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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Faith in Humanity restored



From the Improv in Toronto website (the folks behind this video):

Just another day in the city, another ride on the subway. Every day, citizens of Toronto go through this thinking, so often that it’s no longer a conscious thought to them anymore. We spend such a huge amount of time on the subway, yet there’s pretty much nothing memorable about it at all. When you get off, it’s like you’ve lost time to the underground, time never to return. And that’s why it’s one of our most favorite spots to work in. 
Source

Meanwhile, at the bus factory

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Trolling bus passenger

You saw the weather this morning, right? Check out this superstar


- Submitted

I think I captured it all... (smoking donkey, too!)

I gotta thank Bicky for the inspiration behind the new banner at the top. I couldn't fit in a birthday cake, though. (Sorry, Bicky)
This Crazy Train turns 3 today!
To mark this cake day, I am pronouncing it is gin o'clock (or wine o'clock/beer o'clock, whatever you prefer) - all day.

Cheers!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Imma let you rant

I got this email from someone who wrote it on an iPad. Considering the touchscreen keyboard on my new Smartphone results in me spending one hour to type one sentence (it was "I like apple pie", in case you were wondering) this email from Anonymous with a beef about the Barrie Quiet Zone is impressive.

It would have taken me 6 days to bang out this masterpiece.

However, I don't feel technically retarded anymore since I was shown the Samsung Swype feature. It's voo-doo! It's electronic sorcery at its finest and it's all kinds of hawtsome.

FROM ANONYMOUS:

THE QUIET ZONE . . . Say goodbye to balance . . .

Ah yes . . . 

I see the brain trust at GO is hard at it again . . . the "quiet zone".

Excellent!

GO tells us this has been implemented because they've been "listening" to their customers. No doubt a ploy to attempt to look good without spending money.

Hmmm . . . maybe through all the perceived din before this new "service", GO couldn't hear the other folks complaining that they have to stand or sit on the dirty stairs for most of their $7 (one way) trip. I bet those same customers don't give a rat's ass whether someone beside them is talking on the phone or chatting with colleagues. Maybe GO will hear them now - now that it's so much quieter.

CJ. One of your readers posted about this becoming a "Lord of the flies" situation between passengers. I concur. This is poking a hornet's nest with a stick. Even simple hypothetical discussions about this matter nowhere near a train get heated.

I was recently "shushed" by someone while having a quiet conversation with my girlfriend. That didn't go very well. I've heard about conflicts that have already existed.

Just imagine the potential brouhaha that might arise now that you've slapped a Deputy's badge on the passengers that just can't exercise "balance".  "A rule's a rule!" they cry. The CSAs must love this!

Let's be honest - how big of a problem was noise really in the past? Not much in my experience. I've been a GO rider for 20 years and I can probably only count on one hand (two, tops) when I was really distracted by someone talking on the phone or to other GO buddies too loudly. Furthermore, most of the time when this was an issue, it was politely policed by the other passengers and resolved - Deputy Dawg not required.

So because of a few people that can't find their own balance, can't pick their battles, or sweat the small stuff:

50% of the Barrie line ridership is now forced to sit in the lower level of a train that already has seating problems if their work involves a phone call. In case GO didn't notice, ALL of their passengers are business people in a mobile world. A world where employment extends past the conventional 9 to 5. Many  people get a lot of work done on the train.

GO culture is very much about friendship - often life long friendships made on these very trains. We are now being told we are not even allowed to quietly talk.

If someone needs to take or place a call, they are now expected to give up their seat, go downstairs with all their belongings and finish the call there. Yuk yuk yuk.

Perhaps the people who are so very troubled by the offensive noise on the GO and are in such need of the tranquility they seek - should take their cars. Or maybe they should take the subway . . . try "shushing" someone there . . . . . . . . yah, I didn't think so.

This is PUBLIC TRANSIT people!

Or, maybe GO should add a few cars and designate them as "quiet cars" - and hey - why not CHARGE for these cars!? Another item for GOs a la carte service offerings (like reserved parking).

There is a lady sitting directly across from me as I write this . . . snoring up a storm. Now, does that fall into the rules of the quiet zone? Should I wake her? Hmmmmm . . . 

Lumbergh from Office Space has good news for us all

/ INSERT RECORD SCRATCH
But only for some of you. Not all reports have been uploaded.
These cows have an important message for those of you still waiting...
   

Monday, February 25, 2013

And the official word from Presto, 1 week after their technical error with transit usage reports is...

"Hi there, sorry for the delay we are working to get them up as soon as possible."
- Twitter

Translation:

Friday, February 22, 2013

We've all been lied to


I will tell you one thing though, this photo makes me feel a lot better about the horror story that is my linen closet. Source

Dealing with TTC donkeys

My manager, who rides the TTC to work on the Yonge line, has learned that the best way to deal with commuting donkeys when confronted is to not engage.

Yesterday, she boarded a subway car and tried to navigate to the centre of the car, past all the door donkeys, when one lady refused to budge. Three times my manager said, "Excuse me", before moving the woman's bag and sliding past her. The woman twirled around and yelled at my manager, "Did you just try to steal my bag?"

