Q&A - When Is A Bus Not A Bus?
So yesterday around 5:00 pm, I'm heading from home to Vancouver to pick up some passengers at U.B.C. and drive them to Surrey.
Traffic was backed up on the approaches to the Lions Gate Bridge, so as is my habit when this happens, I turned into the Bus Lane when making the right turn from Capilano into Marine Drive and stayed in that lane all the way around the loop and approach to the bridge; if you have a look at a map, you'll see that there are two regular traffic lanes from North Vancouver plus a bus lane on the right; from West Vancouver there are also two regular traffic lanes plus a bus lane on the left. The two bus lanes are merged into one where they come together, and at the end of the lane the buses integrate with the other traffic on each side.
Well the West Vancouver Police are have a couple of officers flagging vehicles over who have been trying to cut in or across the bus lane, or using it illegally and they're having a busy time as there are quite a few cheaters due to the major snarl. Much to my surprise, a male officer waves me to the side of the road, directing me to park in front of his cruiser and wait (for my ticket). I said to him, "I'm a Bus!" and pointed out the PT 71946 Bus License number below the window on my driver's door. "Technically you're not", he said, then went to finish writing up a couple of others who had been pulled over previously.
So while I'm waiting, I pull out my Driver License and Vehicle Registration, plus my Passenger Transportation Licence. When he got back to talk to me and write my ticket, I pointed at the Registration, and the Body Style - 'Bus' - and then the Vehicle Use - 'Public Bus Use or Airport Bus Use or Charter Bus Use, distance operated within 160 km'. Then I handed over the Passenger Transportation License, and reiterated my assertion that I had every right to use the Bus Lane just like the Transit Buses and Tour Buses and Handy Dart Buses and Seniors' Residence Buses etc.
"Technically though, you can't", he said. "You're not carrying passengers!". And he had this triumphant sort of gleam in his eye, as they do sometimes.
"But you let through that West Vancouver Blue Bus ahead of me", I said, "and he not only didn't have passengers, he had illuminated signs front and back declaring 'Sorry - Not In Service', so by your logic he should have been ticketed".
The officer looked perturbed, then handed back my paperwork and said "There's too many vehicles pulled over and nowhere to put them, so get out of here!" And I was happy to comply.
So the question(s) of the day would be 'Is a 14-passenger Extended Wheelbase E-350 Econoline a Bus, by legal definition, or not?' And if the answer is yes, is there a particular definition of a Bus Lane that would preclude it's use by the likes of me in my big van?