Translink Buzzer Blog

Friday fun poll: ever carry something really cumbersome on transit?

A suitcase can be stowed under a seat on the Canada Line.

It’s the first fun poll of 2011! And we’re going back to our roots with a transit behaviour question.

As we’ve just passed through the holiday season, I’ve seen many a customer having to haul luggage or giant gifts on the bus or train, while trying in vain to stay out of people’s way.

So, all double entendres aside—have you ever had to lug something big and awkward on transit for a ride?

Ever carry something really enormous on transit?

  • Yes! (83%, 172 Votes)
  • No! (17%, 34 Votes)

Total Voters: 206

For all of us who have done it and survived, you know it’s not easy to carry a huge box or bag on transit. So I’d especially love to know you have any tips for making a cumbersome object easy to transport on a bus or train. Do you just skip out on the system and find a car for these big trips? What if you don’t have the option of a car? Share your war stories in the comments :)


45 Comments

  • By Derek Cheung (CMBC), January 7, 2011 @ 4:53 pm

    Does having a coffin aboard my coach one day count as “cumbersome”?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, January 7, 2011 @ 4:54 pm

    Derek: Coffin?! EXPLAIN MORE PLEASE.

  • By Phyzz, January 7, 2011 @ 4:58 pm

    Large though flattened boxes for moving on one occasion.

    Large painting on another.

  • By Sean, January 7, 2011 @ 5:09 pm

    Though this wasn’t on a Translink vehicle, I’ve moved a wooden desk on the TTC subway! That got me a few strange glances from the other passengers. Hehe

  • By Sean Turvey, January 7, 2011 @ 5:36 pm

    8 heavy cases of champaign without a cart. Had to bring them on 1 at a time.

  • By Brooke L., January 7, 2011 @ 5:47 pm

    I carried a vacuum cleaner home by trolley bus. I just rolled it down the aisle, probably looking like I was trying to clean the floor. Another time I carried a huge stack of empty boxes for moving on the skytrain, not realizing it was rush hour until I got on the train. Everyone on the very full train was pretty understanding about it, though – I guess we’ve all had to move!

  • By Nicholas, January 7, 2011 @ 5:51 pm

    Before the Canada Line, my friends and I carried several suitcases on a crowded B-Line one Saturday morning for a weekend conference. Not only did we cause hell, but we got many stares.

    It’s a breeze with a larger vehicle now :)

  • By Jay, January 7, 2011 @ 5:55 pm

    Large paintings, me too! they generally sparked good conversation each time!

  • By Steven, January 7, 2011 @ 5:55 pm

    Many years ago I tried to get two cases from London Heathrow to Upminster on the tube. It was a nightmare since it was during the rush hour! Since then I decided I will get a taxi or go by car if I have anything awkward to carry!

  • By Pip, January 7, 2011 @ 6:19 pm

    Again, not in Vancouver, but I once took a 2ft by 4 ft pinata across Toronto on a street car during rush hour… that was interesting!

  • By ericmk, January 7, 2011 @ 7:30 pm

    When I was in high school, I sometimes had to take the Washington DC Metro home. I was in the band, so I had to carry my trombone home with me to practice. I received some odd glances, some people asked instrument I was taking with me, and others knew it was a trombone in the case. And this was a wooden case, not the nice plastic ones with a strap like they have now! In Vancouver, I’ll only bring my french horn or trumpet with me on the SkyTrain or bus- their cases are smaller than the trombone’s.

  • By Bryan, January 7, 2011 @ 8:03 pm

    Oh where to start with carrying things… most recently was the plastic floor mat. It might only be two feet wide, but its four feet long and spiked on one side. Lucky for me it was only a 5 minute ride on the skytrain.

    A large, four foot by four foot box (This is before the Canada line) on a cramped 424 bus which at that time and night was a little shuttle bus. Plus all the luggage with us at the time.

    And… I think that’s everything.

  • By Reva, January 7, 2011 @ 8:26 pm

    Aside from large suitcases and boxes, I can remember transporting on the bus a 4-foot tall potted plant, a dining room chair, large paintings & canvasses, some 2 by 4’s that were taller than me, and surely there were other things too.

