Translink Buzzer Blog

Category: Something Neat

Choo-choo-choose the West Coast Express Santa train this holiday season!

West Coast Express Santa Train

The Santa Train departs Mission City at 10 a.m.

The West Coast Express Santa Train is back on track again, benefiting community toy bureaus! It’s a great kick-off to the holiday season and such a worthy cause.

Please bring your entire family and invite all your friends on Saturday, Dec. 8 and 15, and help make Christmas brighter for kids in your community! Read more »

TransLink’s 12 Days of Giveaways: win Compass Wristbands and Science World tickets

12 Days of Giftmas - Day 4

We’re back for another day of TransLink’s 12 Days of Giveaways Giftmas!

Today, we want you to take a peek inside The Science Behind Pixar, experience Nikon’s Small World art display, or catch an immersive film on the worlds largest OMNIMAX dome by partnering TELUS World of Science with a pair of general admission tickets to Science World AND a pair of adult Compass Wristbands each with $20 in Stored Value, so you can take transit to get there!  Read more »

T’is the season for holiday events

T’is the season — transit is the season, get it? 🤣 — for holiday cheer and we’ve jam packed December with a bus load of fun, festive activities for the whole family. Read more »

Tap into style with Compass Wristbands

Compass Wristbands

We know transit takes you to school, work, and everywhere in between. To help make Metro Vancouver’s transit system a little more convenient, we’re introducing Compass wristbands. A wearable Compass Card made of food grade silicone that you wear on your wrist!

To gauge public interest in Compass wristbands, we’re doing a limited release of 1,000 adult wristbands and 1,000 concession wristbands starting December 3. Compass wristbands work the same as Compass Card—tap in and out when travelling on transit and reload online, at a Compass Vending Machine, by phone or in person.

There’s no cost for the Compass Wristbands, however just like a Compass Card, your Compass Wristband includes a $6 refundable deposit that will live on the wristband. Remember to tap the part of the wristband that displays the contactless symbol or your tap won’t work. Read more »

Transit-friendly Christmas activities in Metro Vancouver this weekend

A round of Santa-plause because The Buzzer blog is back with some cool things to do this weekend – all of which are transit-friendly! We take you from Vancouver to Surrey, from New West to Langley – because, Xmas has us feeling extra santa-mental!

Read on, you snow the drill!

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

Read more »

A little more about that colour green and our new buses

TransLink Green New Flyer Bus

Colours in the green-yellow spectrum are perceived as conveying movement and speed.

As we mentioned in a previous post, we’re changing the colour of our B-Lines when the new ones launch in late 2019.

Read more »

Why are TransLink buses green now?

TransLink Green New Flyer Bus

As these new buses arrive, we’ll put them into service on the existing network

Hey Metro Vancouver! As some of you might have noticed, new buses have been arriving to the fleet only, they look a little different than existing buses!

Read more »

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. 

Read more »

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.

Read more »

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. 

4 tips for a successful bike commute

The Canada Line bike bridge

Whether the weather, improving your health and the health and well-being of our communities, cost savings or just looking for a change, bike commuting is a great option for getting around Metro Vancouver. Part of being an organization focused on the effective movement of people and goods across our region means we are dedicated to thinking outside the box when it comes to transportation.

This means transit in our region isn’t just bus, SeaBus, SkyTrain and West Coast Express, but also investing in cycling and cycling infrastructure like bike routes and bike parkades and bus bike racks, integration of apps to assist with multi-modal transportation, and opportunities to leverage car share partnerships to expand commuter’s point A to point B travel options.

Read more »

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. 

Read more »

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. 

Read more »