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Friday fun poll: which type of SkyTrain car do you like best?

If you like, you can skip to the end of this post to answer the Mark I vs. Mark II cars poll.

Results from last poll: eye contact on transit

Last week I asked about your approach to eye contact on transit.

There were 94 votes on this poll, and slightly more than half didn’t worry about eye contact on transit (52%), while the rest tried to avoid eye contact as much as possible (49%).

In the comments, daniel said that he definitely avoids eye contact on transit.

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

However Scott Clayton had a different view:

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.

Also, I discovered that the Coen Brothers did a short film about eye contact on transit, but on the Paris Metro. Before I give you the link, be warned that the film contains swearing, insults, mild violence, and Steve Buscemi: okay, here it is.

This week’s poll: which type of SkyTrain car do you like best?

This poll was kindly suggested by David Lam. Credit for the Mark I photo goes to ms_cwang at Flickr.

Thought I’d do a SkyTrain question in honour of the interiors post this week. Let me know what you think!


  • By Kewl, May 8, 2009 @ 5:40 pm

    I chose the Mark 1 easily. The flip up seats by the doors makes it easy for the physically challenged to get into and creates the perfect common area for luggage, strollers, wheelchairs or bikes. The Mark 2 has that stupid barrier that forces strollers and wheelchairs to block the doorway way.

    Also the Mark 1 bench seat design provides a wide opening for people to stand.

  • By Tsushima Masaki, May 8, 2009 @ 5:53 pm

    Well for nostalgia purposes I like the Mark I trains, mainly that three-part sound it makes when it accelerates/decelerates, kind of like an car changing gears.

    But actually if I’m not in a hurry I’ll wait until a Mark II comes my way and board that train. There’s less room for standing and its harder to get around (solved with the new Mark IIs) but I always plan on finding a seat.

    I find the Mark IIs to be a quieter ride.

  • By Bryan, May 8, 2009 @ 6:32 pm

    Funny, i haven’t even voted yet… but you see its hard to pick. On weekends with good weather I take the skytrain to Broadway to get to UBC to bike but the thing is in the morning its fine the trains aren’t as packed, but its in the afternoon and evening is when the issues start. I’ll wait at Main Street for about 2 or 3 trains before there’s actually room for me and my bike. The MKI’s in the afternoon and evening, majorly suck! MKII’s.. well when i can get my bike into the joint then its alright, i know your supposed to put your bike by a door but when you’ve been riding for the better part of a day you just really want to sit down for the ride home. So for now, when I’m with my bike, it’ll be the MKII’s but when I’m not with my bike it’d be MKI’s, and this weekend seems to be sapping up to be a good one…

  • By Cree, May 8, 2009 @ 6:41 pm

    Mark I hands down, best seating arrangements of the fleet (which includes Canada line trains). If they’d allow walk in joint like the MK II trains and hanging handles it’d be perfect.

    and yes, the three-part sound you can’t help but love.

  • By ;-), May 8, 2009 @ 8:01 pm

    While the Mark 2’s capacity are perfect for runs East of Broadway. I always look forward to 4 car Mark 1’s during the weekends and early evenings. Broadway station feeds the Millenium line, 9 Broadway, 99 BLine, and 20 Victoria downtown articulated buses. With a combination of passenger train and articulated bus dumps, the Mark 2 are overwhelmed with passengers regularly left behind when trains are going Broadway stations west. When the Mark 2 comes, passengers at the ends of the platform rush to the centre for the doors to open. After people exit, the people going in get trapped after going just 4 feet through the doors. Passengers are also reluctant to go too deep into the cars as many want to get off one station later for Main Street station destinations.

    Perhaps it’s time to look at short turning 1 out every 5 trains at Broadway station and/or Metrotown stations to serve the more heavily Western station volumes. Especially if Translink sets the capacity/frequency to run half-empty most of the time overall.

  • By Scott, May 8, 2009 @ 9:35 pm

    The Mark II’s hands down. A lot of the Mark I’s heating systems are terrible. The Mark II’s are either properly heated or air conditioned during the summer. On the weekend too most of the trains are Mark II’s which is nice. To sit next to the heater when it was winter was quite nice and on some Mark I cars you froze.

  • By Steven, May 9, 2009 @ 9:26 am

    I prefer the Mark II. There doesn’t seem to be much room in the Mark I i.e. standing room by the doors (I rarely sit down), for the seats that face the windows if you are of generous proportions it is difficult to get two people sitting next to each other due to the metal pole, it feels as though I am too close to people and their end of day fragrances!!

  • By Jay, May 9, 2009 @ 10:41 am

    I like the old Mark I’s for nostalgia’s sake. I remember that 3 part acceleration sound when I was a kid, and still like to hear it today (though it is very loud). What creates that sound and why do the Mark II’s not make it?

