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Friday fun poll: do you have a secret friend at your transit stop?

Last week I asked if you stepped off your transit vehicle when standing near the doors, with people rushing to exit behind you.

After 142 votes, 61 per cent said you do step off the bus when people are rushing to get out, and 39 per cent said you stay on the bus and let people exit around you.

Well, that’s certainly a closer result than our previous poll! Anyway, in the comments, the “step-offers” were much more vocal than the standers. Here’s Dan Udey:

I don’t know if I’d classify ’standing in the doorway’ as a strategy. Generally it just serves to make everyone’s life harder (including the stander, who gets shoved around as people try to get off the bus).

And Dan B also added a few more thoughts on the matter:

I dislike it when people stand in the doorways of buses as well. Usually there are free seats or room away from the doors. I surmise that the people who do stand in the doorway like the extra room, even though it is technically forbidden by the placards. Many times, people stand in the doorways so they can chat with their friends, or because they like the extra room — even in cases where there are free seats!


New poll time! Bet you’re wondering what I’m talking about with this “secret friend” business.

I’m officially naming this type of person a “secret friend.” If you have an alternate term, please feel free to suggest it. And if you have actually talked to your secret transit friend, tell us all about it in the comments :)


  • By Eugene Wong, March 28, 2009 @ 4:36 am

    I call them my transit neighbours. I like chatting with regulars, but it makes me sad, when they suddenly disappear. I hate the way that they don’t feel obligated to let me know that I’ll never see them again. I would appreciate a “Goodbye!”.

    :^) I’m probably creeping out many of your readers. :^D

  • By Dan B, March 28, 2009 @ 9:54 am

    I see two guys on the bus — one gets on one stop after mine, another two stops after mine. We ride the same bus and train every day and we work at the same company, yet we’ve never spoken to each other nor do we know each other’s names. We spend a total of 45 minutes of travel time using the bus and SkyTrain — even the elevator sometimes! — yet we never feel this urge to even say “hi”. I like to call those people my “secret transit co-workers”.

    There are also certain people I see at my stop every day, as well as some on my bus that get on before or after me, that just happen to be pretty girls. I call them my “secret transit crushes”. ;-)

    I just got an awesome idea for Jhenifer for next week’s poll that expands on the current poll. It would go something like this: “Do you see someone regularly on your bus/train that you have a crush on/would like to ask out?” The three choices would be: “Yes, I have a secret transit crush, and as soon as I get over my fear of weirdness that comes from this unspoken taboo about chatting-up strangers on transit, I’m going to ask her/him out!”; “I have a secret transit crush, but chatting-up people on the bus is weird and would probably creep them out, so I’ll never tell.”; and “No, I’m too busy sleeping/listening to my MP3s/using my internet mobile phone/reading/playing Sudoku puzzles/contemplating the relative strength of the earth’s gravitational pull on wood-floor articulated buses to pay any attention to cute girls/guys.”


  • By Gennifer, March 28, 2009 @ 12:33 pm

    I have quite a few people I regularly see, but never talk to, depending on the time of day I ride the bus. I live in a low rise apartment building, with two other low rise apartment buildings on the same city block and lots of residential nearby as well as a daycare centre. So some of the riders come from each of those places.

  • By Stephan Alexander Scharnberg, March 28, 2009 @ 4:11 pm

    Monday to Friday, I travel the “49 Metrotown” from near Fraser in the morning, then SkyTrain to Edmonds Station. Mid-afternoon back one station to Royal Oak; then one station to Metrotown and the “49 Granville” home late at night after my evening job. I’d say there are about eight or nine people I see daily, none of whom I’ve talked to. This includes the two panhandlers at the Metrotown bus loop late at night (I never give them money as I don’t want to aid and abet possible drug addictions). I consider them to be “familiar strangers” or “recognizable strangers”.

  • By Eugene Wong, March 28, 2009 @ 4:29 pm

    I want to add another option to Dan B.’s suggestion: “No, I don’t have crushes. I’m already taken.”. I don’t know. That might be politically incorrect. The idea is that somebody might be in a relationship.

    1 thing that I’ve noticed is that talking to people almost always seems to scare them off. We have some common ground here, but we can’t talk to each other unless the circumstances are right. How sad. Maybe it’s just me & the way that I chat with people. Maybe it’s just my imagination.

  • By Bob J, March 28, 2009 @ 7:37 pm

    Hey Jhenifer,

    I think it’d be really cool if you did a piece on what buses/skytrains/seabuses do after service (like do they go through a wash, get sweeped up at the end of the night or just exatctly what?)

  • By Derek Cheung, March 28, 2009 @ 11:34 pm

    As an operator I see many “regulars” on a daily basis. I’ve observed that often these regulars are standing at the same spot day in and day out waiting for the same bus, yet they never talk with each other. They board the bus and take separate seats and that’s the end of that.

    And don’t get me started on MY “secret transit crushes”!!!

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, March 30, 2009 @ 5:33 pm

    You guys are hilarious. Yes, a transit crush poll is completely appropriate for next week. I might make the options a bit simpler though — maybe just “Yes” or “No” and then everybody can explain more in the comments.

    Transit crushes are pretty widespread, I think. Ever notice how many transit experiences show up in the the Georgia Straight “I Saw You” ads, or Craigslist’s Missed Connections? It’s just one of those public places where the magic happens :)

  • By EL, April 2, 2009 @ 11:15 pm

    Several years ago when I was still going to school, I would bump into the same girl who takes the exact same route as I to school every morning. Now, our commute is approx. 1.25h in the morning, and 1.5h back in the afternoon. After a few weeks into the semester, I started talking to her and we became “commuting buddies” for that semester. We had quite a bit in common, took the very same undergrad courses, etc. We added each other to MSN, and still run into each other from time to time after that semester. It pays off to meet new people while at the bus stop. Although it’s probably easier to chat up people if you’re the around the same age and if you’re a girl. =P

  • By Max, April 5, 2009 @ 10:14 pm

    I’ve been taking transit an average of 2 hours a day or more for the last 15 years, so I’ve had many many ‘secret friends’.

    There are lots of beautiful girls on the bus! But I’d feel a bit creepy to just start talking to them.

Other Links to this Post

  1. The Buzzer blog » Life on transit: do you have a secret friend on transit? — March 19, 2013 @ 11:02 am

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