Translink Buzzer Blog

Donate a blanket! Drive on the Line is back and needs YOUR help

Gregory Ould heads BlanketBC and his kids volunteer to help collect blankets for those in need

When Gregory Ould offered a blanket to a homeless man back in 2005, he didn’t realize he was about to change his life’s focus.

Ould is the co-founder, along with his son Ben, of BlanketBC Society, an organization based in Mission that collects and distributes blankets to those in need.

Ould is a Canada Line Attendant and his organization has collected over 400,000 blankets to date!

This year, BlanketBC’s ‘Drive on the Line’ celebrates 10 years of changing lives and bringing warmth to people blanket by blanket.

North America’s largest blanket drive, this two-day donation initiative involves over 175 blanketeers ranging from individuals to families to corporate and sporting teams.

These volunteers collect blankets from our customers and the public at eight stations from downtown Vancouver to Richmond.

If you’d like to donate, you can head to:

  • Waterfront Station
  • Yaletown/Roundhouse
  • Vancouver City
  • Broadway/City Hall
  • Oakridge/41st
  • Marine Drive
  • Bridgeport, and
  • Lansdowne

Donations accepted are: socks, scarves, mittens, toques, and of course – blankets. All donated items are divided up and distributed to over 100 shelter programs and organizations that work directly with society’s most impoverished individuals and families throughout Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island.

BlanketBC requests that you ensure the items you donate are clean.

Last year’s blanket drive successfully collected over 6200 blankets, 1200 articles of clothing and over $7600! Every year, the goal is to collect over 10,000 blankets.

For more information, or to volunteer, please visit the BlanketBC website, or contact Gregory Ould.

Author: Tanushree Pillai

Transit-friendly fantastic Phở and more places in Metro Vancouver

Did you know there are two styles of Phở?

A piping hot bowl of Phở sounds quintessential of rainy Vancouver evenings, or rather late nights. This simple beef noodle soup – traditionally, but you can also get different kinds of stock – from Vietnam has come to be its most-prized culinary assets.

In fact, this humble dish even had Vietnamese poet Tu Mo wax eloquent about it in his poem, ‘An Ode to Phở’. This flavoursome mix of beef bones, charred onion and ginger, spices that include star anise, cinnamon, cloves, black cardamom and coriander – all used to make the slow-cooked broth that defines Phở – is the epitome of egalitarianism. The Phở brings the rich and poor together. Period.

Did you know there are two styles of Phở?  Phở bac, which is Phở from the northern regions of Vietnam, is made quite differently from how Phở is prepared in southern Vietnam (Phở Sài Gòn). The northern-style broth is traditional and simple with wider noodles, while the one from the south is somewhat sweeter, with lots of herbs, and even hoisin and chilli sauce. An important takeaway – not all Vietnamese-noodle-in-hot-broth-in-a-bowl dishes are Phở!

And since Metro Vancouver has so many fantastic Phở and more places, we thought we’d list some of those that are easily accessible by transit. Why? Because, we love all things transit, and we sure love us some Phở – Phở-real!

Let us know in the comments below which one is your favourite Vietnamese restaurant!

Note: Restaurant timings, locations, and prices may be subject to change. Check each restaurant’s website for exact details. 

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Now showing: award-winning public artwork at Joyce–Collingwood station!

Have you checked out this amazing artwork at Joyce–Collingwood SkyTrain station yet?

We have some news to share!

For those of you who board/alight the Expo Line at Joyce–Collingwood SkyTrain station, a new piece of public art has probably drawn your attention.

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Meet Laureen: Your evergreen SkyTrain voice lady

It’s been nearly two decades since Laureen came on board

Hop on a SkyTrain and you’ll hear a woman’s voice on the public address system, telling you what line you’ve boarded and what station is coming up next.

Well, that voice belongs to Laureen Regan, president of Regan Productions, a video production company in Calgary, Alberta.

She’s been the voice of the SkyTrain since 2001, when the Millennium Line opened and new station announcements were required. We brought her back again when the Canada Line and Evergreen Extension opened to record additional announcements.

In July this year, we brought Vancouver-born actor Seth Rogen as the guest voice on transit. Seth added to Laureen’s SkyTrain station name announcements and talked about etiquette on transit and entertained and educated our customers on priority seating, bags and feet on seats, and many more transit etiquette issues. He also had interesting nuggets to share about Vancouver. If you missed your chance to listen to them on the system, worry not, because we’ve put them up online!

Laureen Regan

It’s been nearly two decades since Laureen came on board, and she continues to be THE SkyTrain lady for us and our customers.

Regan heard her voice on the train system for the first time shortly after the Millennium Line began service.

“I took the train and I laughed,” she says. “It was so amazing to hear it—to sit there and go, ‘Oh my God, that’s my voice.’ You remembered when you recorded it. … And everybody has no idea, which makes you laugh.”

Regan came to be the voice of the SkyTrain through her connection to Interalia, another Calgary-based company.

