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Category: 2010 Olympics and Paralympics

A gold medal for transit during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics

February 28, 2020 marks the 10-year anniversary of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics’ final day of competition and the closing ceremonies. Of course, it’s also the anniversary of the “golden goal” scored by hockey player Sidney Crosby to win Canada the gold medal in men’s hockey.

Here’s an essay by Mohak Sood with The Buzzer blog on what the games meant for transit and transportation in Metro Vancouver. 

It’s winter. It’s February. It’s really not that cold, and it’s definitely not snowing much.  The coldest it got to this month was about -1 degrees Celsius.

It’s basically almost spring. Not ideal, really.

Anyways, you’ve got plans – you’re headed downtown.

You rip out a FareSaver from your booklet and head on down to see the Olympic Cauldron at Jack Poole Plaza, near the Vancouver Convention Centre.

But it’s guarded by a chain link fence, so it’s kind of hard to see.

Still, you hang around long enough to try and get a good look, and eventually you do. You see the glass that looks like ice. You see the cauldron, towering over you, all 30-plus feet of it. And then you see it. The fire. The flame. It’s lit.

And then you realize – it really isn’t that cold, like, at all. At the very least, it doesn’t feel anywhere close to cold enough. After all, it is the Winter Olympics!

You know just by simply thinking about Vancouver back in 2010, it feels like travelling through a time machine. Where does the time go!?

It’s hard to believe that it’s been ten years since the Vancouver 2010 games, because, well, a lot has changed since then.

Did you know there was no Instagram during the 2010 Olympics? It didn’t launch until 2012. And FareSavers? Does anyone even remember those? It’s the Compass Card now.

The words “it’s lit” has taken on a whole new meaning. In 2010, it meant you were talking about turning on a light, lighting a candle or even the Olympic Cauldron. But now? Maybe ask a teenager.

Although times have changed since we hosted the Winter Olympics ten years ago, its impact continues to reverberate, especially when it comes to transit ridership.

During the 17-day long Olympics, there were 26 million boardings on all services. That’s an average of 1.58 million boardings per day, 40 per cent higher than the average weekday back in 2010.

“There was so many articles and information afterwards that the transportation during the 2010 Olympics was one of the best that [the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games] has ever seen,” says Ray Hamilton, Coast Mountain Bus Company’s manager of service analysis.

And we made sure we were ready for all the travel – before the games kicked off. TransLink launched a large-scale expansion plan that saw not only the arrival of SkyTrain’s Canada Line, but also 180 new diesel-hybrid buses, 48 new SkyTrain cars and a 400-passenger SeaBus.

During the games, TransLink saw a record high in use of public transit and that helped redefine our regions commuting habits. Regional mass transit saw a whopping 50 per cent increase during and after the Games!

“The numbers of riders, it didn’t drop back down to pre-Olympic levels. I think there were lots of people who realized through the Olympic experience that transit was a pretty viable option for getting around the Lower Mainland,” says Constable Jason White with Transit Police.

TransLink continues to win the gold medal in transit ridership, surpassing more than 437 million boardings in 2018 to set an all-time high for Metro Vancouver.

Ridership continues to climb on the Canada Line, which connects people from Vancouver International Airport to downtown Vancouver. It hit an all-time high in 2018 for annual ridership, including 39.65 million boardings in October 2018 alone, surpassing the one-month ridership record of 39.2 million set back during the Olympics.

Recognizing our ridership growth between 2016-2018 and excellence in a range of areas, the American Public Transportation Association named TransLink the Transit System of the Year for 2019.

But perhaps most importantly, all the new additions to TransLink’s fleet were easier on the environment with reduced fuel consumption and lower emissions.

The Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics was a truly moment in time that brought the city, the province, and the country together.

We saw freestyle skier Alexandre Bilodeau become the first Canadian to win gold at an Olympic games held in Canada. We also saw the Canadian women’s hockey team shut out the Americans for gold and of course, hockey player Sidney Crosby’s “golden goal” in men’s hockey to end the magical tournament.

Everyone felt more connected during that time and because of the Olympics, everyone truly was.

Transit in Metro Vancouver has continue to transform 10 years later, so let’s take a look at selection of what we’ve accomplished since 2010:

How TransLink Learned to Connect the World to the Olympic Games One Tweet at a Time

Few people know that the 2010 Olympics played a major role in getting the ball rolling on connecting our customer with transit information in real time via Twitter. The games inspired the Twitter pilot project in Fall 2010, and laid the foundation for how we communicate online with over 200,000 customers today. We sat down with Derek Zabel, Manager at Compass Operations Solutions and one of the main initiators of the Olympics pilot project on Twitter , to take a walk down the memory lane and see how everything started. 

