Hold up — it turns out the cowbell noise on the buses is actually a trolley bell sound!
Coast Mountain Bus Company even sent me an MP3 of the trolley bell for you to enjoy.
Marty Williamson, who I interviewed for the in-depth blog post on the annunciator system, also sent along this explanation too.
Actually the sound is a ‘Trolley Bell’ not a cowbell. The trolley bell was commonly heard during the streetcar era in Vancouver so it is a little bit of history returning for an encore. The sound was reduced to one ‘clang’ from the San Francisco trolley multiple clangs so as to hopefully be alerting and not annoying.
If you hadn’t heard yet, the trolley bell is the new alert tone on the bus announcement system, and it’s been changed since the earlier tone was too similar to the stop request. Here’s the earlier post I made on the subject.
And again, if you love/hate the new tone, send your comments to Customer Relations — your feedback is how we discovered the old tone was too similar to the stop request in the first place.