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Friday fun poll: eye contact on transit

If you like, you can skip to the end of this post to answer the eye contact poll.

Results from last poll: saying thank you to transit operators

Here’s the results of the last poll, which asked if you usually say thank you to your bus driver.

There were 192 votes on this poll, and the vast majority (79%) usually say thank you when they get off the bus! The rest (21%) do not.

Obviously the results aren’t representative of the entire service region — this is a fun poll, after all! But it does show that lots of the Buzzer blog’s readers take the time to recognize operators for their work. Peggy even uses it as a learning experience for her son:

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!

David Lam also said that a thank you can mean a lot to an operator.

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?

As usual, there were many good comments this time round, including a short debate on whether you should yell “thank you” from the back doors or not: if you’re interested, please do check them out!

This week’s poll: your strategy for eye contact on transit

Transit’s a funny space — it’s a shared area, but everybody still wants a measure of privacy. So in this situation, how do you decide where to look when people are everywhere?

If you avoid eye contact and try to look at other things, feel free to share what those things are. (I personally read a lot of transit ads and try to stare out the window :)


  • By East Side Rider, May 1, 2009 @ 5:19 pm

    I like answers 3, 4, and 5.

  • By daniel, May 1, 2009 @ 6:33 pm

    i chose answer number 1. when you make eye contact with someone you feel really awkward. i just try and stare out the window!

  • By Holly, May 1, 2009 @ 8:24 pm

    Because I’m always travelling with my toddler, I end up making not only eye contact, but conversation with many other riders. Somehow, a two-year-old is a conversation starter and she ends up making lots of friends on our transit rides.

  • By John, May 2, 2009 @ 2:47 pm

    Why is there no info posted on either the Translink or the Buzzer Blog about the open houses for the 399 and the 531 bus routes on Apr 30 and May 7? Are the display boards going to be posted here?

  • By daniel, May 3, 2009 @ 9:40 am

    hmm a reply to john’s question i saw a message on twitter on cmbc’s message boards about that

  • By Marissa, May 3, 2009 @ 11:27 am

    I close my eyes if I’m tired or will look out the window for anything interesting. As much as I’d like to start a conversation with someone, it’s awkward if their stop comes up in mid-conversation and then you have to quickly wind it down and say “good-bye, nice talking to you, and have a good day” all at once.

  • By Scott Clayton, May 3, 2009 @ 10:24 pm

    I usually make eye contact with the people just getting on the bus, and I usually smile at them (unless they look like they’re on drugs)—they often smile back and sit next to me, though we rarely talk.

    I usually say “hey” to the person I sit next to when I get on the bus.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, May 4, 2009 @ 9:25 am

    John: Actually, nobody let me know about that open house so that’s why it isn’t up on the blog here. I’ll make sure I have the dates for future open houses though.

  • By Dan B, May 6, 2009 @ 9:47 pm

    I don’t like to make eye contact with strangers, whether on the street, in a store, or on transit. It just seems awkward. The driver is another story. I always look them in the eye and try to smile or show a neutral expression when I flash my pass. Sometimes I’ll nod my head; if I’m in a really good mood I’ll say “hi”. (I’ll always say “hi” if they speak to me first.)

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