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Translink Buzzer Blog

The November 2011 Buzzer, Pet Peeve Battle and Ed Spence: Buzzer illustrator interview

Ed Spence and Disco Dog

Disco Dog and his illustrator Ed Spence

Another month and another new Buzzer arrives on buses, SkyTrain, SeaBus and West Coast Express. This month is a little different for a couple of reasons: Firstly, much of the issue is devoted to a subject that almost everyone has an opinion on, transit pet peeves (aka etiquette on transit). The second reason this month’s issue of the Buzzer is different is because for the first time in Buzzer history (recent history at least) we’ve invited a past illustrator back to do a second Buzzer cover.

I’ve been wanting to talk about how people conduct themselves on the system since I started at TransLink in April, so I’m pretty excited to announce this new campaign, which launch on our Facebook page,

Starting November 17th on Facebook, anyone can vote on which of eight transit pet peeves is the biggest pet peeve of them all! Each day, day two pet peeves will battle to see which goes on to the next round. During the campaign, we’ll be giving away prizes each battle day to people who like our Facebook page. Prizes include 3-Zone bus passes, gift certificates and much more!

The pet peeves include music being played too loud on transit (Disco Dog), eating on transit (Hungry Hamster), having loud phone conversations on transit (Chatty Chihuahua) and other peeves and their corresponding characters including people not offering courtesy seats to those who need them more. The complete list of characters will be revealed on November 17th when the battle officially starts. If you think blocking the SkyTrain doors so people have difficulty getting off the train is way worse than playing music on 11 on transit, then you’ll want to cast your vote and possibly win a prize for your trouble!

Not a day goes by that I don’t see a comment on Facebook, Twitter, the blog or elsewhere about pet peeves on transit caused by other transit riders. The hope is that the campaign gets people to start thinking more about their actions on transit and possibly change their peevish habits.

Hungy Hamster

Hungry Hamster

Now for that second reason this issue is different. The Buzzer usually has a different illustrator every month. Not only has Ed Spence done a cover before, he did one only two months ago for the September service change issue. The reason for this is because Ed was simply the best fit to illustrate the pet peeves. His comic-strip like illustrations and ability to draw pretty much anything really lend him to the idea of pet personifying etiquette faux pas on transit. It also helped that I received more than a few comments about how much people liked Ed’s work. Ed is actually putting the finishing touches on the last few pet peeves, but he took some time out of his Art filled existence to answer a few questions about his work on this month’s Buzzer and the pet peeve campaign:

There are a lot of different pets and pet peeves to illustrate for this campaign. Where did you draw your inspiration from when you sat down to draw these?
My mind immediately went back to Ren & Stimpy, Sponge Bob, Daffy Duck… all of those classic or classically-inspired animated cartoons that I watched as a youngster.  I tried to capture the same expressive gestures and line qualities that made their character designs so effective.

Have you ever drawn a Chihuahua before?
Not that I recollect.

What’s your biggest pet peeve when it comes to public transit?
I think it would have to be people who don’t have their bus change ready.  It’s usually me.

What’s been your favourite pet peeve to draw?
The hungry hamster, for sure.  I get some sort of perverse satisfaction out of drawing disgusting things.

Chatty Chihuahua

Chatty Chihuahua

There’s more in this  issue of the Buzzer than fat hamsters and a chihuahua wearing dress shirts and no pants. There’s info about Fall Bike to Work Week as well as the holiday transit service for Remembrance Day. I also included much of the info from the How to take your bike on the bus post.

Since the issue is devoted to transit etiquette, the Back Issues section includes some of the seven suggestions on how to conduct yourself on transit from the June 24, 1949 issue of the Buzzer.

Here’s my favourite suggestion:

#7 Refrain from affectations and conceited airs. Remember that you are riding a distance for sixpence, which, if made in a hackney coach, would cost you so many shillings: and that, should your price elevate you above plebian accommodations, your purse should enable you to command aristocratic indulgences.

If you haven’t seen the new issue on the system yet (SkyTrain and SeaBus almost always have them, but it’s up to bus operators to stock their buses with them), you can always download it as well as past issues as a .pdf. Happy reading and make sure to vote for your biggest pet peeve starting November 17!


