Vancouver History: The Buzzer Turns 92

Comments 3 by Rebecca Bollwitt

You always see it there out of the corner of your eye sitting in its little plastic box mounted by the windows and blowing in the breeze after that one passenger opened the window even though no one else wanted him to. It’s The Buzzer, Metro Vancouver transit’s free publication available on all transit vehicles and skytrains.

“The Buzzer is a free onboard publication. It was first published June 2, 1916, and is presently distributed every second Friday.” [Translink]

Photo credit: Keira-Anne on Flickr

I used to be big on The Buzzer, like back in 1984 when I would ride the 324 with my mom from Newton Exchange over to my grandma and grandpa’s house. I think I was just big on free pamphlets in general – you should have seen me at tourist rest stops during long-haul family camping trips.

Little did I know, or even think to look up, The Buzzer is also available online in pdf form (since 2006) although wouldn’t the content simply make for a great little Translink blog? They have cartoons, route information and upcoming events. Toss in a fun Google map for their next “how to take transit to…” article and they’re set. They are also in the middle of a FareCard contest, and the winner will be announced this Friday, June 20th.

I often wonder if the major launch of daily commuter papers in Vancouver hurt The Buzzer at all. It used to be something folks picked up specifically or so that they could stop staring at the same ads overhead during a 45 minute commute. As far as distractions go, the major free daily newspaper push a few years ago might have hurt The Buzzer slightly, but I do know some faithful readers.

Buzzer BirthdayRegardless, it’s a great tradition of transit literature over the last 92 years. Pick up the latest copy to browse the first edition ever from 1916 which was in search of a name (the contest offered $15 to the person who selected the winning name that would go to print). Runner up names to the contest were “Current Comments” and “Between the Lines”, I’m actually quite fond of the latter.

Thanks to The Buzzer for all the information and entertainment over the years. Who knows, maybe one day when we walk onto the bus our phones will beep and ask us if we want to view the latest issue, in digital form.

3 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. Keira-AnneWednesday, June 18th, 2008 — 1:19pm PDT

    I think I was just big on free pamphlets in general – you should have seen me at tourist rest stops during long-haul family camping trips.

    You must’ve been like a kid in a candy store on the ferry!

  2. fotoeinsWednesday, June 18th, 2008 — 4:30pm PDT

    Loved the Buzzer, which coincides with my 1st memory of riding BC Hydro transit in the wae days. Which then brings and yet also coincides with the picture of you next to a Brill. My 1st ever ride as a wae lad in Vancouver was riding on a Brill. Oh, the Brills, in the old colours, first green/blue stripes, then the yellow/brown stripes, and the lights would always go out as the trolley wires passed through either a wire junction or intersection.

  3. Vancouver Blogger Profile: The Buzzer » Vancouver Blog Miss 604 by Rebecca BollwittWednesday, October 22nd, 2008 — 1:36pm PDT

    […] 92 years young and a staple of transit cars in the greater Vancouver area. The portable, printed, paper […]

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