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Translink Buzzer Blog

Love is in the air… and on transit!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Today is Cupid’s Revenge… sorry, no, that’s not it… It’s Valentine’s Day. Yes! That’s right! Love and hearts and little chubby babies with wings shooting arrows. So, considering today is supposed to be super schmaltzy, we decided to scour the region online and off looking for some not-so-typical love stories.

Besides the fabulous “I saw You” section in the Georgia Straight, which I read religiously, a lot of people actually meet their SOs on transit.

Remember the beautiful wedding of Nina and Jarred that took place on the bus because that’s where they met? *sigh* Love can definitely be in the air across the system.

Check out this romance we found that started on one of our SkyTrains! Laura submitted the story below as her entry in the Cupid’s Crush contest through our friends at the Vancouver Observer in a bid to win the ultimate Valentine’s Day package from Summerland Waterfront Resort & Spa.

Turns out, her tale of SkyTrain soulmates won first prize! Take a read, warm your heart and if you’re single, keep your eyes peeled the next time you take transit. You never know, your next great love may only be a transit trip away. But really, let’s remember what the most important thing is about Valentine’s Day… HUGE sales on chocolate come February 15th!!

“I had just moved from a small town down to the city a couple weeks before I met my man, Mike. I’d gone to a Christmas party with my cousin and was taking the SkyTrain home. It was one of the first times I was taking the SkyTrain alone, and I had a drink or two (no no, I was not drunk!), so I wasn’t completely confident finding my way home. 

There was a very handsome man in a nice jacket sitting a couple empty seats away from me.  I snuck a few peeks thinking I was being sneaky (but have recently found out he had seen me peeking in the reflection in the window).  

The SkyTrain stopped at the station before my stop and the doors wouldn’t shut again. After a few minutes I got up the guts to ask what we should do. It was an instant spark.  He had a wonderful smile and we shared some laughs.   

The SkyTrains started running again, but only going the opposite direction I needed to go, so I had to go all the way back around the track. We sat together and told each other about ourselves and ended up almost at my stop again. I finally realized he hadn’t gotten off at his stop and asked him where he lived. I was headed to New West and he was headed downtown! He’d taken the train all the way around with me to make sure I was going to find my way home – what a sweet heart! He ended up walking me right to my front door.  He leaned in for a hug and I went in for the thank you kiss.  

A few days later I took him to a movie to thank him for making sure I got home. Today we live together with our four month old daughter, Lillianna, and dog Tank. Now when the SkyTrain breaks down, I remember that maybe these things happen for a reason and somebody else is finding their Prince Charming.”

 

Fun Poll: What is your favourite public transit system around the world?

U-Bahn in Berlin Eberswalder Strasse, Germany Photo courtesy of Andreas Adelmann

Berlin’s Eberswalder Strasse, Germany
Photo courtesy of Andreas Adelmann

Any globetrotters in the mix? As I mentioned in my first post,  I love to travel! When I do, I take public transit. It’s cheap, it’s (usually) easy, it connects you to the people of the area and it goes everywhere!

Sure, it can be a bit daunting your first trip, particularly if you don’t speak or read the language but as Blanche DuBois said, “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.” Most people are extremely helpful in this regard. You’d actually be surprised how many people are willing to come to your aid when you have that confused look, furrowed brow, clutched map and general aura of panic.

Now, I definitely have my favourites among some of the more popular transit systems around the globe but what I really want to know is YOUR favourite!

Let us know by voting for your favourites below, leaving a comment, tweeting us @TheBuzzer, or emailing us at thebuzzer@translink.ca!

What is your favourite public transit system around the world?

  • London – Underground or "Tube" (30%, 57 Votes)
  • Hong Kong – MTR (22%, 42 Votes)
  • Tokyo – Metro (14%, 27 Votes)
  • New York City – Subway (13%, 25 Votes)
  • Paris – Metro (8%, 16 Votes)
  • Berlin – U-Bahn (7%, 13 Votes)
  • San Francisco - BART (6%, 9 Votes)

Total Voters: 189

The SIMPLE art of transit network design

JarrettWalker

Planning transit – tougher than it looks!

