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Thursday, October 31, 2013

And the contest continues at Smoakville!

from: MM
to: cj@thiscrazytrain.com
date: Thu, Oct 24, 2013 at 5:19 PM
subject: Sometimes you get greedy...

This morning my whole schedule was thrown off, so I thought the game was going to be over for this week (see previous).

But this afternoon I got a chance to drop by the station while doing other car errands in the neighbourhood.

The parking lot was crowded (naturally) but I lucked into a space. It was far enough away from the station that I though seriously of not even trying... but I was curious to see if the afternoon was any different from what I'm used to (early morning and late evening).

The first thing I noticed was the afternoon is only totally a different kind of environment. In the morning, there are few people outside the building, but most of those outside are smoking. The ratio of smokers in the afternoon is a lot lower, but the size of the crowds is so much larger that the overall number of buttsuckers dwarfs anything I have seen before 7:00. Trains come in, and seconds later the area is filled with people lighting up as they come out the entrance to the passage. I missed three or four great shots because I was just amazed at the richness of photo ops available.

The first two shots included are of a guy who was out in front of the station after the crowd thinned. I think I got a bonus when he bent over and spit on the ground... two antisocial behaviours documented for the price of one. I think those shots would probably have satisfied my criteria for the week, but - like the title says - I got greedy.

I had seen at least one thundering herd of nic-freaks and I wanted a shot of a smoker stampede before I left.

Unfortunately, time was ticking down on my twenty minute self imposed contest rule... and no train was due in.

Then this nattily dressed guy brushes past me and steps up beside the posted schedule board by the doorway and lights up. Unlike the expectorating chap, this guy was dressed to the nines. He had that useless yet overpaid  look you find only in certain corporate lawyers and sports commentators.I snapped off one or two frames from about three meters away, then decided to call it a day.

I was halfway across the spacious parking lot when I heard someone calling out for someone to stop. I turned, and Mr-Overdressed was striding to close the 40 meter or so distance between us. I can practically write the convo beforehand.... but this guy shad some disturbing novelty to his act.

"Did you take my picture back there...?"

"Yes"

"You can't take my picture without my permission." From his tie and suit I had thought he might be a lawyer... guess not.

"No, sir. Anything that can be seen in a public place is fit to be photographed."

I had to stop only to look both ways  because my car was across an exit lane of traffic. Other wise I would have kept walking.

"Who are you?"

"I don't have to tell you that."

"Why did you take my picture?"

"I don't have to tell you that either."

Now the disturbing part...

Buddy says "Yeah - I think I saw you taking pictures of a little girl with that camera. You must need your meds."

Now I wonder where THAT comes from?

I ask him to step away with his still lit smoke, as I am allergic. He keeps it up. So I call his bluff.

"Listen, sir, if you feel that way, call the police. I'll stay right here, but I'll ask you to step away with your cigarette..."

I step towards him to emphasize the point.

All of a sudden he's all about "Get back!"

So I turn and cross the lane. He starts walking away and we shout the usual trash talk at each other...

CJ - this guy is a leetle cray-cray... maybe your underdressed and overfurred  legal team would advise to  blur his pic?

Tomorrow the week is over - so far I'm batting 5 for 4 - a .1200 average .. I really didn't think it would be this easy. Even with my low opinion of Smoakville, I still held out hope that it couldn't be that bad.

...also noted - no enforcement to be seen.

I think that will be the next contest - a day count for spotting enforcement of ANYTHING at Smoakville station...

It appears that GO Transit has a slightly different opinion of what clean means than what passengers think it means

from: Four Seasons 
to: "C.J. Smith"
date: Wed, Oct 30, 2013 at 5:27 PM
subject: Wonder how often they will give this a clean

It's been like this forever...


This is the 1730 Richmond hill Train going northbound..and it's the one before the accessible car..I think the coach number is 2207 but don't remember...

SEND IN THE FAIRIES!

