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Friday fun poll: if you’re standing on transit and a seat opens up nearby, do you jump for it?

So, usually I report on the results of the last poll here, but I won’t be doing that this time—our last poll was buried by Olympic content and received just 66 votes, plus the question asked “Are you planning to go to many Games events?,” which is not all that insightful at this point.

Anyway, for the very curious, please do take a look at the past poll post. Here, we’ll be starting fresh!

This week: if you’re standing on transit and a seat opens up nearby, do you jump for it?

I don’t think I’ve asked this before! Let’s say you’re on an average transit trip. If you find yourself standing on transit and a seat opens up near you, do you snatch it up or look around to see if others want it more? (Or are you a firm standee?)

What do you think? Is it every person for him or herself when you’re on transit, outside of the courtesy seat area? How do you break the deadlock if you end up offering the seat someone else, and they offer it back to you? Is there any kind of unofficial code of conduct? (I’ve often seen men offer the newly open seat to nearby women first, for example.)


  • By Jeff MacLeod, March 19, 2010 @ 6:49 pm

    I see the second option is in the lead. Glad to see we are following our Canadian customs of thinking of others first lol.

  • By Alexwarrior, March 19, 2010 @ 7:00 pm

    I tend to go for it if I’m the closest one to it, but otherwise tend to let other people have it. My trips are usually pretty short and I don’t mind standing.

  • By Regular User, March 19, 2010 @ 7:13 pm

    Okay, I chose Grab it ASAP but I do check to see if someone needs it more than me. If I am on transit – I am on it for quite a while and with a bad knee (not easy to notice), I sit whenever possible.

  • By Andrew S, March 19, 2010 @ 7:29 pm

    I usually carry a large-ish instrument on the bus, but it’s just my luck that the first leg of my trips are almost always a mostly empty bus and I usually get a seat near the front because it’s the only place where my instrument gets in the way the least :P Otherwise, I let the elderly or other people who need the seat to take the seat. The 16 at Waterfront is almost empty at most times that I ride it and it gets really full while travelling through Downtown so I take a seat beforehand because it’s not easy to carry so many things :P but the bus empties out a lot at Granville and Broadway

  • By ;-), March 19, 2010 @ 7:33 pm

    My thoughts are like the majority that have spoken….

    I will skip the open front seats and move to the back… Leave the windows and double seats for others….. an open single seat near the back… MINE!

    If there is a long wait, it’s not uncommon for me to hike a few stops early to secure a seat when I’m loaded down with stuff for a 15-20 minute trip home.

    I’ve noticed a new trend… if you are at a window seat at the back of the bus and you need to run an obstacle course of backpack wearing students in the aisles, plus the added idiots standing in the doorways. Expect the bus will leave before you can get off the bus. Need to plan ahead a few stops to get off at the stop you want.

  • By ericmk, March 19, 2010 @ 8:19 pm

    I choose grab it ASAP, but if there is someone sitting in the adjacent seat so that I’ll have to sit next to him/her, I tend to get shy and just stand if I am only a few stops away. If I have several stops to go, I’ll quickly dart to the seat, avoid eye contact with the person sitting next to me, and stare at my Blackberry, trying to avoid any awkward moments of eye contact. I know- I’m so shy to the point of being paranoid!

  • By zack, March 19, 2010 @ 8:39 pm

    I choose ASAP unless there is a person with bag of heavy groceries standing next to the empty seat or seniors, then I don’t mind standing. Oh yeah! one other thing, usually when I carry heavy backpacks I don’t go all the way back to the bus during peak hours. This so I don’t miss my stop or deal with (just as ;-) said) rowdy teens who block the doorway. So annoying >(

  • By Sally, March 19, 2010 @ 8:55 pm

    I always choose to stand on the Canada Line because I only go 4 stops. On the bus, I’m at the age (big sigh) where I’m the one generally offered the empty seat!!

  • By Philippe G, March 19, 2010 @ 10:04 pm

    I donno what it is, but if I start the ride standing up, I’m committed for the rest of the trip.

  • By Andrew S, March 19, 2010 @ 11:49 pm

    I forgot to say, if I’m not carrying anything then I go alllll the way to the back and see if there’s a spot :)

    And as Phillipe G said, I also end up standing for the entire trip if I start standing up. That’s pretty hard to do on the 99 because I have my instrument and backpack. :)

  • By Transitgeezer, March 20, 2010 @ 12:04 am

    So I get on the bus and someone offers me a seat. I guess I’m getting old. (*sigh*)

  • By Hilary, March 20, 2010 @ 12:49 am

    It depends entirely on what I feel like doing. I don’t often find myself on a bus/train so crowded as to have no seats open when I get on, but if I’ve already found a comfortable spot to lean against then I probably won’t bother to sit down when a seat appears. I mean, there’s not much point to it.

    I do prefer to sit when I have the option, though, and if there’s seats to be had then I’ll probably sit down when I get on just out of pure and simple laziness.

  • By cree, March 20, 2010 @ 1:19 am

    depends on the seat in question. (voted for option #2) i like the bench seats near the back of the bus, because there is a space near the wheel-well to place my bag there.^_^

    for new-style artics (and trolleys), if it’s a single seat, I’ll grab it ASAP if I’m superclose to it.

