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Translink Buzzer Blog

Category: Community Events

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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

All donations support the Northeast sector Christmas Bureau.

Holidays with Scuba Claus at Vancouver Aquarium

Photo by Vancouver Aquarium

Photo by Vancouver Aquarium

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

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

The event runs until Christmas Eve.

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

Bright Nights Christmas Train in Stanley Park

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

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

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

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

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

Heritage Christmas at the Burnaby Village Museum

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

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

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

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

Peak of Christmas at Grouse Mountain

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

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

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

Vancouver Christmas Market

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

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

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

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

Ride the West Coast Express 2014 Santa Trains on Dec 6 and 13, 2014

Meet Santa and have egg nog at the North Pole Station!

Meet Santa and have egg nog at the North Pole Station!

Ride the Santa Train on December 6 and 13! It’s an annual tradition and a great kick-off to the holiday season. What makes the Santa Trains special is in exchange for a new unwrapped toy, you get a ticket to ride the train!

All donations support the Northeast sector Christmas Bureau – including SHARE in the Tri-Cities, the Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society and the Christmas Bureau in Mission.

The train departs Mission at 10 am and stops at all WCE stations before arriving at Waterfront Station at approximately 11:15 am. Santa will be at Waterfront Station between 3 pm and 4 pm for pictures and egg nog! The train makes its return trip from Waterfront at 4 pm.

In 2013, there were over 3,000 riders on the Santa Train and together they generously donated nearly 3,500 toys!

Station Westbound
Arrival Time
Eastbound
Arrival Time
Mission 10:00 am 5:15 pm
Port Haney 10:19 am 4:54 pm
Maple Meadows 10:25 am 4:48 pm
Pitt Meadows 10:29 am 4:44 pm
Port Coquitlam 10:39 am 4:34 pm
Coquitlam 10:45 am 4:29 pm
Port Moody 10:50 am 4:24 pm
Waterfront 11:15 am 4:00 pm

Donate blankets at Canada Line stations for Blanket BC’s 2014 Drive on the Line on Nov 21 and 22

Click here to see the official poster!

Click here to see the official poster!

The Blanket BC Society will be holding its sixth annual “Drive on the Line” in collaboration with TransLink on Friday, November 21 and Saturday, November 22 on the Canada Line.

This two-day drive accepts blanket donations, as well as anything from scarves, socks, mittens and toques, to help those vulnerable to the cold.

This year’s goal is to collect over 10,000 blankets – the estimated number of homeless living in British Columbia.

Donations are being accepted at eight different Canada Line stations between 8 am and 6 pm:

  • Waterfront
  • Yaletown/Roundhouse
  • Vancouver City Centre
  • Broadway/City Hall
  • Oakridge/41st
  • Bridgeport
  • Lansdowne
  • Richmond Brighouse

All donated items will be divided and distributed to shelter programs throughout Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island. Last year, the Drive on the Line successfully collected over 8,000 blankets and over 2,000 articles of clothing.

Make a warm difference and donate on November 21 and 22 or join over 150 other Metro Vancouver residents and volunteer your time.

Kids and high school students ride free for International Walk to School Week, Oct 6-10, 2014

International Walk to School Week (IWALK) is October 6 to 10!

International Walk to School Week (iWalk) is October 6 to 10!

Once again, TransLink is inviting children and high school students to ride for free during International Walk to School Week (iWalk) from October 6 to 10!

Note: Regular fares apply to adults accompanying children and high school students on the system. 

Did you know?

  • Two of three Canadian children are not getting enough exercise each day.
  • Active school travel can increase a child’s ability to concentrate.

TransLink has been supporting iWalk for the past seven years. It is part of the TravelSmart for Schools initiative for children, educating them about all of their travel options and building a future generation of transit riders.

Both walking and taking transit promotes good health and independence, while keeping greenhouse gases to a minimum. Our transit system is fully accessible to riders of all abilities.

This year we’re adding something new. TravelSmart is launching Walktober – a month long campaign to encourage walking to school, walking to work and walking for pleasure!

