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Friday fun poll: do you usually call out thank you to your bus driver?

If you like, you can skip to the end of this post to answer the “thank you” poll.

Results from last poll: best ways to pass time on transit

Here’s the results of the last poll, which asked everyone what’s the best way to pass the time on transit?

We got 195 votes on this poll (a new record!) and listening to an iPod/music player was the most popular answer, with 32 per cent of the vote. Looking out the window (22%) and reading (20%) were second and third.

It also seemed that a lot of you enjoy people watching (11%) and sleeping (8%)! Meditating (4%) and “other” (3%) brought up the rear.

In the comments, most people said they do a mix all of the options when they’re on transit. Here’s a comment from Gennifer:

I actually do just about everything on that list. I like grabbing a 24 Hours and a Metro before I get on the train. While I read, I listen to my iPod. Then when I finish my papers I people watch/wave at the little kids and look out the window. But if I’m on the train and I am tired, I will put my head down and go to sleep. I have ridden past my stop about three times.

And Betty moved from one method to another for passing time on the bus:

I used to read a lot on the bus. Now, I usually look out the window and think about things. When I feel like using my brain I do the puzzles in the free newspapers. I’m surprised I’m in a minority because I do see other people doing the puzzles (sometimes in ink, even — I’m a pencil puzzler).

I also got some flak for not mentioning BlackBerries or other mobile devices. Catching up with email and RSS feeds seemed to be a popular option for passing the time. Here’s JasonV:

Ok, I’ve been reading my fav RSS feeds on a PalmPilot while on transit for YEARS! And for FREE! (the Palm was a hand-me-down, and Avantgo.com made subscribing to any RSS feed simple!) I STILL recommend this technique!

Then I upgraded to the iPod TOUCH for free wifi-bility! And best of all, offline browsing! Add the little app ByLine for a few bucks and you can nearly replicate Avantgo’s service, but via Google Reader! What’s great is you can fav and comment on posts while offline, and then when you get home and resync, your comments/favs/shared posts get synched to Google Reader without any effort at all! You can also start to see other recommended shared items from friends if you choose to follow shared items from your contacts!

And by the way, when it came to good podcasts for passing time on transit, Jason suggested The Moth storytelling podcast. As mentioned, I also think This American Life is excellent bus fodder. If you have more suggestions for music/podcasts for transit, let me know — maybe I can put a list together for everyone in the future!

This week’s poll: saying thank you to your operator

For the new poll, bear in mind that I’m asking what you do on an average trip, not the best or worst trips!

I hear it sometimes on buses and sometimes not, so I’m curious about the results! Plus, does anyone have a particular strategy they use when deciding to shout out thanks? Informal chats with my coworkers have turned up very inconsistent approaches: one colleague doesn’t like to say “thank you” if another passenger has already said it — and often I don’t say it unless somebody else has broken the ice already :)


19 Comments

  • By Dennis, April 24, 2009 @ 9:40 pm

    If I leave through the front doors I usually say thanks. However from the rear doors it depends on whether I feel like shouting (over the dings, route announcer, doors opening, etc)

  • By Eugene Wong, April 24, 2009 @ 11:05 pm

    For average trips, I always give thanks when I get on the bus, unless it’s 1 of the other 2 doors of the bus, at a “3 door stop”. I also give thanks when I get off, unless it’s a 1 of the other 2 doors at a “3 door stop”.

    I don’t mind shouting over the crowd. I feel uncomfortable waking people up at night, though. In that case, I won’t say it as loudly.

  • By Stephan Alexander Scharnberg, April 24, 2009 @ 11:16 pm

    Almost always I call out “Thanks, have a good day/night” as I travel to two full-time jobs Monday to Friday, morning and late evening.

  • By daniel, April 25, 2009 @ 8:05 am

    i always said thank you to the driver every trip i go on. i usually leave through the rear doors and just shout to the driver.

  • By Peggy, April 25, 2009 @ 8:54 am

    Yes, I say thanks and making sure my kids do, too. Sometimes shouting it from the rear makes my teen feel self-conscious, especially if other folks don’t bother. So then we have the conversation about how using our manners might make it easier for other people to follow in our footsteps – step by step we can all create a more civil society!
    Cool new app & blog BTW. I always had visions of hijacking the Buzzer and turning it into a funky little on-board read. It’s been the same for as long as I can remember. Back then I wouldn’t have imagined a mobile version, though!

  • By Dave2, April 25, 2009 @ 10:55 am

    There is no need to yell out thank you to the driver from the back of the bus. You are disturbing people who may have headaches, trying to catch a few zzzz’s, etc. Just try to be as quiet and respectful to your fellow passengers as possible.

  • By srid, April 25, 2009 @ 11:14 am

    I agree with Dave2. Besides I do not understand the point of every passenger repeating Thank you. A pleasant smile (on entering the bus) is better than mindless repetition anyday.