Interalia makes automated voice systems, and knew Regan had done voice work for her own productions in the past. They asked her to do a demo voice for their system, which they were about to show to TransLink for the Millennium Line.

Then, when TransLink bought the Interalia system, Regan was asked to record the real announcements for the trains.

 

Recording wasn’t too tough.

“Millennium Line is hard to say, I’ve got to say,” she says. “But I don’t remember any of the names being particularly difficult. The challenge sometimes with recording for places you don’t know is that you may not know the proper pronunciation [of local names].”

It’s a challenge she’s faced again over the years.

Regan has also done voice work for the Salt Lake City train system and the BART trains in San Francisco, both through Interalia

The chance to do voice work like this has been a gift, she says.

“It’s not been something that I’ve planned—it just happened. I enjoy it every time I do voicing. I love it.”

Do you have a favourite SkyTrain announcement? Tell us which one!

Listen to the Podcast

Regan’s interview was conducted as part of The Buzzer blog podcast. Have a listen!

This post originally appeared in the October 10, 2008 issue of The Buzzer. 

Winter is coming! How TransLink prepares for snowy weather

We undertake various steps to ensure our transit system isn’t impacted because of overnight snow.

Winter officially doesn’t arrive for another month-and-a-half, but at TransLink, customer safety is our number one priority. In anticipation of adverse winter weather conditions, our operating companies always have plans to maintain service for you.

We work expeditiously before and during winter to ensure our buses, our trolley fleet, and SkyTrain all continue to run smoothly, so that we can get you home safe.

But, as you know, sometimes traffic woes and slippery roads mean there are some inadvertent delays.

Read on to find out what this means for your snowy commute.

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Goodbye and Thank You: Transit Police Sergeant Wendy Hawthorne to retire

Transit Police Sergeant Wendy Hawthorne started with the Metro Transit Security Service in early 1984 as a Transit Security Officer

On November 21, at the Canadian Urban Transit Association Conference in Toronto, Metro Vancouver Transit Police Sergeant Wendy Hawthorne will receive the 2018 Leadership Award in Excellence to acknowledge the benefits our transit system has gained thanks to her specialized expertise in graffiti on transit. We caught up with Wendy for an interview before she heads off into retirement at the end of this year.

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Transit Supervisor saves a life on the Knight Street bridge

“I’m not a hero by any means,” says Surinder.

As a Transit Supervisor, Surinder Sahdra hears it all the time – police close off a bridge or traffic  because someone’s about to jump. But for Surinder, who has been with the Coast Mountain Bus Company since 2000, he’s never had to pull someone back from the edge.

On a Thursday morning with rush hour traffic at its peak, Surinder responded to an incident near the Knight Street bridge where police had blocked off part of Marine Drive. The Transit Supervisor was helping police navigate traffic and buses through the road block when passing drivers on the opposite side of traffic began to honk at Surinder.

“Hey you, there’s a jumper on the bridge,” a woman yelled out her car window.

Stuck at his post, Surinder hoped someone would call for help. However, as the next few minutes passed, more drivers began yelling to Surinder, hoping to catch his attention. Surinder searched for another Transit Supervisor in the area who would be available to help, but the other Supervisor was tied up with another incident.

“I was fairly close and I was going in the same direction, so I thought I should check it out, just in case,” says Surinder.

As he drove over the Knight Street bridge, he spotted a man close to the Mitchell Island exit, straddling the railing of the bridge. Quickly, Surinder updated TComm, who let him know that 911 was now buzzing with numerous reports of someone about to jump.

“Nobody was stopping to help him, everyone was calling 911,” noted Surinder.

As Surinder drove over the Knight Street bridge, he spotted a man close to the Mitchell Island exit.

Surinder pulled up to the middle of the bridge and began talking to the man. He noticed there was a bottle of alcohol in the man’s back pocket that was almost empty. When asked if everything was okay, he told Surinder to go away.

“My instinct was, if I don’t grab him, he’s going to jump, and then I’ll regret it for the rest of my life,” remembers Surinder.

In a split-second decision, Surinder jumped over the concrete barrier and grabbed the man’s arm to hold him down, keeping TComm updated throughout. Another Transit Supervisor, Frank Liptak, was on the other side of the bridge. He heard what was happening and ran over to assist Surinder. Both supervisors were able to hold down the man and talk to him as he struggled, waiting for police to arrive.

“I’m not a hero by any means,” says Surinder. “I’m just trying to do my best while I’m on the road helping people.”

The Vancouver Police Department later informed TComm that Surinder’s actions – pulling the man off the railing – was the right thing to do. As a critical defuser and having recently received Mental Health First Aid Training, Surinder was able to apply some of this experience to help not only the man he assisted, but himself.

“I think some of those tools did come in handy when I was sitting with the man,” says Surinder, who admits he was a bit shaken. “Afterwards, you start thinking about what could’ve happened and who knows, he may not have jumped.”

Author: Priscilla Leung

Transit-friendly weekend Halloween jaunts that’ll haunt!

