The Do’s and Don’ts of Public Transit in Metro Vancouver

For some reason we still need to be taught transit etiquette

It’s rush hour in the city, and between your bus being late and the rude passengers you’re already ready to call quits on the day. However, if every single commuter in Metro Vancouver were to follow my handy list of transit do’s and don’ts, getting to work or school would no longer be such an unmitigable chore.

The Do’s

Common courtesy seems to be a forgotten art. On public transit—especially in densely populated areas of Metro Vancouver—overcrowded buses and trains, traffic, delays, malfunctioning SkyTrains, and even the weather can cause frustration.

The most important thing to remember on these days is to remain calm. You can drink away your frustrations later.

Make sure to thank your bus driver. It might sound bizarre, but just remember that, like your Starbucks barista or restaurant server, they are also performing a job for you and therefore deserve to be thanked. It’s the Canadian way, eh?

Also remember to keep music and personal conversations at an appropriate volume. I shouldn’t be able to hear your music over my own, and the 319 to Scott Road isn’t a rock concert.

The Don’ts

One of my biggest pet peeves is people who sit on the outside seat of the bus or SkyTrain, blocking the window seat. Another one is people who place their purse, backpack, or groceries on the seat beside them, preventing other passengers from sitting down. Remember my handy rule for this situation: One seat per ass.

Don’t cut in front of the line when waiting for the bus or the train. This includes people sitting down on bus stop benches—if you’re not actually holding your place in line, then you’re not in line. Everyone else has to wait to board, so unless you’re the Queen of England, get to the back of the line and wait your turn.

Did you know that invisible force fields exist in the back half of all city buses? Apparently, it’s this invisible barrier that prevents people from moving to the back when the bus gets full. Seriously, though, when the aisle is packed with people and more are struggling to board, or the bus driver flips on that annoying “Please move to the rear of the bus!” announcement, walk up the bloody stairs and make more room for other passengers. The stairs won’t bite.

Also, don’t try to push your way onto the SkyTrain while other passengers are trying to disembark. I’m sure you can wait another three seconds.

Finally, the first group of seats on the bus or SkyTrain are reserved for priority passengers, meaning the elderly, people with disabilities, or parents with strollers or young children. It always astounds me how, when these passengers board, young and able-bodied people sitting in the priority zone often refuse to move or stare at each other like deer in headlights until the bus driver tells them to move. Kindly offer them your seat. The generosity might just brighten their day.

The Obvious

The role of public transit is to get passengers from one place to another. Some people, however, forget this and unleash their douchebaggery on the unsuspecting public.

I have been on transit and witnessed belligerent people verbally threatening passengers and bus drivers, and I’ve even seen a passenger physically assaulted with a hammer just two feet in front of me. Verbal and physical threats don’t belong anywhere, but they especially don’t belong on public transit.

So follow these transit rules, Vancouver, and you’ll have a wonderful trip across this beautiful city. Or just insert your earbuds and ignore everyone.

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