Thursday, January 21, 2010

Transit Prices Sky-rocket Just In Time For The Games

According to the Vancouver Sun, it is believed that the Sky-to-Sky bus trip cost will double, and the Whistler Village shuttle is going to start charging a fee. So, how will this affect us? Well, commuters, residents, and tourists travelling between Squamish and Whistler will now see daily cash bus fares double during the Winter Games. By raising prices, BC Transit aims to cover the costs of its expanded transit services during the Olympics.

A one-way trip from Squamish to Whistler will increase from $5 to $10, while the cash fare from Pemberton to Whistler will rise from $3 to $6. Guess what? It doesn't stop there. Once the persons get to Whistler, travellers will have to pay an additional $2 to use the village shuttle, which currently is free.

Because of this new tactic, many commuters will be forced to drive their own vehicle, or even possibly hitchhike rather than taking the bus. Anything that discourages people from taking the bus is usually a bad thing, isn't it? Personally speaking, shouldn't VANOC be concerned about all the vehicles clogging traffic? However, apparently the high bus fare is aiming to attract people to resort to monthly bus passes, which will give them access to connector services as well as local buses. The Squamish pass is $95, meanwhile the Pemberton one is $50, for the month of February. It is encouraged to buy transit passes to avoid single-passenger vehicles on the roads.

During the month of February, the amount of buses in Squamish, Pemberton, and Whistler will increase from 39 buses to 135 in order to carry 1.2 million people on the Sea to Sky corridor. Transit in Squamish and Pemberton connectors will run 24/7, while the existing Whistler routes will run more frequently.

These soaring fares apply to all passengers, and there are no discounts for seniors or students. Only children under five, or those with a ticket to an event, can ride the bus for free, otherwise best of luck to you!

BC Transit has hired an extra 250 transit operators from Alberta, and Ontario who will be travelling from Squamish to Whistler during the Games.

Those who are driving to Squamish and hoping to catch a ride to Whistler on one of the BC Transit buses will have to find themselves a place to park after VANOC notified the District of Squamish this week that, it will not provide a park and ride for the Games. The District of Squamish will develop its own park and ride, but the challenge will be coordinating it with the VANOC transportation plan.

Anyhow, I suggest everyone invest in a Transit pass because I doubt anybody is willing to pay that much money to just ride for a one-way trip. Are you all ready? Fill your pockets, and let's rock this Vancouver!


Saturday, January 2, 2010

2010, here I come! :)

The 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games are creeping right around the corner. There are exactly 41 days up until our very own city will be amplified with spirit, diversity, and patriotism. So, how are the citizens of Vancouver feeling about the Games? I took the time to interview a current employee of the Richmond Oval Olympic venue, named Ajay Brach. The Richmond Oval will be the location where elite athletes compete in speed skating.
Ajay has been working at the Richmond Oval since it first opened in December of 2008. He was recently laid off as VANOC had moved in to make their preparations for the Games. Previously, Ajay’s duties included taking care of people who were renting skates and treating people to first-aid. The size of the venue has attracted many Vancouverites to the Olympic Oval. Consequently, there have been an increased number of first-aid accidents. Even though many people have never skated before, the Richmond Oval has gathered a lot of interest since officially being named an Olympic venue. Ajay has received training for all kinds of accidents including large scale catastrophes, and minor injuries.
When asked how he felt about such a prestigious event coming to his city, he answered: “I feel really privileged to have been born and raised in Vancouver, and to now have Vancouver be the host of the 2010 Winter Olympics. I know that there are negative aspects with hosting such an event, one in which includes the many expenses that come along with it. Calgary for example, has just recovered from the financial deficits that they had been forced to deal with after hosting the 1988 Winter Olympics. This debt is going to be mostly passed to us Vancouverites as myself through such things as a higher tax rate; however the new infrastructure and increase in world wide exposure puts our city on a worldwide pedestal that I think is worth the large amount of costs.”
Ajay states that he finds it to be really fun and exciting working at an Olympic venue. He says he thinks about the ice track that he skates on during work being used by Olympic athletes, and being seen by millions around the world. Ajay feels fortunate to meet some of the Olympic athletes that have been training at the Richmond Oval in order to prepare for the upcoming Games. He has had chances to meet them and even converse with some of the world renowned athletes, which he considers to be an incredible honour. Ajay has learned new communication skills that are essential in working with the general public, as he is constantly pressured to withhold a highly regarded image for the City of Vancouver. Ajay has gained plenty of knowledge about the Games that will be held at the venue as well, simply because he must be able to answer the many questions that the public put forth to him. These questions can range from how the venue will look during or after the Olympics to past records in speed skating, and different speed skating events that take place during the Games.
Working at an Olympic venue isn’t always as glamorous as it is portrayed to be. However, Ajay states that there weren’t many problems other than the fact that the standards for the employees have been set really high, due to being constantly told that he has to uphold Olympic standard of service. He would have to go out of his way to please the public and increase their Olympic moral and awareness. Ajay says the employees were given radios for communication and were put to strict radio protocol as they were told that they are put under great pressure by the media for any slip ups that may occur.
I asked Ajay by what means does he believe that Canadian students could get the most out of their Olympic experience, and in what ways could they involve themselves in which he replied: “The first thing I believe they should do is follow the Olympic Games as our countries’ athletes need the support of our nation. For those who live near venues where events are being held, I believe they should perhaps volunteer if not apply for jobs that would involve them in the Games. With such an event occurring in our city, there are a number of jobs that will be created, and with an increased demand for labor this will increase the strength of our city’s economy with decreased unemployment rates.”
Because Ajay works for an Olympic venue, I asked him how he would get the most in his own Olympic experience. Unfortunately for him, recently VANOC has taken over the Olympic Oval so they can prepare for the events that will unfold during the month of February. For that reason, he has been temporarily laid off as the Games are in progress. During the Games he plans on following the men’s ice hockey events with his attention being put mostly upon the Canadian men’s ice hockey team. Along with his job at the Olympic Oval and school, Ajay plays ice hockey on a regular basis. His love for the game translates into his love for Olympic hockey, as he believes that is the ultimate pedestal for anyone that loves the game of hockey.
Alas, even though Ajay is a die-hard hockey fan, he will not be able to attend any of the events. He personally wishes he would be able to watch passionate players play his favourite game. It’s far too hard to obtain tickets because many of them were sold out instantly, and ones being sold privately now are ridiculously expensive. It’ll be okay though, because he always has Students Live digging in the dish for him!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Team Canada Roster! :)

