She not only captured the holiday spirit, she wrapped it up! Her bright and brilliant illustration perfectly embraced our winter service changes while still offering a festive seasonal feel.
To learn more about what makes Kalena tick, I checked in with her for a quick interview.
Who is Kalena Mackiewicz?
I’m originally from Calgary, but now live in North Burnaby. I’m an Emily Carr University alumni and have perfected making cabbage rolls in a slow cooker.
How would you describe your illustration style?
My style stems a lot from my experience with cartooning and animation. I like my work to have humour and colour, and seem as if it’s going to come to life any second. The style of illustrations I do now are kind of like if a rainbow bouncy castle was a sophisticated art gallery.
What tools do you use?
I work entirely digital with a tablet for the final work, but the initial idea phase is all hands on. I do pen doodles on napkins or receipts using markers, crayons and hi-lighters.
Your Buzzer cover literally gave the gift of transit! What was the inspiration behind your illustration?
When you’re a kid, opening the biggest present is the most exciting! My main influence was those commercials for cars with the big red bow that are always on around Christmas. I also thought it would go well with the new Compass Card ads.
Do you ride transit? If so, do you have a favourite mode?
Since I moved here in 2005, I’ve used transit almost every day. It’s my ride! I’ve travelled by bus, SkyTrain, SeaBus and Aquabus, but still have yet to try the West Coast Express.
Any fun plans for the holidays?
Riding the West Coast Express!
If you haven’t got a copy of the latest Buzzer you can download it here.
Strings of street lights, even stop lights, blink a bright red and green!
It’s December which means holiday lights are out in full force!
But how could one possibly see them all??
Fear not! Our friends The Transit Museum Society (TRAMS) would like to invite you to jump aboard the historic 4107, a 1982 General Motors bus, for a two-hour tour, passing by some of the most colourfully decorated homes in Vancouver and Burnaby.
You have eight chances to go! December 11, 12, 18, 19, 20, 22, 23 and 27.
The bus getting a holiday makeover!
Senior/student (14-21): $15
Children (2-13): $5
Members of TRAMS will receive a $2 discount for all members of their travelling party.
The bus will depart from 29th Avenue SkyTrain Station at 7 pm on each of the dates above.
More information is available on the TRAMS website and if you’re interested in attending you can register online!!
There is update from Compass for Monthly Pass users. Remember! December is the last month to use a traditional paper FareCard. Starting January 1st, all Monthly Pass users will be required to load their pass onto a Compass Card.
Also in this issue is a quick wrap up from our Transit Network Consultation survey and some winter safety tips for pedestrians from Transit Police.
And as always, we have our favourites – Contest Corner, Back Issues and Coming Events!
Happy reading! Pick it up today on the bus, SkyTrain, SeaBus and West Coast Express or you can download it here.
The next regular issue of the Buzzer will be out in April 2016!
Flashback Friday: a SkyTrain promo video from 1984
Today, on a sunny winter day 30 years ago, Premier Bill Bennett proudly announced the opening of SkyTrain – forever changing the face of transit for Metro Vancouver – crazy, huh?
SkyTrain bursts through a banner on its very first day in service: Dec 11, 1985!
The inauguration of SkyTrain was huge – so huge in fact, that there were three events in one day (lucky!).
Following the opening ceremony at Waterfront Station, the first SkyTrain car was radioed to the platform, broke through a ceremonious ribbon and then continued its maiden voyage – attending two more celebrations – one at Metrotown Station and the other at New Westminster Station.
The original line – named Expo Line – was a legacy project of Expo ’86 and connected downtown Vancouver, Burnaby and New Westminster. Passengers then had the ability to travel from Waterfront Station to New Westminster Station in just 25 minutes – half the time it would have taken to travel by bus!
Following the December 11, 1985 inauguration, SkyTrain entered free service—the system was launched with huge fanfare and eight days of free rides, before officially going into paid service on January 3, 1986.
Over the coming decades, Metro-Vancouver’s rapid transit system would see exponential growth with extensions to the Expo Line, the creation of the Millennium Line, the addition of the Canada Line and our soon to be Evergreen Extension (an extension of the Millennium Line).
Let’s look at some of our major milestones in the last 30 years:
1986 SkyTrain opens for regular revenue service
1989 – 1994 – three Expo Line expansion projects built – adding service to Surrey with King George Station as the terminus station.
2002 – Millennium Line officially opens – operating along the Expo Line to New Westminster Station and adding new service between Columbia Station and Commercial-Broadway.
2006 – Millennium Line service is extended to its current terminus station, VCC-Clark.
2009 – Canada Line opens connecting downtown Vancouver with Richmond and YVR airport.
2017 – The Evergreen extension of the Millennium Line, connecting Coquitlam and Port Moody, through Burnaby, to Vancouver with a one seat ride, is scheduled to open.
From a modest 22 kilometres track carrying roughly 50,000 passengers a day to 15 stations, SkyTrain has grown to a mammoth rapid transit system. We now operate 68 kilometres of track with 47 stations and transport roughly 250, 000 passengers per day, AND when the Evergreen Extension opens, we will have the longest fully automated rapid transit network in the world – with 79 kilometres of track and 53 stations.
