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Translink Buzzer Blog

So You Think You Can Busk? We want to hear you at our 2014 busker auditions!


Duo performance

A duo auditioning at last year’s So You Think You Can Busk? 

Attention all buskers! TransLink will be holding our annual busker auditions at our head office next to Sapperton Station on December 10!

For 28 years, buskers have been part of the culture of transit in Metro Vancouver. Expo ’86 brought an influx of street performers and it was deemed busking performers would make a nice addition to the SkyTrain system. We’re so happy is was!

Since then, musicians of every ilk have provided riders with entertainment and a soundtrack to their travels. Buskers help make the six SkyTrain stations in downtown Vancouver more vibrant adding a bit of music to the environment.

Every year, licenses open up for new buskers to join seasoned veterans already playing on the system. Interested in busking on the system? Think you got what it takes?

All you need to do is fill out the application form and submit it in-person to TransLink’s head office at 400 – 287 Nelson’s Court, New Westminster, BC by December 3, 2014 to enter the audition process.

Once applications are submitted, qualified buskers will be invited to audition on Wednesday, December 10 from 10 am to 4 pm.


When: Wednesday, December 10 from 10 am to 4 pm
Where: TransLink Head Office, 400 – 287 Nelson’s Court, New Westminster, BC

Successful candidates will be offered a license to perform at select stations, located primarily in the downtown core for one year from January to December 2015.

Audition spots are on a limited first-come-first serve basis; once filled, no further applications will be accepted. Successful candidates will be required to attend a mandatory licensing session soon after auditioning. New licenses will take effect January 1, 2015. Cost for the annual license is $ 75.00.

Last year, eight busker licenses were up for grabs and we had nearly 50 musicians apply to audition. Click here to see what happened!

Gabby is one of 200 million passengers on the Canada Line

Canada Line

Psst…psst…have you heard? The Canada Line will surpass 200 million passengers this month! We’re sharing stories about the Canada Line on the Buzzer blog leading up to this month’s celebratory event. 

Gabby Ventura is one of 200 million passengers on the Canada Line!

Gabby Ventura is one of 200 million passengers on the Canada Line!

Gabby Ventura is a senior manager at Zennkai Hair Salon. She lives in the Knight Street and East 57th Avenue area and is one of 200 million passengers on the Canada Line to date!

Prior to the opening of the Canada Line in 2009, she says she had a lengthy commute by bus to get from home to Richmond Centre.

“Before I had to take the 430 bus, and it would take me about 45 minutes to get to our Richmond Centre store,” she says.

The commute time between home and work was improved after the opening of the Canada Line. She could now catch the 49 bus to Langara-49th Station before taking a quick 14-minute Canada Line ride to Richmond-Brighouse Station.

During the summer, Gabby transferred to the company’s Oakridge Centre location, where she currently works. Gabby says her commute is now even quicker — about 15 minutes — thanks to a combination of working closer to home and the two-minute commute time between Langara-49th and Oakridge-41st stations.

She adds the Canada Line is an asset to Zennkai’s business, especially when she and her staff have to travel between stores. Zennaki has eight locations throughout Metro Vancouver including at Metropolis at Metrotown in Burnaby and on Granville Street in Downtown Vancouver by Vancouver City Centre Station.

“I can get from one place to another so much quicker. From our Richmond location, going downtown is 24 minutes,” Gabby says. “It’s nice to get there really fast.”

By being located close to the Canada Line, she believes it has brought in a new demographic of customers too.

“I definitely feel like there’s been an increase at this location,” she says. “We have a lot of people from the Richmond area that are saying how this is much more convenient for them, so we definitely have a lot more traffic.

“We have a lot of locals, but today, for instance, I had two guests that were from out of town and were really intrigued by our store and what we have to offer them, so we do get a lot of customers from outside of Vancouver.”

What does Gabby like to do on transit?

“I’m a reader. I like to play games on the SkyTrain as well, but I like to people watch – that’s the one thing that I like to do. Plug in my music and just people watch,” she says.

The November 2014 issue of the Buzzer is on the system

November 2014 BuzzerWe have a jam packed issue for you this month!

