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What is considered bad etiquette on Metro Vancouver transit? Here are TransLink's rules

Everything you need to know about how about the rules for riding the SkyTrain, bus, SeaBus, or West Coast Express.
TransLink encourages people using Metro Vancouver transit to check out its etiquette rules before heading on their commutes.

Another passenger's poor behaviour on public transit can easily cause others on board to have an unpleasant ride. 

While some transit etiquette may seem common sense, Metro Vancouver commuters frequently complain about dealing with issues while riding the region's SkyTrain, buses, and SeaBus. Some of these incidents are minor inconveniences but others cause serious discomfort or worse. 

TransLink has signage on its transit vehicles that indicate many of its rules but some aren't posted on its network. It's also used several methods over the years to persuade people not to do things that might bother other riders. 

One of its most popular campaigns was using the voice of local funnyman Seth Rogen to encourage riders to respect other people's space or give up their seats to others who needed them more. 

TransLink also used adorable cartoon animals to show undesirable behaviours, such as "funky ferret" who didn't smell so hot and "Hungry Hamster" who couldn't wait to get home before they started chowing down. "Blocking Bunny" stood in front of the doors, oblivious to other commuters who needed to get on and off. 

Have a look at the transit authority's rules and advice regarding etiquette and best practices on its network. 

Eating and drinking 

While you might not think it is a big deal to scarf down your dinner on a bus or the SkyTrain, TransLink would prefer you didn't.  Riders are asked to avoid eating or drinking. 

Personal hygiene 

Some people have allergies to perfume and other scents. if you use deodorant, perfume, or cologne, try using modest amounts to prevent allergies or asthma in other riders. 

Your back doesn't need a seat 

Even if you paid top dollar for a purse or bag, or it is a large one, it should not take up a seat; the seats are for people. 

Backpacks should go on the floor 

Backpacks shouldn't be worn in transit, particularly during busy times. You may hit someone accidentally while wearing a backpack; it will also take up space in crowded areas. 

Keep proof of payment available

A uniformed employee may ask to see your proof of payment. Keep it with you and easily accessible. 

Keep the volume down

Don't have loud conversations with people on the bus or train on the phone. Use headphones to listen to music, watch videos or shows or make FaceTime calls instead of broadcasting it all. 

Priority seating 

The seats located near the doors are for people with mobility needs, including: 

  • people with disabilities

  • pregnant people

  • older people

  • people with injuries

TransLink reminds guests that "not all disabilities are visible." if someone asks for your seat due to a disability, don't question them and give up your seat if you do not require it.

If you are seated in one of the designated priority seats, be aware of people getting on the bus and be ready to give up your seat if someone needs it. 

Smoking and vaping

Do not smoke or vape substances in TransLink vehicles or on the Canada Line or SkyTrain platforms. 

Bus etiquette 

People should stand to the right of the bus stop while waiting for a bus and try to be there before it arrives.

Unless otherwise told - or if it is especially crowded - you should board the bus in the front and exit out the back. When the bus stops, push the door on the labelled strip to exit. 

When you enter the bus, tap your card on the reader. You don't need to tap out when you leave. If you pay with coins, pay the exact amount in the farebox. You'll be given a paper transfer that you can show a different driver if you transfer to another bus.

  • If you have a bike, try to sit near the front and exit from the front.
  • Wait for passengers using wheelchairs or or strollers to get off before you get on.
  • Don't stand in front of the doors while on the bus. It can make it hard for passengers to get off.


Stand to the right if you are on an escalator. If you have a mobility device, stroller, or bicycle, you should use the elevator.

SkyTrain and West Coast Express

As you enter and exit the stations, tap your card, ticket, or mobile wallet to the card reader at the gate (or validator for West Coast Express).

Keep the doors clear and let other people get off before you get on a train. 

TransLink advises against holding doors open. Doing this can cause delays and "could even shut the whole train down."

Strollers on buses

TransLink offers the following rules for using strollers on its buses:

  • The maximum size for strollers is 61 cm (24 in.) by 122 cm (48 in.).

  • You should let the bus driver know if you need the ramp.

  • Ensure your stroller is not obstructing aisles or doors.

  • Before the bus departs, make sure to hold the stroller and that the brakes are on.

Bus drivers may ask that you leave the accessibility area to accommodate other priority customers who use wheelchairs, scooters, other mobility aids, or seniors.

Pets on transit

While pets are permitted on transit services, most must be kept in an appropriate carrier unless they are a guide or service dog. However, a driver may refuse to allow on pet on board and this is up to "their discretion," according to TransLink. 

"This may be because of a risk to other passengers or because of limited space," the transit authority notes. 

If you are bringing a pet, try travelling during off-peak times to avoid issues. 

Follow TransLink's rules when travelling with non-guide or non-service dogs:

  • Pets must be kept in small, hand-held, fully enclosed carriers that fit in your lap, with no part of the animal exposed.

  • Carriers must be clean, odour-free, and with no sharp edges.

  • Carriers may be placed on the floor if they do not impede other passengers. They may not be placed near doors.

  • Only one pet per passenger is permitted.

  • Dog strollers are not permitted.

  • Pets are not allowed on HandyDART. Assistance animals are accepted.

West Coast Express 

The West Coast Express has its own on-board rules.

TransLink urges guests to be aware of the following:

  • Stow carry-on items beneath your seat.

  • Be careful when moving through the train, especially on stairways and between cars.

  • Familiarize yourself with the exit routes and location of onboard emergency equipment.

  • Follow instructions from conductors and/or West Coast Express staff.