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Translink Buzzer Blog

Category: Safety

Safety barriers are coming to CMBC buses

For TransLink, safety is a top priority for all people travelling on transit, including our bus operators.

Assaults on operators are unacceptable and can put the lives of our riders at risk.

After a two-year process of piloting various barrier designs, assessing effectiveness, collecting user feedback and modifying designs, we are now ready to equip our buses with bus safety barriers.

Safety barriers allow operators to do their job, getting you where you need to go efficiently and safely, while maintaining driving sightlines, communicating with riders and protecting themselves against attacks.

Other tools CMBC currently utilizes to keep staff safe include security cameras, GPS radio system, emergency button, Transit Security, Transit Police, Violent Incident Prevention training and campaigns like “Don’t touch the operator.”

Bus barriers by the numbers:

  • All future orders of new 40′ and 60′ buses will come with safety barrier already installed. Buses will start arriving by early 2018.
  • 208 air-conditioned New Flyer Excelsior buses will be retrofitted with safety barriers.
  • Six trolley buses will be retrofitted as part of the expanded pilot program.
  • Retrofit of 214 buses will be underway by the end of 2017 and completed within two years.
  • Within 10 years, about 75 per cent of the fleet will have safety barriers installed.

Design features:

  • Sliding front portion allows easy customer communication and controls glare.
  • Fixed solid portion means barrier prevents attacks from behind—even when the sliding portion is open.
  • Offers protection from assaults including jumping assailants, thrown objects, climbing over and spitting.

What does this mean for riders?

Nothing changes! The bus barriers don’t affect your commute at all.

You will still be able to talk to and communicate with your favourite bus operator!

Want to know more? Check out the backgrounder!

Have you spotted one of these new bus barriers on your route?
Tweet us @TransLink and let us know what you think!

Author: Adrienne Coling

An update on Joyce–Collingwood Station upgrades

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If you are one of the thousands of riders passing through Joyce–Collingwood SkyTrain Station each day, you will have noticed some  features of the upgrade work have already been completed!

Project Update

  • New roof and side panels for the east stationhouse are now installed.
  • Newly installed lighting improves visibility on the platform.
  • Steelwork framing for the new east stationhouse is underway.
  • Glass panel installation on the north side of the platform is now complete.

These upgrades will improve accessibility, safety and security at the fourth busiest Expo Line Station outside of downtown Vancouver.

Thank you for your patience as we complete this much-needed work.

Check back on the Buzzer blog for additional updates throughout the project.

Need to get in touch?
Customer Information: 604.953.3333
Monday to Friday: 5:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

Overnight Station Upgrade Customer Service: 1.866.979.0930
Monday to Friday: 12:30 a.m. to 5:30 a.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 11:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.

For more information:
translink.ca/joyce
translink.ca/customerservice
translink.ca/ontrack.

Author: Adrienne Coling

(Video) 6 things TransLink is doing to prepare for more wintry weather


Despite our best West Coast efforts, a snowy winter has arrived in Metro Vancouver.

And it looks like this is just the beginning because there is another dumping of the white stuff forecasted to hit the region.

That means lots of extra safety and operational procedures to keep the transit system running smoothly and safely.

Remember! Buses can only go as the traffic allows. Be sure to check your municipality’s website for snow removal schedules and give yourself some extra time for your transit trip.

Here are six things that TransLink is doing to prepare for the winter weather:

  • Trolley anti-icing trucks will deploy spraying the entire trolley overhead system if there is a forecast risk of frost or ice.
  • SkyTrain De-icing – De-icer spray trains are used to keep the power rail free of ice. De-icing stations will be set up in covered areas and tunnels to prevent ice and snow compacts on the trains.  During times of overnight snow, some SkyTrain cars will run throughout the night to keep tracks clear.
  • Additional bus tire traction – Operators have a snow/ice switch which gives the bus tires better traction in the snow.
  • Bus switch outs –  If needed, we’ll switch out articulated buses for traditional buses. Although articulated buses are great for turning and maneuvering throughout our streets in Metro Vancouver and allow for quick movement of large numbers of passengers, when travelling up hills or on streets that have poor conditions, the back halves are heavy which can create some traction problems.
  • Canada Line Anti-icing and sanding – ensures the power rail and tracks are clear of ice. Canada Line cars have a braking system similar to ABS brakes on your vehicle which helps avoid slippage in this weather.
  • Extra staff on transit – Extra staff including SkyTrain Attendants and Transit Police will assist customers in getting where they need to go. HandyDART will send two staff out in each vehicle to ensure customers get safely to their door, and assist in digging out the bus if required.