*Tear

from: Natalie L.
to: CJ Smith
date: Thu, Oct 31, 2013 at 12:13 AM
subject: thiscrazytrain

Hi Cindy

Recently I discovered your website when a friend mentioned it on Twitter. Apparently you posted a picture of someone they know from Whitby who had some weed  a train. From this person didn't realize, is that you didn't take the picture and it seems people are getting upset without realizing it was the person's friend who took the photo and put it on instagram. When I explained this, there stuff being said that it was an invasion of privacy and it was even said you should have asked permission to put it on your site or that you should not have put it on your site because it wasn't your picture.
I saw some of the comments and I felt bad for you as you didn't deserve the trash talk you were getting. Also, I have to say I was offended when you made a suggestion that anyone in the picture would be terrible at grammar because that's like saying anyone under 21 sucks at English. But then this was funny at the same time because I could see the effort the person was taking  on Twitter to write proper sentences which can be kinda hard on Twitter because you only get so much space. It is true that lots of friends of mine who are under 19 use a lot of short terms and write badly but it's done pretty much for speed. My mom says it's punctuation is where a lot of teenagers fail miserably. Anyway, as it turns out, both of my parents are lawyers and my dad is a trademark and copyright specialist. He knows a lot about copyright, like with photographs from the internet and he said you didn't do anything wrong when you posted that picture from instagram. I don't know if you were worried but I think it was stupid of anyone to take the photo in the first place and really dumb to put it online, and with the hashtag like you said where anyone could find it.
Anyway, I just wanted to write you and tell you that I also don't like people who put their shoes on the seat or act like they own the whole train or block the doors when I need to get off Whitby and they don't get off until Oshawa. I'm at Ryerson. I take the train just like you do and I think it's good that you call out all the bad stuff people do.

With Regards
Natalie L.

(I will admit, my finger did hover over the delete button because I thought it was another WE MUST DEFEND ALEX AND THE WEED email - Cj)

Oh boy! Doesn't this sound like fun?!


Don't panic. The closure is happening on a weekend.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I have resurrected my BBM (now available for Android and iPhone)

I realize that some of you don't have unlimited text and picture messaging and there have been times where prime moments of comedy gold have been lost because of this.

Well, weep no more my friends!

Add me to your BBM! PIN 7BB936E0

Now us Apple and Android folks can communicate freely with each other.

I always had unlimited picture and text messaging because that's just how I roll, but I've learned that for picture messaging, some of you have to pay.

No more excuses! Load it up.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

You know you want it ...


It's a good piiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiie...
Has lots of pumpkin...
What rhymes with pumpkin?
Hey, yay, yay, yay, yay, yaaaaay !

Dedicated to KT
Baked by Yours Truly

I'm addicted.

From the horses's mouth, people!

It's coming!

I'd be lying if I said Halloween candy doesn't interest me. I'm worried. If one thing will lead me down a path of destruction, it will be a pillowcase filled with miniature chocolate bars.

If anything is going to test my willpower, it's going to be that awful night.

I do like trains but I don't like them *this* much

One of my dear railfans sent this in. I'm so not a train nerd.

I feel so dead inside.

TTC Jackie Chan battles a door and another passenger



The TTC went on record with the Toronto Star about this incident which happened Saturday at 11:30 pm at Davisville Station, asking passengers to refrain from confronting other passengers who choose to stand in the doorway like the biggest door donkey on the planet, regardless if drunk or disturbed.

Check out his Jackie Chan moves at the end.

Younger demographic poses some challenges

Negative reaction often leads to an increase in traffic.
Feedback has not been kind.
My in-box is so full of nauseating retorts defending all the bad behaviour that drives most of us batshit crazy that I've resorted to just trashing without reading - something I never do.
I don't want to paint them all with a black brush. I know there are several younger passengers who don't like dirty feet on the seats or people who indulge in all your space, but they're overpowered by their self-entitled counterparts.
Surprisingly, not one email or tweet or instagram comment was in protest to anything about smoking.
There is hope.
To protect the integrity of the comments, I won't be allowing for insults, vulgar remarks or name-calling to be published. I'm not a fan of censorship but there's only so many times I can read the word "loser" and the phrase "get a hobby".
I'm sure you feel the same.

Monday, October 28, 2013

You had one job!


Photo courtesy of https://twitter.com/noesgaarde

Well at least they're trying to discourage smokers. Or factories. At Danforth stn, plat 3

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Not sure if some dude is "presented without comment dude" or if it's just some dude who is mad about me mentioning some dude

When this whole Twitter exchange started this afternoon, I was in the middle of crafting all kinds of foods with pumpkin that I was slow to catch on at first what triggered the first tweet.

