Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ontario Launches GO Train 15-Minute Service Guarantee

McGuinty Government Improving Public Transit

Ministry of Transportation
Starting tomorrow, GO Train riders will be able to get a credit if their train arrival is delayed 15 minutes or more.
The new 15-minute service guarantee is another step in Ontario's efforts to continually improve GO customer service. Under the guarantee, riders will get a credit based on the fare they paid. PRESTO users will be able to claim credits for late trips online, at a ticket kiosk or from GO customer service representatives. Single-ride ticket holders, day pass holders and group pass holders will need to claim credit vouchers from GO customer service representatives.
Investing in public transit is part of the McGuinty government's plan to strengthen the economy.  A strong economy protects the services that mean most to Ontario families -- health care and education. 

Quick Facts

  • GO trains arrived on schedule 94 per cent of the time this year, up from 87 per cent in 2008.
  • Approximately 70 per cent of current delays over 15 minutes would qualify for the credit. Delays beyond GO’s control will not be covered by the credit, including extreme weather conditions as defined by Environment Canada, emergency investigations, track obstructions, pedestrian incidents and on-board medical emergencies.
  • Single-ride ticket holders, day pass holders and group pass holders must claim their credit within 24 hours of their train being delayed to be eligible, while PRESTO users must claim their credit within seven days.
  • Metrolinx has expanded its GO rail service by 90 kilometres and added 10 new GO stations and 25,000 parking spots since 2003.
  • Since 2003, Metrolinx has purchased 285 new bi-level rail cars, 57 new, more powerful, fuel-efficient locomotives, 22 double-deck buses, and 124 additional accessible buses to reach more commuters in the Greater Golden Horseshoe.
  • GO buses and trains carry approximately 62 million passengers per year — about 75 per cent by train and 25 per cent by bus.


 When commuters take the GO Train, they want peace of mind that their train is going to get to where they need to be, on time. GO Transit’s new 15-minute service guarantee demonstrates how committed we are to getting riders to their destinations on time. Improving public transit encourages more people to leave their cars at home, reducing traffic congestion and keeping our air clean."
Minister of Transportation
The service guarantee is another example of Metrolinx’ ongoing commitment to customer service. We recognize that reliable service is a key element to ensuring our customers are satisfied customers."
Bruce McCuaig
President and CEO, Metrolinx


Anonymous said...

I see a lot more weather events looming on the horizon combined with fewer signal issues.

RonNasty said...

Are signal lights out of Go's control? Cost me a half hour delay on Monday evening. Probably caused by the rain which IS out of Go's control.

Squiggles said...

I saw the pre-annoucement yesterday and in a Scooby-Doo voice went: ruh-roh.

Oddly enough that same voice came back when I read the FAQs which are now posted on GO's site. Talk about loopholes.

Apparently, everyone catching the 5.10 LSE will have to wait to 4.55 to tap on, otherwise if there is a delay, they won't be able to claim the credit.

Furthermore, you have to go online, submit a form and then (if you are lucky) will hear back in 5 days on whether you are eligible for the credit or not. Can't help but think that gives them MORE time to figure out another Act of God excuse to get out of paying people back.

So yeah, the excuses provided (when they actually bother informing their clientele as to what the delay is, because we have all been trapped on the train for 20 mins. plus without word) will either be A) more creative or B) fall into the same lame excuses as before.

Personally, I am hoping for creative. Will make a better story for when when the inevitable bitching starts.

Dib said...

I'm still trying to understand how 'faster' locomotives work - GO has a schedule that the engineers must stick to. If they went faster, wouldn't they just have to wait at the next stop until the proper time to leave?

I guess it might be good for making up time between stops when they are running late?

Ideas, anyone?

Dakota said...

@ Squiggles, you had good info in your post. So I tap at 4:08 and do not make the 4:10 train. I must then go back downstairs cancel my trip and retap @ 4:10 or later for the 4:25 train.

I see they are making this as difficult as possible.

Anonymous said...

A bit of A, a bit of B...with faster locomotives, the train can get up to speed quicker accelerating from a station stop, which can make run times shorter from station to station, or help make up for lost time.

Depending on how much wiggle-room is padded in the schedules of course.

TomW said...

