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Quick takes from Waterfront this afternoon

Transit hosts William and Michelle help out a customer looking for the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Transit hosts William and Michelle help out a customer looking for the Vancouver Art Gallery.

As the hub for many of our transit services, Waterfront Station is constantly busy, and here are a few tidbits and photos from a visit with the transit hosts there at around 1:30 p.m.

  • The most frequently asked question today: Where’s the Olympic flame? (Over at the Vancouver Convention Centre, out the station entrance and to your right :)
  • Unsurprisingly, lots of people were also asking for directions to Olympic venues, especially which bus to take to Pacific Coliseum (the 135 on Hastings St, one block south, heading east!)
  • Riders were flowing pretty easily through the station at this time – the passenger levels were really quite manageable before the 2 p.m. rush hour start.

And here’s a few more photos from the early afternoon.

Read more »

Plan your transit trips on your smartphone

The mobile trip planner displayed on an iPhone. Click for a larger view!

The mobile trip planner displayed on an iPhone. Click for a larger view!

Did you know there’s a mobile version of our transit trip planner?

If you visit tripplanning.translink.ca on your smartphone’s web browser, you can access our transit trip planner while on the go.

It can be really handy if you’re out and about, and you don’t know the system well. We added this feature back in December, but I’m not sure that many people know about it!

Just put in the start and end points of your journey, plus the time you want to travel, and it will tell you what buses and trains to take. You can also customize your search, like asking only for wheelchair accessible routes, or no SkyTrain, or others.

Anyway, that’s just one more tool you can use to navigate our transit system. Google Maps for mobile is another transit trip planner you can try—it has fewer options than our trip planner, but is still really good!

The 250 keeps on going

The 250 on its route.

The 250 on its route. Photo by Lisa Parker.

Lisa Parker sent along this photo she posted on Flickr, of the 250 heading on its route as protests dispersed last Friday, Feb. 12.

Her title for this photo was, “Protest or not – this bus is keeping to its schedule!” And her extended caption to the photo says: “I loved this – the protest was just diffusing and here comes the bus… awesome!”

Oh, that 250 :) Buses are always rerouted when incidents make it unsafe or hard to get through, but we do try to get things back on track as soon as we’re given the all clear, and that’s surely demonstrated here.

Here’s a few more photos of the bus slipping by as the protests dissipated.

Read more »

iPhone app roundup for Vancouver transit

I’m not sure everyone is aware of all the iPhone apps that can be used to navigate or find out more about Vancouver transit. So I thought I’d put a quick list together, in case they might be handy during the Games period. Here we go!

(Non-iPhone users: we do have many other non-iPhone-centric web and mobile resources where you can get real-time transit info!)

TransLink App

Click for large image

Developed by: Handi Mobility for TransLink
Read Buzzer blog post on the TransLink app

  • See next buses at your stop
  • View stops on map
  • GPS aware: can find nearby stops based on location
  • Bookmark favourite stops
  • SkyTrain, SeaBus and West Coast Express schedules
  • Buzzer blog feed
  • Breaking service alerts shown at top

Cost: Free
Download the TransLink app

iBusVan

Click for large image

Update Jan 6, 2011: This app is now discontinued — if you would like to take the project over though, please see this post!

Update Jan 26, 2011: The app is now open source—find out more about grabbing the code here!

Developed by: Zhenweng Yao
Read Buzzer blog post about iBusVan

  • Show upcoming buses at any given stop
  • Show whole-day schedule for a given bus at a given stop on a given day.
  • Search for stops and routes, with id (e.g., #33223) or name keyword.
  • Search for stops and buses near your current location.
  • Easy bookmark on favorite stops and bus routes
  • Show stops and routes on the map.
  • Bus stops/routes/schedules can be viewed offline (after caching the schedule).
  • Notify users for new schedule/stops/routes updates.