I didn't take the picture. It was posted to Instagram - publicly and all nicely hashtagged  - anyone browsing #gotrain, like I do (back to that in a sec), could find it.

I had no idea it it was the "presented without comment post" being referenced. I didn't click the "View Conversation" link before replying. I wasn't clued in that my new Twitter best friend was chatting me up because of that tweet. I just thought it was some person out on pa-troll.

If I had known what had started this exchange, well, I would have gone about it differently. But alas, it is what it is. And as it turns out, I'm not making a difference in this world. That really broke my heart.

Oh and re: "your shady pictures". Sure, I'm throwing some shade *at* the picture but I'm not responsible for the shady picture.

Twitter -- it never disappoints. Instagram -- it *always* delivers. And all this talk of privacy and rights and blah blah blah, while folks are happily snapping pics of themselves and sharing them with all of the interwebs, expecting only positive feedback and high fives when indulging in behaviour others may find rude or questionable, only to protest when that happens, well, it's comedy gold, folks.

But at the same time, we did all hope there would be some kind of reaction. So take this with a grain of salt -- it could be lulz.

Gather round kids! It's time for another tale of the Oakville aka "Smokeville" Smokers Club!


from: MM 
to: cj@thiscrazytrain.com
date: Wed, Oct 23, 2013 at 7:11 AM
subject: Oakville Smoker's club - Click for previous posts

Hey CJ - new developments...

http://www.hark.com/clips/yvmhbxxtjm-my-left-hand

I have decided to change the rules - it is the only way I can be satisfied.

I mean - Enforcement and Signage are not acting any time soon - right?

So I've added three new rules - a week's challenge.

1) I will take pictures only of *NEW* members of the Smoakville Fraternity of Fumeurs - buttsuckers not previously photographed.
2) I will take my shots ONLY near the station building where the signs (such as they are) are most prominent.
3) I will spot and snap for only a twenty minute window - a time limit.
4) I will get one useable shot per weekday for a week

Those go along with my previous rules -

1) No shooting of GO employees (the point is to shame  GO into enforcing of public bylaws, not help IA Narcs)
2) Smoking has to be apparent in the shot
3) No shots of clearly mentally ill people

Monday was a morceau de gateau.
The guy actually stopped and posed for me - big smile on his face. Entitlement overflows.
Tuesday I got sworn at - par for the course.
This morning was different.

There were lots of smokers. But they were covered by the rules.

Like the guy I call "Moose" - big and hulking and quite obviously developmentally challenged. He smokes cigarillos out in front of the station. I've never seen him get on a bus or train - he just hangs around.
Then the guy from Tuesday comes around, sees me and the camera, swears and throws away his cigarette. I didn't have the heart to tell him that he was a protected species today... Waste of a good coffin nail.
Then around 5:57, a GO bus driver walks out of the station with a coffee and cig in hand.

My time was running low when this guy strolled up and lit up.
I got about three or four shots, but the one I sent - though a touch out of focus - is a classic. Smoke wafting out like a carcinogenic and allergenic rainbow effluent into the pristine predawn air...


He told me he didn't like his picture taken, so I stowed the cam and answered that maybe he shouldn't be out in public breaking no smoking bylaws then...

Two more days...

A pleasant instragram exchange with a foot rider

Don't get your hopes up.

It went downhill pretty fast.



I realize the "I weep for your self-entitled generation" was a bit much but I love saying that to the youngsters behaving badly to see what kind of reaction I get.

Nine times out of ten, it's always thrown back at me (as underlined in the screenshot) that my generation raised their generation when I am barely old enough to have given birth to their generation. Technically, I suppose I could have birthed out a 21 year old when I was 18 but then that implies that all teenage moms are screw-ups and raise bad kids, which is totally not true. I'm married to a wonderful man born when his mom was 17 and he is far from rude or discourteous. 

At least I try to show these kids the error of their ways. But not once has any foot rider ever said to me, "Hey my bad, just had a long day and wanted to relax. I won't do it next time - sorry." 

Not once.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Donate some change, sign a bus!

