ALERT! More info
Translink Buzzer Blog

Collingwood Days, Sat May 29

Collingwood Days is coming up on Saturday May 29!

It’s a fun-filled family event celebrating community, arts and culture and family, and it’s jointly organized by a number of community partners that we work with regularly: Collingwood Neighbourhood House, The B.I.A. and the Community Policing Centre of the Renfrew/Collingwood neighbourhood.

Head to Joyce-Collingwood SkyTrain station at 9 a.m. for a pancake breakfast, followed by a parade leading you to the Carlton School site, where food, music, dance, BMX demonstrations, international market and an assortment of roving professional performers await!

See the official website, their Facebook page, and the event listing at for more info.

Enter the Cherry Blossom Festival haiku contest by Mon May 31

Here’s another poetry contest to enter: the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival’s haiku invitational!

Write a great haiku about the cherry blossoms, and top poems will be picked in five categories (youth, B.C., Canada, United States, and International). As usual, the poems appear on ads in our SkyTrains and buses, and will be published by Haiku Canada, Rice Paper, and on the VCBF website, and more!

Deadline is Monday, May 31: visit the haiku contest page for more info.

Angus McIntyre retires after 40 years behind the wheel

Longtime trolley driver Angus McIntyre will be retiring at the end of May! (We made sure to get the trolleys in the background of this picture :)

Longtime trolley driver Angus McIntyre will be retiring at the end of May! (We made sure to get the trolleys in the background of this picture :)

After driving buses for 41 years, Angus McIntyre has announced he will be retiring at the end of May!

His last official day will be Tuesday Monday May 31 (celebrations are planned!), but until then you can catch him driving the 7 Dunbar/Nanaimo or the interlined Main/Victoria routes in the evenings. Congratulate him if you see him!

I spoke with Angus last week, and asked him to share his reflections on the city and transit after 40 odd years of service. It’s a long period to think about—he notes that he actually worked through six decades, starting in the last four months of 1969 and finishing in the first half of 2010.

“Very few people in this company achieve that goal [of 40 years driving],” he said with a laugh. “You have to start quite young and be durable to make it through.”

You can read the full interview below (and see this post for more on Angus!).

Read more »

Friday fun post: where do you like to sit on transit?

If you like, skip to the end of this post to tell us where you like to sit on transit

Two weeks ago: guess the year of this transit pass

The pass!

The pass!

Two weeks ago, I asked you to guess the year of this transit pass.

And the answer’s clear above: 1944! Which means that the winners of the contest are Sewing, Sean Turvey, Donald, Rob, and Reva.

Winners, e-mail me your addresses, and I’ll put the buttons, map, and two radios in the mail. (The radios will go to Sean & Donald since they were first to get it, and Sewing mentioned that he didn’t want a prize. Sewing, I can still send buttons and maps though!)

Also, I must say it was awesome to see everyone using their Nancy Drew skillz to get the answer. Check out Sewing’s comment: it’s richly detailed with a lot of fun history links to follow. And really, good effort all around, everyone!

By the way, this ticket actually came to us by way of a gentleman named J.A. Hugh. Mr. Hugh worked for the B.C. Electric Company long back when it started, and when he passed away, his memorabilia came through his friends to one of our staff members. There is much more to share from his collection :)

This week: where do you like to sit on transit?

OK, I wanted to revisit this classic poll, which was the very first one I ever ran here on the Buzzer. Since I think our readership has likely expanded and changed, let’s see what the winning answer is now!

Important: Dunsmuir St bus stops east of Howe to be discontinued, Mon May 24

A map of the Dunsmuir Street bike lane, from the <a href=>City of Vancouver</a>.

A map of the Dunsmuir Street bike lane, from the City of Vancouver.

The City of Vancouver has just approved a dedicated bike lane for Dunsmuir Street, and due to construction of that lane, some of the bus stops running along Dunsmuir Street will be taken out of service on Monday May 24.

This affects riders of the 210, 211, 214, N8, and N24. Here is exactly what it means for you:

  • The #210 Upper Lynn Valley, #211 Seymour/Phibbs Exchange, the #214 Phibbs Exchange/Downtown (after 8pm) and #214 Blueridge/Phibbs Exchange will come into Vancouver along Pender as far as Howe, then turn up Howe and then on Dunsmuir to the terminus at Burrard Station. (Here’s a PDF reroute map: btw the diagram shows Carrall St, but buses are temporarily using Main while Carroll is being worked on.)
  • The N8 Fraser NightBus will move from Bay 3 at Howe and Dunsmuir to Bay 1. (PDF reroute map)
  • The N24 Upper Lonsdale NightBus will travel along Georgia to Seymour, then down Seymour to Pender, along Pender to Howe and up to the NightBus terminus at Howe and Dunsmuir. This is a new terminus for the N24. (PDF reroute map)

Signs will be posted, notifying customers of the discontinued stops! For more information, please call Customer Information at 604-953-3333.

