Translink Buzzer Blog

Category: Community Events

Choosing the Happy City: People

Living in the #happycity means hopping on the train for an impromptu sunset seawall stroll after dinner.  Photo by Chris Bruntlett (@cbruntlett)

Living in the #happycity means hopping on the train for an impromptu sunset seawall stroll after dinner.
Photo by Chris Bruntlett (@cbruntlett)

 

 

The lecture Choosing the Happy City is just around the corner and it’s a good time to explore different perspectives on the connection between neighbourhoods and the happiness of people who reside in them. A few days ago, I posted the interview with Charles Montgomery – I hope you enjoyed it.

Today, I had a pleasure to speak with Chris  Bruntlett, a residential designer, writer, photographer, and bike enthusiast. During the day, Chris works as a residential designer, designing single family homes, duplexes and laneway houses in the City of Vancouver.

Outside of the office, he spends a great deal of his evenings and weekends encouraging people to get on a bicycle through writing, photography, public speaking, and filmmaking. If you read posts about city cycling in the Spacing, Vancouver Is Awesome, Vancity Buzz, Hush, or Momentum Magazine, the chances are that you came across Chris’ work.

 

What city in the Lower Mainland do you live in?

Our family of four lives in the Grandview-Woodlands neighbourhood of Vancouver, just a couple of blocks from the Commercial-Broadway Skytrain station, and have done so for five years now.

What makes you happy about where you live?

We love having the freedom to choose how we’re getting somewhere, dependent on the nature of the trip we’re taking. Sometimes it’s walking. Sometimes it’s cycling. Other times it’s by bus or Skytrain. And once in a while, we’ll borrow a car from Modo or Car2Go.

How do you usually travel around your neighbourhood?

More often than not, we get around Grandview-Woodlands by foot or bicycle. We are fortunate enough to have the traffic-calmed 10th Avenue, Lakewood, and Mosaic Bikeways at our disposal, although running errands along Commercial Drive can be problematic. We’re certainly hoping the long-term plan to create safe, comfortable space for cycling on The Drive happens sooner rather than later.

What’s your favourite thing about how you get around your neighbourhood?

Moving at a slower pace allows us to have an intimate, unfiltered, first-hand connection to our neighbourhood, its shopfronts, merchants, houses, parks, and neighbours we may run into along the way. Our kids know the people and places in their community like the backs of their hands.

How do you usually travel around your city?

When it comes to longer distances, we’ll usually take a combination of Skytrain and/or bus, although our kids have been known to amaze us with their ability to ride their bikes long distances. We absolutely love cycling on the seawall as a family, with its stunning views of the ocean, mountains, and glass towers; and can sometimes ride over 20 kilometres in a single day!

What do you like about travelling around your city?

Getting around without a car transforms all of our travel time into family time. Walking, cycling, or riding the bus provides ample opportunity to relax, hold hands, make eye contact, and chat about any number of topics, big or small.

You’re often involved in projects that focus on city cycling as part of everyday life. What are you currently working on?

I recently produced a series of six short films which intimately profile a number of Vancouverites who use a bicycle to get around. We just wrapped up the first series (http://www.youtube.com/vancyclechic), which were incredibly well received and publicized; and have started pre-production on a second series, to be shot and released in 2014.

You recently wrote a review of the book “Happy City” for Vancouver is Awesome. Anything you want to mention from the book?

As Charles Montgomery points out, the greener, happier and resilient city all occupy the same place. In my opinion, Vancouver should be aiming to be the “World’s Happiest City”, and framing the (sometimes heated) discussions around what we have to gain – rather than give up – in order to live sustainably.

 

I hope you enjoyed this post. Don’t forget, there’s still time to enter the Happy City contest to win some great prizes.  Apart from the Buzzer, this contest is run by the Vancity Buzz, The Thirties Grind and Surrey604.  The lecture Choosing Happy City is sold out but you can watch it live via webcast; simply click on the webcast link here at 7 pm on March 26.