    My new rule for myself (not as fit as I used to be, lol) is that if I need more than one hand to lift it, it goes home with me in a taxi!

    Derek, I think that coffin totally takes the cake. :)

  • By jim wheeler, January 7, 2011 @ 8:35 pm

    A giant stuffed bumble bee about 6 foot high won at the PNE’s midway-we had to stand on the bus all the way to the skytrain-when getting off the female driver said maybe your friend would like one of these buzzers and I said no thanks honey. People were making Bee jokes all the way home

  • By Derek Cheung (CMBC), January 7, 2011 @ 8:46 pm

    Wow, I got an all-caps request from Jhen!
    :)

    Twas a home-built prop made out of plywood that a fellow was transporting for a Hallowe-en party.

    Though myself and several customers remarked that it had better be empty and not a ruse to sneak on another customer without paying…

  • By Eric B, January 7, 2011 @ 8:50 pm

    Just today, I had to bring home a not-so-insignificant box. As if that wasn’t bad enough, it was during the height of the PM peak.

    And like Steven, I brought my luggage aboard the Underground in London. This was also in the afternoon rush. Not a very pleasant introduction to London (or the Tube), but I’m happy to say the rest of my stay was much better :)

  • By Cow, January 7, 2011 @ 9:28 pm

    I think the worst I ever had in Vancouver was taking IKEA furniture on the Braid bus and then SkyTrain…

    One of the jobs I had in Seattle was working in systems administration in a suburb, Lynnwood. Our data centre was downtown. One time I had to take four servers downtown, and did it on commuter buses. That got some interesting looks.

    Also one time, I went from Vancouver to Seattle on Amtrak (and Metro buses in Seattle) carrying a two-metre long wooden shepherd’s crook, as part of a costume (which was in my bag, but…you can’t really pack a shepherd’s crook).

  • By Sally, January 7, 2011 @ 11:30 pm

    Apart from struggling with a suitcase onto the 351, have been lucky in this respect. Although the other week on the Canada Line, all the passengers made way for a woman with a stroller – only to find out there was a small DOG sitting in it!

  • By David, January 7, 2011 @ 11:40 pm

    In a fit on insanity I took the London Underground at the height of the Monday morning rush with a full size suitcase, enormous shoulder bag and backpack. It took three tries and the aggression of a linebacker chasing a quarterback to finally squeeze aboard a train and it’s a wonder my fellow passengers didn’t push me or my luggage off. I had to transfer to a second tube line somewhere along the way (can’t recall where) and then make my way through the unbelievably crowded Victoria tube station to find the train to Gatwick airport. Thankfully that train was designed for airport passengers and was nearly empty. Unfortunately I was stuffed into the back of a 747 on the way home just one row in front of the smoking section. I probably inhaled more second hand smoke on the plane than I had in two weeks of visiting English pubs.

  • By Eric, January 8, 2011 @ 12:49 am

    I’ve carried a bunch of rope and other scout-obstacle-course related things with friends on a bus. that was fun.

  • By Hilary, January 8, 2011 @ 1:41 am

    I convinced my parents to use the SkyTrain to get to the airport on our trip last fall instead of driving and then having to leave the car in an airport lot for three weeks. And all four of us had suitcases to lug, first on the 156 bus, then the Millennium Line, and then the Canada Line. The Canada Line was a breeze, but they took up a fair amount of space on the M-Line. And on the bus, no one could get them up the aisle so we had to sit in the front section that’s supposed to be for passengers who’re either physically disabled or really old. (I was a little embarrassed about taking up that space. Luckily no one showed up who needed it more than we did.)

    That’s the only really ENORMOUS thing I’ve taken on transit, but I -have- carted around two 12-packs of Dr. Pepper on one occasion and a new-in-box Xbox 360 on another. They were both pretty bulky and heavy, and I had to take them from downtown all the way to Coquitlam. (Well, I only had to take one of the 12-packs all the way home; the other was just from Commercial-Broadway to the downtown party, where it was entirely consumed.)

