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Translink Buzzer Blog

Buzzer illustrator interview: Tyler Dale

Tyler and his Buzzer illustration!

Tyler and his Buzzer illustration!

The latest and fabulously purple edition of the print Buzzer newsletter is on transit and available to download in .pdf form! I’m a big fan of the illustration this month. To say Tyler has a bright future is an understatement. Here’s a little more about him and his art.

How would you describe yourself?

I’m a illustrator, graphic designer and a self proclaimed grilled cheese connoisseur.

What’s your favourite thing to illustrate?

cats!

How did you come up with your illustration?

I typically sketch out a few solution for a piece of work. But for this I decided right away to do a composition design separating all of the elements up into their own boxes.

Do you take transit? if so, what do you like about it?

Yup, I use it all of the time. When I lived in Kitsilano, I used the # 4 almost everyday to get around. I always looked forward to the bus rides after a long day.

What does your future hold for you?

Lots of work and more happy clients!

Thanks for making the Buzzer look beautiful Tyler!

Transit Driver Appreciation Day is Tuesday, March 18th!

Downloadable Bus Driver Appreciation Day Cards

Downloadable Bus Driver Appreciation Day Cards


They’re the people that many of us see almost everyday. Some of us speak with them regularily others may simply exchange a, “hello”, a smile or maybe nothing at all. They can make or break your commute and when the make it, it can really change you day. They’re your transit operators and tomorrow is a day to say thanks for getting me to where I need to go.

It’s called Transit Driver Appreciation Day, and it’s tomorrow! If you check out the website, you can download!

Conceived in Seattle in 2009, the date was chosen because, “That’s the day that bus service is believed to have debuted in Paris in 1662.”, says the organizers

This day is not to be confused with the Bus Driver Appreciation day at Vancouver Technical School or Say Hi on the Bus. And of course, any day can be a day to appreciate your driver.

So, if you haven’t yet, say thanks to the driver you like, give them a card or simply give them a smile. I’m sure they’d love to receive it!

The March 2014 issue of the Buzzer is on the system

The latest issue of the Buzzer newsletter is available on buses, SkyTrain, SeaBus and West Coast Express! If you can’t wait to get your hands on the issue, you can always download it.

So what’s in the issue? The main theme is TransLink’s 15th anniversary! Yup, it’s true we’ve been around that long! We’ve included some of the major milestone that have happened over these years from the completion of the Millennium and Canada Line to the introduction of the U-PassBC and the extension of the Major Roads Network (to name just a few).

We also printed some the pictures you took and made us smile for the #2010olympiclove photo contest. I just love looking at those. What a time it was in 2010!

Almost every month we provide an update on the Compass Card. This month we highlight the 2,500 new Compass Card users from the CNIB (Canadian National Institute for the Blind) that we also featured on the blog.

The other two new features have to do with the Transit Police’s new non-emergency texting line 87-77-77, as well as the Train2Main which we’ll tell you more about early next week.

And what would a Buzzer newsletter be without coming events, contest corner and back issue? The answer: it wouldn’t be much of an issue!

We hope you enjoy this month’s issue. As always, let us know what you think of it!

All aboard the live opera train on the SkyTrain!

Get a little culture on the rail this weekend with the Opera Train!

Get a little culture on the rail this weekend with the Opera Train!

Looking to do something you’ve never done this weekend? How about some live opera on a SkyTrain courtesy of our friends at TravelSmart!

That’s right, starting at Surrey Central SkyTrain station at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 9 (don’t forget to spring forward before you go) live performances will be happening until approximately 12:30 p.m. at all Expo line stations between Surrey Central and Stadium-Chinatown station.

For more info on the schedule and why this is happening in the first place, check out the TravelSmart post!

 

 

Rethinking Transportation with Andrew Coyne

Andrew Coyne speaking at SFU Woodwards

Andrew Coyne speaking at SFU Woodwards

Hello Buzzer readers! I hope you had a chance to attend the second lecture in the series “Rethinking Transportation: New Voices, New Ideas” that took place on Tuesday, February 26 at SFU Woodwards. The lecture, Easing Congestion in Metro Vancouver: Prices without Subsidies, by Andrew Coyne, was streamed live and the video will be available shortly – I’ll keep you posted.

