Campers were invited to Burnaby Transit Centre where we learned about bus engines, fleet overhaul and got to see where all of our signs are made. Then we headed off to Operations Maintenance Control at BCRTC (near Edmonds Station) and checked out everything SkyTrain, including getting a spin on the SkyTrain control simulator! We even had a special, furry guest accompany Transit Security and Transit Police.
Check out the fun!
Special bus just for us!
And we’re off!
Jayden makes the best Compass machine!
Rob leading us around BTC
Kalen using the rear doors of bus… sans bus
Watching a crankshaft getting cleaned in the industrial wash
Isaac making his very own SkyTrain
Budding transit artists!
Taking charge of the trains – in a simulation, of course!
Art knows all
All aboard the Mark III!
Transit Police dog Kona came to visit
That’s all for this year, folks!
Thank you for being part of this amazing yearly tradition when we get to celebrate everything we love about transit!
We’ll see you next year! Same transit time, same transit channel.
For 80’s kids (and decades either side), LEGO was a way of life.
You’ll remember building the next Empire State Building, CN tower or the complete Star Trek Enterprise and, of course, the sound your parents made as they stepped on the extraordinarily painful blocks!
William Fong was a childhood fan as well but didn’t actually buy LEGO until he decided to make a SkyTrain!
We got a chance to ask Will some questions about this intensely detailed project.
Take a look!
What made you want to make a SkyTrain?
As someone who is a daily user of the transit system, and as someone who has a minor interest in design in general, I found that the 2009 Skytrain stock extremely intriguing. It’s the most modern and well designed piece of equipment in the fleet (although Xcelsiors are pretty excellent buses and the new Bombardier 300’s probably trump that claim, too).
The colour scheme of the exterior and interior, streamlined shape as well as adding user friendliness, like destination boards, updated system maps, better seat layout and air conditioning. Everything was done right on the 2009 trains!
I think the main reason I wanted to recreate some of the great design features in LEGO was because I had the passing realization that there were some new LEGO pieces that had striking resemblance to the angles on the trains. I designed the LEGO train mostly around the windscreen due to its identical curved shape to the real life train. I didn’t start building it until I was satisfied with the accuracy of the curvature of the roof as well as finding a way to have doors that could slide open. I also chose this specific train because of the number of seats. Three seats and an aisle is about as wide as you can make a train in LEGO before it starts looking too wide.
The details are so perfect, how did you get the stickers and other minature details of the actual train ON the LEGO model?
I made the stickers in Photoshop. Interior graphics like the system map and the safety and security sign were entirely drawn from scratch using photos as a reference. I didn’t want to print photos as stickers because they didn’t scale to the LEGO very well.
The exterior livery was based off of and extremely altered from the information sheet that was shown alongside the 2009 presentation of the new Mark II stock, which I found online. The corporate and government logos as well as official fonts were found on the internet. I then sent the artwork off to a printing company named Model Decal Depot at Adlion Printing to have the graphics put onto vinyl stickers. The stickers are especially important because they complete the train more than people may realize, mostly because the doors are stickers that have been applied onto LEGO window panes.
What are some of the cool features of your model?
The model is as accurate to real life as I could build it. It has an identical seat count to its real life counterpart. Curved handrails, which may not seem remarkable, but when building out of lego, it is! It has an articulated corridor joining the two cars. It has the same number of ceiling lights as in real life. Orange “Door open” lights in the door jambs that can be toggled on the left or right doors. The doors can also be slid open and are not just decorative placeholders. Directional lights, so that when the headlights are on at one end of the train, the taillights are on at the opposite end. The advertising boards are illuminated using something called electro-luminescent tape (a strip of copper that is coated with phosphorus and glows when an alternating current is applied to it).
It’s also not just a stationary model. Each train is also powered by two 9V DC motors, so it can move along track. Hopefully by next BrickCan, I’ll have built enough elevated guideway for it to run a decent length.
How long did it take you to create?
I think I finished the digital model in 2011. I wasn’t satisfied with the accuracy until late 2013 and held off building it until early 2014.
