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10 Heat Wave survival tips from TransLink’s Buzzer

A sunrise over the SkyTrain in New Westminster.

A sunrise over the SkyTrain in New Westminster.

In a few days, it’s going to be HOT with temperatures soaring upwards of 28 degrees Celsius—or 34 degrees Celsius if you factor in humidity!

We’re quite used to the temperate weather in Metro Vancouver, so it might get a little uncomfortable especially on crowded buses and SkyTrain cars.

Before you head out out the door, here are ten heat wave survival tips for traveling on transit!

1. Plan ahead

Summer season is also detour season! Festivals, marathons, and markets are taking place across Metro Vancouver, so be sure to follow us on Twitter (@TransLink) and check the Transit Alerts page before you go.

You can also plan your trip using our Trip Planner tool to find the fastest way to get to your destination with the least amount of walking and minimize layover time between transfers. And don’t forget to check out where your bus is in real time by clicking on Next Bus via m.translink.ca!

If you think you’ll need time to recover from the heat, it might be a good idea to start your trip a little earlier too. This way you aren’t running after the train and it will give you time to recuperate between transfers such as spending some time in the shade or grabbing an ice cold drink.

2. Ride beside others as you would have them ride beside you.

It’s at times like these we need to remember the Golden Rule of Transit: “Ride beside others as you would have them ride beside you.”

Since heat and crowded conditions can make people very testy, we need to be all the more mindful at these times of what we do around others. If you can, try to observe basic hygiene and don’t go too far with the cologne, after-shave or perfume, since so many people are severely allergic.

3. Dress smart

Our buses do not have a “dress code” as such, but for safety reasons, shirts and footwear are required on SkyTrain; so if you’ve been to the beach and take the bus back intending to transfer to SkyTrain, make sure you have a shirt on and something on your feet.

It’s a good idea to wear white or light coloured, breathable clothing since black and other dark colours trap heat. Remember to wear sunscreen and sunglasses—being inside the bus doesn’t protect you from harmful UV rays!

And remember to apply the Golden Rule – would you want to sit next to someone on a hot day without a layer of cloth between you?

4. Drink plenty of fluids

Generally, food and drink are not allowed on transit vehicles, but since it’s important to stay hydrated, I’m sure our drivers will cut you some slack and allow you to bring a bottle of water on board. ;)

Absolutely no drinks with no lids! It might be a good idea to stay away beverages such as coffee and pop since they could cause dehydration.

Be mindful that it is sometimes necessary for our transit vehicles to come to a sudden stop, so it’s probably not a good idea to drink while the vehicle is in motion. Even though it’s a hot day, I’m sure you don’t want to spill water on yourself or having your water bottle go flying across the bus and spilling.

5. Keep those windows open—or shut! 

The majority of TransLink vehicles are not air-conditioned, but some are! These include our Mark II SkyTrain cars, highway coaches, newer community shuttles, and newer buses in West Vancouver and Richmond.

Vehicles that are air conditioned have signage on the windows saying so and it’s important to remember to keep those windows closed. It can take some time for the bus to become cool if it just entered service, so be patient rather than opening the window. It will be worth the wait!

Mark I SkyTrain cars were built without air conditioning because in the mid-1980s, when they were built, A/C units were much heavier and more expensive than they are now. Since those issues were resolved by the time the Mark II cars were built, the newer cars and Canada Line have air conditioning.

If you want a window opened or closed, as a courtesy, it might be nice to ask around first in case somebody has a preference for the window to be opened or closed. They might have allergies!

6. Stretch the priority seating definition

Stretch your definition of who should have priority in seating. Our signage says seniors and people with disabilities have priority, but if you see someone on a hot day who looks like they need the seat more than you do, please be courteous and offer it to them.

7. Strategize

Figure out which seat will get you away from the sun and plan accordingly! It will make for a more comfortable and cooler ride. Consider waiting for an air conditioned SkyTrain car if you think you need it.

8. Adjust your travel times

Do you really need to hop on the bus at 2:00 p.m. in the afternoon to do grocery shopping? Consider travelling earlier or later in the day when transit is less crowded and the weather outside is a little bit cooler. Remember, it’s a one-zone fare after 6:30 p.m.!

9. Move to the back of the bus

Moving all the way to the back of the bus means more people can get onto the bus and more room for you too in this weather. We promise there’s no black hole in the middle of the bus!

10. BREATHE!

Above all, BREATHE! We all look forward to a warm summer and here it is.  Cut others some slack and enjoy the nice weather. Days like these don’t last long in this area.

Vancouver’s climate and transportation system are two factors that make it one of the most livable regions in the world. Observing these suggestions and maintaining your own “situational awareness” can make for a more pleasant experience all around.

Let us know in the comments section, tweet us @TheBuzzer, or email us at thebuzzer@translink.ca how you plan to beat the heat!

Author: Allen Tung


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