Were you at SkyTrain’s inauguration or at any other of the milestone events or have a favourite memory of SkyTrain? We would love to hear from you – comment below!
Right to left: Live Transit, Bus Tracker and City Mapper screen shots
Ever since the release of our transit data in 2012, new transit applications (apps) based on TransLink’s open API have been popping up on a regular basis.
TransLink’s mobile website, m.translink.ca, can get you similar info as many of the new apps, but I thought I’d check in with the Buzzer blog readers to see what everyone is using these days.
Before diving into the poll, why not go over a few transit apps and maybe a mobile site, to see what they’re all about?
While it would be awesome to do an overview of every app listed on our mobile phone applications site, I thought it might be more useful to highlight just a handful and add in a few new ones for good measure.
This app is beautiful in its simplicity. Basically, this app uses your smart phones GPS to find out where you are and displays all the available transit and their departure times. You can plan your trip, set reminders and get notification about service disruptions as well as book ride shares in case you decide not to take the bus.
If you already know where you are going, this app maybe all you need.
TransitDB is a quick and offline guide to public transit in Metro Vancouver.
This mobile site has full offline schedules for all bus routes and stops, first and last departure information and helps you find nearby bus stops. Transit DB also lets you keep a list of your favourite bus stops, see route diagrams and has information on station and stop accessibility and other transportation contact numbers (i.e. Taxi).
Unfortunately, this lil’ guy does not have real time bus schedules or trip planning capabilities.
Features include live departure times for buses, real-time TransLink service alerts from Twitter and multi-modal planning from departure to arrival. You can also save home and work locations and get directions to those places from anywhere.
There’s also a feature that estimates the calories you’d burn if you decide to ditch transit and opt to walk or bike instead!
TransLink Bus Tracker is a mobile web app that lets you view bus arrival times using on-board GPS coordinates.
This free app enables multiple bus selections for each stop and has a find me feature that allows you to search for nearby bus stops. The app also lets you use Google Maps to track your next bus. Frequently used buses and stops can be saved for quick access.
While not specifically a transit app, good ol’ Google Maps app is a useful way to track Vancouver transit.
This app offers real-time transit information like predicted departure times, transit directions and maps, live traffic conditions and offers automatic rerouting to find the best route. Google Maps also features voice-guided GPA navigation for driving, biking and walking, so you can see how far your destination is from your stop!
Google Maps is available on iPhone, tablets and Android devices.
Do you use any of the above apps? Take the poll and let us know which is your favourite!
If your app of choice is not listed, tell us in the comments section what you use to get around the city!
A wayfinding expert’s rendering of a new bus stop sign and scheduling panel
Starting this month and continuing through the week, bus stop signs in Surrey City Centre are getting a new look!
The design of the new signs, courtesy of TransLink’s Wayfinding experts, display more information and are easier to read.
You’ll also notice something strangely familiar — the new look is consistent with other transit facilities across the system such as SkyTrain stations. The large “T” is for transit (of course!) and will make spotting a bus stop a breeze.
Digital rendering of a new bus stop sign
Rolling out the new bus stop signs will be a gradual process. To be cost effective, signage and schedules “infotubes” will only be changed out when the existing pieces reach end-of-life or are damaged or require updated route information. The full replacement of all bus stop signs and infotubes will take place over the next few years.
New bus stop signs
New bus stop signs will make it easier for customers to locate bus stops from a distance.
The “T” for transit, route numbers, Next Bus information and the bay number are placed in prominent locations. To differentiate from regular bus service, B-Line information will be highlighted in orange and NightBus in navy blue.
Schedule panels replace infotubes
Many bus stops currently have infotubes on the pole with schedule information, and riders generally give us good feedback about them. Sometimes, however, riders tell us the text is too small. We’re making improvements in this area by replacing the infotubes with schedule panels. The schedule panels are flat, contain larger text and have the same look and feel as the bus stop signs.
Existing infotube (left) and new scheduling panel (right)
Keep your eyes open!
If you’re in Surrey City Centre over the next few days, make sure to check out the new signs. There are also a few new ones dotting other areas of the region, so keep your eyes open for them too!
Beep beep! Rudolph is running on a route near you!
**Extra points for you if you sang the title to the tune of “Up on the Housetop!”**
‘Tis the season for the reindeer bus and reindeer community shuttle to be out and about on regular routes around Metro Vancouver starting tomorrow for the whole month of December!
This community shuttle has a very shiny nose!
For 30 years, these decorated vehicles have spread the holiday cheer and surprise passengers with a unique ride throughout Metro Vancouver!
The reindeer bus kicked into gear a little early last week with a visit to Toys for Tots. This year, TransLink and its operating companies have promised 3,000 toys to help make this Christmas extra special for children in our communities!
When they are not out on the road, the reindeer bus calls the Vancouver Transit Centre home.
Head to Twitter where our team will try their best to tweet out what routes the two reindeer will be serving so you can hop on!
Keep your eyes peeled for our reindeer and send us your pictures of it!