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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?

Free transit on New Year’s Eve, plus info on New Year’s Day service and fares

Note: I’m still on holiday until Jan. 4!

Another reminder here about service and fares for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day — we offer free transit service after 5 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, by the way!

Transit services will basically run their standard schedules according to the day of the week, except where noted in the following list. I’ve also put in the applicable fares.

(For the very latest on transit service conditions or more detail on these items, call 604-953-3333, try the TransLink alerts page, and check the TransLink Twitter account. Our media release page will also have something up if there’s a major issue.)

New Year’s Eve – Thursday, December 31

Regular weekday fares until 5 p.m., then free service.

A number of bus routes will provide extended late-night service.

Expo and Millennium Lines and SeaBus will extend late-night service by one hour, with the last train and ferry leaving Waterfront Station at 2:16 a.m.

Canada Line service will be extended by one hour, ending at the last train leaving Waterfront Station at 2:05 a.m. towards YVR and 2:15 a.m. towards Richmond.

West Coast Express afternoon trains depart downtown at 1:00, 3:00, 4:20, 5:30 and 6:20, plus the regular TrainBus service. Please note, there will not be a 12:55 TrainBus, but all other TrainBuses will run on schedule.

New Year’s Day – Friday, January 1

Regular Sunday/holiday fares.

Buses, SeaBus, Expo/Millennium Line, and Canada Line will operate on Sunday/holiday schedules.

There will be no West Coast Express service on New Year’s Day.

And from me….

Happy New Year everyone! Enjoy yourselves and have a fun (and safe) time at your celebrations!

Yay: our trip planner gets some big improvements!

The old trip planner (pictured here) will be getting some major improvements!

The old trip planner (pictured here) will be getting some major improvements!

Note: I’m still on holiday, returning Monday Jan 4!

If all is going according to plan, you should keep an eye out for some great improvements to our transit trip planner today (or shortly thereafter!)

Here’s the list of improvements I’ve been told about:

  • The big one: there is now a widget which searches for addresses as you type them into the from/to fields, so you can select your match right away. It also recognizes common contractions such as E or Hwy, etc. This functionality also carries over to Next Bus and Schedule lookup.
  • Early in your trip plan, you can now select some trip options, such as minimize walking or no Skytrain or others.
  • We’ve added an Olympic Preferred Route option for planning trips.
  • For the first time, we will have a mobile Trip Planner that can be used by web enabled cell-phones!
  • Alerts and information we know about your planned trip will be shown right in your results, so you can get up-to-the-minute information about what might affect your travel plans.
  • The schedule lookup has been revamped so that it all fits on one page and is easily printable.

I’m still away, but feel free to explore and discuss – I’ll get answers for you once I’m back!

Service and fares for Christmas, Boxing Day, and Dec 28-30

Note: I’m still on holiday until Jan. 4!

Here’s an overview of holiday service and fares for the Christmas and Boxing Day holidays, plus December 28-30.

Generally, transit services will run their standard schedules according to the day of the week, except where noted in the following list. I’ve also put in the applicable fare for each day.

(And for the very latest on transit service conditions or more detail on these items, call 604-953-3333, try the TransLink alerts page, and check the TransLink Twitter account. Our media release page will also have something up if there’s a major issue.)

Christmas Eve – Thursday, December 24

Regular weekday fares in effect.

West Coast Express afternoon trains depart downtown at 1:00, 3:00, 4:20, 5:30 and 6:20, plus the regular TrainBus service.

West Vancouver Transit will offer additional bus service for Horseshoe Bay ferry connections.

Expo and Millennium Lines will adjust service to accommodate midday office closures and earlier afternoon commuting peaks.

Christmas Day – Friday, December 25

Sunday/holiday fares­—only a single-zone fare is needed for travel in all zones all day.

Most bus routes will run according to their Sunday/holiday schedules; however, some routes will run less often due to lower Christmas Day demand.

Expo and Millennium Lines and SeaBus will run according to their Sunday/holiday schedule.

Canada Line will operate regular Friday service hours.

There will be no West Coast Express service on Christmas Day.

Boxing Day – Saturday, December 26

Sunday/holiday fares­—only a single-zone fare is needed for travel in all zones all day.

Most bus routes will run according to Sunday/holiday schedules, with extended evening service on some routes to connect with the final SkyTrain Expo and Millennium Line trains and final SeaBus departures. Service will be enhanced during the day for some routes that serve major shopping destinations and entertainment venues.