 

Derek Zabel talking on the phone at CMBC office, 2015

Derek Zabel at Coast Mountain Bus Company’s office, 2015.

TransLink’s Twitter was around for so long that it’s difficult to imagine TransLink’scustomer service without it. Can you tell us more about how it all began?

Back in 2010, I was working on the Media Relations team with Coast Mountain Bus Company. Winter Olympics brought thousands of people to Vancouver and our team worked hard to make sure we could engage with the visitors and our regular customers in a timely and efficient manner.

The idea was sparked by our Director of Communication at the time, Ken Hardie. He wanted to connect to customers on a completely new platform. So during that time we had some discussions between Ken, others and myself – what can we do to equip people with as much information about transit as possible?

Twitter during that time was a place for people to get information from news media. Initially we planned to use Twitter to communicate with the press. But when we looked at the other transportation agencies, no one was really utilizing Twitter for customer service, so we kind of took a risk.

What were your team’s main objectives with getting Twitter running?

We really wanted to ensure that our customers would have all the information they needed at their fingertips.  We wanted to inform them about all the different service delays, numerous buses that we brought in to try to get people to various venues. And, most importantly, we wanted to make sure we can engage with them almost instantaneously. If anyone had a question about transportation or logistics for the Olympics events, we were on top of it and ready to respond. Our main goal was to make sure everyone could get to their end destinations, whether it was a hockey game, training locations or their homes.

How was the Twitter Team set up?

During the Olympics, I was an acting Director of Communications for a couple of weeks and had a small team of about four people. We would come in at 6 o’clock at night and would leave at about 6 in the morning. That was because various events in the city, including hockey games, were happening in the evening. We each had Tweet Deck set up and we had all those different streams lined up. We’d pick up hashtags and reply to people who’d mention us.

What were you main challenges?  

Having small teams communicating with thousands of new visitors was one of the main challenges. At the end of the day, Olympics for us was really about engagement and connection. We wanted to leave a good impression about Vancouver and our transportation system and ensure our customers’ experience of transit was as seamless as possible so they could enjoy the events. It was a real chance for our organization to shine. Of course, service delays and changes happened too. But our task was always to respond to customers instantaneously. Even if they were saying something about it negatively, it did not matter. We would reach out to them saying “You know we’re sorry you cannot get on that bus, but there is another one coming and it has more space or something like that”.  And I think that made a very good inroads to our customers and helped us to navigate through the major challenges.

What do you think was the legacy of this project on how we communicate with customers today?

Our initiative was so successful that it encouraged TransLink to roll out a month-long Twitter pilot project later that year and was subsequently handed over to the Customer Information team. After the Olympics, a lot of organizations were reaching back to us with positive feedback. I think we broke the ground on trying to engage with customers socially and in real-time fashion for a lot of transportation agencies across the world. We started with a few hundred followers and ten years later our Twitter following is phenomenal.

Today our Customer Information team provides updates about TransLink buses, SeaBus, SkyTrain, Handy DART, and WestCoast Express, responding to over 100 questions on Twitter daily and keeping an eye on important alerts. Do you follow @TransLink on Twitter? Perhaps you were around in 2010 and have a story about your engagement with us on Twitter? If so, let us know – we’d love to hear about it! Who knows, maybe we’ll get the Olympics again.

 

 

Olympic Memories: Thanks for sharing your #2010olympiclove

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@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

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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

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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!

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.

 

 

Olympic Memories: Mike Madill

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Mike with his souvenir torch and TransLink staff official Winter Olympic jacket

Mike with his souvenir torch and TransLink staff official Winter Olympic Jacket

We’re going back four years in our collective memories and visiting the 2010 Winter Olympic Games for our Olympic Memories series

For this instalment, I sat down for a short interview with TransLink’s VP of Enterprise Initiatives, Mike Madill, and asked him about his experience of the 2010 Winter Olympics and how that experience contributes to his work on Compass Card.

Tell me what you did during the Games.

In 2008, I started in a new role as Vice President, Olympic Transportation for TransLink. I had the privilege to lead TransLink’s core team in terms of doing all of the organizing for TransLink’s responsibilities during the Games. We had an awesome core team.

How do you start something like that?

The first step in planning was to understand what was needed. Some planning started before 2008, but there was lots to be done.

What did you learn from the Games?

I learned so much during the Games. I was working for Coast Mountain Bus Company before that role, so I learned a lot about TransLink and how it worked.

