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The November issue of the Buzzer is now on the system

A brand new print Buzzer is on the system!

There’s lot of great stuff in this issue. The main subject is about the launch of This interactive website is a great resource, besides the Buzzer of course, for answering all of your Compass Card questions. Read all about it here and by using it yourself.

Regular readers of the blog know all about our annual Halloween photo contest. We included a couple of fantastically inventive costumes in the issue.

TransLink, combined with it’s operating companies and it’s predecessor organizations, has been involved with the United Way for more than forty years, and this year was no different. We’re proud to announce that this year we’ve collected over $200,000 for various community programs and counting!

The TravelSmart program has been busy of late.  This issue included two events, which marked partnering with two cities in Metro Vancouver: both the City of Surrey and Coquitlam joined the program this year! TranLink’s TravelSmart program encourages residents to make more sustainable travel choices, specifically through walking.

A couple of holidays are around the corner. Transit service for Remembrance Day and our Toys for Tots toy collection are included in this issue. More on both of these subjects to come on the blog!

Of course, there’s Contest Corner and Back Issue sections, and that pretty much captures what’s in the issue.

Remember, you can always download the Buzzer as .pdf (including back issues). The other option is to pick it up on the bus, SeaBus or SkyTrain!



2012 Reindeer Bus and shuttle and photo contest

Photo by Laura Wilby

What’s a sure sign of the holiday season in the Lower Mainland? Sightings of our annual reindeer bus and shuttle, appearing on routes throughout December! If you spot one of the popular buses, be sure to snap a picture and send it our way by December 20 for your chance to win a monthly FareCard.

Santa, Mrs. Claus and the bus operating elf will also be on the bus periodically and stopping at mystery stops between December 10-13 throughout Metro Vancouver. The bus and shuttle will also be part of the Toys for Tots run on December 19-20.

Want to win? Just tweet us your picture of the reindeer bus or shuttle in one of three ways:

1. Tweet it with the hashtag #tlcontest.

2. Email it to

3. Post it on our Facebook page.

The winner will be announced on December 21, 2012.

Update: The randomly chosen winner of the contest is Kevin W. Congratulations to him and everyone who participated!

Kevin W’s winner Reindeer Bus photo!



Catching up with the Lost Property Office

Missing your favourite megaphone? No worries, the Lost Property Office has it!

Have you ever visited TransLink’s Lost Property Office before? I hadn’t until recently. Jhen has written about the office and what they do before, but I wanted to see the office for myself and figured it would be worth a check in.

The office can be a busy place.

My first reaction when I was brought behind the counter was how organized it is in there. Gloves collected from bus depots, SkyTrain, and SeaBus come in daily and are divided between matching pairs and singles. Drawers full of cell phones and chargers are tagged with the time and place they were found and any other info that can connect them to their rightful owner.

Backpack season starts after school begins.

Considering the small area the staff have to store bikes, cell phones, umbrellas, books, medication, back packs, strollers, tools and way too many other random and odd items to mention, keeping them well organized is the only way to keep track of them all!

And because of the volume of lost items and the limited space to store everything, rules have been created for how long we hold onto items:

  • Wallets and other valuables are held for 30 days
  • The following items are held for 10 days: Binders, books, gloves, hats, jackets, pants, papers, posters, scarves, shirts, shoes
  • The following items are held for 14 days: Bikes, used bags
  • Items will be retained for a few days to a month, depending on the type of item.
  • Items like Care Cards and birth certificates are sent back to their government agencies, but the rest is donated to charity.
  • Food containers/drink containers are held for just a few days
  • Perishable items are not retained
  • Perishable items and food/drink containers may not be retained or only held for a couple of days.

So, just how many items are left behind? And what are the most popular lost items on transit? Customer Information Supervisor Michelle Poole answered a few of our questions:

1.      How many lost items have we collected so far in 2012?

30,285 items have been logged into our database (over 5000 umbrellas are also turned in every year, but these are not logged into the database).

