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Translink Buzzer Blog

TransLink Secret Santa Elves surprise Sabra on her commute with a FareCard!


‘Tis the season of giving and here, at TransLink, we wanted to take care of a deserving commuter’s transit fare for the month of January! (Yeah, we’re not WestJet or Air Canada, we couldn’t bring Christmas to the Dominican Republic or provide round-trip airfare home for the holidays.)

We put out a call for nominations in our Secret Santa contest and we heard over 40 stories about amazing people doing amazing things for their community and the people around them. Shareena Ali nominated her mother, Sabra Ali:

She is the strongest women I know. She works three jobs and is almost 60 years old yet she is still a hard worker and she never rests. She always wakes up early to cook and clean. She takes care of my father, who just had a heart attack. Then goes to work to take care of her patients. She takes care of her three grandchildren on her days off when she gets them, but always accepts work whenever her work is short staffed. She also takes care of 90 per cent of the household bills due to my father’s heart attack and my car accident which resulted in a broken neck for 6 months and off work for a year.

Her commute is a bit longer than before, an extra 45 minutes to an hour due to us moving farther away from King George Station. She walks and takes transit in all types of weather conditions. She doesn’t have her license, so she has been relying on transit all her life. She always cares for others before her own needs and still manages to smile and look at the brighter things in life. Her birthday is three days before Christmas, so if she gets this, it would be a two-in-one gift.

—Shareena Ali

The TransLink Secret Santa Elves agreed, she deserved a FareCard and a TravelSmart pack after receiving an 11 out of 11 on her scoresheet from the judges! We decided we would send Sabra her prize. NAH, THAT’S NO FUN!

Let’s surprise Sabra on her commute home with a film crew and Shareena! Ah, much better plan. (‘:

From all of us at TransLink and our operating companies – Coast Mountain Bus Company, British Columbia Rapid Transit Company and Transit Police, we wish the Ali family happy holidays and an early happy birthday to Sabra!

The TransLink Secret Santa Elves Allen, Robert and Jiana spread the holiday cheer!

The TransLink Secret Santa Elves Allen, Robert and Jiana spread the holiday cheer!

Vancouver Technical Secondary students show appreciation to our operators again in 2014 with hot chocolate!

One of our operators receive a hot chocolate and a hug with holiday treats from Van Tech students

One of our operators receive a hot chocolate and a mug with holiday treats from Van Tech students

It was a rainy Friday morning and by the time 8:35 am bell rang to mark the start of classes, the students were wet and there wasn’t much left of their ‘Happy Holidays’ signs, but that didn’t put a damper on their Christmas spirits! The students braved the rain for over an hour and a half to sing Christmas carols and show appreciation to our bus operators.

For the past 18 years, in December, students at Vancouver Technical Secondary have been giving out hot chocolate and a little gift to each mid-morning bus operator that stops in-front of the high school. (You’ll want to read our post in 2012 for a backgrounder on the event.)

The goodies mug students were handing out along with hot chocolate!

The goodies mug students were handing out along with hot chocolate!

Terry Stanway, the teacher-sponsor for the event the past few years, arrived at the school just before 6 am to prepare for the day.

“Today, started as a day to recognize the service that TransLink, particularly the drivers along the Broadway corridor, provides to our students,” he explains. “The school’s catchment is long and narrow and it expands from Boundary to just about Science World.

“We have a lot of students that depend on transit to get to school. It’s just the one day in the year that we can recognize the roles bus drivers play in getting our kids to school.”

The event is open to any interested students and despite the early start, many showed up to show their appreciation to the operators!

Kyle Hui, a grade 9 student, tells me he arrived just after 6:30 am to help out with today’s event and he says it wasn’t a challenge for him to wake up at all.

Grade 10 student Christine Tam adds, “I usually don’t wake up this early, but it was fun because all my friends were here and we got to do things for the community.”

Kyle Hui - Grade 9, Arlene Nguyen - Grade 10, Frederick Heere - Grade 10 and Christine Tran - Grade 10

Kyle, Arlene, Frederick and Christine

Each day, 418,000 people take TransLink transit to get where they need to go and on average, there are over 620,000 boardings on buses each day in Metro Vancouver.

“I think they do a really important job because the elderly and also people like us – we can’t drive yet,” says Frederick Heere, also in Grade 10. “They play the important role of getting us around town because if they weren’t there and our parents can’t take us, then we are stuck.”

Arlene Nguyen, another Grade 10 student, and Christine tell me they really appreciate the bus operators because they are always so nice.

“They always greet you when come on the bus,” says Arlene. “We always say ‘thank you’ when we exit the bus.”

Christine adds, “I was finished this competition and I had a trophy. He asked me, ‘Oh, what was that for?’ and I said my skating competition. He said, ‘Oh, good job! You got third! Good job!’”

“It was so heart warming because he actually cared about me and what I did.”

Plans are already in motion for the 2015 edition of event and I’m told some kind of major celebration is planned for the 20th anniversary in 2016!

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

RiyadhDelegation

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 jencurrin.com 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 hazelcheng.weebly.com.

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 TTCAcademy.t2p0films.ca 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!

SYTYCB2013

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!

Photos

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 TicketLeader.ca.

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.

Speakerphone

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
Eastbound
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.

anytrain2main

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 www.translink.ca/ontrack.

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 translink.ca/metrotowntranslink.ca/commercialbroadway and translink.ca/joyce. Feedback will be accepted until December 15.

We hope to hear from you soon!