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Translink Buzzer Blog

Category: Something Neat

Q&A: In conversation with a transit planner—TransLink and transit in Canada

Prior to joining TransLink as a senior planner, David Cooper worked for Calgary Transit and the City of Toronto, where he supported the Toronto Transit Commission’s subway expansion projects.

Owing to TransLink’s international reputation as a progressive company in the transportation industry, our positions attract talent from across Canada and the world. Perhaps most notably, our CEO came from Seattle!

TransLink is regarded as one of the most innovative transportation companies in the world. We are unique in that we are the first North American transportation authority—and only one in Canada—to be multimodal. TransLink is responsible for the planning, financing and managing of all public transit in addition to major regional roads and bridges, transportation demand-management strategies and programs, and supporting the region’s growth strategy and regional economic development.

It was this unique challenge that spurred transit planner David Cooper to pack up and move to the Vancouver to join TransLink earlier this year as a senior planner in TransLink’s system planning department.

He came to us from Toronto where he was a senior transportation planner with the city, and prior to that, he worked for Calgary Transit.

Cooper recently sat down with The Buzzer blog to chat about working for TransLink and transit planning in Canada:

What drew you to Vancouver to work for TransLink?

I call the System Planning group the place where ideas come true at TransLink. We are advancing a vast range of projects that will forever transform our transit system.  We are advancing new fleet technologies, expanding our service, and adding new rail service.  In the transit world, you name it—we are probably doing it. Who wouldn’t want to work for an organization that is open to new ideas and is moving ahead projects that will make Metro Vancouver an even better place to live!

“Who wouldn’t want to work for an organization that is open to new ideas and is moving ahead projects that will make Metro Vancouver an even better place to live!”

—David Cooper on working for TransLink

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This lady is the voice of SkyTrain

Laureen Regan is the voice behind announcements on the SkyTrain system!

Hop on a SkyTrain and you’ll hear a woman’s voice on the public address system, telling you what line you’ve boarded and what station is coming up next.

Well, that voice belongs to Laureen Regan, president of Regan Productions, a video production company in Calgary, Alberta.

She’s been the voice of the SkyTrain since 2001, when the Millennium Line opened and new station announcements were required. We brought her back again when the Canada Line and Evergreen Extension opened to record additional announcements.

Laureen Regan

Regan heard her voice on the train system for the first time shortly after the Millennium Line began service.

“I took the train and I laughed,” she says. “It was so amazing to hear it—to sit there and go, ‘Oh my God, that’s my voice.’ You remembered when you recorded it. … And everybody has no idea, which makes you laugh.”

Regan came to be the voice of the SkyTrain through her connection to Interalia, another Calgary-based company.

Interalia makes automated voice systems, and knew Regan had done voice work for her own productions in the past. They asked her to do a demo voice for their system, which they were about to show to TransLink for the Millennium Line.

Then, when TransLink bought the Interalia system, Regan was asked to record the real announcements for the trains.

Recording wasn’t too tough.

“Millennium Line is hard to say, I’ve got to say,” she says. “But I don’t remember any of the names being particularly difficult. The challenge sometimes with recording for places you don’t know is that you may not know the proper pronunciation [of local names].”

It’s a challenge she’s faced again over the years.

Regan has also done voice work for the Salt Lake City train system and the BART trains in San Francisco, both through Interalia

The chance to do voice work like this has been a gift, she says.

“It’s not been something that I’ve planned—it just happened. I enjoy it every time I do voicing. I love it.”

Listen to the Podcast

Regan’s interview was conducted as part of the Buzzer blog podcast. Have a listen!

This post originally appeared in the October 10, 2008 issue of The Buzzer. 

Rogers LTE wireless service expands into New Westminster

Rogers LTE coverage is now live in Columbia Station and through the tunnels! (Photo: waferboard/Flickr)

In a continued partnership with Rogers, LTE wireless connectivity on the SkyTrain has expanded into New Westminster! Starting today, Rogers and Fido customers will now see extended LTE wireless connectivity at Columbia SkyTrain Station and through the tunnels between Columbia and Sapperton SkyTrain stations. This is an extension to the service that was added to the Dunsmuir and Edmonds tunnels last summer!

Enhancing cellular coverage across the Expo and Millennium Line network ­increases safety, security and convenience for customers and operators with the added bonus of no cost to taxpayers.