The lecture generated a very interesting conversation about mobility pricing. Stephen Rees built a storify of the tweets posted during and about the lecture. He was very kind to let us post it here to give our readers a better idea of the what the conversation was about. Kudos to everyone who tweeted during the lecture!

The next lecture is on March 26, 2014. Check here for more info.

TransLink in the media: The expanded lot at the South Surrey Park and Ride

News hounds like myself might be reading some of the chatter today regarding the expansion lot at the South Surrey Park and Ride. The Province and Georgia Straight have both written about it.

We would like to correct some facts regarding who funded this $4.5 million project.

To respond to overcrowding at the previous lot, the expanded Park and Ride was developed as a partnership between the Province and TransLink. The Province funded the project’s capital costs and contributed to the land purchase. That is, the Province of British Columbia funded the $4.5 million expansion project. TransLink is responsible for operating and maintaining the lot.

This expanded lot supports improved transit and transportation for local communities, transit users and the travelling public. It makes it easier for people to connect to the existing transit network, which in turn makes transit a more viable choice.

UPDATE: Letter sent from TransLink to CTF

Olympic Memories: Thanks for sharing your #2010olympiclove

asktranslink-memories

@wwong17 winner of the #2010olympiclove contest! - @TransLink Rode the Canada Line for the first time and loved my visit to the Atlantic Canada House! #2010olympiclove pic.twitter.com/Ex3yAeLzls

@wwong17 winner of the #2010olympiclove contest! – @TransLink Rode the Canada Line for the first time and loved my visit to the Atlantic Canada House! #2010olympiclove pic.twitter.com/Ex3yAeLzls

Well, the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi are over, but the love for the those and the 2010 Winter Olympics and sport in general keeps flowing strong.

We had nearly 150 fantastic entries for our #2010olympiclove contest! Many thanks to everyone who shared their love with us.

Below are a just a few of the pics that made us remember how great it was when the world came to Greater Vancouver and Whistler four years ago.

We hoped you enjoyed this series. It was great to organize just a few of the TransLink and operating staff stories.

Of course, there are many more stories to tell about the Games four years ago. If you want to share some more, please do so below.








 

 

Olympic Memories: Sergio Grossi

asktranslink-memoriesFor this last installment in our Olympic Memories series we revisit the image from our first post in the series and torch relay they lead up to the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

Sergio in 2010

Sergio in 2010

Sergio Grossi was and still is a Depot Coordinator for Coast Mountain Bus Company. The summer before the 2010 Winter Olympic Games his Depot Manager dropped a Olympic Torch contest application on Sergio’s desk.

“You have 15 minutes to tell how you exemplify Olympic spirit – to win a chance to carry the Olympic Torch,” says his Manager.

For his application, Sergio recalled a co-worker who offered to take him on in a game of tennis. Despite the co-workers eagerness and energy, he didn’t have a lot of skill. We had a few very interesting lessons! But I’m truly glad I didn’t give up, as that co-worker eventually became a real friend and unfortunately a formidable opponent,” says Sergio.

Sergio today and his dog. Sergio included his dog, "Because he always reminds me of the Olympics in 2010. I ran my leg in Aldergrove, near where I picked up the Torch. There was a sign that advertised on a pole, eight golden labrador retriever puppies for sale. I wanted a dog for a long time, convinced my wife and the day after the run I went back to Aldergrove and picked up my puppy. My dog is another nice memory of the Olympics that year. His name is Primo, he's been a wonderful addition to the family."

Sergio today and his dog. Sergio included his dog, “Because he always reminds me of the Olympics in 2010. I ran my leg in Aldergrove, near where I picked up the Torch. There was a sign that advertised on a pole, eight golden Labrador retriever puppies for sale. I wanted a dog for a long time, convinced my wife and the day after the run I went back to Aldergrove and picked up my puppy. My dog is another nice memory of the Olympics that year. His name is Primo, he’s been a wonderful addition to the family.”

Sergio’s other offering for the application was also about tennis. His son and three other young boys were enrolled in a community education tennis course. When they arrived for their first lesson, they learned their course had been cancelled due to low enrollment. Sergio, seeing the kid’s disappointment decided to take all four boys under his wing and teach them the basics of tennis. The outcome was amazing. Both Sergio, the boys and their parents keep this time as a spacial memory.

