TransLink Podcast: Meet the voice of SkyTrain

TransLink Podcast: Meet the voice of SkyTrain

Laureen Regan is the voice actor behind the SkyTrain announcements
Laureen Regan is the voice actor behind the SkyTrain announcements.

“The next station is… Waterfront!”

You hear the voice every day as it narrates your SkyTrain commute, telling you what the next station is, which side the doors will open, and where to change trains and exit for bus connections. But have you wondered who the voice belongs to?

It’s Laureen Regan, a voice actor from Calgary! In the episode, she shares how she got the job and if she had to audition, what it’s like for her hearing herself riding the SkyTrain, what she finds most interesting about the job, and if she gets recognized.


HOST JAWN JANG: Hey, welcome to What’s the T: the TransLink Podcast. I’m your host, Jawn Jang, and on this episode, I’m sitting down for a chat with this person…

VOICEOVER 1: The next station is.

JAWN: It’s finally time to meet the voice of the SkyTrain. Let’s tap in to What’s the T. 


VOICEOVER 1: The next station is…

VOICEOVER 2: Welcome to What’s the T: the TransLink Podcast.

JAWN: As we kick off season three, we should take a moment to look back and reflect on some of the great characters, personalities, and experts that we’ve had on this program, from professors to engineers, mechanics to operators. We’ve met so many talented people who helped keep Metro Vancouver’s transit system moving. But there is only one person whose voice is synonymous with the SkyTrain, and her name is Laureen Regan.


VOICEOVER 1: The next station is.

JAWN: Those four lines have become synonymous with your daily commute, assuming you take the SkyTrain. In fact, that line is so iconic that during the design phase of this podcast, we actually considered naming this podcast, “The next station is .” Now, ultimately, we landed on What’s the T, but that’s the kind of impact those words can have.

Now, before we sit down with the voice of SkyTrain herself, we wanted to test a theory. Could anyone else sub in to make those SkyTrain announcements? Do we have a potential voiceover superstar somewhere out there? Producer Vince and I went down to Waterfront Station to find the next great SkyTrain voice.

PERSON 1: The next

PERSON 2: station is

PERSON 3: Waterfront.

JAWN: You’re actually really good at this. It’s Jawn Jang here at Waterfront Station for What’s the T: the TransLink Podcast. Today, we’re going to do something fun. We’re going to ask some of our customers to give us their impression of the SkyTrain voice.


VOICEOVER 1: The next station is… Nanaimo.

JAWN: See which customer we can grab here today. Julia, the mic is all yours.

PERSON 2: All right, the next station is Broadway–City Hall.

JAWN: Julia, you killed it. Like are you a voice actor by any chance? Like, what do you do for a living? Like, what the heck?

PERSON 2: No, I worked downtown, um, yeah.

JAWN: But singing. Like, are you a singer?


JAWN: You got some pipes on you.

PERSON 2: Thank you, thank you.

JAWN: Right. All right.

PERSON 2: Choir for a while.

JAWN: See, I heard it. Skill.

Maybe you want to give us your best impression. I feel like you’ve got a good set of pipes on you. So what do you think?

PERSON 1: I can definitely do that for you. Yeah. All right, well, I can say the next stop is Waterfront Station.

JAWN: Oh, I like that. I like that you got a rich, deep voice as well. So it adds some bass and baritone to it. Do you sing like, is that something you do?

PERSON 1: I do not, but I do play drums.

JAWN: You play the drums.

Give us your best impression of the SkyTrain voice.

PERSON 3: Okay. The next station is Waterfront.

JAWN: You’re actually really good at this. What is your name again?

PERSON 3: Laureen Regan.

JAWN: Are you who I think you are?

PERSON 3: I am.


UNKNOWN VOICE 1: The goat. The goat.

JAWN: The goat, indeed. The greatest of all time. The original voice of the SkyTrain in the flesh. The one and only Laureen Regan. As I said, for many of us, Laureen’s voice is something that we grew up with living in Metro Vancouver, narrating our commutes. One station at a time. And after all these years, those SkyTrain announcements are still perfect.

