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The results of the September “How do you spend most of your time on transit?” poll

The last poll was such a gas that I think I’ll be doing a poll at least once a month. This time around, I shortened the entry time from two weeks to 11 days, and there were still 371 polls taken!

This is how Buzzer readers voted how they spend their time on transit.

This is how Buzzer readers answered how they spend most of their time on transit.

Knowing that people usually do more than one action while on transit, I asked the question, “How do you spend ‘most’ of your time on transit?

Some of the results were predictable, like how more than half of respondents spend their time either looking out the window or listening to music most of the time on transit. Seventeen percent of respondents said they read most of the time, which I thought might have received more votes but still seemed within reason.

What I was most surprised by was how only person said watching videos was something they did most of the time on transit. I added this option since it’s something I see more and more people doing during my commute. Another surprise was that so few respondents chose having a conversation as the thing they do most on transit (in person or on the phone). This made me think about how the transit habits of Metro Vancouverites compare to the those of inhabitants in other cities. For example, I took a bus in Seattle a few years back and couldn’t fail to notice how many people were chatting with one another. It’s interesting to see how different places can be sociologically even when they are only a few hundred kilometres away.

Interestingly enough, the options “I people watch”, “I access the Internet” and “I daydream” each had 9% of the answers cast. I would have thought that accessing the Internet would have received more votes with the undeniable increase in smartphones. I know that this is the option I would have chosen for this poll. Perhaps people do access the Internet a lot but not as much as other options.

Four per cent of respondents answered that they sleep on transit. Again, I think this is good reflection of the habits of the region. Visiting Japan many years ago, I would say that early in the morning and late at night people sleeping on transit was the norm not the exception. Maybe it’s just that Buzzer readers using transit in Metro Vancouver are better rested.

Now that the first part of this poll is done, the second and final part is next. Part 2 of the poll will be up a week this Friday. As mentioned, it will delve into why we do what we do on transit. Thanks again for taking the poll!


  • By Aaron A., October 5, 2011 @ 6:22 pm

    I’d sleep, but then unwanted bad things happen, like waking up and finding myself at the last stop or end of the line.

    I thought internet/smartphone use would’ve been a larger segment too.

  • By David, October 5, 2011 @ 10:35 pm

    You forgot an activity that I witness on transit often: playing games on your smartphone or handheld gaming device.

  • By Dino, October 6, 2011 @ 9:04 am

    I wish there was an option to select more than one activity. I usually listen to music whilst surfing the internet

  • By Matt, October 6, 2011 @ 9:08 am

    @Aaron: One time I saw a guy sleeping on the SkyTrain with a Post-It note stuck to him that said “Please wake me up at Burrard.” I got off before that stop, but I hope somebody woke him!

  • By Robert Willis - Buzzer Editor, October 6, 2011 @ 9:29 am

    David: That’s a good point. There are a lot of different activities people do on transit, but gaming is a big one for sure!

    Dino: Maybe I’ll run another poll in the future where you can pick multiple choices.

    Matt & Aaron: Missing your stop is always a danger. There are apps for your smartphone that can wake you up now! The low-tech post it note is pretty funny and very transit community oriented though. Thanks for that mental image Matt!

  • By Daniel Friesen, October 11, 2011 @ 10:08 am

    A multi select poll would definitely be nice.
    I occasionally pull out my phone and do some very light internet usage (I’m on the skytrain right now). And I used to be more consistent reading manga in transit. But even when I do either of those, daydream, look out the window, and perhaps a small bit of people watching I listen to music the whole time.

    That said, keep in mind that while smartphone usage has grown, the data plans are pretty bad unless you’re on something like Wind.

    P.S. I can’t sleep on transit. Even if I’m dead tired and dozing off it’s so uncomfortable sitting rather than in bed that I jerk back awake the moment I size off.

  • By intoxiastaina, November 3, 2011 @ 11:09 am

    like you post: to my @doueghua twitter

  • By Robert Willis - Buzzer Editor, November 4, 2011 @ 10:03 am

    Hi intoxiastaina: Thanks!

  • By Robert Willis - Buzzer Editor, November 4, 2011 @ 10:04 am

    Daniel: I can’t sleep on transit either. I’m envious of those who can! Good point about smart phones, they can be costly!

Other Links to this Post

  1. The Buzzer blog » The results of the October “What motivates how you spend most of your time on transit?” poll — October 28, 2011 @ 1:04 pm

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