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Translink Buzzer Blog

Contest: Choosing the happy city

Show us your Happy City!

Show us your Happy City!

Hello Buzzer readers! We have a new contest for you and it’s all about cities and happiness. Before participating, let’s first consider a few questions.

Do we live in neighbourhoods that make us happy? Can we design our cities and transportation systems to maximize happiness?

In his new book, Happy City, Vancouver-based author Charles Montgomery shows how urban systems, including transportation, impact our lives and shape our emotions and behaviour in ways most of us never recognize.

How about you? Is there a place in your community that makes you happy? Or a place that makes your neighbourhood and community more connected and complete? Is it a neighbourhood café where ‘everybody knows your name’, a corner store, a park, a busy street, or is it a way of moving around to get where you need to be?

At TransLink, we are exploring the role of transportation in building a happy city.

Join the conversation at #happycity. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Take a ‘selfie’ picture at the place in your city or community that makes you happy.
  • Tweet your photo to @TransLink and with the hashtag #happycity. You can add a comment explaining the image and hashtags #selfie and/or #selfienation.
  • Post your photo on Instagram with the hashtag #happycity. Our Instagram page is TransLinkBC.
  • Come to the lecture Choosing the Happy City by Charles Montgomery on March 26 at 7 pm at SFU Woodwards to claim your prize and learn more about the Happy City. RSVP is mandatory.

By participating in this contest, you can win one of the following prizes:

  • One of four FareCards.
  • One TravelSmart Travel gift pack $50 with gift card to MEC and TravelSmart Swag.
  • Two tickets to Don Carlo opera at the Queen Elizabeth Theater.
  • One free yearly membership and $50 car sharing credit from MODO.

Before you enter, please read the contest rules and conditions.

Photos may be used in the print Buzzer, the Buzzer blog, presentation during the Choosing the Happy City lecture, tweeted by @TransLink and posted on the TransLink Facebook and Instagram page.

Images and posts tagged #happycity will be shared on the Buzzer blog. Join us in this conversation.

My happy place!


Here’s my #selfie. I took it last year in North Vancouver, with the Coal Harbour in the background. This is the view I enjoy every morning while taking the Seabus to work. Pretty cool, right?

Compass fare product priority

Compass Points the Way

Welcome back to the Compass classroom!

This week’s topic: deciding what comes first on your Compass Card. Did you know there’s a priority to Compass fare products?

Get in line

One of the handy things about Compass is that you can load multiple types of passes on your Compass Card, so they’re ready when you need them. If you have more than one fare product on a Compass Card, the Compass system will select a fare product to use in the following order when you tap in and tap out:

1. Any active pass – the system will look for an active Monthly Pass, Program Pass (i.e. BC Bus Pass), or DayPass first to use for travel.

2. Inactive but valid Monthly Pass or Program Pass – when there isn’t any active pass found on the card, the system will look for an inactive Monthly Pass or Program Pass to activate for travel.

3. Inactive but valid DayPass or WCE Return Trip – when there isn’t any active pass or inactive Monthly or Program passes on the card, the system will look for an inactive DayPass or WCE Return Trip to activate for travel.

4. Stored Value – when there isn’t any active or inactive passes found on the card, the system will use Stored Value.

*Please note that this only applies to Compass Cards, not Compass tickets.

Active or not? 

So what’s the difference between an active pass and a pass?

Well, for example, an active Monthly Pass is one you’ve purchased and is in use at the point of tap in and tap out (meaning you’ve already activated it for travel). An inactive but valid Monthly Pass is one you’ve purchased and loaded on your Compass Card for the current month, but hasn’t been activated. (A Monthly Pass only gets activated on your Compass Card once you’ve tapped your card in for the desired month.)

Still have questions?

Ask away at

Compass points the way to a more convenient, easy to use, and safe and secure transit system.

All aboard the live opera train on the SkyTrain!

Get a little culture on the rail this weekend with the Opera Train!

Get a little culture on the rail this weekend with the Opera Train!

Looking to do something you’ve never done this weekend? How about some live opera on a SkyTrain courtesy of our friends at TravelSmart!

That’s right, starting at Surrey Central SkyTrain station at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 9 (don’t forget to spring forward before you go) live performances will be happening until approximately 12:30 p.m. at all Expo line stations between Surrey Central and Stadium-Chinatown station.

For more info on the schedule and why this is happening in the first place, check out the TravelSmart post!



