Friday, July 19, 2013

So, here we are, two weeks into 30-minute service on the Lakeshore line and what's it been like so far? Glad you asked!

Take it away, Peter!

I had to shake my head on the Canada Day weekend, as the media parroted GO Transit’s announcement of schedule enhancements on the Lakeshore route.  As an example, this article proclaimed “the regional transit system launches its long-awaited, 30-minute, all-day, two-way service on GO’s Lakeshore East and Lakeshore West lines Saturday”.  Let’s take a closer look at the LSE/LSW combined schedule, which you’ll find in the list of bus schedules.

Those of you who headed to the train station early Saturday morning received a dose of bitter reality.  Saturday 30-minute service doesn’t start until 10:34 from Aldershot, and 11:11 from Oshawa.  The same applies to Sunday.

“What about evenings?” you ask.

On Saturday, the last two EB trains from Aldershot are 22:04 and 23:04, and the last two WB trains from Oshawa are 22:41 and 23:41.  On Sunday, the last five EB trains from Aldershot are hourly 19:04 to 23:04, inclusive; similarly, the last six WB trains from Oshawa are hourly 18:41 to 23:41 inclusive.

“Yes, but most of our commuting time is during the week,” you say.  “Surely, GO Transit has us covered there.”

Well, as a busload of passengers from Niagara Region found out last week, that’s not quite the case.  For those familiar with the TV show “Get Smart”, it was a case of Maxwell’s line “Missed it by that much.”  The trip to Burlington didn’t quite synch-up with the EB 16:36 train from Aldershot.  Passengers were required to take the next EB train from Aldershot, namely, the 17:36 – a wait of 55 minutes!

“But surely the GO Transit Control Centre (GTCC) could have held the train for those passengers!” You exclaim.

That’s true, since that train typically sits 3 to 5 minutes in front of the Rogers Centre waiting to enter Union Station.  Even with that wait, it sometimes arrives in Union Station at 17:39 – three minutes early – and then departs at 17:53.

On Friday, June 28, Ontario Transportation Minister Glen Murray tore up a train schedule.  That may have been a bit premature, since GO Transit told us on their website and their Facebook page that trains would follow a Sunday schedule and buses a Saturday schedule for Canada Day, July 1.  If we look closely at the Saturday Lakeshore train schedule, there are exceptions marked with an “X” and explained as “Trip does not operate July 1, 2013”.  Why mark a subset of Saturday trips on that schedule as not running on Canada Day, if trains were operating on a Sunday schedule for July 1?

With all these extra train trips running, will GO Transit be treating us to new coaches?  Don’t hold your breath, because Sunday’s WB 14:41 out of Oshawa had …

Yes, they’re back!  Vinyl upholstered seats – polished, more slippery, and firmer than your gluteus maximus remembers them.  Note the proper form this passenger is demonstrating to rest his weary feet; the cushion flips up.  Pictured is coach 2036.  The coach coupled next to it was 2065 featuring exactly the same d├ęcor and sporting the following plaque vouching for its authenticity:

This is vintage rail travel folks – every 30 minutes, more or less!


Anonymous said...

Those seats coming "back" is a case of making a stink about nothing: those are the original bilevels in the 2000-2079 series that GO has always operated mixed in with the regular fleet. They operate on all lines, on all trains, like any other car. They will eventually be refurbished again when their time comes.

Most of the other hundreds of cars GO has have the newer seat fabric, or will be getting it very shortly in the case of 24xx cars being refurbished.

RC said...

To be honest I don't really care on which train I get on. Old GO trains are still way better than the TTC and I'm enjoying not having to study my watch before I decide to head out to Union. My only complaint is that Durham transit hasn't follow suit and the few times I got to Whitby and Oshawa on those extra trains, there were no connecting buses.

Peter said...

@RC: The same issue with connecting buses exists within GO Transit, e.g. Route 12. Back in April, the scheduling inconsistency was pointed to the Minister of Transportation, who quickly punted the query to Metrolinx, who promptly responded with “Buses will be adjusted in support of our new trains”, and then proceeded to do absolutely nothing about the matter.

Anonymous said...

Is it just me or does go seem to be spearheading initiatives that nobody asked for. Quiet zones? Trains every 30 minutes when nobody rides them? Wouldn't their resources be better put into things that affect most riders?

Squiggles said...


DRT probably won't add any more buses to match the new GO timetable. As it is, if you are taking a bus during Non-Rush-Hour, they are pretty much empty.

Besides, they spent all the new fare increase (now 3.10) on introducing the 900 Pulse (aka the Kingston Rd. bus). I think this was a better use of their resources as it does seem to assist more people. At least the few times I rode it, it was PACKED.

In essence, the new train times are good for only those who commute to stations with cars.

AngelSil said...

"similarly, the last six WB trains from Oshawa are hourly 18:41 to 23:41 inclusive."

Yeah, we found that out yesterday. Assumed there'd be a 6:57 from Danforth headed WB because, you know, 7pm on a Sunday evening isn't THAT late and lots of people head home from downtown at that time.
(the 7:27 train was pretty full)


At least we only had to wait 30 minutes, but I was a bit miffed they cut every 30 minute service so early.

We're learning quickly that we can't count on the 'most off-peak trains are every 30 minutes' to cover when we typically travel.

Peter said...

@Anonymous: You are quite right to challenge the motivation for Metrolinx’s business decisions. It’s still not clear to me how rebranding (new colour scheme for GO Transit equipment) will improve the level of service to passengers. My cynicism leads me to believe these initiatives are pure posturing in preparation for showcasing at the Pan Am Games in 2015. The new paint job on buses and trains will persist, but will we have “30-minute service” after the Games finish and the crowds have gone home?

Anonymous said...

A little off topic, but the pic of the person with his/her feet up, with the actual seat cushion pushed up.

Did we already know that GO CSAs instruct people to do that if they feel they MUST put their feet up? Hopefully they've stopped that PSA...