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Translink Buzzer Blog

Delegations from around the globe travel to Vancouver to meet with TransLink


Left to Right: Guy Akester, Derrick Cheung, Ian Jarvis, Ibrahim Aleid, Saud Al-Saud, Ibrahim Alrajeh, Yosef Aljallal and Yosef AlBanumay.


Did you know that delegations from around the world, including Thailand, Sweden, Australia, Japan and Korea, visited TransLink in 2014 to learn about Metro Vancouver’s integrated transportation network?

Metro Vancouver’s transit system has an international reputation for excellence and TransLink’s ability to deliver transit-oriented development investment attracts interest near and far.

A delegation from Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia, was in Vancouver this fall. Five delegates met with TransLink’s real estate group, planning and infrastructure management teams, and the Transit Police.

Ibrahim Aleid, Director of Metropolitan Planning and Urban Design at the Riyadh Development Authority says that TransLink is well regarded globally for delivering an efficient and integrated transportation network that is shaping world class transit oriented communities.

“We are developing a transit system in Riyadh and we hope to learn from the success of Metro Vancouver in creating the necessary conditions to foster and promote highly innovative transit-oriented communities and developments.”


What is a transit-oriented development?

Transit-oriented developments enable people to drive less, and walk, cycle and take transit more; and therefore maximize the value of transit investments. TransLink works in collaboration with public and private sector partners to enable the Metro Vancouver region to realize the benefits of transit-oriented communities and foster transit-oriented development.

Since 2011, development near transit has grown exponentially. There are now 35 development projects in construction or planning stages—significantly more than the handful of projects that existed from 1986-2011.


Poetry in Transit interview with Jen Currin

Jen Currin

Jen Currin

Poetry in Transit is a partnership with the Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia. Now in it’s 18th year, the program aims to profile talented British Columbian and Canadian poets and provide our customers with poetry to read on their commutes.

Jen Currin’s “A Week of Silence” from School is currently one of 20 poems on the system. She took time out of her busy schedule to do this quick interview with us about the poem and herself!

Who is Jen Currin?
I wish I knew the answer to this question!

Would you be able to tell us a bit more about “A Week of Silence?” What were the inspirations behind it?
This poem came from the not-unique realization that sometimes the most wise and kind thing you can do for someone you love is to step aside and wish them well as they go on to other experiences.

How would you classify your style of poetry and writing? What inspires you?
I’m a collagist, primarily. I am inspired by a lot of things: reading, art of all kinds, the city, walking and biking, gardening and friends.

What’s a ‘great’ poem for you?
I want to feel both my intelligence and my heart/spirit tickled.

Who’s your favourite poet and/or somebody that has heavily influenced your work?
I have so many favorites—it’s impossible to pick one. Anne Carson, John Ashbery, Lisa Robertson, Dionne Brand, Max Jacob, Russell Edson, Camille Roy and Mary Tallmountain are just a few of the many poets who have inspired and influenced me.

What does Poetry in Transit mean for you?
I like the idea that poetry is a way of moving, a kind of transportation. Poetry should transport us to different places, different experiences and different points of view. Ideally, a poem takes me outside of my own limited point of view.

Do you take transit? If so, what’s your favourite mode?
Yes. I like the noise and city views from the bus; I like the speed and reach of the SkyTrain.

Peer into your crystal ball, and tell us what you see for yourself in the future.
I see myself growing and canning vegetables with friends. I see myself on bike rides, alone and with good people, through a verdant and car-less city.

We really appreciate your time Jen! You can visit her website at and join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #PoetryInTransit.

Buzzer illustrator interview: Hazel Cheng

The December 2014 issue of the Buzzer's illustration done by Hazel Cheng!

The December 2014 issue of the Buzzer’s illustration done by Hazel Cheng!

Oh, look what do we have here – another Buzzer illustrator interview! We were lucky enough to have Emily Carr University of Art + Design student Hazel Cheng illustrate the December 2014 issue of the Buzzer.

‘Tis the season of giving and Hazel really captured that for us in her illustration. Throughout the month of December, our Reindeer Bus and Community Shuttle has been out and about spreading the holiday cheer. On December 18, the bus will be delivering toys to the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau agencies as part of our annual Toys for Tots charity drive.