The digital model continued to go through several revisions which slowed me down, but it was mostly the cost of the model that made me build it on and off for a while. Building one car was costly enough, but when I found out that there was going to be a LEGO convention in Vancouver, I decided to spend the extra money and twin the first car and build some overhead guideway for it to sit on. It wasn’t right up until April 2016 during BrickCan that I completed both cars and the two sections of track.
Technically, I’m still not done yet. I just finished gutting and reinstalling all of the electronics this month. I want to reprint the stickers to more closely match some colours in the livery as well as correct some inaccuracies. I’m also going to install digital destination boards, although I’m running into technical issues with the hardware for that right now. Maybe later on, I’ll also install speakers inside the train, too.
How many pieces are involved?
Each train car has approximately 1900 lego pieces and 60 LEDs. 2000 pieces for the track and supports.
Have you done any other notable Metro Vancouver model recreations?
This is my first ever model, but I am planning to build others in the future. Next one might be a trolley bus from Vancouver’s not-too-distant past. I’m also trying to figure out how to recreate the new Innovia 300, but it’s been tough to get started because the angles are so different.
What is the most complicated project you’ve made out of LEGO?
This train. From trouble shooting how to cram in all the wires to trying to find workarounds for discontinued and extremely expensive pieces, it was a headache. Not to say that I won’t build something again. Maybe just something cheaper that is less technical. At least I semi-know what I’m doing now. Prior to this, I hadn’t picked up a soldering pen since grade 8.
Thank you to Will for letting us share his fantastic (and extremely detailed!) SkyTrain model! We can’t wait to see what he blocks up next.
To help celebrate I love transit week, Lisa – also known as Spokesmama, is guest posting and sharing with us how her and her family use transit on their weekend adventures!
This summer we tried something new to us: camping by transit. We don’t own a car, so we generally rent or use Modo car co-op vehicles, or bike to camp. We heard that Newcastle Island was a great destination, and quickly realized that transit was the best way for us to get there. Taking the bus meant carrying nearly everything on our backs except for a small cart that held our cooler and some of the heavier items; planning what we’d bring was a fun challenge.
If you haven’t heard of it before, Newcastle Island sits in the waters a stone’s throw from Nanaimo—almost literally. The entire island is a provincial park, about the size of Stanley Park, with campsites at the south end near the small private ferry that runs from downtown Nanaimo.
Our journey started off with a 15-minute bus ride on the #19 to downtown Vancouver at 9am. We then walked a couple of blocks to the #257 Horseshoe Bay Express. We could have ridden the #19 bus all the way to Stanley Park and transferred at the same stop on Georgia near Denman, but here’s a pro tip for you: on long weekends the #257 bus gets quite full, so if you have luggage and/or children, it’s much better to get on at the very first stop on Dunsmuir at Hamilton.
We arrived in Horseshoe Bay with plenty of time to catch the 10:40am ferry to Nanaimo. Our children spent some time in the Kids Zone, on the tiny play structures in it and watching some TV. Once we’d caffeinated a little, we headed outside for the best part of ferry travel: walking around on the outside decks. The kids loved leaning into the wind and looking for sea animals. We also came across a Bluegrass quartet playing on the solarium on the top deck.
Once the ferry arrived in Departure Bay around 12:30pm, we caught the bus to Maffeo Sutton Park; a ten minute ride. The kids had a play break while one parent headed a few blocks away for the last few items of food and drink that we wanted for our trip, including a few bottles from the newish craft brewery just a block from the park, called White Sails.
After purchasing the last of our supplies, we packed up all our stuff and boarded the ferry to the island. The boat is a stout little craft, holding about 20-30 people, luggage and the occasional bicycle. The crossing is only a few minutes. We stopped on Protection Island first, (where there’s another pub, by the way).
The walk from the dock to the Newcastle Island camp site is only a few hundred metres. All 18 camp sites are reservable online, however, unlike many BC provincial campgrounds, Newcastle was not booked up months in advance. We reserved our site about two weeks before our trip and noticed a spot or two still available a week before.