Cost: $0.99
Download iBusVan

Route 411

Click for large image

Developed by: fusedlogic
Read Buzzer blog post about Route 411

  • GPS aware
  • Displays all stops in a radius on the map (allows you to scroll around the city)
  • Easily get arrival times for all routes through a given stop
  • User friendly interface
  • “Favorites” feature to give you quick access to frequently used bus stops or routes

Cost: $1.99
Download Route 411

Buzzer blog app

Click for large image

Developed by: Mark Larocque
Read Buzzer blog post about the Buzzer blog app

Retrieves the feed off Translink’s Buzzer blog. It also features the many Twitter updates that TransLink sends out daily. Features include:

  • Retrieve and refresh real time updates
  • Full picture retrieval from Buzzer blog
  • Share article by email or by twitter
  • Direct link to open in Safari view

Cost: Free
Download the Buzzer blog app

theNextTrain

Click for large image

Developed by: Jehiah Czebotar

Train schedules for many agencies in the U.S. and Canada. For Vancouver, this app features only the West Coast Express schedule.

  • Offline Train Schedules viewable up to 14 days in advance
  • View The Departure Schedules by Station or browse the Departure Schedules for a specific Trip between two stations.
  • Purchase includes free schedule updates, as necessary.
  • Easy access to the schedules for trips you frequent most.
  • Interactive agency maps make finding a stop easy.

Cost: $4.99
Download theNextTrain

By the way, if you have used any of these, please feel free to share your favourites!

Heads up: Olympic opening ceremonies, Fri Feb. 12

Well, you knew it was coming — the 2010 Olympic opening ceremonies are at B.C. Place tomorrow, Friday, February 12!

Just like the dress rehearsal on Wednesday, there will be downtown Vancouver traffic restrictions in effect. Look out for some road closures, crowds of spectators heading to B.C. Place, and lots of loading in and out on a few streets. This time, the Olympic celebration sites will also be open downtown, adding to the crowds. It is not recommended that you drive downtown!

Again, Vancouver2010.com has a whole page about getting around during the opening and closing ceremonies, and here’s the parts about Feb 12:

The Olympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies in downtown Vancouver on February 12 and 28, 2010 will be two of the busiest days of the 2010 Winter Games and will bring 100,000 participants into the downtown core including performers, athletes and officials, ticket holders, workforce, media and broadcasters.

The Olympic and Paralympic Transportation Team (OPTT) is responsible for transporting these groups to BC Place stadium from various locations in Metro Vancouver and the Sea to Sky regions. These groups are being transported over a period of 12 hours using roughly 1,500 cars and 500 motorcoaches.

The following streets will be closed from noon to midnight on February 10, 12, 28 and March 12:

* Cambie Street bridge (all lanes closed to vehicle traffic, however pedestrian and bike access will be maintained via the east and west sidewalks)
* Beatty Street (between Smithe and Georgia)
* North sidewalk of the 1100 block of West Hastings, in front of the Renaissance Vancouver Hotel (4 pm to 5:30 pm)

On February 10, 12, and 28 there will also be a significant amount of motorcoach activity including loading, unloading and staging on Coal Harbour Quay, Canada Place and West Cordova from noon to 11 pm.

The Opening and Closing Ceremonies in Vancouver (Feb 12, 28 and March 12), and associated dress rehearsal (February 10) are special days where vehicle travel downtown is strongly discouraged. Choose a sustainable mode, such as walking, cycling or transit. If driving is absolutely necessary, plan to leave downtown by noon, or wait until the ceremonies are underway after 5:30 pm.

But make sure to visit the Vancouver2010.com page on the opening ceremonies for full details — there’s more tips and info there.

Once more, if you’re attending the opening ceremonies, be aware that security screening will take a bit of time, so you should leave early and account for that. As well, after the opening ceremonies, be prepared to walk and wait a bit for transit service: many people will be leaving the event at the same time!

