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Friday fun poll: do you strategize to get a seat on transit?

If you like, skip to the end of this post to answer the seat poll.

Last week’s post: Buzzer trivia from 1962

Last week’s fun post had a trivia question from the Buzzer archives, shown above!

And 21 minutes after posting this, the correct answer came in from Sungsu: Turkey, Venezuela, and Sri Lanka.

Eric was just a minute behind Sungsu with the correct answer too, which I just have to quote here:

Top to bottom: Turkey, Venezuela, and Sri Lanka. I’ll take the dishwasher/disposal unit, please :)

Mrs. Lorraine Anderson, winning her prize in 1962.

Mrs. Lorraine Anderson, winning her prize in 1962.

Sorry Eric: no appliances from 1962 will be given out, though you certainly deserve one!

But here’s a big round of applause for Eric, Sungsu, and everyone else who weighed in with their correct guesses in the post: Henry A., Patrick Meehan, Jim, Zack, Tessa, and Stefan.

And I am happy to report that back in 1962, Mrs. Lorraine Anderson did indeed win one of the Name the Country contests. She chose an electric automatic washer and dryer from the T.V. Centre in Port Coquitlam! Here’s the Buzzer issue announcing her prize.

This week: do you strategize to get a seat on transit?

Recently someone told me that they try to get to their bus stop early in the morning just to get a seat on transit. Which begs the following question…

Does a seat matter so much that you actively scheme for it? And if you do strategize, are there any good methods of seat-getting that you wouldn’t mind sharing?


  • By Cow, October 2, 2009 @ 5:21 pm

    For the most part I don’t–but I do for my early morning UBC class (to and from downtown). It’s a long enough ride that it’s worth it.

    If you’ve got an 8:00am class and you want a decent seat on the 44, it’s easy–just catch the 44 right at Waterfront Station, and catch either the 7:02 or the 7:10 44. Don’t go for the 7:18–it’s the bus that all the procrastinators and all the SeaBus passengers catch, so the seats are usually full even before getting out of the station. (Getting a seat coming back is easy–nobody else seems to be leaving UBC for downtown at 9:00am…)

  • By ???, October 2, 2009 @ 8:15 pm

    -go to the back of the bus, many are too lazy to walk past the doors
    -hover near the twins (double), instead of the popular single seats
    -pay attention to people getting off at popular points (Skytrain stations, arterial connectors) vacating seats
    -enter the back of the Canada Line train, instead of the congested front car.

    Others strategies I notice others include
    -ride the train to the end and come back out the other side
    -show up with a stroller, walker, or some medical aid
    -not bathing
    -show up drunk or sick
    -offer money
    -eat a pizza while standing over someone sitting down
    -bring a small child and let him have a messy meal near you while the bus is moving (ice cream)

  • By Dave 2, October 2, 2009 @ 10:25 pm

    I’ll acuttually stategize to stand near the SkyTrain door I’ll be exiting… and step off the train if I’m standing in it at a popular station for people to get off (unlike some people… grrr)

    And PS, the posters who said Sri Lanka are technically incorrect… since the Buzzer was from 1962 the correct answer can only be Ceylon….

  • By JSH, October 3, 2009 @ 11:23 am

    Definitely head to the back of the bus where I know I’m not going to accidentally hit someone in the forehead with my elbow.

  • By Tsushima Masaki, October 3, 2009 @ 12:17 pm

    I always prefer sitting on transit.

    When the Canada Line wasn’t around I would generally avoid the 98 B-Line when travelling to Vancouver, not really because I’d usually be standing (I could get around that if I felt like walking to Anderson) but because it felt like it always took over 1 hour to go anywhere on that bus. I was fortunate enough to near Highway 99 so the 601/351 became my Vancouver bus, and it was never too hard to get a seat on those buses.

    Grabbing a seat on a 98 B-Line when it was active meant waiting at key stops like Brighouse (Anderson and No. 3), Broadway and Granville.

    For most of my regular routes I tend to be one of the first people on the bus and the last one getting off so I don’t have to incorporate more devious schemes for seat acquisition, except the usual “head to the back of the bus”.

    For SkyTrain the obvious methods are:
    If you’re near a terminus, get on a train going in the opposite direction of your final destination.

    If you can get on at a terminus station, do so.

    I would usually do this at Granville or Burrard to get the “driver’s seat” on a Mk. II. I don’t really have to go out of my way to do this on the Canada Line since most of my trips on that line are end-to-end by nature.

  • By Scott, October 3, 2009 @ 2:15 pm

    Living in Cloverdale and travelling to skytrain I take the 320 Surrey Central Station to Fraser Highway and 168th street and then get off at 168th street to catch a 502 Surrey Central Station. It’s faster to get to skytrain on the 502 and at 168th street you usually can get a seat. By the time the 502 hits 152nd and Fraser Highway it is often standing room only or full during the rush hour.