UNKNOWN VOICE 2: I got to tell you, it was perfect. Perfect. Everything down to the last minute details.

JAWN: I had the chance to sit down with Laureen for a long awaited chat to really get to know the person behind this iconic voice.

I mean, let’s get right into it. The voice of the SkyTrain. People that have lived there, lived here their entire lives, or people that are just visiting for the first time in Metro Vancouver. Most of them will be taking the SkyTrain at one point or another, and they will hear your voice. It’s become synonymous with public transportation in and around this region. So number one question for you. How did it all begin? Like how did you get chosen as the voice of the SkyTrain?

LAUREEN REGAN: Years ago now, many years ago, I was approached to lay down a demo track for some equipment that was being pitched for a project in Vancouver, and it was to show and demonstrate how this equipment would, automate the voice prompts for a transit system, TransLink. So they asked me if I would come in and just lay down a few of the stations so that they could demonstrate to the prospect, prospective client how it would work. So I laid them down and, but I thought that was the end of it, to be honest. And so, you know, a number of months went by, probably eight or so months went by.

And then I got this call, and I was delighted to hear that the Calgary company had won the contract. But then they added to it that the Vancouver folks had asked if the demo voice would also do the voice of the SkyTrain, and I was absolutely delighted by that request. What an honour, you know.

JAWN: Yeah. So I mean, that’s kind of like the fun part is that one job led to another. And if I’m not mistaken, Laureen, you’re still very much like an active part of recording new lines whenever we kind of need them from you, right?

LAUREEN: That’s right. I mean, as the system has grown over the years, they’ve had to add on the lines or adjust prompts as needed depending on what’s going on. And so I’ve had the good fortune of being requested to do those updates as well.

JAWN: So that was, like you said a few years ago. Have you had the chance to maybe sit in the SkyTrain yourself whenever you visited Vancouver? Have you heard yourself? What is that experience like for you when you kind of look back at or even listen back as you’re sitting back, trying to get from one station to the other being like, “Oh, that’s me.”

LAUREEN: There’s no question. It is exciting every single time. To come here today, you know, we got on the train and we traveled into downtown and, you know, you can’t help but echo the stations every time — the next station is — you can’t help but do that every time a station is announced. And…

JAWN: I’m sorry, because the way you just instantly went into that, that voice. Like, it was like, I’m sitting in a SkyTrain right now talking to you. Yeah.

LAUREEN: At one point a number of years ago, they came to me and said that they were, upgrading the system that actually does the voice prompts, and they asked if I would audition to be the voice of the SkyTrain moving forward. So I did have to re-audition, and I was very relieved and excited and honoured to once again be selected to be the voice of the SkyTrain.

JAWN: Okay.

LAUREEN: And so, you know, when you’re doing the voice, it’s it, there’s many different types of voice overs, as you would know that you can do. All of them. I enjoy doing them. Have the good fortune of doing so. You have corporate, you have storytelling, you have narration, commercial. There’s many different ways. But I think one of the most interesting is where you can guide somebody using your voice to help them find their way.

And that’s what I get to do with the SkyTrain voiceovers. And it is so much fun to do that. So hearing it live, to bring it back to that, is always exciting, you know? And so even now when I’m riding the train, I think about, you know, “Oh, did I say that too fast or was that clear enough, or maybe we should slow that down a little bit or whatever it might be.” I can’t help but do that.

JAWN: So then let’s set the record straight. You are a professional, like, voice actress on the side. Like, this is also part of the work that you do every — well, I guess maybe not every day, but this is part of your career, your lifestyle.

LAUREEN: You’re right. Yeah. Not every day. But yes, I do narration. I do corporate work, storytelling. You know, there’s nothing better than bringing a great script to life using your voice. You know, you just it’s so rewarding to be able to do that. And I enjoy doing that work very much.

JAWN: Is there any other like, transportation agency or transit system maybe in Canada or outside of Canada, where you are also kind of like an official voice, where maybe some of our listeners are going to be listening and maybe they’re like, you know, I’m going to go on a vacation to Montreal, Toronto, wherever it might be. Is there another version of Laureen out there that maybe they can listen to there?