The 102nd Grey Cup Festival is in Vancouver from November 26 to 30 and TravelSmart has tips on how to TravelSmart to the festivities and the championship game!

One way is to get the limited edition three-day, three-zone commemorative multi-day transit pass, giving you unlimited travel on the bus, SkyTrain, and SeaBus from November 28 to 30. Transit Police shares a safety guide for the festival, ensuring a safe and secure trip on public transit.

Compass Card? We got an update! Post-secondary students at 10 schools will be next group to receive the Compass Card, starting in January 2015. GoCard? We also have an update! Cards from the 2013/14 school year are now valid until November 30 for eligible students.

The Canada Line will be carrying its 200 millionth passenger later this month and we’re serving up stories on the Buzzer blog leading up to the milestone! Also on the Canada Line, Blanket BC will be holding their annual “Drive on the Line” on November 21 and 22 between 8 am and 6 pm.

Volunteers will be collecting blankets and warm articles of clothing for local shelters and struggling families at the following stations: Richmond-Brighouse, Lansdowne, Bridgeport, Oakridge, Broadway-City Hall, Yaletown-Roundhouse, Vancouver City Centre and Waterfront.

West Vancouver customers can now expect real-time transit information and next stop announcements onboard the Blue Bus fleet. We also have the results to our poll question, “What do you read on transit?” 58 per cent of you said you read the news or newspaper on transit! Click here to read the full results.

Last, but not least, it’s not a Buzzer without our usual favourites – Coming Events, Back Issues and Contest Corner!

Pick yours up today onboard the bus, SkyTrain, SeaBus and West Coast Express or download it here. Enjoy! Let us know what you think in the comments section.

Poetry in Transit interview with Jennica Harper

Jennica Harper

Jennica Harper

Now in its 18th year, Poetry in Transit aims to profile talented British Columbian and Canadian poets and provide our customers with poetry to read on their commutes! Jennica Harper’s “Fever” is one of 20 poems that are on the system this year. I had the opportunity to do a quick interview with Jennica, here’s what she had to say!

Who is Jennica Harper? Very existential! I’m a Vancouver poet and TV writer. I’ll let you guess which kind of writing pays the bills.

Would you be able to tell us a bit more about your poem that will be shared as part of Poetry in Transit? What were the inspirations behind it? “Fever” is a sonnet about the hunt for affordable real estate in Vancouver – the despair, the hope, the compromises, and the addictiveness of the search. The earliest version of the poem was written for poet Sachiko Murakami’s “Project Rebuild” – a very cool online space in which people “re-built” one another’s poems.

How would you classify your style of poetry and writing? What inspires you? I would say I write accessible free verse (the occasional sonnet or sestina being the exception). I like using iconic figures or fictional characters (Houdini, Pinocchio, Mad Men’s Sally Draper) as filters for exploring my own thoughts or experiences.

What’s a ‘great’ poem for you? Any poem that haunts me later.

Who’s your favourite poet and/or somebody that has heavily influenced your work? One of my favourite poets is Sharon McCartney. She delves deeply into existing fictional worlds and characters and explores them in playful, fresh ways.

What does Poetry of Transit mean for you? It’s fantastic. I love moments of art placed within an otherwise functional context. And for me, personally, knowing people who might not ordinarily read poetry at all will be reading my poem… that’s very powerful.

Do you take transit? If so, what’s your favourite mode? I recently moved to an area of town really close to a Canada Line stop. Getting to and from the airport in twenty minutes is amazing.

Peer into your crystal ball, and tell us what you see for yourself in the future. I’m not yet sure what my next book of poems will be about. But I recently had my first child, and hope to get her hooked on poetry early. Shel Silverstein and Dennis Lee, here we come!

Is there anything you’d like to add or share? Yes – thank you, Translink and the Association of Book Publishers of BC, for continuing to make Poetry in Transit happen!

Thanks for your time Jennica! You can visit her website at and follow her on Twitter @jennicaharper. Join the conversation using the hashtag #PoetryInTransit!

Fun poll results: 58 per cent of you read the news or newspaper on transit

Reading on Transit

We asked you, “What do you read on transit?” The results are in!

