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Translink Buzzer Blog

Friday fun post: ever used the Sunday/Holiday group ride offer?

If you like, skip to the end of this post to take the poll on Sunday/Holiday group rides.

Last week’s post: do you strategize to get a seat on transit?

Last week’s fun post asked if you strategized to get a seat on transit or not.

After 152 votes, 57% said they strategized for a seat, while 43% said they didn’t.

The comments were chock-full of handy tips on how to get a seat on many different routes and SkyTrain lines. Someone named ??? summarized some general strategies:

-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.

Another strategy mentioned is boarding trains at terminus stations — or riding a bit out of your way so you can get a seat at a terminus station. For example, here’s Ric:

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.

Not every transit trip requires a seat strategy, however. Cow explains:

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.

This week: ever used the Sunday/Holiday group ride offer?

Some of you may know that TransLink offers the following deal for Sundays or holidays: if you have an adult FareCard, West Coast Express 28-Day Pass, or Annual Employer Transit Pass, you can take five children, or one adult and four children on transit with you for free. FREE!

So here’s the question: how many of you have actually done this?

If you have, I’d love to know where you heard about the offer. Is there some transit evangelist telling everybody about it, or did you sleuth it up on the website? Also, remember you can use this offer on Sunday and Thanksgiving!


  • By Brenden, October 9, 2009 @ 4:52 pm

    I learned about the holiday pass from a friend when he offered to take me with him when we went shopping.

    I’ve generally found that while most Vancouver drivers know that the policy is “one adult”, many tri-city drivers (especially community shuttles!) have complained when I traveled with a friend, saying that (s)he “wasn’t family, and so didn’t qualify”.

  • By Cow, October 9, 2009 @ 5:00 pm

    I saw it on the website once. I love it; whenever I have a friend in from out of town, it means we can go around “free” (well, “included in the cost of my monthly pass”) one day of the weekend.

  • By Holly, October 9, 2009 @ 5:15 pm

    I love this program! Our family has used it often in the past. I don’t remember how I heard about it, it kind of feels like a secret only the transit pros know!

  • By Tsushima Masaki, October 9, 2009 @ 7:26 pm

    I’ve never used it to my advantage myself, since I’m always the one with the FareCard, but a couple of my friends have been known to “use” me on Sundays and holidays.

  • By Dave 2, October 9, 2009 @ 9:21 pm

    We probably take advantage about once a month… most recently to go to Rivers Day at Sperling, we probably wouldn’t have bothered if it wasn’t free with my pass.

    Where did I first here of this? Not sure, but it was probably the paper The Buzzer.

    I wonder what it would cost in lost revenue if the policy was in effect after 6:30PM weekdays, and Saturdays? In other words, all of the offpeaks. I commute to work, but if heading to Metrotown for a movie we take the car… but if it was “free” in the evenings we’d probably consider transit. As it stands now I pay just under $1200/year; but we probably take transit on a Saturday maybe 5, 6 times a year…even 10 times/year is $50/year max… and never even consider it on a weeknight.

  • By ;-), October 9, 2009 @ 10:21 pm

    I just went looking for the news release (see my name link). It’s hard to believe the program has been around since 2002.

    With my friends getting on board with me, I was wondering what to call the program when I show the monthly pass to the driver.
    -“Sunday Welfare Special?”
    -“Two for One or Six for One?…. kinda sound like the Fountain Tire commercial.

  • By CJ Stebbing, October 9, 2009 @ 10:28 pm

    I heard about the program on the old translink website…good times…trying to plan a trip from White Rock to Pitt meadows with the message “opps! Invalid trip.”. To me, it was like the computer saying “U wanna go where from WHITE ROCK? R U OUTTA UR MIND!” Lol.

    I don’t use the program however, due to my workplace not giving me any sunday/holidays off (unless me birthday counts as a holiday jhen:) ). Nor do I hve anyone to use it with…and no kids. Lol.

    If I could tho, I would mind u….

  • By Brooke L., October 9, 2009 @ 11:00 pm

    Well, I’ve _tried_ to use it, anyway! I’ve had the same trouble as Brenden above, with drivers who insist it’s for family only. Actually, even when it IS a family member with me, I’ve had trouble with drivers not letting them travel free. I’m reluctant to even try it now after having a driver yell at my brother-in-law one time for trying to “sneak on the bus” when he was travelling with me on my pass on a Sunday. This was a couple of years ago, so maybe the drivers have gotten the memo since then. I sure hope so!

    I found out about it in the Buzzer when it was first announced.

  • By Derek Cheung, October 10, 2009 @ 8:42 am

    On the flip side of Brooke’s comments are people who mistakenly believe that they can use the “family pass” using U-passes, concession farecards or faresaver tickets!