LAUREEN: There was.


LAUREEN: But there isn’t anymore.

JAWN: Oh, okay.

LAUREEN: So the same company that did the original equipment here in Vancouver also, brought me in to do the voicing for the transit system at the time in Salt Lake City and in Oakland, and, did a number of other pitches, but those would be the two main ones that I was able to do.

JAWN: Okay. Fair enough. Salt Lake City and Oakland. Yeah. See, that would have been a fun experience. And I’m sure it’s happened in the past where somebody from Metro Vancouver went to visit, heard one of those previous recordings. They were like, “That sounds so oddly familiar and I feel right at home here in beautiful Oakland or Salt Lake City, wherever it may be.”

But that’s really kind of neat, you know, on that note, Laureen, and I’m curious — obviously, you have like the the professional voice actress voice and you have your current speaking voice. They are similar, but there’s differences. But has anyone ever just been like listening to you in a conversation? Maybe you’re at a cafe somewhere at home and they’ll just be like, “I’m so I’m sorry, ma’am. Like, I know this is very forward, but I feel like your voice is just so familiar to me.” Has something like that happened to you where you get recognized based on that?


JAWN: Not yet.

LAUREEN: Not yet.

JAWN: Okay.

LAUREEN: But, people that know that I do this wonderful gig, and are familiar with that will sometimes record it and send it to me when they’re on the train, or they will text me from the train and say, “Oh, I just heard your voice.”

I remember years ago, my mom and I were on the train right after I first did the recording. She’s gone now, but just watching her face listen to my voice as we would be going along, you know, and I don’t think she quite got until that moment what I was talking about when I told her what I was going to be doing. She got a kick out of that.

It’s, it is just, it’s a wonderful, wonderful, job. And I don’t even want to call it a job because it’s so much more than that to be able to contribute as the voice of the SkyTrain.

JAWN: Right. And and I’m curious, you know, you mentioned doing other sort of, voice acting work, commercial, narrative. What other just general projects are you involved in that maybe you can share with our listeners about where they can catch Laureen Regan.

LAUREEN: So a lot of it is corporate, so they wouldn’t hear me. Outside of that, I am starting to explore doing more work in the Instagram realm, utilizing stories and spoken poetry, etcetera. So that is something that’ll be coming soon on my personal channel. But in addition to that, there is all the corporate, which does include that storytelling narration. And there’s so many different ways that you can use your voice to help people in the workforce. You can help them understand a technology better. Safety is a really strong one, where people need people to really understand the messaging and, so that they’re safe in a workplace environment, etcetera. So those are the types of things that you’d see me doing a lot of with the strong focus on narration.

JAWN: Gotcha. I’m sure some folks are going to be listening, and they are maybe looking to get into the, the industry that is voice acting, voiceover work. One thing I know is that it’s a very competitive field. Is there any bits of advice you would give to someone who maybe has a has an interest or wanting to pursue, like a career in that, in that field, some sort of gold nugget to, to share with them?

LAUREEN: I think it would be for them to find their own voice. So, often when we’re doing voiceover, as you know, you have to you have to understand the client needs, you have to understand the audience. There is all of that for sure. And you can’t disregard that. But at the same time, you want to bring your own uniqueness to it.

And if the client is selecting you, it is because of that uniqueness. So just to focus on what makes you unique and and make that be your framework for what you look for.

JAWN:  I think that’s great advice. So, hopefully someone out there listening, if you do get a role, just know that Laureen is expecting a finder’s fee. Just putting out there. But we wish them luck, if that’s what, you’re interested in doing. Of course. I’m curious. Now, this question. You know, I had a conversation with some of my friends. I told them, like, “I’m going to be speaking with the voice of the SkyTrain.” They all got super excited. One of my friends asked me, like, is she available on Cameo?

Because I would love to, like, have like a customized speech in that voice. The SkyTrain voice to do like a birthday shout out for one of my friends or something like that. Is that something you would consider, or is that maybe just beyond your scope at the moment?

LAUREEN: Well, first of all, I’m not familiar with Cameo. I have to say.

