Left Coast By Design

Tag: Transit

No Smoking & Lack of Enforcement

Smoking Is Prohibited

Courtesy of Márcio Cabral de Moura

A few years ago, we saw the introduction of some very aggressive laws in British Columbia to protect the public from second-hand smoke. Simply put, it is now against the law to smoke:

  • in any indoor public place – work, bars, restaurants, malls.
  • on public transit or transit shelters.
  • in taxis and work vehicles.

On top of this, a 3 metre non-smoking “buffer zone” was created around all public doorways, windows and air intakes. Some communities took it even further (as found on the BC Lung Association website):

Vancouver & Richmond

  • Smoking is prohibited within customer service areas of food and/or liquor establishments (patios for instance).
  • Within 6 metres of a door, window or air intake of a building.
  • Within 6 metres of the perimeter of a customer service area.

And mostly unedited text from the BC Lung Association:

Surrey

  • Smoking is prohibited in any common public area; in a taxi cab or limousine; on a school bus, public bus or any form of public transportation.
  • Smoking is prohibited in an enclosed or partially enclosed shelter where people wait to board a vehicle for hire or public transit; in a building (except as otherwise permitted by the By-law).
  • Smoking is prohibited in a vehicle if any occupant of the vehicle is under 19 years of age.
  • (Smoking is prohibited) Within seven and one-half metres (7.5 m) of any opening into a building including any door or window that opens or any air intake.
  • Smoking is PERMITTED in a private club or in enclosed premises that are not open to the public.

District of North Vancouver
In addition to BC Tobacco Law restrictions, the District’s new Smoking Regulation Bylaw, 7792 prohibits smoking within six meters of:

  • A patio connected to a business.
  • Any opening into any building, including any door or window that opens, or any air intake.
  • A children’s playground, swimming beach, food concession, picnic area, skateboard park or playing field.
  • The site of any public event or activity that the District has authorized by the issuance of a permit.
  • The grounds of any municipal building used for public recreation.
  • Lynn Valley Village or Maplewood Farm.
  • A transit stop or transit shelter if other people are there.
  • The new bylaw also prohibits smoking in taxicabs.

Pretty darn thorough aren’t they? And just recently we’ve also seen smoking banned in parks throughout Metro Vancouver! So what’s my issue you ask? As the title of this post outlines, there appears to be an extreme lack of enforcement and I’m pretty much fed up about it.

I can’t begin to count how often I’ve encountered someone “on fire” at a bus stop. Or just outside a door. Or underneath the open window that I happen to be sitting opposite to. And while I’ve been apt to speak up and politely ask the person to “extinguish” themselves, the replies have typically not included language found in most Disney movies. Heck, I’ve even heard language not found in hardcore adult movies (or so I’ve been told). In fact, only a couple of days back I ended up coming to the defense of a young mother (with kids in tow) who asked a teen to stop smoking at a bus stop after he told her to “mind her effing business.”

Now in the interest of disclosure, I don’t smoke. Never have, never will. And while my opinion is that each person is their own boss in such matters, I don’t feel that a smoker’s right to light up means I should be subject to toxins produced by the cancer sticks – especially when the law is on my side. But there’s the kicker. While the law may be on my side, I feel I have very little recourse but to subject myself to verbal battery should I try to raise the issue.

Should the police enforce the law? Bylaw enforcement officers? Parking enforcement officers in Vancouver? Definitely! Yet if that means we take them off the streets to go on a smoke hunt, then we’ve likely not got our priorities straight as they obviously have been tasked with other (and quite often more important) duties. So what should we do? I think Josh Lavoie poses a darn good suggestion on twitter:


And what’s not to say these new peace officers, while looking to nab those smoking where they shouldn’t, don’t have other duties assigned to them? It may not be the best solution, but at least it’s a start.

Everything needs to start somewhere.

Slash rant.

