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Friday fun poll: do you hang onto the bars or the straps?

Earlier this week, I asked where you like to sit on the SeaBus.

After 58 votes, facing forward was the clear winner — 81 per cent liked facing their destination, while just 19 per cent liked facing away from their destination.

Since there was a bit of a truncated timeline on this one, there are fewer comments to spotlight for this post. Cow, however, did share a tiny SeaBus secret (and thank you Cow for sharing — I know you were reticent to put it up!).

I almost hesitate to post this, since it feels like a SeaBus secret, but my favourite seat is up front, but the seats backed against the front row of front-facing seats (the third row of seats, if you think of it that way), and all the way to the end of the row. Everyone rushes the front-facing seats, ignoring the back-facing ones, so it’s easy to get, and if you turn and sit sideways you can both look to the front and off to the side without getting in anyone’s way (since you’re at the end of the row and there’s extra space for gathering for the exit doors).

Plus, there’s no urge to rush the doors when you’re approaching the other side; once the SeaBus docks and the doors open, you just stand up and you’ve already got a place right near the front of the line.


All right, new poll time!

If you hold onto something (or someone!) else, feel free to mention it in the comments :)


  • By Cree, March 13, 2009 @ 4:47 pm

    I voted Metal Bars, because there aren’t enough straps/handles to hold onto in the first place. only the NovaBuses have handles fixed every 30 or so centimetres throughout the entire bus — not just front and rear. I do wish there’d be more handles on buses and skytrain. This is taken on a Japan Rail train:
    this is what should be added to buses and skytrains

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, March 13, 2009 @ 5:09 pm

    Do you prefer the straps? I always find them harder to balance with on the bus.

  • By John Hodgkins, March 13, 2009 @ 7:16 pm

    Disability access groups always recommend handrails in preference to straps – especially if the handrails have a bright, non-slip surface – as they are much more easily gripped by people with limited strength in their hand muscles.

    In the UK, best practice guidance says –

    Handholds should not be provided if it is possible to provide a suitable handrail. Where a handhold is provided it should be rigid, fixed in one position and be such that a hand cannot easily slip off or become trapped.

    The Japanese handholds certainly fit the bill – not sure about the leather straps on older buses though!

  • By Eugene Wong, March 13, 2009 @ 8:24 pm

    I try to hold a spot on the bar, where people don’t normally touch. I think that most people don’t wash their hands properly. I hate touching public surfaces.

    I actually met somebody like me, once. It was weird. :^D

  • By Gennifer, March 13, 2009 @ 9:23 pm

    I hold onto the metal bars because I’m not tall enough to hold onto a strap that’s about level with the top of my head and because I can’t balance properly anyways holding onto the strap. That goes for those Japanese handholds too, as far as I can tell.

  • By Cree, March 13, 2009 @ 10:57 pm


    I would prefer the straps if:
    a) there were more of them on the bus (any on the skytrain)
    b) if they were affixed to the overhead bars.

    Since only the NovaBuses apply both of the above, but overall I voted for the Metal Bars

  • By Rob, March 14, 2009 @ 12:45 am

    Personally, I like to use both simultaneously, which my wife insists is going to some day result in me breaking my arms in an accident…

  • By Dan B, March 14, 2009 @ 9:47 am

    I only use the straps if there aren’t any available vertical bars. The straps don’t give you enough support, as they sway back and forth too much and can cause you to slip. Vertical bars allow me to stabilise my whole body, and don’t kill my wrists.

  • By Dan B, March 14, 2009 @ 9:51 am

    @ Cree:

    Good point! Those handholds look ideal. But then again, if our trains were that wide on the inside and had nice seats like those, then we probably wouldn’t need any handholds at all!

    That must be an intercity, West Coast Express or VIA Rail type of train I’d imagine, though. Not a subway line.

  • By Dain, March 14, 2009 @ 3:49 pm

    Hey, on a completely un-related note, is there anywhere I can find the transit improvements slated for next month?

  • By k.c., March 14, 2009 @ 10:02 pm

    Definitely, the metal bars.

    Excuse my language, but it is absolutely retarded to have straps that are not secured onto the bars. There’s no point in even installing those straps if they can slide – why would anyone want to use that?

