99 B Line Queuing Study

It looks like I was a part of a study and didn’t even realize it. Back in January, I had arrived at Broadway & Commercial as a part of my daily commute and was greeted with the bright yellow tape on the sidewalk leading up to the 99 B-Line stop. Signs were posted saying that it was part of queuing study for the B-Line. The B-Line has over 50,000 riders every day. It claims to be North America’s busiest bus route. I can believe that given the long lines that form every morning for the bus. The long lines persist even though the buses are as frequent as 2-5 minutes during rush hour.

When I arrived this January morning, I was pleasantly surprised to see order finally coming to the B-Line queue. The 3 different queues for the 3 different doors of the buses were clearly marked by the tape. Closer to the bus, there were movie theatre type cordons separating the lines from each other. It felt like a line up for a theme park ride had finally come to the B-Line, except for those “standees” who always run for the bus when the doors are about to close. I saw one or two them knock over the cordons.

Alas, it was only a temporary setup for the study. The messy line ups are back. During the morning rush, the lines are more or less orderly. The weekend is really bad, though. It feels like people don’t really line up. One lady said she was in front of me for the second door, but she had been leaning against the fence and not standing in the middle area for the second door. I thought she was lining for the third door. Anyway, you get the gist.

So the videos of the queuing study are now on YouTube. So all you transit junkies can get your transit time-lapse fix. I think it’s also a good case study in human group behaviour. There must be a psychology thesis in the middle of all this study too.

3 thoughts on “99 B Line Queuing Study

  1. Interesting.

    Effective labeling and queueing makes sense !

    Why do B lines have no priority traffic light signaling ? Where is this in the transit plan ?

    1. You’ll have to ask the City of Vancouver why there are no priority transit lanes/lights along Broadway. I think it’s a compromise to allow for on-street parking that businesses demand. However, I would much prefer the way it was during the Olympics where the B-Line had free reign in its dedicated bus lane with no parking at all. It was a dream come true for transit during the Olympics.

  2. Note the many many cars .. most with one person in it. As such, it shows that car use is far too cheap. Only once it is tolled dramatically, especially in rush hour, will we see decongestion !

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