Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sick and Tired of Winter and a #17 nightmare

Well it's not even January and I'm tired of winter.

Of course the fact that we're having a winter of epic proportions doesn't help. It started with sub Arctic, by Vancouver standards, temperatures in the first week of December and now we've had freakin' snow on the ground for over two weeks with no sign of relief in sight.

Hey, if I wanted winter I'd have stayed in Ontario and learned to love ice storms.

As a true Vancouverite I have no snow tires on my car, but unlike many locals I don't drive in the snow as a result. This means that for the past two weeks I've been a dutiful walker/public transit user. The walking is fine but the transit is ludicrously bad. We live in a transit "Black Hole" so it's almost always quicker to walk anywhere less than a couple of miles from the house but getting to work requires a bus.

On Monday I left work early and walked the 15 blocks to Robson and Howe to catch the #17 Oak home. I walked because the bus service up Georgia or Robson in "late night hours" is once every 30 minutes, and because I wanted to stop off at the BCLDB to restock my cider and king can inventory. My question would be: since when is 9pm in a major city "late night" ?

So I arrive at Robson/Howe at 9:44, there is a very long line of people which leads me to believe that the buses are not running very frequently but a couple arrive quickly so I feel OK. I call translink and identify my stop # and am informed that the next "#17 Oak" will arrive at 9:52 pm - excellent I should be home by 10:15ish. I then phone wife to advise her that I'm at the bus stop and should be home soon, and then I resume my wait.........and wait.........and wait. Many #10, #7, #4 and #17 UBC buses arrive and depart but still no elusive #17 Oak.

I phone Translink again and wait 6 minutes to be connected to a human, I ask if there are problems with the #17 Oak as I've now been waiting 45 minutes. I am informed that while there was a reported mechanical problem earlier there should be no delays but that the conditions were making things slow, I'm then asked "where would I be taking the bus to ?" - I reply "17th and Oak" and am told that the trip should only take 12 minutes from where I am.

I hang up and inform the gentleman behind me with his 5 year old that TransLink has no solution, he then says "well we're heading to 19th and Oak. Shall we share a cab?' - you bet we shall. I flag a cab and as we are about to get in a woman asks if she can join - she's going to 10th and Oak, we all board. As we cross the Granville bridge we spot no fewer than 5 buses stranded at the Hemlock underpass with flashers on, not moving.

So my question is: If the freakin' buses were stuck why didn't Translink know ?

Anyway my share of the cab is $5, as opposed to $2.50 for the bus and I arrive home at a few minutes before 11pm. And they wonder why people don't ride the bus.

It's New Year's Eve and I'm working, of course, it's still not fit for me to drive and getting a cab at 3 in the morning will be impossible so I've resigned myself to walking home.

Happy New Year.


  1. Anonymous5:30 PM

    Good read as always.
    Wish I was on a bus in Mexico.
    By the way, Maddie is not 9.

  2. Yeah but I was too depressed at her reaching "double digits" to accept it.

    Thanks for the pick-up, I've made the edit