Head Coach: Mike Babcock

Martin Brodeur-New Jersey
Marc-André Fleury-Pittsburgh
Roberto Luongo-Vancouver

Dan Boyle-San Jose
Drew Doughty-Los Angeles
Duncan Keith-Chicago
Scott Niedermayer-Anaheim
Chris Pronger-Philadelphia
Brent Seabrook-Chicago
Shea Weber-Nashville

Patrice Bergeron-Boston
Sidney Crosby-Pittsburgh
Ryan Getzlaf-Anaheim
Dany Heatley-San Jose
Jarome Iginla-Calgary
Patrick Marleau-San Jose
Brenden Morrow-Dallas
Rick Nash-Columbus
Corey Perry-Anaheim
Mike Richards-Philadelphia
Eric Staal-Carolina
Joe Thornton-San Jose
Jonathan Toews-Chicago

Youth and inexperience highlight the roster for the host of the 2010 Winter Olympics. Though the roster is filled with many big name players and stars of the best hockey league in the World, 12 players are 25-years old or younger and 15 are making their first ever Olympic apperance. Chris Pronger and Martin Brodeur (though Brodeur didnt play in 1998) are the lone veterans of Canada who have been in each Olympic since NHLers were allowed to compete. Canada will bring 4 players who helped Canada break its 50-years drought at the 2002 Winter Olympics while 7 players return from Canada worst ever Olympic finish, 7th. Canada will be looking to make up for that finish and no better place to do it on home ice infront of their fans. Their roster includes many players who are on the same club including San Jose's Heatley, Thronton, Marleau and Anaheim's Getzlaf and Perry. Nobody was surprised to see the likes of Sidney Crosby, Ryan Getzlaf, or Corey Perry named to the squad. But eye-catching newcomers included 20-year-old L.A. defenceman Drew Doughty, who won World Junior gold in 2008 and World Championship silver in 2009; the Chicago Blackhawks defence pairing of Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook; and Boston's Patrice Bergeron, who showed great chemistry with Sidney Crosby at the '05 World Juniors and '06 Worlds and has rebounded from concussion problems.

Goaltending for Canada is a question mark on who will become the starter, after all the tournament is hosted in the city that Roberto Luongo plays in and knows the arena very well. However Martin Brodeur is the veteran on the back-end and did bring Canada its Gold Medal back in 2002 and since that Olympics has become the all-time leader in many goaltending categories. Luongo has played behind Brodeur three times before 2004 World Cup, 2005 World Championship, and 2006 Olympics. Canada will most likely play Broduer and Luongo throughout the round robin games and decide who becomes the starter during the medal rounds.

Canada brings all of its 23-man roster from the NHL

Canada is currently ranked 2nd.