British Columbia

TransLink rules and etiquette not always observed

Many unpleasant things can happen on transit vehciles in B.C.'s Lower Mainland that aren't illegal, but that doesn't mean they're not irritating or downright embarrassing.

There are many unpleasant things that can happen on transit vehicles in B.C.’s Lower Mainland that aren’t illegal, but that can be anything from annoying to very embarrassing.

TransLink etiquette guidelines

  • Keep doorways clear.
  • Courtesy seats are for persons with disabilities and/or seniors.
  • Personal audio devices should not be able to be heard by other people.
  • Food or drink and moving vehicles don’t mix.
  • Cell phones should be used quietly.
  • Backpacks, luggage, grocery bags, & laptops should be out of the way and off empty seats.
  • Personal hygiene and modest use of scents, please.
  • Walk left, stand right on escalators

Both extremes are actively discouraged by the transit authority, TransLink.

"I've seen some weird stuff," one transit user told CBC News. "I've seen people walk on nude, people totally drugged-out on the SkyTrain."

Others see patterns depending on the day of the week.

"It depends when you go, but Friday or Saturday, it's always crazy and rowdy with people coming from the clubs," said another.

And illegal activity is not unheard of.

"A guy smoking crack on the SkyTrain. Is that obnoxious enough," said another commuter.

Respect is key

There are plenty of YouTube videos showing behaviour on TransLink that probably wouldn't even be appropriate in a nightclub.

TransLink has a list of rules and regulations, but many, such as swearing, breaking the law, being generally obnoxious, listening to loud music or littering are regularly broken.

Nathan Pachal spends nearly two hours a day commuting to work and said transit is not bad during normal rush hour, but after that can be another story.

"Certain people get off shift, crack a beer, and are pounding beer after beer," said Pachal. "Besides being poor etiquette, it's plain illegal."

One-time Vancouver city councillor Gordon Price used to sit on TransLink's board and said the atmosphere can change from neighbourhood to neighbourhood. But he said people will put up with a lot as long as there's a certain amount of respect.

"Where that line is will vary depending on the activity and the person, but by and large, it's a public place. I judge it by the time of the day, where I am, what I am doing," said Price.

But what about behaviour that's just plain irritating?

"If there's a situation where there's a real loudmouth jerk on board, hit the yellow strip, it's amazing how fast they will calm down or get off there," said TransLink spokesman Drew Snider.

TransLink rules

1. No loitering.

2. No foul, insulting, abusive, or inappropriate language.

3. No conduct contrary to public order.

4. No baggage or objects permitted which may obstruct or interfere with others or cause damage to property.

5. No riding bicycles, skateboards or similar devices on transit property, except on bike paths. Bicycles are only permitted on exterior racks of buses and on other transit vehicles as authorized by signage.

6. No use of audio devices unless sound is audible only to the user.

7. No soliciting.

8. No panhandling.

9. No distribution of merchandise or printed material, except:

(a) distribution of printed material for non-commercial purposes will be permitted on transit properties, other than transit vehicles or fare-paid zones, provided such activities:

(i) do not impede the movement of passengers,

(ii) do not hinder access to ticket vending machines,

(iii) do not result in littering, and

(iv) are not otherwise incompatible with the provision of transit services; or

(b) as authorized by a transit employee.

10. No littering or spitting. All litter and recyclables must be placed in the appropriate receptacle.



With files from the CBC's Leah Hendry