2.      How many lost items did we collect in 2011?

36,816 items (excluding umbrellas).

3.      How many items do you reunite with their owners every year?

Last year, 28.32% of items were reunited with their owners. So far this year, 29.98% of items have been returned to their owners.

4.      What are the most common items that end up in Lost Property?

Definitely umbrellas would be most common, but a lot of cellular phones as well.

5.      What’s the best course of action for someone to take once they know they have lost something on transit?

Customers can call us during our business hours (Monday-Friday from 8:30am-5:00pm). It is best to ensure they have as much detail as possible including date/time the item was lost, the route the item was lost on, the description of the item lost as well as all their contact information.  Alternatively, we have an online form that can be completed at anytime that will send a report directly to our office.  It can take up to 2 business days for items to arrive in the Lost Property office, and we are in receipt of bikes once a week on Thursdays. (The Lost Property Office handles over 4000 calls from customers each month and nearly 3000 walk-in customers)

6.      Are there any other stories from lost property that you would like to share?

Our Workleader this year went to great lengths to try and locate the owner of a case for glasses with $400 cash inside.  There was no identification and only a bank slip with the cash that was inside.  Workleader Barb Szumilak went to a branch of the bank and explained the situation.  They explained that they could see what they could do, but they would not be able to provide us with customer information. They were, however, able to make contact with the gentleman who owned the bank account, and he was able to retrieve his money and case from our office.

One other interesting fact I discovered on my visit is that nearly 100% of all the unclaimed items turned into the Lost Property Office are donated to charity! United Way and Toys for Tots are just two charities who receive items regularly.

I’d like to express my thanks to Michelle, Barb and everyone else at Lost Property for letting me snoop around their office. If you have a lost item, I encourage you to fill out an online form, give Lost Property a call at 604-953-3334, or stop by the office at Stadium SkyTrain Station, 590 Beatty St, Vancouver, Monday to Friday 8:30 am-5:00pm.



The 2011 Reindeer Bus


Happy holidays from the ReindeerBus!

You may have noticed the ReindeerBus over the last few weeks, making its rounds of the Lower Mainland. After paying special visits to Canuck Place and Ronald McDonald House (along with Mr. and Mrs. Claus of course), it’s been stopping by TransLink operations, collecting toys donated by employees for our Toys for Tots program. All the toys go to the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau to distribute.

The ReindeerBus popped by TransLink head office yesterday to pick up donations from staff here and, as you can see in the photo below, it was already well on its way to being packed with toys.

John Strachan, Head Elf during the holiday season (and a CMBC operator instructor the rest of the year), says that the bus has collected more than 2,700 toys this year.

You can read more about the origins of the ReindeerBus in this 2008 post, and see some amazing photos of the bus and its community shuttle sibling in this post from last year.

Toys on the ReindeerBus

The ReindeerBus filling up with toys.

Author: Tina Robinson

The 2010 reindeer bus and community shuttle

The C28 community shuttle, dressed up as a reindeer! Photo by Chris Cassidy.

Our reindeer bus, photographed by David Lam! Click the picture to see David's full gallery of reindeer bus photos.

Chris Cassidy sent along some photos of the 2010 reindeer community shuttle this morning, so I thought I’d give the reindeer buses their own post :)

If you don’t know, one TransLink bus and one community shuttle get dressed up as reindeer every year. Staff from the Coast Mountain Bus Company have been performing this bit of holiday magic for over 20 years, starting just after the very first Toys for Tots charity drive done by the company in 1987. Check out this 2008 post for more history, plus the challenges of finding the right antlers and nose that work on the road!

The bus and community shuttle get dispatched all over the Lower Mainland, so just keep an eye out to see if they’re in your neighbourhood. But if you do want more specific locations, the TransLink Twitter account has also been tweeting the location of the reindeer bus and shuttle when they know where they are.

