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Category: CUTA

Derek Stewart speaks at CUTA about climate change and its impacts to transit

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

The 2016 CUTA Fall Conference and Transit Show is well underway!

One of speakers at this year’s conference is CMBC’s Derek Stewart; Director of Safety, Environment and Emergency Management.

You may remember him from this video!

We had the opportunity to pick Derek’s brain about his talk entitled Climate change impacts on transit and infrastructure and how that affects us here in Metro Vancouver.

How does climate change affect a transit network?

Climate change means that what we see as weather on a day to day basis is going to be different in the future. We don’t know exactly what nature has in store for us in the long term, but we expect more intense rainfall and wind events, along with more extreme heat and increased ocean levels.

As we saw with our recent wind and rain storms, this can mean fallen trees, power outages and local flooding, impacting our ability to reliably deliver customer service.

Why is it an important issue to address as Canadian transit agencies?

Transit is different than many other industries in two respects: we must deliver reliable service every day and our infrastructure tends to be around for a long time (good examples include our Oakridge and North Vancouver Transit Centres, both of which recently closed after decades of service).

Unlike a manufacturing plant or a warehouse that can relocate to areas less impacted by climate change, we operate where our customer live and work, regardless of the climate changes that happen.

What concerns does TransLink have regarding climate change?

Nearly every aspect of climate change will have some sort of impact on us. On the customer facing side of our business, we are already changing our bus and rail specifications to ensure that our vehicles are air conditioned. Our summers in recent years have included long, hot, dry spells creating comfort issues for our customers where our fleet is not air conditioned.

Should the frequency of intense rain and wind events increase, this will increase the likelihood of temporary service disruptions. In the longer term, rising ocean levels and increased rainfall could put several of our maintenance facilities at risk of flooding.

What can transit agencies do to prepare for the future?

In some respects, doing what we already do, just better, will help us to prepare.

Transit agencies are very good at responding to mini emergencies each day. Learning from our mistakes will make us better prepared for increased weather intensity. Planning, and running practice drills, for expected emergencies such as floods and earthquakes will also give us the skills and confidence to respond to emergencies.

In the longer term, we need to better understand what climate change means to us and how our infrastructure is vulnerable. Planning to mitigate these vulnerabilities will help us protect our assets and better enable us to reliably move people throughout the region.

What is TransLink doing to prepare for the future?

TransLink and its operating companies are continuously developing and revising plans for emergencies such as floods, which include elements such as protecting valuable assets and maintaining business continuity by relocating operations to alternate locations. By ensuring lines of communication both inside our organization and with our customers, we are able to adapt to conditions in the short term.

On the longer term horizon, we are working together with local and regional partners, engineers, and others to understand how and where we are vulnerable to climate change. By understanding our vulnerabilities, we can change the location, design and supporting infrastructure for delivery of transit services.

To help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and climate change TransLink is working to increase public transit mode share, while at the same time decreasing the carbon footprint of its fleet and facilities.

A big thank you to Derek for speaking with us and helping CMBC and all of TransLink’s operating companies prepare for our changing world.

Interested in what else is being discussed at CUTA? Check out the full program here.

Author: Adrienne Coling

Metro Vancouver welcomes the 2016 CUTA Fall Conference and Transit Show

CUTA is the Canadian Urban Transit Association and this year’s Fall Conference and Transit Show is happening right here in Metro Vancouver November 5–9.

The conference is such a wonderful opportunity to bring the best and brightest in Canadian transit together and experience the wealth of knowledge these experts have to bring!

This year’s theme is Inspiring Sustainable Change with a variety of seminars and speakers discussing today’s demands, tomorrow’s challenges and the possibilities for transit in our country and around the world.

There are 20 amazing TransLink employees presenting different topics from climate change to land use and everything in between.

In fact, our own Robert Willis will be presenting in the Growing Customer Expectations session regarding video use for social media used by transit agencies.

Derek Stewart from CMBC will also be speaking. His talk is about his climate change challenges facing transit agencies. Keep your eyes glued to the Buzzer blog as we will be featuring a little Q & A with Derek next week.

For more conference details, check out the full program.

Author: Adrienne Coling

A story by retired bus operator Angus McIntyre

A local transit legend has been recently featured in one of the videos the Vancouver Park Board has commissioned as part of Vancouver’s 125th anniversary

Angus McIntyre started operating buses in Vancouver in 1969 and retired just last year. During this time, he operated different types of buses including Brill Trolly buses and worked for the different bus operating authorities in Metro Vancouver including BC Hydro and Power Authority, Metro Transit and Coast Mountain Bus Company.

Not only are the images curious peeks into Vancouver’s past, Angus’ voice tells a story of someone who truly cared for the work that he did and the people he moved.

Angus was awarded a lifetime achievement award by the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) for his 41 years of exemplary customer service and 36 years of safe driving. He’s also been inducted into the CUTA Hall of Fame and is the first “front-line” transit employee to be honoured. Here he is wearing his original BC Hydro uniform!

CUTA 2010: three Coast Mountain operators win employee awards!

Angus McIntyre with one of the TRAMS buses from the 1930s. Angus won a lifetime achievement award from CUTA this year!

TransLink hosted the 2010 Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) fall conference this week! See the CUTA 2010 category for more conference coverage.