Newcastle Island is really lovely to camp on—but unlike most provincial parks, you can’t drive there—it’s water access only—so you really feel like you’ve gotten away from the city. The island is very family friendly with lots to do. We explored three beaches, which was only a few of them. There are a number of wide, well-maintained trails looping through and around the island. There are way finding maps at each trail junction, but note that they don’t include a few recent trail closures. There are also a few interesting ruins of former canneries, salteries, and quarries to poke around, most of which include signage with historical information.
From leaving our house in the morning to arriving at the camp site took under five hours, not including the shopping/park play time in Nanaimo. It’s a very affordable way to travel–$130 for a family of four to take six buses, two ferries, and two boat rides. We really enjoyed our trip and I highly recommend taking transit to camp on Newcastle Island.
If you’d like to read more tips for car free camping, please visit Spokesmama.
Chris and his trusty steed, a 2008 Orion V Suburban
The words “I love transit” mean a lot to Chris Cassidy.
His foray into the transit world was years ago. His grandfather drove a bus for BC Hydro back in the day and as he grew up, Chris became fascinated with buses and bus routes.
Chris’ passion for transit soon brought him two great friends with similar interests who decided to take and collect thousands of amazing photographs of buses!
That was then when he was a teenage transit fan and this is now. Now, Chris is a bus operator!
Read on about his journey from enthusiast to operator!
My name is Chris Cassidy and I’m a transit operator with Coast Mountain Bus Company. Some of you may know me from BusShots.com and a I’m a huge transit enthusiast!
The interest with transit started when I was quite young. My grandfather used to be an operator, hired back in the BC Hydro days and retired a few years ago with CMBC.
I remember riding around on my grandfathers bus going through White Rock in the early 2000’s. He always got one of the brand new, New Flyer low floors. I liked keeping track of all the different runs we’d do, and watching the world pass by us from the big windows.
Cherry blossoms? Check. Big yellow bus? Check.
A few years after my grandfather retired I came across a local message board, the primary topic? Vancouver transit. At first I thought it was a bit strange, but I joined anyways to see what it was about. Not long after that, I picked up a camera and started making my own little trips around the system.
Through these little adventures I’d end up meeting two of my best friends and fellow bus nerds, David Lam and George Prior. Over the following years I tracked down, rode and documented hundreds of buses across Vancouver. Riding all the new routes, riding routes being replaced (like the 98 B-Line) and exploring this city.
The beautiful farm fields of Delta. Taken while I was heading back to the depot after a PM trip through Tsawwassen
During these travels I became close friends with a few operators. I was a young teen, trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life and doing ride-alongs with the operators was a good time filler. A routine was developed with one operator who turned out to be my neighbour.
After class was dismissed, I’d run home, drop off my bag, grab my camera and run over to his house. From there we’d drive to the depot, take a bus out for the afternoon rush and complete a few trips. Once we did our trips, we’d take the bus back to the depot and I’d get a ride home. It was my daily routine and really pushed me into the seat. After a few months of this routine it finally dawned on me, I HAD to get behind the wheel!
After high school I worked a few customer service jobs, got my full class 5 license and kept myself out of trouble. To be honest, the thought of driving a full sized 40′ bus through downtown seemed a bit overwhelming and I planned to apply for community shuttle first. But, all those operators that I knew, told me to go big and apply for conventional. So, I did… and I got called in for the video test on a crisp November day.
Posing the bus at the perfect angle for photos before leaving the depot, a daily routine for me.
It’s been just over a year since I finished training and I’ve enjoyed everyday as much as I can. Some expected my passion for transit to diminish but, if anything, it’s only grown! Driving has opened up a whole new technical side to things that I haven’t experienced before. You learn all the neat quirks of each bus, how some have a certain shake at a certain speed, or how some have faster lifts. It can get quite geeky when you get down to the minor details, like horns, but I love it.