Watch the replay of our Facebook live stream, or catch it on Periscope below!


Know before you go!

If there’s snow or ice ensure you plan ahead with Trip Planner or m.translink.ca on your mobile device, and make sure to allow yourself extra commuting time.

Sign up for transit alerts so you’ll be the first to know if there are changes in the transit schedule.

Follow our customer information team on Twitter (@TransLink) and save their number (604) 953-3333 on your mobile device.

Don’t forget to take a look at our tips for dealing with inclement weather on transit!

Author: Adrienne Coling

Pattullo Bridge deck inspection takes place this Sunday, November 20, 2016

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The Pattullo Bridge received a necessary safety rehabilitation this summer.

As a part of the warranty for the work carried out on the bridge, the deck now needs to be inspected.

On Sunday, November 20, 2016, this inspection will take place.

Crews will extending the Saturday overnight safety lane closure to 1 p.m. on Sunday.

If you’re cruising over Pattullo, you can also expect a traffic pattern change that morning as crews inspect each lane of the bridge.

An similar inspection will also take place this spring.

Thank you for your patience while we continue rehabilitation work to the Pattullo Bridge to keep it safe and secure.

Want the latest Pattullo Bridge news? Head to translink.ca/pattullorehab or translink.ca/pattulloreplacement.

Author: Adrienne Coling

First responders prepare for the opening of the Evergreen Extension

Training exercise for Coquitlam Fire at Lafarge Lake in June 2016

Training exercise for Coquitlam Fire Rescue at Lafarge Lake in June 2016

With the new extension to our SkyTrain network, there are many “behind the scenes” elements being tested and prepared.

A vital part of our preparation for the opening of Evergreen involves comprehensive emergency training with first responders.

Emergency preparedness training is conducted routinely throughout our transit system to ensure the highest safety standards are maintained and continuously improve responses.

Residents and riders in the Tri-Cities can expect to see some emergency training along the Evergreen Extension in the coming weeks.

On November 12, 19 and 26 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. emergency personnel in the Northeast sector will be running evacuation and rescue exercises with emergency vehicles, bus shuttle scenarios, testing equipment, smoke and fire alarms as well as ventilation fans at Inlet Centre and Moody Centre Stations and both the north and south portals of the tunnel.

The training will be a veritable who’s who of emergency response teams! Of course, we will have members of BCRTC, CMBC and Transit Police as well as Coquitlam Fire Rescue, Port Moody Fire Rescue, BC Emergency Health Services and Port Moody Police.

Due to the training, some road closures around the stations will be required, but regular SkyTrain service will not be affected on these days.

Remember! This training will look real but these are not real incidents.

See what else is happening with the Evergreen Extension  at translink.ca/Evergreen.

Author: Adrienne Coling

Transit Police tips for a safe and happy Halloween

Halloween is a great time for kids and adults alike!

It’s important with all the fun and frivolity that dressing as Star Lord and Cleopatra can bring that we keep ourselves safe on this spooky night!

Allow me to present tips from Transit Police for you to have a safe and happy Halloween!