  • By Reva, November 9, 2011 @ 5:16 pm

    LOL, I can’t wait to see all the Pet Peeves drawings, what a great idea. Is Translink considering using them for an ad campaign on transit vehicles and in stations? I think these goofy cartoon characters would really catch on compared to past etiquette campaigns which were straightforward, but rather bland. I want to be able to tap an annoying person on the shoulder, point to the sign, and say, “don’t be such a darn Chatty Chihuahua!” or something to that effect. :)

    I saw something hilarious the other day on the bus. It was pretty crowded. Some suave young dude sitting near the front was yakking away on his cell phone in loudly animated Italian, hand gestures and everything. The other passengers were giving him dirty looks, when suddenly an elderly woman with a cane hobbled on to the bus. This guy jumps up out of his seat, clears people out of grandma’s way, takes her gently by the elbow, and escorts her safely to the seat he just vacated — and all without stopping his crazy phone conversation! I had to laugh. How can someone be so rude yet so polite at the same time? I gave him a pass for being so annoying on the phone after that.

    Transit: never a dull moment. :)

  • By ;-), November 9, 2011 @ 7:09 pm

    I wish there was something to discourage people from blocking the rear exits. This slows exiting passengers and holds the bus up.

  • By Reva, November 9, 2011 @ 10:04 pm

    ;-), in addition to that, I wish people (besides disabled etc.) would leave by the rear doors if at all possible and NOT the front doors! There is not enough room for people to board and exit the front door at the same time, so everyone getting on has to wait for everyone getting off. It drives me crazy when I see several people make their way up to the front doors (often passing the rear doors in the process) and get off the bus at a leisurely pace, rear doors totally unused, while a crowd is waiting to get on. Such an unnecessary reason to have a delay! How hard is it for most people to exit by the rear doors most of the time? Seriously! This problem did not exist in Vancouver 10 years ago. What’s changed?

  • By Robert Willis - Buzzer Editor, November 10, 2011 @ 10:40 am

    Eva: I think this campaign is going to be a lot of fun. I love your story about the peeve conflicted suave young dude! I think education can really help someone like this who obviously does think of others… although not all the time.

    I agree with you about leaving by the back doors if you can. There’s so much going on at the front of the bus that having people also exit at the front only makes it more difficult to keep the system moving smoothly.

    Thanks for your thoughts! I’ll keep them in mind as I finish up the campaign. And make sure to vote for your biggest transit pet peeve starting November 17th!

    ;-): There just might be a pet peeve specifically for this. Check on the 17th! Thanks!

  • By Manuella Noriega, November 15, 2011 @ 12:34 pm

    A major pet peeve, parents who park their SUV like strollers. Don’t they make those sub-compact. Worse is when their kids can walk. Even worse is when they use the same strollers to carry their shopping bags. Selfish #%@$*&. Makes me glad I’m not a mother.
    Another one: parents who fail to teach their kids basic manners. They end up growing into the subjects depicted in the Buzzer.

  • By Markus Mayer, November 15, 2011 @ 3:21 pm

    FWIW, this is my list from the lesser ones to the worst. Cell phones and loud music don’t really rank on my list of “favourites”. I can deal with those.

    People who have their bag “sit” beside them in a seat

    People who sit on the isle seat when the window seat is available (optionally, with bag sitting on the window seat — that bag must surely enjoy the view)

    People, on a crowded bus, who wait 5-10 seconds *after* the bus has pulled into a stop before they even start thinking about making their way to the door (which, of course, takes forever)

    People who ring the bell for the wrong stop and don’t get off; folks, there are displays and audio recordings now, announcing stops ahead of time!

    People who don’t let others get off the train/bus first

    People who don’t move to the back of the bus after boarding or as the bus gets fuller down the road (worse if it’s the same people on the same bus every day — they should really know better; and no, the driver shouldn’t have to prompt you every day anew)

    People who don’t take their backpacks off, regardless of how crowded bus or train get (VERY, VERY few folks do take them off!)

    People who think it’s a good idea to clog up the door area on SkyTrain cars while there’s tons of room everywhere else, sometimes even seats — and people on the platform get left behind, because they can’t fit on. Unfortunately, this one seems wildly popular.