I drove in Vancouver for 7 months before I was transferred out to Richmond, a mecca for bus nerds. There are the old low floors, the Orion highway coaches and, of course, the big diesel articulated buses. It was love at first sight with me and the Orion highway buses so, I’ve tried to drive them as much as possible. There’s nothing quite like an early evening cruise down highway 99, watching the sun set over the fields in Delta, while behind the wheel of an Orion V. Just the thought of it makes me smile.
Starting Labour Day, I’m off on another new adventure. I’ll be transferring out of Richmond, and into the Burnaby depot. This gives me a chance to drive the famous 99 B-Line, the ever popular runs to SFU and everything on the North Shore. I’ll miss Richmond quite a bit, but a new challenge is good. Plus, I’ll get to knock off some routes that I’ve never driven before, or ever rode for that matter!
Overall, I’m a transportation geek. So, when I had a chance to get a photo of my coach for the day with a train in the background, I had to use it!
While I’m still quite young and I’m not sure if I’ll keep driving for the rest of my career, I know I’ll never leave transit. What started as a silly hobby, turned into dozens of lifelong friendships and a career I truly love.
My name is Chris Cassidy, I’m a transit operator with Coast Mountain Bus Company and I Love Transit.
Transit enthusiasts take note because this could be you! Thanks to Chris for sharing his awesome experiences and inspiring the next generation of transit fans.
It’s mid-I Love Transit Week and we’re loving all the things you’re sharing with us! Don’t forget to share the #ILoveTransit love online and in print.
Yesterday we did a Facebook Live about I Love Transit as well as the data we collect with Compass. I had the please of being joined by one of our senior planners to tells us all about the data we collect and why it’s important to always tap your Compass Card.
Spoiler alert – we need the data you provide by tapping your Compass Card to make sure we’re providing the right amount of service to get you where you’re going!
Have a watch and ask us any data or I Love Transit questions you have. We’re standing by!
We love transit, and we love that YOU love transit, but what we really love, is hearing about you finding love on transit! And believe us, a lot of love is found on transit!
Over 10 years ago Meghan and Steve found love in the most unexpected of places.
It was the last day of school back in 2004, exhausted Meghan decided to call it a night early and she hopped on the 004 Powell Bus at UBC Loop bound for what she expected to be an uneventful trip to North Vancouver. Little did she know, the universe had other plans for her that night!
Steve and I met on Thursday, April 8, 2004 on the #004 Powell Bus at UBC Loop. It was the last day of school and Arts County Fair 2013 was still going strong. I had had my biscuit by 7pm or so after a day of class and partying, so I decided to head home to North Vancouver.
I found a single seat on the bus and as the bus filled up, I noticed the guy standing next to me had his arm in a cast and was being jostled by a group of drunk engineers in their red jackets. I offered him my seat. He refused three times, but I insisted and we got to talking.
He told me he had broken his wrist mountain-biking and had come out to Arts County Fair, but gotten separated from his friends. I can’t remember everything we chatted about during the bus trek downtown, but he made a snap decision to ditch meeting up with his friends on fourth street for dinner.
Steve said he lived in North Vancouver too, but didn’t take transit very often, so we trekked to the SeaBus Station together. As chance would have it, we missed the SeaBus departure by two minutes so we had 28 minutes to spare. I refused his offer to buy me a Starbucks coffee (too much like a date!). We spent the next 28 minute wait and 12 minute SeaBus crossing talking non-stop. Twelve years later, and we still have so much to say to one another!
Congratulations on 12 years of love and your upcoming nuptials Meghan and Steve. Here’s to many more SeaBus crossings, and years of love to come!
It’s here, it’s here! I Love Transit 2016 is here!
Some of the best stories of transit love come to us from our front line staff like our bus operators.
Vickie Bowne has been an operator since 1998 and has been working out out of the Port Coquitlam transit centre for the past 17 years.
Recently Vickie had, what she describes as, the the best day of her transit career thanks to her bus buddy, 10-year-old Aidan (aka her ‘best passenger’) and everyone at the PoCo depot who made HIS day!
Read on about Vickie, Aidan and the best. day. ever.
