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Riding Whistler's sub culture

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Take a ride on the wild side… jump aboard the Love Bus

SWF seeks good looking Emerald Estates male commuter for romance travel, sightseeing etc. Genuine replies only please.

If you’re looking for love, forget the bars or slopes and hit the bus loop instead. With an average of 15,500 single bus journeys occurring each day in Whistler during winter, you are sure to make a connection (excuse the pun). Or at the very least, make a new acquaintance.

It may require a stretch of the imagination but take a moment to contemplate the "Love Bus" theory. Whistler currently boasts one of the busiest public transit systems for the size of its population in Canada. Given the law of averages, chances are you might just spot your perfect girl/guy upon boarding and make a lasting impression during your journey.

Shorter routes just heighten the challenge. The three-minute village loop for example could be considered the double black diamond of bus pick-up routes in terms of time pressure, limited spatial access and number of competitors. No room for error on that course. Social commuters can take heart, however, in a key factor that is on their side – attitude. Whistler commuters are generally happy, just ask the drivers.

"In Whistler people get on the bus and say hello, and get off saying, thank you for the ride," explains Scott Pass, the manager of public transit in the Sea to Sky Corridor from Squamish to Mount Currie. "Everyone is here because they want to be and for pretty much the same reason – the skiing or the outdoors – so they’re in a much better mood."

Whistlerites are apparently consistently in a better frame of mind than their neighbours down the road in Squamish. Squamish Transit runs a local bus service there but the drivers usually prefer the Whistler resort crowd. Driver Ross Kirkwood says the two towns have a different bus culture.

"Up here everyone’s in a happy mood generally and are a lot more friendly. Down in Squamish they seem to be depressed and overall the rider-ship is very light."

Demographics also play a role. Pass says Whistler commuters are generally young and car-less, have lower incomes and are here for fun.

"One of our surveys shows that 30 per cent of Whistler bus passengers are going to work and 30 per cent are going to the ski hill."

Presumably the remaining 40 per cent are going shopping – or then again, could they simply be cruising Whistler’s most popular social interface?

Whistler Transit’s most senior driver, Garry Martin, believes public buses are a social hub. In a world over-run by people who moan about their work, Martin is a rare breed, he genuinely loves his job.

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