Evergreen Tunnel Boring starts today

TransLink Board Chair Marcella Szel speaking at the press conference.

TransLink Board Chair Marcella Szel speaking at the packed press conference

It’s an exciting day for all you Buzzer readers following the progress of the Evergreen Line development. Today the TransLink board chair, Marcella Szel, joined Premier Christy Clark and Honourable Minister Todd Stone to announce the start of Evergreen Line tunnel construction and to officially name the tunnel boring machine.

The machine has been dubbed “Alice”, after Alice Wilson, Canada’s first female geologist. Very appropriate timing, considering tomorrow is International Women’s Day. Alice will bore the Evergreen Line tunnel which will run east of Barnet Highway in Port Moody to south of Kemsley Avenue in Coquitlam.

Once the Evergreen Line is complete, B.C. will have the longest rapid transit network in Canada at 79km in length.

Welcome to the TransLink family Alice!


(From left to right) Minister Todd Stone, TransLink board chair Marcella Szel, Premier Christy Clark and XXX in front of, "Alice", the tunnel bording  machine.

(From left to right) Honourable Minister Todd Stone, TransLink board chair Marcella Szel, Premier Christy Clark and Honourable Minister James Moore in front of, “Alice”, the tunnel boring machine

Run the Golden Ears half marathon and 10K, Sun Mar 9, 2014

2014-03-07 GEB Half Marathon

The Golden Ears Half Marathon & 10K is coming!

Hey buzzer readers!

The fourth Golden Ears Bridge Half Marathon and 10K race is happening on Sunday March 9, 2014, and TransLink is very excited to be supporting it again!

Both races will go over the Golden Ears Bridge, crossing on the east side and then coming back on the west side. Traffic control measures will be in place on either end of the bridge while race is taking place, so keep that in mind if you’re driving in the area.

Proceeds from the race will go to the School Meal Program in the Langley School District and Friends in Need Food Bank in Pitt Meadows. And if you want to be out there pounding the pavement on Sunday morning, you have until tomorrow to register! Visit the Peninsula Runners site for more info.

Happy racing!




Rethinking Transportation with Andrew Coyne

Andrew Coyne speaking at SFU Woodwards

Andrew Coyne speaking at SFU Woodwards

Hello Buzzer readers! I hope you had a chance to attend the second lecture in the series “Rethinking Transportation: New Voices, New Ideas” that took place on Tuesday, February 26 at SFU Woodwards. The lecture, Easing Congestion in Metro Vancouver: Prices without Subsidies, by Andrew Coyne, was streamed live and the video will be available shortly – I’ll keep you posted.

The lecture generated a very interesting conversation about mobility pricing. Stephen Rees built a storify of the tweets posted during and about the lecture. He was very kind to let us post it here to give our readers a better idea of the what the conversation was about. Kudos to everyone who tweeted during the lecture!

The next lecture is on March 26, 2014. Check here for more info.

Tapping made easy, for everyone

Hooray, we’ve already reached over 3 million taps in the system!  We think this is a pretty cool first step in our Compass rollout.

More good news: Vancouver CNIB clients will start to receive their Compass Cards in the next few days. CNIB clients will be transitioning to the Compass Card in small groups over several weeks and we’re working with staff at CNIB to offer training sessions for these users to make sure they’re comfortable using their Compass Cards.

Curious as to what these training sessions look like? Check out the videos we took during recent sessions. They’re already pro tappers!

CNIB training

CNIB Compass Card Customer Experience


field demo cnib

Field Demonstration


CNIB classroom

Classroom Demostration

Got questions?

Ask away on

TransLink in the media: The expanded lot at the South Surrey Park and Ride

News hounds like myself might be reading some of the chatter today regarding the expansion lot at the South Surrey Park and Ride. The Province and Georgia Straight have both written about it.

We would like to correct some facts regarding who funded this $4.5 million project.

To respond to overcrowding at the previous lot, the expanded Park and Ride was developed as a partnership between the Province and TransLink. The Province funded the project’s capital costs and contributed to the land purchase. That is, the Province of British Columbia funded the $4.5 million expansion project. TransLink is responsible for operating and maintaining the lot.

This expanded lot supports improved transit and transportation for local communities, transit users and the travelling public. It makes it easier for people to connect to the existing transit network, which in turn makes transit a more viable choice.

UPDATE: Letter sent from TransLink to CTF

Fare gate in action at Sapperton Station

A TransLink employee, Joanne Proft, was REALLY excited to use the fare gate.

