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Friday fun post: what do you do when waiting for transit?

If you like, skip to the end of this post to tell us what you do when waiting for transit.

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

Last week, I asked you if you’ve ever read what someone else is reading on transit.

With 111 people weighing in, most people said they HAD read something someone else was reading on transit (77%) — just 23% said they hadn’t.

Donna saw some choice reading material once:

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!

And here’s what Hilary saw once:

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.

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

But Dave 2 pointed out that hardly anyone was reading these days.

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?”

Have a look at the original comment thread for more!

This week: what do you do when waiting for transit?

Reva suggested this poll a few weeks ago, and so here it is.

Feel free to share any “other” choices in the comments!


  • By Daniel, June 4, 2010 @ 7:20 pm

    Yay first comment!

    When in waiting i usually play games on my itouch or I usually read my collection of buzzer issues!

  • By Nicholas, June 4, 2010 @ 7:23 pm

    I’m usually impatient when waiting for my bus and the SkyTrain – yes, and those things run frequently too – so I’m constantly checking.

    I my last resort would watch people at my stop or walking along the street, if any. That sounds creepy. :P

  • By Donna, June 4, 2010 @ 7:55 pm

    Jhenifer — you have an html error in there. :)

  • By Sally, June 4, 2010 @ 10:23 pm

    Wait for the bus? You know that mad woman you see every morning running for the bus? Well, that’s usually me!

  • By Dave 2, June 4, 2010 @ 10:49 pm

    Lighting a smoke used to be a traditional way of making a bus arrive, though now that’s illegal right at the stop.

  • By Ed, June 5, 2010 @ 12:20 am

    Playing games on my iPod touch is the easiest way to kill time, or else I’d be reading those free newspapers that are handed out at Canada Line stations during peak hours. Sometimes, I purposely miss the train if I have time, just to catch a breeze or soak in the good weather, a pro of Richmond stations!

  • By Philippe G, June 5, 2010 @ 1:41 am

    **I’m a notorious people watcher, that or I’ll stand and stare into space…either way it’s quite awkward…

  • By andrew, June 5, 2010 @ 4:33 am

    if there’s no line, i wander around near the stop until the bus shows up
    can’t stay still

  • By ;-), June 5, 2010 @ 7:12 am

    Fire up the blackberry to
    -check when the next bus is arriving
    -check for service interruptions and potential requirements for alternative routes
    -check the trip planner for projected arrival times to see if it meets my requirements
    -check out the latest blog articles, comments and spam

  • By Tsushima Masaki, June 5, 2010 @ 8:55 am

    To kill time I find a bench to sit on and listen to music on my iPod Touch. Sometimes I’ll revise or make new notes, but mostly I’ll be watching cars/people go by to a musical accompaniment.
    If I’m at Bridgeport Station during the day I like to watch the aircraft fly overhead or stare at the train yard to the east.
    If I’m at Waterfront Station late at night where Canada Line service is… rather infrequent, I’ll make a note of the scheduled departure time and then wait in the main Waterfront building and make use of the Wi-Fi.

    Actually (a side note), a little something I noticed a couple months ago is you can actually get a schedule of train times on the Translink website. For example to get actual train arrival times go to and type in 980 as the bus route.
    999 is Expo Line
    998 is Seabus
    997 is West Coast Express Trainbus
    996 is Millennium Line

  • By Tsushima Masaki, June 5, 2010 @ 8:57 am

    Actually a slight correction for my last post: 997 is West Coast Express trains AND their trainbuses.

  • By Jacob, June 5, 2010 @ 9:44 am

    1) Read free newspapers
    2) Write in Notebook
    3) Talk to people
    4) People watch
    5) Bus watch

    I also sometimes miss the trains on purpose, to see all those passengers fight their way on the train like dogs.

  • By peter, June 5, 2010 @ 1:48 pm

    I’m with Andrew on this one — you needed another category for the impatient pacers among us — it might seem like impatience on the surface, but inside, my mind is usually racing around a rich terrain of brilliant fantasy: next time I get restless — a shiny black limo with shaded windows is going to pull up to the bus stop and offer me a ride to exactly where I’m going… and there will be tray with champagne and caviar sitting there for me to enjoy — and everybody at the bus stop will be wondering “who was that.?”

