Tuesday, December 17, 2013

GO's über communication strategy

by D.H. PhD

So yesterday, I get to Union Station to catch the 5:35 milk run to Oshawa.  But what to my eyes did appear, but my train missing from signage here:

I actually got there before that, but didn't notice my train missing from the sign 'til about 5:34, when I snapped yonder picture.

It's about this time that GO started hollering (albeit enunciated quite well for once) that the delayed 5:10 train is now on TRACK 13 and passengers should proceed there.  Except for the hearing impaired, they're stranded.

My train finally made the cut at 5:37.

5:40: Someone at GO Transit HQ finally READS what they posted, or enough people at Union Station concourse complained: I was in the York Teamway and out of cell phone service.  Yet, it didn't stop an old lady screaming into her phone, because you know, that makes the signal stronger, able to pierce several feet of concrete, but I digress.

Note the sudden time change for the 5:35 - them express people hijacked my Friday-to-Monday* train.

Not sure what happened here: Oh yeah, GO HQ clued into the fact that platform info for the 5:10 was missing: it was given in the previous auditory announcement, if you recall.

Waiting . . . waiting . . . oh goodie, the express people leaving AFTER us get trains.  Truth of the matter, this did nothing but piss off the non-express people, because BOTH trains left at the same time as the 5:35 (delayed) train and the 5:53 express.  We separated somewhere around Danforth - it was a tearful goodbye.  Pissing people off for no apparent reason, GO Transit?

Alas, my train has arrived.   People were in utter shock when this happened, I got off a couple of pictures before the hoard started to move.

Also, note the lack of signage alignment: that's quality folks, with a capital K.

Got your own story of inGOmpetence?  Share it, let GO Transit KNOW they're screwing up and how they're screwing up.  Maybe we can fix this mess, even if the people in charge don't seem to want to and/or are incapable.

Also, thanks to my night-time reading buddy, the ROAR, no CORR, no CROR, oh yeah, the CROR (Canadian Railroad Operations Rules) I know that in fact it is a RULE to be synchronized to rail time, which ought to be synchronized to the RTC.  Too bad that doesn't apply to signage, or the computers that run them.  It's hard to synchronize the time across a bunch of computers, it's not like there's a network time protocol (NTP) that was invented prior to 1985.

*Snakes on a plane reference


Squiggles said...

What is better, is that they actually cancelled the 5.10 train, without any notices or announcements last night. I know this because what arrived, late, was the 5.20 train with people on board. In fact, it wasn't until the doors were closing that the CSR actually stated the time of the train, all previous announcements by him was that it was the LSE train and the stops it was making. So many ignorant people assumed it was a modified 5.10 and not the normal, but late, 5.20.


Plus, the email about the "delayed" 5.10 train arrived in my inbox at 6.09pm. An hour after the cancellation. And nothing about the 5.20.

I kept the email, as I intend on sending it into GO and let them know that 3 delays in 3 weeks is too much. Granted, the first two were not their fault, but even with those practice runs, they do not seem to have figured out a disaster plan for when things go awry.

MATT said...

Yesterday morning, I got several emails from GO about a switch malfunction that was delaying trains. Here's one I got at 11:10am:

Update: The Pickering 07:55 - Union 08:42 train trip is delayed 9 minutes from Pickering due to a track switch malfunction.

Thanks, GO. It's very important for me to know that a train was 9 minutes late, 2+ hours after it arrived at Union. My life is now complete; I can die happy.

Anonymous said...

...and the 1625 LSE train to Oshawa wasn't announced last night until after the 1630 was pulling in. No audio announcements either. Nothing. Just a bunch of people left on the platform wondering if they should jump on the 1630 all stops or risk guessing if the 1625 was indeed ever going to show up. Well it did, just as the 1630 was pulling away. The 1625 train ended up stopping short of the platforms for what seemed to be an eternity in Whitby as well and was 15+ minutes late arriving in Oshawa. If I was unscrupulous I would advise any Oshawa (and potentially Whitby) passengers who tapped on within 15 minutes of the 1625 train last night to apply for a credit, regardless of whether you took the 1630 or 1625.

DH said...

Thanks for editing CJ :-)

Anonymous said...

Not a good couple weeks for the service guarantee.

Anonymous said...

Possible GO/ Presto scam...

Got to Oakville Station at 7am to catch 705am to Union (train starts at Oakville and does the milk run). No train. Train arrives at about 706 - 707. Get on train. After a few minutes, announcement comes that 705 is cancelled and this is the 725! Train sits until 725 then leaves! To me, its a good way to dodge the service guarantee.

LC said...

Anon @ 1:10PM, you should have got on the 07:15 Express from Oakville... because halfway between Appleby and Bronte they announced that our express train had become an all-stops train! That being said, the service guarantee DOES apply for my trip.

Frank said...

@DH: Excellent article! Welcome to CJ's troop of roving reporters.

Stuck in Oakville said...

@Anon & LC, yesterday I got on that late 7:05 Oakville train too. There were no announcements in my car at all as we sat there. However I received an email at 7:14am that the 7:15 train was going all stops from Oakville due to a previous train's mechanical issue (which I inferred was the 7:05 still on the platform). I hopped off and got on the 7:15 pulling in and waved goodbye to the many people still sitting on the 7:05. At 7:34am I received another email saying the 7:05 was cancelled and passengers would be accomodated on the 7:25. I had no idea that the 7:05 became the 7:25! What about the mechanical issue? Why no announcements? Why did GO know at 7:14am the express was to become local but not know the local was cancelled or bothered to tell amyone? GO, Y U NO TALK TO CUSTOMER ON TIME?