A TransLink employee, Joanne Proft, was REALLY excited to use the fare gate.

If you’ve been to Sapperton Station in the last few days, you might have noticed something different. Yep, you’re right, one set of the fare gates is closed, and yes, it’s supposed to be that way.

We know many of our customers who already have Compass Cards (80,000 of them!) are excited to be able to tap their card and have the fare gates swing open for them to walk through—now they can.

What’s up with that?

So why’d we close the fare gate? Lots of reasons:

  • To test a fare gate in regular use
  • To give customers a chance to try a fare gate out and see how they work
  • To get customer input and feedback
  • To give Compass Card holders another reason to tap
  • Because, frankly, we can, and we wanted to have some fun!

I’ve got a Compass Card, what should I do?

Try it! Tap in and watch the fare gate open (and close). Tap out and watch the fare gate open again. Form a conga line with your other friends with Compass Cards and see how many can tap in a minute.

And keep an eye out: we might just close another fare gate at another station close to you (but only if it won’t impact flow for customers without Compass Cards).

Don’t have a Compass Card?

Your turn to tap is coming soon. Next up: Canadian National Institute for the Blind clients are getting their Compass Cards slowly over the course of several weeks. West Coast Express customers will follow in the late spring, and other customer groups will be added through the summer and fall.

But don’t worry, we won’t be closing all the fare gates until we’re confident both the system and our customers are ready—likely in late 2014.

Stay tuned for more information as we move through the different transition phases to find out how and when you can get and use your Compass Card.

Got questions?

Ask away at

Olympic Memories: Thanks for sharing your #2010olympiclove


@wwong17 winner of the #2010olympiclove contest! - @TransLink Rode the Canada Line for the first time and loved my visit to the Atlantic Canada House! #2010olympiclove

@wwong17 winner of the #2010olympiclove contest! – @TransLink Rode the Canada Line for the first time and loved my visit to the Atlantic Canada House! #2010olympiclove

Well, the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi are over, but the love for the those and the 2010 Winter Olympics and sport in general keeps flowing strong.

We had nearly 150 fantastic entries for our #2010olympiclove contest! Many thanks to everyone who shared their love with us.

Below are a just a few of the pics that made us remember how great it was when the world came to Greater Vancouver and Whistler four years ago.

We hoped you enjoyed this series. It was great to organize just a few of the TransLink and operating staff stories.

Of course, there are many more stories to tell about the Games four years ago. If you want to share some more, please do so below.



Olympic Memories: Sergio Grossi

asktranslink-memoriesFor this last installment in our Olympic Memories series we revisit the image from our first post in the series and torch relay they lead up to the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

Sergio in 2010

Sergio in 2010

Sergio Grossi was and still is a Depot Coordinator for Coast Mountain Bus Company. The summer before the 2010 Winter Olympic Games his Depot Manager dropped a Olympic Torch contest application on Sergio’s desk.

“You have 15 minutes to tell how you exemplify Olympic spirit – to win a chance to carry the Olympic Torch,” says his Manager.

For his application, Sergio recalled a co-worker who offered to take him on in a game of tennis. Despite the co-workers eagerness and energy, he didn’t have a lot of skill. We had a few very interesting lessons! But I’m truly glad I didn’t give up, as that co-worker eventually became a real friend and unfortunately a formidable opponent,” says Sergio.

Sergio today and his dog. Sergio included his dog, "Because he always reminds me of the Olympics in 2010. I ran my leg in Aldergrove, near where I picked up the Torch. There was a sign that advertised on a pole, eight golden labrador retriever puppies for sale. I wanted a dog for a long time, convinced my wife and the day after the run I went back to Aldergrove and picked up my puppy. My dog is another nice memory of the Olympics that year. His name is Primo, he's been a wonderful addition to the family."

Sergio today and his dog. Sergio included his dog, “Because he always reminds me of the Olympics in 2010. I ran my leg in Aldergrove, near where I picked up the Torch. There was a sign that advertised on a pole, eight golden Labrador retriever puppies for sale. I wanted a dog for a long time, convinced my wife and the day after the run I went back to Aldergrove and picked up my puppy. My dog is another nice memory of the Olympics that year. His name is Primo, he’s been a wonderful addition to the family.”

