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The Buzzer Blog Podcast

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The Buzzer Blog Podcast

The Buzzer Blog Podcast

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About Us

News, commentary, and behind-the-scenes stories from the Metro Vancouver public transportation system in Canada.

Latest Episodes

Once upon a chime

Have you ever wondered where the iconic SkyTrain chime came from? Well, today is your lucky day because we’ve got an answer for you! Once upon a chime… Our story dates back to 1984, a few years before SkyTrain was operational. As a driverless automated system with no train operator on-board to remind passengers that doors were about to close and the train was ready to depart, we realized the need for some kind of automated on-board message. FYI:SkyTrain opened in January 1986, on schedule and on budget ($854 million) with an initial 21.4 kms (13.3 miles) of guideway, 15 stations and 114 SkyTrain cars! Once the decision was made to create an automated message, the next step was to determine what the message would sound like. We tested out many different ideas and even experimented with real bells, but nothing seemed to sound just right. Since SkyTrain is an automated, high-tech system, the feeling was that a reasonably conventional sounding chime was needed. Fun fact! The SkyTrain ...

-1 s2017 SEP 13
Comments
Once upon a chime

I Love Transit 2014: Your painting, cake, crossword, poem, letters, song, and video!

It’sI Love Transit Weekand what makes this week so special are the riders sharing their transit with love us. We received many submissions, but here are some of our favourites! Check it out! Burnaby Sunrise – a painting by Larry Mason This painting was sent in by Larry’s niece Terri. Larry shares his inspiration behind the painting: While living in New York City, Denise and I annually flew west to spend the Christmas Holidays with her family in Burnaby. One balmy December day I walked to Central Park. The sky was clear and brisk; the temperature not quite nippy. There I saw the SkyTrain structure; I thought it a handsome design and made a pen and ink sketch. After returning home I painted from the sketch. Taking artistic license, I changed the season to somewhere between spring, summer and fall. A Mark I SkyTrain cake! Yummm! Looks delicious! Photo of my son’s SkyTrain birthday cake. Looking forward to Transit Camp when old enough! @TransLink #ILoveTransit pic.twitter.com/0YU3js...

-1 s2014 AUG 30
Comments
I Love Transit 2014: Your painting, cake, crossword, poem, letters, song, and video!

Podcast: Frank Jensen celebrates 41 years as a bus operator

Frank sitting one more time on his bus! Many people spend less than four years at a job. Not Frank Jensen. Yesterday, Frank took his last trip after 41 years of exemplary service as a bus operator! It’s not everyday that someone retires after more than four decades at the same job. And last night, Frank’s accomplishments were featured on the CBC Evening News. As you’ll see from video, Frank will be missed by more than just his fellow employees. I had the privilege of sitting down with Frank and his son and daughter after Frank’s last run on the #405. Take a listen to what Frank and his family had to say. http://buzzer.translink.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Frank-Jensen-Retires-After-41-Years-as-a-bus-opperator.mp3 After I spoke to Frank, his fellow operators and other staff at the Richmond Transit Centre lined up to congratulate him on his accomplishment. Thanks for all the great years, Frank! You’ll be missed! Enjoy your retirement, Frank!

-1 s2014 FEB 1
Comments
Podcast: Frank Jensen celebrates 41 years as a bus operator

I Love Transit Week 2010: interviews from last week’s meetup (and a few links!)

Michelle Babiuk, intrepid interviewer, speaking to an attendee at I Love Transit Night. http://buzzer.translink.ca/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/I-Love-Transit-Week-2010_-interviews-from-our-meetup.mp3 OK — one more thing from I Love Transit Week! During I Love Transit Night, I asked my colleague Michelle to roam around with a voice recorder and chat with people about transit for the blog. I narrowed the audio down to about 15 minutes of stories and perspectives, so press play on the player above and have a listen to some of the fine folks we met last Thursday! Thanks Michelle for doing an excellent job, and thanks to everyone interviewed for sharing your stories! I’d also like to point out a couple of links to wrap up the I Love Transit Week coverage: Eric made a wrapup post for I Love Transit Week. Let’s take I Love Transit international! Did you know St. Albert, AB did I Love Transit Week in May 2010? It’s true! If I haven’t said it already, I really want to send a sincere, hea...

16 MIN2010 JUL 24
Comments
I Love Transit Week 2010: interviews from last week’s meetup (and a few links!)

I Love Transit Week 2010: Rachel Albang with a song about transit!