As tempted as I was to sign the address of this website next to my name on the bus, I wrote "'Ride This Crazy Bus' - CJ Smith" instead. I can't fame whore. I should learn to.

Parked (and idling *cough*) at the Oshawa GO Station this morning was the GO Transit (of course it had to have METROLINX emblazoned on a window) United Way Campaign Bus. Passengers were invited to sign their name for a donation in Sharpie anywhere on the bus.

One of my favourite drivers was leading the charge. Don't know his name -- he won't tell me -- but he's driver #7967. But screw it, let's call him Randy. And I know he reads this blog but I usually get the drivers to admit they do if I tell them I have a blog when I ask for specific information and I get the "I know who you are" response. Good. Because Randy, I like you, and you should tell me your name in case we cross paths at say, some random Target store, and we strike up a conversation. No way in hell am I going to call you, "Driver #7967".  C'mon...



Damn girl... what job you got?



Before you slam down your mocha frap in outrage at her copping two seats, she was snapped sleeping hardcore on a late evening train.

I can forgive her. How can you not? Girl looks broken. Even has the phone in her hand...

A brief summary of GO transit (Metrolinx) in the news

A wind turbine Metrolinx paid a consulting company $138,000 to study and position, has failed to produce the electricity that was projected at Lisgar GO Station. It's only producing 9% power! It cost $620,000 to buy it and install it. Yay, Metrolinx! All that money for something that can charge an iPhone. Hysterically, the brass blame new development in the area for low wind speeds. It's a GO Transit Station!  Public transit moves people. Of course developers will want to build housing near it. OH MY GOD. The whole article reads like an Onion news piece.
- Source

After months of an international search, again by a consultant, Metrolinx appointed a GO Transit employee as President to replace Gary McNeil. Lord knows how much money was spent to only end in this result. Greg Percy is 57. Why would a transit agency, one that aspires to be forward thinking and one in the middle of so much growth, choose someone so close to retirement? What benefits can be brought to the agency in a post that will run less than 10 years? How serious was this search? The TTC went all the way to England to fetch Andy Byford. No one in Europe wanted the job!? Japan? Percy brings a whole lot of project management and rail operations experience to the table. That's awesome. How much experience in ground level customer service support does he bring? Oh well. Congratulations, Greg!
- Source

TTC Commission Chair, Karen Stintz, is suggesting that Metrolinx and the TTC strike a deal to allow Toronto folks inexpensive passage on GO trains. God forbid Ford's taxpayers pay $4.85 from Exhibition Station to Union Station. Oh lawdy! How does that makes us 905'ers feel? We're going to subsidize this whole scheme should it go through. Where's my < $3.00 GO train ride from Oshawa to Whitby?! Go home, Karen. You're drunk.
- Source

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Googling myself and this blog

It's not something I usually do, take a trip on Google to read what others have to say about me or this website. Considering all the threats I get from people who swear on a pile of newborn babies that they will "destroy me on the Internet", the reviews are quite positive, such as this one, where I am described as "wowzer balls".

Then there are references to me and the site on a few train/rail enthusiast discussion boards about my views or specific stories, and even cyclists/ebike/moped folks discuss me.

Back in the summer, I was email-bombed by two people who threatened to create an anti Crazy Train blog where they said they would "trash me" and "Photoshop me into pictures doing bad things". I waited for the hammer to fall, but it never did. In fact, I was more than ready for the attack because I know my rights and we have laws to protect us from that kind of abuse online. Maybe it was the strongly worded letter from George. E. Greyskull, cattorney at law, that snuffed out the fire, but if there's a hate site out there, I haven't found it.

But what I really am bracing myself for is what may come in the next few weeks. I've done interviews for both radio and print about the site from Vancouver to Montreal, and locally in the papers, as well as a for a few Toronto-based blogs, but recently, I sat down to to give a candid interview about what motivated me to ditch my car and blog about commuting on public transit. At times I got personal and I realize I have gotten more personal in my posts on here. As you get to know your audience, you can't help but want to be somewhat intimate with people who seem to really care about you, about what you think and who find they can relate to you. I see it more in the comments and in email. Some of you have even made it into my Facebook circle of friends, and some of you have become personal friends as well. It's amazing how we can use blogging and social media to connect with others.