To make walking even more fun, TravelSmart is hosting a geocache challenge for the month of October! Find out how you can win prizes by hunting down one of the nine TravelSmart caches hidden throughout Metro Vancouver. Start now!

Plan a field trip!

If you’re a teacher, it’s a perfect time to take advantage of this offer by organizing a field trip during iWalk. Here are some tips:

  • Travel off peak hours: Try planning trips during “off-peak” hours – between 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
  • Plan ahead: Use TransLink’s online resources including the Trip Planneror Translink’s mobile website with real-time Next Bus. Planning the trip could be a fun class project in itself!
  • Play: TravelSmart’s online interactive game, Tripsters, is a fun way for kids to learn about walking, cycling, carpooling and public transit as well as a great way to engage children about transportation issues in the region.

TransLink is proud to support Raise-a-Reader Vancouver 2014

TL employee Cheryl reads to her son

TransLink Media’s Cheryl Ziola reads to her son

TransLink is proud to be supporting this year’s Raise-a-Reader program on Wednesday, September 24!

Ian Jarvis (TransLink CEO), Fred Cummings ( TransLink VP, Engineering and Infrastructure Management), Colleen Brennan (TransLink VP, Communications and Customer Engagement), and Neil Dubord (Transit Police Chief) will all be volunteering their time to hand out special editions of the Vancouver Sun in exchange for donations.

They will be out and about at Waterfront Station from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. – rain or shine!

Wednesday, September 24
7 a.m. to 9 a.m.
Waterfront Station
Corner of Seymour and Cordova Street

All proceeds raised will go to children and family literacy programs, such as the Canucks Family Education Centre, Vancouver Public Library Foundation and Decoda Literacy Solutions.

TransLink and Coast Mountain Bus Company office employees are also voluntarily supporting this annual literacy event. They’re doing this by donating their favourite books to help promote this important event. TransLink is part of a month-long youth book donation drive in support of literacy programs and non-profit organizations throughout the region. Books will be donated when the drive ends in mid-October.

Stop by Waterfront Station tomorrow, say ‘hello’, grab a free paper, and help support literacy among young people and their families!

Spinal Cord Injury BC’s Bus Stop Hop showcases accessible transit

Access Transit's Matt Human with his teammates Soung-Han Kim and Richard Peter!

Access Transit’s Matt his teammates Soung-Han and Richard!

Using transit with your wheelchair or mobility aid for the first time can be a daunting task if you don’t know what to expect. That’s the reason why Spinal Cord Injury BC (SCI-BC) organizes the annual Bus Stop Hop.

They aim to showcase just how accessible Metro Vancouver’s transit system is and provide wheelchair and mobility aid users an opportunity to become familiar and comfortable with the system. It is the only wheelchair accessible urban scavenger hunt in Vancouver.

In the 14th year of this Amazing Race-inspired event, developed in partnership with TransLink, teams of four raced across the city using public transportation to complete challenges and collect points by answering trivia questions and participating in activities. Each team consisted of two ambulatory participants and two who use mobility aids.

Matt Human and Sarah Chung, Community Relations Coordinators with Access Transit, both attended this year’s event on Saturday, July 26. Matt competed on a team called the Lightning Boys with Soung-Han Kim and Richard Peter from SCI-BC, while Sarah was a facilitator for one of the challenges at the Bridgeport Bus Loop.  TransLink’s Norm Fraser and CMBC’s Liina Marshall also participated and finished a close second in a spirited sprint to the finish.

In sum, ten different teams participated in Bus Stop Hop. The event took them on board the bus, SkyTrain, and SeaBus to Olympic Village, Science World, Lonsdale Quay, YVR-Airport and Richmond-Brighouse.

“Our team may not have finished first, but we had a lot of fun racing across Metro Vancouver completing the challenges,” Matt says. “The hardest part of the day was keeping cool, but our air-conditioned cars on Canada Line really helped!

“It was a great experience and a fantastic way to showcase the accessibility of TransLink’s network of services. Helping passengers who use mobility aids to become familiar with public transportation is really important so that everyone can get where they need to go and be confident doing so.”