Extended Olympic transit service will be in full effect

As for transit, all of our extended Olympic service will be in effect tomorrow. That includes longer hours and extended rush-hour level service on Expo and Millennium Line, event-level service on Canada Line, 24-hour service on seven NightBus routes, and many spare buses and operators on hand to carry extra passengers where needed. (UBC and SFU will also begin their spring break at this time, relieving some pressure on the system.)

And again due to the closure of the Cambie Street Bridge from noon to midnight, the #15 bus will not operate in downtown Vancouver. It will short-turn at Broadway and Cambie; customers going to and from downtown will need to transfer to the Canada Line at Broadway-City Hall Station.

A Dutch bike ride in Richmond! (You can do it too!)

One of the 400 Dutch bikes sent from Holland to Richmond!

One of the 400 Dutch bikes sent from Holland to Richmond!

Since we’re talking transportation and Olympics this month: did you know you can ride a Dutch bike in Richmond during the Games?

Holland’s national railway has sent 400 Dutch rental bicycles over to Richmond, which will be free for use by the public, athletes, and the staff of Holland Heineken House during the Games. (Holland Heineken House is the enormous official Dutch pavilion in Richmond – here’s a Vancouver Sun article about it!)

I was lucky enough to ride one of the bikes last Saturday, February 6, when the bikes debuted in a public bike ride. A huge number of Metro Vancouver’s Dutch residents turned out to claim a bike and ride it along the new Richmond bike trail near the Olympic Oval. Everyone wore orange vests, the national Dutch colour! Here’s a couple of photos.

Read more »

Friday fun post: are you noticing the Olympic crowds on transit yet?

If you like, skip to the end of this post to take the poll about Olympic crowds on transit.

Last week: how do you feel about your car?

Last week’s fun post asked how you felt about your car.

Well, of the 185 who took the poll, it turns out most of you don’t have a car—53% to be precise. I guess I should have known, considering we talk about transit so much!

Of the remaining votes, 30% said it was just a way to get from A to B, 14% said it was a part of who they are, and 3% said it was an indispensable part of their job. So it seems that many car drivers in the poll are exactly hugging their car outside its basic functions, but there are some who certainly do find their car quite beloved and helpful.

A few comments showed that not only did some people not have cars, they didn’t even have drivers licenses. I grew up in Edmonton, so this revelation is pretty mindboggling to me! But it’s nice to know the transit system can support the decisions of some not to drive. Here’s Rvie

I never had a car in my entire life. I never wanted to get a driver’s license ever, even when I turned 16. Call me a coward but to me I felt that I’d just be risking my life (and the lives of other people) driving a car to school/work and back every day. That’s why I only take transit, and I love it. =)

But ;-) said that he couldn’t imagine giving up his car.

Anyways, I would like to do away with the expense of a car, but it’s just not practical….

-carrying a weeks groceries is challenging on transit

-too many retailers don’t welcome backpacks or large carrying bags into their stores

-there is no place to store valuables (laptops, electronics, cameras) when your destinations forbids their presence

-travelling short distances with large groups is not cost effective

-some buses won’t pick me up because they are too full when I want to use the service

-the Canada Line does not run frequently enough in the evening for me to make transit connections

-some bus stops and sidewalks to my destination are suicidal with all the bikes using sidewalks as their speedway

-90 minutes is not enough time for some trips
-paying a zone premium for short hop on the border is not fair, it’s cheaper for me to drive

And here’s our happy medium: Chris said he didn’t own a car, but did have access to one, and that’s worked well.

Who needs a car in Vancouver? When I moved to the city I became a member of the Co-operative Auto Network, and haven’t been happier – less stress and less costs.

As always, feel free to check out the original post to read everyone’s comments!

This week: are you noticing the Olympic crowds yet?

The Olympics folks are starting to arrive now, and we were just talking in the office about how some bus routes are already feeling busier. Are you noticing this too?

