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Enter the Poetry in Transit contest this May!

The Poetry in Transit program launched its 2010 edition on April 28, and they’re celebrating with a contest!

Here’s the details:

To celebrate the April 28th launch of this year’s Poetry in Transit, the Association of Book Publishers of BC will be hosting a contest!

Did you meet your soul mate while reading a poem together on the bus? Have you gotten into a heated argument with a fellow passenger over a line in a poem? Tell us your best Poetry in Transit story to be in contention to win the grand prize – all 16 books of poetry from this year’s poets.

Submissions must be sent to the ABPBC by email to with Poetry in Transit in the subject line. Mailed submissions to go to 600-402 West Pender Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 1T6.

First and second runners-up will receive a selection of this year’s bus cards. Winning entries will be published on the ABPBC website for posterity.

Contest deadline: May 31, 2010

Poetry in Transit has been running since 1996, and in that time has featured 190 poems from established and emerging writers. Together with TransLink and BC Transit, the ABPBC produces 16 poetry cards annually featuring the work of BC-authored and Canadian-published poets, displayed on buses and SkyTrains across the transit systems in BC.

And here’s the 2010 Poetry in Transit bus cards, in case you wanted to see them.

Incidentally, I have some of the old Poetry in Transit ads from 2006 and 2007 at my desk… if you’re interested in taking some of them, e-mail me! (It would be easiest if you could pick them up from our offices in Metrotown, open 9-5.)


  • By Reva, May 13, 2010 @ 2:15 pm

    Hi Jhen, I’d like to know (when you return from your holiday, of course): who judges/chooses the poetry that gets featured in the Poetry In Transit program?

    Also, do you think TransLink or The Buzzer would ever consider holding a poetry contest soliciting poems from transit riders? It’d be fun and probably pretty hilarious. You could publish the winning entries in The Buzzer!

  • By Ric, May 17, 2010 @ 7:58 pm

    Jhen, according to this site:, it seems like that the 2006 New Flyer D40LFR diesel buses are only located in Surrey transit center.

    Is this correct or are some located in other transit centers?

  • By zack, May 17, 2010 @ 8:27 pm

    @Ric: That’s easy to answer. In 2006 when the D40LFRs were introduced, they were dispatched to transit centres in Burnaby, Vancouver, and Port Coquitlam. But these buses soon found their match in 2007, when the Nova’s were new in town. Eventually all of the D40LFRs were kicked out by the unstoppable arrival of the Nova buses all the way to Surrey (Ouch!). And as of today the D40LFRs are still based out of the Surrey Transit Centre. You can still find these buses outside of Surrey on routes such as the 301 and 340 etc. Personally, I find the rides on D40LFRs much smoother than those of the Nova’s, despite some sounding like monsters thanks to the Cummins ISL.

  • By zack, May 17, 2010 @ 9:00 pm

    @Jhen: How come West Vancouver Blue Buses don’t have the automated announcements onboard as the CMBC buses?

  • By Ric, May 17, 2010 @ 10:27 pm

    It would have been nicer if 2006 New Flyer D40LFR’s we moved to Richmond. I think that it’s not fare that Richmond always gets the old buses from other transit centers. The only times Richmond got new buses when the 98 B-Line was introduced. Later in 2001, they got some new Orion highway coaches, and once more later in 2008 when they received 9 more highway coaches. That’s about it, in terms of Richmond getting new buses.

    I hope that in the future when Translink replaces buses, enough are ordered so that all transit centers receive them, or they get divided up so that all the transit centers receive some.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, May 18, 2010 @ 9:54 am

    Reva: here’s the answer from the ABPBC.

    We have a jury each year consisting of a poet, a representative from the literary community, and a representative from TransLink.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, May 18, 2010 @ 9:56 am

    Ric: as mentioned in the past, Richmond has received the new Canada Line as well as 9 new Orion coaches. There are a few considerations too, as our fleet management department points out.

    Richmond has the easiest service anywhere in the fleet—it’s flat. Old equipment that would fail quickly in Vancouver will keep rolling and rolling in Richmond. Also, low density means that the pollution effects of running an older fleet won’t affect as many people. Note also that they had few of the D40/D60 high floors, so Richmond didn’t have many of the oldest buses.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, May 19, 2010 @ 3:04 pm

    Reva: btw I just wanted to mention that a poetry contest is a great idea!

  • By Ric, May 20, 2010 @ 11:40 pm

    Jhen, I understand what you are saying about the bus fleet that prevents Richmond from getting new buses.

    However, since you mentioned earlier that when new buses are ordered, an extra 20% is always ordered so that the older good buses are kept for spares.