Hazel was nice enough to take time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions about herself and her work:

Who is Hazel Cheng?
I am an illustrator living in Richmond. My website is

Tell me about the work you do.
Right now, I am working through a children’s book that deals with some struggles of immigration. It’s something that has come to my attention recently after a trip I made this year.

What’s your favourite thing to draw?
A recurring subject in my art are animals, usually small and fuzzy ones.

Do you take transit? If so, what’s your favourite route or mode transit?
Yes, I enjoy taking buses that I’ve never taken before, and going to far away places. I like the routes on the highways, speeding past the farmland with the mountains in the background.

What’s next for you?
Graduating university, and then I’d like to keep on telling stories.

Thanks for your time Hazel! Pick up your copy of the December 2014 issue today on the bus, SkyTrain, SeaBus and West Coast Express or download it here. The next issue of the Buzzer will be out February 2015 – that means the next illustrator interview will be then too!

Links and Tidbits – December 12, 2014

Links and tidbits is our semi-regular roundup of interesting fodder about transportation from the last few weeks or so. If you have links to contribute, put them in the comments, or email us.

» Chrissy Nommington shared this “TransLink Adventure” postcard on Instagram.

» Our Buzzer readers send us a lot of interesting things and Ivan Chan sent us 3D renderings of Lansdowne Station on the Canada Line that he did!

» A couple of upcoming Christmas events in Metro Vancouver. The Christmas Market in Coquitlam takes place on December 13th at the Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex. Admission is free! The Transit Museum Society is organizing multiple Christmas Lights Tours during the month of December. The tours will be onboard TRAMS’ 1982 General Motors “Reindeer Bus.”

» The New York City Subway turned 110 year old in October 2014 and what did they do to celebrate? They rolled out their vintage subway cars – surprising commuters with an nostalgic ride!

» This cute little girl started a dance party in a New York City Subway station! A band was playing “Me and My Uncle” by the Grateful Dead and she couldn’t help but start dancing. Others couldn’t resist the fun either and joined in!

» More New York: the entire subway system dealt with numerous problems on December 11 from power outages and a manhole fire to doors that opened onto the tracks. )=

» New York Subway wants you to keep your legs shut in this awareness campaign that will be launching in January.

» Moving on to transit etiquette, SEPTA is expanding its “dude it’s rude” campaign. And hey look! Our Pet Peeves campaign is mentioned in the  same article.

» The Daily Telegraph shares 11 things that should be banned from public transport.

» Because you know I’m all about that bus / ‘Bout that bus, no treble / I’m all about that bus! The METRO Regional Transit Authority in Akron, Ohio made this awesome video, “All About That Bus” – parodying Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass.”

» Shiny new buses? You betcha. Winnipeg Transit just launched four New Flyer Xcelsior battery-electric buses and they will operate a 40-kilometre, two-hour route between the city’s airport and Watt Street and Leighton Avenue. The buses will recharge for 10 minutes at the airport after each trip.

» Not to miss out on the electric bus fun, the Chicago Transit Authority also added two all-electric buses to their fleet

» While Winnipeg and Chicago experiment with electric buses, Bath and Bristol in South West England are testing out the “Bio-Bus,” a bus that is powered entirely using gas generated by human waste.

» Over in Philadelphia, the West Philly Runners group took on SEPTA’s 21 bus for their “Beat the Bus” in a race to see whether running from Point A to Point B could be faster than taking the bus. Who won? Read on to find out!

» Tyne and Wear Metro in North East England urges its passengers to “use your brain near a train” in this animated video to educate passengers about the dangers of obstructing train doors.

» This illustration comes from artist Karl Jilg and the Swedish Road Administration. It shows how much public space we’ve surrendered to cars.

» Stockholm made their stairs fun – by turning it into a piano! No word if these are coming to a SkyTrain station near you. ;) (H/T to @AmandaDFrazer)

» Here’s a Bombardier T1 subway train from Toronto dressed up as a refurbished Mark I in a train simulator (OpenBVE) done by our friend Elfren. Want to join the TTC Academy do to runs? Visit to learn more. You’ll have the opportunity to experience the life of a subway train operator and I’m told it’s lots of fun!