 

All aboard the live opera train on the SkyTrain!

Get a little culture on the rail this weekend with the Opera Train!

Get a little culture on the rail this weekend with the Opera Train!

Looking to do something you’ve never done this weekend? How about some live opera on a SkyTrain courtesy of our friends at TravelSmart!

That’s right, starting at Surrey Central SkyTrain station at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 9 (don’t forget to spring forward before you go) live performances will be happening until approximately 12:30 p.m. at all Expo line stations between Surrey Central and Stadium-Chinatown station.

For more info on the schedule and why this is happening in the first place, check out the TravelSmart post!

 

 

Bus Driver Appreciation Day 2013 at Vancouver Technical School

Can you small the hot cocoa?

Can you small the hot cocoa?

What a morning I had watching students at Vancouver Technical School handout hot chocolate to #9 bus route operators!

Every year in December, students give out hot chocolate and a little gift to each mid-morning bus operator that stops in-front of the high school.

I’m told the tradition was started by a teacher at the school nearly twenty years ago and has been going strong ever since. The excitement was palpable this chilly morning filled with sing-a-longs to Christmas music classics. Students got out of bed early to get the hot chocolate ready to go for 7:00 a.m. And Judging from the honks from each bus and smiling operator the effort was greatly appreciated.

For a bit of history and a look at past years of the program, you’ll want to read these past two (2011 and 2012) blog posts.

A big thanks to all of the students and staff at Vancouver Technical School who were involved in this incredible slice of annual holiday cheer!

TransLink employees raise $346,445 in support of the United Way

The TransLink family joins together for a great cause.

The TransLink family joins together for a great cause.

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of employees in the TransLink family, we once again supported the annual United Way campaign, raising a big $346,444.70!

  • A gift of $1.00 every day over a year provides 36 hampers of food to vulnerable pregnant women and      parents of young children
  • A gift of $1.80 every day over a year engages 20 children in a school-based bullying prevention program
  • A gift of $3.30 every day over a year provides accessible community gardening plots to three seniors with disabilities
  • A gift of $5.00 every day over a year provides a range of supports to ten unpaid seniors caregiving for a loved one, ensuring that they are not alone and isolated

United Way of the Lower Mainland invests in more than 150 agencies to deliver over 450 programs and services to help children, families and seniors in 26 communities in Metro Vancouver, the Sea to Sky corridor and the Sunshine Coast.

This contribution will go a long way in helping families and individuals in need in our community. For more information about how contributions to the United Way are helping to make a difference in the lives of so many in our community, we invite you to visit the United Way Lower Mainland website.

“I am extremely proud of the commitment that employees across the TransLink enterprise have dedicated to the campaign this year. We have been strong supporters of the United Way for over 40 years because they have the ability to address problems facing many people who live in the communities we serve.”  - Cathy McLay, United Way Campaign Cabinet Transportation & Shipping Co-Chair and TransLink Chief Finance Officer and Executive Vice President, Finance and Corporate Services

“TransLink really demonstrates their commitment to support and improve their communities by supporting the United Way. Without the funds raised by organizations like TransLink, we wouldn’t be able to do the work we do helping prevent social problems like child poverty, bullying, and senior isolation across the Lower Mainland.” - Michael McKnight, President & CEO of the United Way of the Lower Mainland

So You Think You Can Busk? – and the winner is Patrick Jolicoeur!

SYTYCB2013

 

The online vote to pick the eighth and final transit busker license for 2014 is now complete! All four candidates really rallied their troops to get the vote out, but in the end Patrick Jolicoeur was the winner of the eighth and final transit busker license with 34% of the vote!

We’d like to thank all the buskers who came out for the auditions. Now watch out and listen up for Patrick and the other seven successful musicians on the system in the new year!

For those who haven’t watched it yet, here’s Patrick’s winner audition!

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!

So You Think You Can Busk? – Vote for who busks on the transit system!

