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Friday fun post: how do you pick up a free newspaper?

If you like, skip to the end of this post to share how you pick up a free newspaper.

From last week: how would you like to see the Buzzer blog design improved?

Last week, I asked this question:how would you improve the design of the Buzzer blog?

We had over 30 comments with lots of really great ideas! A common thread was the thought the design could be better used to surface interesting content more easily, and to make maximized use of the space (I agree, this design is pretty narrow.) rubai even suggested we put the poll in the sidebar, which I think is fantastic.

Lots of you also asked for the ability to edit comments, flag comments as spam, and otherwise more control. I can tell you now that we’re exploring that possibility, but the challenge is adding a registration process — we eliminated registration to make it easier for people to post comments quickly, and to ensure we weren’t collecting data from people when we didn’t really need it. But I take your point — we’ll see if it can work!

So thank you to all who contributed: your feedback has been passed on and hopefully we’ll end up with a better blog design than we started with. As always, visit the original post to see more of the comments, or even to add your own (I could always use the advice!)

This week: how do you pick up a free newspaper?

A colleague suggested this one! Free newspapers like Metro and 24 Hours are distributed all over our system, but how exactly do you pick up your paper?


  • By Sean T, April 2, 2010 @ 4:10 pm

    When you are finished with them, you should always try to return them to a person handing them out. Recycling saves some resources & energy however, reusing 100%. It also saves the company money as they don’t need to print as many copies.

  • By ;-), April 2, 2010 @ 4:33 pm

    I read this blog and current hours news on my Blackberry. Having data feeds in the Canada Line is a bonus.

    I don’t care if it’s free, why should I read about yesterday’s events? I’ll add that some of the papers have their articles on an RSS feed that I can read today, instead of waiting until the next day.

  • By Bryn, April 2, 2010 @ 5:01 pm

    I pretty much NEVER take a paper from a box or from anyone handing them out. I find I can almost always count on finding one on the bus or train directly! I figure there’s no point in taking a new one when I can usually find a “lightly used” one ready for my perusal!

  • By Robert, April 2, 2010 @ 5:51 pm

    I pick them up from the back of the bus. Sometimes the bus driver would have a few available at the front of the bus.

  • By Reva, April 2, 2010 @ 5:57 pm

    I’ll read over other passengers’ shoulders, and if I see something that is just too interesting, I’ll look for another copy someone’s left behind on the system somewhere. Otherwise I never read those free papers, they just aren’t in-depth enough for me and wading through all the advertisements in them makes the “free” part not worth it to me.

  • By Bryan, April 2, 2010 @ 6:03 pm

    It depends on what happens first; sometimes I’ll pick one up from the box, from a person or from the seat. But its after I’m done, that sometimes I’ll leave it behind for the person after me to read.

  • By Sally, April 2, 2010 @ 6:28 pm

    I just read the free papers over someone else’s shoulder.

  • By Donna, April 2, 2010 @ 6:49 pm

    The people handing them out are SO aggressive with them, I make a point of never taking one from them, ever. What, are they paid per newspaper handed out? I’ve been just about smacked in the face with them before. I have to dodge enough people that AREN’T trying to get in my way, let’s not have people doing it on purpose.

    I go through Broadway Station twice a day, and I’m accosted by newspaper flingers every single time. It’s getting old.

  • By zack, April 2, 2010 @ 7:36 pm

    First of all, I rarely take free newspapers and if I have to I’d rather take it from those who are handing out rather than getting them from those graffiti-riddled boxes. And I also don’t take newspapers that are lying on the back of the bus or even on seats, since personal hygiene is at stake here.

    Another method I use which is the same as Reva and Sally, is reading free papers from someone else’s shoulder.

  • By Tim Choi, April 2, 2010 @ 9:05 pm

    How about a little of all three? :D

    When in a rush and/or there’s someone handing them out, then I’ll take it from the handler.
    When not in a rush and there’s no one handing them out, then I’ll go to a box.
    When in a rush and there’s no one handing them out, then grab one from a seat.

  • By Gregory Marler of, April 3, 2010 @ 12:40 am

    I don’t commute in Vancouver so I only occasionally pick one up at the back of the bus. I can certainly associate with the annoyance of hand held newspapers in London, there was a surge of new free evening papers last evening. If I wasn’t in a rush I shake my head to say no thanks.

    I prefer the morning “Metro” in London. As I live on a branch line I’d look out for a left paper from someone who commuted out of the city (or at least who started at a station with free paper stands), as much as I’d dash to a nice free seat.

    It will be interesting to hear what the official (or at least typical staff) view on leaving papers is. I always liked the Reuse(1st of 3 Rs) of the paper sharing. On leaving the train I try to leave it on a suitable ledge or seat already taken by papers. If I take an interesting story home, I later recycle it.

  • By peter b, April 3, 2010 @ 12:51 pm

    Comment about last weeks poll — I think you can have better security without requiring registration: community flagging can temporarily suspend a post if enough people flag it. Editing comments is more like how a forum works, it would be nice if you could support both kinds of accounts on the blog — but this is a blog — there aren’t that many blogs out there with editable comments.

  • By Dave 2, April 3, 2010 @ 8:27 pm

    Years ago I used to refuse them, but now I’ll take them at my station (Metro is most absorbent for the umbrella) and toss them in the designated receptacle at Burrard.

  • By Rainbow, April 3, 2010 @ 10:01 pm

    Since i have the iphone, i can just read it on my iphone. Save the environment :)

  • By Meraki, April 5, 2010 @ 1:29 pm

    I only read them if I happen to stumble upon one laying around on the bus.

    I’m not that interested in them to take a new one and waste paper.

  • By Phil, April 5, 2010 @ 9:27 pm

    Meraki has got it right,
    They really are awful and boring papers, but if I happen to have nothing else to do, then I’ll grab on off a vacant seat and read a few articles.

  • By Rvie, April 5, 2010 @ 9:28 pm

    I usually get a 24 and a Metro either from the box or someone handing them out. When I’m in a hurry to get onto a Canada Line train I don’t get the papers from someone and just get it from the box (if there is one near my present location).

  • By Robert, April 6, 2010 @ 8:23 am

    I never pick one up from the distributors at the stations. If there’s a discarded paper on my seat, I will drop it off in the recycling box at my destination station. I shudder to think how much extra Translink has to pay to clean up the mess, costs that Translink can ill afford. If it was up to me, the free newspapers owners would have to pay a clean-up fee for the right to distribute papers at station entrances, but the legalities involved may make that difficult to do.

  • By Eric, April 6, 2010 @ 3:23 pm

    I sometimes read over peoples shoulders, that’s about the extent of it.

  • By Amy, April 8, 2010 @ 2:06 pm

    I never pick them up – I find the people giving them up to be so aggressive that I actively dislike the papers.

    I bring a book to read, or I listed to a podcast. Plenty of good stuff to keep me occupied on transit!

  • By Paul, April 9, 2010 @ 10:33 pm

    I usually pick up the “metro” at my street corner. If the “24” happens to be on a seat on the skytrain when I get on I’ll quickly read that as well. When I’m done I usually either throw them in the recycling bin at my destination or I just throw them into my back pack to take back home with me to recycle.

    The only real reason I get them is to give me something to read.

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