Where it really turned for me was when Howie died. Many of you remember Howard Bigfird. Losing a family pet is a very isolated grief. Those who don't own pets don't understand why you're hurting so much, those who do are afraid to tell you they know how much you hurt because it stirs up past pain for them and others just think it's ridiculous to cry over an animal who can be replaced. The emails I received and the words that were woven into those emails and tweets were incredibly supportive and appreciated. That's when I realized what a wonderful group of folks many of you are and it made me realize that I shouldn't fear the haters. What I needed to do was embrace the supporters. So I took it one step further and blogged about my struggles with losing weight. Again, you guys were amazing! Sure, there were the odd few douchepicks who, having not quite left high school behind, wrote purposely mean comments that never made it past the approve button. I'm not saying it didn't hurt but it's all part of the game of online life and at least I can manage it with the tools online blogging provides.

I don't want to jinx the story or give anymore details in case it winds up on the proverbial editorial cutting room floor but I hope the feedback is positive when the story is published. I'll admit, inside I'm cringing a little because the forum of public opinion is a cruel one. I don't know if my skin is thick enough.

So what if it was zero degrees this morning? Here's some feet



Submitted

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Presented without comment


I can't *wait* for the email protests for this one.
I even posted it on Twitter. 

Let's see how many A-pluses I can hand out for proper grammar and punctuation.

Up to date? I think someone needs a dictionary.



How is email that comes in at 9:11 am discussing a 9:05 am departure time helpful? Or at 8:38 am?

And as mentioned in the comments below, if people on-board were being duly informed, why send the alert out at all, to everyone, including those of us already at work?

I found the SMS text message alerts better than the emails. At least that hamster ran its wheel more efficiently.

Getting ready ...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Can you *smell* the rudeness?



And all this with a newspaper on the seat next to her, perfectly available for use as a seat protector.

But nope, up goes the wet rain boots on the cloth seat.

When the person who submitted this photo politely asked her not to footride, she rolled her eyes and coughed violently in his direction.

You stay classy, girlie. Here's hoping you're sitting in dog poop.

Footriders

Not sure if to blame Presto or banks... or Moneris... or some guy in a suit...

Shoddy communication? Presto, as we all know, could do better when communicating with customers. I've had my own frustrations with them but nothing but good experiences when dealing with the folks at GO Transit about their Presto counterpart. Banks? Well, they aren't perfect either.

I've been checking the site logs and I've noticed a few Google searches from people experiencing issues using debit cards on the Presto website to load value onto their cards, and I believe the trouble lies with those who have upgraded to VISA debit cards.


Your new debit card with the VISA partnership no longer functions like an Interac debit card on Presto's website (which links to Moneris who hasn't updated their site framework to know the difference). No where on the Presto website is there a message to give you a heads-up that if you have one of these (like I do):


... this won't work:


That's because the number on your debit card is too long. If you're looking to top up your Presto card online using a debit card that has the Visa symbol on it, you need to choose the credit card option:

The money is debited from your bank account and you will have to set up a Verified by Visa password to secure future transactions.

I figured this out on my own but I noticed others were struggling through the site logs and this morning, one woman emailed me to tell me she schlepped all the way to a GO station to load her card in person after experiencing this issue last night online. When explaining to the GO CSR at the wicket what had happened, the CSR expressed surprise but could not tell her what she had done wrong.

Sigh.

I don't care if it's Interac, Moneris, Presto, GO Transit, Baby Jesus or a guy in some Metrolinx office's fault. Not everyone is computer savvy enough to realize that a Visa debit card no longer functions as an Interac card online when using Presto's website. The folks at Presto should put a note up on their site, on the transaction page, informing customers of the process. GO Transit should also let customers know, and at the very least, send out a communication to their front-line ticket staff what to tell GO passengers who express concerns about online debit transactions with Presto and VISA debit cards.

Since none of this has been done (and if it has, please point me to where I can find the info) I figure I would pick up the torch here and help people out.

You can still use your new VISA debit card on the Presto site but treat it as a credit card and all will be right with the world.

Monday, October 21, 2013

It's Monday. Here's some choice (and unfortunate) graffiti


Right after I took this photo, a cyclist came whipping by me and collided with a man rounding this corner. The cyclist threw down his bike and started yelling at the man, "Why don't you take up the whole sidewalk, asshole?"

