Coming back from an enjoyable evening with friends late last night, my wife and I managed to catch what probably was the last SkyTrain doing the VCC-Clark/Waterfront route.  We thought we were good to go for a one way ride to Downtown, but as we reached the Columbia station, the SkyTrain stopped (as planned, apparently) and we had to switch over to the N19 bus for what was to become an unexpectedly eventful one hour ride home.

1) Just 10 minutes or so into the drive, a man at the back of the bus was offended — no “outraged!” — by the new commuter whose pants were so loose that his briefs were showing.  “You’re a disgrace!”, the angry man yelled — among other things… — as the other sat down in the corner seat at the back of the bus.  Still not satisfied, the pissed off guy got up and continued shouting inches from the young man’s face.  It looked as though the angry man was intent on picking a fight, but the other guy asked “What did I ever do to you?”  The one-way shouting match continued and, not being used to this kind of scene myself, I started worrying about what might happen.  You know…  Those reports about violence around SkyTrain stations and so on seem to come up a little too often in the papers…  Am I going to witness such an event myself tonight?  Actually, looking at the other passengers, it didn’t appear this was going to be the case.  They looked unimpressed by the ordeal and everyone including the driver just asked everyone to calm down. The angry man finally left in a fury, yelling and swearing one last time to the unshaken “victim” as he walked out.  Now that the incident was over, most people seemed amused by the whole thing.

2) We’re about halfway through now and the man in front of me seems to be deep asleep. He’s tilting more and more towards the empty space in the center of the bus.  I figure he will eventually feel, somehow, that he’s on the verge of falling over.  Nope…  He slowly hit the floor headfirst as he fell sideways like a statue.  Flat on the floor now, his sleep seemed undisturbed…  A couple of guys checked on him to see if he had passed out and, barely opening his eyes, it looked like he was “ok” enough; other than that, he was not moving.  The bus driver got up and tried to wake him up for good.  As he finally got a good look at his face, he said: “Oh! It’s you!…  I know you!” and he even told me in a low tone that this guy was a “regular.” lol  Try as he might, the driver could not get the guy to go back to his seat.  He finally gave up and said “Fine!  Stay there!”  and kept on driving.  Every now and then people had to step over him to get to the back seats.  Some people took pictures of the scene, a girl even posing with him while he slept. lol  There was nothing threatening about this guy, but it sure was unusual.

3) Finally, just a few bus stops before the end of the ride, out of nowhere a woman started shouting repeatedly “What do I owe all of you?!!!  What do I owe all of you?!!!”  She left a moment later and things were back to “normal” — well, as normal as this bus ride ever was.  I have no idea what brought her reaction about…

Last stop — it’s about time!!! I’ve had enough entertainment for the evening, thank you very much…  Two transit police/security agents were waiting, all smiles, as their sleeping “friend” was ready for pick up.

Judging from the looks on most people’s faces, it seems like this was just another late night bus ride in Vancouver.  But for an “N” bus newbie, I thought this was quite a show (we’re boring… We don’t do the clubbing scene, party all night, get drunk and take the last transit home thing)!  When I lived in Montreal, I would often come back on the late late bus after checking live bands downtown and never did I witness anything like this!  It was like we hit the jackpot last night — or did we?!  

I’m curious/apprehensive as to what the next “N” bus experience will be like… :s


  1. very interesting blog, I will visit you more often! ;)
    I am planning to visit Vancouver for few months with my wife, I’ve been reading lot of local news and it looks kind of scary – violence, shootings, homicides etc. I live in London (which is like 5x bigger – metro population) and it’s rather calm comparing to Vancouver.
    Plus you have bears in forests :D

    • Yes, it’s strange that one of the world’s “best cities to live in” — it won that coveted title a few times, actually — would have so much trouble with violence. You would think that a city surrounded by nature would reflect a more peaceful population.

      If it’s any comfort to you though, I’d say that, knowing which neighborhoods to avoid (Downtown East Side), Vancouver still feels “very safe” to me although I sensed a certain nervousness about its population when I first moved here in December 2006 (moved from Montreal). Maybe it’s just a matter of the newspapers focusing too much on “the bad stuff” and ignoring the beauty all around…

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