Tag Archives: 99 bus

That time I rode a party bus to school

Yesterday’s morning transit was unusual, to say the least.

Usually, I take the Skytrain from Burnaby all the way to the VCC-Clark station, where I’d rush off to catch the 84 bus. I had expected that morning’s commute to be no different.

When the Skytrain pulled into the Commercial-Broadway station, however, it stopped on the other side—the side headed back where I had come from.

Obviously, I wasn’t going to stick around and find out if the train was really heading back east. Thus, I exited with all the other commuters and lined up for the 99 B-line Express although it doesn’t feel very express. As usual, I passed up on the first bus that came by in order to get a seat. 

A minute later, a big, black bus with decorated windows pulled up to the curb. Oi, I thought this was a public transit stop only!

Blacked out windows do not a creeper vehicle necessarily make.

A couple of well-dressed dudes hopped out and cheerfully shouted, “who wants to go straight to UBC?”

Oh. Well…

So after .54238 seconds of hesitation, I got on, unsure of whether I would actually make it to class today or if I was going to be a victim of a public mass murder. Hey, I have an active imagination.

The bus was decked out with streamers, red bull, and balloons. There were faded leather seats, and at least one onboard washroom.

Is EVERYTHING at UBC sponsored by Red Bull?

Once everyone was seated and the bus started pulling away from the stop, the men introduced themselves as “kind of” from the AMS, and told us that the free rental bus that we were sitting in was a thing to promote their campaign for better, more reliable transit. Their only request was that we texted a number (given to us at the time) to sign a petition.

I think the majority of the bemused commuters ended up texting the petition, but there wasn’t really a huge obligation to do so. From what I could tell, it was a multi-step process of texting my name and email to the petition line. Sidenote: I’m still not sure if I’ll actually do so.

What felt like 40 or so total strangers squished up on a cozy bus. Look at ’em, getting all friendly with their fellow passengers.

Just half an hour (and 5 major bus stops—Cambie, Granville, Macdonald, Alma, Sasamat) later, I stepped off the bus and onto the plaza north of the SUB.

People lining up for interviews at UBC

People lining up for interviews. Such an exciting ordeal!

And that’s the story of how I got to class 20 minutes early! Man, was I glad I’d waited.

For more information and a more accurate description, read the Ubyssey’s article.

Today I got hit with a Random Act of Kindness

Okay, maybe ‘hit’ was the wrong word to use.

But something really cool happened today, I swear.

I had just got off the 99 B-line bus, juggling my ipod, backpack, sunglasses, and an empty Tim Horton’s Iced Capp cup (seriously, those things are the best on a hot summer day). I meant to put the container in a garbage bin as soon as I got off the bus, but somehow I’d dropped it in the excitement of actually getting off the bus—smooth move, I know.

When I turned around to pick up the straw and cup, I saw a 60ish-year-old man  holding up my trash. He said something, and I was like “huh?”, and then in a much louder voice he said he’d find a garbage and throw it away for me. I was pretty surprised, but I said “alright” and went on my way.

I told you it was a cool story.

Actually, though, this is a friendly reminder that Vancouver is full of nice people. I’m pretty darn lucky to live here.

How to sleep on the bus

This is how I’ve come to take naps on the bus!
The slouching minimizes the distance between your face and your bag, therefore reducing the strain on your neck.  Also, you can avoid making eye contact with strangers this way. Tried, tested, true!

This is the alternate position, and also the comfier one. It only works when you’re small enough (or the seat is big enough) to rest your head on the back of the seat. However, it’s not very attractive as your neck gets stretched out and your mouth has a tendency to loll open.

Don’t do these.

RUDE. If on priority seating, DOUBLY RUDE.

This is not how you make friends.

Following this position, you may end up on the bus floor *shudder*

Note the drool. What of course this has never happened to me!

For those of you who have good bus ettiquette, Kan has a few grateful words for you.

People-watching on the 99

Things I’m not doing: Preparing to move.

The other day, I took public transit to Cambie and Broadway, where my orthodontist’s office is.

That means I took the 99 B-Line Express bus, which is probably one of the busiest bus routes (the only other huge bus I can think of is the 135 on Hastings Street).  Even on a supposedly non-busy hour like 10am, the bus gets pretty full.  It runs from Commercial-Broadway Skytrain station all the way to UBC, stopping only at major transit stops.  It’s supposed to come every three minutes, which is handy because there are so many people (both students and professionals) coming from all over Greater Vancouver.


On the bus down to the Skytrain, I saw a girl, and someone who presumably was her father, carrying lots of bags and a huge hot pink suitcase.  It was one of those shiny, plasticky suitcases, and it was at least half the girl’s size.  Automatically, I knew she was heading off on a long, extended trip.  It turned out to be that GWAPS and I were heading in the same westward direction (“GWAPS” is the Girl With A Pink Suitcase).  When we got onto the same 99 B-line bus, it finally occurred to me that GWAPS is actually another UBC student! And I’ll bet that she was a fellow first year, too. Question: Are non-international students only allowed to move in on September 1st?

Immediately, I started to notice other potential UBC mates.  There were the twin sisters with long braids; they looked about my age.  And then there was the glasses-wearing, Emma Stone look-alike.  In addition, there were lots of people wearing heavier school backpacks; typical of what you’d see on a normal school day.  I’m pretty sure I accused (all in my head, of course) about a dozen people of being UBC students before I even got off at my stop.

To be honest, I don’t know where I’m going with this. Maybe I’m saying that there will probably always be at least one UBC student on the 99 bus at any time.  I’ll just have you all know; if you see a small Asian girl squinting at you on the bus, it’s probably not me. That is all.

PS. Good luck this school year, GWAPS! I liked those shoes you were wearing!