Transit vs Car – Travel Times

Over the past few days, when I take transit, I’m often in a rush. Sometimes I would be late. This got me thinking about my never ending thought about whether or not I should get a car.

Don’t get me wrong, Vancouver’s transit system is a good one. It’s just that I feel like that if transit was a bit faster, comparable to the car, then it might bring more customers in.

Take the example of my regular commute to SFU. If I take the bus, it will take on average 1 hour and 15 minutes involving three transfers. If I drive, it only take 45 minutes average. That’s on average 30 minutes that I could use to do many things, like sleep in, or do more work.

I like to be efficient with my time, and if taking a bus is going to take longer than driving, that might be a turn off. Then again, there is the cost factor to consider. There will always be a trade off with time and money. As many people say, “Time is money”. More  travel time, less cost. Less travel time, more cost. I wish it didn’t have to be like that.

An alternative to all this, make efficient use of the time on transit on something else. For me, I just spend the time to myself; it’s my me time. I could read a book or review notes, but I choose to relax. If I drive though, I enjoy using my brain to navigate though traffic and listen to good driving music. In my case, it’s a contradictory idea, but one I choose to do depending on my mood. (And how much I need to save)

As transit authorities tries to gain higher ridership and higher revenue, it might be wise to take note the factors that play into our decision on transportation choices. Whether or not they do know, I’m not sure, but I’m confident that they will get a grasp on this and use it to their advantage.

Would it be a good idea to promote better transit service in terms of overall travel time? Or should we just agree to accept that time is money?

(Note, sorry for the poor picture used here, zooming on phone cameras aren’t exactly the best thing in the world.)

Save on Meats

On the same day I went to Bomber Brewery, my friend and I went to Save on Meats to get some grub. We’ve been there several times, but I haven’t been able to make a blog post about it until now.

Save on Meats used to be a butcher shop (and still has one beside the restaurant) that looked run down. A few years ago, an entrepreneur decided to take over the lease and remodel the entire place. This resulted in a socially responsible butcher shop and restaurant/diner.

Since I’ve mainly been eating there (and not shopping for meat), I’d thought I would focus on that aspect. In terms of pricing, meals hover around the $10 to $15 range (figure includes tips and tax). The food produced is on par with two other known diners in the city. The picture shown is The Country Fried Steak, which is $12.95. The atmosphere mimics the 1970-1980s decor which brings the past into light (and also brings in the hipsters).

What’s different about this place from other diners is that, due to its location, they contribute back to the community in many ways. The most well known is their sandwich token program. This is where people would donate by purchasing tokens which are given out to those less fortunate. Those tokens can be redeemed for a sandwich at Save on Meats. They have other programs as well, and I encourage you to go to their website and find out more.

Bomber Brewery

Recently, there has been a major boom for the craft beer industry and I have been going to quite a few over the past year with my very best friend.

Tonight, we went to Bomber’s tasting room. The neighbourhood is an industrial area, but nonetheless a very crazy place to be. Since they don’t serve food in the room, there’s usually a food truck parked outside. The atmosphere was very bright and lively.

I got the following beers:

  • Pilsner
  • Belgian Blonde
  • ESB
  • Shutout Stout

image

While I do like drinking beer, I’m not really good at describing the taste. I’ll let my friend do that! (Possible blog post from him soon) I got the taster paddle, which was just above $8.

With the looming changes of the liquor laws coming, it looks like the craft beer industry will strive through and become even better. (And I really hope that happens) The Bomber is a good place to be to try out their beers, in a unique neighbourhood and lively atmosphere.

To that one smoker…

… you deserve nothing but a big bucket of water splashed on your head.

Just the other day I was doing patrols at SFU and I was doing my job telling smokers to move to another area. This is to ensure compliance of university rules and policies and WorkSafe BC laws. Unfortunately, this person responded by saying, “It’s raining, so f**k off.” All I did was say that I’m there to tell him he can’t smoke there, and that if we (being SFU) do get fined for smoking where we’re not supposed to, it’s our tuition dollars that paying that. This is the only case this has happened to me at my job (pretty used to it in other places, like the PNE), but made me think about some things.

First of all, there should be a way to enforce these rules and allow us to give tickets to those who deserve it (like that guy). However, issuing tickets will probably done as a last resort. I’m sure there’s probably a legal issue with this.

This brings another question, what has other agencies (e.g. WorkSafe BC, health authorities, etc.) done to combat this issue? Signs is one of them. While it will help in most cases, there are ways to deal with guys like the one I encountered. In Vancouver Parks, “Park Rangers, City of Vancouver bylaw enforcement officers and Health Inspectors all have the power to issue tickets to offenders.” SFU only has a policy of advising people, recommending additional smoking areas, and reporting non-compliance to Environmental Health and Safety or some other body. SFU security will deal with said people, but can’t do more than ask for compliance. WorkSafe BC can only enforce like any other enforcement actions they do with other areas, which is time consuming and tedious.

