Next Stop: Sasamat Street

A look into the 99 B-line Bus

By: Ethan Jasny (Grade 10)

It zooms by, a streak of blue and yellow smearing your vision. If you don’t move fast enough, you’ll miss it. It halts suddenly at strategic points along its route; it follows a constant routine of stops and starts. With the force of an elephant, it rumbles past: always fast, rarely late. It works late into the night, pulling its load, and when it’s done for the day, it refuels and rests until the next morning when it does it all again. You may ask if this is some avid varsity basketball player? One of BC’s best swimmers? Mr. Bohnen marking chemistry quizzes at an incredible rate? No. It is possibly the hardest worker of them all: the 99 B-Line Bus.   

While Translink finally announced its construction of the SkyTrain Broadway extension, it will not be finished until 2025, with services to UBC not beginning until years after that. Thus, the primary means of public transit through the Broadway corridor and West Point Grey is the bus. I talked with various students about their experiences on the B-Line and other bus and SkyTrain routes around the city.

Everyday, Pierre Collet ‘22 buses home from the school to his home in Kitsilano. Usually, he takes either the 9, 14, or the 99 B-Line. He is very thankful for transit in Vancouver, as it allows him to get home quickly and safely. Additionally, he views busing as a somewhat social experience as he often travels home or around the city with his friends. Jenna Lam ‘21, on the other hand, travels via SkyTrain more often. Living in Richmond, the Canada Line provides direct access from the island to downtown Vancouver where she often meets up with friends on the weekends. In this way, Vancouver’s transit system helps bridge the geographical divide between the different neighborhoods in Greater Vancouver.  

Annushka Agarwal ‘22 often chooses to take the bus for environmental reasons. As she explains, when people take the bus, it reduces the number of individual vehicles on the road and and therefore also the number of pollution released. Annushka also remembers the time she ran into Mr. McCullough on the bus, describing it as an awkward yet interesting experience. Mr. McCullough asked her where to find good Indian food in Vancouver, which launched a full-on discussion of the quality of Vij’s. Annushka would contest that the best Indian food in Vancouver is at her house (sorry Mr. McCullough) but either way, transportation allowed for a greater connection between a teacher and a student.

Recently, I traveled with Vincent Gao ‘22, Jeremy Fang ‘21, and Edison Tan ‘21 to UBC where I tried bubble tea for the first time. (With apologies to a certain specific demographic of the school, I did not like it.) While Vincent and Jeremy prefer the relative calm of the bus, Edison is something of a transportational maverick. He rides his electric skateboard around town, daring buses to pass him. Although the buses do usually win, he certainly out-swaggers them! When asked if electric skateboarding could be the future of mass transit in metro Vancouver, Edison was unsure, but seemed hopeful.

In the end, WPGA’s students and teachers come from all over the Lower Mainland. One thing that unites us all, however, is the vast web of transit that spans from Richmond to North Vancouver. With advancements in transportation technology around the world, transit in Vancouver may look completely different in the future than it does know. Who knows, maybe in 30 years we’ll all be buying tickets to ride one of the Edison Tan Transit Authority’s electric skateboards!

 

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