Wednesday, September 17, 2014

But first, let me take a selfie ... GO Transit launches bus contest

My bus selfie. I won't enter
because PRESTO hates me.
Spot a bus. 
Snap a picture.
Share it with GO Transit!
Win one of three $50 PRESTO prizes!

GO Transit (as you've heard) now has 500 GO Buses on the road. 

To celebrate this milestone, GO is running a social media contest, from September 17 to 26, 2014. When you spot any of GO's 500 buses, take a picture of it (selfie, interior or exterior shot), and share it with GO Transit via social media (Facebook, Twitter or Instagram) and you will be entered to win 1 of 3, $50 PRESTO cards.

Full contest rules available on GO's website.

Not a commuter story but totally blog-worthy

I am most certain this situation has happened to some of  you. In the building I'm in there are floors and floors of people who work for a certain money management fund who feel because they are the largest tenant, they can behave in a certain way. Rarely do any of them ever thank any of us lesser tenants if I, or my colleagues, hold a door open or push a button - so we all stopped bothering. Our office is moving and we can't wait!

And as a sidebar to the story below, this kind of rudeness is not necessarily gender-specific.

from: AVA
to: ""
date: Wed, Sep 17, 2014 at 8:37 AM
subject: you'll appreciate this

This morning I got on the elevator in my building, the doors were closing and a woman carrying her purse and one of those wheelie carry-on briefcases was gunning for the door as they were closing.  I held the elevator door for her.  She didn't say thank you because she was on her phone. Instead, as the doors were closing, she turned to me and said "Seven," and went back to her conversation.   In the sense that she was asking or (ordering) me to press the button for the seventh floor for her.

I get off at the third floor, and was stunned and flabbergasted, so of course, I did not press seven, and I sincerely hope the elevator went all the way to the top or back down.

But yo!  What gives?  Is this what men are being reduced to?   How about "Can you please press seven?"

For women that say "chivalry is dead," let me say it's women like Ms.Elevator that kill it.

Anyway, I know all women are not like this.

I was just amazed…truly amazed.

"GO F@#% yourselves!" - Letter to ThisCrazyTrain

from: JK
date: Tue, Sep 16, 2014 at 11:10 AM
subject: GO Service Guarantee

Well CJ,

In the ever-growing list of reasons for why GO doesn't honour its Uncle Dalton McStupid vote-buying service refund, this is definitely a new one: "No it wasn't!!  That train was right on time!  You're wrong! My records show it wasn't delayed even a minute."  (NOTE: I did paraphrase a bit and had a nasaly, whiny voice in my mind even though Frank at GO was really quite pleasant and had a nice voice.).

LSW Sept 10, 9:07 out of Burlington.  Ran late the entire trip with the CSA constantly coming on and apologizing for the delay.  We pull into Union and the CSA announces that we are 16 minutes late (ha kinda close, I'll probably get denied) and then suggests we check to see if this trip qualifies for the service guarantee.

I submit my claim, and faster than they have ever responded to me ever (less than an hour) I got my response - Denied, needs to be more than 15 minutes late.  I call up my buddy Frank to politely ask WTF? Your guy announced (like most CSAs typically do) we are arriving X minutes late (16 minutes in this case).

Frank advises that his records say the train was right on time and that the CSA shouldn't have said anything about the time of arrival.

OK, so as I now understand it, all they need to do is say we're lying about what GO staff tell us and that we should just go F@#% ourselves (again I stress Frank was really nice and that when I say they, I mean the large nameless, faceless corporate we within which no one takes responsibility, no one seems to care, and definitely no one deals with reality).

New service guarantee - We don't care!  

It's like a tray-ay-ay-ainnnnnnnn on your wedding day ... it's like a ...

It starts off like a dream — a late summer day, a lush backdrop and a picturesque trestle bridge, where a bride and groom are posing for what will surely be memorable wedding photos, surrounded by friends and family. Then, a foreboding sound pierces the idyll — chug-a-chug-a-chug-a — followed by the sobering realization that this…

Reason #912 why we can't have nice things

from: NH
to: "Cindy (Cj) Smith"
date: Wed, Sep 3, 2014 at 9:53 AM
subject: What Happened??