While Sergio felt there are more deserving employees who could have carried the torch and all that it symbolized, he’s humbled by the honour, which he compares to Haley’s Comet: something that comes along once in a lifetime!

Sergio savoured every moment of carrying the Olympic torch down the Fraser Highway on February 8, 2010.

 

Olympic Memories: JoAnn Woodall and Michelle Babiuk

asktranslink-memories

JoAnn and her great collection of pins!

JoAnn and her great collection of pins!

JoAnn Woodhall and Michelle Babiuk are next in our Olympic Memories series where we revisit the 2010 Winter Olympic Games! JoAnn is Transportation Demand Management Officer and Michelle is a Planner with TransLink.

JoAnn: What did you do as an employee during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games?

Like Paul, I was a Host during the games as well as well as helping downtown Vancouver business reduce car traffic for Olympics.

What did you love most about your Olympic experience?

I was thrilled to attend one of the competitive events and watch Canada compete in short track speed skating. As a member of TransLink’s Olympic team.I was granted some special opportunities, like attending the dress rehearsal for the opening ceremonies, meeting Simon Whitfield at a fund raising dinner, and working under the amazing leadership of Mike Madill and Doug Kelsey – two superb visionaries.

And most amazing was that I had the privilege of passing along our experience and lessons learned to my peers working on the London Olympics traffic reduction plan, which ironically included a gentleman that 25 years ago, was one of my coop students when I worked in Ontario.

On a personal level, the best memory was working at Waterfront station during the men’s hockey final. Being in such a historic place with my workmates – to feel the roar of the crowd when Sydney Crosby shot the winning goal – it still brings tears. Even today, wearing my Olympic jacket, a businessman walking to work struck up a conversation to tell me he was a volunteer and found it to be the best experience of his life. I love how the Olympics brought our community together – as a workplace at TransLink, and as a resident of this great place to live!

Michelle!

Michelle!

Michelle: What did you do as an employee during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games?

I was a host working at Waterfront Station. It was an interesting place to be because so many different transit modes meet there and people are arriving from all over the region.

What did you love most about your Olympic experience?

While working as a host, it was great to see so many people who hadn’t used transit before or who hadn’t used it in a long time trying it out. Many people said that they were surprised at how convenient it was. Also, TransLink’s wayfinding team was piloting new maps and signage at the station so seeing how people used them was interesting. On the Olympics front, I enjoy watching a lot of curling.

Thanks JoAnn and Michelle for the interview! To read more about what JoAnn did during the games, check out our post about why she deserves a medal of her own.

Olympic Memories: Burt Sangalang

asktranslink-memoriesFor 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.

Burt Sangalang

Burt Sangalang

Burt Sangalang has been a Community Shuttle Operator for five years, and an honourary bus operator since he was a little boy and used to ride the bus and rip transfers for his bus driver dad. During the 2010 Winter Olympics, Burt drove Community Shuttle routes in Ladner, Richmond and Tsawwassen.

Lasting impressions

When asked about his overall impressions of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, Burt said, “Everyone was so proud of hosting the games, Team Canada’s performance, and being able to welcome people from all over the world to our home.”

Favourite memories

On the first day of Olympic competition, Burt and his friends went into downtown Vancouver at 5 a.m. (yes, you read that right) to try to be the first people in line to ride the zip line that was set up over Robson Square. They arrived to find two people ahead of them, and a zip line that wasn’t open yet.

Burt and Elvis Stojko!

Burt and Elvis Stojko!

While they were waiting, a television crew approached them and asked if they would come down to the Robson Square Ice Rink and skate in the background of a story they were working on. Burt and his friends agreed to do it. And big surprise, the story was about three-time World champion and two-time Olympic silver medalist, Elvis Stojko.

In the end, Burt and his friends didn’t end up on TV, but they did get to ride the zip line and take a picture with Elvis!

During the last day of Olympic completion, Burt was driving a Community Shuttle route in Richmond. He’d just arrived at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery in Steveston for his break, when he turned on the radio to hear Sidney Crosby score in overtime to clinch the Men’s Hockey gold medal.

Burt’s 2010 memorabilia including his Canadian Flag

Burt’s 2010 memorabilia including his Canadian Flag

Burt was so excited by the win that he grabbed the Canadian flag, which he kept with him during the games, stood beside his Community Shuttle bus, and started jumping up and down and cheering. There were no passengers waiting to board his shuttle at the time, and very few motorists on the road, but Burt did notice the drivers who were on the road seemed pretty confused by what he was doing.

