Perhaps a little known fact is your community managers on TransLink’s social media channels also write for the print edition of The Buzzer that you find onboard buses, SkyTrain, SeaBus, West Coast Express, HandyDART and more!
We proudly carry on this legacy that spans more than 100 years.
The Buzzer was the brainchild of George Kidd, general manager of British Columbia Electric Railway, which operated Metro Vancouver’s streetcar network.
It was designed as a strategic weapon in a long-forgotten battle between streetcars and “jitney” operators — private citizens who patrolled streetcar routes and offered rides for five cents. The newsletter would promote the use of streetcars by keeping people informed about service and fostering rider loyalty.
The first issue was published on June 2, 1916 and distributed on the streetcars that made up public transportation in Metro Vancouver at the time. It was titled, “Wanted – A Name” and offered to pay $15 for the best suggestion, $10 for the second best and $5 for the third best. Big money in the days when a streetcar ride was five cents.
Of course, the next issue announced the winning name: The Buzzer! In total, 11 people submitted the winning name. The second place name was “Current Comments” and in third was “Between The Lines.”
Jitney service was abolished about two years later in July 1918, but The Buzzer continued. It has become a mainstay of public transit in Metro Vancouver, remaining a constant no matter how much transit itself has changed, to keep customers informed about quarterly service changes.
There’s about a month’s lead time for The Buzzer, so it was complete before physical distancing measures were implemented on transit and most people transitioned to working from home.
That’s why we’ve decided to bring you the spring issue of The Buzzer this month, online only, and there’s no Monthly Pass contest.
This issue’s front cover illustration is from artist Chris von Szombathy of the new 222 Willingdon Express and R2 Marine Dr RapidBus.
Inside, we cover off Spring Service Changes — which started on April 6, cellular connectivity in the SkyTrain tunnels, how you can send your online orders to SkyTrain stations, the third platform at Stadium–Chinatown Station, the voice of SkyTrain announcements and an update on the SkyTrain Customer Communications Upgrades project.