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Translink Buzzer Blog

#IWD2020: Qiu-ing up for success

Qiu Li is an Electrical Maintenance Engineer at Coast Mountain Bus Company. Her role involves fleet technical support and focuses on the the technology systems affecting the fleet, as well as working with battery-electric buses and on-board technologies.

International Women’s Day on March 8 is a dedicated day to acknowledge the work that needs to be done for gender equality around the world. This year’s theme is #EachforEqual. It highlights that working towards equality is something that is the responsibility of every individual.

Part of this work is recognizing and celebrating the achievements of women in our workplaces. We’re proud to share the stories of those that work at TransLink and its family of companies. 

Most semesters, Coast Mountain Bus Company (CMBC)’s Maintenance Engineering team gets some new co-op students. Women filling these positions have been few and far between.

Women are underrepresented in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and computer science (STEM) fields at universities.

According to Statistics Canada, 44 per cent of first-year university students aged 19 or less enrolled in STEM programs were women, while women made up more than 64 per cent of students in other fields.

That’s why Qiu Li (pronounced q), an electrical maintenance engineer with CMBC, relishes the opportunity to mentor co-op students — both men and women — eager to apply their classroom learning to the real world.

A typical work day for Qiu runs the gamut.

There’s communicating with maintenance staff and vendor representatives to resolve fleet technical issues and providing design and functional inputs for new buses and onboard technologies. There’s also working with technicians to prototype new systems to better the fleet.

One of the projects she is involved in is TransLink’s battery-electric bus pilot project.

After overseeing the successful delivery of the battery-electric buses, she carved out a larger role for herself. She’s now looking after the day-to-day health of the buses and the chargers.

While doing all this, she’s helping to train and expose the co-op students to the environment they’re working in, guiding them through their learning process.

They have a good mentor to look up to, showing them the value of taking initiative.

Qiu has earned the respect of her peers for stepping up as an interim technical lead, continuing to push all the vendors to resolve issues, educating the operations department on how to improve charging success, and working with the maintenance department to improve bus performance.

Although universities have made headway in recent years to close the gender gap in STEM fields. The fact remains, Qiu is a woman in engineering — a field dominated by men — but that doesn’t define her in the office.

“Just because I work in a more male-dominated environment, I don’t feel like I have to be more assertive,” says Qiu, “but from my perspective and just the way I usually deal with people, I find the best way is to treat people with respect.”

Reflecting on this year’s International Women’s Day theme, #EachforEqual, Qiu says it means seeing people as people.

She would rather people confront issues that arise from personality or situation conflict, rather than singling out someone based on gender.

“I think it’s harder for people who have grown in environments where they are not exposed to diversity and different cultures,” says Qiu.

“But I think I’ve been pretty lucky in my life that I’ve always grown up in a very diverse cultural environment and a lot of people I interact with came from that background.”

Over the years, Qiu has also learned two important things.

First, if you treat people with respect and as equals, they reciprocate.

And second, she’s figured out what her favourite compliment in the office is – “they just see me as me with my personality traits, and they don’t treat me anything more or less just because I’m female.”

#IWD2020: A road less traveled to a rewarding career as a leader

Maria Su is TransLink’s director of research and analytics. Her team uses complex data to produce sophisticated solutions that resolve business challenges and improve the customer experience.

International Women’s Day on March 8 is a dedicated day to acknowledge the work that needs to be done for gender equality around the world. This year’s theme is #EachforEqual. It highlights that working towards equality is something that is the responsibility of every individual.

Part of this work is recognizing and celebrating the achievements of women in our workplaces. We’re proud to share the stories of those that work at TransLink and its family of companies. 

In 1996, Maria Su was hired as a transportation engineer on the team that was tasked with creating Metro Vancouver’s first regional transportation authority, which would later be known as TransLink.

She explains that at that time, she was perfectly content pursuing a strictly technical career – she went to engineering school after all, not business school. She had no desire to manage budgets, programs or people.

Today, Maria serves as TransLink’s director of research and analytics, overseeing a team of 24 analytical and planning specialists and dozens of advanced programs.