My manager shot back that she had asked her to move so she took matters in her own hands. "Hey," said the woman, "You're not the only one who's trying to get to work, you know." To which my manager replied, "And private parts are private," before shoving her earbuds into her ears.

DIAL UP THE CRAZY. Wins every time.

A+

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Bye bye BlackBerry. Hello Phablet

I just want to say that word all day, Phablet.

I'll be honest. I didn't want to let my BlackBerry go, primarily because of the QWERTY keyboard. I've written pages and pages worth of posts on the BlackBerry and at a speed that I know I will never achieve using a touchscreen. My Samsung tablet is touchscreen and I suck at using the keyboard. My tablet is also not a phone and I don't have a text plan. I still need a mobile device.

My original BlackBerry died 18 months into my 3-year term. Rogers sent me a god-awful LG replacement phone that I promptly returned. My friend Sandra gave me her old Curve, but despite paying for a 1G data plan, the browser never works, Twitter crashes, the lock button fails and the battery life is terrible. I kept asking myself, what the hell am I paying almost $60 a month for? I was grateful my friend could help me out but knowing I was paying for services the phone couldn't handle was making my bank account scream.

Say what you want about Rogers, but after clubbing a seal to make a better deal, they came through for me seeing as I had 12 months to go on my BlackBerry term and moved me to a Samsung Galaxy Note resulting in a difference of $7 less a month and finally, a browser that works.

So now this phabulous girl has a phabulous Phablet. Boo ya.

Let's bury it on the front page, Jim! Make it unnoticeable. For God's sake, don't bold it or use red text


Despite being told that the 2012 Presto Transit Usage Reports would be fixed and posted online by Thursday, this isn't the case.
Many people are missing the message on the homepage of the prestocard website. This message should be on the transit report page.
Le sigh.

Get your OG t-shirt. Only $30


Found on http://www.doinitwell.com/

The train is not your office


People like this guy should do us all a favour and hire a limo and driver.

- Submitted

I need to print this out and distribute it

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Racist accusation lands this video in my inbox

from: Adil M
to: "cj@thiscrazytrain com"
date: Tue, Feb 19, 2013 at 10:34 PM
subject: Watch "BUT THAT'S NOT RACIST" on YouTube

Saw the comment calling you racist and immediately thought of this video. Share it with the trolls! AM



And a .gif for the troll to use when commenting further on this site, to save his or her time and effort: just cut and paste (courtesy of MATT). http://www.clevescene.com/binary/3e89/1349813923-thats-racist.gif

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

So, our three-year anniversary is coming up next week

I say OUR because I really feel like we're in a relationship, you and I.

Three years is a long-ass time to blog about the same topic but here most of you are, loyal since the day I birthed this site.

If there's one thing I've learned in the past 36 months, people want to know who I am and many are waiting for the big reveal. Most likely, those of you who ride any of the express Lakeshore East trains before 8am and 6pm, and sit in the coaches nearest the locomotives, have crossed paths with me. I've even met up with a few of you for a ride home (Dib!) or a ride in (Al!). Some of you work in the same office tower as me (Van! Drumstick!). Some of you have become good friends (Donna! Sandra! Char l'hottie! Jill! Bouncer!) Some of you keep trying to meet me (Peter!) Some of you I really should try to meet (Squiggles! MATT! Bicky!) Let me get out my Romper Room mirror here: TomW, lswgirl13, April, AngelSil, SkinMan, Kelly, deepfish and a hella lot more of you! Some of you I really don't need to meet. Ever.

My mom, who just came to realize how *cough* big this site is, suggested I host some kind of get together on the 27th. Like this is the '50s and I'm just gonna roll out some pinwheel sandwiches and dip and have all of you over to my house so we can talk about the butt hurt that is the donkeys of GO Transit. Not likely. I'm not ready for that kind of meet and greet. If this site makes it to five years and my cattorney, Georgie Greyskull - Lawyer Cat, hasn't shut this party down, then I might consider booking a private room at some establishment near Union Station and hope none of you stand me up. 

So, to commemerate, I figure a re-design of the masthead, banner, logo - that thing at the top - is in order and I really have no ideas. I did a special design for the first anniversary but nothing since and I really should mark every sorry year this site climbs in popularity.

I'm looking for ideas. Have a look at what I've done in the past and inspire me. I'd appreciate it.

This Crazy Train's Presto Chronicles, Chapter 24: I hope you were downloading your transit usage monthly

UPDATE #2



Despite being told that the 2012 Presto Transit Usage Reports would be fixed and posted online by Thursday (Feb 21, 2013), this isn't the case.
Many people are missing the message on the homepage of the prestocard website. This message should be on the transit report page.
Le sigh.

UPDATE #1
Insert record scratch...

Presto has admitted there is a technical glitch and corrected reports will be available after Thursday.
Good.


Didja log into the Presto website and check your transit usage report?

I did. And it's WRONG.

I've sent a tweet to Presto Card and GO Transit, but I'm not alone. Check out this discussion online.

For example, my transaction history for December 2012 shows 23 Presto trips (12 days with one day being where I got a ride home). The official report for income tax purposes says I only took 11 Presto trips (10 days).

Oh dear.