What will SFU do? What will other places do? If a health inspector from Burnaby shows up at SFU, what will happen? Maybe we should look into this some more, as people doing compliance checks shouldn’t be facing guys like the one I did and there would be less complaints about smokers from other angry people who hate second hand smoke.

Lonsdale Quay

My stepsister and I decided to go around the city by transit and popped by Lonsdale Quay on a wonderful Thursday afternoon.

We took a bus from Phibbs Exchange to get to Lonsdale Quay and left taking the SeaBus to Downtown Vancouver (terminal located right beside the quay).

For the time of day and the time of year considering, this is a quaint little place in North Vancouver. The nearby market is very comparable to Granville Island’s market with many artisan shops and fresh foods. At that time, the market was about to close for the day and there weren’t many people there.

Above the market floors, I noticed that East Side Mario’s restaurant was closed. It’s probably due to lack of quality experiences that has been met by those going to the restaurant. As a student and one that’s not posh on these things, I would’ve love to try it. (Especially with free soups and bread, like the Olive Garden)

There were several people taking picture of the beautiful Vancouver Harbour. As we took pictures too, we noticed people standing just underneath the Q sign. We decided to check it out, and boy was it magnificent (other than being slightly afraid of heights). I didn’t know people were even allowed up this area. As a result, I got pictures of both the Q in a different perspective and an even better view of Vancouver’s harbour.

Hopefully I come back this summer to check out the events that may happen and the Pier Night Market. This area is one of many tourist hot-spots to check out year round; though, it’s better in the summer.

View from Lonsdale Quay 'Q' Sign
View from Lonsdale Quay ‘Q’ Sign

Late Night Transit

I was taking transit one night and took this picture above. It made me think about late night transit options compared to other parts of the world.

Personally, I’d hope that Vancouver would have transit run every 15 to 30 minutes all night on its Night Bus routes. Unfortunately, it doesn’t last all night and one would have to rely on taking other methods of transportation that are often more expensive.

TransLink, from what I could tell, sees that there’s not much demand on this, which makes sense. But for people who want to continue taking transit for whatever reason it may be, TransLink is suggesting that one should use a car to get around, which is less cost effective on a personal point of view. I would be saving thousands by taking the bus home than to drive home. Or even Modo. (Random, found out I use about $4000/year on Modo)

As with other places, London’s transit seems to run all night with many different routes offered. And it looks like it’s well used.

My big question, how possible is it for TransLink to institute a truly 24/7 transit system and how can one make it cost effective? I’d really like to have a truly 24/7 system to meet my transport needs (and I’m sure others too).

Whistler

Olympic Rings at Whistler Olympic Plaza

I’ve been to Whistler several times in my life, and I’ve decided to go again this past weekend.

Last time I went, I got a chance to learn how to ski and enjoy the winter weather that was there. Unfortunately, while it was all joy and fun, it did come with some gain and pain, plus small fortunes lost.

Paralympic Agitos at Whistler Olympic PlazaThis time around, my friends and I went around Whistler without going to the slopes (kind of). Much of the time was devoted to walking, eating, playing in the snow, watching Olympic hockey, and being stuck in traffic.

Savory Crepe at Crepe Montagne

There were plenty great eats around town:

Peaked Pies at Peaked Pies

  • Peaked Pies in Whistler (Urbanspoon, Yelp)
    • Next door to Mount Currie Coffee, these Aussie pies proved to be very filling and hearty with mashed peas and potatoes, gravy, and various meat pies.
  • Spice Root in Squamish (Urbanspoon, Yelp)
    • It seemed like there wasn’t much variety in Squamish, until we found this nice little place. Good thai food, very nice decor.
  • El Furniture Warehouse in Whistler (Urbanspoon, Yelp)
    • For just under $5 per item, this is a deal that’s hard to beat!
  • The Red Bench Diner in Squamish (Urbanspoon, Yelp, Facebook, Google+)
    • An excellent place for breakfast, brunch, or diner food in the heart of Brackendale.

Inukshuk at Whistler VillageThe first day got us walking around Whistler to see the Olympic related landmarks, like the Olympic and Paralympic symbols. At one point, we were looking for the inukshuk that was located by the entrance of Whistler Village, which took about three loops around it to find. There were plenty of eats and exploring that happened.

The second day got us doing some fun (and inexpensive) winter activities. We started the day with watching Canada win a game against Finland 2-1. We then went tobogganing in a snow mound in the Olympic Plaza and met a young kid who joined us in the fun.