Despite her preconceived notions of what a leadership role involved, Maria is confident that this detour towards management has provided more career fulfillment than she could have ever imagined:

“When I was asked to lead this team in 2012, I wasn’t sure I could do it – I was working on policy planning at the time. I didn’t do computer modelling or particularly enjoy managing a big team of people, but life has a way of throwing you unexpected twists. Until you take a risk and try something new, you have no way of knowing if you’re going to like it. But I am so glad I did. Building this team from the ground up has been immensely rewarding.”

Part of the Research and Analytics Team’s job is to use complex data to produce sophisticated solutions that resolve business challenges and improve the customer experience.

One recent example is the team’s collaboration with our Business Technology Services division on the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to train 18,000 models to provide customers with highly reliable bus departure time estimates.

The result is a 74 per cent improvement in bus departure predictions, with riders spending 50 per cent less time waiting. Microsoft recently featured this innovative work on their website.

“I tell my team that no idea is crazy but should always be useful. We have many different viewpoints and very robust debates. It’s okay that we don’t all sing from the same song sheet.”

Maria explains that her role is to create an environment that enables her team to do their jobs as best as they can. She is fiercely passionate about making it as safe, equal and inclusive as possible:

“I have the most brilliant mosaic of individuals on my team. I have engineers, mathematicians, data scientists, market researchers, business professionals, planners, economists and geographers from all different backgrounds – this variation is what makes us strong. It helps us design efficient, well-rounded solutions that benefit our customers and advance regional goals.”

Reflecting on the theme of An Equal World is an Enabled World for International Women’s Day 2020, Maria believes there are things that we can all do to help accelerate equality, especially in the workplace:

  • Don’t limit or label yourself – “It’s one thing for others to label you, but it’s another to label yourself. Don’t create barriers for yourself or let your label be your excuse. If you limit yourself, you’ve already done the most damage.”
  • Advocate for those who think differently – “It takes courage to champion the people and ideas that go against popular thinking. I endeavour to promote and defend those who think independently and critically. They are often the ones with the most innovative solutions.”
  • Find something you’re passionate about and pursue it relentlessly – “Find your niche and become the best at it. With conviction, passion and excellence, you’ll prevail, regardless of obstacles.”
  • Respect one another – “Deep down, I view my team members as my equals, if not my superiors. They do things that I can’t do. They have amazing specialized skills and can deal with incredibly complex ideas and several billion lines of data without flinching. I trust them wholeheartedly and have a lot of respect for each of them.”

Looking to the future of work, Maria recommends that anyone looking for an inclusive and dynamic career consider analytics:

“By definition, data is ageless, genderless and colourless. It’s the field of the future.”

 

Author: Rebecca Abel

 

Read Other Stories from our #IWD2020 Series:

#IWD2020: Qiu-ing up for success

#IWD2020: “I wear a duty belt of tools. But the most important tool is my voice.”

#IWD2020: Envisioning a fairer world with Tasia

Enter to win transit passes and tickets to watch the HSBC Canada Sevens on March 7 and 8!

Canada Sevens

HSBC Canada Sevens isn’t just a celebration of sport, it’s the ultimate costume party! Annually, fans don their ‘fanciest’ attire from chicken to egg and everything in between. Come for the costumes, stay for the game!

This year, we’ve teamed up with HSBC Canada Sevens to give away a pair of general admission tournament passes (approximate value of $250) for March 7 and 8! We’ll also include four adult Compass Tickets so you can take transit to-and-from the games.

How to enter for a chance to win:

  • Comment below telling us who you’d take with you to the watch the HSBC Canada Sevens and how you’d get there using transit. (1 entry)
  • Like or follow TransLink and HSBC Canada Sevens on Facebook, and leave a comment below letting us know you did. (1 entry)
  • Follow @TransLink and @CanadaSevens on Instagram, like this post, and tag three friends. (1 entry)
  • Follow @TransLink and @CanadaSevens on Twitter, and tweet or retweet the following message. (1 entry)

    Win a pair of tickets to watch the #Canada7s in #Vancouver on Mar. 7-8! RT and follow @TransLink and @CanadaSevens to enter for a chance to win. https://buzzer.translink.ca/?p=58451

This means if you do all four actions, you’ll have four chances to win. Don’t forget to make sure your social media accounts are public so we can see your entry!