What I learned from my Winter Olympic experience is that you need to have a good, well thought out plan. It needed to include everything. It needed to include not just the operations and how to deliver service during the Games. It needed to include a plan for how to manage the crowds, get people out of their cars and onto transit (transportation demand management) all while accommodating the crowds in downtown Vancouver. The plan also included all the communications, marketing and public education about transit services during the Games.

It was a massive job that took more than just the core team to deliver. The key to making it work as well as it did was for everyone to work together – all of TransLink and its operating company staff working together to make it happen. Everyone was working towards one specific goal. We all had a lot of things on the go. But during the lead up to the event, the Games became the priority, right from the top of the organization. The focus during those 17 days was to make the Games experience great.

We had teams of employees all of over Metro Vancouver helping to support this effort. I think some people who usually only work in an office environment were nervous about getting out and being on the front lines. But once people were outside and mingling with the crowds, most people really enjoyed the experience.

What’s your best memory from that time?

My best memory was probably just the feeling in the streets. The streets were so alive and jammed with people. It was a really positive atmosphere and nice vibe. It was tricky at the beginning for us. We had to work through and adapt to the changes during the first week of the Games. We had to figure out how to manage the crowds at Waterfront Station and other areas. But by the second week, we hit our stride and everything was working. I was out on the system pretty much everyday of the Games connecting with staff and watching it all happen – making sure everyone had what they needed.

The Winter Olympics was obviously a big project to work on. How does that experience relate to your new big project, Compass Card?

Well, learning during the Games how TransLink and the operating companies work really helped. Also understanding the value of good planning and good communication has helped. When looking at the organization internally, understanding the value of good change management has been key. Understanding that employees need to understand what’s going on and giving them the tools to tell others outside of the organization about the changes coming to our transit system is really important. Also, understanding crowds in the transit stations during the Games is helping plan for the transition from our current system to the Compass system.

How was planning for the Olympics different from preparing for Compass Card?

Compass is a lot bigger than the Olympics scope wise. With the Olympics, we had a hard deadline. With Compass, we also have deadlines, but we have flexibility too–if we feel things aren’t right for the customer yet, we can reassess and take the steps and time needed to get it right for customers.

Thanks for the time, Mike!

 

 

 

Olympic Memories: Jim

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.

Jim

Jim

Jim has been a transit operator for nearly eight years. During the Olympics, he like Tim, was  part of what’s called “the spareboard,” which means that instead of having a permanent route to drive, he was available for shifts on an on-call basis. Jim drove a variety of routes including Œtrippers.

Trippers are when extra service is put into place in a specific area to protect against overcrowding following a major event.

Lasting impressions

When asked about his overall impression of the Winter Games, Jim said, “People from all over the world telling me how they would love to stay in Vancouver.”

Jim loved playing tour guide during the Olympics. Jim would get on the PA system to explain the city and the transit system to visitors. He added, “So many people could not believe the features of our [transit] system – how it’s accessible with wheelchair ramps, and, how our buses talk to you (via the annunciators).

Favourite memories: A security checkpoint, hockey gold and Olympic love
The day of the Women’s Hockey gold medal matchup between Canada and the United States, Jim was sent on a tripper to the Georgia Viaduct to help move the anticipated crowds following the game. Because of the secure location, Jim’s bus was subject to a police check, which included a visit from an explosives detection dog.

When the Canadian Women’s team scored to clinch the gold medal, it was like a volcano going off. Jim even dropped his coffee! Then it was like a stampede of happiness as people spilled out of the arena, and left nearby bars and restaurants. Jim could see people, many of them complete strangers, hugging each other and singing O Canada. One couple in particular caught Jim’s eye ­; a Russian man laughing and singing with his arms wrapped around a Canadian woman.

Fast forward a few months later, Jim happened to be in downtown Vancouver on a day off with his wife, when all of the sudden he heard a man with a thick Russian accent call out, “Hey, driver.” It was the same couple Jim had seen that night of the women’s hockey final ­ and wouldn’t you know it, they’d fallen madly in love and gotten married. Talk about a whirlwind Olympic romance!

Thanks for the great memories Tim, Susan and Jim!

Thanks for the great memories Tim, Susan and Jim!

Do you have some fond 2010 Winter Olympic memories? Share them with us in the comments section and make sure to enter our contest!

Olympic Memories: Susan

asktranslink-memoriesFor this third 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.

Susan

Susan

Susan has been a transit operator for 23 years.  During the 2010 Winter Olympics, she drove the 05 Robson/Downtown and the 06 Davie/Downtown.