Just want to mention that three of our transit operators were honoured with employee awards from CUTA this year! Here’s the story from our press release:

Three bus drivers with Coast Mountain Bus Company were honoured today at the annual Employee Awards presented at the 2010 Fall Conference of the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA), which wrapped up in Vancouver.

Danny Haddow and Jim Baxter received awards for “Heroism on Duty”, while Angus McIntyre, who retired earlier this year after 41 years as a bus driver, received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

“We are proud of Danny and Jim, and have a deep admiration for the work Angus did over the years, both as an operator and as an ambassador for Coast Mountain Bus Company,” says Stan Sierpina, CMBC Vice-President, Customer Service. “There are many more stories like these among our 3,000 bus drivers – both heroic deeds and quiet acts of kindness that can have a big impact on people. It’s important to note that we only heard about Danny’s and Jim’s actions because our customers told us. The only horn these employees would blow is in the middle of a steering wheel!”

Haddow happened on the scene of a car crash and spotted that smoke was starting to fill the driver’s compartment. He parked his bus, pulled the driver to safety, then went back to make sure no one else was trapped inside. Once that was done, Haddow continued on his route; a passenger on the bus brought the incident to the attention of Haddow’s bosses at CMBC.

Baxter was credited with remaining calm and instilling that calm in his passengers when a drunk man became belligerent. Sensing the passengers were feeling threatened, Baxter activated the emergency alarm, sending a message to Transit Communications (T-Comm) that there was a problem. The drunk passed out, and Baxter quickly got all the passengers off the bus, then locked the man inside until police arrived to take charge of the situation.

Both Haddow and Baxter continued on their routes after the incidents, running “just a little” behind schedule.

Thirty-six of McIntyre’s 41 years behind the wheel were accident-free, and he was and remains a favourite of passengers, management and co-workers. Wearing his original BC Hydro uniform to accept the award (he also wore the uniforms of Metro Transit, BC Transit and CMBC during his career), McIntyre was also inducted into the CUTA Hall of Fame – the first “front-line” transit employee to be so honoured.

Angus McIntyre is still involved with transit, as treasurer of TRAMS – the Transit Museum Society – often taking transit enthusiasts on excursions on one of the vintage trolley buses restored by the society. (TRAMS provided a selection of its restored coaches – including a 1937 Hayes inter-city bus – for viewing at Trans-Expo 2010, the trade show that accompanied the CUTA Fall Conference.)

Members of the public are encouraged to bring good deeds of our employees – including bus operators, SkyTrain Attendants and other front-line personnel – to the attention of TransLink and Coast Mountain Bus Company. Simply call Customer Information at 604-953-3333 or use the Customer Feedback form on the TransLink website.

And this isn’t the first time our employees have won these awards either! In 2009, another of our operators also won a CUTA award for saving four from a house fire, and in 2008, two employees won—one for charity work and one for helping out a passenger in need with money from their own pocket.

CUTA 2010: electronic fare systems session

Title slide for the electronic fare systems session

TransLink is hosting the 2010 Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) fall conference this week! See the CUTA 2010 category for more conference coverage.

The conference actually wrapped up yesterday, but I’m still playing catch-up with my posts! On Tuesday I attended the electronic fare systems session, which featured speakers discussing Ontario’s new Presto card, Saskatoon’s new Go-Pass card, and electronic fare system standards. My notes follow — corrections welcome!

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CUTA 2010: Trans-Expo, the transit trade show

A bus on a hoist from Westvac!

TransLink is hosting the 2010 Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) fall conference this week! See the CUTA 2010 category for more conference coverage.

As part of the CUTA conference, there’s a trade show called Trans-Expo, where vendors come to show off their wares. But at a transit conference, “wares” really means actual buses and transit technologies, all trucked in and put on display! Here’s some highlights from the show on Tuesday—one was definitely this community shuttle hoisted on a heavy-duty lift, made by a supplier called Westvac.

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CUTA 2010: Transit Oriented Development and Land Use Policies

The moderator for the Transit-Oriented Development session

As mentioned, the Canadian Urban Transit Association’s 2010 fall conference is in Vancouver this week! Thus I attended a morning session called Transit Oriented Development (TOD) and Land Use Policies — Positioning Transit at the Centre of Communities, featuring presentations by TransLink, Calgary Transit, and the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC).

Transit-oriented development is the creation of mixed-use commercial or residential areas where it’s easy to walk, cycle or take transit to reach the things you need. Everyone spoke to the challenge of matching transit plans to land-use plans made by cities, sister agencies, or other bodies in your region to help these developments happen. And as we all know, an effective transportation plan can’t really be made without the support of a good land-use plan to outline densities, adequate destinations, and more.

Herewith are my notes, and as always, corrections are welcome!

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Reporting from the Canadian Urban Transit Association 2010 fall conference!

Just a quick heads up that I’m at the Canadian Urban Transit Association 2010 fall conference this week!

TransLink is hosting the conference at the Westin Bayshore in downtown Vancouver, and there are hundreds of transit professionals from all across Canada in attendance.

I’ll be popping into a few sessions and writing about them this week, plus hopefully a few technical tours! I’m also giving a few presentations on Wednesday about TransLink and its use of social media, so just be aware that I might be less handy to answer your questions on that day. I’ll also hopefully have some notes from those sessions to share.

So just stay tuned and I’ll see what tidbits I can dredge up along the way :) Also, iif you’re interested in similar conference and transit industry coverage, check out my notes from the American Public Transit Association 2010 Rail conference earlier this year.