Centre in east Richmond opens in 2016.

Renewing our bus fleet is part of our commitment to keep our system in a state of good repair. Most of our 40-foot and 60-foot buses have a 17-year replacement life as this life cycle has proven to have the lowest overall cost and practical life for our fleet. After 17 years, the costs to maintain vehicles increases and the safety decreases due to factors such as:

  • Component obsolescence – for example, the engines in our older buses have been out of production for 14 years.
  • Frame and body corrosion and fatigue – structural repairs can be very expensive or not safe to repair.
  • Overall maintenance costs escalate and reliability is lower as components reach the end of life and/or are rebuilt multiple times.
  • Safety inspections often take a bus out of service around the 17 year life.
  • Environmental and comfort factors – older buses have much more emissions, and are generally noisier, plus possible less comfort for passengers and drivers.

The 45 new CNG buses will replace the 45 older diesel buses that have reached the end of their life and will be retired from service.

Thanks to Eric W. for suggesting this Buzzer blog post! Have something you’d like us to blog about? Email it to thebuzzer@translink.ca or tweet us @TheBuzzer

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.

Vancouver Technical Secondary students show appreciation to our operators again in 2014 with hot chocolate!

One of our operators receive a hot chocolate and a hug with holiday treats from Van Tech students

One of our operators receive a hot chocolate and a mug with holiday treats from Van Tech students

It was a rainy Friday morning and by the time 8:35 am bell rang to mark the start of classes, the students were wet and there wasn’t much left of their ‘Happy Holidays’ signs, but that didn’t put a damper on their Christmas spirits! The students braved the rain for over an hour and a half to sing Christmas carols and show appreciation to our bus operators.

For the past 18 years, in December, students at Vancouver Technical Secondary have been giving out hot chocolate and a little gift to each mid-morning bus operator that stops in-front of the high school. (You’ll want to read our post in 2012 for a backgrounder on the event.)

The goodies mug students were handing out along with hot chocolate!

The goodies mug students were handing out along with hot chocolate!

Terry Stanway, the teacher-sponsor for the event the past few years, arrived at the school just before 6 am to prepare for the day.

“Today, started as a day to recognize the service that TransLink, particularly the drivers along the Broadway corridor, provides to our students,” he explains. “The school’s catchment is long and narrow and it expands from Boundary to just about Science World.

“We have a lot of students that depend on transit to get to school. It’s just the one day in the year that we can recognize the roles bus drivers play in getting our kids to school.”

The event is open to any interested students and despite the early start, many showed up to show their appreciation to the operators!

Kyle Hui, a grade 9 student, tells me he arrived just after 6:30 am to help out with today’s event and he says it wasn’t a challenge for him to wake up at all.

Grade 10 student Christine Tam adds, “I usually don’t wake up this early, but it was fun because all my friends were here and we got to do things for the community.”

Kyle Hui - Grade 9, Arlene Nguyen - Grade 10, Frederick Heere - Grade 10 and Christine Tran - Grade 10

Kyle, Arlene, Frederick and Christine

Each day, 418,000 people take TransLink transit to get where they need to go and on average, there are over 620,000 boardings on buses each day in Metro Vancouver.

“I think they do a really important job because the elderly and also people like us – we can’t drive yet,” says Frederick Heere, also in Grade 10. “They play the important role of getting us around town because if they weren’t there and our parents can’t take us, then we are stuck.”

Arlene Nguyen, another Grade 10 student, and Christine tell me they really appreciate the bus operators because they are always so nice.

“They always greet you when come on the bus,” says Arlene. “We always say ‘thank you’ when we exit the bus.”

Christine adds, “I was finished this competition and I had a trophy. He asked me, ‘Oh, what was that for?’ and I said my skating competition. He said, ‘Oh, good job! You got third! Good job!’”

“It was so heart warming because he actually cared about me and what I did.”

Plans are already in motion for the 2015 edition of event and I’m told some kind of major celebration is planned for the 20th anniversary in 2016!