Lasting impressions

When asked about her overall impression of the 2010 Winter Games, Susan said, “It was so much fun! She added that, “With VIP motorcades, road closures, and reroutes, you had to be flexible to get the job done.”

“Everybody said how clean the city was; how helpful all the drivers were; and, how they couldn’t believe passengers said Œthank you when they got off the bus.”

Favourite memories

Susan admits that originally she wasn’t a big fan of the Olympics, but that once the Games began, the energy and excitement in the city was infectious.

While driving downtown, Susan experienced the electricity created by thousands of people lined up along the streets to cheer on the torch relay, just like how fellow transit operator Tim Chaput described it.

The Olympics was also a fun opportunity for Susan to practice speaking French and Arabic with her passengers.

Susan’s fondest memory of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games is a very personal one. Her sister and brother in-law came to Vancouver from Quebec to be spectators at the Olympics and one of the first things they did was get onboard Susan’s bus. The couple couldn’t stop talking about the beauty of Vancouver. Susan added, “I felt so much pride in our city. It was like we were greeting the world.”

Olympic Memories: Tim Chaput

asktranslink-memoriesFor the next three installments 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.

Tim Chaput

Tim Chaput

Tim has been a transit operator for nearly 20 years. He’s part of what’s called “the spareboard,” which means that instead of having a permanent route to drive, he is available for shifts on a callout or on-call basis. During the 2010 Winter Olympics, that meant he drove the 022 Knight/MacDonald, and routes to and from UBC and downtown Vancouver.

Lasting impressions

When asked about his overall impression of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, Tim said, “People were really blown away by Vancouver. I am really proud of our city and the job we did [getting spectators where they needed to go].”

Favourite memory

Tim said that if he had to choose just one favourite memory of the Games, it would be everything that happened during Opening Day (February 12, 2010).

Torch relay

There were thousands of people lined up along the streets of downtown Vancouver cheering him on! OK, not really. They were lined up to catch a glimpse of the torch relay. But there was so much excitement in the city that it felt amazing to be right at the centre of it.

(Caption for photo: With traffic stopped for the torch Tim had an opportunity to take this picture at Pender & Carrall

With traffic stopped for the torch Tim had an
opportunity to take this picture at Pender & Carrall

Experience of a lifetime

Tim’s bus became a makeshift stage for Musqueam band musicians who dazzled their international audience.

It was Tim’s last trip of the day. He was on the 022 Knight/MacDonald route, starting at the Dunbar Loop.  About 30 members of the Musqueam band, dressed in traditional clothing, and some carrying instruments, boarded the bus to head downtown.

Along the way, Tim picked up visitors from Ottawa, Chicago, Hawaii, Washington DC, and London, England. All were thrilled to be visiting Vancouver for the games and there was a lot of excited chatter on the packed bus. When the bus reached the Burrard Street Bridge, Tim asked the musicians to play. They did.

Tim's pin

Tim’s pin

It was magical. So magical that passengers were disappointed to have to leave the bus. When the band members reached their destination, one of the band members came to the front door of the bus, and without saying a word, handed Tim a pin. By the time Tim had called it a day, he felt like he was walking two feet off the ground.

Do you have some fond 2010 Winter Olympic memories? Share them with us in the comments section and make sure to enter our contest!

Olympic Memories: Ian Fisher

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Ian wearing his TransLink staff official Winter Olympic Jacket

Ian wearing his TransLink staff official Winter Olympic Jacket

Ian Fisher, Senior Planner of  infrastructure Planning at TransLink, is first up in our Olympic Memories series where we revisit the 2010 Winter Olympic Games! Ian is a transit enthusiast who has some fond memories of those seventeen days that the Greater Vancouver region and Whistler hosted the world!

I worked the entrance of Yaletown-Roundhouse station – two blocks from my then residence. It was terrific to be out in the field talking with customers and passers-by, helping them find their destinations and providing other information.

The neighbourhood was remarkably transformed during the Winter Olympics with the Live Site at David Lam Park, pedestrianized streets in Yaletown, and the general influx of happy people making it feel different. The City felt slightly unfamiliar but very welcoming at the same time.

Another highlight was the Olympic Line – the City of Vancouver’s “streetcar” demonstration line between the Canada Line and Granville Island. The visible delight from most of the riders experiencing a ride on the high-quality, modern trams borrowed from Brussels was great to see.

Do you have some fond 2010 Winter Olympic memories? Share them with us in the comments section and make sure to enter our contest!