The Express Bus

Many years ago, the powers that be at Translink (or Coast Mountain Bus Company – I’m never too sure who thinks these things up) decided that Richmond would be better served by having the 98 B-Line and a number of peak hour commuter buses deliver the masses to and from Vancouver instead of a number of suburban (or would that be interurban) routes. With this change, the powers that be also decided to allow both the pick-up and drop-off of passengers, albeit through a limited stop service, throughout Vancouver to assist with ridership in the city. However, two routes were left as express routes and therefore would “typically” be drop-off/pick-up only in and out of town.

And that’s what has me ranting tonight.

On your marks - get set -

On your marks, get set… – courtesy of Stephen Rees

For as long as I have taken either the 488 Burrard Station/Garden City and 492 Burrard Station/Two Road buses there have always been people who get on the bus in Vancouver thinking that the bus will stop and let them off before we reach Richmond. Although I feel for many as they simply have grown accustomed to most buses in Vancouver taking them as close to their front door as the yellow lines on the road allow, it causes quite a bit of conflict with the transit operators, the transit schedules and people like me who avoided the other choices to Richmond in the hope that we might get home a touch quicker. It doesn’t seem to matter that the bus will have “Express” flash on the front display, nor does it seem to matter when the operator mentions the matter to those boarding. There just always seems to be the one guy who “didn’t know,” and pulls the cord to get off at the “next stop.”

Now maybe it’s the cold I have talking at this point, but there is always a part of me that just wishes the bus kept going. Teach the person a lesson and give them a discounted tour of South Vancouver and North Richmond. How dare they slow me down on my regular commute home from work! I’ve never really counted, but how many different options did this person have to get where they were going in Vancouver, but chose the “quicker” option of a suburban bus? It’s not like it wasn’t going in their direction in the first place, right?

That’s just the problem.

It used to be a common understanding that if the bus was going to Richmond and you didn’t want to get there, you didn’t get on it. There was always that odd exception where someone who truly didn’t know the system or how it worked got on by mistake, but it was so infrequent that it didn’t bother a soul. But now it’s nearly every day. People see that the bus heads down Oak St. and think that it’s okay to inconvenience the majority. Courtesy is tossed to the side of the road. And if the bus doesn’t stop, heaven have mercy on the operator who gets and earful from the person who feels they have a right to do whatever they want.

And Chris sits there. Pissed off and motion sick.

The Physics of Bus Travel

As an avid user of public transit, I’d like to think that I’ve seen it all while riding the publicly funded limousine service, but every time I speak to my Dad who drives them for a living, I’m reminded there is much more to see.

The morning crush

The Morning Crush – courtesy of tiddlywinker

One common scene we both see regularly is the desire of some people to force their way on to a bus before others have had a chance to get off. A longtime phenomena that has plagued riders of the SkyTrain for years, it seemed to appear on the standard bus system with the introduction of 3 door boarding on the B-Line (which I refer to as Sardine Line as they’re always packed). When the doors open, I find that unless I start throwing elbows or pull out my cattle prod, it’s next to impossible to get off at some stops without being run over by those trying to get on. It’s not like people getting on to the bus quick will cause it to leave earlier as there will always be us wanting to get off, nor does it guarantee a seat as I’m probably in the way of a vacant one as I don’t have the means to get off.

eeks

Umbrella, umbrella please go away! – courtesy of mpan3

My other pet peeve typically shows itself when the weather becomes inclement. It seems that covered bus shelters are built in such a fashion that they let the rain, snow, sleet, and frogs pass through so some believe it’s important to keep their umbrella up. Although I have yet to find a shelter such as this, I find time and time again others are taking the safe path and occupy much more space than necessary keeping their head just that much dryer. Again, seriously – why not close your umbrella for the time being? Heck, if you have one, why not stand where you can put it to much better use? However, I’m all about sharing but simply ask that you put your umbrella down and allow many of us to stay just as dry as you are.

There. I’m better.

Slash rant.

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