“TransLink is constantly adjusting service to meet the needs of the region, so it was good to showcase all of the accessibility features as they evolve as well.”

Since adopting the Access Transit Strategy in 2007, TransLink has implemented a number of initiatives to make the transit system more accessible for more people.

A low-floor bus with a ramp for mobility devices

A low-floor bus with a ramp for mobility devices

TransLink’s fleet of buses, community shuttle minibuses, SkyTrain, SeaBus and West Coast Express vehicles are all fully accessible. Low-floor vehicles have ramps and high-floor vehicles have lifts, and all SkyTrain stations have elevators.

The entire bus fleet in 2008 was outfitted with annunciators and LED displays that automatically announce and display the next stop for passengers. On the web, TransLink’s website conforms to the Web Accessibility Initiative’s Priority Level AA.

Currently, TransLink is piloting wayfinding signage that provides information in both visual and tactile media. There is also a program in place to share the cost of improvements to bus stops with municipalities to improve accessibility around the region.

Through the Access Transit Department, TransLink offers a variety of programs to ensure people with disabilities, seniors and new immigrants are comfortable and confident when using public transit.

These include presentations, group tours and one-on-one orientations on the accessibility features of the transit system. Coast Mountain Bus Company also offers training sessions at the Vancouver Transit Centre on how to board and exit a bus using a mobility aid.

“Thanks to SCI-BC and all of the other sponsors for their support of this great event and we look forward to participating again next year.”

More information about Accessible Transit can be found by clicking here.

Notes and Questions & Answers from TransLink’s 2013 AGM at Surrey City Hall

It was a packed house at TransLink’s 2013 Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the new Surrey City Hall on Wednesday, May 28 as hundreds joined us to hear more about our accomplishments and financial highlights of the past year.

TransLink’s achievements in efficiency and customer service were shared by TransLink Board Chair Marcella Szel, TransLink CEO Ian Jarvis and TransLink CFO Cathy McLay.

In 2013, TransLink achieved $16.3 million in efficiencies and reduced costs while maintaining strong customer service ratings. Other achievements shared at the AGM include:

  • $248 million invested in infrastructure and transit fleet upgrades to keep the transit system in good repair today, and for years to come.
  • 58,600 new bus service hours for the new 555 bus route between Langley to New Westminster over the Port Mann Bridge, and for the new King George 96 B-line.
  • Transit customer satisfaction ratings of 7.6 out of 10.
  • 1,760 fewer tonnes of CO2 emitted by reducing bus idling by 161,000 hours since 2009.
  • 10,000 customers participated in Compass Card Beta test, and 80,000 Compass cards are now in circulation.
  • Moved an estimated 233.9 million transit passengers in 2013.
2013 TransLink Annual Report

2013 TransLink Annual Report

2013 Annual Report

TransLink’s Annual Reports highlight the accomplishments of each fiscal period. The Reports are prepared under the direction of the Board of Directors. Each report contains performance measures, selected by the Board, as well as a consolidated Financial Report.

» Read the 2013 Annual Report

Questions and Answers

Due to time constraints, we were unable to get to many of the online questions, but fear not! We have gotten you the answers!

Please note: questions may have been edited for clarity.

Why aren’t there power outlets on the buses and SkyTrain? There are power outlets on the SeaBus and West Coast Express, so why can’t they be on the buses and SkyTrain as well? In the US, there are power outlets on every single bus, so why can’t that happen here? Richard via email

Convenient outlets on SkyTrain cars and buses are not considered necessary most passenger trips are short – the typical passenger trip is about 17 minutes. The cost of putting in the wiring and outlets in an already crowded space would likely be significant. Furthermore, electronic devices plugged into power outlets are likely to be an obstacle for the smooth flow of the heavy traffic in and out of SkyTrain cars.

I would like to know if you [TransLink executives] regularly use public transit in the Metro Vancouver area? This will tell me if you are aware firsthand what issues us transit commuters are faced with. –Chris via email

All executives at TransLink do frequently use transit, particularly when traveling to meetings around the region.