It is a rainy morning at the Vancouver Transit Centre. I’m sitting with a room full of colleagues and five pots of coffee. What do we all have in common? We are all keen to better understand the considerations and strategy behind transit network design…and although we all work for TransLink, none of us are actual transit planners.

As an introduction, our fearless instructor Jarrett Walker performs a soliloquy on ridership, density, frequency and demand. His poetry makes us feel at ease. As he presents us with the network design challenges for the course, we are confident that we can find the solutions. Even without the academic training and years of experience, we are certain that using the tools we’ve only just been taught will be “s-i-m-p-l-e”.

We work in groups to plan multiple transit networks over the two-day course. Our tool kit includes a map and a spreadsheet filled with mathematical equations. Our fictional city map showed land-use patterns, population density, landmarks and major roads and bridges. We have a budget and the spreadsheet helps us keep track of how many buses and at what frequency we can afford.

I realized during the first challenge that I had underestimated the difficulty of the task. I thought I was using common sense to plan an efficient network. I chose a population dense area and identified a number of destinations: the airport, the shopping district, the hospital. I was planning for how a single person could get to each landmark. I assumed that because these were community destinations it would make sense to have frequent service. But I was wrong. When it was time for the trip test – getting a fictional rider from multiple arrival to destination points– all the networks were put to the test.

The network that was most efficient did not focus on single trips; it was designed to connect people from high density areas to as many destinations as possible while maximizing the budget. This was my “Aha!” moment. It was not enough to get the fictional Jane to the airport and hospital, the network had to also get her to the soccer field, her office building and the pet store. Turns out, with finite resources there are mathematical trade-offs and balancing the competing needs to provide access and offer direct and frequent service is not “s-i-m-p-l-e” at all.

The course is over and I’ve put away my design pens. The next time I think “gee, I wish I could take transit to the grocery store, but I have to walk a few blocks and it is slower than taking my car,” I’ll take a minute to remember. I’m going to remember that unless many people in my neighbourhood are traveling to the grocery store, post office and hospital every day, throughout the day, there may not be the ridership demand to justify having a high frequency service to accommodate my whims to take the bus to the grocery store.

 

Family Day holiday service, February 9, 2015

Transit can take you where you need to go this Family Day!

Transit can take you where you need to go this Family Day!

Monday February 9th is Family Day! Whether you’re into hitting the slopes or just up for enjoying some free hot chocolate, the region has something for every family and transit can get you there. Check out all these great events going on in Metro Vancouver!

Dont forget! Because Family Day is a holiday so you’ll want to know about the change of service below.

Buses, SkyTrain and SeaBus – will operate on the Sunday/Holiday schedule on Family Day, Monday, February 9, 2015. Sunday/Holiday fares will be in effect.

West Coast Express will not operate on Family Day.

All services will be back on their regular weekday schedules, Tuesday, Feb. 10.

Know before you go!

Use the Trip Planner to check your route and schedule times prior to leaving. The information noted here is subject to change. For the latest and most up-to-date information, bookmark translink.ca on your mobile device so you can know on the go. Customer Information can be reached at 604.953.3333 or tweet us @TransLink.

 

Are you planning on taking transit to Family Day Event on Monday? Comment below and let us know where you’re headed!

SkyTrain Attendants are now wearing high-visibility vests!

Check out the new vests!

Check out the new vests!

Taking the SkyTrain this week? You’ll see SkyTrain staff sporting a new look. Starting today, SkyTrain Attendants, Supervisors and Duty Managers on the Expo and Millennium lines are wearing new, high-visibility vests!

These vests will help ensure our customers can immediately identify front-line SkyTrain staff if they require assistance or help during an emergency.

Making our front-line staff more visible was one of the recommendations in the independent review of SkyTrain service.

“It is also important that staff in the field be quickly recognized as SkyTrain employees even when there is normal operating service. All front-line staff should wear high visibility vests over their clothing. This will make them easily recognizable in times of minor or major crisis.”

Sky Train Attendants’ vests are a yellow/royal blue combination and made of Gore-Tex. They’re light and versatile, and most importantly, help them stand out amidst a sea of commuters. They say, “SkyTrain Customer Service” across the back and over the chest pocket.

Of note, Canada Line Attendants already have uniforms that are compliant with the independent review.