  • Take extra care when choosing a Halloween costume.
    Prop swords and knives could be mistaken for the real thing. Think about how might this costume put your safety at risk? Best rule of thumb: if you’re unsure, leave it at home.
  • Consuming alcohol in public is illegal.
    This includes at SkyTrain stations and on-board buses, SkyTrain, Canada Line, SeaBus and West Coast Express. If you are on your way to an event and are carrying alcohol, be sure the container remains closed until you arrive at your destination.
  • See something? Say something.
    There are quick ways to report non-emergency police issues discreetly to Transit Police. You can text 87-77-77, use the OnDuty App or call 604-515-8300. In an emergency always call 911.
  • Stay alert to your surroundings while on public transit.
    As always, try to keep valuables out of sight from others and keep your eyes open! Don’t be distracted by your electronic device.
  • Plan ahead for a safe ride home.
    Make note of key times such as the last trip of the night! Check out the NightBus and SkyTrain schedules to make sure you don’t miss your ride home.
  • Set a meeting place.
    If you are travelling in a group, plan a meeting place ahead of time in case you get separated.
  • Be seen!
    Wear bright costumes or include reflective tape, glow sticks, or other articles that improve visibility.
  • Try face paint or make‐up instead of a mask.
    If you must wear a mask, enlarge the eyes for better vision and remove it when you are walking in and around stations and in busy pedestrian areas.

Happy Halloween!

Author: Adrienne Coling

TransLink prepares for stormy weather

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Storms, they are a-brewin’!

As always, TransLink’s top priority is to ensure the safety of our customers and employees. So, in preparation for the inclement weather set to hit our region over the next few days, we are taking a number of steps.

Our Emergency Management group is participating in Emergency Management BC and Environment Canada conference calls to stay apprised of the forecast and expected outcomes as well as communicating within the organization to ensure necessary preparations are made.

Bus

Tree branches falling into our trolley overhead wires can be an issue during high-wind conditions, so we are checking known risk locations to prepare.

We also sometimes face road debris, which can result in detours for our bus service. Transit Supervisors and other support staff out on the road, such as Transit Security, in order to proactively identify such problem areas and communicate them out. Once identified, we can react quickly by contacting the municipality responsible for clearing the trees or debris.

SkyTrain

In case of high winds, SkyTrain service over the SkyBridge between New Westminster and Surrey may operate at reduced speeds.

If wind speeds exceed 100 kph, service could be temporarily suspended.

We’ve also proactively reached out to construction projects adjacent to SkyTrain to ensure items are properly secured, to prevent anything being blown onto the tracks.

Here’s what you can do to prepare yourself:

  • Sign up for Transit Alerts so we can let you know if there are any service issues or changes
  • Follow our fabulous Customer Information team @TransLink on Twitter or phone 604-953-3333.
  • Plan ahead with our Trip Planner and give yourself extra time on your commute
  • Be aware! More people than usual tend to take transit during nasty weather – common transit courtesy applies even more on days like these!
  • Be visible! A bus operator has a lot to be aware of in AND outside of the bus. Make yourself visible to them! Wear bright, reflective clothing and stand close to the bus stop poll.
  • Be patient! Traffic lights may not be working properly that could cause detours for buses, same goes for debris on routes.

We will continue to monitor the weather and get the word out to all customers if there are any service impacts. Until then, stay safe, stay dry and happy transiting!

Author: Adrienne Coling

Stay safe on SkyTrain!

Beyond getting you from Point A to Point B, our job is to make sure that you’re safe on the system.

In the video above, BCRTC President Vivienne King and TransLink spokesperson Jennifer Morland discuss some safety tips and tools you can use while on SkyTrain.

Here are Vivienne’s top tips for staying safe while riding the rails:

  • Please don’t run for your train! There will be another one along in just a few minutes.
  • Hold on! The SkyTrain is a moving vehicle. If standing, hold on to the stanchions to avoid injury.
  • Press the yellow strip under the window – it’s a silent alarm that will alert staff. The red button with the speaker by the door will put you in touch with SkyTrain control.
  • At stations, seek out the Designated Waiting Area on the platform – CCTV, brighter lighting and an emergency phone are located in these areas.
  • DO NOT EXIT a stopped train between stations. You are putting yourself in danger of electrocution.
  • Always stay behind the yellow line on platforms. Even if you drop something!
  • Remember! SkyTrain attendants are at each station and are there to help you.

For more information on safety and security across the TransLink network,
visit our Rider Guide.

Author: Adrienne Coling

My day with Mika: Understanding accessible transit

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Mika waiting for the bus on Main St.

This past spring I had the immense pleasure of tagging along on a filming request on our system and spent the afternoon with Kaz and Mika who wanted to showcase the accessibility of our system for a Japanese audience.