I first met Aidan about a month ago when he rode my bus. He then got on again a few weeks later and after discussing things with him and his nurse we arranged to have Aidan tour the Poco Transit Depot.
Once there, the staff in the front office welcomed him. He was given all kinds of fun stuff!
Then the maintenance supervisor showed him the maintenance yard where the buses get fixed. We then walked through the depot and introduced him to quite a few drivers, some who knew him. He was sure in his element!
He talked about wanting to work here someday. Said he could empty the fare boxes as a job, or work with computers. I told him he definitely could do anything!
When I had to get to Coquitlam for my second piece of work, Aidan was not tired and asked to join me.
When we went out to Poco Station, my transit Supervisor got him a private ride in a shuttle that just happened to be deadheading there. Aidan loved the ride in the Community Shuttle bus.
Then Aidan boarded my #152 and rode that route and stayed on for my #151 back to Coquitlam where he insisted he wanted to ride the bendy #701 bus home. We made sure that happened.
Thank you to all the drivers who introduced yourself to him! He was talking about many of you later on in the day.
Oh, and I am happy to say that according to Aidan, I am the best bus driver! Yup, and then his next comment “I am your best passenger, right?” You sure are, Aidan! Also I am suppose to print out a picture of him and I together and put it on my desk. Too cute.
What a gift to the world he is. I am blessed to call him friend.
What does Vickie love about transit? For her, it’s all about the connections she makes!
“As a driver I love the interaction with the people that ride our buses. I have seen kids grow up, new refugees figuring out the bus routes, many seniors struggling to get by, and many that have passed away. The connections we make affect their lives and I just hope that if they ride my bus it is in a positive way.”
Today, Nathaly and Jeff got married on our SkyTrain!
Read more about this lovely couple’s story in their own words:
You could say that our meeting on the Canada Line three years ago was a coming together of a lot of things that were going on in our lives at the time. We both used public transit. Realizing that it was a much better way to travel in the city. But, more importantly, we were both aware of how hard it had become to connect with people in Vancouver – ask any single person in the city and they will agree – plus how much of life we were missing out on by being buried into the screens of our cell phones.
Jeff was travelling from a day of business meetings in Richmond and bound for Vancouver.
Nathaly was researching a new job opportunity South of the city and was making her way downtown on the Canada Line.
Both of us had made a decision that day to make sure that we had a looked around, put the smart phones away and become the change we wanted to see in people in the city.
Nathaly was OK being that weird person that opens doors and looks at people in the eye and Jeff was going to smile.
Jeff was sitting two seat rows back from the door on the train facing the door. He was wearing a suit. Nathaly entered the train as the door opened wearing a stunning blue dress. Their eyes met. There was a connection from the past, a feeling almost familiar.
Both of them had come across each other during Nathaly’s tenure at the Four Seasons Hotel, a place that Jeff had frequented as well. Nathaly was the first to move forward with a simple, “Hi, I know you…” Three stations later and three years after that an “on-line” marriage is planned.
We didn’t dream of getting married on a train. The idea came up in very whimsical fashion, way before our engagement, after encountering a group of people that were going to “party” on the train to celebrate Halloween. We thought “Hey…wouldn’t that be fun?” We also thought it would be a lovely way to honour the way we met three years earlier.
Talk about I Love Transit!!
Nathaly and Jeff even invited us along to witness their big day as they exchanged vows on a white (of course) Mark II train at Stadium–Chinatown Station.
It was our honour to share in this awesome and unique wedding day.
Take a look at some of the SkyTrain matrimonial magic!
The Hamilton Transit Centre (HTC) is Coast Mountain Bus Company’s (CMBC’s) newest transit bus operations and maintenance centre for buses.
This location will house up to 80 Community Shuttle buses and 150 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fuelled buses. HTC will perform three main functions including bus dispatch, bus service (fuel and wash), and bus maintenance. With its higher capacity for bus maintenance and storage, the HTC will increase efficiency and prepare our transit operations for growth in the region.