Grab the official contest terms and conditions here, and the quick lowdown here:

  • This contest is for two tickets to watch the HSBC Canada Sevens.
  • All entries must be received by noon on Thursday, March 5, 2020. Late entries will not be considered.
  • One entry per method, per day, per person — that means you can enter up to four times in total for this giveaway.
  • Winner will be contacted via their method of entry.

Take transit to the HSBC Canada Sevens

HSBC Canada Sevens are played at BC Place Stadium, conveniently located steps away from Stadium–Chinatown Station, a stop on SkyTrain’s Expo Line. Use our Trip Planner to find your transit route!

New to taking transit?

Watch the video below, or read our Rider Guide, and check out Transit 101!

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:

Metro Vancouver’s cycling network nearly tripled last decade

HUB Cycling and TransLink have partnered to a release a 2019 State of Cycling report card.

HUB Cycling and TransLink have partnered to release the first ever State of Cycling Report for Metro Vancouver.

The report assesses the region’s quality and quantity of bikeways, the number of residents regularly cycling, and the safety of the cycling network. The rich new data set will help people who cycle better plan their trips by providing an accurate picture of the cycling network.

“HUB Cycling’s goal for the project is to advance the development of a complete regional cycling network that is accessible and comfortable to people of all ages and abilities” said Jeff Leigh, HUB Cycling’s Vice President.  HUB Cycling President Derik Wenman added, “We congratulate TransLink and staff from all the region’s municipal governments for agreeing to work with HUB Cycling on this project. We will all benefit from what we have learned.” Read more »

TELUS service arrives for the SkyTrain tunnel in downtown Vancouver

TELUS, Koodo and Public Mobile customers can now stay connected on the SkyTrain, even underground in downtown Vancouver.

We’ve partnered with TELUS to bring wireless service to the underground SkyTrain tunnel in downtown Vancouver, between Stadium-Chinatown and Waterfront stations, including the platforms at Granville and Burrard stations.

This means TELUS, Koodo and Public Mobile customers can stay connected on the SkyTrain line, even underground.

“We live in an era where many of us rely on uninterrupted connectivity,” says TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond. “Whether you’re getting a head-start to your day or winding down on your way home – our customers who rely on the TELUS network can now stay connected, productive, and informed while travelling through our downtown stations.”

The 1.4-kilometre route through the underground Dunsmuir Tunnel is one of the busiest stretches along the SkyTrain network.

Related Stories:

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.

 

 

TransLink reveals bus fleet electrification plan, requests Mayors’ Council endorsement

TransLink is asking the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation to support its updated Low Carbon Fleet Strategy, which puts the region on the path to converting all buses to zero emissions technology by 2050. Metro Vancouver can make significant progress over the next decade by replacing 50 per cent of the diesel and natural gas fleet with clean, zero-emissions battery electric models.

The Low Carbon Fleet Strategy calls for investments in several key areas:

  • Procurement of up to 635 battery electric buses to replace diesel and diesel-hybrid fleet
  • Installation of charging infrastructure on-route and at depots
  • Construction of BC’s first fully electric capable bus depot

TransLink will require $95 million to $447 million in new funding over the next ten years to proceed with the strategy. The amount of funding required is dependent on which approach the Mayors’ Council chooses; cautious, progressive or aggressive. This ambitious plan is unfunded and requires significant support from senior governments.

“Transitioning the bus fleet to zero-emissions technology is an essential step toward breaking the region’s dependence on fossil fuels,” according to TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond. “This strategy sets out a bold course that will eventually allow us to provide 100% green public transportation.”

TransLink is recommending that the Mayors’ Council endorse this phase of the Low Carbon Fleet Strategy and direct staff to start finalizing the plan.

(CONTEST) RapidBus brings faster, more frequent service to eight Metro Vancouver communities

We know that fast, frequent service is key to getting more people onto transit — that’s why we’ve introduced a new service called RapidBus! It comes with faster travel times, more reliable service and new customer amenities.

