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Friday fun post: ever been the only one on a transit vehicle?

If you like, skip to the end of this post to answer the solo on transit poll.

Last week: are you the transit encyclopedia among your friends?

Last week’s fun post asked if you were the designated transit encyclopedia among your friends. (Thank you to Tsushima for suggesting the poll!)

And after 142 votes, it’s a landslide victory for the encyclopedias!

89 per cent (126 votes) said yes, they were the transit encyclopedia among their pals, while just 11 per cent (16 votes) said no. And yep, as Sungsu pointed out, obviously this is a bit skewed, considering you wouldn’t be at this blog unless you have some interest in transit :)

Anyway, you encyclopedias provided some good stories about the burden of having strong transit-fu. Here’s MaxNV:

For me it’s gotten to the point where my friends will actually print out the route suggested by the trip planner and ask me if this is indeed the best route.

And here’s Philippe G.:

It’s actually really bad…
I routinely get calls at 3:00am to help get my less than right-minded friends home from downtown.

Tsushima Masaki also had this to say:

It does get tiresome though sometimes, when I get an MSN message from a lazy friend asking me how to get from point A to point B when they could just use the Trip Planner or Google Transit.

So folks, remember not to abuse your transit enthusiast! But on the flip side, transit enthusiasts, please do be patient with all of us who don’t know everything about the system, as long as we’re polite :)

This week: have you ever been the only one on a transit vehicle?

A quick situational question this time around!

I can only ever remember this happening to me once, actually, and I take transit every day. How about you?


  • By Eric, December 4, 2009 @ 4:49 pm

    In my many years taking transit, I have been the only passenger in the bus. A notable moment was in 2001 when I traveled on a southbound 7 Nanaimo, in PM rush hour. The driver and I carried on a conversation all the way to Nanaimo Station.

    I’ve also been the only passenger in a SkyTrain car, from Braid (before the extension to Commercial) to Metrotown, in late PM peak.

  • By Nicholas, December 4, 2009 @ 4:50 pm

    There are some weekends on the number 49 going towards Dunbar loop where people leave at most stops between Granville St and West Boulevard.
    It gets lonely sometimes, but the driver keeps company by talking about (of all things) the weather. It’s fun!

  • By Kenny Wu, December 4, 2009 @ 5:45 pm

    This happened a few times to me on community shuttle routes…and when 2 buses follow eachother due to traffic…such a waste.

  • By Frank, December 4, 2009 @ 6:18 pm

    Many a time when travelling to UBC (where I worked for 35 years) when classes were not in session and it was very early in the morning, I found myself the only passenger at the end of the line, whether it was into UBC or the Blanca Loop where early morning #4 buses turned around.

  • By Sally, December 4, 2009 @ 8:49 pm

    If that happens, I feel like I should move up to keep the operator company!

  • By Trevor, December 4, 2009 @ 9:18 pm

    Yes, on the 99 B-Line actually. I have photos to prove it!


  • By snowystar, December 4, 2009 @ 11:07 pm

    I have been the only one on the bus many many times, because the route near my home used to run quite empty and I have a habit of picking the least popular route even if it takes longer.

    Some of the notable ones:
    * 97 and M-Line – Not only I rode the 97 alone for more than half of the route, but I also rode the Millennium Line alone from Lougheed to Brentwood on the same trip! This was at around 9:30am on Sunday.
    * 143 – From SFU to Poco station, because the driver thought the bus was empty and skipped Coquitlam station.
    * 143 again – I’m alone every time I rode one of those 4 trips extended from Port Coquitlam.
    * 189 – Going against the peak for evening class, so I’m alone about half of the time.
    * 301 – From Newton to Lansdowne (when it still go to the airport), where people gets on because the 98 was full.
    * 351 – I’m all alone from somewhere on 16th Avenue to Crescent Beach, then on the same bus from Crescent Beach all the way back to Steveston (via Crescent Road).
    * C12 – The only time I took that route, not only riding it all alone end-to-end, but also get to be on the new Hwy 99 bypass due to re-route.
    * C28 – Missed the 160 so I decided to take a joyride instead of waiting for the next one in the rain. I ended up taking the entire route alone.
    * C35 – I had to wait once every few stops not because of passengers, but for the driver to fix the destination sign.
    * C37 – Was usually empty outside of peak hours, but not anymore.
    * C74 – Alone on a 40ft bus between Surrey Central and Guildford non-stop. Certainly beat a taxi ride, and also much much better than the 321 that I was originally planning to take.