    What I was wondering was when buses are ordered why don’t they just order enough to replace all the buses in all the transit centers at the same time?

    This will also allow better older buses to be kept as spares since the older buses from the transit centers that got the new buses are usually sent to other transit centers that didn’t get the new buses, which will then pull out some of the even older buses from those transit centers either for retirement or spares.

  • By Ric, May 20, 2010 @ 11:51 pm

    Zack, I totally agree with you that the New Flyer D40LFRs give much smoother rides than the Novas. I don’t understand why they stopped ordering buses from New Flyer and Orion and switched to Nova. They were doing totally fine with New Flyer and Orion, perhaps they switched cause they lost the contract with New Flyer and Orion?

    Not to mention that the New Flyer buses do break down a lot under my experience of being a daily transit user. I find that the Novas are not much better in terms of breakdowns.

    I actually find that the Orion highway coaches are the most reliable buses in the fleet at this time. They have much less breakdowns. (close to none under my experience.) I’ve only experienced a breakdown on an orion once, where as on a New Flyer or Nova I experience breakdowns way more often, at least once a month.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, June 4, 2010 @ 1:18 pm

    zack: Long time coming, but the West Van buses are supposed to be outfitted with the new communications/annunciator system in the fall.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, June 4, 2010 @ 3:03 pm

    Ric: here is an answer to your question from our fleet management department.

    One other thing I forgot to mention about Richmond: from 2001 to 2006, Richmond had the newest bus fleet in the transit system.

    Money’s always tight, and we try to do the best that we can with the limited taxpayer dollars that we have. Depending on a bus (or a fleet’s condition), it’ll be replaced when it’s hit the end of its economic life.

    We can’t replace the entire fleet all in one year because it would be impractical; we’ve got about a billion dollars’ worth of buses, and it’s tough to get any government to commit to give us that much money all at once. In addition, if we buy the buses all at once, we can expect their transmissions to fail all in the same year, and we can expect their engines to fail all in the same year, and their paint to degrade badly all in the same year. This would make it difficult to prepare for maintaining a reliable fleet, so it’s best that purchases be staggered over time.

  • By Ric, June 5, 2010 @ 11:14 pm

    Richmond probably had the newest bus fleet from 2001-2006 because they got the new orion highway coaches and new artics when the 98 B-Line was introduced at this time.

    After 2006 Richmond probably no longer had the newest fleet because of the arrival of the 2006 New Flyer D40LFRs, which are now all located in Surrey and the unstoppable arrival of Nova buses.

    I actually just found out that Richmond actually doesn’t have the oldest bus fleet in the system at this time because when the D40/D60 high floors were retired, they received some year 2000 buses from Burnaby that replaced the retired D40 high floors.

    One thing that I noticed today. When a bus has turned off the engine while waiting to depart I have noticed that all the interior lights (except the rear set that is always on and the destination signs) goes out. However, when the driver is starting up the engine again I have noticed that all the interior lights and destination sign goes out while starting up. What does the destination sign and interior lights go out while starting up the engine?

    Also, if the rear set of interior lights that are always on and the destination signs stay on when the engine is turned off, do these items stay on for a certain amount of time then turns of automatically if the bus hasn’t been restarted after that amount of time or do they stay on 24/7 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)?

  • By Ron, June 6, 2010 @ 10:57 pm

    I’ve noticed that the older New Flyer high floor articulated buses are stored in Richmond. Why are they in storage, and not at the scrappers, is there a possible future plan for them?

    From a passenger perspective these buses had more seats than any of the newer coaches. Thus one had better odds of sitting vs standing, a definite plus.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, June 25, 2010 @ 5:02 pm

    Ron: Sorry for the delayed response, but here’s the answer from fleet management.

    A Richmond company is selling the buses for us. If they’re able to sell them, we get a cut of the profits. If they can’t sell them, the buses end up at the scrapper, and we get scrap value for them.

    Low floor buses are great from an accessibility perspective, in that they’re easy to board (important for people with disabilities, elderly, etc), and they easily accommodate wheelchairs. Unfortunately, the low floor means that the front wheels protrude into the passenger space, causing us to lose a couple of passenger seats. The front wheel wells are just behind the driver and front doors, where people can put packages down. We believe the accessibility benefits offset the loss of seats.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, June 25, 2010 @ 5:04 pm

    Ric: here’s the answer from fleet management.

    All (or nearly all) electrical loads shut off when cranking the engine. This is done to ensure that the battery has enough amps available to get the engine started. If there are too many electrical loads, the battery voltage might drop substantially when cranking, which could reset electronics and other equipment in the bus. You’ll notice the same thing occurs in a lot of passenger cars, for the same reason.

