Recognized as one of BC's Top Employers (2019):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 21, 2019)
Here are some of the reasons why TransLink (South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority) was selected as one of BC's Top Employers (2019):
- TransLink's LEED Gold-certified head office features an impressive 4,000-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, including pilates and boot camp -- employee memberships are free
- TransLink employees are encouraged to plan ahead with retirement planning assistance services and generous contributions to a defined benefit pension plan
- TransLink helps to develop the next generation of employees with summer student opportunities, co-op internships and apprenticeships and formal mentoring programs
TransLink's expansion offers great new opportunities
There are considerable advantages to working for an organization that's in expansion mode, including more opportunities for advancement. Just ask William Steep, manager, compass operations solutions for TransLink, the regional transportation authority for Metro Vancouver.
Less than six years ago, Steep started with B.C. Rapid Transit Company (BCRTC), a subsidiary of TransLink, as a SkyTrain attendant. But he quickly moved up the ranks, and is now in charge of the company's fare-collection system at TransLink. "Coming here is the best professional decision I've made by a long shot," says the 34-year-old. "I've been given the latitude to try new ideas and approaches and build on my skills.
"There's such a huge variety of opportunities here, and new opportunities popping up in the organization every single day," he continues, noting that TransLink recently approved a $7.3 billion investment plan to expand and improve the region's transportation network. "And we get to deliver on projects and initiatives that have such clear and meaningful impact on people."
As Metro Vancouver's regional transit authority, TransLink is unique in comparison to other North American transit agencies: it's responsible for planning, financing and operating an integrated transportation system - connecting communities by bus, rail, passenger ferry, custom transit services, pedestrian and cycling paths, the Major Road Network and five bridges.
Among the principles that unite this vast network is a focus on transit users and, says Steep, a recognition of the importance of frontline staff, whom he calls "the voice of the customer." That focus had led to various measures to encourage all staff to convey their ideas for improvement to management. "The leadership is great - they have an open-door policy," says Bal Bains, who joined BCRTC about a year ago as a SkyTrain attendant. "I can ask them about anything or tell them anything."
That respect for everyone's opinion helps foster a culture of collegiality, adds Bains. And she appreciates the fact that it isn't necessary to get permission to apply for another job in the organization, as was the case in her previous job. "They're open to movement, and there's a lot of channels you can move through to get to where you want."
Steep notes that the variety of jobs and shifts means employees can often find a position that suits their needs. That is the case for Bains. "As a full-timer, I work four days on, three days off. That gives me three days every week to spend with my teenage kids."
Recognized as one of Canada's Greenest Employers (2019):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 14, 2019)
Here are some of the reasons why TransLink (South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority) was selected as one of Canada's Greenest Employers (2019):
- TransLink is spearheading a number of initiatives to reduce the transportation impacts of its operations, including testing battery powered electric buses and fast charging stations, adding diesel-electric hybrid and natural gas buses to its fleet, and promoting all types of low-impact transportation options, including cycling, walking and car sharing services though the TravelSmart program
- TransLink has been recognized by the American Public Transportation Association Sustainability Commitment for its ongoing efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions -- and is the only Canadian transportation agency to achieve Platinum status for its efforts
- TransLink maintains a focus on diverting all types of waste from the landfill, 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
In sustainability, TransLink is transformational
Sustainability is core to TransLink's mandate in providing transportation options that meet the social, environmental and economic needs of the Metro Vancouver region. "I'm proud to work for an organization where leadership ensures sustainability is a priority and one of our strategic objectives," says Dom Repta, Senior Sustainability Advisor for TransLink.
TransLink is unique among North American transit agencies. It is responsible for planning, financing and operating an integrated transportation system in Metro Vancouver, connecting communities by bus, rail, passenger ferry, custom transit services, pedestrian and cycling paths, the Major Road Network and five bridges. And in recent years, the organization has made two major environmental commitments: the use of only renewable energy across the company by 2050, and an 80-per-cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by that year.
Transportation accounts for the largest share of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in British Columbia. Road-based transportation emits more than one-third of them in Metro Vancouver alone. The fleet of Coast Mountain Bus Company, a subsidiary of TransLink, is responsible for more than 90 per cent of TransLink's GHG emissions.
To reduce this number, one of the key initiatives being led by TransLink's Sustainability Department is the development of a low-carbon fleet strategy - a path to transition the agency's 1,600 buses to battery electric buses beginning in 2025 or earlier. "It's incredibly rewarding to work on such a transformational project that will benefit our region for years to come," says Repta, who is also the Project Manager for the cross-enterprise initiative.
Repta's excitement about the new electric buses is shared by Qiu Li, a Maintenance Engineer with Fleet Technical Support at Coast Mountain Bus Company. She has spent the past few years helping to research and procure the pilot project electric buses and their overhead chargers.
Li recalls a visit to Winnipeg a few years ago to see how that city's electric bus pilot was going. "Their buses did the route to the airport, where the overhead chargers were. When I arrived, I noticed a bus was already charging. I pulled out my phone to take a video, but by the time I was ready, the charger had already finished and was raised up. I was quite surprised at how fluid and quick the operation was. That gave me a really good feeling about our trial."
In addition to the path to electrification, TransLink is the first transit agency in Canada to start using renewable natural gas for its CNG, or compressed natural gas, bus fleet. It has a long-term contract with FortisBC to procure the product, which is derived from decomposing organic waste.
And in October, TransLink became the first transit agency in Canada to issue green bonds, worth $400 million. Repta points out that the bonds can fund only projects that are considered green by a third party, and that there's an accountability element - the sustainability benefits that the money supports need to be reported.
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.
One of TransLink's key roles in the region is to offer alternative transportation options, encourage smart transportation choices for people and goods movers, and, at the same time, reduce its own corporate environmental footprint. It believes employees are key to TransLink's environmental success, as well as the customers it moves every day.
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 transit passes are provided to all employees to encourage use of transit to work, as well as cycling and carpooling.