Customers have told us that connectivity on the system is important and our partnership with Rogers is one way we are working to have a reliable and sustainable network in place.

Stay tuned for more info about more LTE service coming to our Expo and Millennium lines.

Author: Sarah Kertcher

How a resourceful transit supervisor reunited a lost wallet with its owner

Transit supervisor Todd Hancock doesn’t consider himself extraordinary or even a Good Samaritan. He says he simply did what he believes was the right thing to do.

The passenger had one foot in a floatplane at Vancouver International Water Airport in Richmond when transit supervisor Todd Hancock appeared with his lost wallet.

It was the culmination of a frantic search for the 24-year Coast Mountain Bus Company veteran that began at Bridgeport Station when Jinder Gill, a transit operator, turned the wallet in to Hancock.

Understanding the importance of reuniting a lost wallet with its owner, Hancock tried what he could from his vehicle after calling it in to T-Comm. He tried searching the owner’s name online, hoping to find a phone number, to no avail.

“I thought if I contact him in some way to let him know we have his wallet then that could offer some sort of relief,” says Hancock. “Takes a little bit off his mind.”

He then received a call about a bus needing attention at the airport and headed that way. After taking care of the bus, some quick thinking by Hancock made the reunion possible.

“I thought that since the wallet had come off our C92 [which operates between Bridgeport Station and Sea Island South],” says Hancock. “Maybe by chance the Seair or Harbour Air locations had a customer looking for their wallet.”

Hancock asked the attendant at the Seair counter if someone matching the name found in the wallet had come through. Sure enough there was.

“A woman behind me said that he was just getting on the seaplane,” Hancock recalls. “One of the staff members let me through the gate and we both ran down to the dock. We were yelling the passenger’s name.”

At last the lost wallet was reunited with its owner.

The passenger was ecstatic that his wallet had been found. Passengers aboard the floatplane also thanked Hancock by giving him a big round of applause.

“When people lose their wallet, it’s not about the money. It’s having to cancel cards and the potential of ID fraud. I felt good about him getting it back.”

What do I do if I left something behind transit?

Visit translink.ca/lostproperty and fill out the form to report what was lost, and we’ll see if someone has turned it in. You can also visit the Lost Property Office at Stadium–Chinatown Station, Monday to Friday (8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and Saturday (12 p.m. to 4 p.m.), or call them at 604.953.3334, Monday to Friday, between 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

What can I do if I find a lost item on transit?

You can turn it in to our transit staff and we’ll make sure it gets to the Lost Property Office so it can be reunited with its owner.

Find out how transit operator Nigel Clare reunited an iPad with its owner.

Extra service gets you to the Celebration of Light

The Honda Celebration of Light will be lighting up the sky again this summer, and we’re adding extra service to get you there!

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Behind The Scenes: A look into the remake of a Mark I SkyTrain

SkyTrain OMC

If you’ve ever taken the SkyTrain in Metro Vancouver, you’ve likely been a passenger on a Mark I. Making up 40% of our SkyTrain fleet, 114 of our 150 Mark I SkyTrains are currently undergoing a massive overhaul at OMC2, one of our Operations & Maintenance Centres in Burnaby.

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Send a text and help those affected by the wildfires in BC

B.C. remains in a state of emergency as 140 wildfires continue to burn across the province forcing mass evacuation orders and leaving tens of thousands of hectares of land burned. Multiple communities are affected and thousands of people are being uprooted. Urgent emergency services are required to support individuals and families.

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A day in the life of a SkyTrain Attendant – ride along with BCRTC President Vivienne King

Last week, British Columbia Rapid Transit Company (BCRTC) President Vivienne King, donned her reflective vest and steel toed boots to walk a mile (or likely many miles) in a SkyTrain Attendant (STA)’s shoes.

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CMBC recognized as RCBC environmental champion

CMBC recognized as RCBC environmental champion

Harvinder Aujala (left), RCBC Information Services Manager, and Donna Bartel, CMBC Environmental Sustainability Manager

 

Each year the Recycling Council of BC (RCBC) hosts a celebration recognizing the valuable contributions made by individuals and organizations towards the preservation and protection of British Columbia’s environment. This year, Coast Mountain Bus Company (CMBC) was awarded the 2017 Public Sector Environmental Award for continued efforts in reducing environmental impacts.