  • By Phyzz, March 15, 2009 @ 12:22 am

    I actually use the horizontal bar the straps are attached too as I’m about 6′, if I used the straps themselves there would be too much slack and I’d end up swaying.

  • By Dennis, March 16, 2009 @ 12:28 am

    Always the metal bars.

  • By Donald Nguyen, March 16, 2009 @ 8:40 am

    Agreed, if the straps were fixed with a bolt to the metal bars, they would be more useful but as they are right now, it’s safer to hang on to the metal bars as the straps can slide in a sudden stop.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, March 16, 2009 @ 11:05 am

    Dain: not yet, my friend. The April changes will be released in April :)

  • By AP, March 16, 2009 @ 12:45 pm

    It all depends on your height, making this survey a bit superfluous.

  • By L, March 16, 2009 @ 4:47 pm

    I have to agree about the limited usefulness of the straps that aren’t fixed in place. I was holding on to one at the front of a B-line bus which accelerated very suddenly… my strap slid a few feet along the metal bar, along with my upper body while my feet stayed in place. I ended up in a very odd diagonal position, hovering above someone in a seat. Funny for me, because I’m limber… but I’ve avoided the straps ever since.

  • By Bryn, March 16, 2009 @ 9:52 pm

    The straps are great though to grab on to and pull yourself up out of one of the front seats!

    The Mk II SkyTrain cars always get me – there’s barely anywhere to hold on! The Mk I cars all have a way better layout if you ask me…

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, March 17, 2009 @ 9:06 am

    Since everyone was talking about how it would be better if the straps were fixed, I asked our fleet management staff about the issue. And in fact, I learned that the straps *aren’t* chiefly recommended as handholds — the manufacturers have really put them there to help you lift yourself out of your seat, as Bryn suggests!

    So I learned something today, anyway :)

  • By Eugene Wong, March 17, 2009 @ 10:41 am

    That is *very* interesting. On TV, I always seem to see people holding on to the straps. Even on The Flintstones, I remember Fred & Barney holding on to monkey tails, which would be the equivalent of our straps.

    ;^) Does anybody know if the monkey tails are safer than our straps? ;^)

  • By Cree, March 17, 2009 @ 11:55 am

    @Bryn, the MK I does have that sort of layout to add fixed handles they can be easily retrofitted w/ them across the entire car and 156 car fleet. Also the reason why I was disappointed in the interior layouts of the MK II and Canada Line trains (that also includes seating and metal bars arrangements). Do you really think you want to share holding on to a pole with 3 or more people?

    @ Eugene, unless you want something hurled at you by the monkey, I’ll stick to the wobbly straps

  • By Alan Robinson, March 17, 2009 @ 10:52 pm

    I may be an oddity, but I find that the straps are too low to hold onto. They would work best for someone about 5’8 to 6’0 tall who can pull down on them a bit. Depending on how much elbow room I have at the level of other peoples heads, I hold onto the vertical bars above the main horizontal bars.

    Another fun poll may be how determined we are to allow other people on the bus. Once on a real crowded D40LF, I agreed with the passenger next to me to lift up the front left folding seat and stand basically over the wheel well. It can be a challenge finding a good handhold then!

  • By DC, March 18, 2009 @ 10:27 pm

    I don’t think fixed hand holds are a good idea, I keep getting knocked in the head with straps already — they’re annoying… more verticle poles on the MK2 or buses would be preferred.

  • By AvVelocity, August 7, 2016 @ 3:36 am

    I do agree with the majority of the posts here expressing distaste for the straps. I have never found them useful, and if I can’t reach a vertical pole, I’d rather balance on my own than attempt to use the strap. They seem to give a false sense of security and will certainly throw you off balance if they slide. After riding an innumerable amount of buses and trains, standing unassisted becomes a cinch. I like to call it surfing. Of course, I don’t choose to practice this unless it is necessary, as a sudden stop can be extremely dangerous.

    Another common technique I see is grabbing the horizontal bars that run the length of the bus. This should work for anyone 5’9″ and above, or shorter if you don’t mind reaching high. I can’t do this myself as my head is about level with bottom of the straps, but it seems like a perfect solution if the bus is too full to find a vertical pole.

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