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An Open Letter to Translink

Posted by melagee on July 26, 2009

Dear Translink:

You’ll have to forgive me, it’s 2 o’clock in the morning and I’ve been up and writing since 6am, and I am completely exhausted.  Consequently, I may come across a tad more harsh than I wish to, but the fact is that if I don’t say it now, I don’t know if I’ll ever have the nerve to say it.  So here goes.

Why are you guys such assholes?

Okay, that was a big broad.  Let’s focus, shall we?

The bus drivers.  What the fuck is up with the bus drivers?  I rode transit everywhere when I lived in Toronto, all of my life, and I never had serious difficulties with my balance on the buses, the streetcars, of the subway.  And yet as soon as I moved here and set foot on a bus, I couldn’t stand up straight if my life were depending on it – which it often is, considering the way you guys drive.

I thought it was just me, at first.  I thought I had lost my balance some how and I would figure out how to walk on these crazy buses eventually.  But it’s been almost a year now, and I still have yet to make it to my seat on a moving bus without threatening to land face down on the floor.  What’s more, I’ve expressed my concerns about this to other people and have found that I’m not the only one!  Several people have problems standing up right on your buses on a regular basis.

And, not to seem all paranoid, but sometimes I think that when the bus barrels down the street and I land hard on my ass from the force of being thrown back — sometimes I think I can see the driver stealing a furtive glance in the rear view mirror and chuckling softly to himself.

So seriously, what the fuck?  This is just one of many problems with Translink (should I talk about the slow and infrequent service?  the hostile attitude to those who are new to vancouver transit? how about the complete inability of anyone in charge to think beyond a few years and adequately prepare for the future?), and right now it’s the problem that baffles me the most.  Why on earth do your bus drivers have to be such tremendous assholes?

Are all of the bus drivers in vancouver playing one big game that no one is aware of?  Do you have an intricate points system in place for knocking people around the bus and potentially on to the floor?  Because if this is a competition, you should just tell me.  I like to win, and I’d pro ably take a dive.  But you have to tell me, otherwise I’ll just keep trying to stay on my feet.

Anyway, I think I’ve said enough.  I think you’ve got the message now.  I look forward to hearing from you on this matter as soon as possible so that we can put these issues to bed.

Yours in perpetuity,
Melanie C.

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One Response to “An Open Letter to Translink”

  1. You got here just after we sold all the old high-floor trolleybuses from the late 70s to Argentina and Chile. They were good because:

    1. The brakes were worn in.
    2. They had regenerative braking and friction brakes, meaning energy got dumped back into the overhead lines rather than just dissipating into the brake pads.
    3. Their brakes had a natural linear scale, in which the amount of force placed on the pedal transferred directly to the amount of braking. The current ones have some kind of logarithmic or exponential craziness where a little braking goes a bit and a medium amount of braking stops the bus insanely fast. So they’re way jerkier.
    4. They didn’t have to be taken out of service for a firmware update. Yes, seriously. The new ones have had bugs in their software. I’ve seen the driver have to turn it off and then on again to get it to work.

    So sometimes newer is not totally awesome. But they are roomier and accessible at least. Plus, for the jerky drivers, it means that they can claim technical problems because, let’s face it, all the buses respond like that, jerky driver or no!

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