  • By Cliff, January 8, 2011 @ 1:42 am

    A 2x2x4 bale of woodchips on a bus on North Road. It must have weighed a good 70-80 pounds.

    A full computer tower and CRT display with a keyboard and mouse on SkyTrain from Main Street Station. It was our score from the flea market and we were NOT looking our Sunday best. Two Tranist police officers boarded with us and I summoned up the courage to sing “awkward…” after about 30 seconds. Everyone kinda chuckled at that one, cops included.

  • By Scott, January 8, 2011 @ 2:14 am

    About a month ago we took a five-foot Christmas tree on the Expo Line and a bus without any problems. I once also carried two pieces of lumber, each eight feet long, on a bus. I’ve taken luggage on transit more times than I can remember.

    I don’t think I have anything to beat a coffin though!

  • By Chris, January 8, 2011 @ 10:02 am

    The biggest, most awkward items I regularly take are snowboards.

    Some of the crazy stuff people are taking on board reminds me of Montreal Metro protests about bikes on-board where people brought skis, ladders and cardboard elephants on the trains – http://www.hour.ca/news/news.aspx?iIDArticle=14981 .

    It is amazing how many transit systems ban bikes, but allow any other imaginable items.

  • By Sheba, January 8, 2011 @ 12:41 pm

    Thankfully it was short SkyTrain rides for the two more recent times. Once was picking up a tower fan from the store, and the other was taking an already assembled Ikea cd tower to my friends place. I have a kids kick scooter so I could put the towers on it and roll them to and from the train. It wasn’t busy when I moved either of them.

    It would have been funny to see when my friend found a 4 ft tall Bugs Bunny for me and took him on the bus. Lots of women talked to him that afternoon :)

  • By TM (formerly Tsushima Masaki), January 8, 2011 @ 1:09 pm

    The only really awkward thing I’ve taken aboard a bus is a computer tower. I’ve had to do so several times to take it to the repair shop.

    Other than that I regularly have to lug a backpack, suitcase and satchel on the transit system at various times of the day… not very fun.

  • By Andrew S, January 8, 2011 @ 2:57 pm

    My instrument case is cumbersome! It’s massive! I have to hide in the corner behind the big box on the Nova buses so it won’t get in the way… It kinda feels like i’m taking another person on the bus except people aren’t boxes :P

  • By Ric, January 8, 2011 @ 9:41 pm

    Big bulky school projects, back in the days when I was in High School.

    Another time was about two years ago when I had to take two 4 foot fluorescent tubes out to my friends house in Vancouver to help them replace them, as they didn’t know how to, then bringing the old ones back home with me to take to a hardware store for recycling. I was living in Richmond so I had to take the tubes on the 410 bus to Brighouse Station, then on the 98 B-Line from Brighouse Station out to 41st, and finally on the 41st bus to their house.

    Another time I had to take two 2 litre bottles of pop to my friends place in Coquitlam for a BBQ just this past summer. It was a hassle. I had to take the pop on the 410 bus to Brighouse Station, then on the Canada Line to Waterfront Station, then finally on the Westcoast Express from Waterfront Station to Coquitlam Station where my friend finally picked me up and drove me to their house. I had to struggle to make sure that the plastic bag I was using to carry the pop in didn’t break.

  • By scottclayton, January 8, 2011 @ 9:55 pm

    Each week I usually have a day where I take at least 5 bags of groceries on a bus at a time, in addition to my backpack, but on the subject of awkward items in the last month… I took a 5-foot long, 60-lb slide projector screen on the #135—both directions. The bus was full and I got on after all the seats were taken, so I stood with it.

  • By Ric, January 9, 2011 @ 12:18 am

    scottclayton, what were you doing with a 5 foot, 6o pound slide projector screen?