This morning I entered my usual shelter where I sit to read my book when the outdoor benches are wet.  This morning, however, it wreaked of a terribly bad smelling perfume... The cheap, expired, old lady kind from Dollarama. I had just missed the train so there was no one there the last 5 minutes so imagine how strong it would be if you're sitting next to her on the train! Why do people where so much perfume???? 

So I moved to the next shelter down.  The pictures speak for themselves.  Why the hell do people think that leaving behind a garbage storm is acceptable???? Like the people who still think they can throw their cigarette butts on the ground, or throw their garbage out their car window.  I always take a look around our Ontario cities and wonder who the pompous idiots are that think it's okay to litter.  

Then I started thinking.  This garbage looks like it's been there all night.  The McDonald's fries for one is not something you can order at at GO Statiom.  So why is this station (Rouge Hill) in such a state?  Two weeks ago I had to use the TTC subway for a few days.  Day one I almost stepped on human feces just laying there on the floor of the train.  I couldn't wait to get back to using GO Transit.  But now this. 

I wish they had better surveillance such as cameras to capture these idiots.  

I think we may expect too much as GO Transit passengers because it seems GO Transit's maintenance crews feel like we do.
I still blame other passengers. Just because there is maintenance doesn't mean you can act like a pig.
Has anyone seen the state of Burlington GO Station? - Cj

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Shoutout to the CSAs

It's been brought to my attention that some CSAs on a few of the corridors have been making announcements to passengers asking for consideration about where feet belong.

To those men and woman, I thank you. It's a shame we have to remind people to be courteous but the fact that you are making announcements, especially in wet weather, is appreciated by many of us.

Last night I sat in the wet residue of someone's shoes or boots as I failed to do my regular seat pat-down because I rushed to claim a seat.

There's nothing worse than wet dress pants and the dry cleaning bill to go with it.

This is why I rage.

Who's Not Been Serving Us Lately? Part 7

Previous installments of this Web Series are archived here

By Ali Gator

In this installment of Who’s Not Been Serving Us Lately? I look at last week’s announcement and photo-op by Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation, regarding GO Transit deploying its 500th bus.  You recall the hoopla.

How are all those extra buses working out for you on your route?  On mine, Route 12, it’s meh – a hit and miss affair.  Sure, there are extra buses running this board period in an effort to achieve hourly service, but the one trip that is absolutely critical – the 12D Friday afternoon express – has been floundering.  On Sept. 5, it arrived in St. Catharines after the “milk run” that left Burlington station at the same time.

On Sept. 12, the 12D was cancelled altogether.  Consequently, when the all-stops Niagara Falls to Burlington bus – a half-full double-decker – arrived in St. Catharines a little late, there were 40+ passengers waiting on the platform.  The driver contacted her supervisor, and at the same time, asked Grimsby and Stoney Creek passengers to board, since this bus was scheduled to make those stops.  The driver then announced that a MCI model bus would arrive in approximately 10 minutes and operate express to Burlington.  “What to do?” I wondered to myself.

I chose to board this bus guessing that there were no spare personnel or equipment in The Falls that could offer support at this time.  The rescue bus was most likely dispatched from Hamilton, in which case the ETA of 10 minutes was wildly optimistic.  Additionally, most of the passengers on the platform were students without PRESTO cards; ticket sales would increase the time to load that bus.  I tapped on and as I made my way to one of the few empty seats in the lower saloon, I walk by a WMA passenger in the accessibility area.

A few other passengers boarded, too; most of them buying tickets, delaying our departure further.  We were almost set to leave, when the WMA passenger barked at our driver and demanded to be transferred to the express bus, which had not yet arrived.  My spirits deflated.  Would we ever get out of this town?  Our driver tried to reason with the passenger that at this point both buses would probably arrive in Burlington at about the same time.  The passenger would have none of it and insisted on taking the express bus.  The driver complied, and the passenger maneuvered his scooter out of the bus.  As he left, I wondered swhether the wheelchair lift on the MCI bus was in good working order.