Anyone who walks along this stretch of Front St., on the south side, towards Yonge Street, is aware how narrow the sidewalk is with all the construction and barriers. Add cyclists to the mix and well, cyclists, I'm sorry, don't have priority. Walk your bike ... And don't be a jerk.

When I pointed this out to the cyclist, he asked me if I prefer he get killed by a car trying to navigate Front Street, with all the construction. Those were fighting words, seeing as I was struck by a cyclist three years ago as I walked on Richmond Street. 

The guy was the most entitled idiot, ever. I almost took off my shoe and threw it at him. But I didn't. Because I don't like jail.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Part 4 of a new installment, exclusive to This Crazy Train, "Meet the Deckers"

Editor's note: If you have had issues while aboard a Double Decker bus, drop me a line cj@thiscrazytrain.com

Read Parts 1 and 2 and 3
Photo from GO Transit's official Facebook page

Special to This Crazy Train

Ain't No Business Like GO Business!
by Ali Gator (not his real name)

The 15:07 Niagara Falls to Burlington bus – #8102, a double-decker (DD) – rolled into St. Catharines almost ten minutes behind schedule.  Not bad, I thought, considering it was the Friday afternoon of the Thanksgiving weekend; passenger volumes would be high.

As I tapped on with my Presto card, the driver explained she was late because the bus had lost power on the QEW.  I had no sooner settled into my seat when I was summoned back to the front of the bus.  Apparently, the Presto POS terminal thought we were still in The Falls; the cost of my trip would be inflated.  Our driver tried to reverse my tap three times – all attempts were unsuccessful.  Since time was becoming critical, I was instructed to tap off.  As I walked back to my seat, I bowed my head and recited, “Our Father who art in heaven …” You know, praying for patience and all that jazz.

We resumed our trip and were cruising nicely along the QEW approaching Grimsby, when I heard the engine die.  Our driver skillfully maneuvered the bus to the shoulder and brought the vehicle to a halt.  

Here we are dead on the side of the highway:


After a brief radio conversation with the Hamilton supervisor, our driver apologized for the delay and advised us we would proceed to Grimsby where we would switch to another bus.

The rescue bus slipped in behind us within minutes of us arriving at the Grimsby Park & Ride.  This is because GO Transit operates “shadow buses”, i.e. empty buses, that are in close proximity to DDs, because the new $800K+ buses are so prone to failure (CJ says, "This is true. I've seen this happen in Oshawa.").

Weren’t we led to believe the new double-decker buses from Alexander Dennis Ltd. were supposed to save us money?  I volunteered to help move the suitcases of a retired couple from Japan who were in Canada vacationing.  The transfer took but a few minutes, and we were on our way again.

The rescue bus – #2260, a standard coach from MCI – was not the quickest in the fleet; it was a sluggish 12-speed.  Those of you not familiar with this model of bus, it does have an automatic transmission, but the herky-jerky motion gives one the impression the driver is a neophyte learning to drive a stick-shift.

Here we are lurching along in “Old Faithful”.


By the time we pulled into the north bus loop at Burlington GO station, the 16:42 train, which we were scheduled to meet, had departed.  Not a problem you’re thinking, because the Minister of Transportation promised a train every 30 minutes on the Lakeshore line.  Wrong!  After 16:42 at Burlington, the next train departure is at 17:37 – a 55 minute wait.  To make things worse, that train was delayed (because of a switch problem near Aldershot station) to 17:42, and then to 17:45; it finally arrived at 18:00.

The trip proceeded without incident until after we left Exhibition station, whereupon our CSA announced that the train would be out of service upon arrival at Union station.  Passengers needing to continue their trip had to descend into the bowls of the GO Concourse to wait for the next eastbound train, which had a 19:17 departure.  I finally arrived in Pickering at 19:55.  I was over 90 minutes late for a dinner engagement that had been planned for some time.  My missus was not amused!

It occurred to me on Saturday morning that no e-mail alert had been issued for the delayed bus trip, even though Customer Relations had assured me on September 8 that “we will continue to work with our Operations team to ensure all delays are reported”.  Obviously, someone is not working hard enough to keep that promise.