On these routes, customers will enjoy service that’s up to 20 per cent faster than local bus service. Coming every 10 minutes or better during peak hours and every 15 minutes or better in non-peak hours, customers can now catch a RapidBus on these four routes:

  • R1 King George Blvd (Guildford Exchange/Newton Exchange)
    • Every eight minutes during peak hours
  • R3 Lougheed Hwy (Coquitlam Central Station/Haney Place)
    • Every ten minutes during peak hours
  • R4 41st Ave (UBC/Joyce-Collingwood Station)
    • Every three to six minutes during peak hours
  • R5 Hastings St (SFU/Burrard Station)
    • Every four to five minutes during peak hours

Time-savings have been achieved by introducing bus priority on roadways, such as bus lanes and signal priority, and less stopping.

What’s awesome about RapidBus is not only the service itself, but the new customer amenities at bus stops and onboard buses!

We’ve introduced new bus stops, called RapidBus posts, that have real-time information, telling you upcoming departure times for all the buses that use that stop. There’s an audio button customers can push to hear these next-bus announcements too. The RapidBus routes will also use 60-foot articulated buses that have softer seats.

Isn’t the new RapidBus service great?! We want everyone to know about this new service and could use some help in spreading the word. We want to give you the chance to win a RapidBus prize back that includes a RapidBus toque, gloves and the new model that just dropped on the TransLink Store.

Keep reading to find out how you can enter to win.

Enter to win!

There are three prize packs up for grabs with each of the following:

  • A RapidBus t-shirt
  • A RapidBus model
  • A RapidBus toque
  • Pair of RapidBus gloves
  • A handful of RapidBus buttons
  • A handful of RapidBus stickers
  • A handful of I Love Transit buttons

To enter, simply complete one — or all — of the following actions:

  • Comment below telling us which RapidBus route you’ll be taking and where you’ll be going (1 entry)
  • Follow @TransLink on Instagram, like this post and tag three friends you’d like to tell about RapidBus. (1 entry)
  • Follow @TransLink on Twitter, and tweet or retweet the following message. (1 entry)

If you do all three actions, you’ll be entered to win three times! Don’t forget to make sure your social media accounts are public so we can see your entry.

The rules:

Check out the official RapidBus Prize Pack Contest Terms and Conditions, but here’s the lowdown:

  • The contest for a RapidBus prize pack will open on Monday, February 24, 2020 and all entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. PST on Sunday, March 8, 2020. Late entries will not be considered.
  • We’ll do one draw each for The Buzzer blog, Instagram and Twitter.
  • One entry per method, per person, per day.

Unleash your creativity and love for transit at Towers of Tomorrow with LEGO® Bricks

Immerse yourself into LEGO® Wonderland at the Science World’s newest exhibition! Towers of Tomorrow with LEGO® Bricks presented by Concert Properties and White Spot restaurants and supported by TransLink spotlights 20 of world’s most stunning skyscrapers and TransLink’s very own MicroCity 2050, an animated model of Metro Vancouver’s transportation and transit past, present and future. The exhibition is a 5 minutes walk from Main Street-Science World station. Don’t forget to bring your Compass Card to receive 20% off the general admission. 

Build your own LEGO® masterpiece at hands-on construction area.

The towers built in 1:200 scale from half a million LEGO® bricks will impress you with their architectural accuracy and detail from Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia to Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, Chicago’s Willis Tower and Toronto’s CN Tower and others.

You too are encouraged to unleash your creativity and imagination by building your own creations in the dedicated hands-on construction areas with over 200,000 lose LEGO® bricks.

The exhibition also features TransLink’s animated 3D model of the Metro Vancouver’s Transport 2050 MicroCity, a dynamic show that seamlessly weaves in the light, narration, sound, and music to showcase the history of the region across several different time periods.

The experience will encourage you to think about the future of transportation in our region – a particularly timely topic, as we are in the process of designing the transit system for the next thirty years. To leave your feedback and learn more head over to www.transport2050.ca.

Imagination is your only limit! So what are you waiting for? Make sure you check out the exhibition and add your own creations to a steadily rising futuristic LEGO® metropolis inside the Science World.

 

A Love Connection that was nearly missed

How many coincidences are you allowed before it’s considered fate? Robyn and Josh met on the SkyTrain, by squishing into a packed train during rush hour (who hasn’t been there). But there was a special connection between the two… to find out what happened check out our interview with Robyn below.