SYTYCB2013

 

UPDATE: The voting is now complete and Patrick Jolicoeur is the winner of the eighth and final transit busker license for 2014 with 34% of the vote!

We’d like to thank all the buskers who came out for the auditions. Now watch out and listen up for Patrick and the other seven successful musicians on the system in the new year!

For those who haven’t wanted it yet, here’s Patrick’s winner audition!

Previously… It’s time to help TransLink choose the eighth and final busker license this year. Yesterday, we held our annual busker licenses auditions, So You Think You Can Busk? This morning we contacted the seven successful musicians who will be busking on the system starting in 2014. The winning buskers include musicians who play guitar, tamboa and harmonica.

Our panel of amazing judges also chose four candidates who will compete for the eighth and final busker license. Now it’s your turn to be the judge and pick which one of these four candidates will be the successful busker to play on the system!

Videos of each of the four candidates’ auditions were taken and are posted below. Take a look, enjoy the music, and vote for which musician you would like to see perform at six different transit locations in Vancouver! Those station include: Waterfront (Howe Street entrance and SkyWalk), Burrard, Granville, Vancouver City Centre and Commercial-Broadway.

This public vote is open between December 5 to 15, 2013. The busker with the most votes will be announced on December 16, 2013. I’ll do my best to update the blog throughout the competition with the results.

When you’re watching the videos: It’s good to think about what the atmosphere is in these stations during morning/evening rush hour periods as well as slower periods on the system when you’re considering who to vote for. Would you like to hear certain things when it’s busy? What would you like to hear on a Sunday afternoon on the system?

Now, enjoy the show, and get voting!

*note: Buskers had roughly three minutes to perform. Some buskers interacted with our judges which made for different auditions lengths.

Who's your favourite busker?

  • Patrick (34%, 3,913 Votes)
  • Connor (24%, 2,738 Votes)
  • Jessica and Hugh (22%, 2,523 Votes)
  • Jovana and Tobias (20%, 2,173 Votes)

Total Voters: 11,365

Connor Kelly

Patrick Jolicoeur

Jessica Malihot and Hugh Barbour

Jovana Golubovic and Tobias Oliveira

So You Think You Can Busk? – What a Day!

SYTYCB2013
Wow! A whirlwind of a day is over, but the fun has just begun! If you weren’t following #sytycb on Twitter and Instagram, below are some shots of the day that Angela C took. Thanks Angela!

Tomorrow is the big day for the start of the public vote that will decide the eighth and final TransLink busking license. I’ll be posting the videos we shot of the four candidates, so that between Dec 5 to 15, readers of the blog can vote for who they think should be busking on the transit system.

We can’t wait for you to see them!

Today is… So You Think You Can Busk?

SYTYCB2013

 

 

Today is the big day for So You Think You Can Busk?

After preparing all morning, we are looking forward to see all the performances from Metro Vancouver’s talented buskers.

Aside from TransLink’s Cindy Bromley, Director of Communications and Stakeholder Relations, we are also expecting a few guest panelists to be our judges today!

Aamer Haleem, co-host of CTV Morning Live

Jonny Staub, co-host of The Beat 94.5 FM’s morning show

Kenneth Chan, Deputy Editor and Social Media Coordinator with Vancity Buzz.

The four judges will decide who will successfully audition for the first seven busker licenses. Stay tuned – we’ll be announcing how you can cast your vote in deciding which busker should get the eighth and final license!

TransLink So You Think You Can Busk 2013

All set up and ready to go!

 

 

TransLink’s 2013 busker auditions start tomorrow!

SYTYCB2013All the busker applications are in, and we have a full house for TransLink’s annual busker competition So You Think You Can Busk? tomorrow! In the two-week call for audition applications, we had nearly 50 musicians apply. These musicians will compete for eight coveted one-year TransLink busker licenses.