In celebration of I Love Transit Week, we’re opening the doors of HTC at UPDATE:10:00am5:00pm on Friday September 2nd for 10 lucky Buzzer Blog readers to take advantage of a behind the scenes look at everything that our newest facility has to offer.
How to enter
Entry is simple! Comment on this blog post below with your favourite bus route to be entered to win this one of a kind experience!
This year, we have a bus load of fun transit love to share with you, but first we’re excited to announce that I Love Transit Kids Camp is back for its third straight year!
Kids! Join us for I Love Transit Camp!
I Love Transit Camp is a once in a lifetime opportunity for kids between the ages of 8 and 12 to get a behind the scenes look at TransLink operating companies’ facilities.
Kids will learn about how transit works and have some fun at the same time! Check out all the fun that was had in 2014 & 2015.
This year’s camp is taking place on Thursday September 1st.
Meet at Gilmore Station for 9 a.m. then hop on a bus and ride to Burnaby Transit Centre (BTC)!
BTC is home to little known transit operations such as fleet overhaul, where they fix and update almost everything on a bus, including the painting of buses and reupholstering of seats.
We’ll also get a tour of the bus yard with articulated and 40-foot buses!
After that, we’ll have a little lunch then say goodbye to BTC.
Next, we’ll hop on SkyTrain and head to Edmonds Station and walk down to where SkyTrain Operations and Maintenance Centre (OMC) live.
At OMC, campers will get a behind the scenes look at the facility where SkyTrains are maintained and cleaned as well as visit SkyTrain Control! They will also get a chance to use the SkyTrain simulator, ask questions of SkyTrain staff.
Finally, a visit with Transit Police and Transit Security to tell us all about everything they do. I’m told they’ll be bringing their vehicles and a special guest if we are lucky!
We’ll wrap the day up around 4 p.m.
Throughout the day we’ll be taking breaks for fun games and more!
How to take part
Due to safety concerns for both OMC and BTC, we’re only able to take a maximum of 20 people in the camp. That means 10 kids (ages 8-12) and their guardians will be able to participate in the camp.
Interested in a fun day on transit? If you’d like to participate, we’ll need potential transit campers to tell us (in 50 words or less) what they love about transit!
If you like, you can also submit a photo and/or a video as part of your entry. Before you or your little one starts typing or writing, you’ll want to read the participation guidelines.
Send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org with “I Love Transit Camp Kids” in the subject field, or you can mail it to TheBuzzer, 400 – 287 Nelson’s Court, New Westminster, BC, V3L 0E7.
Be sure to include the following:
Where you heard about the camp
The phone number and name of the guardian you wish to bring with you
The deadline for submissions is August 22.
If you are selected, participation forms are due BEFORE August 26.
It’s hard to believe I Love Transit Week has already come and gone!
The week was full of everything we love about transit, we took adult campers and kid campers to our transit facilities, held contests and had special blog content dedicate to transit love! To properly send off this year’s I Love Transit Week, why not take a look at a few of the highlights that made the week so special?
You sent us beautiful colouring contest entries!
Since the I Love Transit print Buzzer hit the system the most beautiful colouring contest entries have been finding their way to us. Below are just some of wonderful work that we received!
Cheung Kin Min
Hyun Jim Kim
Sue de Leeuw
You told us why you loved transit!
Along with sending us colouring contest entries, you also filled us in on the many reasons you love transit.
Here’s what a few adults had to say:
“It encourages people to walk more and it’s economical, affordable and convenient. It helps lessen traffic congestion and the amount of people that use gasoline. It’s also a great way to meet new friends!” -Sally Habacon
“It’s always there when I need it, like a close friend” – Paul Petersen
“It’s a safe, economical and relaxing way to get around this big beautiful city of Vancouver!” – Sue de Leeuw
Our younger riders also chimed in:
“I think that a city cannot be a city without it. – Manveen Cheema, age 12
“I love pretending to drive the SkyTrain”- Leonardo Dell Isola, age 6
“When I’m on the SkyTrain I can see the whole world” -Cadence Holmes, age 5
Thanks to everyone who made I Love Transit such a great week!