So You Think You Can Busk? 2014 – A day full of talented musicians!


Our esteemed panel of 'So You Think You Can Busk?' judges!

Our esteemed panel of ‘So You Think You Can Busk?’ judges!

Our annual “So You Think You Can Busk” auditions took place on Wednesday, December 10 at TransLink’s head office in New Westminster and it was a day full of talented musicians!

In total, there were 32 musicians vying for one of seven available licenses to busk at one of six SkyTrain stations. They performed for a panel of three judges – TransLink’s own Colleen Brennan, VP of Communications and Customer Engagement;  Jacey Gibb, Editor-in-Chief of Discorder Magazine; and Lisa Christiansen, Traffic and Arts Reporter, CBC Radio One.

The judges were treated to a variety of performances from instrumentals, covers and original music to the acoustic guitar, the ukulele and harmonica. What about the handpan, Tibetan singing bowls and Caribbean steel pans? Yup, they heard those too! What are they? You’ll have to watch the audition footage to find out!

Check out our Instagram account for quick 15-second snippets of some of the performances. Judge and on-air personality Lisa Christiansen did a radio piece on the day (you’ll want to listen to the December 11, 2014 recording at around 32:25). We have posted all the auditions to the Buzzer blog YouTube channel too.

Thanks to all the musicians that came out to perform! The sights and sounds of musicians have been part of the transit culture in Metro Vancouver since 1986. Their music helps to create welcoming public spaces for customers and surrounding communities.

Watch all the auditions!


The Mayors’ Council announce transit referendum question

The Mayors’ Council have voted this morning to ask the public to vote yes or no to a .5% increase in the Provincial sales tax in order to expand the regional transit and transportation system in Metro Vancouver. If approved by the Provincial Government of BC, the proposed yes or no referendum could start as soon as March of 2015.

The Mayors’ Council website has been updated with the above video and accompanying information including the press release with the proposed referendum question. For answers to referendum and Mayors’ Council questions, you’ll want to follow @CutCongestion on Twitter and the CutCongestion Facebook page. You’ll also want to sign up for updates.

Five Christmas things to do this weekend – Dec 12 to 14, 2014

The Christmas season is in full swing! Santa Claus is now at malls around Metro Vancouver and surely you’ve started your Christmas shopping. The Reindeer Bus and Community Shuttle are spreading the holiday cheer for the entire month of December.

If you aren’t already, here are five Christmas things to do this weekend to get you into the Christmas spirit!

West Coast Express Santa TrainThe West Coast Express Santa Train runs once more this Saturday, December 13!

In exchange for a new unwrapped toy, you get a ticket to ride the train.

The train departs Mission at 10 am and stops at all WCE stations before arriving at Waterfront Station at approximately 11:15 am. The train makes its return trip from Waterfront at 4 pm.

All donations support the Northeast sector Christmas Bureau.

Holidays with Scuba Claus at Vancouver Aquarium

Photo by Vancouver Aquarium

Photo by Vancouver Aquarium

Scuba Claus is back for his annual visit at the expanded Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre.

Enjoy the return of nostalgic memories as you rediscover the wonders of the electric eel-powered holiday tree. Hop on board a 4-D theatre adventure of THE POLAR EXPRESS and get swept away to the North Pole through an exhilarating sensory experience of wondrous sights, sounds and more.

The event runs until Christmas Eve.

Get there by taking transit! The Vancouver Aquarium is located inside Stanley Park, so just take the 19 Stanley Park bus there.

Bright Nights Christmas Train in Stanley Park

Head down to the Bright Nights Train and Plaza at Stanley Park and immerse yourself in three million twinkling lights. It is open until Sunday, January 4 and is closed on Christmas Day.

Entrance to the Bright Nights Train Plaza to see the holiday lights is by donation and will be accepted at the front gate. A minimum $4 donation is suggested.

Admission to ride the train is $11 for adults and $8 for seniors (65 years old or older) and children & youth (3 – 17 years old). Purchase your tickets online in advance at

Partial proceeds benefit the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund, which helps burn survivors and their families. Over the past 16 years, $1.4 million has been raised.