It gets better. According to the official report, I only went to work 3 days in September and 1 day in October, but I didn't come home. Hysterical.

The report looks right until it hits the month of July and then it's all downhill from there. 

What to do? WHAT TO DO?

I printed out my transactions monthly because I don't trust Presto's technology. Can you blame me?

Just because the sign makes an observation doesn't mean you need to prove it


- Submitted

Someone must have been really hungry to eat clam chowder cold out of a can


F- for littering.
- Instagram

Friday, February 15, 2013

The backpack looks horrified


Let's face it, no one wants to stare at your crotch.
Put your feet on the floor.

- Feet on the GO

You ready to pay more for riding the train? Metrolinx considers charging fees for parking

Metrolinx is considering charging for parking at GO train stations in an effort to generate revenue to fund its mass-regional transportation expansion plans, said its CEO in a board meeting last Wednesday.

But hang on, before you have a ragegasm, Metrolinx CEO Bruce McCuaig was quick to point out, according to the Star's Tess Kalinowski, the board would seek input from the public, municipalities and stakeholders before implementing a parking strategy, if they implement one at all.

If this were to come to fruition, there's no idea yet on how Metrolinx would retrofit its lots as pay lots seeing as they don't have a plan, but in response, McCuaig told reporters it could be anything from charging GO transit customers for parking on all of GO's properties, or for parking around stations.

Oy. I know. But are you surprised? There's no money to fund bringing GO train service to municipalities beyond Oshawa or Hamilton; Kitchener; Stouffville and Markham; Milton and Orangeville, or to implement service throughout the day on the majority of its corridors. If you live in Maple and you decide to go home early from work at 2pm, you're taking a bus, not a train.

Although parking revenue has been fingered as a way to fund expansion plans, passengers would expect more for their money and this means a massive improvement in service, said McCuaig and I agree. More coaches, more express trains and more bus service are a few improvements that come to mind.

I already subsidize parking for those who drive to stations through my fare even though I ride the bus. I realize not everyone can take a bus, bicycle or walk to a GO station. But for GO to bring a bus or train station closer to you so you don't have to drive, they need a way to pay for those stations, rail lines and infrastructure. Unless the provincial and federal governments cough up more money, looks like paying to park will become a reality.

Let's discuss what to charge. Metrolinx offers over 65,000 parking spaces. At fifty cents a spot, that's $32,500 a day or $8.5 million a year. The fee would be collected by having drivers tap their Presto cards at readers mounted to parking gates and then tap again when boarding the train. Parking should be free on weekends. As long as the board vows to freeze the salaries of its executives and fares for its customers for the next five years so that nearly $50 million could be raised and GO customers don't feel Metrolinx is stealing from the poor to feed the rich, paid parking at GO train stations doesn't sound like a bad idea.

And let's take it one step further, those of us who don't drive, who don't tap to pay for parking, we get a fare discount when we tap at the platform to board a train, say 15 cents off our fare. GO still makes the same revenue from parking and the discounts given to those who didn't park is covered by the salary freeze.

Your thoughts?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Whitby man arrested in connection with alleged assault of 15 year old girl on a GO Train


- Toronto Police Services photo

Police have arrested Christopher Fraser, 27, of Whitby.

Fraser is accused of taking photos and assaulting the teenager while aboard a Lakeshore East GO train and following her when she exited the train at Rouge Hill.

Police say she may not be his only victim.

Anyone with information about this suspect are asked to call police at 416-808-7474 or Crime Stoppers at 416-222-TIPS (8477).

Just in case you didn't understand the first time, here's two more signs. HAIRCUTS. AMAZING PRICE

The hubby and I drove to our favourite hole-in-the-wall Thai place in Scarborough Monday night for pad thai and noticed the barber next door has stepped up his advertising game.
The barber is Italian. Say the signs in your head with an Italian accent.
Now you understand the need for no punctuation.

Commuter level: Stealth


- Instagram

Guildwood Parking Donkeys

Parks crooked. Leaves lights on.


All that space and still, can't get it between the lines.  
- Submitted

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Anyone else being robbed of 1 cent for your morning bus ride to the GO station?

If this pattern keeps up, GO will have earned an extra $2.00 from me by year-end.
Now multiply that by a 1,000 people.
We're no longer talking the price of a cup of coffee a day ... no "In the Arms of an Angel..." playin' here, son.

I decided to take a look at my Presto transactions history for this month. The yellow highlight is the cost for trip to the station. The green highlight is the cost for my trip home. I leave and return within the same zone.

My morning commute costs $8.40. My evening commute costs $8.39. GO Transit isn't collecting pennies here, so no need to round up. So why the 1 cent difference?

I called GO Transit. They said to call Presto. I called Presto and they said ... wait for it ... yep. Call GO Transit.


And transactions for the past two days:

I'm going to Hell for laughing at this

Joyriding bird on GO Train - write him up!


- Submitted

What's the bad cheese smell? Oh.


- Submitted

Love stories and videos about GO Transit - it's no Fifty Shades of GO

GO Transit ran a contest leading up to Valentine's Day asking people to write about how GO takes them to places and people they love.

Three finalists were picked and the stories and videos are now online for people to pick a winner.

