Transit terror

Do you find using TransLink scary?

By Sonia Panesar, Contributor

Many students use TransLink to get around, and few students travel without witnessing drama on the SkyTrain or bus. I use transit to get almost everywhere—to school, the mall, and several other places—and something interesting always ends up happening.

For instance, at Scott Road Station, the majority of the public races down the stairs for the 319 bus because, even though it’s a frequent bus, they’re all eager to get home. On one particular day, a man who seemed to be in his 50s was walking towards the escalator while almost everyone else was running. While he was walking, a young man dashed by him. He got in this older man’s way, and the older man, furious, punched the boy in the face. The young man didn’t stop to fight, he just ran away. Everyone else ignored what had happened and proceeded with their lives—apart from skipping using the escalator since the older man stood with his arms spread wide so no one could get ahead of him. Like that wasn’t enough, he started yelling, “Why does everyone have to run for the bus?” He continued to rant away as he headed to the buses, adding a couple of swear words here and there.

By the time I got to the bus, it was already packed and there was a line. I was very much aware that the older man was taking his sweet time to get in line because he was still talking to himself. Since the bus was already full, it departed shortly. Luckily for the rest of us who were waiting, there was another bus parked at the stop behind. The majority of us got onto it, and the man who was ranting finally made his way onto the bus and sat at the back. I managed to catch a glimpse of his face, and he had mucus running down from his nose, but he didn’t seem bothered by it.

The bus was silent for some time—until someone started singing at the top of their lungs. We all realized that it was the older man, singing his heart out with his earphones plugged in. I wasn’t familiar with the song, but I noticed that it had a lot of swearing in it. The lyrics of his song were completely inappropriate, and were poisoning the ears of the passengers on the bus. No one approached him, let alone asked him to stop singing. Honestly, he was regular-sized, he didn’t have a strong build, but I didn’t have the guts to approach him and ask him to be quiet.

I always see intimidating people on TransLink: some who talk to themselves, others who reek of alcohol or weed. It feels like an unsafe environment because we’re constantly surrounded by such characters. When you’re on the SkyTrain or bus, it seems necessary to avoid eye contact with strangers, because who knows if they might snap at you, making you the next victim.