  • By East Side Rider, May 9, 2009 @ 11:45 am

    Here’s a thought what building some trains with NO seats or just a few for the disabled? These cars would run exclusively between Broadway and Downtown (10 min run) during peak periods. Most people end up standing anyways today. These high capacity vehicles would mean less people left behind and lots of room for cyclists!

  • By East Side Rider, May 9, 2009 @ 12:08 pm

    Or another thought… If people like standing by the doors, what about redesigning the cars to have doors for the full length of the vehicle. People will have no trouble getting in and out of these new vehicles. As most trains are paired. Those who want seats can enter for one end of the train. While those who can stand and just want to their destination can go on the other car.

  • By David Arthur, May 9, 2009 @ 12:53 pm

    ESR: New York has apparently ordered trains where all the seats can be flipped up, with plans to lock them in the flipped mode during peak times. Sounds rather unpleasant to me, but I suppose when you reach that level there isn’t much else that can be done to increase capacity.

    How about a similar poll on the SkyTrain liveries? I can think of five, counting the new ART trains and the Canada Line fleet.

  • By Donald, May 9, 2009 @ 1:01 pm

    I like the Mark-IIs for sure hands down, but there’s a huge nostalgic factor with the Mark-Is, I’ll miss then when they’re gone for sure just like the old trolleys – I might have to make a trip to Mendoza someday to get my nostalgic fix!

    I agree with the lack of standing room in the Mark-IIs but the new 1300/1400 series will solve that!

  • By daniel, May 9, 2009 @ 4:15 pm

    i chose the mark II because i love the front window view its much clearer than the mark I’s. but on the other hand i do like the 3 part noise the makr I’s make. so i guess its a tie. Both skytrains i love! =D

  • By daniel, May 9, 2009 @ 4:20 pm

    i chose the amrk 2’s cuz of the clear view of the front. but on the other hand i do like the mark 1’s because of there 3 part acceleration and deceleration sound. So i guess both the mark 1 and 2’s are all perfect!

  • By Dan B, May 9, 2009 @ 8:56 pm

    I’m going to say Mark II because the Mark I cars are often enveloped with the putrid smell of lingering 20 year-old BO. It’s like they haven’t been cleaned since they were first introduced. I think the seating arrangement and lack of stanchions (particularly horizontal) on the Mark II’s is preposterous, but then again so is the design of all SkyTrain cars — 8 feet wide as opposed to the standard 10 ft wide passenger rail carriage. Alas, the Mark II’s don’t stink as much, they are quieter and cleaner. When they run them as four-car trainsets they can outperform the passenger capacity of a 4-car Mark I trainset. If I commuted with the flow of rush-hour traffic, I’m sure my preferences would be completely reversed, judging be the looks of some of those trains.

  • By Ivan, May 9, 2009 @ 9:13 pm

    I prefer MK Is since most people cram into one or two cars near the escalators and leave the front and back ones almost empty. Then I can get my favourite seat and don’t have to push through people to get out.

    Also, the leg room is horrible in either Skytrain, but it is killer in some seats on the MK IIs…I literally have to sit in a way which both my legs occupy a seat and a half. The MK Is have only 1 or two seats like these.
    Overall, both need more leg room, and both force me to push my knees into the seat in front.

  • By Robert, May 12, 2009 @ 11:16 am

    MK2 hands down. A lot smoother and more quiet than the MK1s. Extra standing room in the joint more than makes up for the narrow aisles in the 2-2 seat area. Better lighting and less claustrophobic as well. But please, no more 2-car train sets to Surrey during rush hour; let’s use more of the platform for faster loading and unloading! We do need the MK1s to keep up with rush hour demand. Slight nod to MK1 for engine sound and MK2 for wheel sound (sounds more modern and high tech).

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, May 12, 2009 @ 1:37 pm

    EastSideRider: I asked about whether a train car with no seats could be implemented. Here’s the answer:

    This approach could be fraught with safety issues. Having a large open space with standees and metal objects (bicycles) could lead to them becoming projectiles in an emergency stop. Also passengers have come to expect seats in a transit car.

  • By Donald, May 13, 2009 @ 11:37 am

    On the new generation Yamanote Line trains in Tokyo Japan, they have seats that fold up during rush hour to maximize crush capacity (and I do mean crush) and they remain up until rush hour dies down. I haven’t heard of any safety issues since they don’t allow bicycles on trains in the first place. I would hope that any cyclists on board would be responsible enough to make sure their bicycles don’t become projectiles regardless of whether the trains are empty or full.

  • By David, May 19, 2009 @ 12:48 pm

    I voted for the Mark IIs, but I really like the sound of the Mark I accelerating much better. If you’ve ever watched “DaVinci’s Inquest”, in scenes set in the medical examiner’s office building, you can clearly hear the Mark I accelerating under the building. Not sure if this is real, or added in for atmosphere – but it is set on Beatty Street near Stadium Skytrain Station

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