How did you two meet?

Robyn: That’s kind of a long story, it took over eight months. The first time we met, I was dragon boating at Science World, and he worked at a visual effects studio in the area. When I was done my dragon boat practice he was just coming off of work. I was on the Main Street-Science World platform and he was standing and the SkyTrain came up and everyone had just started leaving from work, so it was jam packed. And there wasn’t much space and I had my big sports bag. So, we kind of looked at each other and the doors open, and he said, “Oh, you go ahead, I’ll wait for the next one.”

 

And I said, “Oh, no, no, no, I’m not going to make you wait, we can squish.”

 

So, we both squished on to the SkyTrain and I was crushing him with all my bags. He went, “Oh, are you just coming from school, like what’s going on?”

 

I said, “Oh no, like, I’m coming from dragon boating, the sport that I play.” He got off two stops later. And I just thought, wow, that was a nice guy.

 

So, that was in October. In November, I hadn’t seen him for a month, so I had not thought about him but, like, what are the chances of meeting someone again, that you just met randomly on the SkyTrain.

 

Now it’s November, and I went up to the Main Street Science World after I was finished dragon boating, and lo and behold, he was heading up the platform and I was shocked. He came up to me and said, “Hey, how’s dragon boating going?”

 

I was taken aback that he had remembered the obscure sport that I did.

 

We both went on to the train and we started talking and he rode all the way with me to my stop which was way farther than mine I found out later. He would just ride all the way to my stop and one stop past so it didn’t look like he was creepily following me. Then he would walk across the platform and take the train back to his stop.

 

So yeah, that was the second time we met, and we just had a great conversation. I found out that he was close to the school that I was going to in the fall and his sister was in the same program I was going into. He volunteered at a church and was involved in summer camp which I was big in. He was just an amazing guy, but of course like he’s a stranger on the SkyTrain, so I’m not going to do anything about it. But I got off at my stop and I called my best friend, and I told her that I met him again, and she goes, “Robyn! Okay, like, did you get his number?” and I said no. She said, “Did you get his name?” and I said no. And she goes, “Robyn! What are you doing? You don’t just bump into people like that on the SkyTrain, like what are you doing?”

She said, if you see him next time, it’s meant to be.

 

So, six months go by, and I’m still dragon boating. I’m still taking the train, a couple times a week, down to the docks at Science World and for six months didn’t see him. At that point I had kind of given up and I went well, I just missed my shot. Oh well.

 

But it was the first day of May, I walked out of dragon boating. We’re not even on the SkyTrain yet and my friend and I were just on the sidewalk, walking from the docks, up to the SkyTrain platform. And he was just walking by on the sidewalk and we saw each other after six months and our jaws both just dropped, like we had no idea what to do. So, finally, he asked for my name and said, “Oh, are you going up to the SkyTrain?”

 

I said yeah, and he said, “Oh, I’ll take you there.”

 

So, we went up to the train, just talking the whole time, he was super nice. We’re getting closer to my stop and I’m thinking, I’ve got to do something or I’m never going to see him again. What are the chances that I’ve seen him three times in Vancouver, on the SkyTrain? But I couldn’t do anything, so I walked off and I went well. That was it, like, that was it.

 

And then the next week, after practice, I went up to the SkyTrain and I was looking around for him. He wasn’t there, and I waited for a couple of SkyTrain’s and he still wasn’t there. And so finally I thought, I have places to go, things to do – I have to get on a SkyTrain and go. So, I got on and I took out my book. Then two stops before my stop, I felt a tap on the back of my shoulder and I looked around and there was Josh and he goes, “Hey Robyn!”

 

And, oh my goodness, my mouth just fell open. I could not believe that he was there. But I was thinking, “Oh, no, we only have two stops left, what am I going to do?”

 

We got to my stop and I thought, “Oh, brilliant, I’ll forget to get off and that’ll give us some more time.”

 

The train stopped and I’m pretending not to pay attention, the doors close, and the train starts to go and I’m like, “Oh, dang it! That was my stop, whoops!”