  • By Ric, December 4, 2009 @ 11:11 pm

    This happens to me often on community shuttle routes. I also happens sometimes when I take the bus very late at night. I remember taking the last 410 railway back from 22nd street station when I was the only one on the bus that I carried on a conversion with the bus driver all the way back into Richmond. I also happened once when I was going downtown on the 98 B Line during rush hour after the Canada Line opened. I was the only passenger on the longer articulated bus. It felt very strange since I have never been the only passenger on the 98 B Line before.

  • By David M, December 4, 2009 @ 11:13 pm

    Yes, a few times, but usually at the start of a route.

    The most memorable was in England. I wasn’t really alone as I was with a friend. But we were at Oxenholme waiting for an up train (towards London) on a weekday morning on the very busy West Coast Mainline.

    An electric train arrived and we got on to find it completely empty. We were the only people to board at Oxenholme. When the guard came to check our tickets we asked him about it. Turns out it was an unadvertised relief train running ahead of the regular service and it would get very full before arriving at London Euston.

    Anyway, we left the train at Warrington Bank Quay to connect with a train from Manchester Piccadilly to Cardiff. This was the opposite – the train was so crowded we sat on our bags in the doorway, along with many many other people doing the same.

  • By Tsushima Masaki, December 5, 2009 @ 12:22 am

    This happens a lot to me on 401 and 405s. I’m usually the last one getting off on a 401 Garden City or 405 Five Road at most times of the day.

    I do recall one instance when I was left alone on a 401 Garden City to Riverport INSIDE Richmond Transit Centre for 10 minutes, and some other time a 401 operator parked at the Richmond Transit Centre and mistook me as fellow bus driver.

    When I first moved to Richmond the last C96 East Cambie driver let me stay on the bus after he took it out of service and let me off before reaching the RTC (I was kind of lost and didn’t know the system at all).

    Then there was the time a friendly 49 to Granville driver (who had just taken his bus out of service) asked me where I was headed after I had gotten off his bus, and he offered to take me to Richmond since he was heading to the RTC.

    And then there was the time I fell asleep on the final 601 South Delta of the night and the driver let me ride back to Richmond while he was not in service heading to the RTC.

    My final experience riding in a bus that was not in service was with the N10 Brighouse heading back to RTC after leaving Richmond Centre.

    All in all, it’s handy living within walking distance of the RTC, and I’m glad some drivers are accommodating.

  • By Eric, December 5, 2009 @ 9:29 am

    364 I rode alone a lot, when it was new. That and the 595. Aside from that, I can’t think of any other occasions, but I’m sure it’s happened on busier routes too.

    (on that note it is really weird that one can get from Scottsdale to Haney Place on one vehicle!)

  • By zack, December 5, 2009 @ 12:45 pm

    Mostly it happened to me when I loop with the SkyTrain at King George station. There were other times that happened to me during the afternoon. This when I took the 321 to Surrey Central,I was the only one on the bus between King George and Surrey Central.

  • By Andrew, December 5, 2009 @ 1:36 pm

    251 plenty of times, especially on the late night runs.

    I once had a Main from Waterfront to oh, Main Street alone, one of the artc trollies, it was really weird.

  • By daniel, December 5, 2009 @ 1:49 pm

    has happened to me once was when i was on an E900 trolley headed for metrotown station really late at night but when talking to the driver makes lonelieness a breeze!

  • By Last351, December 5, 2009 @ 4:55 pm

    “watch the bus for me – I’m going to grab a coffee!”

  • By Last351, December 5, 2009 @ 5:03 pm

    Sometimes it’s a tough call whether to strike up a conversation or not. In those cases I figure it’s the driver’s choice to break the silence since they’re the one stuck there!

  • By Steven, December 6, 2009 @ 8:00 am

    In Budapest we got on a subway and we were all alone on it. The next thing we new it was going into the sidings – it was there for 10 minutes and thought we would be there overnight!! Luckily the train did go back the other way. Since then whenever I have been on my own on public transport I get the feeling I am going the wrong way!

  • By Rob, December 6, 2009 @ 12:02 pm

    It’s happened a few times on the #C92 when I’m riding the community shuttle on the last run. The only other time I rode alone was in 1997 on #145 Lougheed Mall. One of my classes at SFU ended early in the morning. So I was going against the flow of traffic. It was nice having my own “chauffeur” from Burnaby Mountain to Lougheed Mall.