Anyway, we’ll be boosting service for the Games in February, so hopefully we’ll be able to handle all of it! And if you haven’t read it, here’s the overview article on how we have prepared for the Games.

Service improvements for the C26, C41 & C47 on Mon Feb 1

OK, we do have some service improvements starting Monday, Feb 1 that have nothing to do with the Olympics. They’re just service improvements! And here they are:

C26 Belcarra/Port Moody Station

Starting February 1, selected rush hour trips will be running on Murray Street to help the C25 with its high passenger loads and better balance transit services.

Currently, the C25 is very crowded, so re-routing the C26 will give passengers another option for travelling along Murray Street. (The section of St. John’s Street that will now be missed by the C26 has a lot of transit services, including the #97, C27 and C28, so customers on this corridor will notice little difference.)

The trips that will be rerouted are:

  • the four morning rush hour trips arriving at Port Moody Station at 6:39, 7:05, 7:39, and 8:06 a.m.,
  • and the eight trips leaving Port Moody Station after 4 p.m.

C47 Alouette/Haney Place

Starting February 1, the C47 trip leaving Haney Place at 2:01 p.m. will extend its route to Yennadon Loop.

The extension adds more transit service to Alouette River Campus, which is near Yennadon Loop and needed more afternoon service. (Currently, two afternoon trips are provided, leaving Haney Place at noon and at 3:01 p.m.) This change also improves service for the nearby Silver Valley area.

C41 Meadowtown/Maple Meadows Station/Pitt Meadows Centre

In December 2009, a few non-rush-hour trips were re-routed to serve the Bonson South residential area. But starting February 1, all remaining trips will be re-routed to serve Bonson South.

The re-route addresses the community’s request for peak period transit service, since residents are currently walking over one kilometre to access public transit during the peaks! Customers living in Bonson South will have peak period service and will be able to conveniently connect with the West Coast Express.

TransLink’s Olympic story, part 3: the transit host program

The Olympics arrive in February, and TransLink has the huge task of helping people travel during the Games. So here’s a series of articles illustrating the challenge and how we’re preparing to handle it. This article focuses on the transit host program, helping people find their way on transit during the Games. (Check out past articles on TransLink’s overall Olympic strategy, and the Transportation Management Centre).

TransLink transit hosts will be helping customers during the Olympics.

TransLink transit hosts will be helping customers during the Olympics.

During the Olympic period, thousands of visitors and residents will use Vancouver transit to reach their destinations. And for new and old riders alike, a friendly face with a wealth of transit knowledge can be a huge help in navigating the system, especially with Olympic traffic changes altering some routes.

That’s why TransLink has developed a transit host program for the Games, which puts knowledgeable staff members at key transit exchanges in Vancouver and Richmond.

Transit hosts will be on hand to assist riders throughout the day, and especially before and after Olympic events.

“It’s an enhanced level of customer service for everyone during the Olympic period,” says Giselle Blackman, manager of human resources for the TransLink Olympic team, and the driving force behind the transit host program.

“But we’ll also have new users, and we want them to have a positive experience on transit. A 30 per cent increase in passengers is expected, and if we can retain even a portion of that, we can build a new customer base.”

Read more »

Get your transit alerts by text or e-mail!

Sign up for transit alerts through e-mail or text messaging! Here’s where the signup link is located on our front page (or just click this picture!)

Sign up for transit alerts through e-mail or text messaging! Here’s where the signup link is located on our front page (or just click this picture!)

Hurrah – at long last, you can now get customized transit alerts through text-message or e-mail!

We’ve just launched the service, and you can sign up to get your updates through the TransLink homepage (or click here).

You’ll only get alerts about transit services that you’re interested in. When you sign up, you’re asked to register your regular transit trips, which tells the service what specific routes or services you want alerts about. (You can sign up for system-wide alerts too.)

And nicely enough, you can also select which days you want to receive alerts, so you won’t be bothered on the weekend about changes that only matter for you during weekdays.