I didn't know about this contest until today when I got an email telling me about it. It's a shame, really, because my story would have won - hands down. I would have written about the time I witnessed a GO train bathroom become a moving love nest for two strangers linked by fate by having attended a KoЯn concert.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Meanwhile, during the recent snowstorm in Waterloo...


I hope that driver came back with coffee and timbits for those folks.
Thanks to Dan-1 for the link.

Recent LSE/LSW GO train incidents you should know about

Girl assaulted on GO Transit, suspect at large
Toronto Star

Toronto Police report that on Wednesday (February 6, 2013) at 4 p.m., a 15-year-old girl was allegedly sexually assaulted while travelling on the Lakeshore East line.
According to the report, the alleged assault happened as the train approached Rouge Hill.
The report doesn't indicate what train this girl was on, or the direction of travel. It couldn't have been eastbound as the time doesn't line up with Union departures. She must have been westbound, towards Union.
The suspect is described as "white, 25 to 30 years old, 6 feet tall, 180 pounds, and unshaven, with short, brown hair. He was last seen wearing a baggy black winter jacket, beige pants, a beige baseball hat, turned backwards, construction boots and black sunglasses".


Police searching for suspect following indecent act on GO train
680News

According to this report, a male suspect is believed to have boarded a an east-bound LSW train at either Port Credit or Clarkson, sat in a seat close to a woman, and began to commit an indecent act.
Toronto Police Services released a photo of the suspect. It's not the best quality or resolution, I'm afraid.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Found on instagram. Let me teach you how to write a complaint...


Not sure how a train leaving on time is part of the initial complaint ... or the amount of fare paid.
The complaint is that a train left before it was scheduled to depart and now the person is late. Full stop. Everything else is just whining.

I should teach people how to complain more effectively.

For example:

Dear GO Transit Customer Service Representative

I am certain you deal with hundreds of customer comment cards filled with whiny anecdotes from passengers upset with your service for a myriad of reasons, but my complaint will hit you right in the feels.

On September 7th, 2012, I arrived at the Dixie GO Station to catch the 7:15 am train for Union Station.

According to my watch, which is set to NASA-precision time standards, I had approximately 13 seconds to hop on the train. Instead, the doors were closed right in my face and the train left the station.

Heartbroken, I stood on the platform staring at the departing train in disbelief, because today was the day I was to attend a once-in-a-lifetime job interview guaranteed to change the entire course of my career.

I was born into a poor, Polish family who immigrated to Canada with nothing more than a Bible and a canning pot that has been used to make preserves in my family for hundreds of years. Working hard, my parents were able to buy a modest bungalow in Mississauga and put all 18 of us kids through school and shoes - that's 36 shoes in case you're counting.

My father, who is a simple man - always content to eat sauerkraut from a can, while yelling at live, televised soccer matches certain the players can hear him - desperately wanted to be a heart surgeon, but coming from a poor family of farmers back in the mother land, this was merely a dream, never to be reality.

Well today I was supposed to make my father proud. He's very frail these days and lives vicariously through me, his only son. Yes, I have 17 sisters. And yes, only one bathroom growing up. You see, I was to be in Toronto for a job interview at a hospital downtown for a surgeon position. The interview was to start at 8:15 am. I have tried calling the hospital but no one from the hiring panel has arrived yet. You can see how this will leave a very bad impression and most likely, I will be disqualified as a candidate.

What really hurts is that I have to return home and break my father's heart. I'm not sure how GO Transit can make it up to me, but I am donating my NASA-precision time standards watch to the company. I am doing this so that your conductors can properly sync their on-board clocks so that what happened to me doesn't happy to anyone else.

That's all I want. Hopefully you will help fulfill this request

With a heavy heart,
S.J. Whinesky

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Good guy CSA

from: AC 
to: cj@thiscrazytrain.com
date: Sun, Feb 10, 2013 at 10:27 AM
subject: C is for Customer Service, Compassion and Cookies

Hi CJ.

I know a lot of GO transit employees read your blog.  I am hoping that if you post this, the right person sees it.

My daughter and her girlfriend were on the 10:13 LSE Union to Oshawa on Saturday, February 9, 2013.  My daughter's girlfriend is a type I diabetic; she is insulin dependant and wears a pump.  Her blood sugar went dangerously low during the trip.  She normally carries juice boxes for this purposes but Saturday night she didn't have one.  She had some candy with her but it wasn't enough.  

The girls went to see the CSA to ask if there were any sugar tablets in the first aid kit but apparently GO transit doesn't stock the first aid kits with these.  

The CSA offered cookies out of his own dinner!  He didn't have to offer food from his own dinner and it was greatly appreciated.  Isabela's blood sugar had mostly stabilized by the time they reached Oshawa.  

It was a little thing, but a really nice thing.  

I don't know if he usually drives that train and the girls didn't get his name.  I did write to GO transit so hopefully they will pass along our thanks. 

See haters.  Not all GO stories are bad!

Bro, do you even drift?

Quick! Somebody get some floor mats!

This TTC bus got honey-badgered by a snow plow Friday night.

- Submitted

Stomping down on the gas pedal in an attempt to "launch" your car out of a parking space surrounded in deep snow won't work. Sorry


This was the scene at the Oshawa GO Station parking lot for much of Friday afternoon and evening.