It’s I Love Transit Week from July 12-16 — because even though there’s things we don’t like about transit, there’s much we do like! All week I’ll be sharing essays, stories, and more to celebrate transit. Come to I Love Transit Night on Thursday July 15 too – full details here! I’m pleased to present a song about transit by Rachel Albang! Here’s a bit more about the song and its lyrics, plus you can hear more of her music at her Myspace account. http://buzzer.translink.ca/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Translink.mp3 To listen to the song press play on the player above, or download the mp3 here. Rachel! I was reading about your upcoming celebration and was inspired (while riding the bus!) to write you a little song. It’s kinda cheeky but the overall tone is to celebrate/appreciate the offerings of TransLink. My transit use has really varied over the years – e.g. I’ve done my share of the three hour daily commute North Van to downtown, but currently I am working at home writin...

2 MIN2010 JUL 15
Comments
I Love Transit Week 2010: Rachel Albang with a song about transit!

The conductorettes: the first women to drive transit in Vancouver

A group of 33 conductorettes posing in front of the 16th Avenue streetcar at Prior Street barns in 1944. They were at first issued skirts as part of their uniform, but this image shows the transition to pants. Skirts were difficult to manage when climbing the trolley to reset the poles! Photo courtesy of the Coast Mountain Bus Company Archives. Click for a larger version. Today, I’m pleased to present the story of the conductorettes, a group of 180 women who were the only women operating transit vehicles between 1943 and 1975. And I’m especially pleased to tell you that this article includes an audio podcast containing interview excerpts from three former conductorettes. Again, Lisa Codd, the curator at the Burnaby Village Museum, helped me put this article together, based on the research of Lynda Maeve Orr, the Museum’s Assistant Programmer. It’s a continued collaboration to explore transit history and Burnaby’s archival holdings! Podcast with three former conductorettes: Pear...

10 MIN2009 NOV 10
Comments
The conductorettes: the first women to drive transit in Vancouver

Podcast: Angus McIntyre celebrates 40 years as a driver

Angus McIntyre celebrated 40 years as a bus driver on Tuesday, August 25, 2009. Transit operator Angus McIntyre celebrated 40 years of driving Vancouver buses on Tuesday, August 25! Keith Daubenspeck (Seattle Transit driver), Angus McIntyre and Brian Kelly about to head out for a fan trip with Brill trolleybus 2031 at Oakridge Transit Centre. (Photo by Wally Young circa 1970.) On that very day, Angus started with B.C. Hydro in 1969. To mark the occasion, he pulled out his 1969 B.C. Hydro driver’s uniform (it still fits!) and the classic coin changer that all drivers used back then. Several media outlets came out to capture Angus’s moment (here’s a story from the Province), and a few friends and longtime riders also came out to cheer Angus on. He’s a great guy and a longtime member of the Transit Museum Society (TRAMS) so lots of people were happy to see him reach this milestone! I did a short podcast with Angus to talk about his 40th anniversary as a driver. http://buzzer.transl...

4 MIN2009 AUG 27
Comments
Podcast: Angus McIntyre celebrates 40 years as a driver

The Buzzer rides the first of the new SkyTrain cars!

As mentioned yesterday, the first of the 48 new SkyTrain cars started running on the system this morning, and I got to jump on for its first trip! Above is a video of the two-car train #306 arriving at Edmonds Station — its first stop ever on the system. (You can see the cameramen from CTV and Global there, so you might certainly see more footage on TV tonight.) The train will definitely be in service for the next week or so, and remember, you’re all welcome on board! It’s currently in an “endurance running” phase, which means it must complete 2000 kilometres of regular service while meeting certain criteria (that’s the equivalent of about one week of service). A critical part of this phase involves passengers boarding and disembarking the trains, so go ahead and get on it! http://buzzer.translink.ca/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/new-skytrain-car.mp3 Okay, now above you’ll find a short podcast with some rider reactions to the new car. Just thought I’d capture a few first day th...

2 MIN2009 JUL 4
Comments
The Buzzer rides the first of the new SkyTrain cars!

I Love Transit Week essay: Dave Olson

For I Love Transit Week, I’m happy to share a contribution from Dave Olson, who is a prolific and talented local writer, podcaster, poet, Canucks superfan, and much more. You can find all of his work on his Feasthouse blog. Find more of Dave’s podcasts, essays, presentations and documentaries at his archive: http://daveostory.com. So without further ado, here is “Rolling to the End of the Line,” an essay about transit by Dave Thorvald Olson. P.S. Dave has also put together a related podcast here, tracking his transit trip from North Vancouver to Kitsilano (it’s not the same text as this essay, btw): https://ia600308.us.archive.org/19/items/RollingToTheEndOfTheLine-ChoogleOn77/RollingToTheEndOfTheLine-ChoogleOn77.mp3 Escape Dave Brother Bob and I would mimic the airhorns on the way to elementary school – same as we’d do for truckers and fire trucks, pulling the string down, hoping the bus driver would notice and honk. Seemed like a blast to me, tooling along in those big buses...