  • By Tim Choi, June 5, 2010 @ 4:30 pm

    Sing along to whatever song I’m listening to on my phone’s MP3 player =P

  • By Ric, June 5, 2010 @ 10:23 pm

    I use my iPhone to:

    1) Check when the bus is coming using the iPhone app
    2) Go on line to read the buzzer blog
    3) Listen to music
    4) Play games

    I also watch to see if the bus is coming. If it is a bus stop that serves multiple routes I also get my camera ready so I can take a picture of the buses that arrives at the stop unless it is the bus that I am getting on. If there are other people waiting at the stop with me, I often talk to them. If I am waiting for the skytrain or Canada Line, I just listen to music and sometimes read the newspaper if I was able to pick one up from the people handing them out at the stations.

    When I am waiting for the skytrain, sometimes I miss the train on purpose if it is a White mark 11 train as I am not a fan of those trains, and wait for the next one hoping that the next train will be a mark 1 or black mark 11 train.

    Sometimes I also miss the bus on purpose if I know that the next bus that will be coming will be on a highway coach, because I like the highway coaches a lot better. I tend to do this a lot during rush hour as a lot of the buses are only trippers during this time and the trippers are often done on the highway coaches.

  • By zack, June 6, 2010 @ 1:41 pm

    @Jhen: Eeek!! Please, delete the first one, I was in such a hurry!!

    First of all, I usually check the online bus schedule before I even leave home.

    If the bus coming late I usually listen to music, or read a novel or newspaper. Though reading a novel more interesting than a newspaper (sometimes I wish the bus would never come!) :D.

    Other times I track like a hawk, however it can be very tricky. I remember one time in Toronto, I was waiting for the #73 bus, then I saw what looked like a TTC New Flyer D40LF, so I packed my backs got my fare ready, but it turns out it was a small moving truck (BUMMER!!).

    That’s not all!! This time different route, different city, same bus!! I was waiting for the 323, then I thought I saw the same D40LF coming, however it turns out it was the same moving truck(DOUBLE BUMMER!!) It was quite a creepy dejavu! =O

  • By Eric, June 6, 2010 @ 6:22 pm

    Either watch the track/street or stare into space…

  • By Andrew S, June 7, 2010 @ 3:12 pm

    Umm I like to watch anything that moves. Staring at an inanimate object kinda gets boring =P

  • By Hilary, June 7, 2010 @ 3:29 pm

    I’m impatient and neurotic, and I often have my headphones on and playing music while waiting for transit, so I worry that I won’t notice the bus if I’m not watching. (This isn’t a concern with trains, since they generate so much noise, wind, and vibration that it would be impossible to not notice them.) Also, I generally don’t have a book or easily-stowed gaming device with me anyways; my phone is very bare-bones and I haven’t been carrying around my Palm Pilot since I got a netbook, which has the disadvantage of being difficult to remove from my bag quickly. I sometimes people-watch if I’m really bored, but mostly I watch the street/track, look at the displays every like fifteen seconds, and daydream. And perhaps pace up and down the platform/sidewalk muttering to myself about it being too cold, though that’s more of a winter distraction.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, June 7, 2010 @ 4:45 pm

    Donna: ugh! Thanks for noticing. I’ve fixed the html now!

  • By ericmk, June 8, 2010 @ 6:39 pm

    When I’m waiting for the bus/train, I usually am pretty calm, especially after work when I’m not in a rush. I don’t have to worry about driving, and worrying about the timeliness of transit is kinda useless because it won’t get you to your destination any sooner! Or at least that’s my mindset! So, I pass the time with my BlackBerry because I’m addicted to it. I’ll check my email or look at whatever else suits my fancy- like the Buzzer blog! And I’m still waiting for an app for Blackberry- developers get to work! I’m not getting an iphone anytime soon!

  • By Alisha, June 11, 2010 @ 9:47 am

    Hi Jhen,
    I have a survey idea for you, not sure if you have done it before.

    What is your favorite TransLink seat type?
    New vinyl, old thick cushion vinyl, new skytrain, etc.

    I have a definite opinion on this one and am definitely disappointed when I get a vehicle with a certain type of seat.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, June 11, 2010 @ 1:33 pm

    Alisha: it’s a good poll idea and one that’s been mentioned before, I just haven’t run it yet!

Other Links to this Post

  1. The Buzzer blog » Friday fun post: what type of seat material do you like best? — June 11, 2010 @ 5:50 pm

  2. The Buzzer blog » Friday Fun Poll: How do you spend most of your time on transit? — September 26, 2011 @ 10:53 am

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