It’s going to be HOT this week in Metro Vancouver 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. Construction, festivals, marathons and markets are taking place across Metro Vancouver, so be sure to follow us on Twitter (@TransLink), check the Transit Alerts page and plan your trip using our Trip Planner tool before you go.
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
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 on transit doesn’t protect you from harmful UV rays!
For safety reasons, shirts and footwear are required on SkyTrain. If you’re coming back from the beach, make sure you have a shirt on and something on your feet. Remember to apply another 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 feel free to bring a bottle of water on transit – but absolutely no drinks with no lids! 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.
5. Keep those windows open—or shut!
The majority of TransLink vehicles are not air conditioned, but our newer vehicles are! Look for the signage on the window. It can take some time for the vehicle to become cool if it just entered service, so please be patient rather than opening the window.
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.
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 or bus if you think you need it.
8. Adjust your travel times
Do you really need to hop on the bus at 4:00 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 on SkyTrain.
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. Make sure you’re visible to the transit operator
Look out for buses coming down the street and stand at the pole in plenty of time to let the operator know you’d like to board. It’s also not a bad idea to avoid wearing dark clothing (white or bright colours are best) in case the bus operator doesn’t see you. That way they can pull in safely into the stop to pick you up.
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 region.
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.