For full hours of operation and more information, visit the City of Vancouver website. Get there by taking the 19 Stanley Park bus.

Heritage Christmas at the Burnaby Village Museum

The illuminated displays are back at the Burnaby Village Museum this holiday season for Heritage Christmas!

Bring your cameras for a photo opportunity with Father Christmas and an old-fashioned sleigh. Enjoy daily entertainment from theatre and marionette performances, choirs and musicians to craft for children, storytelling sessions and baking in the Farmhouse!

Heritage Christmas is open now until January 2, 2015. Hours of operation are Monday to Friday from 1 pm to 5:30 pm, Saturday and Sunday from 1 pm to 9 pm – until December 12. Then it’s daily from 1 pm to 9 pm (except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) until it closes. Admission is free and carousel rides are $2.50.

The 123 New Westminster / Brentwood Station and 144 SFU / Metrotown Station both stop right outside the Burnaby Village Museum.

Peak of Christmas at Grouse Mountain

Grouse Mountain is transformed into the North Pole for the holiday season. See the SOS Children’s Gingerbread Village, visit Santa’s Workshop for a photo opportunity, meet Santa’s reindeer, embark on a mountaintop sleigh ride (weather permitting), and go for some outdoor ice skating!

Peak of Christmas runs until Christmas Eve. Admission is $41.95 for adults (19 to 64 years old), $37.95 for seniors (65 years old and up), $23.95 for youth (13 to 18 years old) and $13.95 for child (five to 12 years old). A family pass for two adults and two children/youth is available for $109.95.

Catch the 236 Grouse Mountain from Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver and take the scenic SkyRide from the base of the mountain to get to the Peak of Christmas!

Vancouver Christmas Market

The annual Vancouver Christmas Market is back for a fifth year! Find a mix of traditional food and beverages, as well a selection of authentic wood carvings and toys, knitted goods, nutcrackers, pottery, and other unique gifts. Stop off at the special children’s area, the Kid’s Market, to make Christmas gifts and ride downtown Vancouver’s only Christmas Carousel.

The market is open daily until December 24 from 11 am to 9 pm at the Queen Elizabeth Plaza, 650 Hamilton Street in downtown Vancouver. Admission starts at $7 for adults, $6 for seniors over 60 years of age, $3 for youth between the ages of seven and 12 and is free for kids up to six years old. You can purchase your tickets in advance online!

Located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, the market is easily accessible by transit! It’s located a block away from Stadium-Chinatown SkyTrain station and many bus routes stop nearby including the 4, 6, 7, 10, 14, 16, 17, 50, 240, 246 and 257.

Know of any other awesome Christmas activities that start this upcoming weekend? Let your fellow Buzzer readers know in the comments section! 

More about our SkyTrain system safety features

One of our SkyTrain Attendants helping out a customer at Lougheed Town Centre Station

One of our SkyTrain Attendants helping out a customer at Lougheed Town Centre Station

Have you ever wondered about the yellow strip onboard SkyTrain? Wonder no more!

We are here to tell you more about the five main safety features on SkyTrain – the passenger silent alarm, speakerphone, designated waiting areas, emergency cabinets, and Transit Police‘s 87-77-77 non-emergency text reporting service.

Passenger Silent Alarm – also known as the Yellow Strip

The 'yellow strip' silent alarm found on every window on SkyTrain

The ‘yellow strip’ silent alarm found on every window on SkyTrain

The passenger silent alarm is the yellow strip located on every window on-board our SkyTrain cars.

When pressed by passengers, it triggers an alarm at SkyTrain control alerting the Control Operator. A SkyTrain Attendant will board the train at the next attended station to investigate the situation.

Our attendants are trained to provide customer service, provide emergency response, troubleshooting train and station operations, and performing fare inspections.

To better assess the situation and determine an appropriate response, SkyTrain control has the ability to activate the speakerphones on-board and listen in on the activities in that car.

It’s important to note that pressing the yellow strip does not stop the train or directly alert Transit Police.


The SkyTrain speakerphone found on board all cars near the doors.

The SkyTrain speakerphone found on board all cars near the doors

The speakerphone is located inside each car near the doors and provides two-way voice communication with SkyTrain control operators for emergency assistance.

