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Translink Buzzer Blog

Friday fun post: are you noticing the Olympic crowds on transit yet?

If you like, skip to the end of this post to take the poll about Olympic crowds on transit.

Last week: how do you feel about your car?

Last week’s fun post asked how you felt about your car.

Well, of the 185 who took the poll, it turns out most of you don’t have a car—53% to be precise. I guess I should have known, considering we talk about transit so much!

Of the remaining votes, 30% said it was just a way to get from A to B, 14% said it was a part of who they are, and 3% said it was an indispensable part of their job. So it seems that many car drivers in the poll are exactly hugging their car outside its basic functions, but there are some who certainly do find their car quite beloved and helpful.

A few comments showed that not only did some people not have cars, they didn’t even have drivers licenses. I grew up in Edmonton, so this revelation is pretty mindboggling to me! But it’s nice to know the transit system can support the decisions of some not to drive. Here’s Rvie

I never had a car in my entire life. I never wanted to get a driver’s license ever, even when I turned 16. Call me a coward but to me I felt that I’d just be risking my life (and the lives of other people) driving a car to school/work and back every day. That’s why I only take transit, and I love it. =)

But ;-) said that he couldn’t imagine giving up his car.

Anyways, I would like to do away with the expense of a car, but it’s just not practical….

-carrying a weeks groceries is challenging on transit

-too many retailers don’t welcome backpacks or large carrying bags into their stores

-there is no place to store valuables (laptops, electronics, cameras) when your destinations forbids their presence

-travelling short distances with large groups is not cost effective

-some buses won’t pick me up because they are too full when I want to use the service

-the Canada Line does not run frequently enough in the evening for me to make transit connections

-some bus stops and sidewalks to my destination are suicidal with all the bikes using sidewalks as their speedway

-90 minutes is not enough time for some trips
-paying a zone premium for short hop on the border is not fair, it’s cheaper for me to drive

And here’s our happy medium: Chris said he didn’t own a car, but did have access to one, and that’s worked well.

Who needs a car in Vancouver? When I moved to the city I became a member of the Co-operative Auto Network, and haven’t been happier – less stress and less costs.

As always, feel free to check out the original post to read everyone’s comments!

This week: are you noticing the Olympic crowds yet?

The Olympics folks are starting to arrive now, and we were just talking in the office about how some bus routes are already feeling busier. Are you noticing this too?

Anyway, we’ll be boosting service for the Games in February, so hopefully we’ll be able to handle all of it! And if you haven’t read it, here’s the overview article on how we have prepared for the Games.


  • By Nicholas, January 29, 2010 @ 5:41 pm

    Each week I take the Canada Line from Richmond to visit my parents at work and as we’re getting closer to the Olympics, I can definitely see more people on it. It’s going to be exciting!

    Question: How many trains are going to be running on the Canada Line during the Olympics?
    I’ve noticed wait times at Waterfront to be very short when there are large crowds during rush hour :\ Thanks!

  • By Jason V, January 29, 2010 @ 5:41 pm

    I especially noticed bigger Olympic crowds at Waterfront Station today. I also saw the telltale signs of folks lingering on the train as it waits at the platform, disembarking at the last second (presumably because they’re not sure which station is their stop – I wish these people would ask for stop confirmation beforehand!) Oh well, so long as they’re not in a hurry, I wish them happy exploring!

  • By Brendan Read, January 29, 2010 @ 5:47 pm

    We live in White Rock. My wife works at YVR in the afternoons and evenings. All too often she has had to run for the 351 from the Canada Line at Bridgeport, sometimes making it, sometimes not and then waiting for 20 minutes (not appreciated after a long shift), only to find the drivers wait for several minutes at Steveston. What doesn’t make sense for her is that the Canada Line trains idle for 8 minutes before returning to Waterfront.

  • By Catherine Winters, January 29, 2010 @ 5:48 pm

    Yesterday, I got asked where I was from on the bus. Sure, in Vancouver parlance, that’s usually an attempt to ask, “which ethnicity should I append -Canadian to to describe you?” but in this case, the man was taken aback when I said I was from here.

    I guess I was looking particularly foreign this week.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, January 29, 2010 @ 5:50 pm

    Jason et al: have any of you guys been helping visitors out? I’ve been trying to: I always feel bad when someone is looking anxiously at a transit map.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, January 29, 2010 @ 6:22 pm

    Nicholas: ProTrans BC (the operators of the Canada Line) say that they will be running up to 16 trains during peak periods.