We ran a poll on the Buzzer blog and in the October 2014 issue of the Buzzer asking you, “What do you read on transit?” Well, drum roll please! Bum! Brrum! Brrum! We have the results!

In total, 105 votes were cast in this poll. You were asked to vote for the top-five things what you read on transit. News/newspapers received 61 votes – or 58 per cent of the votes followed by The Buzzer at 38 per cent and fiction at 35 per cent.

Mandheraj is reading The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. Kristal K. tells us she likes to read novels:

I read novels mostly, usually paperbacks as they are lighter to carry.

Last year I bought a great thing – a pair of reading glasses with little LED lights! Now I can sit wherever I want in the bus and still have enough light to read by, even on the darkest winter mornings.

I have been riding transit pretty regularly (I carpool too) ever since I moved to BC 20 years ago.

"What do you read on transit?" results

Didn’t get a chance to vote in the poll and tell us what you are reading? It’s not too late! Have a suggestion for a poll question? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @TheBuzzer.

Are you a Canada Line rider? We want to hear from you!

Canada Line

A Canada Line train!

A Canada Line train!

Are you one of our 200 million Canada Line riders? We want to hear from you!

The five-year-old Canada Line just hit another big milestone – 200 million passengers! Do you have a Canada Line story you’d like to share? Please post it below!

We’re also seeking some Canada Line riders to attend a one-hour celebratory event in downtown Vancouver later this month to be recognized along with politicians, senior business leaders, and other stakeholders also attending.

If you ride Canada Line for work, school or travel, then tell us your name/contact info, how often you use it,  how important the line is to you and any other unique information by emailing We’ll have some fun TransLink swag to give to those selected to join the celebration! Email Submission deadline is: Nov. 14th, 2014.

Some of swag we have in our transit ticket trunk to give away!

Some of the swag we have in our transit ticket trunk to give away!

Rated the most on-time, reliable, frequent and clean service on the SkyTrain system, the Canada Line has consistently received high satisfaction ratings from our customers, achieving 8.7 out of 10, according to a 2014 Ipsos Poll.

Remembrance Day 2014 holiday service

remembrancedayRemembrance Day is Tuesday, November 11.

Bus, SkyTrain, and SeaBus will run on a Sunday/holiday schedule. West Coast Express and TrainBus will not operate. Bus routes may change slightly to accommodate parades and services.

Remember, on a holiday, you only need a single-zone fare to travel in all zones all day!

Service returns to regular weekday schedules for all modes on Wednesday, November 12.

Veterans, Armed Forces and Coast Guard members ride free!

In honour of Remembrance Day, and the contribution our veterans have made to this country, TransLink and its operating companies are providing transit — free of charge — to veterans and members of the Armed Forces and Coast Guard.

Veterans include Ordinary and Life Members of the Royal Canadian Legion, the Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans and the Korean Veterans Association. Veterans just have to show their membership card or appear in uniform to receive free transportation. Free service does not apply to associate members of these organizations.

Free transit applies to bus, SkyTrain, SeaBus and HandyDart service and the Canada Line YVR-AddFare is included.

A moment of silence at 11 am

The SkyTrain, SeaBus and buses will observe a moment of silence at 11 am (or the stop reached closest to the hour). All TransLink and operating company properties will also half-mast their flags from sunrise to sunset on November 11.

Remembrance Day Parade reroutes

Remembrance Day parades and services in Vancouver, Burnaby, North Vancouver, New Westminster, Richmond, Port Coquitlam, White Rock, and Aldergrove means some buses will be temporarily rerouted on Tuesday, November 11.

For a complete list of reroutes please check the Transit Alerts tab on our Alerts and Advisories page.

TransLink 101: What is an express and pick-up/drop-off only bus?

TransLink 101 blog feature series banner

We’re going back to basics again with TransLink 101—explaining TransLink and its operations!

One of our buses carrying an 'express' designation

One of our buses carrying an ‘express’ designation

Express and pick-up and drop-off only are both stopping procedures for our bus routes.