  • By samatwitch, March 20, 2010 @ 3:33 am

    Having a bad back, and usually needing to get off the front so that I can ask for the step to be lowered, I now grab the first empty seat – and am often offered it. So I’m either starting to look older – or in pain! ;)

    I used to always get up and give up my seat for someone who looked as if they needed it more, but now I wait for someone else to do that, unless it’s an obvious case.

  • By Paul, March 20, 2010 @ 5:03 am

    A lot of it depends on how far I still have to go on the route. Is my stop coming up. Also I’ll look around to see if anyone is going to take it. Sometimes I’ve offered the seat to the person standing beside me and they don’t want it so I’ll just sit down. Especially if it is a seat that is very close to the back door and my stop is coming up.

    I also find that even if I’m standing in the middle and a seat comes up around that area. I’m more inclined to want to walk towards the back of the bus eveh if no seat is available back there.

  • By Eric, March 20, 2010 @ 10:23 am

    Except for my SFU burnaby commute (which consists of four different 10-15 minute trips) i will usually go for seats.

    there’s like 25 stops between me and the skytrain when my precious express isn’t running, and I definitely don’t want to stand through those.

  • By Tim Choi, March 20, 2010 @ 4:25 pm

    It depends on the commute length – if it’s, like Eric’s, comprised over several short legs, then I’m mainly option 3. If, for example, it’s a long trip on the Skytrain from King George to Waterfront (like on Tuesday when I’m going to SFU downtown), then I take a seat (there’s plenty available at the end stops anyway).

    PS: Thanks again Jhenifer for sending up my Seabus drawings inquiry! I now have an appointment for next week :D

  • By Eric, March 20, 2010 @ 6:58 pm

    Come to think of it, I outright avoided the seats on the skytrain on my surrey-burnaby commute. Riding from King George to columbia it was much easier to just stand in one of the outer doorways (for the split-platform stations), and from columbia to production way I felt a need to position myself to get off the train and down the staircase as quickly as possible (to spend less time in the 145 lineup).

  • By Cliff, March 20, 2010 @ 9:25 pm

    Unless the bus has about 5 or 6 seats or a pair empty, I’ll stay standing. Standing isn’t a big deal if it’s only going to be 20 minutes or so.

    On SkyTrain or Artics, I like to stand near the middle, as people getting off generally won’t walk through so I don’t have to deal with foot traffic bumping me while I lean in the centre there. Then, when I need to get off, I can simply chose the less busy half of the train/bus to walk through to get to the doors.

  • By zack, March 20, 2010 @ 9:31 pm

    Today, I had the most bizarre yet funniest transit moment. For the first time in my commuting life, I managed to chase and catch a bus (btw this is no joke). I was walking by the intersection of Seymour and Hastings to catch the #6 Davie bus, when all of a sudden the #6 bus swooped pass me. So I tried to run the next stop which was Seymour and Cordova, however no luck the bus already departed. Then, when I saw the bus turning on Richards st, I decided to give one more try. Then, finally after running three blocks I managed to catch the bus sitting idle.

    Btw, I don’t recommend anybody try this at all!

  • By Tim Choi, March 20, 2010 @ 9:42 pm

    @Eric: Haha, that’s exactly what I do! Doubly so on the return trip – the 335 only departs every halfhour, so it’s pretty urgent that I make it from the Mountain to Gateway or Surrey Central by X:15. The annoying thing is that the station exits of Gateway and Surrey Central are on opposite ends of the station – while I usually aim for the Surrey Central one, sometimes there are delays and I have to get off at Gateway, which has the exit at the other end. Very annoying when you planned out which door/car to take so that you end up at the one closest to the exit =P

  • By Cliff, March 20, 2010 @ 9:52 pm

    That’s hilarious! That must have been one hell of a run up and down those hills! You could have just taken the Canada Line to Yaletown and taken the C23 from there.

    I was once waiting for the 430 Metrotown Station at Bridgeport and Simpson (near Shell) with my bicycle. Of course the 430 doesn’t stop at Bridgeport and Simpson. After the bus passed me by I quickly realized the stupid mistake I had made and hopped on my bike and cycled as hard as I could, getting to the point where cars stopped passing me because I was going 40kmh and there was traffic!

    Luckily for me, the bus stopped in front of the IKEA at Sweden Way and he wondered how the heck I was able to keep up when I told him I’d just chased his bus from Shell Road.

    Crazy stuff happens, it’s just when people cross streets running without looking, jaywalking or run out into intersections for a bus that it gets dangerous. Sometimes you gotta let it go, cause man it’s gone! Without thinking, I found that I put more effort into running after a bus (all on the sidewalk, mind you) if it only came once an hour. I’m sure everyone does too.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, March 22, 2010 @ 9:47 am

    Tim: Glad to hear you’re meeting up with the SeaBus folks! Photos please once you’re done building your model :)

  • By Ric, March 23, 2010 @ 11:56 pm

    I don’t mind standing at all even though I have a 2 hour commute to and from school each day. The route going to school is taking 3 buses. The route coming home from school is community shuttle, bus, skytrain expo line, and bus. However, I did chose option 2 in the poll. I once stood for my entire 2 hour commute coming home from school during the olympics, and I didn’t mind it at all. If I am on the canada line I usually stand at the front, if what I call the drivers seat has been taken.

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