  • By Peter, January 29, 2010 @ 7:12 pm

    I haven’t really seen any people on transit that look like tourists. However, I mostly take Millenium/Expo line. I have however, run into more occasions of people that don’t seem to understand transit etiquette.

  • By Sally, January 29, 2010 @ 7:48 pm

    Definitely more crowded in the mornings on the Canada Line at Bridgeport and lots of official-Olympic type jackets being worn by various people. Still a lot of people trying to get ON the train before pax get off esp at Oakridge where the platform is pretty small…

  • By Henry, January 29, 2010 @ 9:01 pm

    Crowds? I wouldn’t say crowds in my case, but I have noticed more tourists recently. It looks like there are some out-of-towners with their respective nation’s Olympic gear on. That’s pretty neat to see. I guess some of them are here early to scope things out. At the same time, I guess there checking out transit too.

    I just also wanted to add I like a lot of the new signage that has gone up (platform number signs, next station(s) maps, and “Plan Your Trip Here” maps). It brings up to a higher standard. We’re not gold star yet, but we’re moving in the right direction.

  • By Brandon (CMBC), January 29, 2010 @ 9:01 pm

    Being a bus driver, I have noticed more people then usual getting on the bus as well as heavier traffic in some areas due to the road closures. I have also had more people asking me how to get around in the last week or so, mostly people that would normally drive to/from work for now.

  • By Jim, January 29, 2010 @ 9:11 pm

    Its been really busy especially today. I too have found more and more people that don’t seem to know transit etiquette which I think will continue to grow up to and shortly following the games but I am taking them in strides. Smiling and being polite myself. Although I think the adds by Translink have been great I only would have liked to have seen some TV ads as it would have been seen by more people.

  • By Steve, January 29, 2010 @ 9:27 pm

    I think some people are getting a bit stressed on the Canada Line due to overcrowding as two people on my train two nights ago started having a fight, throwing fists kind of fight. It was very scary.

    At a presentation to my partners office Translink stated that the Canada Line was at 85% capacity and didn’t have the rolling stock to increase the number of trains and to have more trains per hour. Since my partners office are heavily involved in Olympics organization they weren’t too impressed.

    However, during large events in London, such as Gay Pride and New Years, where the tube can be very over capacity it can turn into a party atmosphere as long as everyone keeps their cool, be considerate of each other and just think how great this is for Vancouver.

  • By Dave 2, January 29, 2010 @ 10:47 pm

    I helped a pair of tourists just inside the Granville entrance to Granville station yesterday… they had asked a local if the stairs to the left (the new entrance) were for the Canada Line. She said yes, at which point I had to stop and interrupt to say NO, she’s wrong, go out those doors turn left and cross Georgia Street and you’ll see the entrance by Sears.

    I don’t think there’s much signage at Granville Station pointing the way to Van. City Centre, I can totally see tourists going up the Seymour Street escalator only to return to the same platforms via the Dunsmuir Steet escalators : – )

  • By Donald, January 30, 2010 @ 7:22 am

    The 5:30 pm West Coast Express is standing room only about a few minutes prior to departure, I’ve had to make sure to get there at least 5 minutes prior if I want to get a seat and 8 minutes if I want a laptop table seat!

    I did not have a car at all from second year college until 2007 and even before then I did not have a car consistently insured as I didn’t see the point in wasting money on a car when a good transit system was available even if it meant lugging my hockey equipment on the bus to Burnaby 8 Rinks. :) My friends in Edmonton thought it was weird a decent paid technologist like me didn’t have a car, and I thought it was weird that more Edmontonians did not take advantage of their surprisingly decent bus system and I say that because unlike parts of Vancouver especially in the suburbs, you’re never too far away from a bus route in Edmonton!

  • By zack, January 30, 2010 @ 12:49 pm

    I’ve noticed a real big increase in tourist crowds, take for example the Tim Horton’s in front of Granville station on Dunsmuir where since last week I couldn’t get a seat!

    Another example of increased tourism is the Canada Line, where there was this man from Ghana who asked me which train goes to Lansdowne station. I told him to take the “Richmond-Brighouse” bound train. I felt happy at least helping someone get around. :)

    I have one question though, with only two weeks away from the Games. Has TransLink put in place any staff or services to help those people who don’t speak English well?

  • By Cliff, January 30, 2010 @ 5:03 pm

    The Canada Line really needs to operate with all available trains and express buses really need to be made available up and down the Cambie and Granville corridors.

    While I love that the Olympics are coming to town, with very little snow on Cypress, and only about 40% of people reserving a ride on the bus up to Whistler, it’s not shaping up to be nice.