Olympic Cauldron at Whistler Olympic Plaza

We took the opportunity to also skate in the falling snow at the rink by the snow mound. Unfortunately for me, I forgot to wear my waterproof jacked with a hood, so I mainly got my hair wet from skating under the snow. I therefore bought a penguin toque (shown in the image around here). The Fire and Ice Show  afterwards was a great spectacle to see, where trainers from the Whistler Blackcomb Snow School do their tricks with a fiery mix.

Ski Jump at Whistler Olympic ParkThe third day was an exploration of Whistler Olympic Park where we were awed by the height of one of the ski jumps, and enjoyed cheese fondue in the nearby cafe.
We the found out that if you wanted to learn how to ski (no snowboard) or do any of the alpine winter activities, it was certainly cheaper than going to Whistler Blackcomb. (Especially when it is a few kilometres away.) Beginner’s lessons are around $200 at Blackcomb whereas Whistler Olympic Park starts around $50.

Cheese Fondue at Whistler Olympic Park

This post wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention about transportation. We took the car as it was the most economical choice given our situation. (Hotel rooms in Whistler were booked so a car rental and a Squamish hotel was in order.) From and to Vancouver was a really good trip overall, great scenery and views to be had. It was especially true with returning, where the sunset, scarce clouds, and the magnificent mountain and sea views mixed in to a heartwarming backdrop. (Wished I wasn’t driving through all this)

Traffic Deadlock at Sea to Sky HighwayTravelling back and forth between Squamish and Whistler was a different story however. Going to Whistler wasn’t an issue, but was certainly dreary with grey clouds and substandard road conditions. Returning was the worst. The first night involved not seeing much road lines, much snowfall, and limited to no road lights. It was a scary 1 hour trip to the hotel room. The second night involved two car accidents that caused the road to be at a grid lock for about 4 hours.

The Penguin Toque

Much snow was falling and the road was closed for part of those 4 hours. The rest was the result of people supposedly not having winter tires (legally required) for the area. My friends and I kept ourselves from being bored, talking, playing games, watching people make snowmen, and complaining about the guy in front of us of getting in and out too much. This is probably what the experience is like before the Sea to Sky Highway was reconstructed.

Overall, it was a great trip that shows that you don’t need to spend much nor go skiing and snowboarding to enjoy Whistler in the winter. Just make sure you plan ahead of time (all the rooms in Whistler was jam booked due to the heightened snow season).

Best Friends Forever! <3

Is University Education Enough?

Nowadays, there are much studies that claim that university studies are very important and that it will help with increasing your living wage. Considering the lesson content that is delivered, I don’t think university alone doesn’t just quite cut it.

I always (in my personal life) say that a well rounded person makes for a great employee, and a great contributor to society. Many people have the perception that focusing on one thing will work out and that isn’t true. We heard of statistics that there are people who change careers over their working lives.

My coworkers at my old workplace (BC Hydro) came from a variety of backgrounds before ending up in the department that they are in. That makes me smile. Smile quite a lot. To work with a diverse group of people helps make the workplace interesting and helps understand others a little better. It also helps with providing different perspectives on things. I appreciate the amount of various expertise everyone has and the life path that the have gone through.

This is where I ask, if just university doesn’t quite cut it, what will? I have much I want to do. Even with university education, I want to become certified in information technology with various certification program available. I feel that these certification combined with university education will help me with having a good foundation to start my computer science career.

Despite that, I want to see if becoming a pilot is right for me. I want to see if driving buses and taxis is right for me. I want to see if other jobs that I have a taste for is a good career choice for me. I want to learn more about the world and become as well rounded as I can be.

While there are much to look into, its all about taking everything one step at a time. More things can be done in a set amount of time if everything isn’t done all at once.

Being well rounded brings out character. Being well rounded means a better contributor to society. Being well rounded means a better you.

University is a bonus. Life experience is the key.

Reading Break, Can never seem to see friends…

These past moments I was planning a trip to Whistler with a couple of my close friends. The sad reality is, both of them are UBC students. Why this that the case? Our reading breaks don’t fall on the same week. There must be a reason for this; however, there has been no indication or evidence on the reasons why this could be the case.

I’m sure many other people want reading breaks align with other schools, especially those who have friends in other schools. It’s too much of a hassle to arrange to see people and causes some to make sacrifices between having fun and missing school.

I have already agreed to take the blow of missing one day of school. While that day didn’t involve anything critical, if I had missed another day, I would’ve failed one course (by missing one midterm).

Going off topic for a bit, reading week should be there for studying (yes, hypocritical here). Some aspects, like going to Whistler, are more beneficial than what is given by constant studying. Other aspects, like having more work and stress to consider, can be bothersome. This reading week, I expect to:

  • Study for one midterm
  • Catch up on courses
  • Meet and welcome my step-sister (coming from China)
  • Go to Whistler
  • Go to work at SFU
  • Do errands that I couldn’t do during school days

We should definitely have reading week align with other schools. (And possibly have it for two weeks instead of one)

Where Vancouver Life meets Reader