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Friday, February 12, 2016

Did anyone have any thoughts on the Metrolinx board meeting? Who particularly enjoyed the UP Express preamble, "we have an excellent customer satisfaction rate"? (If I was in the meeting I would have said, "That's great. What was his name?")

It’s an exciting and unprecedented time of transit growth for the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area, with over $32 billion worth of projects underway in support of Metrolinx’s Regional Transportation Plan. We continue to make progress on projects that will benefit residents over the long term, including the launch of UP Express, the rollout of the PRESTO farecard across the region, the revitalization of Union Station, and the building of the Eglinton Crosstown, in addition to many other local improvements across our network.
As we move forward with these many transportation improvements, we are committed to working with residents as part of an open and transparent process.
And as part of this process, Metrolinx will host a series of open houses twice a year to provide residents with the latest updates on major projects that together will transform transit in the GTHA.

The first round of open houses begins on Tuesday, February 16th - we will be sharing information and seeking feedback from residents on:
Municipal partners will also be present at many of the meetings to share information about local plans and projects and how we are working together to bring more transit opportunities to communities across the region.
You are encouraged to share this information with customers, family, friends, and neighbours – anyone interested in learning more about the work Metrolinx is doing. In addition to the meetings, starting February 16th there will also be an opportunity to participate online.
More information is available on our website.

Meeting dates:
February 16Scarborough
Jean Vanier Catholic Secondary School
959 Midland Avenue
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
February 17

St. Maximillian Kolbe
Catholic High School
278 Wellington Street East
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
February 22

Unionville High School
201 Town Centre Boulevard
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
 February 23

Nantyr Shores Secondary School
1146 Anna Maria Avenue
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
February 24

Metro Toronto Convention Centre, North Building, Room 203
255 Front Street West
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
February 25

Abilities Centre
55 Gordon Street
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

I'd like to go to
this one but I'm
unsure I can do it.
February 29

Oakville Trafalgar High School
1460 Devon Road
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m
March 1

Holy Name of Mary Catholic Secondary School
115 Glenvale Boulevard
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
March 2

Stouffville District Secondary School
801 Hoover Park Drive
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
March 3

Holly Community Centre
171 Mapleton Avenue
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
March 7

St. Joan of Arc Catholic
High School
1 St. Joan of Arc Avenue
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m
March 8

Robert Bateman High School
5151 New Street
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
March 9

Lakeshore Collegiate Institute
350 Kipling Avenue
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
March 10

Glengrove Public School
1934 Glengrove Road
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
March 22

Nelson Mandela Park Public School
440 Shuter Street
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

CAN SOMEONE ***PLEASE*** GET HIM A BLANKET?! GOD! What's wrong with some people?!

Barrie line. This morning. No update on whether someone helped make him more comfortable such as arranging a suite for him upon his arrival at Union at the Royal York Hotel.

Sleep tight sweet prince.

Driving to the station isn't for me

This week my husband went ice fishing for his winter holiday which left me the car to use (we only own one) so I used it. The drive to the Oshawa station is only 13 minutes from my house in Courtice at 6:45 in the morning.

At Oshawa station there's parking at the far, north end of the lot and access points to the platform have been opened up at the bus loop, so the traverse isn't so bad. It was actually pleasant.

The evenings, however, not so much.

HOLY CHRIST. People are animals. They are maniacs. They will eat your babies (*thanks, BEJ, for this analogy).

I nearly got run over twice while walking to my car. There's this Indy mentality to race through the aisle to beat other drivers lining up to exit. It wasn't like this four years ago, or maybe my memory is bad. But I don't remember having to jump out of the way and dive to the ground like in a Liam Neeson movie just to make it from the platform to my car.

Nobody lets you in, lets you pull out, lets you turn, lets you get around. There's a lot of aggression and very little courtesy. I made the mistake last night of letting three drivers scooch in ahead of me when all of a sudden this man appeared at my diver side door, and slapped my window, and starting telling me to "fuck off" and "that some of us wanted to get home".

I had to quell my inner @HulkGORider to put the car in park and take him on. I ignored him but gave him my best "this white girl can't even with your shit" stare. Of course, he walked back to his car loudly expressing his affection of bitches like me. When he climbed back into his car, he laid on his horn and kept blaring his horn at me until I made it out onto Bloor Street. He tailed me all the way to Stevenson Road and as I made my way onto the eastbound 401, he ensured to show me I was number one, too, as he blew past me.

He really needs a puppy to hug.

No one cares that's why

Needs more banana peel

Yes please! But it won't happen. Commercial rail is a multi-billion dollar industry. Commuter rail loses money, *cough* UP Express *cough*

More time needed spent on fixing signals, less time spent on this foo foo crap

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

So what happened at the Metrolinx board meeting today?! Go make a coffee, grab the cat and stroke the kitty because here it is!

Today, the Metrolinx Board of Directors met to hear a number of reports, including updates on the GO Regional Express Rail (RER) program and quarterly reports for UP Express, GO Transit and PRESTO, including a demo of the new TTC subway station faregates.

Also in attendance at today’s meeting were two special guests, Minister of Transportation Stephen Del Duca, and Toronto Mayor John Tory, who listened in on the presentation on RER integration with SmartTrack.