  • By David Lam, April 25, 2009 @ 12:34 pm

    I always say “thank you” to the operator if I leave the bus via the front door, and I try to do the same when leaving through the rear exit – although, sometimes it is a bit awkward and as some of you have previous mentioned, it does disturb other fellow passengers who happen to be taking a comfy nap or focusing into their reading. I always try to be nice to transit ops – having to deal with hundreds of different passengers everyday, it’s not an easy job at all! Upon several conversations with different transit ops, and also with a few buddies of mine who drive buses, the biggest challenge is not only traffic and road conditions, but rather how to emotionally overcome the feeling that one is being mistreated and degraded by a handful of people in our community who are often abusive and rude. If all of us can make someone’s day better by giving a little smile and say a simple phrase such as “thank you” before we disembark – why not?

  • By Eugene Wong, April 26, 2009 @ 6:02 am

    I like what Peggy said: “using our manners might make it easier for other people to follow in our footsteps – step by step we can all create a more civil society!”. It’s not my main reason, but it’s definitely 1 of my reasons.

    I’d rather give and receive thanks, than a smile, because I am thankful, even though I don’t always feel pleasant. As long as the bus driver doesn’t appear to do anything wrong, I’m thankful.

    I’m not thankful when they appear to drive below the speed limit, even though they have no other vehicles in front of them, and then end up late. That happened 2 or 3 times. I was so surprised when I realized for the first time that it was happening.

    I am also not thankful when they seem to be angry for no reason. They might already drive well, and might be on time, yet they might be rude to customers. Those drivers seem to have retired. I haven’t seem them for a long time. I’m not talking about drivers who seem to be having a bad day. I’m talking about drivers who *always* seem to be angry. Fortunately, they seem to have disappeared.

    I do try to keep it down to a reasonable level, but almost every trip involves me getting off only at stations and exchanges. This means that it is actually a good idea to wake people up.

  • By Steven, April 26, 2009 @ 10:00 am

    Since arriving in Vancouver I am very pleasantly surprised how many people do say thanks to the bus drivers. This never happens in London except for maybe in deepest suburbia. Its great to see people of all ages communicate well with the driver.

  • By Not Eugene Wong, April 26, 2009 @ 5:53 pm

    I watch how drivers react to other passengers’ thankyous. If they say “you’re welcome” or something friendly back, even a wave, I continue the polite manners and good will. If the driver sits there looking grumpy, I ignore them when I exit. If they answer “thank you” with “bye”, I say “bye” instead. It’s part game, part not feeling like I’m being snubbed or ignored by a human being.

  • By Eugene Wong, April 26, 2009 @ 5:55 pm

    I spent some time in China, teaching English. As you might expect, it is quite common to ride the bus there. I would always say thanks to the bus driver & the bus conductor. 1 of the local teachers told me that I didn’t have to do it, but I explained to her why I did, and she was so fascinated. She even wrote an article about me in the college paper. I found that fascinating.

    A few students said the same thing to me. A few of them even picked up the trend. They weren’t into it, as much as I was, but it was a cool change.

  • By Dave2 (for real), April 27, 2009 @ 12:32 pm

    I did not write this. I viewed this page over the weekend, but did not submit a comment!

    “There is no need to yell out thank you to the driver from the back of the bus….

  • By Chris Cassidy, April 27, 2009 @ 12:56 pm

    I always call out “Thank You” and give a little hand wave most of the time.

    There have been times were I have gotten off of the Skytrain and called out “Thank You” by accident. This results in some rosy cheeks and some chuckles from other passengers.

  • By Scott, April 27, 2009 @ 1:20 pm

    I usually call out a thank you and sometimes wave or if I am taking the bus at night I often get off at the front door and talk with the driver a bit and say good night and thanks. It is more personal and it saves the driver time from opening and waiting for the back doors (Which on some buses like Novas are really slow to open).

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, April 27, 2009 @ 1:43 pm

    Dave2: ????!! I have no idea why that happened! Other Dave2: care to shed any light on this?

  • By Marissa, April 27, 2009 @ 6:28 pm

    I always say Thank You unless the bus driver is busy with incoming passengers. Umm, Dan, maybe you ride the “unfriendly” bus. Lol.

  • By Mrs. Prime, April 27, 2009 @ 7:36 pm

    No, I usually say Good Morning, Afternoon, or Evening,to the Bus Driver and then thank you, when I first get on.

  • By Eugene Wong, April 27, 2009 @ 8:43 pm

    I think that this poll accurately reflects the views of the blog *readership*. I suspect that the people who don’t give thanks are unlikely to read this blog. I’m not at all surprised by the results. I don’t think that the results reflect the entire *ridership*, though.

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