Expo and Millennium Line service will start and finish according to its Saturday schedule – first train from King George at 6:08 a.m.; last train from Waterfront at 1:16 a.m. – and will feature more frequent service during midday to accommodate Boxing Day shopping crowds.

Canada Line will operate regular Saturday service levels with additional train service as required.

SeaBus will operate according to a Sunday/holiday schedule, but will extend late-night service according to a Saturday schedule.

Monday, December 28

Regular weekday fares.

Expo and Millennium Lines will adjust service frequency during daytime to reflect increased midday demand and reduced rush-hour commuter travel.

No West Coast Express service on Monday, December 28.

Tuesday, December 29, and Wednesday, December 30

Regular weekday fares.

Expo and Millennium Lines will adjust service frequency during daytime to reflect increased midday demand and reduced rush-hour commuter travel.

And from me…

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you all! Hope you have a great holiday season!

Holiday gift ideas for transit fans

In my line of work, I tend to come across things that fans of transit might enjoy. So I thought I’d put together a list of transit gift ideas for the 2009 holiday season, for those with transit fans in their lives!

Some notes: I’ve tried to ensure these suggestions are reasonably affordable. Also, no one on this list has asked me to promote their items. Please feel free to add further gift ideas in the comments – I’m sure there’s lots of stuff I’ve missed (especially for kids).

Transit Maps of the World by Mark Ovenden

Transit Maps of the World by Mark Ovenden.

Transit Maps of the World by Mark Ovenden.

Design nerds and transit nerds alike will enjoy Mark Ovenden’s 2007 book, which collects all the transit maps from every city with rapid transit.

It might sound dry, but trust me, it’s fascinating. The book vividly shows how each transit system evolved, and spotlights each system’s different map designs over the years. My particular favourite is Berlin – the book shows how the Berlin Wall chopped up the transit lines and cut some stations right out of the network.

Available at Chapters ($18.15) or Amazon.ca ($17.24). Or check your local bookstore!

Read more »

Friday fun post: do you usually talk to your transit operator?

If you like, skip to the end of this post to answer the chatting with your operator poll.

Last week: ever been the only one on a transit vehicle?

Last week’s fun post asked if you had ever been the only one on your transit vehicle, besides the operator.

We had 194 people weigh in, and the vast majority (91%) said they had been the only one on a transit vehicle before. Just 9% said it had never happened to them.

There were a great many comments on this one! Most seemed to show that you end up riding alone if you travelled very late or early, or to not-very-busy destinations, or on new routes that were building ridership. For example, here’s typoprone:

When I took summer school at UBC a couple of summers ago, I often rode an empty 480 to campus and pretended the bus was my limousine and the bus driver was my chauffeur. Ah, memories…

And Steven had a cautionary tale from outside our region:

In Budapest we got on a subway and we were all alone on it. The next thing we new it was going into the sidings – it was there for 10 minutes and thought we would be there overnight!! Luckily the train did go back the other way. Since then whenever I have been on my own on public transport I get the feeling I am going the wrong way!

Many people also mentioned the challenge of deciding whether to talk to the operator or not. Sally was in favour:

If that happens, I feel like I should move up to keep the operator company!

Last 351 was more torn:

Sometimes it’s a tough call whether to strike up a conversation or not. In those cases I figure it’s the driver’s choice to break the silence since they’re the one stuck there!

Dora had another view:

When I’m the only one on the bus I usually feel really awkward, and go sit in the back half of the bus and read my book rather than striking up a conversation with the driver… Sometimes when my stop is coming up I’ll walk up front and just let the driver know, instead of ringing the bell, though.

And Cliff had another take on the situation:

The most awkward thing about being the only one on the bus is letting the driver know when you want to get off.

If it’s after 9:30pm and I’m the only one on the bus, I’ll use that and ask the driver if he wouldn’t mind dropping me off somewhere specific (Request Stop). That opens up the conversation and there’s no awkwardness of stopping a conversation to say “That’s my stop, bye!”

It was a hard time choosing just a few quotes to spotlight — however, as always, you can check out the full list of comments to see what everyone said!

This week: do you usually talk to your transit operator?

Since the last poll involved so many comments about chatting with operators, I thought that would make a good poll for this week.

I have to say I don’t usually talk to the operator. But operators out there: want to tell us if you like it when passengers strike up a conversation? Are you more likely to stop for them if you see them running :) It would be nice to hear your side of the story!

Look out for the big T: new transit station markers are here

New T markers will be posted at three Canada Line stations this December. This one is at Richmond-Brighouse Station.