“Express for the most part in the Lower Mainland really means limited stop. There are large gaps between the bus stops, such as on the three B-Line routes,” explains Katherine McCune, Manager of Service Planning at Coast Mountain Bus Company.

“These buses stop at major transfer points for customers, but do not stop at every stop located on the corridor. They offer a travel advantage over local service.”

Bus routes, such as the 160 and 503, are pick-up and drop-off only provide directional express-type service.

“Both these routes offer local stops along a portion of the route to collect customers and then at a point they become express and only drop off at major transfer points,” Katherine says.

“The reverse trip only picks up on the return trip. This ensures that customers to a particular area will have space on the bus to get there. Customers in the area the bus is travelling through are then encouraged to use the local services already available so they do not fill the bus and exclude those customers that are destined for the terminus.”

Katherine continues, “For example, someone wanting to go from Surrey Central to Clayton Heights has several travel options to get between the two locations. A customer from Aldergrove to Surrey Central does not have the same options and has only the one bus to rely on.”

What does it mean when I see an ‘Express’ designation on a route such as the 135 or 49?

“The buses are programmed to show 135 SFU / Burrard Station, but some operators like to add the express to make sure customers are aware that it is slightly different from a regular route,” Katherine says.

The 135 is different because it serves local stops between Simon Fraser University and Renfrew Street in Vancouver, but beyond that, it becomes a limited stop service all the way to Burrard Station.

On the 49, select trips are an ‘Express’ because they do not serve the Champlain area on 54th Avenue. These are extra trips put in to allow us to better serve and meet the demand of Langara College and the University of British Columbia during the school year.

Still have questions about why your bus says ‘Express’ on it? Ask our awesome drivers!

Halloween and Transit 2014: Your costumes of transit and on transit!

Halloween safety tips from Transit Police

When taking part in Halloween festivities this weekend, Transit Police is reminding everyone to take a few precautions to ensure you enjoy the night safely.

Here are some tips:

  • Take extra care when choosing a Halloween costume. Ask yourself, could this prop be easily mistaken for the real thing? If so, how might it put your safety at risk if the police are called? If in doubt, leave it at home.

  • Consumption of liquor in public is illegal. This includes at SkyTrain stations and on-board buses, SkyTrain, and SeaBus, If you are carrying liquor on transit, ensure it remains closed until you arrive at your private destination.

  • Stay alert to your surroundings while on public transit. Keep valuables out of sight from others. Avoid being engrossed in your electronic device.

  • Plan ahead for a safe ride home. Make note of key times such as the last trip of the night. The last Expo Line train to King George Station leaves Waterfront Station at 1:16 am, Mondays through Saturdays, and at 12:15 am on Sundays and holidays. The last Canada Line train to Richmond-Brighouse Station departs Waterfront Station at 1:15 am, seven days a week.

  • If travelling in a group, establish a meeting place in the event you are separated. 

  • Be visible. Wear bright costumes or include reflective tape, glow sticks, or other articles that improve visibility.

  • Use face paint or make‐up instead of a mask. If you must wear a mask, enlarge the eyes for better vision and push it back off your face when you are walking in and around train stations, and in busy pedestrian areas.

Stay connected to Transit Police through the free OnDuty app. Report any suspicious events or safety concerns on public transit to Transit Police’s non-emergency line. Text 87‐77‐77 (standard carrier rates may apply) or call 604‐515‐8300. In emergencies, always call 911.

TransLink to begin rolling out Compass Cards to post-secondary students starting in January 2015

Compass Card

We have a Compass Card update!

The next group to receive Compass Cards will be post-secondary students at 10 schools, starting in the new year.

Roughly 2,000 students will start using Compass Cards on February 1, 2015. Cards will be distributed to another 2,000 students shortly thereafter. The remaining 141,000 post-secondary students will then be transitioned to Compass and, by the end of the summer, all post-secondary students will be tapping in and out of the system.

Don’t worry, we’ll give students lots of notice, so that they’ll know well in advance how and when to pick up Compass Cards.

For now, it’s business as usual for all post-secondary students! You will continue to pick up your paper ticket each month from your school’s dispensing machines or student centre. Remember to sign the back and keep your student ID with you at all times.

