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A conversation with James Tanaka, our dapper transit operator!

A conversation with James Tanaka, our dapper transit operator!

James Tanaka
James Tanaka

An infectious smile and passion for providing great customer service. Smart, well-dressed and dapper in his bow-tie.

There are just some of the ways customers and colleagues describe James Tanaka, a transit operator with TransLink’s Coast Mountain Bus Company.

It’s an attitude and approach that James brought over from his many years waiting tables and managing various Japanese restaurants, and working as a bank teller. Getting positive reactions from the public is, “The best,” say James.

Board his bus and he’ll always greet you with a smile and a “How are you doing?” Disembarking from the bus? It’s an exuberant, “Have a great day!”

In the food industry, everything has to be on time—sometimes that means rushing. But as a transit operator, James has learned you can’t rush and safety is number one.

“Coming from a customer-focused industry, there is still a part of me that wants to provide great service as much as possible for the company,” says James. “The public has their schedules to keep and they do rely on us.”

That’s why if there’s an incident on the road or bad traffic, and he’s running late, James will make an announcement on his bus, letting customers know what the situation is a apologize for the delay.

“It does diffuse the situation,” he says. “That’s the whole customer service end. It’s ingrained in me. By keeping the passengers informed, it allows a sense of transparency.”

James is committed to making a difference in people’s day, however small.

“If I can get you to your destination safely, and make you smile—add a little sunshine to your day—then that’s great, I’ve done my job.”

Do you think you have what it takes to be a transit operator? Visit to learn how you can apply!


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