Kaz owns Motion Pla-net Productions that often produces work for NHK, Japan’s National public broadcasting organization.

Mika is a lovely woman who lives in downtown Vancouver and takes transit all the time in her fabulous pink wheelchair.

We spent the afternoon riding the bus and SkyTrain while Mika explained in Japanese to the camera all of the fittings and equipment TransLink offers on the system for those who need it.

Part of the filming also included speaking with TransLink’s Access Transit Coordinator, Sarah Chung about why TransLink has been so proactive in promoting the accessibility of transit services for people with disabilities.

“Public transit should be a safe and convenient way to travel, which means our infrastructure, policy and customer service are all impacted by accessibility. There are a number of different needs among our customers that we try to balance so we have to make sure the solutions we provide are sustainable and won’t hinder other people.

One of our key challenges is finding solutions that strike a balance between the diverse range of needs. We need to be financially responsible to the taxpayer as well, and have to prioritize our initiatives. Other challenges happen with the nature of the region, such as the geography making it difficult to make all bus stops wheelchair accessible.”

Mika says that the greatest strength of the system is that people with disabilities have choice.

“I know I can travel on bus, on SkyTrain, on the water on SeaBus and I will be able to get on there myself and be safe. Also being able to get to the airport without calling a taxi is great!”

I learned a lot travelling through the eyes of someone who faces accessibility challenges in her daily life.

On each part of our transit trip, I thought about space on buses, location of elevators, fare box heights, even something as simple as getting on and off a transit vehicle while others are trying to do the same.

These are things as an able-bodied person, I admit, I sometimes take for granted. Perhaps we all do. But it’s important to see through the eyes of others to really understand the world beyond ourselves.

As for the future, Sarah Chung says as an organization, TransLink is constantly growing and adapting our system to meet the needs of our customers.

“We are always looking at improvements to make the system as inclusive as possible. For example, we have a high percentage of wheelchair accessible bus stops, and have introduced a pilot project to make bus stops more accessible for people who are blind or partially sighted. The pilot includes tactile information panels and tactile walking surfaces to help people identify stop information and locations. As a region, we have recently transitioned to a contactless smart card payment system and are continue to work with partners to develop solutions for customers who have limited or no arm mobility.”

Have a look at some pictures from our day together.

Author: Adrienne Coling

Pattullo Bridge set to reopen one month ahead of schedule!

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The Pattullo Rehabilitation Project began in May 2016.

Now, a month early, we are ready to open the bridge fully to four lanes on August 29, 2016.

For safety reasons, the bridge will still have the regular schedule of overnight lane closures that occurred before the rehab work began with one lane open in each direction.

To prepare the bridge for the full, four lane opening, the following closures are necessary:

  • 8 p.m. Wednesday, August 24 to 5 a.m. Thursday, August 25
  • 8 p.m. Thursday August 25 to 5 a.m. Friday, August 26
  • 8 p.m. Friday, August 26 to 5 a.m. Monday August 29 (full weekend closure)

Crews will continue working below the deck into the fall. However, this work does not require immediate lane or bridge closures.

If closures are needed, the public will be notified well in advance.

The closure originally scheduled for September 30 to October 3, 2016 will not be occurring.

We realize the impact of the Pattullo construction work on commuters, goods movers and local residents and businesses.

Thank you for your patience during this necessary construction period.

Completed work

Despite some rainy West Coast weather in June, crews were able to get more done in a shorter period of time by scheduling additional weekend and overnight closures and reducing the number of concrete pours.

In total, crews repaired 1,180 square metres of bridge deck with 67 full-depth repairs.

Repairs included:

  • milling off the asphalt surfacing from the deck
  • removing all deck concrete down to the top layer of rebar
  • repairing concrete delamination and cleaning or replacing rebar
  • repaving the deck area with a concrete overlay

The focus of the work was on these essential deck repairs to address the concrete delamination on parts of the 79-year-old bridge.

These repairs are designed to extend the life of the bridge with minimum maintenance and keep the Pattullo operational while a replacement bridge is designed and built.

TransLink will continually inspect the bridge and make any needed repairs in the future to maintain safety and functionality.

Interested in what’s happening with the Pattullo Bridge Replacement Project?
Visit translink.ca/pattulloreplacement.