All the passenger needs to do is press the ‘red’ button on the speakerphone and they’ll be directly connected with SkyTrain control.

Activating the speakerphone does not stop the train or directly alert Transit Police.

During system-wide disruptions, passengers can use the speakerphone to communicate with SkyTrain control for emergency assistance.

Passengers should not force open SkyTrain doors as this is a dangerous practice. Portions of the track remain charged with 600 volts of power and the risk of electrocution is present even when the train is stopped.

Forcing SkyTrain doors open can lead to lengthier delays since, for the safety of passengers that have exited, power has to be shut down and then a safety sweep has to be conducted before the system can be powered back on.

Designated Waiting Areas and Emergency Cabinets

A designated waiting area and emergency cabinet at Sapperton Station

A designated waiting area and emergency cabinet at Sapperton Station

Designated Waiting Areas have enhanced lighting, red emergency telephones, a bench, and are monitored by closed-circuit television.

Emergency Cabinets are located on SkyTrain platforms and are equipped with a fire extinguisher and emergency train stop buttons along with a red emergency telephone.

Like our on-board speakerphone, the red emergency phone is a direct line to SkyTrain control for emergency assistance.

Pushing the emergency train stop button does not shut down power on the SkyTrain tracks, so passengers should never enter the track area even if the emergency stop has been pushed and the train has stopped.

87-77-77 Texting Service

Transit Police 87-77-77 Texting Service

Text 87.77.77

The Transit Police report-by-text (SMS) system allows passengers to discreetly report crime and suspicious activity on and related to transit without drawing attention to themselves.

Messages will be received immediately by Transit Police dispatchers and they will respond accordingly. They may dispatch an officer, ask the user to call 911 if it is an emergency, or refer them to other resources.

You can also use the Transit Police OnDuty app to report. Through its built-in text messaging function, users will be able to access the 87-77-77 service directly from the app.

There is no need to draw attention to yourself and you don’t have to wait to report crime on transit. The texting service is for discreet reporting across the transit system — not just on the SkyTrain.

Have any questions about our safety features? Ask away in the comments section and we’ll get you the answers!

The December 2014 issue of the Buzzer is on the system

December 2014 BuzzerThe final issue of the Buzzer in 2014 of now on the system!

Much of it is dedicated to the winter service changes, which begin on Monday, December 15. Highlights include 10 new stops for the 116 to better serve Burnaby’s growing Big Bend industrial area, new trips and bigger vehicles on select routes to reduce overcrowding and serve more customers.

Winter is coming – December 21 to be exact! We’ve already had our first taste of snowfall and more could be on the way, so we have some tips on how you can stay up-to-date and navigate your winter commute.

What’s a sure sign of the holiday season in the Lower Mainland? Sightings of our Reindeer Bus and Community Shuttle! They are now out and about spreading the holiday cheer throughout Metro Vancouver. Tweet us your pictures and post them to Instagram using the hashtag #ReindeerBus!

On December 6 and 13, in exchange for a new unwrapped toy, you get a ticket to ride the West Coast Express Santa Train! The holiday season is also wonderful time for celebration and Transit Police has tips on how you can stay safe.

There’s also information about holiday transit service! Christmas Day and Boxing Day will operate on a modified Sunday/holiday schedule to better reflect demand. As always, rides will be free on New Year’s Eve from 5 pm until the end of service. New Year’s Day service will be a normal Sunday/holiday schedule.

Starting on December 6, Train2Main will no longer operate, which means you can take any train to Main! The Burrard Otter II made its maiden voyage on December 1. 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 download it here. The next issue of the Buzzer will be out in February 2015.

Buzzer illustrator interview: Julie Liu

Julie's Grey Cup illustration

Julie on the right and her “TravelSmart to the Game” illustration on the left!

One of the things that makes each issue of the Buzzer unique is the illustration on the front cover! Each month, we have a different artist illustrate it for us and for the November 2014 issue, we reached out to Julie Liu.

She illustrated a cover for us that really captured the theme of our issue with the football fans, BC Place Stadium and the SkyTrain! We had the opportunity to do a quick interview with Julie:

How did you get into illustration?
I doodle a lot, especially in class. So my friends encouraged me to build a website to showcase my artwork and that was how Jubes Comic Blog started. It was just for fun in the beginning, but I loved it so much I just kept doing it until now.