  • By zack, October 3, 2009 @ 3:15 pm

    I take the SkyTrain from Gateway station in Surrey to Waterfront station, and finding for a descent seat depends on what type of car comes (literally). If it’s a MKI, I usually enter in the second car, and it works (most of the time). For the 2-car MKIIs (new and old), almost all of the time no luck and I have to stand until 29th Ave or Broadway (Ouch!). In most cases just as Tsushima said, its better loop with the train if you’re near a terminus.

    For the Bus, I either take the seats on the middle or the back of the bus, though it depends in terms of the lineup.

    For the SeaBus, I definitely strategize a seat by lining up on the first door. Chances of getting a seat are better this way, especially if you want to get a scenic look at the coastal mountains. :)

  • By Ken Campbell, October 3, 2009 @ 5:54 pm

    Walk to the stop preceding a major junction. Usually it’s only a block or two. This usually works on the eastbound 41 at Oakridge. Walk west a bit to stop 50135 Heather street by the Oakridge parking lot. Even if the bus is full, many people get off at Oakridge and you can snag a seat there before everyone else gets on.

  • By Richard, October 3, 2009 @ 9:31 pm

    I was on crutches for three weeks. They are great for getting a seat. Once on the Canada Line, a man standing within earshot of a girl in her early teens, asked me if I wanted a seat. I said no. After a couple of minutes, the girl asked me if I wanted her seat. Even a man with a cane gave me his seat.

    I’m glad to be off the crutches and don’t recommend leg injuries as a good way of getting a seat but it is effective and people were great about giving me a seat.

  • By Eric, October 4, 2009 @ 1:45 am

    The only ‘strategizing’ I could possibly do is waiting for the next train / bus at King George stn and Production way bus loop, but it’s simply not worth it. For the length of each ride, I’d rather just get to my destination as quick as possible rather than waste time trying to get a seat.

    Though, considering the number of seats already occupied when a train pulls into KG station, clearly many other people do not think that way…

  • By Andrew S, October 4, 2009 @ 10:11 pm

    It kind of depends on which route you’re on and where you get on the bus… For example, I take the 210 Vancouver twice a week and up here in Lynn Valley, there is only a few people getting on the bus, but once the bus reaches Phibbs EXCH, then all the seats are filled up. I remember, when the 98 was still here, I’d get on at Waterfront and the seats were still available and I could get one every time I went on, but once the bus got to Burrard STN, then it got really full… Sorry, No Seat! :P It kinda happens to every bus that stops at any major transfer point :P

  • By Kaushik, October 5, 2009 @ 11:28 pm

    I take 25 to UBC and get on relatively early. Back of the bus, very back row right most seat. Spot for the bag n the left leg to go while your right leg can be extended. Otherwise the two side facing seats, bag goes unnderneath and legs can relax. (helpful for tall people like me)

  • By Ric, October 6, 2009 @ 10:02 pm

    I am a regular canada line passenger. When it comes to getting a seat on the train I always run for the driver’s seat. In ordet to get that seat I always board at the terminus station. Lucky my trip starts at Richmond-Brighouse station, all I have to do to get the driver’s seat is be the first to board the train. On my return trip I happen to be at Vancouver City Center. I always catch the train for waterfront and walk to the back of the train once on board and stay on they train at waterfront Upon reaching the station the back of the train becomes the front since the train then goes in the opposite direction. This is my strategy for getting the driver’s seat for each and every trip on the canada line.

  • By Alan Hawker, October 8, 2009 @ 1:48 pm

    My wife taught me a good strategy for getting a seat on the Skytrain at Waterfront, but I am not at liberty to mention it, as everyone would do it. ;-)

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, October 8, 2009 @ 1:52 pm

    Come on Alan! Share the wealth :)

  • By ;-), October 9, 2009 @ 10:25 pm

    If I have a monthly pass or have a prepaid fare, I get on the rear doors of the BLines. Getting on the front means I’ll be slower getting to the seats.

    Before the Mark 2 trains appeared, I would study the platform edges for wear marks. The wear patterns indicated where the doors would open and I would be the first person through the doors when the trains arrived. It works best when I’m not wearing polarized sunglasses that would hide the shine.

Other Links to this Post

  1. The Buzzer blog » Friday fun post: ever used the Sunday/Holiday group ride offer? — October 9, 2009 @ 4:31 pm

  2. The Buzzer blog » Friday fun post: 1937 Buzzer trivia — October 16, 2009 @ 4:30 pm

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