Which post-secondary institutions are participating in the program?

Participating institutions include the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, Capilano University, Langara College, Emily Carr University of Art & Design, Vancouver Community College, Douglas College, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, British Columbia Institute of Technology, and Nicola Valley Institute of Technology.

How will students get Compass Cards?

Over the next few months, we’ll work with individual post-secondary institutions to determine the best way to get Compass Cards to students. Once the plan is set, it will be communicated broadly, so that everyone is in the know.

In the meantime, if students have questions, they should speak to their post-secondary institutions.

No more line ups!

Compass Cards will replace the current post-secondary paper-ticket pass system, which means students can say good bye to long line ups! Once students have Compass Cards and their eligibility is confirmed, they can link their transit pass to their Compass Card each month online. Then they can start tapping!

One of the reasons students will be able to load their transit passes online each month is because of an innovative system created by TransLink. Compass Point Gateway is s secure, private network developed by our staff. It enables TransLink to deliver program benefits to Compass Cards for clients. Compass Point Gateway is one of the keys to success in transitioning students and other paper-pass holders to Compass Card.

If a Compass Card is lost, students can replace it by unlinking their transit pass from the lost card and linking it to a new Compass Card in order to resume travel for a given month.

Going slow, getting it right

We’re continuing with a phased approach to the launch of Compass. A phased approach is how other major transit systems have been successful, and it’s the best way to ensure we get it right for our customers.

The Opal Card in greater Sydney, Australia and CharlieCard in Boston both took a phased approach to launch. Opal was rolled out to customers starting in December 2012 on its ferry services before moving to trains and buses by the end of 2014 and light rail in 2015. The CharlieCard was launched for seniors, riders with disabilities, and reduced- and free-fare customers in mid-2006. Roll out to the general public did not begin until December 2006 and January 2007.

Winnipeg and Calgary are both currently working on implementing their own electronic-fare-card systems and are taking their time to get it right. Full implementation on Winnipeg Transit was anticipated to be complete by the end of 2013, but introduction has been pushed back to spring 2015 due to technical glitches and issues. Calgary’s CONNECT was scheduled to be completed and released by late 2014, but cards were just distributed to Calgary Transit staff in September 2014 to begin testing.

Why launch to post-secondary students next?

Because the schools are ready!

We have been working with the 10 post-secondary institutions since 2012 to prepare software and systems for the transition to Compass.  TransLink and each of the post-secondary institutions have developed and implemented systems to facilitate the delivery of Compass benefits to student’s Compass cards.

Adding students to the Compass system will offer insight into how the system performs under heavier loads. Since the 10 participating post-secondary institutions include transit fees in their tuition, and provide for all-zone travel, students cannot be over-charged if they receive a tap error.

What’s next after the launch to post-secondary students?

Once we’re satisfied with the performance of the Compass system and our mobile validators, we will move ahead with the transition to Compass.

In the meantime…

For students, until you hear differently, continue to use your paper tickets. We won’t begin distributing Compass Cards to students until January 2015. They’ll be distributed to students in three waves, beginning with small groups at the start.

For everyone else, the launch of Compass to post-secondary students won’t affect you. Customers who pay their fare using a Monthly Pass, FareSaver tickets, cash, and other forms of fare media can continue to do so until we move to the next phase of the roll-out. We will give our customers plenty of notice when they are next to transition to the Compass Card!

Current Compass Card users can continue to “tap in” and “tap out” on the system like they have to date.

Are you a post-secondary student at one of the institutions listed above? Are you ready to tap away?! Let us know in the comments section below! Got questions about Compass? Ask away at


Five (last minute) things to do this Halloween on transit — win two passes to Fright Nights (contest)

The Car-N-Evil haunted house at Fright Nights at Playland! (Photo by John Biehle, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The Car-N-Evil haunted house at Fright Nights at Playland! (Photo by John Biehle, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Haven’t decided what you’re going to do? There’s still tons of last minute things to do this celebrate! Here’s five:

Fright Nights at Playland

Billed as “Western Canada’s scariest haunt,” Fright Nights has taken over Playland. The event features seven haunted houses, 13 rides, the Monsters of Schlock sideshow, and the Kinshira Fire Performers. New this year is a brand-new haunted house – the Keepers Doll Factory!

