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Friday fun post: are you helping out new folks on transit?

If you like, skip to the end of this post to take the poll about helping out new folks on transit.

Last week: are you noticing the Olympic crowds yet?

Last week’s fun post asked if you had noticed Olympic crowds on transit yet.

We had 165 votes in the poll, and 58.8% said a resounding “No!”. The remaining 41.2% said yes, they had noticed crowds.

So most people aren’t experiencing crowds, which I guess is good! Although this could be just a large number of votes from people in areas unaffected by the Olympics. And it’s not as though people aren’t noticing any Olympic differences lately. Henry said he hadn’t seen crowds, but he did notice tourists on transit.

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.

Really though, most of the comments came from the 41.2% who said they were seeing bigger crowds lately. Here’s Brandon, an operator from CMBC:

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.

Jason V also said this:

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 the way, I asked if Jason and everyone else were actually helping out tourists if they looked lost: the answer so far seems to be “Yes!”

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

This week: are you helping out tourists on transit?

I asked this question in the comments of the last poll, so let’s give it its own poll! (It also follows quite nicely from the “Ask Me” post.)

Currently there are some newbies in town riding transit owing to the Games :) But do you find yourself helping these new folks out when you encounter them on transit?


  • By Chris, February 5, 2010 @ 6:23 pm

    I’d love to help and be a good host, but haven’t had anyone ask me quite yet (even with the “Ask Me” button on my jacket lapel).

    On the topic of the Ask Me button though, it has no indication that it’s regarding transit, Olympics, around-town, nothing – I get more questions from people asking me what they should ask me.

  • By Sally, February 5, 2010 @ 9:22 pm

    I always help if someone asks me! I must have “one of those faces.” There can be 20 people around and I’ll get asked! My family think it is hilarious.

  • By zack, February 5, 2010 @ 9:57 pm

    This is a transit-themed blog, not for commercial or business purposes, (even business tips!).

    Staying on topic. I’ve helped a couple of new tourists in the past on how to get around. Though I haven’t seen any ask for my help this week, there will definitely be more as the Games draw near.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, February 5, 2010 @ 10:13 pm

    Gugh! I had to clean up so much spam out of this post!

  • By wali, February 5, 2010 @ 11:23 pm

    I’ve answered these questions multiple times in the last month: 1. people standing next to the route map outside the Waterfront Expo main elevator (street level) trying to find Canada Line/way to airport; 2. people at Vancouver City Centre station trying to ride Expo (and vice versa for people at Granville station trying to ride Canada.)

  • By Chris, February 5, 2010 @ 11:46 pm

    I had someone ask me if there were washrooms in the SkyTrain stations.

  • By Eric, February 6, 2010 @ 1:13 pm

    (they would certainly be nice)

  • By zack, February 6, 2010 @ 10:41 pm

    Ugh!!! I heard it on CBC radio a couple of months ago raising the issue of washrooms on public transit. One of the things they’ve mentioned was “If big cities like Toronto, New York, and London have washrooms on public transit. Why not Vancouver!” Highlighting that it was a shame for a beautiful city like Vancouver not to commit to the use of public washrooms on all SkyTrain stations.

  • By Wilson, February 7, 2010 @ 6:08 am

    Trust me guys! Washrooms on Toronto’s subways are not that great. In fact, they’re downright repulsive.

    Most people avoid them like the plague.

    Once you see it, you’ll wish they never come to Vancouver.

  • By Eric, February 7, 2010 @ 12:42 pm

    i remember transiting from granville to surrey central, really having to pee (at like 1am) and frantically running to SFU surrey to use its bathrooms (thank you access card…). that was perhaps even more unpleasant than using a dirty bathroom.

  • By ;-), February 7, 2010 @ 10:04 pm

    That sounds as bad as my recent late night Richmond to Vancouver Canada Line trip. I could use the casino washrooms, but with my backpack, the airport was my best choice. I hate this late night CLine frequency.

    I agree washrooms at some stations would be helpful, especially when malls and restaurants closed after 9pm. However, the privacy of a washroom invites illegal activities or a place where someone tries to sleep all night.

    Vancouver recently installed a series of free washrooms throughout downtown. One below Main street station and a few near Granville. See City of Vancouver website for locations. The issue I have is the automated washrooms are full, broken or under maintenance when I want to use it. As a compromise, something like “urilift” should be built along side. Amazon sells adapters for those without the necessary plumbing.