-1 s2009 FEB 27
Comments
I Love Transit Week essay: Dave Olson
the END

Latest Episodes

Once upon a chime

Have you ever wondered where the iconic SkyTrain chime came from? Well, today is your lucky day because we’ve got an answer for you! Once upon a chime… Our story dates back to 1984, a few years before SkyTrain was operational. As a driverless automated system with no train operator on-board to remind passengers that doors were about to close and the train was ready to depart, we realized the need for some kind of automated on-board message. FYI:SkyTrain opened in January 1986, on schedule and on budget ($854 million) with an initial 21.4 kms (13.3 miles) of guideway, 15 stations and 114 SkyTrain cars! Once the decision was made to create an automated message, the next step was to determine what the message would sound like. We tested out many different ideas and even experimented with real bells, but nothing seemed to sound just right. Since SkyTrain is an automated, high-tech system, the feeling was that a reasonably conventional sounding chime was needed. Fun fact! The SkyTrain ...

-1 s2017 SEP 13
Comments
Once upon a chime

I Love Transit 2014: Your painting, cake, crossword, poem, letters, song, and video!

It’sI Love Transit Weekand what makes this week so special are the riders sharing their transit with love us. We received many submissions, but here are some of our favourites! Check it out! Burnaby Sunrise – a painting by Larry Mason This painting was sent in by Larry’s niece Terri. Larry shares his inspiration behind the painting: While living in New York City, Denise and I annually flew west to spend the Christmas Holidays with her family in Burnaby. One balmy December day I walked to Central Park. The sky was clear and brisk; the temperature not quite nippy. There I saw the SkyTrain structure; I thought it a handsome design and made a pen and ink sketch. After returning home I painted from the sketch. Taking artistic license, I changed the season to somewhere between spring, summer and fall. A Mark I SkyTrain cake! Yummm! Looks delicious! Photo of my son’s SkyTrain birthday cake. Looking forward to Transit Camp when old enough! @TransLink #ILoveTransit pic.twitter.com/0YU3js...

-1 s2014 AUG 30
Comments
I Love Transit 2014: Your painting, cake, crossword, poem, letters, song, and video!

Podcast: Frank Jensen celebrates 41 years as a bus operator

Frank sitting one more time on his bus! Many people spend less than four years at a job. Not Frank Jensen. Yesterday, Frank took his last trip after 41 years of exemplary service as a bus operator! It’s not everyday that someone retires after more than four decades at the same job. And last night, Frank’s accomplishments were featured on the CBC Evening News. As you’ll see from video, Frank will be missed by more than just his fellow employees. I had the privilege of sitting down with Frank and his son and daughter after Frank’s last run on the #405. Take a listen to what Frank and his family had to say. http://buzzer.translink.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Frank-Jensen-Retires-After-41-Years-as-a-bus-opperator.mp3 After I spoke to Frank, his fellow operators and other staff at the Richmond Transit Centre lined up to congratulate him on his accomplishment. Thanks for all the great years, Frank! You’ll be missed! Enjoy your retirement, Frank!

-1 s2014 FEB 1
Comments
Podcast: Frank Jensen celebrates 41 years as a bus operator

I Love Transit Week 2010: interviews from last week’s meetup (and a few links!)

Michelle Babiuk, intrepid interviewer, speaking to an attendee at I Love Transit Night. http://buzzer.translink.ca/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/I-Love-Transit-Week-2010_-interviews-from-our-meetup.mp3 OK — one more thing from I Love Transit Week! During I Love Transit Night, I asked my colleague Michelle to roam around with a voice recorder and chat with people about transit for the blog. I narrowed the audio down to about 15 minutes of stories and perspectives, so press play on the player above and have a listen to some of the fine folks we met last Thursday! Thanks Michelle for doing an excellent job, and thanks to everyone interviewed for sharing your stories! I’d also like to point out a couple of links to wrap up the I Love Transit Week coverage: Eric made a wrapup post for I Love Transit Week. Let’s take I Love Transit international! Did you know St. Albert, AB did I Love Transit Week in May 2010? It’s true! If I haven’t said it already, I really want to send a sincere, hea...

16 MIN2010 JUL 24
Comments
I Love Transit Week 2010: interviews from last week’s meetup (and a few links!)

I Love Transit Week 2010: Rachel Albang with a song about transit!