Author: Jennifer Morland

New seating pilot project for Canada Line begins

Canada Line

Canada Line riders may have noticed a little change of seating on their train.

We’ve modified a couple of Canada Line cars to improve traffic flow and customer experience.

In two trains (#119 and #120), we’ve removed 10 seats.

Accessibility seating is completely unaffected.

Why are we doing this?

The seat removal is part of a pilot project to provide additional room near the train doors.

By doing this, customers can get on and off the trains more easily – especially during peak travel times when the trains are fully loaded!

Goals of the project:

  • Provide greater passenger flow at train doorways which increases safety and improves passenger boardings.
  • Create a safer and improved vehicle flow for passengers.
  • Reduce door faults that are caused by crowding which often lead to minor service delays.

The results of this pilot will determine how the fleet is modified now and in the future.

Have you experienced one of these pilot trains? What do you think?
Comment below or email thebuzzer@translink.ca!

Author: Adrienne Coling

CMBC operators-to-be don blindfolds for important training session

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“Approximately half a million Canadians are estimated to be living with significant vision loss that impacts their quality of life, and every year more than 50,000 Canadians will lose their sight. This figure includes people who have no sight from birth, people who are legally blind, as well as people with less significant vision loss.”
– Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB)

Respectful, physical touch helps communicate with those who do not have their full sight

Respectful, physical touch helps communicate with those who do not have their full sight

When you want to become a CMBC bus operator, there are many tests and training sessions you undertake to make sure you’re ready for any and all scenarios you may encounter.

One important training session is centred around the blind and partially-sighted community in Metro Vancouver.

The 18-year-old program is meant to show the challenges and barriers the visually impaired community encounter on public transit. It gives operators ideas and tips of what they can do to help riders with visual impairments.

Steve Muller, Chief Trainer for operators at CMBC, believes this is a training that really sticks with drivers.

“This is definitely a session that operators remember participating in through their entire careers. This is not just an instructor providing the information, but visually impaired customers who actually experience the challenges of the system day to day,” said Muller.

Rob Sleath has been presenting disability awareness seminars to CMBC transit operators as long as the training has existed.

Rob serves on the Board of Directors for CNIB and the President and Chair for Access for Sight Impaired Consumers. He has also been instrumental in helping our transit system become more accessible and usable for those with visual disabilities. I was lucky enough to tag along for his very last seminar at CMBC.

A big part of the training is walking a mile – or at least riding one – in the shoes of someone who faces the challenges of a partially sighted or blind person riding the bus.

Operators (and social media hangers on such as myself) are blindfolded and asked to navigate getting onto the bus, payment, seating and more without the use of their sight and without help from anyone else.

“We put these drivers through a fairly intense exercise. It lets them feel, if only for a moment, what a transit ride is like for someone who is blind or partially sighted, ” said Sleath.

Operators are also taught about the different sight aids used, how to identify CNIB Compass Cards, how to interact with service dogs, how to walk with or guide someone who is blind or partially sighted and how best to communicate.

Feeling our way to the bus front door

Feeling our way to the bus front door

Operators learn that the type of communication is key.

Using clear and directional-based verbal communication gives those without full sight capabilities the opportunity to take transit independently and confidently .

“The difference of an operator saying a seat is 10 steps forward and one step to your left versus using generalities like ‘down a little ways’ or ‘over there’ is huge,” said Sleath.

The audible stop announcements ensure those who have sight impairments are aware of the route and upcoming stops.

Operators are reminded that a noisy bus or open windows may hinder the announcements and to maintain a volume, despite external conditions, that can be heard anywhere on the bus.

Mark McKenzie is a instructor at CMBC and says his own personal experience with this training helped him immensely in the real world situations when he was a bus operator.

“I had a far greater empathy for what they had to deal with [because of the training] and therefore I was more patient and understanding of their needs. Especially when it came to communication and the importance of respectful physical contact such as offering one’s arm to guide a rider as opposed to grabbing someone’s shoulder or hand to forcibly lead them,” said McKenzie.