 

Olympic Memories: #2010olympiclove

asktranslink-memories

 

Sergio from Coast Mountain Bus Company in the 2010 Winter Olympic torch relay!

Sergio from Coast Mountain Bus Company in the 2010 Winter Olympic torch relay!

Tomorrow, the opening ceremonies for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games will be held in Sochi, Russia. When a huge sporting event like this happens, it’s hard not to think back four years when we welcomed the world to Greater Vancouver and Whistler for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games!

For those of us who were here for the 2010 games, this is not only a time to enjoy Winter sport again, it’s a time to remember those 17 days four years ago that made such an impression on so many of us. Looking back through the Olympic and Paralympics Buzzer blog posts from 2010, it’s clear to see that transit played a huge role in moving the large volumes of people who came to Greater Vancouver to take part in all the activities. In fact, we moved over 1.6 million people a day during the first week of the games!

Our Memories

During the duration of these 2014 Winter Olympics (February 7 – 23), we’ll be going back to February 2010 in our collective memories to revisit all the excitement that was our games. This will include impressions from TransLink and operating company staff about their experiences. And I hope, this will include your memories of the games and transit.

#2010olympiclove

We weren’t at the Olympics ourselves. So many of you shot some great photos during the games and we want to share your love of the Olympics with a contest!

Before you enter, please read the contest rules and conditions.

We’re giving away a FareCard for one lucky person who tweets, posts or emails us a photo that falls within these guidelines:

  • A photo of a 2010 Winter Olympic games memory
  • A comment accompanying the image explaining the image
  • Your photo must be submitted no later than February 23, 2013 at midnight.

Here’s how to enter:

  • Email thebuzzer@translink.ca your photo with “#2010olympiclove” (it is almost Valentine’s Day after all) in the subject line.
  • Tweet your photo to @TransLink with the hashtag #2010olympiclove.
  • Post your photo on Instagram with the hashtag #2010olympiclove. Our Instagram page is TransLinkBC
  • Post your photo at facebook.com/TransLink with the hashtag #2010olympiclove.

 Photos may be used in the print Buzzer, the Buzzer blog, tweeted by @TransLink and posted on the TransLink Facebook and Instagram page.

Share your Olympic love!

 

 

 

A look back at the 2010 Olympics after one year on, from a transit perspective!

A cheerful crowd waits to board the SeaBus after the Olympic opening ceremonies, Friday February 12, 2010. Over 60,000 people headed to BC Place for the opening celebration that day! Find a few more SeaBus opening day photos here.

Since everyone’s doing a retrospective on “one-year after the Olympics,” I thought the Buzzer might as well jump in too :)

Scroll on down for an update on transit ridership one year post-Olympics, plus some classic photo and video from transit during the 2010 Olympic Games.

Transit riders kept on boarding after the Games in 2010

As you may know, transit ridership was incredibly high during the Olympics—and the ridership actually stayed higher for the remainder of 2010.

Here’s an excerpt from a news release we just put out today (see the release for even more stats):

The number of boardings (each time a person gets on a transit vehicle) increased 11.0 per cent over 2009 to just under 348 million. Subtracting February from each year, which was skewed by the Olympics, the total of nearly 309.5 million boardings in 2010 is 7.8 per cent higher than 2009.

Part of the reason for the increase is the addition of the SkyTrain Canada Line, which recorded nearly 38.5 million boardings in 2010. TransLink’s Fare Audit surveys have found 40 per cent of Canada Line customers use the SkyTrain line as part of an integrated travel plan – connecting from South of Fraser routes or crosstown buses in the city of Vancouver; 60 per cent of Canada Line customers are using it for their entire trip.

An interesting figure is a sharp jump in ridership on West Vancouver Transit. “Blue Bus” recorded 9.8 million boardings in 2010. Again removing the figures for the February months, that represents a 6.4 per cent lift over 2009.

West Coast Express registered a 6.1 per cent increase in boardings, to nearly 2.8 million, primarily due to the midday trips that were added during the Olympics. It is clear from this and the success of expanded TrainBus schedule that residents along the West Coast Express route embrace additional service when it is available. While adding midday runs is currently not possible, the new railcars acquired in late 2010 allow for longer trains and more available seats. Even discounting the “Olympics factor”, the number of boardings increased a healthy 3.3 per cent over 2009.

A similar story comes from the Vancouver Board of Trade. They recently did a survey asking people about their travel habits after the Olympics, and found that almost one-third of those polled who adopted new transportation methods during the Games have kept up with their new behaviour.

Here’s a couple more news stories about the Board of Trade survey that might be of interest:

Read more »