The 2013 So You Think You Can Busk Judges:

This year, we’re adding some guest panelists to join TransLink’s Cindy Bromley, Director of Communications and Stakeholder Relations. They are:

Aamer Haleem, co-host of CTV Morning Live

Jonny Staub, co-host of The Beat 94.5 FM’s morning show

Kenneth Chan, Deputy Editor and Social Media Coordinator with Vancity Buzz.

Seven buskers licenses are awarded, and buzzer readers pick the winner of the eighth!

We’re changing things up this year! Our four judges will be scoring the buskers throughout the day tomorrow. After the event finishes around 4 p.m., they’ll huddle in a room determining who will win seven of the licenses.

Who wins the final license to busk? That will be up to readers of the blog! After the judges choose the seven license winners, they’ll identify four candidates to compete for the final license. We’ll be videotaping all the buskers during the auditions. On Thursday, December 5, we’ll post the auditions of the four final candidates on the blog so readers can cast their votes!

Check the blog on Thursday, and vote on who you think deserves to busk on the system! You’ll also want to watch the blog, The Buzzer Twitter channel and the TransLink Facebook page tomorrow because we’ll be posting audition updates throughout the day. Oh, and here’s the news release. This is going to be fun!

 

Information sessions for Commercial–Broadway Station begin December 5

2013-11-29 Commercial-Broadaway Buzzer(2)

Hear what’s happening at Commercial–Broadway station


Are you one of the 150,000 people who use Commercial–Broadway Station every day? Information sessions for the second phase of upgrades at the station will take place in early December and we want your input!

Visit us in the community

We’ll be out in the community to share information about the station upgrades with our neighbours and passengers who use the busiest station on the network. Join us at one of the three information sessions:

Information Session #1
Date: December 5, 2013
Time: 3 – 6 p.m.
Location: Commercial–Broadway Station, North Station House street level

Information Session #2
Date: December 10, 2013
Time: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Location: University of British Columbia, Student Union Building

Information Session #3
Date: December 11, 2013
Time: 4 – 8 p.m.
Location: Trout Lake Community Centre, 3360 Victoria Drive

Get involved online

Can’t make it to one of the sessions? No problem! We will also have information and a feedback survey posted at translink.ca/commercialbroadway December 2 until December 16.

We hope to hear from you soon!

Northeast Sector Area Transit Plan Phase 2 interactive survey is now live

It's time to look long-term transit planning in the Northeast Sector!

It’s time to look long-term transit planning in the Northeast Sector!

Attention residents or riders who travel regularly in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Anmore or Belcarra. It’s time to help us with long-term planning of the Northeast Sector transit plan.

Be Part of the Plan!

The second phase of the Northeast Sector Area Transit Plan (NESATP) starts today! Building on key issues and opportunities for transit in the area learned during the Phase 1, Phase 2 looks to identify a 30-year transit vision for the sub-region. The end result of this four phased plan will be both a 30-year vision and transit priorities for the next 1-10 years.

Take the interactive online survey

We’re doing things a little differently for phase 2. We have a really exciting online interactive tool that lets you act like a planner of transit for the sub-region. First you pick your priorities from a list of important trade-offs required in transit network design.  Next, a series of maps illustrate conceptual scenarios based on different ways the network could change – and show how those scenarios relate to your chosen priorities. After scenarios you can drill down further to different opportunities for the region — all for you to determine!

The online interactive survey will be open until 4 p.m. on Friday, January 6, 2014. Your input, along with financial and technical information, will help TransLink develop the plan, expected to be completed by fall 2014.

Take part in our workshops and drop-in sessions

There will be three workshops in the Coquitlam Centre area on November 25, 26 and 30. Check the Get Involved page for more details including registering in advance.

Riders can also take part in four drop-in sessions on November 22, 25, 26 and 30. Again, you’ll want to check the Get Involved page for more details including time of day and locations.

More to come

Stay tuned! There will be more opportunities for you to give your input on the future of transit in the Northeast Sector coming up in the next phase.

Calling all buskers!