New T markers will be posted at three Canada Line stations this December. This one is at Richmond-Brighouse Station.

Hey hey — look out for big white T signs at three Canada Line stations.

The T signs are our new transit station markers, acting as beacons to help you to spot the location of transit nearby. (The T stands for “transit”.)

They’re planned for the entire system, but we’re putting them up at Marine Drive, Bridgeport, and Richmond-Brighouse Stations first.

So why are we doing this?

Well, the big Ts are part of our new wayfinding standards: that is, a new system of signage and information sharing to help you better plan trips and get around our system. It’s a really big project and we’re still hard at work on it.

As you also probably know, cities worldwide have similar markers to help wayward riders find transit services. For example, London has its famous red, blue, and white roundel logo to help you find transit.

Read more »

Eep: chance of snow as early as tomorrow

A photo of a snowy #130 from March 9, 2009.

A photo of a snowy #130 from March 9, 2009.

Look out: forecasts are predicting snow in our region as early as tomorrow (Friday December 11), which may certainly affect your travels in the region.

Hopefully this isn’t news to you, but if you are planning on taking transit on a snowy day, there are a number of tips to help you prepare as a rider. We listed a bunch of them in the November print Buzzer, including:

  • Have a transit plan in place, so you know your options for alternate routes, if any
  • Check the weather before you go out
  • Leave extra time for your journey, in case of delays
  • Bundle up for cold weather and wear appropriate footwear so you don’t slip
  • Hit the bathroom before you travel, in case of delays (so important!)
  • Be aware that hilly areas may have delays as it’s harder to get through
  • Move to the back of your transit vehicle so others can board

For our part, we’ll try to get you the latest info on the transit situation through a number of channels:

  • Radio and TV
  • Our Alerts page
  • Our TransLink Twitter account (a recent addition to our Twitter list)
  • Our media YouTube account — for audio clips, updated as needed (primarily for the broadcast media, but also available to the general public)
  • Customer Information at 604-953-3333 (may be very busy on a snowy day)
  • The big video screens on the Expo/Millennium Line platforms
  • The TransLink mobile site: m.translink.ca

As for what we’re doing to prepare, our media team sent out this news release detailing how we’re getting ready for the winter blast. And you can also see the SkyTrain snow plan and the CMBC snow plan posted on the blog at the beginning of 2009. (Also, here’s a Vancouver Sun article on how the municipalities are preparing for snow.)

Anyway, hopefully there won’t be snow tomorrow! But if there is, safe travels to all of you and we’ll be working hard to keep the system on track!

Friday fun post: ever been the only one on a transit vehicle?

If you like, skip to the end of this post to answer the solo on transit poll.

Last week: are you the transit encyclopedia among your friends?

Last week’s fun post asked if you were the designated transit encyclopedia among your friends. (Thank you to Tsushima for suggesting the poll!)

And after 142 votes, it’s a landslide victory for the encyclopedias!

89 per cent (126 votes) said yes, they were the transit encyclopedia among their pals, while just 11 per cent (16 votes) said no. And yep, as Sungsu pointed out, obviously this is a bit skewed, considering you wouldn’t be at this blog unless you have some interest in transit :)

Anyway, you encyclopedias provided some good stories about the burden of having strong transit-fu. Here’s MaxNV:

For me it’s gotten to the point where my friends will actually print out the route suggested by the trip planner and ask me if this is indeed the best route.

And here’s Philippe G.:

It’s actually really bad…
I routinely get calls at 3:00am to help get my less than right-minded friends home from downtown.

Tsushima Masaki also had this to say:

It does get tiresome though sometimes, when I get an MSN message from a lazy friend asking me how to get from point A to point B when they could just use the Trip Planner or Google Transit.

So folks, remember not to abuse your transit enthusiast! But on the flip side, transit enthusiasts, please do be patient with all of us who don’t know everything about the system, as long as we’re polite :)

This week: have you ever been the only one on a transit vehicle?

A quick situational question this time around!

I can only ever remember this happening to me once, actually, and I take transit every day. How about you?

Olympic transit schedules are now in our trip planner

The Olympic mascots ride transit! They're part of our ad campaign encouraging people to explore travel options for the Olympics.

The Olympic mascots ride transit! They're part of our ad campaign encouraging people to explore travel options for the Olympics.

Looking to plan your transit trip during the Olympic period?

Our online trip planner has now been updated with transit scheduling for the Olympic period: Feb 1 to March 1.

Transit service will be boosted for the Olympics—you can check out our extended services page for more info. (All those changes listed are now in the trip planner!)