Unlike other drivers, I had no trouble driving my car out of my spot and out of the lot. I was on daycare pickup duty for both Thursday and Friday, otherwise, I would have been on the bus.

It shouldn't matter what kind of car you drive, whether you have snow ties or not, although snow tires play a very important part in winter weather, what should matter is how much patience you have coupled with a little winter driving skills.

Granted, my Ford Flex has all wheel drive (AWD) but despite its CUV size, it's still a car. I put the transmission in the lowest gear, kept my wheels straight, gave it a little gas and out I went - smooth as whistle. Other people didn't have much luck - many making the mistakes of turning their front wheels right or left, and pressing hard down on the gas,  resulting in no traction and a lot of spinning in ruts. I hopped in the driver's seat of two stranded motorists and got their cars out - the first being a manual Audi sedan [AWD] and the other a Chevy Equinox [two-wheel, front-wheel drive, no 4x4 or AWD]. Both were driven by men who doubted my ability to rescue them. This annoyed me but whatever, I'm here to help, right?

I got the Equinox out by reversing the vehicle back into its original spot and driving it forward, no angling of the wheels and only a little bit of gas. The driver told me he figured momentum would do the trick. I told him not from a stand-still position. You people are cray-cray.

The Audi on the other hand ... the owner had almost 169,000 km on it and the original tires. I told him to buy new tires. He told me there was nothing wrong with them. I gave him the eyeball and a shrug. I really doubted his tires were fine because despite being an Audi where all-wheel-drive is standard, his car wouldn't budge. I asked him to get his floor mats out of the car and I positioned them in front of his front tires. I got him out but it took almost 10 minutes of reversing and driving forward inch by inch - rinse and repeat - on the floor mats. What I found funny is as I was leaving, I noticed a young woman getting her floor mats out of her car to use them for traction. That's a good girl.

I hope she bought a lottery ticket Friday night

The woman behind the wheel of this car (supposedly a Honda Civic) that was hit by a Barrie-bound GO train Friday night had enough sense to exit her vehicle after she got stuck in a rut of snow on the track. Rather than try to get her car off the track, on a stretch of road near York University, she abandoned it.

This is the one time where you don't want to use floor mats.

Screw the car! Cars can get fixed.
Lives? Not so much.

Photo credit

Friday, February 8, 2013

Sure, I'll BBQ some steaks. Oh, wait...


But I am le tired

Doesn't  matter!

GET YOUR DAMN FEET OFF THE SEATS!


- Submitted

Oakville GO - We now knight thee "Smokeville" ... or Deep Stench Nine

from: MM 
to: cj@thiscrazytrain.com
date: Mon, Jan 14, 2013 at 7:31 AM
subject: Smokeville: The Next Generation - or - Deep Stench Nine

Got another few pics this morning - they're not that good - tried stepping the fstop and going without flash, but the darn smokers move around just a tad too much.
There are three that stand out these days on the 6:00-6:30 shift: a really big and tall guy who seems developmentally handicapped who smokes fragrant cigars and stands either right up under a no smoking sign by the main doors, or ambles back and forth in front of them. I call him The Smelly Giant. This morning he was puffing away and chatting with a uniformed Oakville Transit employee (one of my rules is that I don't take pics that would get transit workers in trouble - hence no try for a pic) I'll get him some other time, he's always there between 6:15 and 6:30.
There used to be a hardcore smoker at the east doors right by where the GO buses stop to let passengers off. He was an Eastern-European guy, Polish maybe, judging by his accent. He would stand about half a metre in front of the doors and actually and obviously blow smoke INTO the doors each time they opened. He would scream at anyone who asked him to stop or move away. He has disappeared and has been replaced by two new guys.
There's a guy who resembles Patrick Stewart, if Patrick had his cheekbones removed and was drug through an ashtray and hit with a weasel stick. He stands where the old hard-case used to stand. I've taken his pic a few times. One good point for Captain Nictard is that he doesn't try to engage. Just stands there puffing away as I take his pic. Maybe he's just oblivious. Maybe he is waiting for the doors to give whistle so he can bark out "COME!"
Then there's a South Asian gentleman who I encountered last week. I didn't have my camera with me, and he kind of surprised me. He came up behind my shoulder as I was walking to the bus and he wafted a smoky exhalation my way. I had to walk through the unexpected cloud and I turned to him and just said, "Get out. This is a no smoking area - GET OUT!" He didn't even argue, just turned around and walked away. This morning he was by the doors though, joining ersatz Jean-Luc  in a five-cig mission to annoy strange new people. Haven't made up my mind, but I think I'll call him Doctor Ash-eer.
I'm calling the enforcement people back again today. They left a message last week, but what with sickness, absence, and labour problems, I haven't had a chance to reply. 

Because, you know, the drive in to the station is sooo exhausting


- Submitted

Parking donkeys! I have found your leader

Whoever owns this minivan took up 4 spots. Two in the aisle in front. Two in the aisle in back.


- Submitted. Pickering GO Station

Just a guy at Union. In heels. And a skirt. Work it. Covergirl.


