Anatomy of a bus ride: How to catch the westbound 99 B-Line at Clark

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      Anatomy of a bus ride:

      8:40 a.m.: Arrive at Clark and Broadway bus stop headed west.

      8:51 a.m.: Note that two B-Lines and two 9 Almas have stopped but are too crowded to board. Stay back from the hordes of shoving people to avoid early morning fistfight.

      8:53 a.m.: Another B-Line stops; I can't board due to shoving.

      8:56 a.m.: B-Line doesn't even bother to stop.

      8:59 a.m.:

      9:02 a.m.: Despite standing exactly where the back door to the B-Line opens, I get flanked by two people who shove their way onto the bus ahead of me. Finally lose my patience and yell at the entitled jerks who pushed their way on ahead of me. "I've been waiting here for SIX buses! What is your problem?!" Continue yelling until bus doors close.

      9:04 a.m.: Begin rage crying at the bus stop.

      9:07 a.m.: Finally board an overcrowded B-Line to take me to work.

      It is this painful to board a bus at Clark just about every single day. (And don't even get me started on boarding at Commercial-Broadway.)

      We don't need more enforcement, and we don't need a $171 million fare gate-smartcard system if we can't even get enough buses on the road to service the current ridership.

      Fun fact: yesterday morning, something magical happened. While enduring the regular stream of pass-ups and shovers, a completely empty B-Line arrived at my stop. EMPTY. I got to sit in a seat. It didn't make my blood pressure go through the roof. I wasn't almost trampled to death by a steady stream of college students, iPod zombies, and tiny old ladies. By the time we got to the Cambie stop, the bus was full, but not so much so that I could smell the coffee on the breath of my fellow riders. I managed to get to work without screaming at a single person or crying once.

      It was, quite frankly, a miracle.

      When your morning communte reduces you to screaming and tears, there is something fundamentally wrong with the transit system.

      For more bus-riding tales of woe, follow Miranda Nelson on Twitter at @charenton_.



      Skytrain disparately needed

      Sep 13, 2012 at 10:36am

      Why there isn't a Skytrain that goes to one of the busiest schools in the province where there is an abundance of people who can't afford cars and heavily rely on transit is beyond me.


      Sep 13, 2012 at 10:37am

      Ride a bike: bounteous happiness results.

      Mark Fornataro

      Sep 13, 2012 at 11:27am

      Sounds like a machiavellian scheme to produce future marathon running stars for the Olympics and/or depressed patients for Big Pharma.


      Sep 13, 2012 at 1:44pm

      re: Skytrain disparately needed

      It's pretty obvious why there isn't one: the property values of the areas that a skytrain would run through. Where would you run the line? Above ground or underground? I can't see any way of doing it that wouldn't require buying private property in a very expensive part of town full of well connected people who don't want some noisy train for poor people ruining their neighbourhood.

      I can see why no one wants to take this nightmare on after all the issues with the arbutus corridor and the cambie delays during construction of the canada line. It sure is needed though, maybe in the 2020's.


      Sep 13, 2012 at 2:21pm

      I lived near that corner for more than a decade. I rode that bus, at that time of day, for years. Never did I cry or yell at anyone (well, sometimes in my head). Yes it is busy, very much so. However, if you squeeze on, by Cambie and certainly by VGH, it is often possible to get a seat. Or at least a bit of space.

      And if the 99 is just too much, from that corner, it is four blocks to catch the 84 which is often not full and depending on your place in line, it might be possible to get a seat all the to UBC.

      Yes we need more buses, especially at busy times, but we also need less overblown accounts of everyday events.

      Maya Beckersmith

      Sep 13, 2012 at 2:22pm

      Although absurd, it might cut your commute down to hop on a bus to Broadway Station, and wait in the horrendous lineup there. At least there is a (mostly civilized) lineup and you can wait until you get a seat! My newest tactic is to wait in the line going in the front door, and let like 3 buses go by if I feel like sitting down. Okay, maybe that wouldn't be shorter, but it might lead to a reduction in rage-tears.


      Sep 13, 2012 at 2:23pm

      So sick of people complaining that this is Translink's fault. If you want someone to blame, point your finger at the people who feel automobile use is a birthright and who bitch and moan about any tax raise on motorists to pay for better transit. Given how heavily subsidized road usage is, motorists don't pay nearly their fair share, yet their sense of entitlement means they whine that they're already overtaxed. If they did in fact pay their fair share, Translink might actually be able to get the funds to build rapid transit in the Broadway corridor. But don't hold your breath - look how long it took to get the Evergreen Line funded.

      Also, if you know the 99 B-line is going to be ridiculously crowded, and you're able bodied, wouldn't it make sense to walk the three or so blocks east to Commercial to get on at the origin station? I'm not sure which B-line this author has been riding but I've never had more than a one-bus wait at Commercial in all the time I've been living here, and I usually get a seat, too. Seriously, whiny, hand-wringing pieces like this do little to help and only serve to marginalize what are very real concerns.

      Miranda Nelson

      Sep 13, 2012 at 2:34pm

      @ATD, if you've never had more than a one-line wait at Broadway-Commercial, you are the luckiest person in the entire universe.

      I used to take the SkyTrain from Nanaimo to there (a nightmare in and of itself), then catch the B-Line. I would more often than not be stuck in a lineup of no less than 300 people, and have to wait for 3-4 buses to board. The worst lines would wrap through the station and up Commercial Drive.

      See photos and write-ups of those wonderful commutes <a href=" and <a href="


      Sep 13, 2012 at 3:36pm

      Why don't you walk the 5 minutes down to VCC station and catch the 84? its usually quicker to get across town and less crowded.


      Sep 13, 2012 at 3:54pm

      Buy a Ruckus...