 

So, I get to the next one and I have to walk across the platform and catch the next train to go back to my stop and he goes, “Oh, I’ll take you!” And we both went back to my stop and I thought he needed to get back onto the other train to go the way we were originally going, but I really threw him for a loop, because he had to pretend to be going that way and then loop back again. He really thought it out.

He needed to rush across because the trains came up at the same time. So, we got off one train and he was going on to the next end. But, I missed the chance and he looks at me and says, “Do you want to do something some time?” And I thought my heart was going to fall out of my stomach!

 

I said of course, and I had my phone and I said, “Do you want to go put your number in?”

 

He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out this little piece of paper and gave it to me, didn’t say anything, gave it to me, smiled and then walked onto the other train.

 

And I opened it up. I felt like, like in a movie you know what everyone else is rushing by and one character is just standing still. That’s exactly how I felt. And I opened this little piece of paper, that I learned later, he had been carrying around his number, on this little slip of paper, for the next time he saw me.

Then, two days later, we went on our first date, and now we’ve been dating for two years.

Have you seen the Netflix show ‘You’?

I have not, and I did realize the situation could be sketchy.

On the first date, I made sure to text my friends every half hour, I didn’t get into his car for the first month that we were dating. But, the second time we met, I knew that he went to church and volunteered, not that you can’t make that stuff up. He was just a genuine guy and I did realize it was, you know, not the usual way people meet. But, he was also really aware of the fact, and he put in the extra effort to just be a gentleman.

The first couple months, he was on his best behavior, just to make sure that I was comfortable. We had all our dates in public, we never went anywhere private. He really sought that out too and made sure that I was comfortable because I didn’t know him from a hole in the wall, and he’s a random guy I met on the SkyTrain!

So, when you tell people you guys met on the SkyTrain, what’s their reaction like?

Definitely like, “What kind of person are you, just picking up random people of the SkyTrain?” Because there is a stigma that you get all kinds of people on public transit.

But when I tell people like, “Yeah, we met on a SkyTrain,” they’re taken aback. And then they go, “Okay, I want to hear the story, I want to know everything.”

 

It’s been a big conversation starter and people who I told, who I wouldn’t remember telling, they’ll come up to me like, “Hey, how’s SkyTrain boy?”

People are just so much more invested because of the unlikelihood of how and where we met.

Would you have ever expected to find your partner on public transit?

Not at all. No, and I’ve always grown up being like, don’t talk to strangers, and especially on public transit.

 

Josh’s dad actually works for SkyTrain and I know that TransLink does so much to keep people safe. I feel safe when I’m on transit, but it’s still not necessarily smart to go up to everyone you meet on the SkyTrain or a bus and start up a conversation like that and then start dating. Yeah, I definitely wasn’t expecting that!

Do you have a transit love story to share? Let us know in the comments!

Happy Valentine’s Day from us at TransLink!

Canada Line still winning ridership gold

TransLink celebrates the 10-year anniversary of the Vancouver Winter Olympics

TransLink celebrates the 10-year anniversary of the Vancouver Winter Olympics

New figures show that after 10 years in service, ridership on the Canada Line is still breaking records. The Canada Line had more than 50 million annual boardings for the first time in its history last year, representing a 30 per cent increase in ridership since 2010.

Originally projected to reach 120,000 daily boardings by 2025 – the Canada Line has continued to outperform projections with 150,000 actual boardings on an average 2019 weekday.

“We are proud to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the Olympics today with the region,” says TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond. “With 1.58 million trips taken each day during the Olympics, transit was an integral part of how the world experienced the Winter Games. The Olympics were a time when many people realized just how convenient public transit is.”

To help meet the growing ridership demand, TransLink increased capacity on the Canada Line by 15 per cent in January this year and will increase total capacity by 35 per cent this spring with the addition of 12 new trains.