Fright Nights is open from 7 pm to midnight nightly until November 1. Admission is $32 at the gate and $29 online.

Get there by taking transit! The 14, 135, and 160 all stop right outside Playland and the 16 (connection with the Expo and Millennium lines) stops at the corner of Renfrew and Hastings Street.

CONTEST: Want to go to Fright Nights this weekend? We have two passes to give away!

All you have to do is comment on this post letting us know what you are doing this Halloween and how you’ll get there or simply retweet this message on Twitter!

Check out @thebuzzer’s 5 things to do this Halloween. RT to win passes to Fright Nights! #TLContest

Contest closes at 1:00 pm PDT on Thursday, October 30 and we’ll immediately randomly select a winner from all entries.

The winner must be available to pick up the prize on Friday, October 31 in-person from TransLink’s head office at 287 Nelson’s Court in New Westminster, between 8 am and 4 pm.

You’ll want to read the terms and conditions for all the details on the contest.

Stanley Park Ghost Train

Another annual Vancouver favourite is the Halloween Ghost Train in Stanley Park! The theme this year is “Experience Mother Goose’s Ghastly Garden.”

The train operates Monday to Thursday evenings from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm and Friday and Saturday from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm.

Admission is $11 for adults (18 – 64 years), $7 for children and youth (3 – 7 years), free for small children (2 years and under) and $7 for seniors (65 years and over). Purchase your tickets online in advance at

You can also enjoy the Spooky Barn for just $2 per person or go on a 30-minute lantern-lit walk with the Stanley Park Ecological Society, from Thursday to Saturday, starting at 6:30 pm.

Get to the ghost train by taking the 19 to Stanley Park.


The weather forecast calls for rain and temperatures in the low teens for the rest of the week, so if you’re looking for an indoor Halloween activity, head down to one of Vancouver’s newest Halloween attraction – the Gravecouver Haunted House.

Featuring 13 individual scary rooms, rides, zombies, and much more, Gravecouver is located inside Metropolis at Metrotown on the upper level between Winners and SilverCity Metropolis. The house is open nightly from 7 pm to 10 pm and admission is $13 per person.

Get there by taking the Expo or Millennium Line SkyTrain to Metrotown Station or one of our many buses that terminate at the station including the 19, 49, 106, 110, 116, 129, 130, 144 and 430.

Halloween in Yaletown

Photo by Yaletown BIA

Photo by Yaletown BIA

Have a young one? Take them trick-or-treating! It’s a timeless tradition.

The Yaletown Business Improvement Association is holding their 15th annual trick-or-treat in Yaletown event on Friday, October 31 from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm. A carnival band will be marching through the streets and there will be hot chocolate for children in costumes at Xoxolat!

Parents and kids will want to look for the Spidey posters on the windows of businesses to see if they are handing out Halloween treats.

From 4 pm until 7 pm, there will also be a haunted hearse travelling throughout the neighbourhood.

Get to Yaletown by taking the Canada Line to Yaletown-Roundhouse Station.

Can’t make it out to Yaletown? Trinity Street in Vancouver between N Slocan Street and N Renfrew Street is apparently one of the best spots in the city.

Just take a walk!

My favourite thing to do every Halloween is to just take a talk around town on Halloween! It’s free and exciting seeing all the costumes and displays people come up with.

The Vancouver Public Space Network is also holding the ninth instalment of their Halloween SkyTrain Party this Friday. Get together with other ghosts and goblins and ride the Canada Line! Remember have your proof of payment before entering a fare paid zone. (Note: This is not an official TransLink event!)

Meet Matthias – one of TransLink’s biggest fans!


Our transit loving friend – Matthias Leduc!

We had the chance to meet of our biggest fans, Matthias Leduc—an eight-year-old with a love of the transit system!

“My son literally walks, talks, thinks and breathes transit,” says Rosemarie, Matthias’s mom. “If we dropped him off in downtown Vancouver, he could find his way home all by himself. He even puts up bus stops around the house and makes up his own stations.”