Independent Review

Gary McNeil presented TransLink with an independent review of the SkyTrain service disruptions that occurred in July, 2014. His recommendations addressed improvements in operations, maintenance and customer service delivery.

We accepted all 20 of his recommendations and many have already been implemented. The rest will be put in action over the course of the next few years.

What do you think?
Leave a comment below. We want to know!

Links and Tidbits – February 1, 2015

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.


Super dog in Seattle! Read about it here.

»  The hashtag #illridewithyou started to trend after the Sydney hostage incident. The hashtag is to show solidarity with Muslims who commute.

»  Shannon Chadwick shared this very festive addition to Port Moody on Twitter.

»  Laura spotted the big man in red on the 99!

»  King County in Washington takes a look at public transit by the numbers.

»  Some of these vintage subway etiquette posters are still useful today. Others, not so much!

»  Yes, please! UBC’s Sauder School of Business student Varun Banthia blogs about a study of Metro Vancouver’s politeness on public transit. Thank you!

»  No messing about! New York City’s MTA launches a new courtesy campaign for riders and “manspreaders.”

»  Two New Yorkers donning bodysuits hilariously recreate the very same MTA ads.

»  Bradley Cooper takes the subway! *swoon* The actor says it’s the best way to get around the city.

»  Thanks to reader ;-) for sharing these great pictures of what happens to retired NYC subways cars.

»  Commuters to the rescue! Riders of a Transperth in Perth, Australia came to the aid of a man trapped between the platform and train car.


Is it chilly in here or is it just the fact that pants are absent? Vancouver Improv Anywhere organized the very successful No Pants SkyTrain Ride Vancouver 2015 organized by Vancouver Improv anywhere. Cheeky! ;-)

»  The future is now! Creator of the Hyperloop idea (and Tesla Motors CEO) Elon Musk says a test track will be built “soon” and the Texas is likely to be the location.

»  Find places to eat along the SkyTrain Expo Line. Nom nom nom!

»  Transit ticket machines and touchscreens can be… well, touchy, for those trying to avoid germs. Here’s a guide to help!

»  Check out the BBC’s piece on proposed bus bike racks in the UK and how they have worked for us here in Metro Vancouver. The interview starts at 46:52 and goes to 53:00.

»  Check out this picture from @tsyori and re-posted on our Instagram page. I guess The Executor is in the shop!

 

Six events transit can take you to this weekend – Jan 30- Feb 1, 2015

Let transit take you there!

Let transit take you there!

Let transit get you about this weekend. Check out some of these great events!

  • It’s the last weekend to take advantage of the great (and delicious) deals through the Dine Out Vancouver Festival. Take a look at the TransLink Trip Planner to map out the best way to get the restaurant of your choice.
    Where: At participating restaurants around Metro Vancouver
    When: All weekend

 

  • Dine Out does Brunch! Vancouver Foodster has organized this West End event to taste a little bit of everything on a 7+ restaurant brunch crawl. Hopping on the number 6 Davie bus will get you right to the meeting place. Remember to buy your tickets online here.
    Where: Downtown Vancouver’s West end (Meeting at 1034 Davie St, Vancouver)
    When: Saturday January 31, 2015
    Time: 10 am-2 pm
    Cost: $48.75 for Brunch Crawl passport

 

  • GO TOROS! Take in a late night movie at the Rio Theatre. This week’s showing is Bring It On. So be aggressive! Be be aggressive and dress up in your best cheerleader gear to get $2 off the admission price. The Rio is right down the street from the Commerical-Broadway SkyTrain station serving both the Expo and Millennium lines.
    Where: Rio Theatre
    When: Friday January 30, 2015
    Time: Doors open at 11:30, show starts at midnight
    Cost: $8 at the door, $6 in advance or with costume
    Extras: Must be 19+, bring 2 pieces of ID

 

  • The Terminal City Rollergirls are holding pre-season scrimmages in Surrey. The Expo line will take you to the Surrey Central SkyTrain station so you can catch all the action between The Faster Pussycats versus The Riot Girls.
    Where: Central City Arena, 10240 City Parkway (135th st), Surrey
    When: Saturday January 31, 2015
    Time: 10:30pm
    Cost: $5

 