Come hear me talk about the Buzzer with the Vancouver Historical Society, Thu May 27

The Buzzer logo from 1936!

The Buzzer logo from 1936!

The Vancouver Historical Society has kindly invited me to give a talk about the Buzzer next week, on Thursday May 27!

If you’re interested in attending, here are the details from the Society’s Events page:

Thursday, May 27, 2010
7:00 -7:30 p.m. Annual General Meeting
7:30 p.m. Stories from the Buzzer
Speaker: Jhenifer Pabillano

These gatherings take place in the Museum of Vancouver, located at 1100 Chestnut Street at 7.30 pm. Enquire at the Museum desk for directions to the room.

Distributed on public transportation across Vancouver for 94 years, the in-house publication, the Buzzer, became Vancouver’s unique window to the past. Started in 1916 to keep people informed about public transit, it also served to foster rider loyalty to their streetcars in the face of competition by ‘jitney’ operators who patrolled streetcar routes offering competitive rides for five cents. Although ‘jitney’ service was abolished in 1918, the Buzzer became a mainstay of Vancouver public transit with its array of interest facts and anecdotes and became a tally sheet of change throughout much of the City’s history.

Wish me luck! Perhaps I’ll see some of you there :)

UBC Line consultation closes tomorrow, Fri May 21

Riders wait for the 99 at Commercial-Broadway Station.

Riders wait for the 99 at Commercial-Broadway Station.

If you haven’t yet shared your thoughts on the UBC Line alternatives, do it soon! Our online discussion boards and questionnaire will close tomorrow, Friday May 21, at noon.

Our consultation team is already compiling your feedback: here’s reports on the online discussion and reports on the in-person workshops so far. As I’ve mentioned, your feedback will help inform the design phase of the UBC Line alternatives. We’ll be back to present you with those detailed designs in the fall.

Also, if you have any thoughts about how the consultation went, I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments. The online consultation part is very new and I’d love to hear any suggestions for improvements!

And for more on the UBC Line, here’s some past blog posts:

A SkyTrain map with historical notes and more!

A detail from David's Metro Vancouver rail diagram, featuring historical notes and milestones in one handy map!

A detail from David's Metro Vancouver rail diagram, featuring historical notes and milestones in one handy map!

David M, a longtime Buzzer blog reader and transit enthusiast, has put together an unofficial diagram of Metro Vancouver rail, with many annotations describing its history and more. Both he and I thought you would enjoy seeing it! Grab the full map here (2.8MB, PNG, 4617×2357).

Links and tidbits, Wed May 19

A 6-car Mark 1 train leaving Brentwood Station. Photo by <a href=>DennisTT</a>!

A 6-car Mark 1 train leaving Brentwood Station. Photo by DennisTT!

Oof — here’s another round of tidbits and links. If you have any to suggest, or a photo to showcase on these posts, e-mail me at!

Victoria Day holiday service

Victoria Day is Monday, May 24! Since it’s a holiday, all buses, SeaBus and SkyTrain will be running on a Sunday/holiday schedule. West Coast Express won’t be in operation.

As it’s a holiday, you’ll only need a single-zone fare to travel in all zones all day. And remember, on Sundays and holidays, you can use your FareCard to take five other riders with you for free. Specifically, all passengers with an adult FareCard, West Coast Express 28-Day Pass, or Annual Employer Transit Pass can take up to five children, or one adult and four children on transit with them for no extra charge.

Enter the Poetry in Transit contest this May!

The Poetry in Transit program launched its 2010 edition on April 28, and they’re celebrating with a contest!

Here’s the details:

To celebrate the April 28th launch of this year’s Poetry in Transit, the Association of Book Publishers of BC will be hosting a contest!

Did you meet your soul mate while reading a poem together on the bus? Have you gotten into a heated argument with a fellow passenger over a line in a poem? Tell us your best Poetry in Transit story to be in contention to win the grand prize – all 16 books of poetry from this year’s poets.

Submissions must be sent to the ABPBC by email to with Poetry in Transit in the subject line. Mailed submissions to go to 600-402 West Pender Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 1T6.

First and second runners-up will receive a selection of this year’s bus cards. Winning entries will be published on the ABPBC website for posterity.

Contest deadline: May 31, 2010

Poetry in Transit has been running since 1996, and in that time has featured 190 poems from established and emerging writers. Together with TransLink and BC Transit, the ABPBC produces 16 poetry cards annually featuring the work of BC-authored and Canadian-published poets, displayed on buses and SkyTrains across the transit systems in BC.