It’s I Love Transit Week from July 12-16 — because even though there’s things we don’t like about transit, there’s much we do like! All week I’ll be sharing essays, stories, and more to celebrate transit. Come to I Love Transit Night on Thursday July 15 too – full details here! I’m pleased to present a song about transit by Rachel Albang! Here’s a bit more about the song and its lyrics, plus you can hear more of her music at her Myspace account. http://buzzer.translink.ca/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Translink.mp3 To listen to the song press play on the player above, or download the mp3 here. Rachel! I was reading about your upcoming celebration and was inspired (while riding the bus!) to write you a little song. It’s kinda cheeky but the overall tone is to celebrate/appreciate the offerings of TransLink. My transit use has really varied over the years – e.g. I’ve done my share of the three hour daily commute North Van to downtown, but currently I am working at home writin...

2 MIN2010 JUL 15
Comments
I Love Transit Week 2010: Rachel Albang with a song about transit!

The conductorettes: the first women to drive transit in Vancouver

A group of 33 conductorettes posing in front of the 16th Avenue streetcar at Prior Street barns in 1944. They were at first issued skirts as part of their uniform, but this image shows the transition to pants. Skirts were difficult to manage when climbing the trolley to reset the poles! Photo courtesy of the Coast Mountain Bus Company Archives. Click for a larger version. Today, I’m pleased to present the story of the conductorettes, a group of 180 women who were the only women operating transit vehicles between 1943 and 1975. And I’m especially pleased to tell you that this article includes an audio podcast containing interview excerpts from three former conductorettes. Again, Lisa Codd, the curator at the Burnaby Village Museum, helped me put this article together, based on the research of Lynda Maeve Orr, the Museum’s Assistant Programmer. It’s a continued collaboration to explore transit history and Burnaby’s archival holdings! Podcast with three former conductorettes: Pear...

10 MIN2009 NOV 10
Comments
The conductorettes: the first women to drive transit in Vancouver

Podcast: Angus McIntyre celebrates 40 years as a driver

Angus McIntyre celebrated 40 years as a bus driver on Tuesday, August 25, 2009. Transit operator Angus McIntyre celebrated 40 years of driving Vancouver buses on Tuesday, August 25! Keith Daubenspeck (Seattle Transit driver), Angus McIntyre and Brian Kelly about to head out for a fan trip with Brill trolleybus 2031 at Oakridge Transit Centre. (Photo by Wally Young circa 1970.) On that very day, Angus started with B.C. Hydro in 1969. To mark the occasion, he pulled out his 1969 B.C. Hydro driver’s uniform (it still fits!) and the classic coin changer that all drivers used back then. Several media outlets came out to capture Angus’s moment (here’s a story from the Province), and a few friends and longtime riders also came out to cheer Angus on. He’s a great guy and a longtime member of the Transit Museum Society (TRAMS) so lots of people were happy to see him reach this milestone! I did a short podcast with Angus to talk about his 40th anniversary as a driver. http://buzzer.transl...

4 MIN2009 AUG 27
Comments
Podcast: Angus McIntyre celebrates 40 years as a driver

The Buzzer rides the first of the new SkyTrain cars!

As mentioned yesterday, the first of the 48 new SkyTrain cars started running on the system this morning, and I got to jump on for its first trip! Above is a video of the two-car train #306 arriving at Edmonds Station — its first stop ever on the system. (You can see the cameramen from CTV and Global there, so you might certainly see more footage on TV tonight.) The train will definitely be in service for the next week or so, and remember, you’re all welcome on board! It’s currently in an “endurance running” phase, which means it must complete 2000 kilometres of regular service while meeting certain criteria (that’s the equivalent of about one week of service). A critical part of this phase involves passengers boarding and disembarking the trains, so go ahead and get on it! http://buzzer.translink.ca/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/new-skytrain-car.mp3 Okay, now above you’ll find a short podcast with some rider reactions to the new car. Just thought I’d capture a few first day th...

2 MIN2009 JUL 4
Comments
The Buzzer rides the first of the new SkyTrain cars!

I Love Transit Week essay: Dave Olson

For I Love Transit Week, I’m happy to share a contribution from Dave Olson, who is a prolific and talented local writer, podcaster, poet, Canucks superfan, and much more. You can find all of his work on his Feasthouse blog. Find more of Dave’s podcasts, essays, presentations and documentaries at his archive: http://daveostory.com. So without further ado, here is “Rolling to the End of the Line,” an essay about transit by Dave Thorvald Olson. P.S. Dave has also put together a related podcast here, tracking his transit trip from North Vancouver to Kitsilano (it’s not the same text as this essay, btw): https://ia600308.us.archive.org/19/items/RollingToTheEndOfTheLine-ChoogleOn77/RollingToTheEndOfTheLine-ChoogleOn77.mp3 Escape Dave Brother Bob and I would mimic the airhorns on the way to elementary school – same as we’d do for truckers and fire trucks, pulling the string down, hoping the bus driver would notice and honk. Seemed like a blast to me, tooling along in those big buses...

-1 s2009 FEB 27
Comments
I Love Transit Week essay: Dave Olson
the END
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