1) Cancelled trains produce no refund, even if you have no wait more than 15 minutes for the next train.
2) I always check GO's website before leaving the office. If my usual train is 15+ minutes late, I stay in the warm/air-conditioned office, rather than wait on cold/hot platform at Union. So, even if I get home 15+ minutes late, I won't have tapped on "early" enough to get the refund.
3) If it's the end of the month, and you're getting free trips on Presto, there's no "refund"... the money you get back should be *compensation* equal to the normal fare, not a refund.

Mark H. said...

I want to be the glass half full type guy and caveat the following with the obvious disclaimer we'll have to wait and see how it works.

This appears to represent a rather concreate attempt on GO's part to be accountable to the passenger. The things covered in the 15 minute delay appear to be fair to both the passenger and the company.

An online claim process is very weclome as well. If as a Presto user I had to waste my own time to get my money back by waiting in a line with every other person who was aboard the train that day then it defeats the purpose.

All in all if things work as they should, I'm happy with this.

Squiggles said...

@ Dakota,

I am not too certain. All I know I read in the FAQs.

Oh, and remember: this only applies to trains. If your bus is delayed, you are S.O.L.

One of my pet peeves with the GO system is that they do not update their status boards and such until a good chunk of time AFTER the delay occurs. Some emails are sent out HOURS after the delay, and the announcements and boards are not updated until 5-10 mins after the "departure" time.

As for Tom's Point #1. That sucks. Because now they will be cancelling trains left, right and centre to avoid paying out the late fees.

And to address Tom's Point #3: I mentioned in a conversation with a co-worker: how much do you want to bet that the delays will now occur at the end of the month. Solely for the purpose of only paying out the minimum amount. The "perk" of the extra-discounted/free rides is just that. Why penalize people who have their time wasted (and not to mention other fees that may occur because of the delay - day-care fees come to mind) because they utilized the service too many times to be compesated to the same degree as a casual user?

Like I said, too many loopholes. But read the FAQs and everyone will have a pretty sweet learning curve when the first delay happens.

Anonymous said...

Listen up!! I work at GO. Starting today it will be almost impossible to get a credit for delays.
Remember monthly pass holders get nothing and to apply for a presto refund it will take you a minimum of 15 minutes to apply on line. If approved...
Oh yeah.. And from now on every delay "it's signal problems " good luck!

Mark H. said...

I can only speak to personal experience, but I can probably count on one hand the amount of delays I've had that would've fallen under GO's guidelines in the past year or so on both the LSW and Milton lines. Sure I've had 5-10 minute delays but the only huge delays came down during the derailment near Aldershot and a couple of police investigations. Maybe I'm just lucky, but I'm a full time rush hour GO Rider so if there was an epidemic of problems I should be impacted by them...and I haven't been.

I'm also not cycnical enough to think that they're really going to go out of their way to screw up their service (be it with cancellations or being difficult with refunds) when their service is on time according to their specifications almost 100% of the times.

What would be the point to give this guarantee if all you were going to do is making life miserable for your customers to get around paying a few bucks in the odd time things do go *ahem* off the rails *groan*.

What this tells me is that they're confident enough in their ability to deliver 'on time' service almost 100% of the time that they can literally put their money where their mouth is.

Again I may be in the minority, but I've found ever since Bombardier took over operations from CN crews the service at least along the LSW corridor has been miles better than it was back in the days of Friday sickdays forcing train cancellations (The CP crews on the Milton line have always been solid from what I've been told/experienced).

I get the cynicism. GO runs a commuter train monopoly and can basically stick it us with fare hikes and service issues without a real recourse of us as the end user...But in this case, they've done something good that provided it is dealt with in good faith and honesty, is a very accountable action from a monopoly that really doesn't have to do squat.

Anonymous said...

Another kept secret is that the GO cops wont check trains that have been delayed or cancelled since they dont want to confront angry passengers. Also, if a train is picking up the slack from a previous cancelled train then the train would be PACKED to the max that it would be next to impossible for the GO cops to check the train.

Skin Man said...

A friend of mine was attempting to take the cancelled train on the Kitchener line on Friday morning, Nov 16. His refund on his presto card was approved today, (refund application sent on the weekend). There is hope yet!