And just to clarify, the reindeer bus does NOT offer free rides, but there may be some tinsel and holiday treats presented by your friendly transit operator!

For more pictures of the 2010 reindeer buses, check out Chris’s reindeer shuttle gallery, and David Lam’s reindeer bus gallery. Here’s one more picture of the reindeer shuttle’s festive interior!

The interior of the reindeer shuttle. Photo by Chris Cassidy.

The reindeer buses are out and about

Santa and his friends with CMBC's reindeer bus!

Santa and his friends with CMBC's reindeer bus!

Here’s one of our two reindeer buses, who have been out on the road spreading Christmas cheer this week!

Our reindeer bus and reindeer community shuttle have been travelling around Vancouver, surprising passengers with a little Christmas fun on their regular routes. (There’s no telling where they’ll be –operators have to request the reindeer bus each day, and it’s popular!) The reindeer were also in a number of Christmas parades this year, including the Rogers Santa Claus parade and the Hyack parade.

But the chief job of the reindeer is delivering toys to charity every year. On Dec. 17 and 18, the buses will be loaded up with toys collected by TransLink and its subsidiaries, and the reindeers deliver them to the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau. (That’s 46,000 toys and $37,000 so far, and that doesn’t include 2008!)

Read more »

Links and Tidbits – December 18, 2015

Links and tidbits is our semi-regular roundup of interesting fodder about transportation from the last few weeks or so. If you have links to contribute, put them in the comments, or email us.

Rudolph reindeer bus

Our very own Rudolph ready to drive the Reindeer Bus!

»   TransLink continued the wonderful tradition of gathering thousands of toys for less fortunate children in the Lower Mainland with our Reindeer Bus!

»   From bus routes to humble abode. This Georgia couple turned an old bus into a house!

»   Serial bus thieves? They exist! You think he would’ve learned his lesson after 10 or 20 arrests!

»   It’s like… a lava lamp. Have some time to kill? Watch this oddly fascinating, real time transit tracker in Germany.

»   A new study suggests that living near transit lines may be good for your mental health!

»   From mind to body! A Japanese study found commuters who take the bus have a lower risk of heart disease and stroke than people who drive.

»   This TTC operator is making the most of his bus break with some push ups!

»   Riders who get stuck on downed trains in NYC can request a late-to-work slip from the MTA. Last year’s count? 100,000!

»   Germaphobes beware!! Take a look at what bacteria are lurking on a subway pole. Lucky you, there are pictures.

»   You have goat to be kidding me…

»   Talkin’ ’bout my generation. In Bostonl, millennials love transit!

»   You know nothing, Jon Snow. We’d LOVE to sit next to you and your posters on the bus!

»   We may have crows but Teipei has cranes!

»   This is like SkyTrain Inception. Thank you to @wetcoastlife for the share!

»   Washington pokes fun at the different types of “transit haters” in their region.

»   Lump. Throat. Watery eyes. These types of transit interactions truly warm my heart!

»   Waste not, want not! London’s old tube cars are being transformed into traditional rail trains for Northern England.

»   Read minds with a new virtual reality experience in the New York subway system!

»   Daycare on a train? How exactly are you going to get the kids to leave? Playtime is WAY better than getting off at your stop! (In reality, I think it’s more likely that this was a converted retired transit vehicle).

Play pen transit car
»   TTC throwback to the first bus route in Toronto and on a double decker no less!

»   FINALLY! I think those grates are scary enough without getting your heel stuck!

»   This new app guides visually impaired riders through London’s Underground through audio instructions. The future is now!

»   The ultimate showdown in transit mapping: Google vs. Apple.

»   Avoid waiting for trains in NYC by walking to your station. This chart shows you how much you’ll burn!

»   At Union Square station in NYC you can find this guy playing a mean sax, dancing like no one’s watching and using transit! That’s my kind of triple threat!

Author: Adrienne Coling