  • Artstarts are continuing their free weekend workshops with Fun and Play! With Vazzy musical workshop. Take either the Expo or Millennium line to New Westminster station or the Canada Line to Vancouver City Centre SkyTrain station for the downtown location.
    Where: River Market at Westminster Quay 810 Quayside Drive, New Westminster AND ArtStarts Gallery, 808 Richards St, Vancouver
    When: Saturday January 31, 2015
    Time: 11 am and 1 pm
    Cost: Free

 

  • Artstarts Art Making event
    Children can stretch their artistic legs with some drop-in art fun!
    Bonus: While the kids are being mini Picassos, parents can experience the rest of the gallery with a free tour starting at 1pm.
    Where: Contemporary Art Gallery, 555 Nelson Street, Vancouver
    When: Saturday January 31, 2015
    Time: 12 pm – 3 pm
    Cost: Free

 

Know before you go!

Use the Trip Planner to check your route and schedule times prior to leaving. The information noted here is subject to change. For the latest and most up-to-date information, bookmark translink.ca on your mobile device so you can know on the go. Customer Information can be reached at 604.953.3333 or tweet us @TransLink.

 

Are you planning on taking transit to an event this weekend? Comment below and let us know where you’re headed!

 

TransLink’s family of companies named one of BC’s Top Employers!

2015 Top Employers pic with Kevin

We are one of BC’s Top Employers!

I have some exciting news! We’re pleased to share a recent award with all our employees, customers, and just about everyone who crosses our path! We’re very proud to announce that TransLink and our operating companies have been named a BC Top Employer.

All of our almost 7,000 employees make us feel like a Top Employer every day. They work hard to provide an efficient, safe and reliable transit and transportation system, supporting the enviable lifestyle we all enjoy in the Metro Vancouver region.

This honour was announced this morning in a special supplement to the Vancouver Sun. As an enterprise, this is the first time we’ve achieved this distinction.

What does it mean to be a Top Employer?

BC’s Top Employers is an annual competition organized by the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers and is now in its tenth year. This special designation recognizes the BC employers who lead their industries in offering exceptional places to work. Employers are evaluated on different criteria ranging from physical workplace to benefits and community involvement. Check out the reasons for selection.

We have a new contributer to the Buzzer blog – Adrienne!

It's me!

It’s me!

Oh, hello, I didn’t see you there. Pull up a seat and let’s chat! I’m Adrienne and I am happy to make your electronic acquaintance here on the fabulous Buzzer blog. I am also very excited to be a new addition to the communications team at TransLink!

Public transit is my go-to mode of transportation. When I travel the world, which I love to do, I always rely on the city’s buses, trains, metros and trams to take me where I need to go and see the sights as I do so. I truly believe that the best way to experience a city through its transportation systems and Metro Vancouver is no different. Bike trails and lanes, walking paths as well as roads and bridges all feed into a successful overall transportation experience. I’ll be blogging about all of these subjects as well.

Coming from a journalism background, I’m always looking for the story behind the story. What makes people tick and why? You’ll be seeing my posts here as well as some of our other social media accounts, probably saying something terribly witty and insightful about transportation in this region and how it affects life, the universe and everything. Hmm…Is the answer 42? I hope to bring you the stories behind the stories of our operators, employees, riders and the cities that make up Metro Vancouver. I’m going to try some fresh ideas and I’d love to get your input. So, dish! What would you like to see on the blog??

Just FYI, here are three things I could never live without:
1)      My fluffy beasties (3 cats, 2 dogs)

2)      Music of all kinds – I’m usually humming or singing something

3)      My mum (Aww!)

Spot the Bus Barrier – the next step in the pilot begins

Look closely. There's a bus barrier on the bus!

Look closely. There’s a bus barrier on the bus!

 

As reported in the media here, here and here, we are working with BC Transit, Unifor 111, Unifor 333 and WorkSafeBC to determine the best design for a safety barrier that will be most effective in preventing assaults on CMBC Transit operators. Check out an earlier announcement on other measures we are taking to prevent operator assaults.

We know you must have some questions – here are five queries asked and answered:

What is a transit operator safety barrier?