    The bus’ engine can be shut off in two positions: “off” and “night
    park”. In Night Park, it keeps some lights powered up. The Off mode shuts the lights off. In the Off mode, the destination signs normally stay active for 10-30 minutes, depending on the coach. In Night Park, I think it might keep the destination signs powered up for a long long time. With most coaches, if they’re in Neutral, the interior lights (even the rearmost bank) and heating/ventilation system will shut off after 10 minutes. The driver can get lights & heat back by shifting the transmission to drive, then back to neutral, or by shutting the bus off and starting it up again.

  • By Ron, July 8, 2010 @ 11:19 pm

    Thank you Jhenifer for your response to my June 6th question re the high floor articulated buses stored in Richmond. I like others would be interested to know how this turns out, please keep us posted.

    There was a time when transit would purchase used vehicles. In that regard I noted there are a couple of hundred 60 ft low floor New Flyers available from Ottawa. They range from 2001 to 2004 in vintage. Have the fleet mgmt folks explored this particular option?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, July 9, 2010 @ 10:01 am

    Ron: I sent your follow-up question to fleet management and here’s the response.

    Ron: I wasn’t aware of that bus sale; thanks for letting me know about it. It’s an interesting option, so I’ll have to make some calls to see what the story is behind those buses; depending on price/condition, it’s possible they could be an option to replace some of our older artics earlier than we had planned. We’re planning to start replacing our oldest artic fleet in 2014-2015.

    Currently we don’t have plans to expand our fleet any larger than it already is; we’re constrained by funding and by space. We don’t have enough money to pay for drivers and fuel to add more buses to the system; even if these buses were free, we can’t afford to put them on the road. We also don’t have enough space for them, either; since we’ve expanded our fleet substantially over the past few years, we’ve run out of space for buses, so we’re eagerly watching progress on the Hamilton Transit Centre (in Richmond), as it will allow us to continue to expand our fleet.

  • By Ron, October 12, 2010 @ 8:57 pm

    The Oct. 12th edition of the Vancouver Sun has a front page photo showing a local scrapyard and a multitude of crushed Flyer buses. Do you know if those crushed also included the 60ft high floor articulated coaches that were stored in Richmond? (reference your June 25th posting)

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, October 13, 2010 @ 2:13 pm

    Ron: Here’s what my contact in fleet management told me.

    I haven’t looked at the Western Canada Remarketing site in Richmond, but I assume they’ve taken all the 40’ and 60’ buses to the scrap yard.

    So it’s probably safe to assume the photo did include those artics.

  • By Ron, January 21, 2011 @ 9:43 pm

    Would your contact in Fleet Mgmt be good enough to tell us what types of new, or used buses are coming in 2011, plus the quantity of each.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, January 25, 2011 @ 3:42 pm

    Ron: I’m told that we’re getting 25 new HandyDART buses this year. We don’t know the manufacturer just yet because the RFP just closed.

  • By Ron, February 1, 2011 @ 9:46 am

    Certain parts of the world suffer from totally inadequate transportation. Having traveled to Cuba it’s heart breaking to see people attempting to get from point A to point B. Cuba has an immense shortage of buses. You frequently see people riding in the back of dump trucks, or in wagons pulled by tractors. Every bus stop is overflowing with potential riders and basically no buses to transport them.

    Vancouver along with numerous other Canadian cities retire transit buses every year. Probably with adequate parts these vehicles could be safely kept on the road for many more years. Our problem is repairs and most probably the labour costs for repair outweigh the cost of retaining aging buses.

    Here is a suggestion. A couple of reasonable condition retired buses be donated to Cuba. Now before you say the logistics would be impossible let me outline the idea. Firstly this could be a Canada wide project promoted in each Canadian city by means of the local version of the Buzzer. Two buses with minimal rusting would be chosen preferably from eastern Canada, (to minimize shipping costs). Cities across Canada would contribute by donating towards shipping costs, no longer required parts, and expertise to put the buses on the roads of Cuba.

    To get a project such as this up and running requires a leader and Jhneifer you would be ideal. Before dismissing the whole idea, perhaps send it around to the other Canadian transit systems for their input.


  • By Eugene T.S. Wong, March 20, 2011 @ 4:43 pm


    What would you think of this? Somebody should create a bus reusing program like that of Freegeek. In other words, they would salvage the really good stuff, dispose of the obvious bad stuff, and then sell them to organizations that could still use them. I’m sure that they could make a profit off of the poorer transit organizations, and still provide a good product. For the transit systems that have no funding at all, then this non-profit might be able to donate parts or complete buses.

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