Happy Haunting, ghoulfriends!

Costume parties, haunted houses, jack-o’-lanterns – you get the gist! Halloween is next week, and you are probably out hunting for that spooktacular costume.

If you’re wondering what Halloween-related events to go to this weekend, you came to the right place. The Buzzer blog is pumped to bring you this list of action-packed events, haunted houses, and all other spooky things in between!

Eat, drink, and be scary!

Note: Event timings, locations, and prices may be subject to change. Check each event’s website for exact details. 

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Transit-friendly things to do in Metro Vancouver this weekend

This weekend’s guide is for activities across Metro Vancouver

The best day of the week is here, and The Buzzer blog is back with its guide for things you can do this weekend in Metro Vancouver!

Don’t have plans and want so? The Buzzer has your back!

Read on to find out what exciting things you can do this weekend that are accessible by transit. The best part? We tell you how to get there!

Note: Event timings, locations, and prices may be subject to change. Check each event’s website for exact details. 

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Q&A: Spotlight on Emily Carr student Autumn Quigley

As a transit user in Vancouver, Autumn loves the cultural diversity of the city

When illustrator Autumn Quigley first moved to Vancouver, the diversity of the city really appealed to her. So, when the time came to design a transit etiquette illustration for TransLink, she went back to this cultural aspect of her new home.

Autumn is a recent graduate who majored in illustration from the Emily Carr University of Art + Design (ECUAD), whose artwork depicting transit etiquette is currently displayed on our transit system.

TransLink’s recent collaboration with ECUAD aims to take a look at transit etiquette through the eyes of students who are also transit users themselves.

More than 40 students of the fourth-year illustration course at ECUAD, taught by Professors Justin Novak, Amory Abbott, and Daniel Drennan ElAwar, brought their own sense of creativity to the project.

Autumn chatted with our social media team about how art in public places serves a purpose.

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This 4-year-old had the best transit-themed birthday party!

Isaac’s parents decided to celebrate his love for all things transit

It’s just another day for 4-year-old Isaac. He goes to preschool three days per week and loves his classmates, and teachers. He takes transit with his mom wherever he goes. And just like any other 4-year-old, Isaac is a huge transit fan. He loves watching videos of trains, buses, and cartoons.

Isaac started riding buses when he was 3-weeks-old, and it helps with his communication skills, says his mom, Pamela Carvajal, who sent The Buzzer blog pictures of Isaac’s transit-themed birthday party!

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Driven by success: TransLink voted one of the best local employers

Image courtesy Georgia Straight

Hey Vancouver! We are here to share some great news with ya!

We were voted one of the Best Local Employers in the ‘Best of Vancouver 23rd Annual Readers’ Choice Winners‘ held by the Georgia Straight!

Wait…! There’s more because good things come in threes.

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TransLink gives green light to green bonds

We will be the first transit agency in Canada to issue green bonds

UPDATE Nov 16, 2018: TransLink issued its first-ever Green Bond, becoming the first transit agency in Canada to do so, helping to satisfy strong investor interest in organizations with a compelling environmental story to tell. The bond, valued at $400 million, is TransLink’s largest bond issuance.

At TransLink, we take environmental stewardship very seriously. We also constantly spend capital to improve our transit network, so YOU, our customers, can benefit from it.

We all know public transit is a greener choice – it takes away cars from the roads, thereby reducing our cumulative carbon footprint.

With this responsibility in mind, TransLink’s Board of Directors has given the green light to issue green bonds as one way to finance the largest expansion to transit service in our region’s history — the 10-Year Vision.

What are green bonds, you might wonder?

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South of the Fraser: transit-friendly things to do this Thanksgiving weekend

This week, go to the South of the Fraser for events on the Thanksgiving weekend

Pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes and gravy – ‘tis the season to be stuffed! Thanksgiving is this weekend, and we thought we’d help you decide what to do and where to go. A lot of the feedback you give is about things to do outside of Vancouver – Surrey, Delta, Langley, and Richmond.

So, this time, The Buzzer blog is pumped to help you carve out some fun South of the Fraser this weekend! Orange you pumped?!

Note: Event timings, locations, and prices may be subject to change. Check each event’s website for exact details. 

Monday, Oct 8 is Thanksgiving Day! Bus, SkyTrain & SeaBus services will operate on a Sunday/holiday schedule. Holiday fares will be in effect, you only need a one-zone fare to travel across all zones! West Coast Express will not operate. http://ow.ly/BPrj30lAPOO

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I Love Transit 2018: TransLink keeps sustainability in focus

It is expected that each electric bus in operation will reduce on-road CO2 emissions by close to 300,000 kg annually

It’s I Love Transit Week! A week where we celebrate our riders, transit enthusiasts and all the things we love about transit. This year’s theme is…Connections: the future of transportation in Metro Vancouver. One of the key elements of what the future of transit entails is sustainable transit. So, we chatted with Sarah Buckle, Director Enterprise Risk and Sustainability at TransLink what that actually means.

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