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The April 2012 Buzzer and Mark Atomos Pilon: Buzzer illustrator interview

Illustration and illustrator

Another month, another Buzzer newsletter. This month’s issue came out last Friday and was devoted primarily to April service changes (mostly starting on April 23rd). Although most of the changes were included in the issue, some last minute additions were made after the publication. You’ll want to check the transit service changes page for the most up-to-date changes.

Rob's image of the "Vancouver Buses" board game

Also in the issue was the acknowledgment that we’ve reached 20,000 Twitter followers (actually, we’re currently almost at 21 000)! To commemorate the event, we asked our followers to tweet their photos of transit in Metro Vancouver. One of the winners of the contest was @fayemccreedy.

Faye's winning image

In the February issue of the Buzzer, I asked if anyone knew anything about a board game created by a teacher’s aid with the help of B.C. Hydro Transportation Division engineer-in-training Barry Sanford. I received a few emails about it including an image from Buzzer reader Jason Vanderhill who thinks his image is an earlier version of the game. Michael Taylor-Noonan’s image of a Victoria version of the game was included in the print issue. Just yesterday, Rob Chew sent in this image and this note:

“I just read in the recent issue of the Buzzer that you’re still looking for the Vancouver Buses game. I only have the board itself. I picked this up from fellow TRAMS (Transit Museum of Society) member Ron Finlayson who had been hanging on to it in his basement. Apparently, it came from another TRAMS member who had passed away in the last few years. I’ve attached a picture showing the board game. Hope this helps.”

The illustrator this month is someone you may already be familiar with since his images are regularly featured in the George Straight. Here are Mark’s responses to my questions about his work and transit:

Tell us about yourself and your art.

A pretty fantastic cover, if I do say so myself!

I’ve been an illustrator and painter for over 20 years. Over that time,  I’ve developed a look and a style that I like to think is unique–not that I’ve stopped there because I’m finding that it’s continuing to transform over time. I like bold colours and sharp lines.

How did you come up with your illustration?

I came up with the illustration for the Buzzer based on change. Changes to the spring transit schedule and changes to the city. I live in the Downtown East Side, and I’ve been watching the slow renovation of Hastings Street near the Woodward’s development. Some might call it gentrification, but I think a lot of these buildings needed some TLC to be saved from the wrecking ball. It’s nice to see a little bit of life and youth come back to the block. Having these buildings open up to the public again isn’t a bad thing. Like spring, it’s in bloom again.

Do you use transit?

Yes, I use transit. My buses of choice are #50, #16, or #14.

What’s your favourite mode of transportation?

I really mix up the ways I get around. I’m a big walker, and it’s not uncommon for me to walk 5k to work. I use transit mostly in the winter, but I also ride my bike and Vespa. It all depends on my mood, time and weather.

Remember, you can always download a .pdf of almost every issue of the Buzzer. Want a physical copy? Pick one up on a bus, SeaBus, SkyTrain or West Coast Express, or ask your driver for one if you don’t see it. Happy reading!


  • By Eugene Wong, April 20, 2012 @ 3:47 am

    Hi Translink.

    Thank you for the Surrey improvements. I just want to say thanks especially because it is easy for me to complain about transit. When you do something nice, thanking you is the least that I could do.

  • By Robert Willis - Buzzer Editor, April 20, 2012 @ 9:24 am

    Thanks for that comment Eugene! It’s been a tough couple of weeks here, so you’ve helped brighten up my day!

  • By Eugene T.S. Wong, April 21, 2012 @ 1:49 am

    Hi Robert.

    No worries. I kind of sensed that something might be happening that was stressing you out. It was just a gut feeling based on the number of blog posts.

    Also, I disapproved of a couple of those improvements, but I felt that it was inappropriate to show no thanks at all; especially since they were nice whether or not I approved.

    Frankly, I would hate it, if people only complained about transit.

    By the way, Robert, I thought Jhenifer would have been back by now, and you would have been gone. Have you been given the job permanently? I ask only because I would hate to see you go. I’d love to see her back, but I would hate to see either of you go.

  • By Robert Willis - Buzzer Editor, April 25, 2012 @ 6:02 am

    Hi Eugene: Thanks again for the comment. Jhen is coming back very soon! I’ll be sticking around for at least the rest of the year. I have many more stories to tell!

  • By TM, April 28, 2012 @ 6:26 pm

    Is there a particular reason for the 401 Garden City Bay 4 relocation? It sure isn’t going to be fun trying to jaywalk to the west side of the street in the evening when bus frequency is 30 to 60 minutes. I say this because the current scheduling makes the bus leave just as the train arrives.

  • By Robert Willis - Buzzer Editor, May 9, 2012 @ 3:37 pm

    TM: I have an answer for you from our planning department:

    The 401 Garden City evening schedule (for all day types) from Richmond-Brighouse Station has not recently changed. The 401 Garden City was switched to Bay 4a from Bay 4 to address community concerns regarding the number of bus trips passing along Saba Rd. As part of the change a request was put forward to the City of Richmond to install fencing (that is in place now) to minimize jaywalking between the new stop and Richmond-Brighouse Station. The fencing runs north-south along No 3 Rd between Saba Rd and the entrance to Richmond Centre.

    Regarding scheduling, there are no timed connections between bus and Canada Line trips outside of the first and last train trips due to the Line’s high frequency. Unfortunately, there will be times (particularly in the evening when bus frequency goes down to meet the lower demand) when a direct connection will not be made and some customers will need to wait.

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