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Olympic Travel Tales: Transit

February 11, 2010

The 2010 Winter Olympics are in Vancouver! There is no way to avoid it and I have to say the city is looking very festive. I’m of the mind that the games are here now so, I may as well join the bandwagon and enjoy myself.
Transit has a massive task in front of them which could make or break the experience for residents and visitors alike.
So far, I’ve been impressed. More cars on the trains, more trains, more buses and some extra signage to label the stations and how to get to venues. Transit is trying really hard to be our ambassadors to the world. Driver’s have Olympic vests, the bus messages have been changed to ‘Welcome World’ and ‘Go for Gold’ they even have a program for riders who are part of the Employee Pass Program.
They ask that we, EPP riders, wear these red ‘Ask Me’ buttons to help new or visiting riders. I’m the only one at my work place who asked for a button so I’m not sure how well the program is going to go over.
So, I’ve recognized all the things transit is doing well, and they are doing some things well, but they forgot about educating all these new and visiting riders. Yup, here’s the rant. With all the money they’ve spent they forgot to put up some simple pictograms to universally make everyone’s ride a more pleasant experience.  I’m talking about simple transit etiquette.

Here, for you, are my three simple guidelines – maybe you can help me spread the word.

1. Give up your seat for those who need it.  I’m talking about the frail, elderly woman at the other end of the car, who seriously looked like she was in her eighties.  She stood in the aisle between rows of seats and of the 8 seats adjacent to her, not a single rider (not a gray hair among them) gave up their seat. Rather they rudely and steadfastly ignored her. I fumed from where I was – there were at least 30 riders between us and I didn’t want to be the loud crazy person shouting from the other end of the train.  Today it was the extremely pregnant woman. Bloody hell people. 

2. Take off your backpack!  Man I’m sick of this.  Your backpack takes up a huge amount of space on your back.  Take it off and put it on the floor between your feet.  I’m so tired of you thinking you are out-of-the-way but you and your back pack take up the whole aisle. I’m so tired of your backpack in my face because you can’t feel it bumping into me. And it’s easier for you to be pickpocketed when it is blindly on your back.

3. Don’t block the doors! Now, I know you’re scared because you’ve never ridden on the Skytrain but, when the train pulls into the station you will be able to get off at your station.  If you insist on standing right in the doorway, just step off the train, let everyone off then step back on.  To the idiot who insisted on standing right in the middle of the doors with his big back pack on and wouldn’t move to let anyone on or off this morning…I have a few choice words but I’m trying to not curse on my blog.

I don’t like to be a ranting complainer.  I just want us to all have a safe and comfortable ride.

Lastly, to all of you who are taking transit for the first time during the Olympics, thank you.  I hope you find it so easy you consider it well beyond the games. And….if you need help, look for me, I’ll be wearing my ‘Ask Me’ button!

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