Safety barriers are a physical barrier typically made of a hard and transparent material composed of plastic and/or glass. The barrier enables a physical separation between driver and passengers while providing clear sightlines and the ability to verbally communicate with passengers.

Why is CMBC trying out a pilot barrier program?

The safety of our employees and customers is our top priority. Assaults on operators are unacceptable, and can put the lives of many people at risk.

How are operators participating in the pilot?

We are providing operators with a first-hand opportunity to experience the barrier prototype and provide feedback on the design.Feedback from operators will be collected over the next six months and then analyzed. This information will be used tohelp refine the design of the barrier and determine the best approach in protecting our operators from physical attacks.

Where can I see the barrier prototype in service?

The bus will be driven at various times and on various routes.

How can customers provide feedback on the barrier prototype?

Customer feedback is being gathered through all the usual channels. If you have questions or comments to share, contact Customer Relations through the online form or by phone at          604-953-3040 on weekdays from 8 am until 8 pm.

 

 

New Westminster Station Upgrades

Hey Buzzer Readers!

As you know, we’re holding an Open House tomorrow at New Westminster Station to share details about the upgrades which are expected to start later this winter. Some of you have asked questions about the project, so we wanted to share some info here on the blog in case you can’t make it out tomorrow.

How the upgraded station will look from the outside

How the upgraded station will look from the outside!

What’s happening at New Westminster Station?

TransLink is upgrading several existing stations and exchanges along the Expo Line in order to accommodate increasing passenger volumes, meet accessibility commitments and improve the customer experience. Commercial-Broadway, Joyce-Collingwood, Main Street-Science World (over 80 per cent complete), Metrotown, New Westminster, Scott Road (completed) and Surrey Central have all been identified as priorities for upgrades.

New Westminster Station is integrated into the mixed-use development beside and around the station. As the neighbourhood around the station continues to grow and develop, the station requires updates to better meet the needs of SkyTrain customers.

The project includes:

  • upgrades to existing escalators and stairs to increase capacity and improve accessibility
  • replacement of the original south elevator
  • improved station design with better lighting and visibility for a safer and improved customer experience
What you can expect inside the station once upgrades are complete!

Station interior once upgrades are complete!

When is construction?

Construction at New Westminster Station is scheduled to begin in early 2015 and is expected to be complete in 2016.

Will the station be closed during construction? Will there be any major changes to SkyTrain service? 

The station will remain open during construction and SkyTrain service is expected to remain normal during peak periods.

However, access into the station will be restricted at certain times and passengers may find their travels plans disrupted while essential work is being done. There are also plans to single track trains outside of peak periods, creating longer wait times for SkyTrain. Service disruptions will not coincide with special events.

Will construction work require any road closures? 

There may be minor impacts to traffic during construction. Any road or sidewalk detours will be communicated well in advance.

Will there be construction work at night? 

Nighttime work with varying levels of noise is required while trains are not operating. It is necessary to perform this work at night to ensure the safety of SkyTrain passengers and contractors. TransLink’s contractor will make significant efforts to minimize the impact of this construction on the public. Notification of construction work at night will be provided to directly impacted citizens well in advance of the night construction beginning.

Allowing construction work at night also helps ensure the project progresses as scheduled while avoiding a full station shut down – something we want to avoid.

Find out more!

For more information about the project and to share feedback, visit translink.ca/newwestminster; feedback will be accepted until February 11.

Or better yet, visit us tomorrow from 2:30 to 6:30 at New Westminster Station, on the ticket vending level between CIBC and Tim Hortons and ask your questions in person! 

Open House for New Westminster Station on January 28, 2015

Here's whats coming up at New Westminster Station!

Here’s whats coming up at New Westminster 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 New Westminster Station.

New Westminster Station Open House

Date: January 28, 2015
Time: 2:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Location: New Westminster Station, ticket vending level between CIBC and Tim Hortons

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 translink.ca/newwestminster. Feedback will be accepted between January 28 and February 11.

We hope to hear from you soon! Oh, and we’ll be posting more info about upgrades at New Westminster Station soon.

5 Transit trips to make this weekend

Cambie and Broadway

The forecast is in, and it’s looking like grey sky and rain for this weekend. Don’t let the gloomy weather stop you from getting out and enjoying all that Metro Vancouver has to offer. Here’s a quick list of five fun transit accessible activities to get you out of the house.

