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Friday fun post: ever read what someone else is reading on transit?

If you like, skip to the end of this post to tell us if you’ve ever read what someone else is reading on transit.

Last week ago: where do you like to sit on transit?

Last week, I asked you where you liked to sit on transit, which was an update of the very first poll I ever ran on the blog.

141 people weighed in, and this time the winner was clear: the back, with 45% of the vote! (Middle came second with 37% and the front received 25%.)

It did seem like everybody had a different preference based on which bus/train they were sitting in, however! Lots of people gave detailed lists, and here’s a short sample from Tsushima Masaki

Orion V (Highway coaches)
3rd forward-facing seat row, right side, window.

New Flyer D40LF (Most Richmond buses)
I used to prefer the window seat on the right side of the bus 1 row behind the back door, but now I find the right window seat just in front of the back door to be more to my liking.

Any right window seat that has a glass partition behind it.

Community shuttles
Not too much of a preference, I tend to sit in the front seats, left or right.

Hilary had a nice long list too, and this particular excerpt from her comment was seconded by Bevis Parker:

I like the SkyTrain driver’s seat position, but I rarely sit in it because I prefer the view from the side windows and, in Mark II trains, I can’t comfortably lean my elbows on the… ledge-thing… without putting myself at an angle where I have to crane my neck to see much beyond the tracks (vertically). Although it can’t be beat for getting a good view of the subway tunnels. The exception to this ambivalent position is on the Canada Line, where my favourite seat, no contest, is the aisle seat by the front window (either side), again for the subway-tunnels reason. Although, since those trains have a wider front window than the Expo/Millennium Line trains, it’s a good seat for the rest of the stations too.

Sally, however, said her seat choice was all about efficiency.

It’s all strategy – at the front of the highway coaches so I can be first (or almost first) off because if you are at ground level and you hear the Canada Line train rumbling in, it gives you chance to sprint up the 2 escalators and leap onto the train. Heaven forbid I’ve have to wait 4 minutes for the next train!

I then stand in the first carriage by the door so I can get off easily at Oakridge. (Although Oakridge is really bad for passengers getting on the train without letting anyone off first………..)

Coming home I don’t care where I sit so long as it is on the right-hand side!!

And a couple of people had specific favourites. Here’s:

For Novabus, I’ll take the private seat behind the driver.

Check the original comment thread for more: there is in fact a neat side discussion about how long SkyTrains sit at a station for, and of course many more suggestions on the best places to sit on transit :D

This week: ever read what someone else is reading on transit?

This is inspired by the free newspaper poll: I realize a bunch of you said you read over someone else’s shoulder, so let’s see just how many people are reading others’ stuff in transit!

If you’re a yes, can you think of any particularly notable reading material you’ve seen? I remember glancing sideways at someone’s psychology notes about the Stanford Prison Experiment and learning some rather insightful things on my trip home :)


  • By Nicholas, May 28, 2010 @ 6:26 pm

    I’ve read some students’ university notes while on a NovaBus, I find them rather interesting.

    Would it also be wrong to read one’s text messages on their phone, too? :P Oops.

  • By Donna, May 28, 2010 @ 6:40 pm

    The 7 or the 4 coming downtown, I was sitting with my partner in the back row, and a somewhat geeky looking young man in his early 20s was sitting in the sideways seat in front of us. He was reading a rather nice looking large book, black leather & gold leaf, so I took a peek at the title…

    …and it was “The Game” by Neil Strauss. Ew, ew, ew! Sleaaaazy!

  • By Jacob, May 28, 2010 @ 7:55 pm

    If there’s a very interesting news article, I’ll read it. Nicholas, I also sometimes read someone’s text messages.
    I sometimes “accidentally on purpose” listen to someone’s conversation.

  • By ericmk, May 28, 2010 @ 9:13 pm

    Well, usually I try not to look over someone’s shoulder, but often it’s too tempting. One time I was on the Washington DC Metro about 3 years ago and I saw someone studying flashcards of recipes for cocktails. The guy had some crazy ingredients in the recipes! As it turns out, the passenger sitting next to him also noticed the cards and asked him about them. He was studying to become a bartender! Also, the other day on the SkyTrain, I saw one guy texting his girlfriend. Apparently, it seems like they were having some relationship troubles! So, yeah, I guess I do read over people’s shoulders more than I should! ;)

  • By Dave 2, May 28, 2010 @ 10:15 pm

    Read? Who reads? The kids these days are texting, Facebooking, or playing Tetris on their smartphones :-) True, people do read the free papers, just this morning I saw someone reading an article on page x… so I went to page x in my copy… Last month a woman sat down beside me and started to read an eBook on a Kindle…these days the new opening line would be “So, downloaded any good books lately?”

  • By Hector, May 29, 2010 @ 8:44 am

    Once I tried reading someone’s newspaper to my left and the man noticed. He introduced himself as a UBC Microbiology professor and we had a nice chat about what he teaches and what I want to study in university. The inconsequential article in question was on new guns that could fire hundreds of rounds a second. It was a nice day on the B-line.

  • By Ric, May 29, 2010 @ 9:07 pm

    If I would read what other people are reading it would be newspapers if there was an article that was of interest to me. Other than that I usually play games on my iPhone, listen to music, send text messages, or go on the internet while I am on transit. Sometimes, if I see my friends on the same bus or skytrain car as I am, we tend to sit together and chat. Other times I chat with the driver.

  • By Donald, May 31, 2010 @ 10:49 am

    I mostly look around to get recommendations of what to read next. Of course it’s getting harder with these eBook readers out (I have one myself, guilty as charged lol) so you actually have to strike up a conversation to ask what they’re reading, which my normally introvert self hasn’t yet. I suppose I will eventually be forced to as more and more people switch to eBook readers!

  • By Tsushima Masaki, May 31, 2010 @ 4:59 pm

    I’m usually sleeping or listening to music on transit so I rarely look at other people’s material. I just keep to myself for the most part.

  • By zack, May 31, 2010 @ 10:09 pm

    Recently on the Canada Line, I looked over someone reading an article on the new iPad.

  • By Hilary, June 3, 2010 @ 1:09 am

    I read what the person in front of or next to me is reading all the time; I get bored really easily and you can only read the station map so many times. Sometimes I think about striking up a conversation from there, but I never go through with it because I’m painfully shy offline.

  • By Hilary, June 3, 2010 @ 1:12 am

    I think the most interesting, or at least out-of-the-ordinary, thing I’ve read over somebody’s shoulder was a sheaf of papers this one woman had that turned out to be detailing how to prepare for a hysterectomy and what would indicate that something had gone wrong.

  • By Hilary, June 3, 2010 @ 4:34 am

    Wait, no, it was a tubal ligation. Much less drastic than a hysterectomy.

  • By Donna, June 7, 2010 @ 6:53 pm

    Dave2: I could have been that woman with the kindle. And quite frankly, I’d rather the opening line was … nothing. Seriously, I’m reading! Why do people think I want to talk to them?

    I don’t mind the “What’s that?” “A kindle ebook.” “Oh, cool. Do you like it?” “Yes.” exchange… but I’m getting a little tired of people trying to hold a conversation about the book that I would rather be reading, thank you very much!

Other Links to this Post

  1. The Buzzer blog » Friday fun post: what do you do when waiting for transit? — June 4, 2010 @ 7:00 pm

  2. The Buzzer blog » Friday Fun Poll: How do you spend most of your time on transit? — September 26, 2011 @ 11:01 am

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