For March/April 2013, we’re spotlighting Life on Transit—observing and illuminating the quirks and habits of daily transit rides around our region!
We asked you last week if you had any special tips or tools for taking transit—and after 51 votes, 76 per cent of poll takers said they did!
Now to the juicy stuff! We received some fantastic comments with some very hot tips and tricks for transit. One of my favourites came from Cliff:
During the PM peak, board an inbound SkyTrain, then stay on it as it becomes an outbound one. This allows you to secure a seat. Particularly useful if your trip is going to be a long one. For example, Commercial to VCC-Clark or even Stadium to Waterfront.
Crowded bus stop along a crowded route? Reduce your chances of being passed up by walking to the previous stop. Drivers are more likely to pick up a single person at a stop than if there were a crowd.
Picking up or dropping someone off at the airport? Use Templeton Station to do this. Canada Line between YVR and Templeton is free. You don’t have to pay for parking (you can’t park at the station) and you don’t have to worry about timing your arrival so you get there at the exact moment as the person you’re picking up.
Here is Allen with a tip for 49 riders:
Route 49 users: Use the Next Bus feature and Map View. Click on the bus icons. The ones with a bus number in the 8000s is an articulated bus. Time your trip so you get on to an articulated bus for a less cramped/more enjoyable ride.
And here’s JT with some great tips for the 620:
For those who take the 620 Tsawwassen Ferry, I always like to arrive 20-30 mins ahead of the printed departures in the schedule or website, because all too often (especially on Fridays, long and ordinary weekends, and holidays) RTC and Transit supervisors will dispatch an extra express bus that isn’t scheduled to help out with peak demands, especially with trips connecting to sailings for both Victoria and Nanaimo. An example is if you need to make the 3pm sailing to Victoria, or 3:15pm sailing to Nanaimo, the printed schedule says 2pm leaving Bridgeport, and an extra trip around 1:45pm on weekends. About 80-90% of the time, theres an unscheduled trip that leaves Bridgeport sometime just after 1:30pm, and it will be an express trip with no stops, arriving at the terminal sometime around 2:10pm, plenty of time at the terminal. However, if you don’t like a crowded bus, stick with the printed departures, those trips tend to be a much lighter load, arriving only 10 mins after the first trip, and still time to catch your ferry.
Carmen had a great tip for busy bus routes:
One particular bus stop I frequent *can* be pretty packed if arriving at certain times of the day (it’s near a couple schools). If this is the case, I’ve found that the bus takes SO long to load that it’s actually *faster* to wait for the next one, which usually ends up leapfrogging past the first bus (because it takes a long time to unload at each stop as well) and arriving at my final destination on time, if not early.
And to finish it up, Kerry had some fabulous advice for travelling with kids!
I have two young children, and transit is our usual method of getting around (we use a co-op car every now and again). My tips for easier transit riding with kids: allow plenty of time to travel so we’re not rushing around in a sweat, and instead can enjoy our day. Sit away from wires and buttons so we’re not constantly ringing the bell to stop the bus (I’ve seen this a few times!). The best seats on the bus for me are at the back, where my older son can sit by the window and look out, and the younger is away from the pull-wire and entertained by the view out the back window. In particular, keeping away from the wheelchair button at the front of the bus and the emergency button by the door seat on the older skytrains. I also use a carrier instead of a stroller; then my youngest son doesn’t take up any space, we can sit where we like, and I can even stand for seniors or wheelchair users.
Other tips: sing songs (not loudly!) – this has gotten me out of trouble on longer journeys soooo many times. And being polite and friendly to the bus driver/transit staff/other passengers is fun! We have made lots of friends on transit over the years. My boys have collected pins, pushed the button to sound the horn on the skytrain at Waterfront (so awesome!), gotten a free “ticket” on the bus (the driver prints a blank). I feel confident that in the years to come, my kids will be able to navigate transit in Vancouver safely and effectively on their own.
Now there are many, many more tips over at the original post—I highly encourage you to go over and have a read! Thanks to everyone who so kindly submitted their suggestions!