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Friday, December 21, 2018

A note of appreciation from a Barrie passenger who has mobility issues

This morning I was walking a bit slower than usual to get on the Go train due to a later pick-up from home with York Region transit. As a result, I did not make it into the accessible coach where I usually sit. Therefore, I just got on any coach and sat down. About 15 minutes later, the Barrie Customer Service Ambassador (CSA) that makes the stop announcements on the train arriving at Union at 7:03 came walking through the train. When he reached the coach where I was sitting he says to me, "Good morning, can I help you through the train coaches, Daniella?"
My response? Don't mind if you do. As a result, he kindly helped me through the coaches until we got to the accessible coach.

 Barrie CSAs are awesome. To each and everyone of you, thank you for all you do, this passenger truly appreciates all your assistance.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Planning for the future at the Courtice Park and Ride? Because it's sure not for the present!

WHAT'S HAPPENING AT THE COURTICE GO TRANSIT PARK AND RIDE?
GLAD YOU ASKED (a pictorial)...


The parking lot and driveway are in place. Posts for lighting have been installed...

 But wait... What's that in the middle of the parking lot?

Let's zoom in...

Why it's a bicycle station! This is great but problematic. Currently the station is accessible from Courtice Rd which is a regional highway with an 80 km/hr speed limit. There are very narrow shoulders and NO. BIKE. LANES.

Look at that shoulder width! Would you bike this? Not me!

Here's Courtice Rd looking north. I've biked this stretch only a few times and never at night. Drivers aren't traveling at 80 km, more like 90... It's terrifying. Biking to the park and ride wouldn't be safe unless Metrolinx is working with the Region of Durham to install bike lanes?

I've sent Joe Neal, the regional councilor for Courtice a message via his office to call me to discuss this in the new year. Maybe he has some answers for how Go Transit passengers looking to cycle to the Park and Ride can do it safely.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Why is this considered "historic"? It's GO Train service, not the invention of commuter rail into terrain that's never been traversed

News Release

Ontario Delivers Historic Weekday GO Train Service to Niagara Falls
New Morning and Evening Train Service Will Start Four Years Ahead of Schedule

December 14, 2018 11:00 A.M.

ST. CATHARINES — Ontario's Government for the People continues to deliver on its promise to get people moving faster by adding regular weekday GO train service to Niagara Falls and St. Catharines for the first time.

Today, Jeff Yurek, Minister of Transportation, Kinga Surma, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Transportation, Sam Oosterhoff, MPP Niagara West, along with Leslie Woo, Chief Planning and Development Officer, Metrolinx, visited the rail station in St. Catharines to announce that the government will introduce long-asked-for weekday GO train service to Niagara Falls and St. Catharines on the Lakeshore West line.

“Our government is keeping our promise to get people moving and make life better for everyone in Ontario by expanding GO train service to Niagara Falls,” said Yurek. “We are working with our railway partner, CN, to use the existing rail infrastructure to expand GO Transit service for people in Niagara Falls and St. Catharines four years sooner than promised.”

Beginning on January 7, 2019, people travelling by GO Transit between Niagara Falls and Toronto's Union Station will benefit from a new morning trip with an evening return every weekday. The morning train that currently starts from West Harbour station in Hamilton at 6:39 a.m. will now start in Niagara Falls at 5:19 a.m., stopping at St. Catharines before continuing on to Toronto. In the evening, the existing train from Union Station at 5:15 p.m. to West Harbour will continue on to serve St. Catharines and Niagara Falls.

“This is great news for people in Niagara Region,” said Oosterhoff. “Weekday GO train service between Niagara Falls and Toronto will help connect the region and create new business opportunities.”

“We are very excited to introduce this essential commuter rail service to this market. Regular weekday GO trains have never operated out of Niagara Falls or St. Catharines before,” said Leslie Woo, Chief Planning and Development Officer of Metrolinx. “This is new territory and a sign of more great things to come.”

“Today's announcement is a demonstration of our commitment to improving the transportation experience and getting people moving. We make every decision with the customer – the Ontario taxpayer – in mind. Our Government for the People looks forward to continuing to provide better transportation across the province,” said Yurek.

Source: Ministry of Transportation

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Fare increase for 2019 GO Transit passengers doesn't appear to be on the agenda for this Thursday's Metrolinx board meeting

This has been one of my biggest worries seeing as commuting by GO now carries the financial equivalent of making a third or second car payment for many commuters. I'm at $344 a month in fare for myself (using November as a reference point).

Generally it's around this time of year that GO Transit presents a case to Metrolinx for increasing fares. I went ahead and reviewed the agenda for the December 6th board meeting and this isn't on it. There is a discussion about fare policy with 10 minutes allotted to the speakers, so I think we're safe to assume we've been spared an increase come February 2019.

But, we've been shafted before. The last increase happened in the fall of 2017 when we were all hit with a 3% hike, so we may not be completely out of the woods!

Better late than never for a feel good Go Transit Lost & Found story!

This past weekend I received a DM on Twitter asking if I had the chance to read an email a person had sent me regarding GO RER and Toronto Mayor John Tory. I did not recall said email and decided to scroll through my Gmail spam folder and stumbled across not only the email in question, but also this email from MS who forgot his Apple laptop on the train back in July.

I suspect emails from readers found their way into spam due to the filters and mail rules I have set up to avoid Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Boxing Day emails. I apologized to MS who was very understanding. I also apologize to others whose emails were trapped.

from: MS
to: cj@thiscrazytrain.com
date: Jun 13, 2018, 1:37 PM
subject: Love for Go Transit: Backpack with MacBook Pro returned intact

Hi CJ,

I found your blog when googling about GoTrain lost & found histories. I like your blog a lot. I've lived in Canada for ~8 years and never used Go trains until last weekend. My family and I (wife, one 3-yrd old and a 2-weeks baby) recently moved to Whitby and decided to try the Go Train to go to the aquarium on Saturday along with my inlaws that are visiting. I work as a software engineer and sometimes we need to be 'on call' in case systems break. I was on call so I took my laptop with me. A new MacBook pro 2017. On the way back, while chasing my kid (who was excited about riding the train and going up and down the stairs) I left my backpack on the upper level seat while chasing my kid downstairs. We arrived to Whitby and checked the seats so we don't forget anything (we were all sitting on the lower level), wife, inlaws, newborn baby, my 3-yrd old, stroller, diaper bag, etc; but as you can guess, forgot my backpack in the upper level!

Needless to say it's a horrible situation. I'm 3 months into this new job and I lose the laptop! never happened to me in my life and just had to happen as I start a new job. I filed the lost & found report online that night, visited them on Sunday at Union Station and they said there was nothing else to do but wait. My backpack contained not only the laptop but also charger adapter, accessories, airpods, etc; Finally, they called me back Monday 2pm to tell me it was found!

It's a shame there's no reward for whoever found it and returned it. I'd gladly had paid a reward to whoever did this, even if people don't do it for the money, it's a huge favor done to those of us who accidentally forgot something and perhaps being able to share a reward and/or thank you note would encourage more people to report/return lost items.

Anyways, I figured this success story could help anxious people like myself when they wander at 3am in the morning if they'll see their lost items again.

Attached pic of the most important returned item.

Cheers!

MS