New public transit option promises to be ‘dangerously fun’
By Caroline Ho, Web Editor
Tired of waiting for buses that never seem to arrive? Losing your marbles from the incessant SkyTrain drone that’s come to haunt your every nightmare? TransLink’s proposed new zipline might just be the solution to all of your transit qualms.
At a press conference last Friday, TransLink’s special Acceleration from Horrifying Heights Task Force (AHH Force) announced its plans to alleviate transit congestion and “general bus-riding monotony” with the introduction of a series of ziplines across the urban skyline.
“We know taking public transit sucks ass,” said AHH Force chairperson Riley Fast. “That’s why we’ve designed a solution to make your daily trip as blisteringly quick as physically possible.”
The new “Z-Lines,” as they will be called, will consist of a series of cables and pulleys stretching from the tops of high-rises and sturdy-looking big trees. Commuters will simply hop on, grab a pulley, and zip away to their destination. The ziplines are intended to replace several frequently overcrowded bus and SkyTrain routes throughout Metro Vancouver.
Fast said to reporters that the task force hadn’t quite figured out yet exactly which routes were being replaced with Z-Lines but envisioned they would be changed up arbitrarily every once in a while to keep things interesting.
“Our goal is to spice up commuting again,” Fast said. “Because we know that’s what the ordinary transit rider really wants in their daily grind. Regular routine? Getting to class or work on time? No, we value making your commute as eventful and unpredictable as possible.”
AHH Force decided on the Z-Line system based on the recommendations of a group of expert consultants as well as a committee of carefully screened volunteers, which included three aggressive cyclists, several oblivious wearing-backpack-on-crowded-bus students, and one proud N-stickered-BMW driver.
Other options considered by the task force included triple-decker buses, hoverboard rentals, and flooding the city streets in order to replace all vehicles with gondolas. However, ziplines were ultimately chosen based on cost-effectiveness and their ability to improve Vancouver’s reputation as a cool city.
The announcement of the Z-Line system has been met with lukewarm reviews so far. The Other Press spoke with retired urban planner M. T. Rhodes, who was concerned about the practicality of the system.
“Safety is one obvious issue,” he said. “I mean, just stringing a thin cable up probably dozens of metres in the air? What if a bird flies into it or something? Think of those poor birds.”
“Noise pollution is, of course, also a big concern. Passers-by below are going to be subjected to the incessant exhilarated screaming of everyone zipping through the air above them. No one’s going to want to work and be a productive drone for capitalism if they hear anyone else having fun.”
New Westminster resident Carla Lane also expressed her apprehension about the safety aspect.
“I hope they don’t make you wear a helmet,” she said to the Other Press. “That would mess up my hair. A safety vest might be all right though—those are pretty Instagrammable. Then again, I never actually take transit because I consider my vehicle to be an extension of my soul.”
Veteran bus driver Han King, who has been driving for TransLink for 34 years, was even more critical of the proposal.
“That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard,” said King. “Zee-Line, seriously? We’re in Canada. You don’t pronounce the letter ‘Z’ like that. I’m boycotting it on principle.”
According to the AHH Force, the Z-Line system will cost the taxpayers’ approximately the same as 12 much-needed school upgrades and is estimated to be fully operational sometime between 2025 and 2100.