    With even a wait of 30 min (VERY optimistic) to get on a Canada Line train, I’m much better off using my truck and taking a back street like Heather or Angus to get anywhere, even if that means the route I’ve picked is riddled with stop signs.

    Once downtown, I’ll head over to where I park (usually deserted) and walk to where I need to be.

    I would use transit, but at this point using my vehicle and simply parking a little further away seems to be the best option for getting around. Why wait 30+ minutes to get on a train at Yaletown if one could walk to get to Waterfront?

    On the other hand, I just got my class 4, so I’ll likely be driving a taxi through the worst of it whether I like it or not!

  • By Gregory of, January 30, 2010 @ 9:38 pm

    No, but I think I’ve been using transit less the last week or two.
    I have noticed all the “Olympic Lane” and directional signs going up on roads. What are they for, or more how do they work? Do you need to shout olympic chants as you drive down them, or have an olympic ticket. Or are they for workers or public transit only?

  • By zack, January 31, 2010 @ 9:33 am

    Olympic lanes are used for both transit vehicles and VANOC vehicles only. This makes it easier for the buses to bypass the gridlock around restricted areas. And no you don’t need to shout Olympic chants through these lanes. :)

  • By Scott, January 31, 2010 @ 12:02 pm

    I’ve definately noticed more people on the buses and skytrain in the last week. On the 502 in Surrey I’ve seen several VANOC accredited people and I’ve seen a lot on the skytrain too. Talking to them yesterday, they were told not to wear their blue jackets on the skytrain because some of them have been threatened by people.

  • By Noname, January 31, 2010 @ 2:26 pm

    #22 buses late and #20 buses late when i come home from school.

  • By Noname, January 31, 2010 @ 2:26 pm

    #22 buses late and #20 buses late when i come home from school.Makes it allot of people.

  • By Andrew S, January 31, 2010 @ 10:07 pm

    Ahh… I still haven’t noticed the crowd on transit yet, but I have noticed that there’s quite a few more tour buses/long-distance buses driving around here.

  • By Jason V, January 31, 2010 @ 11:02 pm

    Jhen, yes to answer your question, (#comment-40931) I often ask “where did you want to go” when folks are gazing at the transit map. I’d say about 50% of the time I can offer some useful advice. Having the full system transit map on my iPod helps too sometimes.

    It’s much more difficult when they simply gaze out the window, refusing to look at the map for whatever reason. In these cases, I can only assume they are lost in thought, and maybe it’s not appropriate to ask if they needed help or directions unless I overhear them discussing routes or destinations.

  • By Tsushima Masaki, February 1, 2010 @ 1:10 am

    I haven’t really noticed it. I did see people taking pictures inside the main Waterfront Station building and on the platform level of the Canada Line station.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, February 1, 2010 @ 12:47 pm

    Gregory & zack:
    Just wanted to add that the Olympic lanes on those streets are curbside lanes only — the other lanes are still free for other traffic.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, February 1, 2010 @ 12:59 pm

    To your question about whether we have resources in place to help non-English speakers: if language is a big barrier, we can connect customers with the Provincial Translation Service, who can provide translation services for people. Other than that, language services will depend on what our available staff speaks.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, February 1, 2010 @ 1:21 pm

    Dave 2:
    I asked and I’m told that new signage will start going in tomorrow, to help guide our passengers through the station and up and out through the Dunsmuir Mall and then through the Granville Street doors to Vancouver City Centre Station. So, it’s coming!

  • By Phyzz, February 1, 2010 @ 11:17 pm

    Only 16 out of 20 on the Canada Line? Seriously. I know SOP is to keep a couple out of service for maintenance but the line is already crowded at peak times, running more for one month sounds reasonable.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, February 2, 2010 @ 11:31 am

    Phyzz: That’s what I’ve been told! Feel free to write in to our Customer Relations web form to share your thoughts in an official capacity — it will be passed along to Canada Line.

  • By ;-), February 3, 2010 @ 10:14 am

    I just found some links that may be of interest…

    If you choose a date, you can see the route and get a feel when the rolling closures will occur.

    You can see live footage of torch operations here.

Other Links to this Post

  1. Twitter Trackbacks for The Buzzer blog » This week: are you noticing the Olympic crowds on transit yet? [] on — January 31, 2010 @ 6:17 pm

  2. The Buzzer blog » Friday fun post: are you helping out new folks on transit? — February 5, 2010 @ 5:00 pm

  3. The Buzzer blog » Friday fun post: are you planning to go to a lot of Games events? — February 14, 2010 @ 11:51 am

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