Quirks and quarks

This is all new to us, so here’s a list of a few quirks we’re currently seeing, plus a few tips based on what’s happening behind the scenes. (And feel free to share any more you discover too!)

Read more »

Olympic travel tips: a guide to recognizing your transit staff

For those who might be in our region for the first time during the Olympics, here’s a short series of tips to help you get on your way. (If you do know this stuff already, please pass it along to those who might find this useful!)

So far in the Olympic tips series: info on tickets, bike info, Park and Rides, a guide to transit staff, where to find real-time transit info online, and transit etiquette. Let me know if I should add anymore!

Here’s a short guide to recognizing our transit staff, just in case you need help when you’re out on the system.

We have a number of different transit services—buses, SkyTrain, SeaBus, West Coast Express—and staff for each service have different jobs and uniforms. Hopefully this guide will help you find a transit staff member, plus show you a little about what they do.

SkyTrain Attendants (STAs) and Canada Line Attendants (CLAs)

SkyTrain attendants wear a blue jacket or a black sweater. In warmer weather, they may wear a black vest or a white shirt with the SkyTrain logo.

SkyTrain attendants wear a blue jacket or a black sweater. In warmer weather, they may wear a black vest or a white shirt with the SkyTrain logo.

CLAs wear this distinctive green in their uniform. You’ll see them on the Canada Line.

CLAs wear this distinctive green in their uniform. You’ll see them on the Canada Line.

You’ll probably see STAs and CLAs more than any other customer service representative. They sometimes ride the trains, but generally work at SkyTrain stations, helping passengers with information, medical aid, and so on.

STAs can be found on the Expo and Millennium Lines, and CLAs on the Canada Line, which is operated by a separate company under contract to TransLink. Both are a first point of contact in dealing with station alarms and incidents, and will call in resources as needed.

STAs and CLAs may check fares, but do not enforce rules and regulations. They are not police or security guards. They may request compliance with rules and regulations, but they have no powers of arrest or enforcement. For that, they’ll call police.

Read more »

Olympic travel tips: bike travel during the Games

For those who might be on our system for the first time during the Olympics, here’s a short series of tips to help you get on your way. (If you do know this stuff already, please pass it along to those who might find this useful!)

So far in the Olympic tips series: info on tickets, bike info, Park and Rides, a guide to transit staff, where to find real-time transit info online, and transit etiquette. Let me know if I should add anymore!

If you plan to ride your bike around the region during the Games, here’s some info to help you plan your journey.

Biking to Olympic events

Cycling!

Cycling!

Bike parking will be available at all the Olympic venues in Vancouver and Richmond, and at UBC.

Check the individual venue pages at vancouver2010.com to see the exact bike parking location at each venue.

In Vancouver, the City has expanded and changed some biking routes to help cyclists get around town during the Games. Visit the City’s bike routes page for details. They also have a bigger list of all bike parking locations in the city.

Richmond’s bike routes will remain unchanged for the Games. Here’s their Olympic info about route info and bike parking at their venues. And here’s their main non-Olympic cycling page for even more info.

Bikes and transit

Sadly, you <b>cannot</b> take your bike on SkyTrain from Monday February 8 to Wednesday March 3.

Sadly, you cannot take your bike on SkyTrain from Monday February 8 to Wednesday March 3.

Bikes will be permitted on SeaBus, West Coast Express, and all buses.

Unfortunately, bikes won’t be allowed on SkyTrain from Monday, February 8 to Wednesday, March 3, since rush-hour crowds are expected all day during the Olympics. (Folding bicycles that can be stored in a bag will still be permitted.)

You can still bike to a station then hop on the train, though. Bike racks are located at all SkyTrain stations, bus exchanges, and Park & Ride lots. There are also bike lockers available for monthly rental at many locations too – check the TransLink bike locker page for more info.