One motorist, a woman, stopped her car, rolled down her window and asked Burt about what he was doing.  He told her how the Canadian Men’s Hockey team had just won gold. She immediately parked her car, grabbed one end of Burt’s Canadian flag and started jumping up and down and cheering with him. She even told Burt she didn’t really watch hockey but she was so excited by the big win!

Thanks for sharing your Olympic Memories Burt!

Olympic Memories: Cathy McLay

asktranslink-memories

Cathy McLay

Cathy McLay

For this installment in our Olympic Memories series, we revisit the 2010 Winter Olympic Games by asking TransLink’s CFO, Cathy McLay, about her experiences moving the world four years ago!

What did you do during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games?

I did two things: I had just become the CFO at TransLink and had to help run the office while many employees were out working and volunteering to help transit move everyone during the Games. I was also making sure that everyone that wanted to have an opportunity to get out of the office and help the crowds of people get to venues and other locations during the Games had an opportunity to do so.

The second thing I did was after work. In the evening I put on my blue jacket and hit the streets. The first thing I did when out was to talk to our staff who were working and volunteering to thank them for putting in the long hours, many of which were unpaid. While I was out there, I would also assist getting  people where they needed to go.

I couldn’t believe how much fun I had talking to employees outside of the office in the electric atmosphere of the Games. They were all telling me stories of great experiences they were having. Every day they had new and wonderful stories to tell!

What was your best memory during the Games?

Well, it was watching how excited TransLink and operating staff were during the Games. I’m a grandmother, and it’s like watching kids have Christmas everyday. They would say things like, “I wish we could do this everyday.” They wanted to be out talking to people. They wanted to be out telling people about the transit system and what a gorgeous place we live in. That was so great for me to see.

Personally, I was just loving being out with the locals and visitors to the region. I loved getting all the questions, which surprisingly were not all about transit. We were like ambassadors for the region, which was fantastic.

Thanks for the interview, Cathy!

Transportation Commissioner approves changes to YVR AddFare

Ticket vending machines at YVR.

Ticket vending machines at YVR.

I have some news for riders who buy single fare tickets from Canada Line Stations on Sea Island (YVR-Airport, Sea Island Centre, Templeton).

The Regional Transportation Commissioner has approved a fare change that means riders starting trips from Sea Island traveling to Bridgeport Station and beyond using single fares purchased with Compass Card Stored Value and DayPasses sold on Sea Island will also pay the five dollar AddFare, just like customers who pay cash today.

For monthly pass holders and other product passes like BC Bus Pass, there is no change. These riders will continue to enjoy the AddFare exemption that they have today, as will Sea Island employees and Burkeville residents. Additionally, like today, all customers traveling within Sea Island, including those who pay cash will not pay an additional fare.

For info on stored value and more about Compass Card, AskCompass.ca is a great resource.

This change will come into effect later this year as customers transition to Compass. It is designed to ensure we continue to meet our funding obligations and provide a viable transit system for all our riders and users of TransLink assets.

As many of you know, FareSavers will be phased out once Compass has fully transitioned for all customers. However, with Compass, many people who currently use cash will switch to Compass Stored Value, which offers a 14 per cent savings. Monthly passes, stored value or a DayPass can all be kept on your Compass Card.

Why the change?

In 2009, as part of TransLink’s 10-year funding stabilization plan, the Mayors’ Council approved the YVR AddFare to close a gap in funding the capital costs of the Canada Line. Customers paying with cash to travel from the airport and other Sea Island stations to points East have been paying the $5 AddFare ever since.

The AddFare was meant to apply to all short-term trips (excluding Monthly or DayPasses) to and from Sea Island; however, at the time, the Regional Transportation Commissioner approved the fare increase only for cash fares. With the ongoing transition to Compass, many customers will shift from cash to the convenience of Compass. With this change, we’ll begin applying the AddFare to all short-term trips as originally planned.