Sergio’s other offering for the application was also about tennis. His son and three other young boys were enrolled in a community education tennis course. When they arrived for their first lesson, they learned their course had been cancelled due to low enrollment. Sergio, seeing the kid’s disappointment decided to take all four boys under his wing and teach them the basics of tennis. The outcome was amazing. Both Sergio, the boys and their parents keep this time as a spacial memory.

While Sergio felt there are more deserving employees who could have carried the torch and all that it symbolized, he’s humbled by the honour, which he compares to Haley’s Comet: something that comes along once in a lifetime!

Sergio savoured every moment of carrying the Olympic torch down the Fraser Highway on February 8, 2010.


Olympic Memories: JoAnn Woodall and Michelle Babiuk


JoAnn and her great collection of pins!

JoAnn and her great collection of pins!

JoAnn Woodhall and Michelle Babiuk are next in our Olympic Memories series where we revisit the 2010 Winter Olympic Games! JoAnn is Transportation Demand Management Officer and Michelle is a Planner with TransLink.

JoAnn: What did you do as an employee during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games?

Like Paul, I was a Host during the games as well as well as helping downtown Vancouver business reduce car traffic for Olympics.

What did you love most about your Olympic experience?

I was thrilled to attend one of the competitive events and watch Canada compete in short track speed skating. As a member of TransLink’s Olympic team.I was granted some special opportunities, like attending the dress rehearsal for the opening ceremonies, meeting Simon Whitfield at a fund raising dinner, and working under the amazing leadership of Mike Madill and Doug Kelsey – two superb visionaries.

And most amazing was that I had the privilege of passing along our experience and lessons learned to my peers working on the London Olympics traffic reduction plan, which ironically included a gentleman that 25 years ago, was one of my coop students when I worked in Ontario.

On a personal level, the best memory was working at Waterfront station during the men’s hockey final. Being in such a historic place with my workmates – to feel the roar of the crowd when Sydney Crosby shot the winning goal – it still brings tears. Even today, wearing my Olympic jacket, a businessman walking to work struck up a conversation to tell me he was a volunteer and found it to be the best experience of his life. I love how the Olympics brought our community together – as a workplace at TransLink, and as a resident of this great place to live!



Michelle: What did you do as an employee during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games?

I was a host working at Waterfront Station. It was an interesting place to be because so many different transit modes meet there and people are arriving from all over the region.

What did you love most about your Olympic experience?

While working as a host, it was great to see so many people who hadn’t used transit before or who hadn’t used it in a long time trying it out. Many people said that they were surprised at how convenient it was. Also, TransLink’s wayfinding team was piloting new maps and signage at the station so seeing how people used them was interesting. On the Olympics front, I enjoy watching a lot of curling.

Thanks JoAnn and Michelle for the interview! To read more about what JoAnn did during the games, check out our post about why she deserves a medal of her own.

Olympic Memories: Burt Sangalang

asktranslink-memoriesFor this installment in our Olympic Memories series, we revisit the 2010 Winter Olympic Games by asking CMBC transit operators about their experiences moving the world four years ago! Written by Jennifer Siddon, Senior Communications Advisor for Coast Mountain Bus Company.

Burt Sangalang

Burt Sangalang

Burt Sangalang has been a Community Shuttle Operator for five years, and an honourary bus operator since he was a little boy and used to ride the bus and rip transfers for his bus driver dad. During the 2010 Winter Olympics, Burt drove Community Shuttle routes in Ladner, Richmond and Tsawwassen.

Lasting impressions

When asked about his overall impressions of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, Burt said, “Everyone was so proud of hosting the games, Team Canada’s performance, and being able to welcome people from all over the world to our home.”

Favourite memories

On the first day of Olympic competition, Burt and his friends went into downtown Vancouver at 5 a.m. (yes, you read that right) to try to be the first people in line to ride the zip line that was set up over Robson Square. They arrived to find two people ahead of them, and a zip line that wasn’t open yet.

Burt and Elvis Stojko!

Burt and Elvis Stojko!

While they were waiting, a television crew approached them and asked if they would come down to the Robson Square Ice Rink and skate in the background of a story they were working on. Burt and his friends agreed to do it. And big surprise, the story was about three-time World champion and two-time Olympic silver medalist, Elvis Stojko.

In the end, Burt and his friends didn’t end up on TV, but they did get to ride the zip line and take a picture with Elvis!

During the last day of Olympic completion, Burt was driving a Community Shuttle route in Richmond. He’d just arrived at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery in Steveston for his break, when he turned on the radio to hear Sidney Crosby score in overtime to clinch the Men’s Hockey gold medal.

