Which is the worst season to take transit in – summer or winter?

Everyone seems to be complaining about the heat, and more specifically taking public transport in this ridiculous heat (including me) but from what I can recall it’s not nearly as bad this year as it was last year. I can remember actual pools of sweat left behind by others on the seats of the 99 B-line, men standing up from a seat with the backs of their shirts soaked with sweat and leaving the bus unsure if the thin layer of sweat on me was entirely my own. I have memories of body odor so profuse it could probably strip paint from a wall and the smell of armpit lingering in my nasal passages even after I had left the bus.  This year, on the other hand, maybe I’m riding the bus at a less busy time or with less “fragrant” people, but I haven’t really noticed the extreme conditions that I did last year. Now I mean it’s not exactly a field of roses up in there, but that’s to be expected – anytime you pack a bunch of people in a confined space and then turn the heat waaay up, it’s gonna get stanky. Regardless, it is not great, and the opinions voiced seem to reflect this fact.

So does this mean that we (ie the transit riding masses) are waiting in eager anticipation for the fall and winter? Are we counting down the days and crossing off the squares on our calendars for when the rainy and chilly season decends upon our fair city once more?

I sure as hell ain’t.

In my opinion, winter is just as just as bad, if not worse, than summer when it comes to the public transit experience. Sure the smell of sweat isn’t quite as potent, but it’s replaced by the smell of dampness and the smell of musty rain coats (akin to the smell of a tarp that’s been put away wet and then stored for 6 months). The heat is cranked on full blast since it’s cold out (and sometimes even if it isn’t) so it is super muggy and humid inside the bus, what with the wet outerwear, sopping umbrellas, people breathing and whatnot. This causes the windows get all fogged up, then you can’t always see when you’re getting close to your stop and it’s just a mess. Oxygen is sparse as your inhalations are usually your neighbor’s exhalations – recycled air indeed. Not to mention the fact that the busses are far less frequent when it snows (and by less frequent I mean they sometimes just don’t show up at all).

As you can see, when it comes to the worst transit riding season for me it’s toss up.  So dear readers, what do you think? What is the worst season to take public transit in? Summer? Winter? Spring? Fall?


About Lauren W

I am a combination of contradictions and approximately 18 kinds of awesome.
This entry was posted in Riders, Vancouver, Weather. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Which is the worst season to take transit in – summer or winter?

  1. Jen S says:

    Winter (and fall) for all the above reasons, but you forgot people who put their umbrellas on the seats and leave a puddle behind on there. Also, if I’m wet I’m just all around in a bad mood and the ride seems that much worse. Plus being off the bus isn’t good either, you’re still wet and it’s darker (earlier).

    I think it’s a lot of outside factors leading to a displeasing bus/train ride in the fall/winter, whereas in the summer once you’re off the bus it’s easy to change your mood by a mere ray of sunshine.

  2. Summer is not as bad as winter purely because there aren’t as many students travelling. This primarily affects the trunk routes to UBC (which unfortunately I have to travel on) but for me it makes winter a much rougher month. Also, speaking as a guy, summer provides a lot more scenery on the bus instead of the wrapped-up tarps everywhere in Winter.

  3. Leah says:

    Train service is disrupted way more frequently in the winter too.

  4. Lauren W says:

    Yeah, winter is worse… great. I was kind of hoping you all would have good arguments about why summer was worse and we should be happy that we were going in to winter which wouldn’t be as bad… sigh.

    ps – reallyprofound, never thought of it like that! Good call, eye candy on the bus is far sweeter in the summer hahaha

  5. Canewdal says:

    To answer your question, ANYTIME!

  6. Pingback: The heat is on | Tales of translink

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