- Submitted

GO's Quiet Zone initiative destined for failure?


Photo by n8itude

This appears to have all the ingredients for a Lord of the Flies situation. Anytime you expect a group of people to govern themselves, it's destined to become a shit show.
----------------------
from: SB 
to: "cj@thiscrazytrain.com"
date: Fri, Feb 8, 2013 at 8:38 AM
subject: Announcement of Quiet Zone Pilot causes Friction on Kitchener train

Hi Cindy,

I was just reading  the article about the quiet zone pilot in which GO Transit believes that it won't cause confrontation and I wanted to tell you that even though its not even on the Kitchener line, leaving little cards on everyone's seats announcing the pilot caused a lot of loud "righteous" conversations including a very intense confrontation between a man standing and talking on his cell phone and a woman sitting trying to read.

I think GO Transit is definitely deluded with thinking this will work especially on the trains where the ridership surpass the seat capacity. People are already frustrated about standing and having a person comment on the level of his/her conversation will just cause further confrontation.

Some people are just oblivious to how they impact on others and a quiet zone isn't going to change them and its going to give "ill thought" out ammunition to those that want to treat it like a law.

It will even be more  fascinating how this will play out when its a young child excited about taking the train sitting in the "quiet zone".

Thanks,

SB

(19 year train rider with IPOD to block out others but at a level not to impact others)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

This morning's pedestrian fatality affecting LSW, Kitchener and LSE passengers

A pedestrian incident this morning involving a 5:35 a.m. LSW train that happened east of Appleby GO station, west of the rail crossing at Burloak Drive, is causing commuter chaos for many passengers. A pedestrian was struck just before 6am.

GO shut down service, then reinstated service, but also provided shuttle service for early morning LSW passengers.

What I found interesting is that at 7 am, I received an email from GO Transit saying the 7:53 am LSE train was cancelled. Then at 7:42 am, I received another email saying the 7:53 am LSE train was reinstated. I took the 7am out of Oshawa. I got in to Union on time. Most LSW/LSE/Kitchener trains are running but some were an hour behind schedule or remained cancelled.

According to a few train friends who texted me, the debacle with the 7:53 am train resulted in a total shit show of inconvenience for them as they decided to drive to work, presuming further trains would be cancelled and the 8:25 am train would be delayed. As of 9 am, one friend is still on the 401, near Victoria Park, after having entered the highway at Harmony Road in Oshawa at 7:15 am.

STOP TEXTING ME WHILE DRIVING, YOU DONKEY.

Here's the lineup for ONE Lakeshore West shuttle bus to Union. You can see it, waaay off in the distance. 
Photo by @JoHages

This is what it must have looked like when it arrived at Union.

Can you help five year old Sarah Watkin find a bone marrow match?



from: Jonathan Chen
to: "cj@thiscrazytrain.com"
date: Wed, Feb 6, 2013 at 11:57 PM
subject: OneMatch

Hi CJ,

I am a reader of your blog and I love it! The reason I am emailing you today is because I want you to help me with something.

My school is hosting an event for OneMatch and the Canadian Blood Services. We are raising awareness for cancer and bone marrow donation. At this event we collecting buccal swabs from people who are willing to become bone marrow donors. If this event got featured on your blog or twitter, it would generate a great amount of exposure. There is more detailed information on the facebook page (bit.ly/mmhsonematch) and I encourage you read it. Anyone can donate but the association is targeting males between the ages of 17-35. I hope you can help me and my school out!

---

I took a look at the Facebook page for what the kids at Milliken Mills High School in Markham are doing to help Sarah Watkins, who is the daughter of a teacher at that school. You don't have to attend the event being held next Tuesday, but if you can manage to drop by the school between 9am and 3pm, I'm sure it would be appreciated. Those of you who would like to help Sarah find a match can register as a stem cell donor at www.onematch.ca

For more information about Sarah's fight and how bone marrow matching works, the CBC ran a story online. You can check it out here.

Haters gonna hate

from: Mark Dougherty xxxxxx@rogers.com
reply-to: Mark Dougherty xxxxxx@rogers.com
to: "cj@thiscrazytrain.com"
date: Wed, Feb 6, 2013 at 8:27 PM
subject: national post story

Hello
I googled you after reading a story in the National Post about the quiet cars in Barrie. I'm not sure how popular your blog is or if anyone actually reads it but I just felt compelled to write you that I think you need to re-evaluate who you are as a person.
Everything I've read that you've written leads me to believe you are a very insecure person with low self-esteem who decided to poke fun at people online in an effort to make yourself feel better.
Am I right? In fact, I know I'm right.
What I found shocking is that you seem to have a hardcore bases of "fans" who truly applaud your mission. This is just sad. There are better ways to go about enforcing etiquette and have you ever considered lobbying GO Transit and using the appropriate channels to make GO Transit a more improved commuting experience?
Our tax dollars fund the system and because of this, you should be communicating with the province, our elected representatives and the management and board of GO Transit to help come up with ways to get people to behave better. Calling people out online is a waste of time. Also, who made you believe you could actually make a difference?
What makes you so special?

