I’m standing here!

I’ve written about seat hierarchy, now it’s time for standing hierarchy.

Sure he looks happy, but he's plotting how he'll get off the bus before the redhead. (via The Buzzer)

Oftentimes we’re left standing on the bus, it can suck but it’s the price we pay. I take a lot of buses that terminate at the stop that I’m getting off at, particularly the Skytrain stations. It’s my firm belief that you file off of the bus with the people standing getting off first. It only makes sense. They’re standing and it’s easiest for them to get off and make rooms for the sitters to get into the aisles.

That being said, people often believe that they can get up and start to make their way to the exit before they reach the stop. This is particularly annoying for the reasons listed below:

  • Where the hell do they think they’re going? On a busy bus, where there’s barely room for standee’s to stand, where do you think we’ll find room for you.
  • The bus is terminating at that stop. The driver will not leave or shut the doors and lock you in. I promise.
  • We’re all getting off. I’ve had to stand and try to balance as the driver takes corners like there’s no one holding on to dear life, I deserve to get off before you.
  • A lot of the times you’re old, I fear that you’ll fall and break a hip. Lawsuits against Translink only make me fear higher fare prices to pay for your stupidity.

It’s simple. If you were lucky enough to get a seat, sit back and relax. Let the standers off first. As an added bonus, they get to deal with those weird doors on the new buses that ask you to “touch to open” but basically needed to be pushed a million times before they’ll finally give in.

Posted in Bus, Riders | 3 Comments

Exact Fare Only

Summer’s here! Or it should be. It was a nice two days while it lasted. Think of it this way, the longer it takes for it to heat up outside the longer we can hold off on the abundance of body odor that fills every bus loaded with sticky and sweaty passengers.

It’s also time for tourists to start using our transit more frequently and you know what that means…. no change for fare.

The other day I was on the bus when a man got on and asked the driver to break his twenty. Now, I don’t know if he was actually a tourist, but he was oblivious to the ways of the bus. The driver frustratedly told the man that he needed exact change, he was already annoyed at this point because he was about to leave the stop when the man came running up, I guess he wanted to stay 5 minutes ahead of posted schedules to continue screwing over the people.  The passenger then asked the bus of people if they could break a twenty, not uncommon and people are generally willing to pool together some change to help a person with their fare, especially since no one carries enough money around to break twenties anymore. I saw a woman search through her purse and looking for her book of faresavers when the bus driver yelled:

“You can’t ask them that!!”

If the guy didn’t get off the bus at that point I’m pretty sure the bus driver may have pushed him off.

The poor woman had just found her faresavers too.

Now, I don’t know if this is a rule and the driver was enforcing it. I’m not even saying the driver was wrong, I think we’ve all been there were we’ve felt awkward while someone has asked a bus full of people for fare. But we’ve also been on the other end, thinking we’ve got change or our pass only to arrive at the bus stop to discover it’s not at the bottom of your purse where you always keep it.

What to do? Do you offer up your extra faresaver or throw in some change to help a person make their fare? Like I said, no one carries money anymore so it’ll be hard to offer up a ten, a five, 2 toonies and 4 quarters.

What say you Translink Nation:

  • Should we try to help people who had the best of intentions (they did plan on paying) by helping pay their fare or offering your faresaver?
  • Should we treat this like a hazing ritual for the Translink newbies? They’ll never forget their exact change again! (mwahahahahaha)

I say donate what you can. I don’t carry faresavers, or much change even, but I’d rather help someone get to where they’re going. You don’t know their story or how important it is that they get that bus.

Once they’re on the bus with ticket in hand I’ll commiserate and we’ll dream about a day where debit and all major credit cards are accepted.

Posted in Bus, Fare | 2 Comments

How to: flirt on public transit.

I’m sure we’ve all noticed an attractive member of the opposite sex (or same sex, whatever your preference) on the bus or skytrain that we would like to become better acquainted with. This is all fine and well, except the question then becomes how do we go about getting better acquainted?

To be honest, I am perhaps not the best person to answer this question as I have yet to pick up an eligible bachelor on the bus or skytrain – but I’m pretty sure the answer involves flirting. Although I am far from an expert on the subject, I have been hit on a few times and witnessed a few ‘love connections’ on public transit in my day – and based on how those experiences went, I have learned a thing or two… but I have to admit, the title of this post is slightly misleading, as I am more familiar with how NOT to flirt on public transit.
Regardless, here are a few tips I’d like to share:

1 – Don’t sit down waaaay too close to a girl (or boy for that matter) so that you’re practically sitting on her lap – this is incredibly off-putting even if you’re hot, more so if you’re not (this however, is acceptable if there legitimately isn’t much room to sit).

2 – Don’t then proceed to stay sitting that close even after the person on the other side of you has vacated their seat and you are free to move your ass over an inch or two.

3 – Don’t comment on how the chapstick the girl you’re crammed up against just pulled out of her bag “smells so good.” That’s creepy.

