Written by Cathy Walker
The visit to the Vancouver Transit Centre was extremely interesting. I had no idea how the electric trolley system worked. It was fascinating getting the explanation from our superb tour leader, Elena Klein, on how the driver has to be flowing and precise in going through overhead wire junctions at exactly the right speed, with all of the correct movements of wires, pedals and levers. Elena described it like dancing, and I could see it really is. I’d never be an adequate trolley driver, that’s for sure (I can’t dance either which is why I enjoy hiking — it’s much easier). Seeing actual trolley wire lines and junctions in the classroom setting made it all very clear.
The visit to the maintenance shops was equally fascinating. I had no idea there were so many different models of buses or what the insides, engines, batteries and transmissions looked like. (As the daughter of a mechanic, I was quite a disappointment to my father, in showing no talent in this regard at all.)
Understanding some of the reasons transit drivers do certain things was equally informative. Have you ever been running for a bus only to miss it and wonder why the driver didn’t stop for you? They must ensure that once the bus is underway and accelerating, they must not stop suddenly and unexpectedly for fear of getting passengers off balance and falling as a consequence of being braced in one direction. All in all, a very interesting day. Thanks, Elena!