Clips from a few buskers at last year’s audition

For 27 years, buskers have been part of the culture of transit in Metro Vancouver. Since Expo ’86, musicians of every ilk have provided riders with entertainment and a soundtrack to their travels. Buskers help make the six SkyTrain stations in downtown Vancouver more vibrant adding a bit of music and art to the environment.

Busking applications due November 28, 2013

Every year, licenses open up for new buskers to join seasoned veterans already playing on the system. Interested in busking on the system? All you need to do is fill out the application form on the buskers page of the TransLink website.

Busking auditions are December 4, 2013
Once applications are submitted, qualified buskers will be asked to audition. This year, we’ll be holding our auditions at TransLink’s new office at 400 – 287 Nelson’s Court, New Westminster. The event is from 10 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on December 4 and open to auditioning buskers and media only (Sorry, there’s not enough room for more people). However, we’ll be videotaping the event and posting it on the blog and the Buzzer  YouTube channel shortly afterwards.

If you have a moment, take a look at Buzzer coverage of buskers in the past. I’ll be posting more on the auditions as we get closer to the date, including an exciting way for riders to be part of the fun. Stay tuned, and get those applications in!

We are donating a bus to Hope for Freedom Society!

Group picture of Coquitlam & Port Coquitlam MLA's and Mayors, with TransLink EVP Bob Paddon and Rob Thiessen from Hope for Freedom Society.

Group picture of Coquitlam & Port Coquitlam MLA’s and Mayors, with TransLink EVP Bob Paddon and Rob Thiessen from Hope for Freedom Society.

As an organization, we are always looking for ways to reach out and connect with communities in Metro Vancouver. When we were approached by the Hope for Freedom Society, it was an obvious choice – we were determined to make their request happen!

Hope for Freedom Society is a not-for-profit organization that offers assistance to those who face substance abuse, mental illness, violence and homelessness. They provide some great programs and resources to help their clients get back on their feet!

On behalf of the Hope for Freedom Society, City of Coquitlam and Coquitlam Councillor Brent Asmundson put forward a request for a retired HandyDART bus from TransLink.

Today, we are happy to share the news that TransLink will donate a decommissioned HandyDART bus to the Hope for Freedom Society. Since the bus has reached its seven year service term, it would have been decommissioned and replaced as part of regular service protocol.

Seeing it is still in a state of good repair thanks to regular maintenance by staff, TransLink is able to donate this bus so it can be used to transport clients to access food, shelter and other basic needs.

TransLink EVP Bob Paddon handed over the keys to Rob Thiessen, the Managing Director for Hope for Freedom Society today at 2:30pm at their Coquitlam location.

Kids ride free for International Walk to School Week, Oct 7-11, 2013

It's time to get out on the system kids! - photo by Granth

It’s time to get out on the system kids! – photo by Granth

It’s time again for our younger generation to explore their local transit options while making some healthy commuting choices. TransLink is once again joining International Walk to School Week and Month (iWalk).

Starting on Monday, October 7 until Friday, October 11, kids from kindergarten to Grade 12 (high school students need a valid GoCard) can ride transit for free!

Part of TransLink’s TravelSmart schools program, TransLink has been signed on with iWalk since 2006.

Being that the week has been so popular with young students and teachers planning field trips, you’re bound to see slightly heaver loads on some transit routes (I imagine Main Street – Science World will be just one one of many popular locations).

If you or someone you know plan to take advantage of the week, here are a few tips that can make your trip easier for everyone:

  • Travel off peak hours: Plan trips during “off-peak” hours – between 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
  • Plan ahead: Use online resources like m.translink.ca, Trip Planner or Google Transit. Planning the trip can be a fun class project!
  • Do your homework: Find out if other teachers in your school are planning trips at the same time and the route(s) they plan to take.
  • Consider splitting up large groups: If your school is in an area with a relatively high frequency of bus service – or you plan to use SkyTrain, consider splitting the class, with one group taking the following bus or train.

I’m always curious about rider’s experience during iWalk week. If you have any questions or comments, let me know!