What’s your favourite thing to draw?
My characters, Ja and Ju. They represent my boyfriend (monkey) and I (rabbit), where we live out the ups and downs of life together. We try not to take life too seriously all the time.

What’s your favourite colour?
Pink! I was excited when I found out the November Buzzer’s color scheme was pink.

Have you ever drawn transit before this gig?
Yes, I have drawn a few weekly strips featuring Vancouver’s Transit system. You can see them on my website!

What’s next for you?
Other than working part time in the health field, I have recently started a custom mug business. I hand-draw and tailor your ideas as illustrations onto ceramic mugs for people. Be sure to visit my website for details! I hope to expand this business and pursue it for many years to come. Bringing everybody’s crazy ideas to life excites me.

Thanks Julie! Were you able to pick-up the November 2014 issue of the Buzzer yet? If not, you can download it here to check out Julie’s marvellous illustration!

Ride the West Coast Express 2014 Santa Trains on Dec 6 and 13, 2014

Meet Santa and have egg nog at the North Pole Station!

Meet Santa and have egg nog at the North Pole Station!

Ride the Santa Train on December 6 and 13! It’s an annual tradition and a great kick-off to the holiday season. What makes the Santa Trains special is in exchange for a new unwrapped toy, you get a ticket to ride the train!

All donations support the Northeast sector Christmas Bureau – including SHARE in the Tri-Cities, the Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society and the Christmas Bureau in Mission.

The train departs Mission at 10 am and stops at all WCE stations before arriving at Waterfront Station at approximately 11:15 am. Santa will be at Waterfront Station between 3 pm and 4 pm for pictures and egg nog! The train makes its return trip from Waterfront at 4 pm.

In 2013, there were over 3,000 riders on the Santa Train and together they generously donated nearly 3,500 toys!

Station Westbound
Arrival Time
Arrival Time
Mission 10:00 am 5:15 pm
Port Haney 10:19 am 4:54 pm
Maple Meadows 10:25 am 4:48 pm
Pitt Meadows 10:29 am 4:44 pm
Port Coquitlam 10:39 am 4:34 pm
Coquitlam 10:45 am 4:29 pm
Port Moody 10:50 am 4:24 pm
Waterfront 11:15 am 4:00 pm

Take any train to Main beginning Dec.6

Hey buzzer readers,

As you know, Train2Main has been in service since March 30 when construction crews began work on the platform. Since then, we’ve made a lot of progress on the station upgrades that are currently underway – the new east stationhouse opened on May 16 , the new Secure Bike Parking area opened on May 26 and construction is now over 80 per cent complete!

We’re pleased to announce that beginning Dec. 6, passengers will be able to take any train to Main Street-Science World Station! Expo and Millennium Line trains will return to normal service at Main Street-Science World Station and Train2Main will no longer operate. Passengers will continue to use the east stationhouse to access the SkyTrain while crews work on the west stationhouse.


Dec. 5 will be the last day of Train2Main operations

Thanks for your patience as we make these much-needed improvements at Main Street-Science World Station. When complete in summer 2015, the upgraded station will improve the overall customer experience at one of the busiest stations in the SkyTrain system. To learn more, visit

Information sessions for Metrotown on Dec 3 and Commercial-Broadway on Dec 4

Hear what’s coming up at Metrotown Station and Commercial-Broadway Station!

Hear what’s coming up at Metrotown Station and Commercial-Broadway Station!

We’re inviting you to attend an open house to learn about the station design, construction plan and project timeline for the upgrades coming to Metrotown Station and Exchange and Commercial-Broadway Station.

Metrotown Station Open House

Date: December 3, 2014
Time: 2:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Location: Metrotown Station, east of escalators and stairs, street level

Commercial-Broadway Station Open House

Date: December 4, 2014
Time: 2:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Location: Commercial–Broadway Station, north stationhouse street level

Get involved online

Can’t make it to one of the sessions No problem! We will also have information and a feedback survey posted at and Feedback will be accepted until December 15.