Plan your cycling trip

A screenshot of the UBC cycling trip planner.

A screenshot of the UBC cycling trip planner.

Also! You can plan your bike trip with UBC’s cycling trip planner which has now been updated with info on Olympic bike parking and reroutes. (We contributed our bike info to this site—it’s a great tool!)

We’ve also updated the regional cycling map, with information about the new bike routes built in the last several years, plus bike shop locations and more. You can find the map online—check out the “Full Maps” on our cycling page—or pick up a print copy from the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition’s new offices at 3 West 3rd Ave in Vancouver, Mon-Fri 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Check our vendors too: the maps are making their way out to them.)

General winter riding tips

Check out the main cycling page on the TransLink website – it links to some great community resources, like the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition (VACC), who you can turn to for cycling help.

The VACC has also pointed out some informative 2010 cycling posts from Biking Bis and Pedal Pundit.

Plus, last November, we were also a major sponsor of Bike to Work Week to get people ready for winter riding. I wrote some winter riding tips up for the blog: here’s one on prepping for your ride, plus five things learned from riding (plus five more lessons!), and how to care for your bike in winter.

Hope this helps — please do leave comments if you have more to add!

TransLink’s Olympic story, part 2: the Transportation Management Centre

The Olympics arrive in February, and TransLink has the enormous task of helping people travel during the Games. So here’s a series of articles illustrating the scope of this challenge and just how we’re preparing to handle it. This article focuses on the Transportation Management Centre, which connects all the regional transportation partners during the Games. (Check out the past article on TransLink’s overall Olympic strategy).

Imagine a room where, at a glance, you can see exactly what’s going on with traffic in Metro Vancouver—road congestion, train locations, or even the colour of traffic signals at a given intersection.

Well, that room exists in real life for the 2010 Winter Olympics!

It’s called the Transportation Management Centre (TMC), and it’s been developed over the past two years by TransLink and the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee (VANOC).

Every Olympic Games presents an enormous traffic challenge for a host city. So for the Olympics in February, real-time Vancouver traffic information will be piped into the TMC, where representatives from up to nine regional transportation agencies can flag key issues, then plan and coordinate their responses.

(Note: It’s not a command centre! Each agency will still follow its own procedures, but just with up-to-date information about how everyone else is responding.)

“Essentially I call it road-based intelligence gathering,” says Norm Fraser, TransLink’s Olympic transportation operations manager, who has led work on the TMC from the TransLink side for the last two years. (At Games, he will also be one of four designated directors in the TMC.)

“And for client services that VANOC has, this provides a one-stop shop to manage any issues they need dealt with.”

Read more »

TransLink’s Olympic story, part 1: how we’re getting ready for the Games

As you certainly know, the Olympics arrive in February, and TransLink has the enormous task of helping people travel during the Games. So I’ve put together a series of articles illustrating the scope of this challenge and just how TransLink is preparing to handle it. Here’s the first article, giving an overview of our work on the transportation strategy.

When the 2010 Winter Olympics brings thousands of visitors to Vancouver in February, our transportation system will face its biggest challenge in history.

“It’s like having three Superbowls a day for 17 days,” said Mike Madill, vice-president of Olympic Transportation at TransLink. “We’re planning for rush hour traffic conditions all day.”

It’s a traffic challenge every Olympic host city must handle. Thousands of Olympic visitors must be moved, on time, to scheduled events and celebrations… while still serving the travel needs of local residents.

But just like many host cities, Vancouver has been working on this challenge since the bid. And for TransLink, the transit services we provide play a key role in Games transportation.

At the heart of our plans are Mike and the TransLink Olympic transportation team. For over two years now, the 11-member team has minutely focused on those 17 days of Olympic events, planning our strategy to serve our customers as best as possible, despite the enormous demand of the Games.

Read more »

Friday fun post: when did you start riding transit?

If you like, skip to the end of this post to take the poll about when you started riding transit.