JAWN: Okay,

LAUREEN: You could maybe tell me what that is that would be [inaudible].

JAWN: I can give you like the five second pitch on Cameo. So it’s like all these different celebrities and influencers, they make themself available on this app called Cameo, and you can hire them at a rate that the, the actor or whomever it might be, the celebrity can choose. And so if you wanted to do like a 15-second recording of them reading a message that you wrote, that you want them to read it in, they can do that. And so it’s all paid for all over the app. I think there’s a service charge, I’m sure. So that’s, that’s kind of what Cameo is. If you wanted like, I don’t know, Seth Rogen to do a recording for you, he can do that using this Cameo app.

LAUREEN: Well, I would be interested.

JAWN: Okay.

LAUREEN: I don’t know if anybody else would be interested in having me voice something, but I would be interested. I’ll look into that.

JAWN: We have a very strong community of transit fans here in Metro Vancouver, and I think if they knew that this was an option, they’d be like all over it.

LAUREEN: I have a funny story about that.

JAWN: Okay.

LAUREEN: So years ago, I don’t know how many years ago now. Let’s say ten years ago, I got an email from somebody saying, “This is going to be a really strange request, but my boyfriend loves your voice. He rides the SkyTrain every day and he loves your voice. Would you be interested in recording a birthday message for him?”

JAWN: Hey, yeah.

LAUREEN: And so, isn’t that funny? It did indeed happen. She recorded him listening to the recording, and, it was just, he was so delighted. And I was so surprised.  So, yes, I have done something similar, but without knowing that there was an opportunity there to be in a more public settings. Yeah.

JAWN: Yeah. And to also get paid for it.

LAUREEN: And to get paid, yes. Being paid is always a good thing.

JAWN: Well that’s a lesson. It’s a quote from somewhere. I forget what it is. But the line is if you’re good at something, never do it for free. So that’s something to keep in mind. Of course, Laureen you’re not just the voice of the SkyTrain, although that’s what we, we hear you every day as the voice of the Skytrain. You’re the CEO of BOOM Group. You know, aside from just being a voice actress as well. Tell us more about the work you do with BOOM Group that keeps you busy every day.

LAUREEN: BOOM Group is a member rewards and incentive program. We’re Western Canadian and we work with employers and professional associations delivering a fully managed rewards and incentive program on their behalf.

They work with us because they’re looking for unique ways to drive engagement, loyalty and retention within their employee groups, and we provide a fully managed platform that delivers that for them.

JAWN: Love it, so if anyone listening right now wants to find more information about the work you do with BOOM Group, and also just find more information about you, where can they find that info?

LAUREEN: Well, BOOM Group is easy. It’s and if they wanted to find out more information about me, they’re happy to reach out to BOOM and I’ll happily chat with them there. They can also follow me on Twitter @LaureenRegan. So there are a variety of ways that I [inaudible].

JAWN: Fair enough. One thing I did look at your Twitter, earlier this morning, and I noticed that your bio doesn’t say the voice of the SkyTrain. I think we got to make a case for that getting in there.

LAUREEN: I better update it. That’s a great idea. I’m going to do that. I’ll update it. Thank you.

JAWN: Amazing. Okay. Laureen, thank you so much for giving us some time here today. And if I could selfishly ask, could you give us your SkyTrain voice here? Maybe just saying, “Thanks for listening to What’s the T?” Like would that be okay?

LAUREEN: Absolutely. Thank you, Jawn.

JAWN: Yeah.

LAUREEN: Okay. Thanks for listening to What’s the T.

JAWN: Amazing. It just doesn’t get any better than that. Laureen, thank you so much for this.

LAUREEN: Thank you.

JAWN: Humble, well-spoken, kind and extremely gracious and giving us the time to speak. She is Laureen Regan, the one and only voice of the SkyTrain. And yes, she still absolutely has it.

My thanks to Laureen and  BOOM  Group for allowing us the opportunity to do this. Producers Allen and Vince for their help in making this episode possible. And of course, you for listening and helping to make What’s the T now a two-time award-winning podcast. Thank you so much. My name is Jawn Jang and until next time, have a safe trip home.