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TransLink supports Multi-“Modo” transportation with a new carshare partnership

Modo carsharing

Getting around Metro Vancouver will be much easier thanks to a new partnership between TransLink and Modo Co-operative.

Transit in Vancouver is no stranger to carshares, looking at the blocks surrounding SkyTrain stations in the region you’ll see an abundance of parking spaces reserved for carsharing. This partnership with Modo Co-operative is the first time that stalls have been created directly on TransLink property. You can now grab a Modo just steps from the fare gates!

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Celebrate Canada’s 150th with a commemorative #Canada150 Compass Card!

Canada 150

These limited edition Compass Cards are available starting June 22 until supplies last

On July 1, our fair land will be celebrating its sesquicentennial anniversary of Canadian Confederation.

That’s just a fancy way of saying Happy 150th Canada!

To mark this momentous occasion, TransLink is releasing 20,000 special, limited edition Canada 150 Adult Compass Cards.

These cards will be available on June 22 at Compass Vending Machines in select SkyTrain Stations. To find a location nearest you check our interactive map.

**Look for Canada 150 decals on CVMs**

#Canada150 Commemorative Compass Card

Commemorative Compass Cards will also be available at the Compass Customer Service Centre located at Stadium–Chinatown Station open on Canada Day from 12 p.m. until 6 p.m. while supplies last. Limit one per person.

Get yours before they’re gone and celebrate Canada’s 150th by tap, tap, tapping in style!

Want to win your way into the celebration? Stay tuned for details on how you can win your very own #Canada150 Commemorative Compass Card!

Celebrate Canada Day in person and online!
Use the hashtag #Canada150 to share your celebration moments with people across the country!

Author: Sarah Kertcher

Happy 40th birthday SeaBus! #SeaBus40

The SeaBus on a sunny day during the Olympic period!

Fit and fabulous at 40!

Lordy, Lordy, look who’s 40!!

On June 17, 1977 the SeaBus (or Sea•Bus as it was known then) sailed into the Burrard inlet connecting downtown Vancouver and the North Shore. Retro SeaBus

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Take the Commuter Challenge from June 4 – 10 and be less driven!

Commuter Challenge
First we had the Rush Hour Challenge, followed by Spring Bike To Work Week.

Now, it’s time to continue the sustainable transportation celebration with the Commuter Challenge!

What is the Commuter Challenge?

The Commuter Challenge is a week-long event held in conjunction with Canadian Environment Week, June 4–10, 2017.

This fun and friendly competition challenges Canadian cities and workplaces to leave their cars at home in favour of walking, cycling, carpooling/ride-sharing, taking transit and telecommuting.

Commuter Challenge BCHow to register

1. Register for the Commuter Challenge as an individual (or join an existing workplace team), workplace, or region.
2. Walk, cycle, carpool, take transit or telecommute during the event week (June 4 – 10).
3. You log your commutes online and watch your impacts add up!
4. Share your progress on social media using the hashtag #CommuterChallenge.

Join the multi-modal movement and celebrate, compete and win some great prizes while boosting both your physical and mental health!

Looking for additional multi-modal fun from May 29 – June 8? Take part in the City of North Vancouver Walk-Bike-Bus Scavenger Hunt! Check out the City of North Vancouver website for full details, and to download the passport.

Author: Sarah Kertcher

Experience your own ‘art on transit’ Jane’s Walk

299
The festivities and walking tours associated with the worldwide Jane’s Walk are over for another year, but that doesn’t mean we should stop discovering our communities!

With that in mind, we’d like to share the walk and talk that TransLink’s Debra Rolfe lead during the festival.

Below is a step-by-step guide to art found on and around the Expo Line with a few stops in Vancouver and New Westminster.

Enjoy!

Stadium–Chinatown

Alinka Echeverría’s Precession of the Feminine

2017-03-31_Stadium-Chinatown_Artwork_Panorama
Located on the unused platform at the station, and visible from the main platform or from eastbound trains, temporary project 2017-18

This artwork is part of the Capture Photography Festival, a non-profit annual festival devoted to exhibiting local and international photography. Alinka Echeverría’s Precession of the Feminine is a series of three-dimensional simulations of ceramic vases fused with archival photographs of women and presented against vibrantly coloured backdrops. Echeverría shows her viewers the process behind the creation of these images in order to invite them to look at the unconscious beliefs we bring to viewing photographs, particularly of women. Within the transit context, this project demonstrates one of the goals of TransLink’s public art program to surprise and delight customers, with the layers of meaning in this artwork manifesting differently whether customers pass through the station only once or whether they pass through the station daily.