And nicely enough, the schedule for the Olympic Line, the Vancouver demonstration streetcar, is also in the trip planner. (We worked with the City of Vancouver on this — thanks guys!)

For more on TransLink’s Olympic services, see the 2010 Games section of the TransLink website. Key resources if you want to be really prepared: the bus reroute maps for downtown Vancouver and the timeline for traffic closures and transit service lifts.

Plus, to explore your Olympic travel options, check out travelsmart2010.ca for info on ridesharing, cycling, and more. Happy planning!

Friday fun post: are you the designated transit encyclopedia among your friends?

If you like, skip to the end of this post to answer the transit encyclopedia poll.

Last week: are you bothered by cell phones on transit?

Last week’s fun post asked if people talking on cell phones bothered you on transit.

Crazily enough, we had basically a 50-50 split, which has never happened in this history of these polls. “It bothers me” had a tiny one-vote advantage though — out of 177 total votes, 89 said cell phone chat bothered them, and 88 said they didn’t mind.

In the comments, it seemed you didn’t mind cell phone chatter as long as:

  • it’s not too loud,
  • it’s not frivolous, and
  • you didn’t take too long.

And many like Scott, lala, Reva, and Ric emphasized that it’s unacceptable for transit staff to be using phones while they’re working, too.

Lots of people also mentioned that other things are just as bad or worse than cell phone use. Tessa had a thoughtful take:

What’s the difference between having a conversation on a cell phone and a conversation with another passenger on a bus? I would think a conversation with someone on the bus would be louder and more disruptive, because you can hear both sides. Personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with anybody having conversations – while transit is technically private it’s basically a public space – and most converations are very unobtrusive.

Of course, if someone is yelling/shouting, doing those kinds of things, then that’s a problem, regardless of whether they’re on a cell phone or not.

And here’s Kenny:

I bothers me more when people with earphones turn it up loud so that I can hear them…
1. – it ends up sounding to me like a repetitive endless pounding sound because I can’t actually hear the music…not good.
2. – I imagine how they’re ruining their hearing.

Henry also mentioned Japan’s etiquette laws around cell phone use too.

I was just in Japan and they have specific explicit ettiquette regarding cell phone use.

Near priority seats for the disabled and elderly, there are signs requesting that your phone be shut off in the priority seat area. In other areas, they kindly request you set the phone to silent and refrain from speaking on the phone.

When on the train in Japan, I rarely noticed people speaking on the phone. However, everyone is texting constantly around me. So it is definitely considered rude in Japan to be speaking on the phone when on the train. I even saw one gentleman receive a phone call and pardoned himself from the train in order to continue speaking on the phone.

In another case, I saw a man watching TV on his cell phone (Yes, some Japanese cell phones can get a TV air-signal!!). He was listening with the loudspeakers on and all the people around him were obviously unhappy with his behaviour.

This week: are you the designated transit encyclopedia among your friends?

This poll was suggested by Tsushima Masaki, who wrote in with the following:

Today I wondered if any of the other readers are heavily depended on by their circle of friends to provide them with transit information (best bus routes, transit news, or just how to get from point A to point B). I guess I would call myself the “designated transit guy” because all of my friends seem to call me when they need to get somewhere. If that’s workable as a quiz question that’d be great!

So, here we go!

Personally I would have to say yes, but I think that has a lot to do with my place of work :)

The conductorettes: the first women to drive transit in Vancouver

A group of conductorettes after finishing a training course in the 1940s. They were at first issued skirts as part of their uniform, but this image shows the transition to pants. Skirts were difficult to manage when climbing the trolley to reset the poles! Photo courtesy of the Coast Mountain Bus Company Archives.

A group of 33 conductorettes posing in front of the 16th Avenue streetcar at Prior Street barns in 1944. They were at first issued skirts as part of their uniform, but this image shows the transition to pants. Skirts were difficult to manage when climbing the trolley to reset the poles! Photo courtesy of the Coast Mountain Bus Company Archives. Click for a larger version.

Today, I’m pleased to present the story of the conductorettes, a group of 180 women who were the only women operating transit vehicles between 1943 and 1975.

And I’m especially pleased to tell you that this article includes an audio podcast containing interview excerpts from three former conductorettes.

Again, Lisa Codd, the curator at the Burnaby Village Museum, helped me put this article together, based on the research of Lynda Maeve Orr, the Museum’s Assistant Programmer. It’s a continued collaboration to explore transit history and Burnaby’s archival holdings!

Read more »