  • By zack, October 10, 2009 @ 11:33 am

    I heard about this program too, but I thought it was too good to be true.
    A couple of months ago I was traveling with my parents on a Sunday, and we were just boarding the bus when suddenly the bus driver asked if “we were a family of three?” and we said “yes”. My Dad had a three-zone pass, I had a concession pass, and my mom was paying the regular fare. So the bus driver told us about the family pass program and said that mom can ride for free. We were shocked! To make sure, we called TransLink’s customer service for info and if such a program exists. And they said “Yes!”.
    So ever since then, we’ve taken advantage of the program, thanks to the Bus driver and customer service. :)

  • By Tsushima Masaki, October 10, 2009 @ 2:07 pm

    I think some driver’s believe it’s family only even if it’s an adult FareCard.

    This only happened to me once, but I used it one Sunday on a 601 or 620 several months ago and the bus operator jokingly replied “I don’t see the family resemblance.”

    I’m never sure what to say to the bus driver so I usually just show my pass and say “he’s with me.”

  • By Dave 2, October 10, 2009 @ 4:54 pm

    Early on I’d carry a copy of The Buzzer where the policy was outlined; never had a problem with just saying “We’re together” on a Sunday or Holiday.

  • By Mike M, October 10, 2009 @ 9:54 pm

    I first read the monthly pass group ride policy in the Buzzer and have used it a dozen times or so in the last year, always for me and a friend. PLEASE Coast Mountain Bus sure ALL your drivers are aware of the policy. Twice I was told it was for families only and 2 adult men couldn’t use one together. Made me feel a bit like a fare-evader, even though I wasn’t doing anything wrong.

  • By Jason V, October 11, 2009 @ 12:43 pm

    Note the same deal does not apply with a U-pass though ; )

  • By Steve, October 11, 2009 @ 7:52 pm

    I have a monthly pass and my partner travels free on a Sunday and holiday. It would be great if other cities would do this to encourage more public transport usage.

    We’ve never had any problems using it as a same sex married couple of different ethnic backgrounds which says a lot about the city we live in.

  • By Ric, October 12, 2009 @ 7:36 pm

    I am the one with the farecard so I have not used it but my family has. Every since the canada line has opened, my family and I use every sunday to go to downtown vancouver. My family didn’t know about it but I told them that they don’t need to buy a ticket because I can take them on for free with my farecard. We don’t have any children but it seems to work for all adults as well. So the deal isn’t for 1 adult and four children I can be all adults. So it works for 1 adult and 4 children or up to 5 adults. So a total of 6 including can ride on one farecard. 2 adults and 4 children or 6 adults.

  • By Mike, October 12, 2009 @ 10:23 pm

    Unfortunately my mandatory U-PASS does not afford me such luxury.

    But as Ric said, it you can bring 5 adults with you if you so wish, they don’t have to be children. The monthly pass page on Translink’s website says: “On Sundays and Statutory Holidays you can use your FareCard to take five other riders with you for free! A total of six riders is allowed…”

  • By Derek Cheung, October 12, 2009 @ 10:46 pm

    If Mike had bothered to read (and post) the paragraph he is quoting from completely, it would state the following, which CLEARLY indicates that it is NOT for six adults in total but rather two adults and up to four children:

    Take a Friend for Free!

    On Sundays and Statutory Holidays you can use your FareCard to take five other riders with you for free! A total of six riders is allowed: Two adults (14 and older) and up to four children (13 and under) can ride on a single Adult FareCard, West Coast Express 28-day Pass, or Annual Employer Transit Pass. (Does not apply to Concession Passes.)

  • By R, October 12, 2009 @ 11:24 pm

    Regarding taking others for free using a monthly farecard on sundays and stat holidays It clearly says that On Sundays and Statutory Holidays you can use your FareCard to take five other riders with you for free! A total of six riders is allowed: Two adults (14 and older) and up to four children (13 and under) can ride on a single Adult FareCard, (Does not apply to Concession Passes.) However, if you take all adults the bus driver will still let you on as a lot of people are not aware that you can’t take all adults. I do this every sunday taking 4 adults and have not had any problems. The information on the website is not correct. I have a friend that works for translink and I talked to them about this issue and they said that we can take all adults if you wish.

  • By R2, October 13, 2009 @ 7:43 am

    I think you are getting lucky…. until you run into a fare enforcement officer. Have you done this at Skytrain or Canada Line enforcement staff? Regular bus drivers are often overwhelmed and they don’t do enforcement as much as the Skytrain/Canada Line will.

    Yes, I agree the program needs better education for both the public and translink employees.