Last year (!): your top transit moments of the decade

The retired trolleys, who left us for sunnier pastures in 2009.

The retired trolleys, who left us for sunnier pastures at the end of the last decade.

The last fun post of 2009 asked for your top 10 transit moments of the decade!

As always, you shared some great items, especially about our local system. We have had some huge changes in the past 10 years, and spotlights were on the new types of buses, the Millennium and Canada Lines, and more. FOr example

For the most part, people focused on the local system, which has been through some big changes in the past 10 years. For example, here’s Stefan‘s top 10:

1. 98 B-Line, especially because of its technology (busway, signal preemption, stop annunciators–and eventual transition to all-door loading on the 98, 99, and 145).

2. Millennium Line (and we could say the concurrent introduction of the 97 B-Line).

3. NightBus (which started out as all night Friday and Saturday nights only on a few routes, and has morphed into an enhanced pre-2001 Owl network, but with improved coverage compared to the old system).

4. The new trolleybuses–in particular, the articulated trolleybuses (and with them, the completion of an all-accessible fleet)

5. Canada Line

6. New or improved crosstown urban and suburban routes (33, 43, 84, 130, 364, 388, 410, 595)

7. Community Shuttles (though their route numbering that bears no relation to the conventional buses bugs me)

8. The new Dunsmuir entrance at Granville Station (not in the same class as the above changes, but it made one of the busiest SkyTrain stations–and the only non-accessible one–accessible, and also gave it a proper entrance of its own for the first time).

9. The new trolleybus extension into Stanley Park (again, not earth-shattering, but it was 10 years in the making, and offset the disappearance of other trolleybus routes like the Hastings Express, Cambie, and Forty-First).

10. Other new equipment or amenities (though some of these may date back to the 90s):
* New SkyTrain rolling stock
* New SeaBus
* West Coast Express TrainBus
* Bike racks
* Orion highway coaches

Steven had some great items from other systems (plus a few mentions of ours :)

I would say my favourite transit moments have been:

i) Opening of St Pancras Station close to where we lived, an amazing meld of national and international train services along with some great restaurants such as french bakeries and the longest champagne bar in Europe. A concept other large train stations should follow, in my opinion.

ii) Seeing the christmas light show at New York’s Grand Central station, where people would be stopped in their tracks, if you pardon the pun, and actually start talking to each other.

iii) Seeing how the staff at Camden Town tube station reacted to a lady who had passed out on a platform, how quickly they reacted, and how much they took great care of her. You never know when something like this is going to happen to us and thankfully there are staff around to look after us.

iv) Seeing how incredibly kind Vancouver public transport staff are to members of the public who need that extra assistance getting onto and off the buses. Bus drivers here are actually so friendly this is certainly unique to me of all the cities I have lived in.

v) Travelling on the number 16 bus in Vancouver where driver John would run a trivia quiz and award chocolate to people who gave the right answer. He puts so many smiles on people’s faces.

And I must do a special mention of Cliff‘s story here:

There was a story about how a bus driver was coming on shift one day at one of the stops downtown. He decided to play a joke on the passengers and put on a pair of black sunglasses and used a white cane as he got on the bus.

He asked the outgoing driver to make sure the wheels were pointed straight. I’m sure the passengers on that bus found it very humourous or very frightening.

Supposedly it’s a well known story around the Oakridge depot and was supposedly published in a book about transit. If I had been on that bus, I’m sure it would have ranked as one of my top 10 transit moments!

Again, do check out the past comments to read everyone’s lists! Henry and Eric even made posts at their own blogs on the topic, with some lovely photos!

This week: when did you start riding transit?

Since we just did a flashback to the launch of SkyTrain in 1986, I thought we might all look back to our own transit histories.

I have to say it’s always been due to school — I rode the bus in Edmonton to get to high school, and the U-Pass in Vancouver made me a devout rider here. What about you?