Burt’s 2010 memorabilia including his Canadian Flag

Burt’s 2010 memorabilia including his Canadian Flag

Burt was so excited by the win that he grabbed the Canadian flag, which he kept with him during the games, stood beside his Community Shuttle bus, and started jumping up and down and cheering. There were no passengers waiting to board his shuttle at the time, and very few motorists on the road, but Burt did notice the drivers who were on the road seemed pretty confused by what he was doing.

One motorist, a woman, stopped her car, rolled down her window and asked Burt about what he was doing.  He told her how the Canadian Men’s Hockey team had just won gold. She immediately parked her car, grabbed one end of Burt’s Canadian flag and started jumping up and down and cheering with him. She even told Burt she didn’t really watch hockey but she was so excited by the big win!

Thanks for sharing your Olympic Memories Burt!

Olympic Memories: Cathy McLay


Cathy McLay

Cathy McLay

For this installment in our Olympic Memories series, we revisit the 2010 Winter Olympic Games by asking TransLink’s CFO, Cathy McLay, about her experiences moving the world four years ago!

What did you do during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games?

I did two things: I had just become the CFO at TransLink and had to help run the office while many employees were out working and volunteering to help transit move everyone during the Games. I was also making sure that everyone that wanted to have an opportunity to get out of the office and help the crowds of people get to venues and other locations during the Games had an opportunity to do so.

The second thing I did was after work. In the evening I put on my blue jacket and hit the streets. The first thing I did when out was to talk to our staff who were working and volunteering to thank them for putting in the long hours, many of which were unpaid. While I was out there, I would also assist getting  people where they needed to go.

I couldn’t believe how much fun I had talking to employees outside of the office in the electric atmosphere of the Games. They were all telling me stories of great experiences they were having. Every day they had new and wonderful stories to tell!

What was your best memory during the Games?

Well, it was watching how excited TransLink and operating staff were during the Games. I’m a grandmother, and it’s like watching kids have Christmas everyday. They would say things like, “I wish we could do this everyday.” They wanted to be out talking to people. They wanted to be out telling people about the transit system and what a gorgeous place we live in. That was so great for me to see.

Personally, I was just loving being out with the locals and visitors to the region. I loved getting all the questions, which surprisingly were not all about transit. We were like ambassadors for the region, which was fantastic.

Thanks for the interview, Cathy!

Transportation Commissioner approves changes to YVR AddFare

Ticket vending machines at YVR.

Ticket vending machines at YVR.

I have some news for riders who buy single fare tickets from Canada Line Stations on Sea Island (YVR-Airport, Sea Island Centre, Templeton).

The Regional Transportation Commissioner has approved a fare change that means riders starting trips from Sea Island traveling to Bridgeport Station and beyond using single fares purchased with Compass Card Stored Value and DayPasses sold on Sea Island will also pay the five dollar AddFare, just like customers who pay cash today.

For monthly pass holders and other product passes like BC Bus Pass, there is no change. These riders will continue to enjoy the AddFare exemption that they have today, as will Sea Island employees and Burkeville residents. Additionally, like today, all customers traveling within Sea Island, including those who pay cash will not pay an additional fare.

For specific on this, you’ll want to read the official release. For info on stored value and more about Compass Card, is a great resource.

This change will come into effect later this year as customers transition to Compass. It is designed to ensure we continue to meet our funding obligations and provide a viable transit system for all our riders and users of TransLink assets.

As many of you know, FareSavers will be phased out once Compass has fully transitioned for all customers. However, with Compass, many people who currently use cash will switch to Compass Stored Value, which offers a 14 per cent savings. Monthly passes, stored value or a DayPass can all be kept on your Compass Card.

Why the change?

In 2009, as part of TransLink’s 10-year funding stabilization plan, the Mayors’ Council approved the YVR AddFare to close a gap in funding the capital costs of the Canada Line. Customers paying with cash to travel from the airport and other Sea Island stations to points East have been paying the $5 AddFare ever since.

The AddFare was meant to apply to all short-term trips (excluding Monthly or DayPasses) to and from Sea Island; however, at the time, the Regional Transportation Commissioner approved the fare increase only for cash fares. With the ongoing transition to Compass, many customers will shift from cash to the convenience of Compass. With this change, we’ll begin applying the AddFare to all short-term trips as originally planned.