1. TravelSmart to the Art - Show your validated TransLink fare and receive a discounted admission to the Vancouver Art Gallery.

2. Dine Out Vancouver Festival – Check out Canada’s largest food and drink festival. With over 277 restaurants participating, there’s something for everyone with many restaurants located on, or just off the SkyTrain line!

3. Ice Skate at Robson Square – This free (fee for skate & helmet rental if required) activity is located just steps away from Expo/Millennium and Canada Line stations. Psst! Robson Square is also steps away from the Vancouver Art Gallery! Why not make a day of it by doing both!?

4. Gluten Free Expo – Located at the Vancouver Convention Centre East, just steps from Waterfront Station (terminus for the SeaBus, West Coast Express, Expo/Millennium, and Canada Lines) this event is the perfect opportunity to discover, sample, and save on hundreds of gluten free products.

5. Hot Chocolate Festival – Get your chocolate fix at the 5th annual Hot Chocolate Festival. Twenty-four different venues and 57 different flavours! Check out the website for a walking map to assist you in getting around.

Know before you go!

Use the Trip Planner to check your route and schedule times prior to leaving. The information noted here is subject to change. For the latest and most up-to-date information, bookmark translink.ca on your mobile device so you can know on the go. Customer Information can be reached at 604.953.3333 or tweet us @TransLink.

 

Are you planning on taking transit to an event this weekend? Comment below and let us know where you’re headed!

TravelSmart to the Art! January 12 – February 13, 2015

TravelSmart to the Art photo

Vancouver has no shortage of diverse events and activities to experience at any given time. Now, thanks to a partnership between Travel Smart and the Vancouver Art Gallery you can TravelSmart to the Art to your event calendar!

By taking any mode of public transit to the Vancouver Art Gallery between January 12 – February 13, 2015, you will receive a discounted Gallery admission ticket and a beautiful, limited edition Emily Carr poster!

To take advantage of this offer, show your validated TransLink single fare transfer, FareSaver, Monthly Pass or Compass Card at the Gallery ticket desk to receive your discounted ticket. Discount is tiered depending on which fare media was used to travel.

Regular Fare Tickets: The discount amount will be equal to the exact the cost of the customer’s transit ticket (1 zone – $2.75, 2 zone – $4, 3 zone – $5.50).
DayPass: $5.50 off admission.
Monthly Pass/Compass Card: $3 off admission.
West Coast Express tickets: $3 off admission.

How to get to the Vancouver Art Gallery?

SkyTrain:

  • Take the Canada Line to Vancouver City Centre Station
  • Take the Millennium or Expo lines to Granville Station

Bus:

  • Take the 4, 6, 7, 10, 14, 16, 50, 240, 241, 242, 246, 247, 250, 253, 254 or the 257 to the bus stop at Howe and Georgia.

For more information check out the TravelSmart Blog, and follow on Twitter & Facebook  

 

How will you TravelSmart to the Art? Leave a comment below telling us how you’ll get to the VAG.

Expo Line Power Rail Replacement work – late-night shuttle service begins Jan.6

SkyTrain in action!

SkyTrain in action!

Hey buzzer readers!

As you may already know, we’re replacing 34 km of original power rail on the Expo Line. The power rail supplies SkyTrain vehicles with power, approximately 650 volts DC.

Work is returning to the area between Waterfront and Stadium–Chinatown and there will be service impacts for people travelling to or from those stations during late-night service.

From Jan. 6th to the 8th and the 11th to the 15th, passengers travelling through all stations between Waterfront and Stadium-Chinatown will commute using a shuttle train during late-night service.

  • Shuttle service will begin at 10:15 p.m. on January 6th and 8th, and 9 p.m. on all other days.
  • Passengers travelling west of Stadium-Chinatown must hop off and transfer to a shuttle train. Service east of Stadium-Chinatown will operate normally.
  • Passengers are encouraged to plan for an extra 10 minutes of travel time.
  • SkyTrain services will run as normal during the day, peak times and major downtown events.
SkyTrain staff will be on hand at affected stations to provide directions and assistance. We thank you for your patience and cooperation as we keep our system in good repair for your overall service.