We left St. Catharines over twenty minutes behind schedule.  About half way to Grimsby, I saw the rescue bus barreling down the QEW in the opposite direction.

Because of some very nice driving, we arrived at Burlington station four minutes before our connecting train.  I have no idea whether the impromptu rescue bus was successful in its mission.  If any readers were on that bus, please let This Crazy Train know what happened.

What this Friday fiasco illustrates is that it doesn’t matter that GO Transit has 500 buses in its stables.  If the resources aren’t managed properly, passengers are left in a lurch and the joint proclamation by the Minister of Transportation and Mary Proc, VP of Customer Service, amounts to no more than hollow words.

And sadly, during Friday’s misfortunes on Route 12, promise #3 of the GO Transit Passenger Charter – Keeping You in the Know – was violated, yet again!  In spite of a cancelled trip and late service on another, no e-mail alerts were issued.  You call that customer service, Ms. Proc?

It's an honest question

I didn't know I could tap the side of a PRESTO machine

The GO Transit Fall newsletter is out and unlike Spring, the translation service or department employed by Metrolinx (which could be a hamster using Google Translator for all we know) managed to translate Fall correctly -- all five of the GO Transit French-speaking only passengers should raise their Fleur de lis flags and poutine in triumph!

I expressed some criticism on Twitter this morning about some of the content but this photo highlights how Metrolinx's marketing department is lacking an eye for detail.

Come on...

Monday, September 15, 2014

So this happened

On the web page GO created to talk about its growing bus fleet, there's a timeline about the bus service from its inception in 1970.

Check out this photo. Look at the kid.

I bet he's going inside the station to have a sternly worded talk with someone about the lack of air conditioning on the bus.

Today, he'd be going inside the station to have a sternly worded talk with someone about all the jerks who load their Presto cards on the bus making those of us who know how to budget (or plan better) late for our trains.

Not even close

Aldershot GO Station

Five years soon ... time to pack it in?

Sometimes I wonder if this blog has served its purpose. I mean, how many foot riding, bag riding, boozing on the GO, parking nut jobs, self-entitled all your spacers can I profile before it gets, well, boring?

I've been encouraged to take on more of a GO Transit passenger lobbying role, where I sharpen my pitchfork and push Metrolinx for more action on promises made and better passenger etiquette enforcement. But, when you work full time, commute for more than three hours a day, have a family, have an established fitness regime and are a freelance graphic designer/web monkey, when would I find that kind of time? It takes hours to pen a well-thought out letter to submit to the government and who says I speak for everyone who uses GO?

What I would like is more time to be funny. I love digital imaging. I love playing around in Photoshop. I've made so many promises to edit pictures of donkeys showcased here, but I hardly ever follow through because I can't find the time. I've tried bringing a laptop on the train but Photoshop requires using a mouse while you are sitting still - too much rocking for using any of the tools effectively.

As I near the five year mark, I worry this blog has lost its momentum. I don't even know what my audience wants. I got what I wanted, a way to meet my fellow commuters and vent about things we find annoying, but now we're like two bored housewives.

You know what we need? An affair.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Picture me in a rocking chair, old cat on my lap, my hubby by my side...

... And we look at each other and say in our gravelly voices, "Remember that time in '14 when we owned two houses?"

It's over. It's done!

The money came in just before lunch.

I can't believe it. We've been hearing "tomorrow" for five weeks. I feel I should adopt another cat and call it "Tomorrow"-- it's been the word of the year.

The money was a day late. I don't care why. I can tell you it made me real mad and I think it was all this five-week long pent up frustration and anxiety that caused a cheque to drop at my lawyer's door this morning.

Yes, there will be an old cat on my lap one day and his name will be Tomorrow.