  • By Andrew S, February 7, 2010 @ 10:35 pm

    Nope, no questions asked or answered yet. But I wish the new articulated B-Lines (D60LFR and DE60LFR?) didn’t have the sensor that prevents the doors from closing if someone is standing in the yellow zone. Or at least they should have a sticker on the door warning visitors (and locals) that the doors won’t close if you stand in the yellow zone. This didn’t happen on the regular D60LF’s!! >:(

    And I’m happy to assist (if I’m not carrying too much stuff) :)

  • By Andrew S, February 8, 2010 @ 12:08 am

    Whoops my bad, not DE60LFR :P i meant the hybrid ones. I mixed up the model designations :P

  • By Tsushima Masaki, February 8, 2010 @ 1:44 am

    I don’t think I have an “ask me” face. I don’t really give off a friendly vibe so as a result of that I’ve had no one asking me for advice. I’m also somewhat reserved so I usually don’t make an effort to ask if someone needs help when they look lost. But then again I also haven’t really been around the busy transit hubs during peak times.

    There was a time last year when, coming back from the ferry terminal on the 620, I helped a group of people who were unsure of how to get to Hastings Street. Then when when I was on the Bridgeport Station platform I guided a man to the bus bay he was looking for, and then when I was finally on the train I helped two other people find their way. That must’ve been a record for me!

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, February 8, 2010 @ 9:21 am

    About the washroom thing: as far as I know, one of the major reasons we don’t have bathrooms in SkyTrain stations is they become a magnet for drug use. As well, as ;-) points out, there are the issues with having a private space where other crimes and illegal activity can take place.

  • By Ric, February 8, 2010 @ 11:44 am

    Off topic question but I don’t know where else to post it, and I want to find out the answer. Here’s the question: I was on the canada line sunday night at 5:30PM coming in from Waterfront. Upon arriving at Richmond-Brighouse at 6:00PM the train was taken out of service. What was the reason for that?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, February 8, 2010 @ 12:05 pm

    I don’t know. I’ll forward that on to ProTrans BC and see if they know.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, February 8, 2010 @ 1:04 pm


    Well, here’s the answer I got from ProTrans BC.

    Trains get put into service or pulled out of service for a variety of reasons. Just normal operation. We will not disclose these reasons neither.

    So… I guess we won’t know then…

  • By Nathan, February 8, 2010 @ 2:17 pm

    I always try to help whenever a person is in need on transit. I’ve got a good story for you from recently..

    I was taking the new airport sky train line to pick up a relative the other day. A man on the sky train was confused and asked me for directions.

    He was actually trying to head downtown but was getting confused on directions and told me someone pointed to this direction so he went. :) I guess this is what being new to the city is like.

    Anyway, we talked for abit and I ended up telling him where to go and lending him a spare map I had.

    For thanks, he actually gave me a cool case for my iPhone! I wasn’t expecting anything but it turns out he ran and to thank me for being friendly.

    It pays to help out on transit!

  • By RoundTop, February 8, 2010 @ 4:45 pm

    Seabus has washrooms in the waiting area, so if you are in a bad way, that is a good one. Also there are some at waterfront.

    At broadway go to the safeway beside it, they are open late.

    At granville there are several restaurants nearby that are open late that you can ask to use their washroom.

    At metrotown your options are a little slim, but there are restaurants that are part of station square, and they probably have one for you to use.

  • By zack, February 8, 2010 @ 5:33 pm

    I would be very careful if I were you, to look for any washrooms late at night. Because most SkyTrain stations in Downtown Vancouver and Whalley are a magnet for crime and drug dealers.

  • By ;-), March 7, 2010 @ 12:31 pm

    Here’s a thought… How much would you “pay” to use a washroom? Traveling in China, I noticed the pay washrooms are much cleaner and you don’t have the trouble makers using them.

    While washrooms are easily available in the city during the day. After 9pm, it can get interesting. Would you pay $5, $10, or $20 to a skytrain attendant for some instant relief and save your dignity in the evenings (9pm-1am)? Would this be of interest to women, seniors or people with young children? Would this be a funding or customer service option for Translink?

Other Links to this Post

  1. The Buzzer blog » Friday fun post: are you planning to go to a lot of Games events? — February 12, 2010 @ 4:31 pm

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