 

 

Olympic Memories: Paul Barlow and Paul Cheng

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Paul Cheng and Paul Barlow (minus the jacket)

Paul Cheng at the Richmond Olympic Oval (Circa 2010) and Paul Barlow (minus the jacket)

For this installment in our Olympic Memories series, we revisit the 2010 Winter Olympic Games by asking a couple of TransLink employees about their experiences moving the world four years ago! Both Paul’s worked near the Richmond O Zone during the Games. Paul Barlow is a Director of Risk Management and Paul Cheng is a Transportation Demand Management Officer for TransLink.

What did you do as an employee during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games?

Paul B: I was a Host Coordinator in Richmond working the Canada Line.

Paul C: I was working at the Richmond Canada Line Stations, mainly at Richmond-Brighouse. I spent most of my time giving directions to the Richmond Oval or to the O Zone, and providing information about our transit system and the Olympics.

What did you love most about your Olympic experience?

Paul B:  Simply put, the people. Everyone was in a good mood. At the end of the Games a young man asked for my official TransLink staff Winter Olympic Jacket. I though, “What the heck am I going to do with this now that the games are through?” So, I gave him my jacket. He’s was really surprised and very happy. Like I said, everyone was in a good mood at the Games!

Paul C's ticket to Canada's gold medal winning event!

Paul C’s ticket to Canada’s gold medal winning event!

Paul C:

I just loved being able to be a part of the Olympics. I loved interacting with people from all over the globe. I met people from the Netherlands, Japan, Korea, Germany, and a lot more other countries. Everyone was so friendly and accommodating. Hearing all the positive feedback from visitors about our service was very satisfying.

I had so many highlights during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. I was in the Olympic Oval when Christine Nesbitt won the gold medal for the Women’s 1000m event. I was celebrating with other Canadians in the building. It was such a great experience being able to share the excitement with other Canadians.

I got the chance to meet Jennifer Heil, the Olympic Gold Medalist from women’s Moguls. I visited so many different pavilions, tried a variety of different cuisines, and got a small taste of different cultures.

I was at the Swiss House when Switzerland was awarded two gold medals at two separate events within a span of a few hours. It was a great experience just being inside the building when it happened.

 

 

Take the Surrey Community Survey about bus shelters

Let the City of Surrey know where you'd like a bus shelter!

Let the City of Surrey know where you’d like a bus shelter!

At least once a week I get a question or request through our many communications channels regarding bus stops. Some may be surprised to find out the most bus stops in the Greater Vancouver Area are not looked after by TransLink, but are the responsibility of the municipality they are found in (the big exception of course are bus exchanges and transit stations). Often the requests are to add a new bus stop. Usually, I point people towards the correct municipality to contact. Today, I’d like to point Buzzer readers to a survey that the City of Surrey is conducting about bus shelters!

Below are a few words from our friends at the City about shelters in Surrey. You still have more than a week to take the survey!

Every year the City of Surrey adds to the number of transit shelters on its city streets. As a transit user, you have firsthand knowledge about where shelters are needed and we want to hear from you! Until February 28, 2014, the City of Surrey invites you to share your ideas about new shelter locations and why these locations are important to you. You can complete the survey here. For more info, check www.surrey.ca/transit.

 

Buzzer illustrator interview: Bashar Sawalha

Bashar (his head at least) and his Buzzer illustration

Bashar (well, his head at least) and his Buzzer illustration

Here’s some light and humorous reading. As with most of our illustrators of the Buzzer newsletter, I had the opportunity to ask Bashar Sawalha, illustrator of our February issue, a few questions.

I really like Bashar’s illustration and I hope you do to. Here’s a short q and a with Mr. Sawalha.

How would you describe yourself?

I am a writer, comic artist and animator that loves the challenges of aiming for the stars! I have been on the never ending journey of trying to produce my animated television show that will entertain, shock and touch the hearts of people around the world

What’s your favourite thing to illustrate?

I love character interaction! Although it might seem that I only love the horrors in my comic book and web series  “Inquest of Missing Time,” it is the comedic play between the characters that drives me.

How did you come up with your illustration?

Being on the SkyTrain, your eyes always wonder, skimming through the wild colours of the passengers you suddenly stumble, the accidental eye contact has swept you down under, falling in love again is such splendor

Do you take transit? If so, what do you like about it?

I love being on SkyTrain underground because its one of the only places I am free from mobile communication. It forces me to interact with the people around me.

What does the future hold for you?

Many fine steaks, mass control of television and a star on the shiny dirty sidewalks of Hollywood Boulevard…