Matthias rides transit every day with his mother and enjoys travelling on the 96 B-Line—his favourite route. You’ll often find him sitting at the front of the bus or sitting in the pivoting joint of an articulated bus (his favourite spot!).

Matthias riding in his favourite spot!

Matthias riding in his favourite spot!

Recently, Matthias received an award at his daycare for being a TransLink expert and unlike your typical kid, he’ll read updates on the website to make sure he’s in the loop. He’s also collected over 100 transfers and has big plans to border his bedroom walls with them. He’s excited for Compass and is eager to replace those transfers with his very own card so he can tap in and out of the system.

Rosemarie reached out to us looking for some help with a Halloween costume idea Matthias had – a Coast Mountain Bus Company operator! We sent her a picture of the CMBC uniform to help him started on his costume.

He tells us being a bus operator is not just a costume idea, but something he wants to be when he grows up!

Be on the lookout for our little bus driver this Halloween night trick-or-treating and don’t be alarmed if you see a second bus driver riding in the articulated joint of the 96 B-Line!

Matthias says he’s also excited at the idea of possibly attending I Love Transit Camp next year during I Love Transit Week and receiving a tour of the SkyTrain Operations and Maintenance Centre and the SeaBus docks in North Vancouver.

Buzzer illustrator interview: Julian Lawrence

The October 2014 Buzzer illustration by Julian Lawrence

The illustration (left) by Julian (right)!

Each month we feature a different artist’s work on the front cover of the Buzzer. This month, we invited the award-winning Julian Lawrence to illustrate the cover of the October 2014 issue. If you ask me, what he came up with ranks up there among the very best Buzzer covers!

He took time out to do this quick interview with us:

Who is Julian Lawrence?
A Vancouver-based cartoonist and educator. You can find out more at

Tell me about Drippytown.
It’s a project created by Robert Dayton and myself. You can find out more at

What’s your favourite thing to draw?
Drippy the Newsboy. You can see him at

Have you ever drawn a bus before this gig?
Yup. A few times. Please find attached one I drew based on a recent bus ride.

What’s next for you?
The Adventures of Drippy the Newsboy Volume I: Drippy’s Mama published by Conundrum Press is out in May, 2015.

Thank you to Julian! If you haven’t picked up the October issue, you can download it here and check out his illustration. Like his work? Consider taking one of Julian’s courses in contemporary comics at the  Emily Carr University of Art + Design!

TransLink 101: What does farside and nearside bus stop mean?

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We’re going back to basics again with TransLink 101—explaining TransLink and its operations!

Why is this bus stop located where it is?

Why is this bus stop located where it is?

Have you ever used Google Maps to plan your trip or called 604.953.3333 with your transit stop number? Then you might have heard of farside (FS), nearside (NS), and mid-block bus stops.

What does that exactly mean?

Nearside is the side of an intersection before you cross and farside is the side after. Mid-block bus stops are located in between intersections.

Katherine McCune, Manager of Service Planning at Coast Mountain Company tells us farside stops are the standard due to safety and customer convenience considerations.

“Farside bus stops are preferred so that the cars do not cut in front of the bus stopped nearside or block the right turn lane and cause traffic congestion,” she says. “Also, the bus does not have to stop twice – once for picking up and dropping off customers and then again at the red light. All pedestrian activity takes place behind the bus when it has left the bus stop thus increasing the pedestrian safety.”

Nearside and mid-block bus stops are only used when it is absolutely necessary, such as a driveway is in the way or passenger amenities are poor on the farside.

“Nearside stops result in buses blocking the view of motorists and pedestrians, and often pedestrians running out in front of the bus,” Katherine says. “Mid-block stops are only used when we have a major [pedestrian traffic] generator in the area and generally there is a crosswalk or pedestrian signal nearby.”

When it comes to planning the placement of bus stops, the planning team works with the local municipalities and has spacing guidelines that they follow.

“We do not want stops too close together such that the bus cannot travel in a reasonably quick manner,” according to Katherine. “We also look at where people may be going to and coming from. We look for locations that will provide safety for our passengers, such as the location of crosswalks and signalized intersections nearby.”