Read more »

Reminder: Take part in the TransLink 2013 annual general meeting in person or online May 28, 2014!

You're invited!

You’re invited!

Just a reminder that we’ll be holding our 2013 annual general meeting at Surrey City Hall, this Wednesday, May 28, 2014!

It’s your chance to hear more about our accomplishments and financial highlights of the past year.

Following the main presentation, there will be a panel discussion and an opportunity for the audience and webinar participants to ask questions.

Please note, we have limited time to answer all of the questions we receive in person and online. However, if we can’t get to your questions during the AGM, we’ll do our best to answer them afterwards.

If you’d like to participate in our annual general meeting, you can do so in person or from the comfort of your own home. Here’s how:

Participate in person

The AGM will take place in the Surrey City Hall Council Chambers and will begin promptly at 10 a.m.

Surrey City Hall
13450 104 Avenue, Surrey, BC

It is located one block from Surrey Central SkyTrain Station and paid parking is available beneath the city hall plaza for $1.50 per hour.

You can plan your trip using Google Maps or our Trip Planner!

Participate online

If you are unable to attend the AGM in person, we will be live streaming it online and it will be archived on our YouTube page.

Just click on this webcast link, fill in the required fields (first name, last name and email address), then click on “Register,” and you’ll be redirected to the live stream.

If you’d like to ask a question, which will be read on your behalf during the AGM question and answer period, you have a few options:

 

We’re looking forward to seeing you at the AGM on Wednesday! See you there or online!

Watch the archived webinar

Come to the TransLink 2013 Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, May 28!

Come join us at the new Surrey City Hall – just one block from Surrey Central Station!

It’s that time of the year again!

The 2013 annual general meeting will be taking place at the new Surrey City Hall at 13450 104 Avenue and is located one block from Surrey Central Station. The meeting will start at 10 a.m.

After the main presentation on our accomplishments and financial highlights of the past year, a panel discussion and question period will follow.

Commuters can take the Expo Line from Columbia Station and the 96 B-Line from Newton and Guildford Exchange to reach city hall. Use our Trip Planner or call 604-953-3333 to plan your trip. Paid parking is also available beneath the city hall plaza for $1.50 per hour.

If you’re unable to attend in person, check the blog in the coming weeks for information on how you can watch the live webinar. We look forward to seeing you in person or online on the 28th!

TransLink offers passengers more service on race day

Sun Run photo

More than 50,000 people expected at 30th annual Vancouver Sun Run.

 

Ready, set, GOOOOO!!!! TransLink will extend transit services to help runners and their fans get where they need to go before and following the Vancouver Sun Run on Sunday, April 27.

To plan your trips to and from the race, you can visit here, here and here.

The quick facts:

  • Expo and Millennium Lines will leave King George Station at 6:38 a.m. & Lougheed Station at 6:45 a.m.
  • Canada Line will begin service at 4:48 a.m.
  • Coast Mountain Bus will provide regular Sunday service, with detours in effect in the West End and along Georgia Street.
  • The SeaBus will leave Lonsdale Quay at 7 a.m. and every 15 minutes from Waterfront until 2:45 p.m.
  • West Coast Express will depart Mission at 7 a.m. and arrive downtown at 8:15 a.m. The return trip will leave Waterfront at 1 p.m.
  • West Vancouver Blue Bus will provide regular Sunday service, with increased frequency on the 250 in the morning and after the run.
  • BEST’s Bicycle Valet, will once again offer cyclists temporary and free storage at Gate F on the second level of BC Place.

 

To prevent long line-ups after the Sun Run, SkyTrain customers 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 and Yaletown-Roundhouse stations  for up to one hour after the race. Exact cash fare is required and tickets will be valid until late afternoon.

Due to crowding and safety concerns, cyclists may need to wait to take their bikes on SkyTrain until the crowds clear.

 

For more service information follow TransLink on Twitter @TransLink or call Customer Service at 604.953.3333.

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