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Meet #Denistheplanner!


Meet Denis. Denis the planner.

Haaaaaaaaave you met Denis?

Denis has been with TransLink for three and half years and in the planning department for the past two and half.

When the Evergreen Extension opened, that meant a lot of bus route changes and Denis offered to help us explain a little more about some of the route modifications to our riders who reached out on Twitter.

These responses have been so successful that Denis has agreed to be our “go-to” planning guru across our social channels!

With Denis’ help, this will allow us to delve deeper into service changes and explain more about specific routes and modifications to service.

Not only does Denis help plan things like your favourite bus route, he’s also a transit fan, transit rider as well as a cycling enthusiast. Let’s get to know “Denis the Planner” a little better!

Why did you choose planning as a career?

I originally got into planning because I was concerned about big issues like climate change, preserving farmland, and health. Buuuuttt also I love maps and I love cities. Planning allows me to address those big societal issues AND spend my time working with maps and cities. It’s great!

What drew you to transit planning in particular?

I want to make transit (and walking and cycling) attractive to more people for all of the big reasons mentioned above. This would be a really straightforward job if we had the ability to just put buses everywhere. But, since we can’t just put buses everywhere, we have to have conversations about where those buses should go. And these are really interesting, challenging conversations!

What’s the best part of your job?

The most exciting part is early in the planning process when we get to have blue-sky conversations about different designs for the transit network. It’s a cross between art and science because you need to be creative, but your ideas also have to be based on real data!

What is the most difficult part of your job?

Saying no! I love transit and I want everyone to have great transit access! Until someone invents a money tree, it’s not going to be possible to run a bus to everyone’s doorstep. A big part of my job is explaining the tough transit trade-offs, and that we’re trying to provide the best possible service to the region with the resources we have.

What are your favourite modes transportation besides transit?

I don’t own a car but I recently got an electric bike and I love it! I feel like I can go anywhere on it! Hills are no match for me now.

Why did you want to be #Denistheplanner and personally respond to people’s concerns about service changes?

I’m excited to tell the story of transit. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes and I want to help people know more about that stuff! We’ve always answered tweets and messages; but videos are just more fun, and so hopefully more people will see them!

What do you hope to achieve by being able to directly respond to our riders?

I would love to convert everyone into a transit nerd. If we get more people thinking about transit, hopefully that will mean more public participation, and ultimately better transit!

Check out Denis talking about bus integration for Evergreen!

Stay tuned to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for future #DenisthePlanner responses.

Although we appreciate and value all of your feedback, Denis will not be able to respond to everyone.

Do you have a planning question for Denis?
Comment below or use the hashtag #DenisthePlanner on social media to reach out!
You can also email us with the subject “Denis the Planner” to

Author: Adrienne Coling


  • By Kelly, January 13, 2017 @ 12:49 pm

    Hi Denis. Do you plan on the nightbus times? I live in the south west side of Vancouver. On weekends I do a volunteer work at ubc. The last bus leaves after 2:30 am. There are times when I want to leave ubc between 3:00 am and 4:00 am. Originally some buses did stop until Granville and Broadway once they finally did their routes from ubc because it’s on their way to the bus garage. I’m hoping that both the N17 and N22 extend their times and finish until the 1st daytime buses will be available. Tx.

  • By Adrienne Coling, January 20, 2017 @ 11:35 am

    Hi Kelly, here’s your answer from Denis!

    Thanks for your comment Kelly! We understand how the current night bus schedule can limit your access in the early morning. Some routes already have more early morning service than others. The N19 along Kingsway to Surrey, for example, runs almost all night, as well as the N10 along Granville to Richmond.

    The Ten Year Vision is an investment plan that will fund improved transit service across Metro Vancouver (as well as cycling, walking, roads, etc), and Phase One of this plan has funds dedicated to improving night bus service on three corridors in Vancouver and Burnaby. Here’s what the plan says:

    “Extend service later into the night on weekdays and Saturdays — every 30 mins from 3AM-5AM.”

    This will apply to the three routes:

    N8 – Fraser St.
    N20 – Commercial Dr. and Victoria Dr.
    N35 – Hastings and SFU (the N35 will also get an extra Saturday service to address overcrowding – can you believe we have NightBus overcrowding?!)

    We expect that future phases of investment for the Ten Year will include more funds to increase bus service, but no specific routes have been chosen. From your comment, we understand that you want the N17 and N22 to be considered for later service. We will keep track of this as we look at prioritizing which routes to do next. Thanks again for your comment!

  • By Mike, January 17, 2017 @ 11:56 am

    Hi Denis, any tips or advice for aspiring planners looking to get into the industry, in transit or other fields?

  • By Adrienne Coling, January 20, 2017 @ 11:34 am

    Hey Mike, here you go!

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