For this installment in our Olympic Memories series we revisit the 2010 Winter Olympic Games by asking CMBC transit operators about their experiences moving the world four years ago! Written by Jennifer Siddon, Senior Communications Advisor for Coast Mountain Bus Company.
Jim has been a transit operator for nearly eight years. During the Olympics, he like Tim, was part of what’s called “the spareboard,” which means that instead of having a permanent route to drive, he was available for shifts on an on-call basis. Jim drove a variety of routes including trippers.
Trippers are when extra service is put into place in a specific area to protect against overcrowding following a major event.
When asked about his overall impression of the Winter Games, Jim said, “People from all over the world telling me how they would love to stay in Vancouver.”
Jim loved playing tour guide during the Olympics. Jim would get on the PA system to explain the city and the transit system to visitors. He added, “So many people could not believe the features of our [transit] system – how it’s accessible with wheelchair ramps, and, how our buses talk to you (via the annunciators).
Favourite memories: A security checkpoint, hockey gold and Olympic love
The day of the Women’s Hockey gold medal matchup between Canada and the United States, Jim was sent on a tripper to the Georgia Viaduct to help move the anticipated crowds following the game. Because of the secure location, Jim’s bus was subject to a police check, which included a visit from an explosives detection dog.
When the Canadian Women’s team scored to clinch the gold medal, it was like a volcano going off. Jim even dropped his coffee! Then it was like a stampede of happiness as people spilled out of the arena, and left nearby bars and restaurants. Jim could see people, many of them complete strangers, hugging each other and singing O Canada. One couple in particular caught Jim’s eye ; a Russian man laughing and singing with his arms wrapped around a Canadian woman.
Fast forward a few months later, Jim happened to be in downtown Vancouver on a day off with his wife, when all of the sudden he heard a man with a thick Russian accent call out, “Hey, driver.” It was the same couple Jim had seen that night of the women’s hockey final and wouldn’t you know it, they’d fallen madly in love and gotten married. Talk about a whirlwind Olympic romance!
Do you have some fond 2010 Winter Olympic memories? Share them with us in the comments section and make sure to enter our contest!