And here’s the 2010 Poetry in Transit bus cards, in case you wanted to see them.

Incidentally, I have some of the old Poetry in Transit ads from 2006 and 2007 at my desk… if you’re interested in taking some of them, e-mail me! (It would be easiest if you could pick them up from our offices in Metrotown, open 9-5.)

Away the rest of the week: back Monday, May 17

Just a note to say I will be away on holiday for the rest of the week. A few posts are scheduled go up while I’m away, and I’ll be back to answer your comments and e-mails on Monday, May 17.

Here’s some handy links in case you need info/help while I’m off:

Notes from the TransLink AGM aboard the SeaBus

Dale Parker, TransLink Board Chair, welcomes everyone to the TransLink AGM this morning.

Dale Parker, TransLink Board Chair, welcomes everyone to the TransLink AGM this morning.

We held our annual general meeting (AGM) aboard our newest SeaBus this morning!

Chair Dale Parker and our executives spoke at a podium on one end of the SeaBus, and the audio system was rigged up throughout the boat so attendees at the other end could still clearly hear them—and so many came out to hear what they had to say!

AGM attendees on board the SeaBus.

AGM attendees on board the SeaBus.

Really: the public turnout was terrific, with the SeaBus filling probably 80-90% of its 400 seats. There was even a lineup waiting for the doors to open! It’s quite a change from past years, when hardly anyone came out to join us.

Read more »

Events this week: TransLink’s floating AGM, two more UBC Line workshops

A heads up on two things happening this week!

TransLink’s AGM is on the SeaBus, Tue May 11

A reminder that we’re having a floating Annual General Meeting this year!

To join us, come out at 10 a.m. to the SeaBus Waterfront Terminal on Tuesday, May 11. See this blog post for more info.

UBC Line in-person workshops, May 11 and May 13

Two more UBC Line in-person community consultation workshops are on this week.

  • May 11, 2010, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
    Centre for Digital Media at the Great Northern Way Campus, 122-577 Great Northern Way Vancouver
  • May 6, 2010, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
    Vancouver Masonic Centre, 1495 West 8th Avenue, Vancouver

Come by if you’re interested! These are the last two workshops for the UBC Line consultation: see the full list of dates.

Friday fun post: guess the year of this transit ticket

If you like, skip to the end of this post to guess the year of this transit ticket.

From last week: where do you get your transit information?

Last week, I asked you where you got your transit information.

And after 265 votes, it was no contest: the web and mobile solutions won hands down, with the TransLink website taking 42% of the vote, followed by the SMS service (22%) and the iPhone app or mobile site (15%). Hardly anyone said they called the transit phone line, either to speak to a rep (5%) or to use the interactive voice system (5%).

Now this is obviously a fun poll and is more than likely skewed toward web users, considering you had to be reasonably web savvy to even find the Buzzer blog and take the poll in the first place. But it still gave some illuminating insights. For instance, I was remiss in forgetting to put the Buzzer or the blog on the poll. And there were a few other crucial items I missed that people still depend on. Here’s Deano:

I thought I was going to be all alone here, but I’m with Jacob; the printed timetable is the best when I need to quickly check transfers.

Same with Reva:

I mainly use the Translink website and the trip planner for route & schedule info. But if I’m out and about I’ll refer to a schedule capsule on a bus stop pole, or even — A PAPER SCHEDULE (yeah, I went there!) that I carry around in my purse! :)

Gregory Marler mentioned a few more resources:

I got a folded map with my UPass when I arrived at UBC. It’s served me well when checking how many stops to go or what spontaneous route I should take. It’s battered and worn now, perhaps I should have got one of the slightly larger (not so pocket size) Olympic ones. But I didn’t want to seem like a tourist! is great for so many reasons and you should do a blog post about it. It’s not an official Translink website but it’s good that it can use the data.

Thanks Gregory — there is in fact is a blog post about TransitDB already :)

And Rvie and a few others said it really depended on context, too.

It depends on where I am, honestly. When I’m planning to go somewhere in the next day or so and need to know what time the bus comes, I go to the TransLink website. But when I’m at the bus stop and I don’t know what time the bus comes I use the SMS service instead. =)

As always, check out the rest of the comments for more on how people get their transit information!

This week: guess the year of this transit ticket

A while back, a treasure trove of old tickets came to reside in our office. Here’s one of them: can you guess what year it’s from?

The front side

The front side

The back of the pass.

The back of the pass.

If you get closest to the pin, I’ll mail you a set of Buzzer buttons, plus a terrible pocket-sized TransLink radio! I have two of these left, discovered after a cleanup in the office. I can also throw in an Olympic transit map because I found another of those too!