By: Jessica Pickering, Grace Rose, Rebecca Zorg, Dan Hoy, Rebecca Chen, and Micaela Evans
Grace and The Old Lady Who Touched Her Hair
For some context, my hair is usually in braids or some sort of unique hairstyle. As a black woman, my hair can attract all sorts of attention, both wanted and unwanted, and in this case it was very much unwanted. I was sitting on a bus, minding my own business, when I felt a tugging on my braids. I turned around and some old lady was touching my hair. I nicely asked her to stop and her response was, “Oh, I didn’t think you’d feel it.” What kind of logic is that??? I don’t go up to you and start touching you without your consent. Please keep your hands to yourself!
Halloween on the 701
Back when I lived in Maple Ridge, I’d have to take the bus home late every Thursday night. Normally, this was an unpleasant experience anyway, but on Halloween it was even worse. A middle-aged woman and her teenage BFF (I’m serious, that’s what they called each other) got into a screaming match with another guy on the bus, who left. The woman then proceeded to start shamelessly drinking a one-litre bottle of Palm Bay right on the bus.
The 701 bus route also happens to pass by the most popular bar in the area: Roosters. Everyone who was kind of pre-drunk got off the bus at this stop, but in came the people who were really fucked up. I’m 99% sure someone puked. Worst. Bus ride. Ever.
It was in the spring of 2010 and I had moved to Canada only a few months before for my first term at SFU, jumping into a new relationship (with my now-fiancé) at the same time. We were on our way to Coquitlam station on the 97, sitting at the front of the bus. As new couples often do, we shared a healthy dose of PDA — probably too much for other people’s liking, but we were newly in love. We didn’t care until the bus driver pulled into Coquitlam station and we pulled away from each other.
Only then did we notice the man in front of us, not older than mid-60s, staring right at us with this creepy smirk. We got up, he didn’t. That’s when we noticed what he was doing: masturbating on the bus while watching us.
That was the end of our PDA.
The Party is Over
My girlfriend and I were on the Canada Line coming back home from a trip. A middle-aged lady dressed strictly in a bizarre ‘80s style stood up from her seat and started screaming at people that “the party is over” and it was time to “get back to work.” She repeated these lines, over and over, doing a half-hearted march up and down the Skytrain. I avoided eye contact because the last thing I wanted was to even understand what she was talking about. Eventually, she got off the train. I suppose her party time was over and she had to get back to work.
We were on our way to an escape room downtown when a German girl made her way toward us after being verbally and sexually harassed by a group of intoxicated boys. My friend turns to the group and asks them to calm down. Ironically, this does not calm them down. They stand up and advance toward us, chanting racial and gender slurs. We ask them to sit. The most unruly boy led the charge, bulldozing through our group like a hungry hippo, starting an unwarranted fist fight.
A cut hand, bruises, a possible concussion, and a pair of broken glasses later, we all push and shove out of the train where the police are running toward us. Somehow, two other men had joined the fray in an attempt to break up the fight. Unfortunately, the police pinned them down first, allowing the real perpetrators to get away. We ended up missing our booking, but got to escape in a whole other way. . .
My transit nightmare happened on the first day of class, as all great embarrassments do. I was riding the 135 (95 now) like I did every week for years, on my way to begin new classes.
The bus driver decided to slam their breaks to change lanes while on a large hill, and while it’s normally fairly safe to ride transit in a wheelchair, what that driver did was far from safe. Because some older buses have not made it so wheelchair users can safely ride backwards, the force of the slammed breaks combined with the bus angled downwards threw me from my forward-facing wheelchair. I landed on the floor of the bus near the bus pass machine, hurt, embarrassed, and upset.
Two broken ankles and a day in the hospital later, you could say my first day of classes didn’t go as planned.
The best part of this story? The driver blamed me for the accident, both while I was on the ground dazed and injured, and afterwards, when they continued to operate busses on the same route I had to use, and would make snide, condescending remarks whenever we unfortunately crossed paths. Thank you, TransLink, for another great instance of how dangerous the system can be to bodies considered outside the ‘norm.’
Stop Making Out Please
One time I was on a bus quite late and a couple got on. Now this bus was fairly empty, yet they chose to sit right in front of me. About five minutes later they proceeded to start making out in a very aggressive, loud, and sloppy manner. I tried to avoid looking at them but a) that’s pretty hard to do when they’re right there and b) it was so loud you kinda couldn’t tune it out. Yet that didn’t stop the woman from looking straight at me and asking, “The fuck do you want?” I want to get off this bus, lady. That’s what I want.
Worst Day of My Life
Back in December, I was working in Stanley Park. This transit trip was rough, but what made it worse on this day was the fact that I was at my parents’ house; a two-hour drive away.
Oh yeah, and there was a surprise snow storm.
It took me almost eight hours to get to work, between the West Coast Express not running, a police incident at a Skytrain station, and having to walk from Waterfront to the park while carrying a ten-pound bag because the bus wasn’t running. Did I mention that I got my period while waiting in line at the Commercial-Broadway platform for two hours? ‘Cause that happened.