We hope to hear from you soon!

The Burrard Otter II SeaBus makes a splash in Burrard Inlet!

The new, efficient Burrard Otter II SeaBus makes maiden voyage!

The new, efficient Burrard Otter II SeaBus makes maiden voyage!

TransLink’s new SeaBus, the Burrard Otter II, set out today for its maiden voyage after a special event and ribbon cutting at Lonsdale Quay. The event was attended by TransLink Board Chair Marcella Szel as well as members of the media and representatives from government, including:

Special guests at the maiden voyage!

Special guests at the maiden voyage!

  • Andrew Saxton, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance and Member of Parliament for North Vancouver
  • Jordan Sturdy, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure
  • Richard Walton, Mayor of North Vancouver District and Mayors’ Council Chair
  • Greg Moore, Mayor of Port Coquitlam and Metro Vancouver Regional District Board Chair

After a ribbon cutting, the Burrard Otter II left the Lonsdale Quay docks shortly after 10:45 am for Waterfront Station to enter service. At Waterfront, eager customers met the Burrard Otter II for its first revenue sailing at 11 am.

Ribbon cutting for the Burrard Otter II

Ribbon cutting for the Burrard Otter II

One of the noticeable passenger improvements onboard the Burrard Otter II are the seats and windows. Both proved to be a hit among the first passengers. Jem Rodriguez was heading to North Vancouver for work at Save-On-Foods. She tells me the new seats on the vessel are “comfy” and she looks forward to a more enjoyable commute. “It’s pretty nice, it’s calm and I really like the big windows,” Jem adds.

One of the first passengers onboard the Burrard Otter II


Elfren Ordanza and Dennis Tsang were also there for the 11 am sailing. Neither of them take the SeaBus on their regular commute, but couldn’t resist being one of the first passengers!

“I really like the big windows at each end, so children don’t have to stand on the seats [to get a view of the Inlet]. I also like the aisle down the middle, the nicer looking seats and the ride is pretty smooth. I enjoy the ride,” Elfren says.

Elfren was one of the first passengers onboard the Burrard Otter II


“It’s really big. It’s really quiet compared to old ones and the seats are nice,” Dennis says. “It’s great to see TransLink renewing the SeaBus and that it is going to be around the next while.”

The SeaBus departs from Lonsdale Quay and Waterfront every 15 minutes during the day. Go on – take your first ride on the Burrard Otter II today!

Share your pictures of the vessel with us by tweeting them to @TheBuzzer, posting them on Instagram and mentioning @TransLinkBC or emailing them to What do you think of the ride? Let us know in the comments section!

Photo Gallery

Look for the Reindeer Bus and Community Shuttle this holiday season starting on Mon, Dec 1, 2014!

We spotted the bus today!

We spotted the bus today!

Photo by David Lam

Photo by David Lam

What’s a sure sign of the holiday season in the Lower Mainland? Sightings of our Reindeer Bus and Community Shuttle!

The reindeer bus and shuttle will be out and about starting on Monday, December 1, spreading the holiday cheer and surprising passengers with a unique ride throughout Metro Vancouver. Santa, Mrs. Claus and the bus operating elf will also be on the bus periodically and stopping at mystery stops!

Keep an eye out to see if they’re in your neighbourhood. But if you do want more specific locations, the TransLink Twitter account will be tweeting the location of the reindeer bus and shuttle when they know where they are.

And just to clarify, the reindeer bus does NOT offer free rides, but there may be some tinsel and holiday treats presented by your friendly transit operator!

Staff from Coast Mountain Bus Company have been dressing up one bus and one community shuttle as a reindeer for over 25 years, starting just after the very first Toys for Tots charity drive done in 1987. Toys for Tots collects newly unwrapped toys or money for the less fortunate and the entire supply of donations to is delivered to the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau agencies by the Reindeer Bus and Community Shuttle.

Keep your eyes peeled for the bus and send us your pictures of it! Tweet them to @TheBuzzer using the hashtag #ReindeerBus, post them onto Instagram mentioning @TransLinkBC and hashtagging #ReindeerBus, or email We’ll be sharing some of our favourites!

Photo by Laura Wilby

Photo by Laura Wilby