Vancouverites have been speculating and worrying for months about what kind of an impact the 2010 Winter Olympics would have on their daily commutes. It wasn’t until today though that we at BikeHike saw a dramatic change in how we got to work. Here are two very different versions of our morning commute:
I got on the train at Metrotown Station and was surprised to see how many people had their noses buried behind a giant photo of Quachi and “Attack of the Olympics” headline on the free 24Hrs newspaper. Normally there are only one or two readers per train car, but today at least half of the commuters were consumed with snippets of Olympics news.
I got off at Granville Station to catch my bus to Granville Island (where the BikeHike Adventure office is located). As I walked past the new igloo decorations of Pacific Center, I realized that there was no way my bus was going to arrive on time. The streets were teeming with enthusiastic Olympic supporters, proud Canadians, trigger-happy bystanders with cameras, tripods and cell phones, and even some pets decked out in Olympic gear. It was still over half an hour before the Olympic torch was going to go past, and traffic was already at a standstill as people began to spill out onto the streets in hoards.
A team of police officers on horses paraded past, as did the Coca Cola bus, the RBC bus, a bus of people with red mittens waiving enthusiastically through the windows, and finally the torch bearer. There were so many people on the streets, on the sidewalks, and even in the trees that the torch bearer had to pause every once in a while to squeeze past.
I stood on the corner for about 40 minutes before my bus finally arrived, but it felt as if barely a minute had passed. There was so much spirit in the air and just being part of the crowd (as lame as this sounds) was exciting.
I was 10 minutes late for work. :P
My experience was the complete opposite to Anny. My commute is from Marpole to South Granville (for those of you who live here). The roads were so quiet and the line-ups that are normally really long for the bus were non-existent. I am not sure where everyone was? I have several theories why my commute was stress free this morning:
- All the Vancouver people have fled the city for the Olympics or are on vacation
- Everyone was at Stanley Park watching The Terminator run with the Olympic Torch
- Everyone was so panicked about the commute that they left for work earlier than normal
- People left for work earlier than normal in anticipation of leaving work early to not miss any of the Opening Ceremonies that begins at 6:00pm. After all, we are all curious to see who will be the chosen one to light the Olympic Cauldron!
Regardless, my commute to work was so quick. I felt like I was riding through a ghost town. I wonder what next week will bring?
(Anny: Meg arrived 10 minutes earlier than normal)
Meghan Burton & Anny Chih