Regards,
Mark Dougherty

---

from: CJ Smith
reply-to: cj@thiscrazytrain.com
to: Mark Dougherty
date: Wed, Feb 6, 2013 at 10:01 PM
subject: RE: national post story

Dear Mr. Dougherty
After conferring with my lawyer, Georgie Greyskull, with respect to your question about what makes me so special, we have come up with this response: I can count to potato.

Respectfully,
Cindy J. Smith
Veteran GO Commuter

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Imma a "veteran GO commuter" - so says the National Post


FULL STORY HERE.

See! Now I'm not lying when I announce, "I'm important". Best be recognizing, donkeys. REPRESENT!

Thank to JW for the heads-up.

I got him to move his feet but he wouldn't clean his mess


Last night on the 5:20pm LSE train:

Me: (sit down, look at his shoes on seat) - Excuse me, would you mind not doing that with your shoes?

Dude: What?

Me: Your feet belong on the floor, please.

Dude (takes his feet down, shakes his head): Ok. (Mumbles "whatever")

Me: Are you going to clean your dirt off the seat?

Dude: With what?

Me: Your tongue will work or you can go to the bathroom and get some wet paper towels?

Dude: The seat was like that when I sat down.

Me: (take out my phone and snap a photo)

He asked me why I took a picture of the seat. I said it was for GO's Etiquette and Courtesy Enforcement team so they could send an officer down to take his information so they could send him an invoice for the dry cleaning cost.

He got up and left.

He also called me "crazy". (Well I do have this blog...) I can't believe this is what society has come to.

BAG RIDERS. HELP ME BRING THEM PAIN!

There are a few things in life that piss me off:
  1. People who post shit on kijiji and don't remove their ads after they've sold their shit and thus, waste my time while I write them to inquire about said shit.
  2. People who drive at 5 km/hr up and over a curb into the entrance of a plaza, mall or parking lot. WHY DO YOU DO THAT? Your car isn't going to break. These are the same people who typically drive around sewers - in an SUV.
  3. People who look right at you when you head towards an elevator and allow the doors to close right in your face.
But nothing, nothing pisses me off more than bag riders on GO buses. MOVE YOUR SHIT.

This morning, I took a later bus - a bus typically filled with UOIT and Durham College students. Every single available seat was occupied by a backpack. I walked to the back of the bus and stood in the aisle, on purpose, to make a point. Other people boarded and also stood. Really? I was standing to make a point, not because I didn't have the nerve to ask people to move their bags (which no one did despite people standing).

So after about five stops, there are now four people standing and 18 seats with backpacks. It was when a fifth person boarded that I lost my temper. I spoke up and asked people who had backpacks to be considerate of those standing and move their bags. Seven bag riders complied and the rest ignored me or pretended not to hear me. So I reminded everyone that overhead storage bins are provided at no extra cost and to please use them.  Two ladies sat down and thanked me. Good God, right? This is what it's come to?

Grow a spine, people. People on transit are not entitled to anymore room than one seat and a seat they bought one ticket for. You are entitled to a seat just by paying your fare so be assertive. Demand a seat.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

This Crazy Train's Presto Chronicles, Chapter 23: Does it really matter how we get to the station when affected by a train delay?

from: RC
to: cj@thiscrazytrain.com
date: Sat, Jan 26, 2013 at 7:31 PM
subject: Here's a story for your Presto chronicles about the new 20 mins guarantee.

Hello CJ,

My morning train was delayed and was eligible for a refund.

The standard GO fare from Whitby to Union is $7.36 so you would expect the refund to be $7.36... WRONG! If you take a GO bus to get to your GO station, you will notice the fare is split in two on your Presto card ($4.20 for the bus, then there's a .30 cent refund when you tap off, then Presto charges the difference, which is $3.20 in my case). So that's what Presto ended up refunding me (and everyone else on the bus) for the Service Guarantee - $3.20! I filled out the form online.

When I called Presto to tell them this made no sense, the lady kept explaining to me that they only refund the "train" portion of the fare, even though you're eligible for a refund in the afternoon if you take the train from Union back to your station (without taking a bus). You get a full refund since the full $7.36 is charged first and the bus fare is added & deducted later.

The next day I went to the Presto kiosk at Union station and the CSR agreed I was owed the complete fare, not a partial fare. They told me they knew the bus thing was an issue and promptly refunded me the rest of my fare. (CJ says, "If they know the bus thing is an issue, why aren't they fixing the online refund application to accommodate for the 'bus thing'?")

For future refunds, I think I'll give Presto a call before I file my claim online this time. 

Thanks,
RC

Monday, February 4, 2013

Coming soon to a stop near you

*Note. It was pointed out that I omitted Georgie's last name. The story has been edited.

I just want to write a quick post to thank everyone for their support since Howard (Howie) Bigfird's untimely death.

The comments, emails and text messages were a HUGE comfort to me.

Howie's paralegal, Georgie Greyskull*, is looking to fill the role as legal counsel for me. The only problem, as my husband pointed out, is that Georgie isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer as you can see from the photo below.


We're both skeptical of his ability to be a lawyer cat. Howie had an uncanny ability to smell a fraud from a metre away. Georgie, on the other hand, would be the first person to shut this site down and hit the delete button on the first complaint.