John Jensen, Chief Capital Officer, and James Purkis, Executive Vice President, Regional Express Rail, presented information regarding grade separation and electrification work required to implement RER. The update spoke to the benefits of electrification and the work underway to efficiently deliver the electrification program.

The full presentation can be viewed here

Integrating RER and SmartTrack

Leslie Woo, Chief Planning Officer, provided an update on the integration of GO RER and SmartTrack, noting that analysis is proceeding using the Metrolinx business case framework, that a range of integrated options were developed working with the City of Toronto, and discussed next steps, which include understanding the infrastructure requirements, costs, and impacts to communities.

The full presentation can be viewed here

Station Analysis 

Leslie Woo, Chief Planning Officer, presented an update on the progress of our analysis of potential new stations, which included updates on the engagement and feedback we have completed to date. Leslie noted next steps, which include municipal and public engagement to help further refine the current list.

The full presentation can be viewed here.

Grade Separations

John Jensen, Chief Capital Officer and James Purkis, Executive Vice President, Regional Express Rail, presented on the need for a number of new grade separations across the GO system. Their presentation spoke to the four-stage process Metrolinx is currently undertaking to determine grade separations and outlined the proposed implementation approach for delivering the grade separations.

The full presentation can be viewed here

Fare Integration 

Leslie Woo, Chief Planning Officer, and Eve Wyatt, Senior Manager, Applied Research & Corporate Monitoring, provided an update on our fare integration work, as we work toward implementing one simple approach to transit fares across the GTHA. They presented three ‘fare structure concepts,’ to the board, for their input.

The full presentation can be viewed here

PRESTO Progress 

Rob Hollis, Executive Vice President, PRESTO, provided the board with an update on PRESTO, including a demonstration of the new TTC subway faregate, which will be begin field trials this quarter. Rob Hollis noted that testing is now underway on TTC buses, and he introduced the PRESTO Customer Charter. Over the coming months, PRESTO will inform and engage current and potential customers about the charter.

The full presentation can be viewed here

Union Pearson Express 

Kathy Haley, President, UP Express, presented her quarterly report. Given the significant interest in UP Express and that the ridership volumes were released as part of the report, Metrolinx President and CEO Bruce McCuaig also spoke to it during his opening remarks.

The report also noted how eight months after launch, UP Express continues to experience a very high level of customer satisfaction.  People who use UP Express love it, and our task is to think about the service in a broader context and in the longer term. UP is an asset and service that will be operating over decades.

Kathy Haley also discussed how she and the UP team continue to examine a range of potential measures on how to grow ridership, including pricing, and building upon current discounts and promotions, such as BOGO and the upcoming free Family Day weekend promotion. We are looking forward to providing more information on this at a later time.

See the UP Express quarterly report

Toronto mayor John Tory joins Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca at the Metrolinx board meeting today

Mayor and minister offer show of unity on SmartTrack and GO expansion

In a show of goodwill that suggests John Tory's SmartTrack transit plan is on track with the province's GO expansion, the mayor will join Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca at the Metrolinx board on Wednesday.
A report called Integrating GO RER (regional express rail) with SmartTrack is among the agenda items, which also include an update…

Quiet zone rage

Seats are clearly for pussies. She puts her boots on the windowsill

I must verify this is really less than 5 seconds to do. Watching this makes me feel unicorns truly do exist

And it was peeled, too


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Torontonians didn't care they could ride the GO train for $60 a month -- they want GO for $3.25. They want UP Express for $3.25 ... Hey, why not just make it all free?

Disappointing GO-TTC co-fare program has lessons for SmartTrack
Price matters.
That's the inescapable conclusion at the end of a year-long test of a combined TTC-GO fare that attracted a disappointing 882 riders, says Councillor Mike Layton.
The fare integration pilot program didn't have the affordability or the flexibility to attract Toronto commuters, said Layton.
It points to the complex problems Metrolinx faces in developing…

The time I used my phone to battle another passenger's phone

Friday night I engaged in a match of dueling banjos with another passenger on my GO bus, but we used our phones instead of banjos.

It all started when a man boarded at the Oshawa Centre and sat behind me. Because he felt it was perfectly acceptable, he began to play some 90s era dancehall reggae at full volume, with no headphones. I grew up with this stuff and there's good dancehall and there's bad dancehall -- he played the bad dancehall. At first it was Supercat, then next up was Ninjaman. After three minutes of listening to this, I yanked out my headphones and turned to glare at this guy. He was oblivious, just staring out the window and pretending like none of this was possibly annoying. So I decided to play my own music, at full volume, and sank down in my seat to agressively "sleep" while Erasure's Love to Hate You blared out of my phone's speakers. When that didn't work, I selected Dj Chris Sheppard's remix of AC/DC's TNT and it effectively drowned out this guy's music. He stood up, and peered over the back of my seat to kiss his teeth at me. He muttered something I couldn't make out.



It took a few seconds for me to realize he had shut off his music. I shut off my music and turned around. He glanced only briefly my way before returning his gaze to his phone.


He didn't.

No one wants to listen to your shitty music and I'm sorry I subjected others to mine but it felt damn good to give someone a taste of his own medicine.

And no, I can't be the better person sometimes. Sorry, not sorry.

ICYMI: Early morning train crash Germany leaves at least nine dead