Tuesday, March 13, 2012

And we thought it was an urban legend... GO Transit refunds do exist. Just be prepared to jump through hoops, writes author

Photo credit: Dylan Passmore via Flickr

by Emily Burke

For over a year, Luke Bailey left his house in Oshawa at the crack of dawn (or earlier) to catch the 7:13 a.m. GO bus nearby that dropped him at the Oshawa GO train station for the 7:53 train. This train would take him to the GO station at Exhibition for 8:55. By the time he got up to his office in Liberty Village, the whole commute clocked in at about two hours, door-to-door. At the end of each day, he spent another two hours getting home. That was on a good day; on a bad day, there would be delays. In Bailey’s experience, a short delay added an extra 15 minutes to his trip, but there were times he waited much longer and was once stuck on the train for an extra hour and a half.

“That can be really frustrating at the end of the work day,” Bailey says. After a delay like that, anxious passengers eager to rejoin normal civilization might not stop to wonder, right then and there (while there are GO staff members on hand) whether they’re entitled to a refund for their ticket. But trying to figure out GO’s refund policy from the comfort of your home is no easy task.

GO's refund guidelines are nowhere to be found on its website. Instead, people have to head to the customer service booth at Union Station, or any staffed GO station during business hours, to find out which delayed trains are eligible for refunds. But the general rule is that if a train or bus is at least 45 minutes late and if GO is very clearly responsible for the delay, the company is more likely to offer a refund, says Malon Edwards, GO Transit’s media relations and issues specialist.



Squiggles said...

Read that in Friday's T.O.Night.

I figured the new "announcements" for the train, as well as the CSA's now saying the time and that we are "only 10 mins late" with these delays is a way to avert a lot of people from going to the massive lines to ask for their refund. And their whole "10 mins late" crap is just that! Was on a train that was 30 mins late according to my watch and they stuck to the whole 10 mins. thing.

But, with people needing to be someplace by a certain time, why not automate the process, especially with PRESTO cards? If the train is late, automatically adjust the fare balance to pay for the ride.

Dakota said...

@ Squiggles, I agree if you have the Presto Card it would be easy to see the time it was tapped and what train was late and refund the fare. Although Presto can not get the transit reports right or on time so I think we will all be waiting a very longtime for a Presto refund.

Squiggles said...


Agreed. Really, it was more wishful thinking than anything else on my part.

lswgirl13 said...

I remember reading this as well on t.o.night. Probably one of the most poorly written articles I've read in a long time.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't Dalton promising to offer refunds as part of his re-election campaign?

Squiggles said...

@ Anon, There have always been refunds available. What Dolty promised was to shorten the time (aka 15 mins from 30 or some such) and restricted the causes for the delay - had to basically be mechanical failure/switch problems. If it is an act of god like leaves on track or snow or a police investigation, you are SOL.

But, it was promised. Never heard if anything was actually enacted though.