Recognized as one of BC's Top Employers (2018):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 22, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why TransLink (South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority) was selected as one of BC's Top Employers (2018):
- TransLink's LEED Gold-certified head office features an impressive 2,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art fitness facility that includes a private studio area with personal trainer services and a variety of instructor-led classes, from stretch and relax to ski fit classes -- employee memberships are free
- TransLink helps to develop the next generation of employees with summer student opportunities, co-op internships and apprenticeships and formal mentoring programs
- TransLink provides a maternity leave top-up for its new mothers (to 100% of salary for 6 weeks) and also offers parents the option to extend their leave into an unpaid leave of absence -- some locations offer access to onsite daycare
Building careers at the TransLink enterprise
Five years ago, Jesse Koehler left a job as a transportation planner with the City of San Francisco and joined TransLink, the regional transportation authority for Metro Vancouver, and he couldn't be happier.
"It's a really exciting place to work," says Koehler, who is currently Project Director for a planned six-kilometre extension of the SkyTrain rapid transit system. "The best part of the job is working with smart, passionate people and on projects that improve the quality of life in the communities we serve."
TransLink's mandate is unique among North American transportation authorities. It is responsible for planning and designing, as well as funding, developing and delivering public transit, major roads and bridges, and cycling routes over a region that includes 23 local governments.
"This is an organization that values development, hard work and allowing employees to cut their teeth in different areas and to move both vertically and laterally," says Koehler. "We have such a broad portfolio, there are natural opportunities to work with folks in different divisions."
It is also an organization that places a high priority on customer service -- particularly when it comes to employees who deal directly with the public. "They say they can teach anybody to drive a bus," says Claire Madill, who joined Coast Mountain Bus Company, a subsidiary of TransLink, two years ago as a Conventional Transit Operator, or bus driver, after running her own custom jewellery design business. "It's the customer service experience and background they're looking for."
Madill says she has continued to learn through doing the job and by drawing on the experience of colleagues. "TransLink is such a big organization, but I've found there are a lot of passionate people here," she says. "People are really generous with their knowledge and expertise."
Ryan Mendoza worked as a loss prevention officer for a major retailer before becoming a SkyTrain Attendant in 2001. He, too, likes the collegial atmosphere and the opportunities to grow and develop. "Any time our schedule permits, we're able to take professional development courses to make us better attendants," says Mendoza. "That's one of the cool things about SkyTrain."
Koehler works in a very different part of the organization, but has been equally impressed with the openness of colleagues. "I work with a really exciting team," he says. "Everybody has to have strong technical skills, but they also have to be highly collaborative and willing to build consensus."
Recognized as one of Canada's Greenest Employers (2018):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 18, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why TransLink (South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority) was selected as one of Canada's Greenest Employers (2018):
- TransLink implemented a number of measures to reduce the transportation impacts of its operations and transportation in general, from a "Low-Carbon Fleet Strategy" to evaluating low and zero emission vehicles (adding a number of diesel-electric hybrid and natural gas buses to its fleet) to a public-facing "TravelSmart" transportation demand management program that promotes public transit, cycling, walking and ride sharing options and services across the region
- Translink achieved an impressive waste diversion from landfill rate of 76% through aggressive recycling and safe disposal of its operational waste materials, including scrap metal, glass, e-waste, wood, pallets, paper towel composting, soft film plastics, oil, anti-freeze, batteries, and fluorescent lamps, to name only a few examples
TransLink's sustainability journey pays off in pride
Fifteen years ago, Vancouver-based TransLink embarked on a journey that has made the organization a sustainability trailblazer. "It all began in 2003 when we developed a policy framework that set the stage for environmental movement at TransLink," says Sarah Buckle, Director, Enterprise Risk and Sustainability.
Just six later, TransLink, the transportation authority for Metro Vancouver, became the first transportation agency in North America to achieve Gold level status under the American Public Transportation Association's Sustainability Commitment. In 2015, TransLink became the first Canadian transit agency and one of only five in North America to achieve Platinum level status.
"Sustainability is core to TransLink's mandate in providing transportation options that meet the social, environmental and economic needs of our region," says Buckle. "To be recognized for our continued commitment to environmental stewardship is something we are very proud of."
And TransLink isn't resting on its laurels. The organization is developing a low-carbon fleet strategy with the goal of reducing fleet emissions across the region.
"We're looking at what's possible in the future, including innovative low or zero-carbon fleet technologies," says Buckle. In addition, TransLink is launching a two-and-half-year pilot project to assess the benefits and costs associated with electric-battery buses and on-route charging technology as the authority considers future fleet purchases.
TransLink's bus operating company, Coast Mountain Bus Company (CMBC), currently operates a fleet of more than 1,500 buses - many powered by compressed natural gas - and has implemented an environmental management system to identify and manage the effect of its operations on the environment.
Donna Bartel, Environmental Sustainability Manager for CMBC, leads the environmental team and oversees environmental training of tradespeople, bus operators and environmental committee members.
CMBC has seven environmental committees made up of managers, bus drivers and tradesperson representatives. They assist with the implementation of environmental programs and initiatives and help address concerns.
One particularly successful program addressed bus idling. Over the past decade, thanks to the anti-idling program, CMBC has reduced diesel consumption by a remarkable 560,000 litres, saving the company over $540,000 in fuel costs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Bartel says the bus company has been equally diligent in reducing natural gas and electricity consumption at its facilities. For example, it installed building automation systems to lower the heat and turn off lights when building areas are unoccupied. In addition, lights have been converted to LED at many facilities, resulting in a 30 per cent reduction in electricity consumption.
Bartel also notes CMBC has cut water consumption by 75 per cent since 2009 by re-thinking and re-engineering its bus wash practices and installing water filtration systems that use recycled water many times over.
On the rail side, TransLink's SkyTrain rapid transit network, operated by B.C. Rapid Transit Company, uses virtually zero-emission technology and is one of the principal reasons almost 30 per cent of TransLink's fleet energy use is from renewable sources.
Many employees commute to work via TransLink's transit network - SkyTrain, bus, SeaBus passenger ferry or West Coast Express commuter rail. All head offices, including TransLink's LEED Gold-designated building, are located near SkyTrain stations and free transit passes are provided to all employees to encourage transit, cycling and carpooling to work.
Buckle says employees are key to TransLink's environmental success, as are the passengers it carries every day. In 2017, TransLink launched an Accountability Centre to provide employees, customers and the general public with information on a variety of financial and non-financial performance indicators, including greenhouse gas emissions, air pollutants and energy consumption. "Making this information public holds TransLink accountable to our environmental commitments, which in turn drives us to improve our performance," says Buckle.