    People who block the left side of the escalator. Or those who walk up on the left at first and then stop towards the top, once they realize the train that just arrived is not theirs. After all, there’s NO POSSIBLE WAY there could be ANYBODY behind them who might like to catch that train, is there?

  • By Reva, November 15, 2011 @ 7:53 pm

    @ Markus M: I wish I could “like” your post about 20 times. It drives me crazy when there are so many people out there who don’t give a flying rat’s hindquarters about anyone but themselves.

    Combination peeve: People not moving to the back of the bus because not only do they not care / aren’t paying attention, but they can’t hear the driver’s announcements due to eardrums monopolized by iPods and cell phones!

  • By K Broadbent, November 16, 2011 @ 3:22 pm

    The worst thing I have seen on sky Train was a elderly gent to my horror was crawling with bed bugs!!!At first I wasn’t sure what was crawling on his jacket,but I was in a position to get a good look and sure enough it was bedbugs!!!!!!!It just so happened that I was looking up info on them a few weeks before this happened,Lucky for me.So beware who you sit beside,when in doubt don’t sit,stand!!

  • By AP, November 16, 2011 @ 6:40 pm

    Sounds fun! My biggest pet peeve out of those is people playing their music too loud. It doesn’t bother much when people talk loud on their cell phones though…….unless the person talks loud on their phone the whole time. I also don’t like how I rarely see people offer older people the priority seats, however, they offer me their priority without a moment’s hesitation. Like, seriously, I’m a teenager and you are offering me your seat over a senior? I feel guilty sitting in the priority seats to tell your the truth.

  • By zack, November 18, 2011 @ 8:05 pm

    My biggest pet peeve is people who block the aisle near the front door on buses and on the rear, same goes for SkyTrain. I especially don’t like it when passengers with iPods plugged in their ears somehow stop and ponder for some reason and forgets that there are like 20+ people behind him!! Recently, I was waiting for the #106 at the Edmonds bus loop and it was fairly long line-up. After a long delayed wait, the bus finally arrived, and I was finally looking forward to board the bus, but those hopes were dashed as the driver said there was no room. As I saw the bus leaving, the passengers were standing between the exit doors and the front. I was so angry and thought that a simple “move to the back” procedure would have alleviated this problem in the first place.

  • By Angelo, February 5, 2012 @ 11:29 pm

    My biggest pet peeve is panhandlers. Not just ordinary ones, aggressive panhandlers. I was on the skytrain a day ago. There was this woman;shes assumed to be indo – canadian(but sans accent, its clear she was born here), overweight, poor dressing habits(almost like she just got out of bed) and always asks people for money. She goes “excuse me do you have 10-20 dollars?” and “do you have money, im hungry??”. When people say no she keeps asking. Especially on the skytrain ; once half the car says no she keeps on aggressively asking people. She approached me on the surrey central skytrain platform and asked me for money. Since this the third time in 10 weeks. I just said no, then walked down the platform. Luckily there was a security attendant(not a cop) with a blue jacket and radio. I approached him , showed my U-Pass and reported the aggressive panhandler. He walked down the platform and wandered around a bit till he caught her. People watched as they reprimanded that obnoxious and rude woman, till they finally escorted her off the platform.
    It was funny that this hobo was able to get away with being a nuisance to passengers for quite a while without transit authorities catching her. The police were on the bus terminal and they did not even notice.

  • By Poor, February 6, 2012 @ 9:07 am

    Yes, panhandling is a difficult problem. Travelling in the states, rarely do I see the verbal solicitation I see here. Only in Asia do I see worse.

    Translink has a difficult job as there is no crime in being poor. The penalties for being a “nuisance” are ineffective.

    It troubles me to see able bodied individuals with signs looking for work, yet we need to import workers to nearby agricultural jobs. We also also need to import workers in our interior industries.

    I think our taxes are high enough. If our taxes need to rise, wages need to increase too.

    Please support your local union.

Other Links to this Post

  1. Translink: Transit Pet Peeves Battle | — November 17, 2011 @ 7:28 pm

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