Main Street–Science World

Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky’s Watch Seller

Watchseller
Artwork is on the plaza outside the Thornton Park entrance to the east stationhouse, permanent project installed 2015

The Watch Seller is a bronze sculpture of a watch seller that functions like a deconstructed public clock. Covered in 720 watch faces, the Watch Seller has every possible minute of a 12-hour analogue clock visible on his figure. He is always out of time, but he also always shows the correct time. These aspects of the artwork reference the shared history of train travel and standardized time, which were invented together in the 19th century. Indeed, standardized time was once called ‘railway time’ and public clocks are a ubiquitous feature of old railway stations. Set at the pedestrian level right outside the station entrance and across Thornton Park from Pacific Central Station, the Watch Seller is the size of a real person. It invites interaction and engagement with the station and the history of rail travel.

Commercial–Broadway

Richard Tetrault Cole Bazin, Karen Chan, Emily Gray, Rachel Stableford and Jerry Whitehead mural

Intersections mural on Broadway and inside the south stationhouse, temporary project 2015-18

This series of murals was commissioned in order to improve the experience of the station during renovation and reduce graffiti on the construction hoardings. It was a partnership with the City of Vancouver’s Integrated Graffiti Management Program. Due to the complex nature of the construction process at this station and the expectation that we would have to move the construction hoarding around over time, we asked the artists to create a series of small murals that could be displayed together or separately. Although the artists all worked together and worked with a shared theme and colour palate, they each led on a 12×8 foot section of the mural. The mural’s name and the motif of the SkyTrain windows repeating throughout remind us of the nature of Commercial-Broadway Station as a place of meeting and of departure.

Joyce–Collingwood

Kim Villagante and aly de la cruz yip’s Home mural

JC mural
Found on Vanness Avenue, outside the east station house, temporary project 2016-17

This project was a partnership with the City of Vancouver’s Integrated Graffiti Management Program and the Collingwood Neighbourhood House. The artists worked with youth who are newcomers to Canada, including Syrian refugee youth, to develop designs related to the concept of home. Individual children produced drawings that the artists then integrated into the overall design. The word ‘home’ in blue, like a river, binds the entire mural together.

New Westminster Station

Sean Alward’s New Westminster Glass Mural

Located along the staircase leading to the westbound platform, permanent project installed 2016

The mural at New Westminster Station is a collage of archival photographs of New Westminster and elsewhere in BC overlaid with brightly coloured shapes. The flow of images in the artwork references the nearby Fraser River and, as the artist has described it, ‘the simple paradox that [the river] is an ever-changing yet constant presence’. The artwork examines the history of New Westminster and British Columbia as one in which ‘nature’ is transformed into ‘resources’ and how an economy, political power and culture develops from that process. It also brings a beautiful stream of multi-coloured light and images into the station, whereas before the view from this staircase was of the concrete wall next door.

Now you’ve got the tools and the information for your own mini-tour of art on transit. Print this out or save it to your phone, grab your Compass Card and get exploring!

Author: Adrienne Coling

TransLink on the Move: Transportation Improvements

TransLink on the Move Transportation Improvements

Today wraps up our TransLink on the Move series. Over the past five weeks we’ve shared bite sized pieces from our 2016 Annual Report – Mark III SkyTrains, Evergreen Extension Stations, Ridership numbers, Compass, and now Transportation Investment.

You’ve likely heard about The Mayors’ Council’s 10-Year-Vision. Implementing this plan was the first step towards bringing Metro Vancouver the biggest transportation expansion in nearly a decade. With $2 Billion invested in transportation services, Phase One of the plan addresses some of our biggest rider complaints and aims to both reduce overcrowding on our transit system and ease congestion on our roadways. But there’s more to Phase One than new transit services and improvements. This first phase has additional region-wide impacts to alternative travel modes like cycling and walking paths, that brings real improvements to the way Metro Vancouver residents travel.

The next 10 years promise big things for transportation in Metro Vancouver and we hope you come along for the the ride.

Author: Sarah Kertcher