Who wants a lawyer that licks the plastic wrapper holding toilet paper? Or slides down the stairs on his belly as it's faster than running to the food bowl at the sound of the food bag being opened?

Georgie, all 15 pounds of him, would be better suited as security. He's definitely built for it.

I've got some posts coming up, a new Presto chronicle that will be of interest to those who ride the GO bus to the station, another tale of the Oakville Smokers' Club and more photos of train nonsense.

Just bear with me as I sort it all out.

Oh GO Transit... I thought safety was a top priority!

from: DK
to: cj@thiscrazytrain.com
date: Sun, Feb 3, 2013 at 6:38 PM
subject: Watch your step...

On the Lakeshore West line from Port Credit to Union we normally have a 10 car train. On Friday, we had a 12 car train. It was a dangerous step if you had to get off at Longbranch from the last car. At least 3 or 4 feet down to the ground (no platform at that door).
----
What's the policy GO has ... something about not crossing tracks at Platform level? Fail!

Early morning throw-down on the LSE

from: MS 
to: CJ Smith 
date: Wed, Jan 30, 2013 at 7:50 AM
subject: Interesting ride in this morning...

Hey CJ,

The train ride in to work this morning was interesting. I'm on the 5:47am LSE. Chugging along merrily, when we get another ticket check (5th one this month!) There's a guy who apparently didn't have a ticket to ride, nor proper ID. He was apprehended by the GO cops. Thought they would get off the train at Danforth, but nope, they're ridin' to Union. They're standing in the middle level near the trash bin. I usually get up and head downstairs just as we leave Danforth but since they're standing there, I figure I'll wait on the upper stairs. The one GO guy is looking through the guy's backpack, then hands it back to him, then takes it from him again. Then all hell breaks loose, and the next thing the guy's trying to make a break for it up the stairs where a woman and myself are standing - trying to go back up the stairs quickly. The two GO cops quickly tackle him and a passenger jumps in to help subdue the guy. The guy then gets taken down. Next thing, he's got a hypodermic needle in his hand and the train cops are asking what's in it and he tells them he doesn't know, and he's not letting go of it. They must have really taken him down, because he's crying and screaming he can't breathe. By now they're on the lower level. The guy is still screaming he can't breathe and would they put him on his stomach. GO cop says that's not happening. Someone pressed the yellow strip during all this and a crew guy showed up. I headed to the other end of the train to leave at Union. They were still on the train when I went by. There's got to be more to the story because they normally just write the ticket, they don't apprehend a non-paying rider.

There's a woman I chat with in the morning who got downstairs past them, so she would have been in the middle of it all. I'll ask her tomorrow morning what the heck happened.

Kudos to the good samaritan who jumped in to help.

Sometimes a little excitement in your life is good, but not like this!

UPDATE
As a follow up to my ride in last week... there's not really much more to add. As it turned out, there was an off-duty police officer on the train and he stepped in to assist and handcuff the guy. From what I'm told, it took some doing as the guy was putting up a fight. He eventually dropped the needle, flinging it to the floor. The good samaritan got hit with something (maybe spit?). He was asking for water to flush out his eyes. By then we were at Union and most of us were making a hasty exit off the train. The GO cops did ask for names and contact information, so the woman I chat with did give them hers, as did another passenger nearby.

Still unbelievable that something like that happened.

GO Transit wants you to shut the hell up (but only those on the Barrie line)

Apparently you Barrie folk are hella noisy because GO is introducing quiet zones to your line.
Ha! Don't be fooled. Barrie was chosen for this pilot project because its trains don't run on any other corridors, so signage and the like doesn't require changing and removal. God forbid such an initiative actually involve work, and effort. Le sigh... 


I've been running this website for nearly 3 years. I can count on one hand the amount of complaints I've received about Barrie passengers - 4. Four. FOUR! And Barrie gets picked as the guinea pig for this Lord of the Flies-esque pilot project. Hilarious.

But wait, it gets better, GO isn't policing the silence. Nope, it's up to you, Barrie friends, to flex your pointer finger and your lips and shut people up.

This is bloody brilliant! It really is. What GO Transit needs to do is give out those foam fingers you see at baseball games, but only make them in the shape of a "Shhh!" sign and hand them out at stations along the Barrie corridor. Then, when someone is on the phone regaling everyone about tales from the office regarding the wrong photocopier having been ordered and the step by step saga it took in having it returned, a person with a foam finger can jump up and wave it in the air. Right? Can you feel the excitement building? I sure can.

It's true people have been asking for quiet coaches for years, but you'd think GO would step it up a notch and come up with a more effective way to enforce it rather than the following:

What happens if...
Someone is making noise in the Quiet Zone?
  • Quietly and politely ask them to keep noise levels down
  • Move to another coach where there is less noise
I need to make/take a phone call?
  • Please go to the mezzanine or lower level to talk on your phone

Sunday, February 3, 2013

You know it's Superbowl Sunday on a GO train when ...

Picking up where we left off...

All the time people bitch on Twitter about people riding the train to work sick with a cough or cold, but when a person makes an effort to keep his germs at bay, his photo winds up on Instagram for the world to poke fun at. Tsk.
This man deserves a medal, not ridicule.