  • By andrew k, January 9, 2011 @ 2:07 am

    two 20kg bags of rice, stacking on above the other and picking both up when i moved down the aisle towards the back of the crowded bus
    essentially i was two people…

  • By Reva, January 9, 2011 @ 6:12 pm

    A few years ago I escorted an Australian exchange student from the airport to a friend’s house in PoCo. He had only one piece of luggage — the most enormous backpack I have ever seen. The #100 driver jokingly asked if he was going to pay an extra fare for the backpack, since it literally was as big as a person.

    We laughed, but being the nice Aussie guy that he was, he paid it!! He said it wasn’t fair that his pack was going to prevent someone else from getting on if the bus got full, and there was no way to “check” it. It was still way cheaper than taking a taxi so he didn’t mind at all. :) Considerate!

    Bonus, it put the driver in a good mood too.

  • By Sewing, January 10, 2011 @ 11:00 am

    When I was much younger, I moved a couple of times by bus. My worldly possessions weren’t much back then, but still, one move took about 3 round trips on the #9 bus.

    I have a nice travel suitcase, but had to roll it once through puddles in heavy rain half a mile to the bus stop, en route to the Canada Line, with a garment bag in the other hand. Still, it beat a $75 cab fare.

    My most trying experience was in London, taking one of the heavily-crowded commuter trains to a relative’s place in the suburbs during afternoon rush hour. The train was half-empty when I got on, but if this greenhorn from the colonies had known how crowded it was going to get, I wouldn’t have grabbed a seat in the middle of the car!

  • By Sewing, January 10, 2011 @ 11:02 am

    Cow:

    You couldn’t expense a cab ride into Seattle with those 4 servers!?

  • By Daniel, January 10, 2011 @ 5:49 pm

    I once saw a couple of guys lug a washing machine onto the train.

  • By zack, January 11, 2011 @ 10:02 am

    The biggest item I carried on transit far was a 32 inch HDTV with dad. We carried it onboard the SkyTrain from Lougheed to Edmonds. Luckily the spot we chose was next to the articulated joints on the MKII which had more space. We then carried the TV on the 106 bus, and suddenly the driver’s jaw dropped when he saw the TV. Then he asked “Is..is..is that?” and I said “Yep!”. We both then laughed, and along with my dad we put the TV on the cabin side. And, all this was done with ease!

  • By Cliff, January 12, 2011 @ 3:57 am

    Out of curiosity, where is the line drawn?

    All this stuff is huge and cumbersome, but at what point does the driver say “Oh no…. oh no no no. Get off my bus, you’re not bringing that on board!”?

    I would imagine its a little more lax late at night or when the bus is empty, no?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, January 12, 2011 @ 10:16 am

    Cliff: I would imagine in practical reality, it’s up to the driver’s discretion as to what should be on board—considerations probably include the hassle for other passengers, and how long it would take this person to board, given whether the bus is ahead/behind schedule, among other things. Any operators out there want to weigh in?

  • By ???, January 12, 2011 @ 11:33 am

    One thing I would love them to stop is garbage or recyclable pop cans. The “honeydew” just reeks.

  • By zack, January 12, 2011 @ 1:11 pm

    To clarify, the driver actually had no problem for the item to be brought onboard. He was probably surprised of the size of the TV, and although the bus was slightly full, there were no line-ups and no shoving, we easily put the TV on the empty right cabin side. Although ??? raised a good point, I’ve seen so many times where people bring leaking garbage into the bus! YUK!! What could the bus driver be possibly thinking, allowing stenchy garbage into the bus!!

  • By transitfan, January 12, 2011 @ 3:05 pm

    I have carried lots of IKEA stuff over the years, from big boxes and large picture frames, to a 5x8ft carpet (rolled) and large suitecases – never had a problem or strange looks from drivers or other passengers.
    Please drivers, no smelly bags full of “empties” on the early commute busses!

  • By David Lau, January 15, 2011 @ 11:17 am

    30 odd years ago I used to have to take my trombone to school and back. The doors were manual!!! You had to open them by hand after pushing on a wooden paddle gate. My trombone would inevitably get trapped in the back doors. To make things worse you were NOT allowed to get off via the front doors back then either. I’m glad those days are long gone.

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