Transit field report, May 24, 2011

Part of an ongoing series of observations during my frequent forays on transit.

I tweeted the above on the 24th, but it deserves far more than 140 characters, only because it just sounds so bizarre.

I boarded a bus to go to my cousin’s place to watch the Canucks game (truly a game that triggered both agony and ecstasy). At one of the courtesy seats was a pregnant young lady, and she was on the phone, possibly to her mother. She was not in a good mood, and it turns out she was on the bus because no one could give her a ride from the hospital. According to her, there had been many offers to give her rides, including from her dad, but not at the time she wanted to leave the hospital.

It turned out that she was actually in labor, while on the bus. She made no secret of the fact (thanks to that phone conversation that was audible in the front half of the bus) that she’d gone to the hospital thinking her water had broken, and that her contractions were coming 10 minutes apart. But she didn’t want to stay at the hospital, so she’d decided to wait it out at home.

The fact that she was allowed to leave the hospital baffles me, but if the doctors there thought she was fine to leave and come back later, far be it from me to question that. And hopefully she made it home OK, and that she did find a ride back to the hospital when it’s finally time for her to deliver. But it’s incidents like this that make riding transit very interesting.

Transit field reports, February 12, 2011

Part of an ongoing series of observations during my frequent forays on transit.

As a follow up on the last field report I did two weeks ago, I boarded a westbound 025 early Saturday afternoon. No surprise: it was seven minutes late from when it was scheduled to depart. That sort of strengthens the theory of the poor running times for this route on Saturdays.

While on the bus, I was sitting across from a cute nerd couple: he’s sporting the stereotypical glasses and bad haircut, her hair was dyed similar to Milla Jovovich à la Fifth Element. There is hope yet for us who are inept in these kinds of things…

The bus did gain some time on its westbound journey along King Edward. Even with a shift change (it was seamless today), it was only three minutes late by the time I disembarked, but just enough that I made my connection with little time to spare.

That bus was ad-wrapped as part of the Canucks’ 40th anniversary celebrations. I’m normally averse to most bus wraps, but I just leave love seeing these on the road. I was lucky enough to board two buses in a row, both of which are ad-wrapped:

Even better are the profiles of some of the more memorable Canucks from the last 40 years that are found inside the buses. Unfortunately, I’m noticing that whenever I board these wrapped buses, I’m seeing less and less of them. I’m hoping the team releases them somehow, as well as models of the ad-wrapped buses; they’d make great collectibles!

Transit field reports, January 29

Bus #9497, signed as 25 Brentwood Station, with bonus ad-wrap for the Canucks' 40th anniversary.

Part of an ongoing series of observations during my frequent forays on transit.

Not one, not two, but three items of note during a single bus ride earlier today (Saturday), onboard a eastbound 025 on King Edward:

  1. It was a cold and damp kind of day. I have no idea why anyone would open one of the bus’ windows. Sitting near the back, the drafts from that open window were obvious. It certainly wasn’t cool to keep all the passengers cool.
  2. King Edward at Granville Street is designated as a location for driver shift changes. Ideally, the shift should be seamless, as the incoming driver simply sits down and drives away. That is, if the new driver is actually there to relieve his colleague. Everyone on the bus today was in a state of confusion when the driver finishing his shift just walked away from the bus. After about two minutes the driver walked back (supposedly from his car), and two minutes after that, the new driver showed up. (A just-as-interesting shift-change story is found here.)
  3. Just as frustrating as not having the shift change done on time is the fact that the bus was already late getting into Granville in the first place. On an observational basis over the last few weeks, and even before that, I can surmise that the scheduling for the 25 on midday Saturdays doesn’t leave enough running time between timing points, especially between the busiest section between Granville and Nanaimo Station. I say a change is needed.

Photo credit: dennistt @ flickr.

Transit field reports, November 10

A couple of items from my weekly foray into Surrey:

1. 22nd Street Station must be crazy in the peak periods. At least everyone has queued up in an orderly fashion from the bus stop pole. For the bus I was taking that day, the 340 Scottsdale, this line actually looped around itself, since it would be encroaching into the next stop in the loop.

Such a line suggests to me that a bus is late. One bus arrived into the loop and pulled into the stop for the 340, but did not board passengers. That’s when another bus went in behind and opened its doors. The orderly queue broke up immediately as those at the back of the line poured into this bus, while the other passengers who were at the head of the line felt cheated.

But wait, there’s more! I boarded the second bus, fine. But it did not leave with a full load. No standing passenger went up the steps to the rear of the bus. There was a big debate in the Buzzer Blog recently, and I concur with one of the commenters that it’s just the aversion of going up those steps. That must have been double frustration for those passengers at the front of the line, most of whom stuck around to wait to board the first bus.

To Waterfront... eventually

2. I go back home by SkyTrain from Surrey Central. In the few weeks I’ve done this, a train has shown up at about the same time, which allows me to make a crucial bus connection at a Vancouver station. I don’t know if it’s because it’s a day before a holiday, but everything went fubar. I might have waited at the platform for about 20 minutes. Not cool. I tweeted @translink about it, but there didn’t seem to be a problem:

As I was already on a train by the time I saw it, I didn’t pursue it further, but replied back that I’ll monitor it next week if it happens again, or if tonight’s experience on the train was just an anomaly.