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Tips for smooth travel during the first weeks of September

Update: I’ve pulled the videos down as Reva has raised a couple of questions about privacy in the comments. Let me investigate and see if I can get them back up.

I’m still on holiday! This is a scheduled post.

Happy September! Let’s kick off the month with some useful travel advice.

Check out the video of the fall 2009 transit crowd above — we’re barrelling into that time again! So I’ve dug up some travel tips from the archives as the rush begins in the first few weeks of September.

Have a look these posts for some useful info about travel times, routes to UBC, and more. If it’s old hat to you, please share it with someone who might find it useful!

Find out more details on the September 2010 bus service changes too, which all take effect on Monday September 6 unless otherwise noted.

Check out one more time-lapse crowd video of the 99 from last October below—plus if you have any tips to share, please feel free to comment away!

(In case you’re curious, our planning department filmed these videos to help with their work :)


  • By Anonymous, September 1, 2010 @ 10:17 am


  • By Matt, September 1, 2010 @ 11:07 am

    What busy stations like Broadway-Commercial, Metrotown, Lougheed, etc, really need during the next round of system upgrades (ha, how many decades until that with this provincial/federal government) is the Spanish Solution (

    Definitely a way to ease crowding. I’ve seen it in operation in Munich and Barcelona, it worked very well in dealing with overcrowded platforms.

    This is particularly important at some of these stations where the time needed to actually unload/load passengers is longer than the dwell time, leading to entire system backups. The suggestion of simply waiting for the next train in these cases is not a good solution since you’re than wasting system capacity while the platform get MORE crowded during the interval until the next train.

  • By Elfren Ordanza, September 1, 2010 @ 5:45 pm

    Wow, that was a busy station there. Commercial-Brodway is one of the busiest skytrain stations Vancouver has ever had. The motion of the passengers was so cool especially the passengers for the 99 b-line. Totally cool.
    That means they have worked so hard to carry these passengers to their destination.

  • By ???, September 1, 2010 @ 7:56 pm

    Those videos really show the volume that goes through the stations…. we really need the Skytrain to UBC.

    Have they considered painting white stripes like what they did at Metrotown for the 49th avenue so people know where to stand?

    A few tips I’d like to share….
    -don’t block the rear doors which slow people from exiting and makes the trip longer for everyone
    -take your backpacks off when standing, or better yet, leave the back pack at home
    -move to the rear of the bus

  • By Brandon (CMBC), September 1, 2010 @ 9:03 pm

    Neat videos. Its interesting to watch the bus slowly get lower to the ground as it gets loaded.

    ??? has some great tips that every transit rider should live by.

  • By Cliff, September 1, 2010 @ 11:03 pm

    The Spanish solution could certainly be employed at busier stations and even terminus stations where the train can simply pull into the station and the track basically juts into the large platform.

    I once posted an idea to help ease crowding at Stadium by getting rid of the third track and extending the platform over to the outbound track. Great for after games and concerts!

  • By Cree, September 2, 2010 @ 1:14 am

    the sheer amount of people constantly waiting for a bus (regardless if it’s every 3-5 mins) is staggering. If that isn’t evidence to build a metro between Commercial to UBC, I don’t know what is.

    I would love to see the Spanish Solution implemented in a future line. I saw it in Meitetsu Nagoya Station, and it was interesting to see it first-hand.

  • By Reva, September 2, 2010 @ 4:03 am

    Fascinating videos and a useful tool for planning for sure.

    That being said, my husband and I are having quite a debate about the issue of privacy. Perhaps someone here can give us an answer, or Jhenifer, when you return from your holiday, could you please inform us of Translink’s position on the matter.

    When you’re out in public nowadays, one has a reasonable expectation that at some point one is going to be photographed by a security or surveillance camera of some kind. And pretty much everybody knows that all Translink vehicles and stations are monitored by closed-circuit cameras.

    The questions come about about when we ask what is allowed to be done with the images captured by those cameras. One could reasonably expect that the transit company would want to use videos such as these for the company’s internal purposes of investigations, training, station design, monitoring passenger flows, etc. But would one reasonably expect that the company would then publicly post those videos on the internet (i.e. YouTube)?

    Were the transit passengers in the videos made aware that they were being filmed for reasons other than surveillance? Were the cameras obvious? If someone captured in one of those videos was not made aware that they were going to be posted on YouTube, but saw themselves in it, and asked Translink to remove their image or remove the video, would Translink be legally obliged to do so?

    What is the protocol for informing the public when setting up these types of video shoots? Or is it a case of, you’re out in public anyway and the internet is public too, so it’s not an issue?

    I personally don’t have a problem with it. But if I did, what are my rights? What are the rules? Enquiring minds would very much like to know.

    Thanks! :)

  • By Cliff, September 2, 2010 @ 3:49 pm

    An interesting sidenote. The Spanish solution is already in use in our system.

    The SeaBus! Although it’s not simultaneous.

  • By ericmk, September 2, 2010 @ 7:50 pm

    Reva: While I don’t know the legal stuff and personal rights, I do think the passengers were aware that they were being filmed. If you look closely around 0:36-0:37, you can see a man with glasses purposely putting his face right in front of the camera! If they were aware it was a YouTube video, I don’t know. But I don’t think most people would change their behaviour in front of a camera no matter if it was for TransLink’s use or YouTube. And it’s definitely not CCTV because the angle is not right and the resolution is much better!

  • By ericmk, September 2, 2010 @ 7:52 pm

    Oh, btw the times were for the SkyTrain platform video at Commercial-Broadway, not the 99 B-line bus video!

  • By Urooba, September 3, 2010 @ 2:41 am

    Oh man, the 2-hour commute gives me a headache!
    SIGH, if only UBC had given me residence. Le sigh.