  • By typoprone, December 6, 2009 @ 4:21 pm

    When I took summer school at UBC a couple of summers ago, I often rode an empty 480 to campus and pretended the bus was my limousine and the bus driver was my chauffeur. Ah, memories…

  • By Cliff, December 7, 2009 @ 10:16 pm

    The most awkward thing about being the only one on the bus is letting the driver know when you want to get off.

    If it’s after 9:30pm and I’m the only one on the bus, I’ll use that and ask the driver if he wouldn’t mind dropping me off somewhere specific (Request Stop). That opens up the conversation and there’s no awkwardness of stopping a conversation to say “That’s my stop, bye!”

    I’ve done that a few times on the 169 going to Braid because despite the large gap between the stops at Chilko and Schoolhouse, it’s technically not an express route.

    It was a particularly interesting chat with the driver as he was absolutely flummoxed at where I was going to once he dropped me off seemingly in the middle of nowhere!

    Also, before the Millennium Line, the 154 used to have a single short turn trip in the afternoon as a “154 Cape Horn”. The trip was pretty much deserted by the time it reached Austin and I was usually alone right up to the last stop at Hillside. Knowing the bus would turn left at Cape Horn to head back to PoCo, I asked the driver when I was on this particular short turn, if he could drop me off a few blocks past the end.

    When it’s pouring, a conversation with a driver could very well lead to you walking a few blocks less and being much drier if you’re the only one on the bus.

  • By Scott, December 7, 2009 @ 10:17 pm

    On the 130 at night going to Metrotown Station I have often been the only one around 1230-0100am. There was a really friendly driver a couple weeks ago that I talked to from where I got on till Metrotown as there was no one else to pick up. I’ve been the last one to get off on the 320 Langley Centre before as well and the 341 many times (The 341 is known as one of the quitest routes for passengers amongst STC drivers and it’s a well liked route to drive).

  • By Stefan, December 7, 2009 @ 11:53 pm

    It’s happened to me quite a few times over the years, but the most memorable was in the mid 1980s. The 413 bus was a “shopper” bus, running only Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays (once in each direction) between uptown New Westminster and Richmond Centre via Westminster Highway.

    Just for kicks, on a Saturday afternoon, I caught the bus on Cook at Number 3 and took it all the way to 8th St at 6th Ave (the end of the line, where the bus continued on to the old bus garage on Sprott at Kensington). As I recall, the driver was an old-timer—and friendly—though I can’t imagine a senior driver signing work that would be made up of a mishmash of runs like that.

  • By Stefan, December 7, 2009 @ 11:56 pm

    Oh, and this was in the days before the 410 and the East-West Connector (and even before the Expo Line), when the only viable way of getting from Richmond to New West was by taking a bus to Marpole Loop and transferring to the 100, and deepest wilds of East Richmond seemed like exotic, foreign territory to me.

  • By LB, December 8, 2009 @ 1:07 pm

    The upside to leaving UBC campus on the last trolley bus to downtown (@ 2:35am or so) after a long day at the studio was that it got downtown insanely fast because it was just me and the driver the whole way – no stops, no traffic. UBC to downtown in a flash. Felt like I had my own driver service. (If only he/she could have taken me to my front door.) This happened far more often than I care to remember. ;)

  • By Dora, December 8, 2009 @ 3:47 pm

    It’s definitely happened to me before, off-peak on the 22 south of Broadway (especially south of 16th), eastbound on the 160 early in the morning right at the end of the run (after PoCo Centre, for the few stops before the terminus at PoCo Station), and on community shuttles in Coquitlam/Port Moody/PoCo at odd times (around 7:30 am heading away from Port Moody Station, for example).

    When I was in high school, there was a school special that ran from my school (University Hill) down upper 10th and was supposed to let us all off by 10th and Alma. One driver we had for a few months would let me stay on until Broadway and Macdonald (closer to home for me), and I was usually the only one on the bus for that five minutes or so.

    When I’m the only one on the bus I usually feel really awkward, and go sit in the back half of the bus and read my book rather than striking up a conversation with the driver… Sometimes when my stop is coming up I’ll walk up front and just let the driver know, instead of ringing the bell, though.

  • By Scott, December 10, 2009 @ 11:13 am

    Last night due to the skytrain switch problems I was the only one on my skytrain car from Metrotown all the way to Surrey Central.

  • By Dave 2, December 11, 2009 @ 7:06 pm

    About a month ago I was all alone on the last car of a 4 car MK-I train at VCC-Clark,the farthest car from the escalator/elevator at about 8:00PM on a Friday. Needless to say my solitude lasted only until Commercial/Broadway where the car filled up.

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