Canada Line by the numbers:

  • There were approximately 230,000 daily trips on the Canada Line during the Olympic Games
  • It took four years to build the Canada Line
  • The Canada line cost approximately $2.1 billion
  • The Canada Line is a 19-kilometre route with 16 stations, two bridges and nine kilometres of tunnel
  • 21 per cent of all YVR passengers use the Canada Line for their journey to or from the airport

It’s Sedin Week! Take transit to the Canucks games at Rogers Arena

Dear Daniel and Henrik, THANK YOU! Thank you for 18 years of awesome hockey. Thank you for 18 years of Sedinery on the ice. Thank you for all you’ve down for our community. Thank you for being an inspiration to hockey players and Vancouverites all over. This week, Sedin Week, is your week and an opportunity for all of Metro Vancouver to once again come together to celebrate your amazing careers. Congratulations, Hank and Danny!

To honour the Sedins, the Vancouver Canucks are taking this week’s slate of home games at Rogers Arena to make the most of every opportunity to celebrate them. So, knowing that everyone wants to be there to relive the memories, we’re taking measures such as delaying rail replacement work to accommodate for crowds. Not only that, there are many systems in place to make your trip to celebrate the twins easier. Tap to Pay is one such option; if you don’t have a Compass Card, you can use your Visa, MasterCard or American Express credit cards to pay your transit fare. Just remember, tap your card not your wallet!

Another useful option is Park and Ride. There’s two in Surrey – Scott Road and South Surrey, plus many along the West Coast Express including at Port Coquitlam and Pitt Meadows. You can also use the Park and Ride facility at Carvolth Exchange in Langley, if you’re travelling from there to celebrate the Sedins. Here’s where you can find a full list of Park and Ride facilities, including the cost of parking at each: https://www.translink.ca/Getting-Around/Driving/Park-and-Ride.aspx

Regardless of where you go and how you choose to celebrate Sedin Week, there are lots of options to get there, so figure out the best route, plan a bit ahead, and give yourself some extra travel time – there will be a lot of fans like you wanting to join in on the celebration!

Congrats again, Daniel and Henrik!

Lonsdale Quay Exchange begins final phase of upgrades

Upgrades to the Lonsdale Quay Exchange are nearing completion and entering the final phase of construction. The improvements will enhance the experience of a growing number of customers coming in and out of the exchange each day. This is the first upgrade to the exchange since it was built in the 1980s.

Construction begins next week on the west side of the bus exchange, opening the upgraded east side to customers. Customers will now benefit from the completed improvements such as new pavement, improved lighting, more space, better accessibility, and tactile walking surface indicators.

The upgrades are projected for completion in the spring of this year, key improvements include:

  • Adapted bus bays for the R2 Marine Drive RapidBus
  • New pavement throughout the exchange and the passenger hub
  • Improved accessibility for wheelchairs and strollers
  • A new ceiling above the exchange to provide better lighting
  • Tactile walking surface indicators at bus stops and passenger crossings for customers with vision loss
  • New public art installation

The $14.7 million budget for improvements is paid for through contributions from the Government of Canada, the Province of British Columbia, and TransLink.

Quick facts:

  • Lonsdale Quay Exchange is the second busiest transit hub on the North Shore
  • Over 5,000 customers catch a bus at the exchange on an average weekday
  • 12 bus routes serve the exchange travelling to Vancouver, West Vancouver and the District and City of North Vancouver
  • 20,000 SeaBus trips are taken each weekday

SkyTrain announcements now include which side doors open on

“The next station is … Columbia. Doors will open on the right.”

When riding SkyTrain’s Expo and Millennium Lines, you might have noticed that our “next station” announcements are a little different now — they now announce whether doors will open to the left or right when the train arrives at the station.

It will make an announcement, voiced by Laureen Regan, that’s a variation of, “The next station is … Edmonds. Doors will open on the right,” depending on the station the train’s at.

It’s all part of our effort to make transit more accessible for everyone, and a little bit easier for customers with sight loss as well as those who are new to riding SkyTrain.

These accessibility improvements were the result of advice and feedback from TransLink’s Access Transit Users’ Advisory Committee (UAC) and other stakeholders. The UAC provides ongoing advice on TransLink plans, programs, and initiatives, making sure that accessibility issues are always considered.

But, that’s not all — we’ve also shortened our boarding announcements on the Expo Line to make it simpler and more succinct. Now, at most stations, you’ll no longer hear, “This is an Expo Line Train to King George,” but rather a simple “Train to King George.”

Have you heard the new announcements? If so, let us know what you think!

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