  • By Stefan, September 3, 2010 @ 11:11 am


    You’re not alone. I commute 2 hours between home (the Tri Cities) and work (Richmond), each way, each day. (On days when I have the car, it’s still a good hour to drive each way.)

    It can get pretty wearying, but the time is an excellent opportunity for reading or napping (assuming you can get a seat, and the people beside you aren’t too talkative).

  • By Stefan, September 3, 2010 @ 11:13 am


    Also, the Grouse Mountain skyride uses the identical loading/unloading system as the SeaBus. I wonder if SeaBus’s planners got the idea from the original skyride (built in the 60s), which also used the same operational pattern.

    Another solution is the one that is used at rush hour in Korea and Japan: attendants with gloves and sticks to stuff everybody in, whether they like it or not!

  • By Matt, September 3, 2010 @ 3:45 pm

    The Spanish Solution could still be implemented at stations like Broadway-Commercial. Yes there’s a Safeway blocking one side now, but the whole platform could be shifted over Broadway, giving plenty of room on both sides.

    Regardless, even without implementing the full Spanish Solution at Broadway, I’ve often pondered if it might make sense to even just shift one of the platforms north, so the north and southbound are staggered simply because the platform does get dangerously crowded at times.

    In this scenario it’d make sense to shift the inbound platform over Broadway since most inbound transfers are people immediately exiting the station. Which would leave a lot more room on the existing platform for those waiting for an outbound train (a barrier would then be put up along the current inbound platform to keep things safer).

    Just some random pondering….

  • By Dave 2, September 3, 2010 @ 11:24 pm

    Come to think of it, I do faintly remember seeing someone filming one morning from that location about a year ago.

    re Privacy… apparently this is an ‘unlisted video’ so only us buzzerblog geeks are likely to stumble upon this :)

  • By Jacob, September 7, 2010 @ 5:44 pm

    I don’t think we should think about the Spanish Solution before we complete the Downtown West End Rapid transit line, the Surrey line, the Langley line, the White Rock Line, the UBC line, the Arbutus line, and the North Vancouver Line. After thats all finished, then we should think about the Spanish Solution.

  • By kelly, September 11, 2010 @ 2:28 pm

    Impressive time lapes. By the time 9:00 for the b-line, it was almost empty, but wait there were more people getting on. I agree with the previos replies, we need a skytrain to continue down to UBC. We don’t want to wait for the next b-line to get over there. Both Millennium line & trhe Evergreen Line will do the trick.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, September 13, 2010 @ 2:31 pm

    Reva: hmmm, an interesting question!

    To be clear: these videos were for our planning staff and were not captured by our security cameras — they were done with a video camera on a tripod, and so they were very obvious.

    However, when it comes to our closed-circuit security cameras though, those images are not given to just anyone or posted on the internet willy-nilly. They’re captured digitally and then deleted on a regular basis (I believe it’s after 1 week) unless someone gives us cause to pause and keep any of the tape (usually the police or security). There are also clearly posted signs on all the buses and trains that say that video surveillance is taking place.

    But yes — privacy is of great concern to us. We do try and make people aware that we are filming on transit for any reason. And we have forms that people fill out to let them know what’s going on.

    Last year, however, was actually the first time we have done such time-lapse videos so I think the protocol is getting sorted out as we speak. The questions you’ve raised are very provoking — and as I’m not exactly sure what guarantees of privacy were made as these videos were shot, I think I’ll just take the videos down for the time being. Care of our customers is paramount and even if we were legally obligated I would certainly take a video down if someone in it objected. Sorry about this — hope most of you have caught it already!

  • By Reva, September 13, 2010 @ 10:21 pm

    Sorry to be a party pooper regarding the videos Jhen (and blog readers). Like I said I don’t have a problem with it personally, just wondered what would happen if someone else did.

    As technology advances and new ways of doing things continue to be invented, new guidelines and regulations come into play to ensure these things are used in such a way that does not infringe upon anyone’s rights. Those guidelines and regulations all start with discussion as we gain hands-on experience in these matters and people ask questions.

    Eventually, it all gets ironed out. But when the question of rights is involved, no matter how big or how small, we must be vigilant. It’s the thin end of the wedge.

    Thanks for addressing this Jhenifer. I hope there is a way to make these very interesting videos available again soon, in a way that everyone can live with.

  • By Dave2, September 16, 2010 @ 4:16 pm

    Another good place for a time-lapse video would be the top of the bank of 3 escalators at Burrard Station between 8:30AM and 9:00 AM on a weekday

  • By Renee, September 20, 2010 @ 7:15 pm

    There’s no legal expectation of privacy in a public area, and that includes recordings. For example, news agencies regularly shoot footage on the street without notifying the public or getting signed releases.

    I hope this goes back up soon, sounded like it was interesting!

  • By Paul C, September 23, 2010 @ 3:24 am

    I’d say in todays world that the chances are high for anyone to find themselves on a video on Youtube. Because of technology it is the world we live in.

    Now while people have a reason to voice their opinion on how their rights might have been violated if they did find themselves unwillingly on a video on Youtube. I’d also say what exactly are they trying to hide.

    An interesting thing would be I’m out with some friends and I’m videoing them on a camera. Someone walks behind my friends I can only assume they saw me with the camera. So I can only assume they know they must have been videoed. I get home and decide to upload the video onto Youtube or Facebook so that other people can view what I videoed. Now the person who walked through the video sees it and doesn’t like it. So they sue me for violating their privacy and rights. Do they have a right to do such a thing.

    Sadly we live in a world where litigation controls what we can and can not do. Even if the intent was never there.

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