    I’m very shocked at the “family” experiences discussed earlier. I’ve had no problems using it with two adult men or two adult women, clearly not related mixed ethnic backgrounds.

  • By Jamey, October 13, 2009 @ 8:26 am

    I remember seeing posters for this on busses and actually using this once a loooong time ago when my mom used to take me and my sister around on Sundays. I thought that this was only a temporary promotion, so I’ve never taken advantage of this since the good old days. Definitely going to start using this again!

    Too bad I didn’t think of this on Sunday while going to the Canucks game. It would’ve saved my buddy $2.50.

  • By Donald, October 13, 2009 @ 8:32 am

    Does this program also apply on the West Coast Express itself? I have a 28 Day pass and there are the two Sunday Trainbuses a day.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, October 13, 2009 @ 9:29 am

    Ric: Nope, as Derek Cheung mentions, the deal doesn’t cover five adults in total. The website reflects our policies and states you can only take one adult plus four children, or five children in total. Taking more than one adult with you isn’t allowed!

  • By Ric, October 13, 2009 @ 11:34 pm

    I take 4 adults with me every sunday and I have not encountered any problems. Once a transit supervisor was even doing a fare inspection on the bus and I said that I have four other adults with me using the same farecard and they said okay. I have even done this on the canada line and have not had any problems.

  • By Ric, October 14, 2009 @ 12:01 am

    Adding to my comment posted on October 13th according to the information on the website we are allowed to take all adults if we wish. On translink’s website under media “Monthly FareCards now have more value than ever before” It states really clearly that children may be substituted for adults. Here is the wording from the website
    “on Sundays and holidays, a total of six people – two adults (14 and older) and up to four children (13 and under) – can ride on a single Adult Farecard,” Note: A child can be substituted for one adult passenger.

  • By Dave 2, October 14, 2009 @ 8:04 am

    Children being substituted for adults is not the same as adults being substituted for children…. that clause means you can take 1 extra adult and 4 children OR 5 children.

  • By To Ric, October 15, 2009 @ 1:24 am

    That’s a whole lot of $173 fines there buddy. Yes you are wrong. The bus drivers don’t get to write those tickets and so it really doesn’t matter what they say. When they say ‘yeah fine’ they really mean ‘yeah, I’m not going to put the parking break on, make a scene and wait for you to get off the bus’. When the transit supervisor does the checking (not just transit security) they aren’t doing a regular check, they are looking checking for the crazy person sleeping on the bus so that they can legally kick them off without question. As well, they usually don’t check for fare evaders on sundays and holidays for exactly this rule; it would just be way to confusing to try to sort out who’s with who. So you probably won’t have any troubles bringing 6 adults on, but Karma tends to sort cheaters out.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, October 15, 2009 @ 2:15 pm

    Donald: Yes, you can use this offer on Sunday TrainBuses, as long as you have your WCE 28-day pass. A FareCard doesn’t get you on a TrainBus, so it wouldn’t really apply to that.

  • By Queenie, February 11, 2010 @ 11:56 pm

    Is this applicable to also the Olympic Games Transit Pass? Say, I bought a 2 zone $149 pass?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, February 12, 2010 @ 7:35 am

    Queenie: Yes, the group ride offer works for the Olympic souvenir pass.

  • By Bo-Ming Tong, April 19, 2010 @ 2:36 pm

    I would suggest extending from 1 adult + 4 children to 1 adult + 4 children or seniors. If the concession fare applies to children as well as 65+, why not the group ride to benefit both children and 65+? It would be more consistent, easier to understand, and helps the environment by take more drivers off the road and onto transit on Sundays and holidays.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, April 19, 2010 @ 2:37 pm

    Thanks Bo-Ming: I will pass that on!

  • By Alan Hawker, May 19, 2010 @ 11:30 am

    We have been using this a lot the last month (every weekend basically) and can see us continuing through the summer, it really is a great idea and saves us a lot of money.
    Thank you translink.

  • By Ric, August 7, 2010 @ 11:20 pm

    I have been using this deal all Summer almost every Sunday and Holiday, and it is most likely to continue until the end of the Summer. I have been using this deal for almost 2 years now. I started using this deal ever since the Canada line opened last August.

    Why can’t we take all adults with us?

    I think it is not fair that we are not allowed to take adults only. What if you don’t have any children?

    Ever since I started using this Sunday deal I have been taking adults only (up to 4) and have never run into any problems.

    I think that this deal should work on Saturdays as well, as this will take more people out of their cars on the weekends and onto transit.

    Also, I have a friend that has a Ministry Of BC annual bus pass and they were wondering if they are able to use this deal as well?

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