ALERT! : More info
Translink Buzzer Blog

Friday fun poll: do you try to stand up before you get to your stop?

Last Friday, I asked if you had given up your seat in the past month — no judgment of course!

We had 87 people answer, and the majority (72% – 63 votes) said they had indeed given up their seat in the past month. The rest said they hadn’t (28% – 24 votes).

So that’s an interesting yardstick, although of course this might have been a bit skewed — no one really likes calling themselves out for not giving up a seat.

However, as usual, the comments delivered some very interesting perspectives on the whole issue of giving up your seat to others. Offering your seat up can be done — but it doesn’t mean someone wants to accept the seat! Scott Clayton describes it here:

I prefer giving up seats when there are no others available, and since I don’t sit up front, it is only in these instances. However, some people can take offense to being offered a seat, and I don’t want to offend anyone, so offering a seat can be tricky—I can’t count how many times people have said to me “I’m not that old yet.”

He also mentioned a situation that made me laugh out loud — and I have indeed seen it on many a bus before:

If there are no seats and someone has to stand, I’d prefer that person be me. I’m 23, fairly energetic, and can balance myself alright. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m alone on this standing-front. Often there might be >5 people standing and <5 available seats, so it can turn ridiculous. Like a reverse ‘tragedy of the commons’ or something.

LisaB points out that sometimes it can be hard to know when to give your seat up.

I virtually never sit in the courtesy seats up front ever since a friend pointed out that not all disabilities that would make one need a seat are visible/obvious. I prefer not to have to judge/guess who needs the seats, especially since I can certainly stand without hardship.

And Dion mentions that the seat-entitlement situation is totally different in Hong Kong:

On the bright side, as much as I love Hong Kongs transportation network, seats there are almost always first come first serve no exceptions. There are the rare times where a seat will be offered, but aside from that, usually everyone too busy to care who’s getting on and getting off. VERY sharp contrast to Vancouver.


Okay, new poll!

I’m curious to see what you think. Do you think one choice is more efficient than the other, too?


  • By LisaB, February 27, 2009 @ 5:05 pm

    Dude, I deal with this EVERY day – the people who stand up (in a crowded bus where there is no room for them to stand up) and make a commotion to get to the door blocks (and minutes) ahead of their stop. If they would just wait – since 70% of the people on the bus are getting off at the stop, there would be no need to push and shove and disrupt all the sardined people! Just relax and wait!

  • By Eugene Wong, February 27, 2009 @ 6:12 pm

    I think that it depends on the stop. If it’s not a busy stop, then it’s important to get ready, early. I also try to read body language, so that I don’t cut in front of somebody who is already lined up and ready to get off.

    If it’s the last stop or a major stop, then I’ll wait till I’m the last off, so that I won’t have to push and shove.

    I voted, “Yes.”.

  • By Eugene Wong, February 27, 2009 @ 6:16 pm

    I should always mention that it’s best to talk it out with people. Just ask people if they are getting off. People are more than willing to tell you.

    As I think about this, I remember that some situations are like logic puzzles. I might squeeze through some people, but not others. Once the crowd clears, then the person in front of me might find it easier to move out of my way. It’s really hard to decide, because it totally depends on who is getting off, and who is in your way.

  • By Dan, February 27, 2009 @ 9:47 pm

    This question really depends on the line. If you’re on a B-Line, then there will be a fairly large turnover of passengers at all stops along the middle of the route. It’s pointless, and actually rather annoying, to try to get up and work your way to the back when so many others will leave as well. On locals, it’s sometimes necessary to work your way back, but I wouldn’t reccomend doing so until you’re about 400 metres from your stop. Nothing is more annoying than when people block the doors, so 400 metres gives you about two local stops – it is doubtful that there would be a need to stop at both stops for a large amount of people unless you’re downtown or at a major intersection.

    This really does take some thought and practice when you’re in the moment, though. Interacting with people in cities can sometimes be quite a chore — likening it to a logic puzzle is bang-on. Who needs Sudoku when you’re trying to calculate whether to give-up your seat, get-up before your stop, board through the front door of the B-Line to beat the rear-door crowds, get-off an express one stop early to do a running transfer to a local so you can save 5 minutes of walking, etc.?

  • By Cree, March 1, 2009 @ 5:58 am

    Pull stop cord immediately after passing the stop prior to mine, (or press the button depending on seating location in bus) — even though most often times it’s at a SkyTrain station; stand in front of the rear doors to await stop, activate whatever means of opening the door (step on “top” step, push bar, place hand on door, etc) and be first out — that’s on a bus w/ few or no standees.

    Yes, my tendencies tend to stick with me ever since first riding the bus.

  • By Theresa, March 2, 2009 @ 4:54 pm

    Wow! I thought I was the only person who was so calculating on the bus. I don’t take seats up front and if I do I’m always on the lookout, every stop! It’s hard work but someone has to do it!

    When I visited Palm Springs, CA, no one got up before the bus stopped, young and elderly alike!

Other Links to this Post

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

Please read our Participation Guidelines before you comment.