4 – Don’t proceed to then refer to it as “kissable.” That’s creepier.

(yes folks, the above tips are all the result of a recent experience I had – deelightful!)

5 – Do bathe, use deodorant, brush your teeth and generally maintain some sort of personal hygiene routine.

6 – Don’t smell like smoke, booze, BO or urine.

7 – Don’t underestimate the power of simple conversation or a simple smile.

8 – Do try to be approachable when there’s a hottie in sight – it’s pretty hard to flirt with someone who has headphones on or is absorbed in their phone.

9 – Conversely, don’t try to flirt with people who has headphones on or are absorbed in their phone – odds aren’t good that they want to chat.

And my final tip for flirting on public transit is…

10 – do it. (this is just a good tip in general – take note Vancouver boys)

What do you all think? Any tips you can share? Do you think people should even flirt on the bus or sky train – or is it too intrusive to your daily commute?

Posted in Bus, Fellow Transit Riders, Happy riding, Skytrain | 19 Comments

First come, first serve?

He totally stole my seat

Is it just me or does anyone else observe a seat hierarchy on the bus or skytrain?

Let me explain… when I get on the train after work there’s generally no seats to be had but within a stop or two some seats will open up. Generally when these seats open up people will point to it and ask others if they want it before sitting down. If someone older, with children or carrying a lot of bags is standing they’re given first rights to the seat.

I always feel like those who have been on the bus/train the longest should get first dibs on the seat and it aggravates me when people will kindly wait for others to get off before they make a move for the seat only to be thwarted by someone just getting on.

I then stew silently. It’s not like I need to sit, in fact I’ll stand a lot of the time because I’ve been sitting at work all day. It’s the principle. I feel like you can’t just waltz on and expect to sit down when others are waiting for that seat, most of who are just adhering to the rules of clearing the area before taking a seat.

So I beg of people, be kind and look around before you get on the bus and take a seat, someone else could be waiting for it.

Is it just me, or does anyone else find this rude and annoying?

Posted in Fellow Transit Riders, Is it just me? | 5 Comments

Passed Up

On Sunday fellow Translink blogger Priority Seating wrote about a problem for everyone who rides the bus, the frustrating moment when you see a bus in the distance only to have it pass you by without stopping.

Often you’ll see that the bus is full, and you may even be lucky enough to get an apology from Translink by way of the bus’s marquee (sorry, I don’t have a better word for that right now).

Other times the bus may appear full at the front but the back remains empty, confusing the driver to think that the bus has no room.

You may even be passed up for no apparent reason. The bus will have room but the driver passes your stop up, maybe there’s another bus following soon, or the bus is already late and the driver feels like your stop would just slow them down more. Sometimes, I like to think, the driver’s just being an ass.

Or not, but that’s the easiest reason to default to.

The Vancouver Sun ran an interesting article regarding the pass up problem facing Translink. The article tries to explain why stops are ignored by some drivers and how Translink has implemented systems to record to try and fix this problem.

I don’t blame the drivers and I understand how it can be frustrating for the passengers. We get passed up and we’re late for where we’re going to, we blame the drivers and they have to accept the abuse from passengers. I also understand why, as the article reports, the drivers aren’t always reporting the pass ups. They don’t see progress of reporting the problem, and if they don’t see changes how can we expect to see them?

It’s a frustrating issue that everyone has to deal with. I recommend reading the article over at The Vancouver Sun and looking at their interactive graphs to see what bus routes are passed up the most in each region.

Thoughts on the article? Are you surprised at the top lines that are responsible for passing up, do you think there’s one that should be higher on the list?

Posted in Bus, Routes, The Abusive Relationship | 1 Comment

High and Dry

Living in Surrey has a few disappointing aspects. Some more personal and not something I’m going to go into on this blog, but one glaring aspect has been transit.

Surrey, like many of the Vancouver suburbs, has a lot of side streets. The buses run down the main streets and people have to walk from their neighborhoods to reach the stops. As someone who until recently lived near a lot of bus stops, having to walk 5 to 10 minutes (often in the rain) to the closest stop sucks. But then again, in the sunshine I love the walk. Provided I’m not running late of course.

That could be my biggest pet peeve though. While I’ll often be running late, I have taken large strides to make sure I’ll be at my stop on time. Buses run only every half an hour, even during rush hour, so I’ll leave my house to allow me to get to the stop on time. So it’s extremely frustrating to see the bus pull up 5 minutes early while I’m still walking to the stop. Five minutes in Vancouver is no big deal, another bus will be along at the stop within a few minutes or there’s often another stop with another bus line within a few block radius.

Weekend traveling is an even bigger pain. I have troubles making plans with friends if I know that I can’t get a ride or borrow a car due to even more infrequency in the schedule. On my days off I don’t want to spend more time traveling to meet friends than I actually spend with them.  So I tend to lose out in that regard.

