Open space in rear of bus confuses, scares passengers
By Greg Waldock, Contributor
Passengers aboard a 502 bus bound for Surrey Central were left stunned early yesterday morning, when their driver made an announcement over the PA system to “move to the back of the bus.”
With the meaning of this statement being so unclear, the passengers could only look around and shuffle awkwardly as the statement was inexplicably repeated. The lineup of people waiting to get onto the bus at Venture Way, where the incident took place, looked on with horror as a half-empty bus somehow seemed too full to let more people on. The situation worsened when the driver, who prefers to remain anonymous, stood up and began to tell people to move further into the interior of the transit vehicle.
“We had no idea what he meant,” said Mary Boxworth, a passenger during the incident. “We were scared and confused. He kept pointing to the little steps that led to the empty back part of the bus. What was he trying to say?”
The driver eventually threw his hands in the air and returned to his seat, leaving a dozen people behind at the bus stop.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first incident of such a mysterious, undecipherable message being heard on TransLink buses.
“This is a growing epidemic,” said Dr. Sarah Trundle, professor of Transit Studies at Simon Fraser University. “People are being asked to ‘make room for other passengers’ and ‘walk two feet up a small set of stairs.’ The meaning of these messages are unclear, and passengers are starting to panic.”
This event comes in the wake of an incident last week, when a driver cryptically told passengers of a 99 B-Line running to the University of British Columbia to “move away from the rear doors, there’s plenty of room literally anywhere else.” Thirteen students fell out of the bus when the rear doors next opened.
On September 23, a high school student was rushed to the hospital when he accidentally stumbled onto the empty back part of a bus ,and found himself confronted with enough free space to accommodate more than a dozen other people, triggering a wave of curiosity about its purpose.
“If only we could decipher what these bus drivers are trying to tell us,” said Dr. Trundle. “There’s a lot about buses we don’t know. How can we fit more passengers onto a bus? Who are the ‘Elderly and Disabled Seats’ reserved for? How many seats can we occupy with a single bag? We just don’t know.”
TransLink representatives refused to comment when asked about the incidents, but did take the opportunity to announce that the Evergreen Line is delayed until 2019.