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Friday fun poll: where do you like sitting on SkyTrain?

In last Friday’s poll, I asked what you would do when the passenger beside you vacates the window seat, on a full bus.

Out of 116 votes, three-fourths were in favour of moving over and sitting in the window seat (75.86%), while a tiny 6.9 percent thought it was okay to stay sitting in the aisle seat. A further 17 percent thought either option were just fine.

This result might have been obvious though — on a full bus, people generally move over so it’s not difficult for another passenger to get to a seat, which speeds up loading and departure since it doesn’t create any weird passenger traffic issues in the aisle.

And of course these aren’t the only choices. In the comments, Stephan Alexander Scharnberg highlighted the strategy he takes based on proximity to his stop:

If I am relatively close to my stop, I say that I’m getting off soon and offer the window seat (they might be riding further than myself). If they decline, then I take it. If the bus is coming to a terminus (such as Metrotown) and we both are travelling the same distance, I still offer the window seat. If they decline, then I take the window seat. In fact, if I am nearing my stop, once I get up to let the previous window sitter by, I often remain standing, offering both seats to others.

And Eugene Wong has again provided some interesting thoughts:

I chose “always move over”, with the idea that all situations are equal. That being said, each situation is unique, and talking about it with other passengers is always the best way to go. Talking with others with a genuine concern for them will help us to be as polite as possible.

It’s true: talking with your fellow passengers about the options can really help and avoids needless misunderstandings. Which echoes Steve’s comment that there “probably isn’t a right or wrong answer here anyway, as long as people are considerate of others.”


Anyway, I thought we’d switch modes from buses to SkyTrain for this week’s poll. And it’s a preference rather than behaviour one, so who knows what the winner might be?

Feel free to discuss your choice in the comments. (Anybody a big fan of the captain’s chair, btw?) And vote away until next Friday!


  • By Cow, February 13, 2009 @ 6:01 pm

    I really like the captain’s chair, honestly. When I first moved to the region, I sat in it a few times and just rode the train around; it’s an amazingly good way to get the lay of the land in the Lower Mainland. Now that I’ve seen both routes the whole way, I’ll leave it for others, unless the train’s totally empty.

  • By Gennifer, February 13, 2009 @ 6:21 pm

    I really like the captain’s chair and will take it whenever possible. My next favorite is the forward facing seats then the backward facing seats. I don’t like the sideways seats because I like looking out the window.

  • By Steven, February 13, 2009 @ 11:07 pm

    Couldn’t answer as I don’t mind where I sit or stand, as long as I arrive in one piece. My only preference of seating is usually away from the strange guy who gets on at Broadway sometimes – the one who wears a bra on his head. Mind you I would rather him than the guy who used to get on my Northern Line tube from Kings Cross to Holloway Road someday’s who would wave a crucifix at passengers to get rid of evil spirits from them. It’s too bad there is no business class with a buffet and bar.

  • By Bill Kinkaid, February 14, 2009 @ 10:39 am

    My commuting trip is just two stops, from one station with a centre platform to another with a centre platform, and a station with side platforms in between. So for only two stops, I try to be the last one to get on and just stand by the door!
    When I go downtown or elsewhere, any forward or back facing seat is fine. I hate sitting sideways on any form of transportation.
    As for what part of the train? I usually wait at the end of the platform as there’s usually a better chance of getting on the train. Especially when a four-car Mark II train comes – two-car trains make no sense to me since they just make everyone bunch together on the platform to get on.

  • By :-|, February 14, 2009 @ 11:19 am

    It’s interesting that so many people don’t like the bench seats. If I can’t get a single seat or aisle seat, I go looking for the bench seats. The bench seats has great footroom and we don’t have issues with asking others to get up for me to leave. The Mark I’s bench seats is as a better wide area for people to walkthru, stand and chat.

  • By Kenny, February 14, 2009 @ 11:56 am

    For some reason I end up feeling a bit more dizzy facing backwards if I’m not exactly feeling well.

  • By Mike, February 14, 2009 @ 1:34 pm

    I like the extra leg room that comes with sitting sideways, especially in the old trains. Those ones usually hurt my knees if I sit facing forward or back.

  • By Eugene Wong, February 14, 2009 @ 5:53 pm

    I usually like facing forward.

    I’ve sat in the captain’s chair a few times. Like Cow, I leave it for others. If I’m near the captain’s chair, and I see/hear a kid get on, I’ll usually make it obvious that the kid is welcome to come over. I’ll gladly go to the other end of the train, if it would help. I really want kids to have a positive experience with public transit.

    My preferred seat is any seat that faces forward, on the right side, where people don’t put their feet up on it.

    My preferred standing place is near the doors. I do make an effort to get well out of the way, so that people don’t have to walk past me.

    Bill Kinkaid’s idea of last-on-first-off is perfect. It doesn’t get any better than that. I wish that we could find a way to coordinate everybody with very little effort. It might be nice to have line-up areas on the platform.

  • By Stephan Alexander Scharnberg, February 15, 2009 @ 12:05 pm

    At times I have enjoyed the Captain’s chair–more so in earlier years when my son was small, or at my day job working with primary grade special needs school children. It’s always nice to give the chair to a child. Yes, the view from this chair is excellent!

    As for the poll: I voted facing sideways because I usually stand somewhere near the door I will be exiting. These days I only travel one/two stations between bus and work/work and work/work and bus. On the rare occasion, I do use the flip-up jump seat near the door on the older Mark I cars.

    Great buzzer blog. I always enjoy reading it. Keep up the good work!

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, February 16, 2009 @ 9:17 am

    I prefer facing forward or sideways — as :-| suggests, when you sit sideways, you don’t have to get up if somebody else has to leave. However, when sitting sideways, there can sometimes be weird situations where you’re staring directly at somebody across the aisle. In which case I do try to keep my eyes focused up and out the window, or up at the ceiling. And facing backwards makes me feel sick — I try not to sit in those seats if I can help it.

    The captain’s chair is a special favourite but as many of you have suggested, I too try to make sure the kids can get to it first. In England I also like sitting at the very front on the top floor of double deckers too :) There’s nothing more fun than piloting public transit!

  • By Bill Kinkaid, February 17, 2009 @ 7:08 am

    Of course you don’t have to go to England to get to ride a double decker bus – just take a ferry to Swartz Bay!

    One problem with sitting sideways is that you have other people’s feet tripping or standing on yours. And there isn’t a seat in front to lean your pack, book etc against, though that goes for any front forward/back facing seats too.

  • By Dan, February 18, 2009 @ 9:50 pm

    I don’t care which direction I’m facing as long as I’m not sitting on the sideways benches. The benched don’t give you enough elbow room as they cram too many people together. There’s more space on forwards- or backwards-facing seats because someone can always hang-off the ledge. (This holds true for buses as well.) Also, even though I’m usually always reading. If it’s a really nice day, I get to leave work early, not too crowded, and if I happen to get on in the right spot, I, too, like the Captain’s chair.

  • By 8-), February 19, 2009 @ 9:02 pm

    Perhaps one other bench seat drawback is the unwanted lap dance as the standees are swaying back and forth in front of you on a moving train. Oh well, I guess all you can do is lean back in the seat and put on a pair of sunglasses as the train exits the tunnel.

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