It’s really hard to get behind public transit in hopes of reducing cars and pollution on the road when it’s not readily available or convenient to use. Nor are they making the decision easier on us by not showing up at their promised arrival time.

I think I would definitely turn my back on my 3 zone pass if I were to have full access to a car. Driving to work wouldn’t take much longer, even on Highway 1 during construction, and I’d love the ability to give little concerts on my commute without getting strange looks from my fellow transiters. Money wise I know it would be more expensive, but I can see myself getting pretty fed up and willing to do it.

It’s all a moot point though, since moving to this suburb was only done in an attempt to save money. So I’ll continue to commute into the city and do my time on Translink to find little gems to share on this site.

Never fear, it doesn’t look like I’ll be leaving you guys anytime soon.

I cannot be alone in my frustration with suburban services. Let it all out in the comments section, sharing is cathartic!

Posted in Is it just me?, Routes, Service | 6 Comments

Checking the Transit in Another City: Las Vegas

What’s up faithful readers?!?

Sorry we’ve been so quiet around here, but we’ve been busy. Working, vacationing, living life. Being an adult is hard y’all and while we can’t wait to become one, we worry about that day since we’ll probably have even less time than we have now to write pithy little blogs about our dear old Translink.

Myself, I’ve been keeping busy by researching the Transit systems of other cities. It’s a tough job, but I’ll do it for our faithful readers. And if you want to contribute to my go-out-and-discover-new-transit-system fund I’d be very appreciative.

This past week I took a brief trip to Las Vegas and used their system to get to very important places. Namely outlet malls and Freemont Street (home of the old school casinos). From the get-go it all seemed very confusing. We hit up the concierge at our hotel (Ballys: nice rooms but bad waitresses f0r the casino service) who made it all seem so hard. I longed for my dear, comfortable Tranlink. We were told we’d need to take two buses, there would be a transfer in the middle of the desert and then we’d arrive at the outlets about an hour after we left. Fun!

We arrived at the stop and found that it was a lot less complicated. Yay! They had handy maps at the stop that told us we’d only need to take one bus and it was an express. Sadly, it didn’t stop at the stop we were at, so we technically did need to take a first bus and transfer at the next stop (Vegas means very sore feet, we could have walked but taking the bus was a preventative measure).


Bus stop mappage

The first bus that stopped had a very rude driver, but having ridden Translink for so long I can’t say it was too out of the ordinary for me. He kept yelling at us to pay for our tickets at the stop instead of on the bus, even though the passengers before us were  paying on board and the concierge also told us to have exact change for on board payment (which left me utterly confused since I couldn’t fathom exact change with actual paper money… I can pay with paper? WTF?). So we got off the bus to pay at the machine and he left without us. Maybe they wanted me to feel at home?


Paying your fare before you board: credit or debit only please.

Eventually we got the bus that would take us to the stop that would lead us to the express that would get us to the shops. Overall, I’d say the bus system is pretty easy to understand. Sure, it caused some confusion, but so would Translink to those who aren’t accustomed to taking it. Generally the drivers were helpful to those getting on, maybe more so than what I’ve seen on Translink. I chalked that up to the fact that they’re dealing with so many tourists in a day and used to being asked a million times a day if they were the ones to take them to discount deals.

The buses are clean, with no free newspapers littering the seats. Air conditioned, a must in the hot desert air (between 24-29 degrees the 4 days I was there). Buses are new and pretty streamlined, plenty of seats and standing room. And they run a lot like the b-lines, boarding from all doors and occasional checks by a guy who boards the bus infrequently to check. The driver on the express sits behind a partition and has no contact with the passengers.

Overall, I’d say the Las Vegas bus experience was a good one. I was impressed by the looks and the comfort of the system but a little put off by it’s initial confusion. I really liked that bus tickets could be purchased by machine at the stops, so if you’re not one to carry around correct change you could use credit card or debit to buy your ticket. Not to mention the price… $7 for a day pass. Meaning 24 hours of use anywhere in the city, none of this zone business, for a mere $7. I think for a pass for 2 hours it was $3, which was a little more than what is offered for a one zone pass here, but again the $3 covers the whole city. We opted for the day pass and used them to take us shopping and later at night to Freemont. If we had woken up earlier the next day we would have used it to get us to other hotels further down the strip, but that never happened.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you their transit system is better than what we have with Translink. I understand that a few mere trips in a day does not make a valuable opinion, rather it’s a good experience on a foreign system. I’m sure if left to ride their bus system everyday I’d be just as jaded and writing a blog and tweeting about how the tourists annoyed me and that it wasn’t arriving fast enough.

Overall, I’d recommend the public transit system though. It’s cheaper than cabs or shuttles and just as convenient when trying to get around, particularly to popular destinations.

Any stories to share about the Las Vegas transit system or getting around in Vegas in general? How about the traffic…. brutal eh? Don’t even get me started on their obnoxiously long traffic lights.

Posted in Bus | 2 Comments