Have a look at some of the photos from the training:

I think Rob explained the purpose of the training exercise perfectly when he said, “I’m blind but I do everything else that you do in life and on transit, I just do it in a different way. This training helps the operators understand those who do things just a little differently in their transit environment.”

It was my sincere pleasure to participate in this training and to learn, firsthand, what soon-to-be bus operators need to know to be able to serve this community effectively, efficiently and respectfully.

You can find more about TransLink and our Access Transit programs on our website.

Interested in becoming a bus operator? Visit translink.ca/drive for more information.

Author: Adrienne Coling

Pokémon Go, transit and you!

Pidgeotto caught by @christ1990 on Canada Line

Pidgeotto caught by @christ1990 on Canada Line

“You’ll be okay. With your Pokémon, you’ll get things done whatever happens. I’m convinced of it!”
-Steven Stone

Pokémon Go is fun. Admit it, you’ve tried and you love it!

If you’ve missed this growing smartphone phenomenon, let me fill you in.Poke Ball

Pokémon Go is an augmented reality game you can play on your mobile device that uses geocaching to track, catch, train and battle different Pokémon characters – like the second evolution of Pidgey showcased in the photo above.

While we are all immersed in this “gotta’ catch’em all” mentality, it’s important to remember to play (and stay) safe!

Some tips for playing Pokémon Go on and around transit:

  • Eyes open to the real world around you! Streets, bus stops, sidewalks, cross walks, bus loops and, of course, SkyTrain station platforms, can all be dangerous places if you’re not paying attention to where you’re walking or standing.
  • Do not enter locations you wouldn’t normally. This game doesn’t give you a skeleton key to the region! Private or government buildings, residences and employee only areas are still off limits.
  • Don’t put yourself at risk! Keep your phone tucked away when you’re waiting for your bus or train. Your phone is a valuable commodity that thieves can snatch from your hand if you’re too distracted.
  • Play in teams and play during the day. Although it may be tempting to catch a Rattata at midnight at the park just down the street, do not go to secluded locations alone or at night.
  • Be aware. This game is not yet rolled out in Canada and could be vulnerable to hacks making fake Pokéstops to lure players, not Pokémon.

Follow these safety tips and enjoy this awesome game across the system and Metro Vancouver!

**INSIDER INFO** We’ve checked in with our resident Pokémon master and riding the bus can hatch your eggs from Pokéstops much faster!

Did you spot a Pokémon on transit? Tweet us or tag us on Instagram to let us know!

Author: Adrienne Coling

How you can help those affected by the fires in Northern Alberta

Red Cross

Photo Courtesy of Canadian Red Cross

The devastating fires in Fort McMurray, Alberta forced the province to call a state of emergency on Wednesday.

More than 88,000 residents had to leave their homes in and around the Fort McMurray area, sending evacuees to nearby communities for aid and shelter.

Because of this widespread disaster, TransLink in partnership with NEXTEXT is text screenproviding donation opportunities for anyone who texts “33333” for the next two weeks to donate $5 to the Red Cross relief efforts for Fort McMurray.

All you have to do to donate is text “REDCROSS” to “30333” from your phone.

About $11 million has been already donated to the Red Cross and both the Alberta provincial and federal governments have committed to match individual donations.

Please help us support our fellow Canadians in distress by donating today.

To donate online through the Canadian Red Cross click here.

Author: Adrienne Coling

Pink is powerful!

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Pink Shirt Day 2016

Another Pink Shirt Day has arrived! What’s Pink Shirt Day? Well, let me tell you!

It’s a day to stand together (wearing pink, of course), speak up and speak out against bullying and harassment.

Wearing pink today says that you will not tolerate bullying behaviour in our schools, workplaces, communities or on transit and TransLink is committed to supporting this cause.

You can read about the original event that sparked the pink shirt movement here.

There are similar anti-bullying days all across the globe and the message is clear: kindness!

Take a look at some of the great pictures from the main event today at London Drugs Plaza, downtown Vancouver.

Looking for more ways to support Pink Shirt Day?
Head to pinkshirtday.ca.
Be sure to use #pinkitforward to show your support on social media!
Coast Capital Savings will donate $1 for every use of the hashtag to
support anti-bullying programs!

Author: Adrienne Coling