I realized, too, that I should get a refund for the train portion of my trip.  There is no service guarantee for bus travel regardless of the cause of the delay; bus passengers are treated as second class customers by GO Transit (CJ says, "More like third-class...").  I checked first whether the trip was eligible for a refund and was presented with the following: 


What do you mean you’re “not sure yet”?  I checked again on the evening of Thursday, October 17 and I was presented with the same status.

Are you kidding me?

Undaunted, I submitted my refund request which was acknowledged as follows:


I received the adjudicator’s decision the following evening, and it said the following:


What do you mean “does not correspond to your PRESTO card’s trip history”?  Let’s take a look at the transactions for October 11, shall we?  Here they are in reverse chronological order:


We can clearly see the following:
·         03:36 PM – Tap on for bus trip.  Remember, the Presto POS had reset itself to the start of trip location when the bus lost power after leaving The Falls.
·         03:38 PM – Tap off for bus trip as instructed by the driver.
·         05:10 PM – Tap on for train trip.  My card has a default trip between Pickering and Burlington, so there is no tap off for the train trip.

For this stellar service and others like it, GO Transit is the 2013 large system winner of the Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement Award from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).  Read all of GO Transit’s self-adulation on their web site.  I’m beginning to wonder if  “favours” were paid in order to receive this award!

Remember the couple from Japan who were here on vacation?  I received a lovely e-mail from them saying they arrived home safely and they thanked me for my assistance through all the turmoil on Friday afternoon.  Knowing that Japan has one of the best public transportation systems in the world, you can’t imagine how ashamed and embarrassed I was trying to explain GO Transit’s level of service.

There you have it folks!  Another award winning performance by the cast who proves time and again that there’s no business like GO business!

Don't stab me with your umbrella - ella - ella - ah - ah - ah - ella!

from: Melinda S 
to: CJ Smith 
date: Wed, Oct 16, 2013 at 8:52 PM
subject: Deadly umbrellas

Hey CJ

With the rain we had today and expected the rest of the week, maybe you could put the word out on umbrella carrying etiquette. I nearly lost a boob today.

This morning, some idiot was carrying his umbrella flat... with a sharp point. It nearly caught me in the boob. He nearly took out another woman as well and totally oblivious to the whole thing. He should have been carrying it so it was point down.

Tonight, another moron was carrying his umbrella the same way and nearly got me in the gut. No, I wasn't following that closely. He was an arm swinger and the 'brelly was flyin'! I can't believe people are so into their own world that they aren't aware of what's going on around them.

Sheesh!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

What is it with people who can't keep their shoes on?

Laptop Perdido (Spanish for "Lost")... *Note that not once did he ever say thank you... and he still owes me money

from:  Adam Leblanc
to:  cj@thiscrazytrain.com
date:  Wed, Oct 9, 2013 at 11:56 PM
subject:  Please please please please please help????

I am in tears. No seriously. I forgot my laptop on the train tonight. Do you know anyone we can call? Like is there a go conductor you know? Or maybe someone at the place where the trains go?

from: Rogers Extreme Text Messaging 
to: cj@thiscrazytrain.com
date: Thu, Oct 10, 2013 at 12:03 AM
subject: Copied Text Message From 190572188XX

HELLO!!!? I just emailed you. I know it's later. Please answer. I left my laptop on a train. It was the 10:43 train from Union to Oshawa. Are you there???????? HELP!!!! My life is on here.

from: Rogers Extreme Text Messaging 
to: cj@thiscrazytrain.com
date: Thu, Oct 10, 2013 at 12:09 AM
subject: Copied Text Message From 190572188XX

HELP

from: Rogers Extreme Text Messaging 
to: cj@thiscrazytrain.com
date: Thu, Oct 10, 2013 at 12:10 AM
subject: Copied Text Message From 190572188XX

HELLO

from: Rogers Extreme Text Messaging 
to: cj@thiscrazytrain.com
date: Thu, Oct 10, 2013 at 12:10 AM
subject: Copied Text Message From 190572188XX

Please be awake...

from:  Adam Leblanc
to:  cj@thiscrazytrain.com
date:  Thu, Oct 10, 2013 at 12:47 AM
subject:  Iguess your sleeping.

Please write me back when you get up and let me know what my options are. All I can tell you is that I got off the train at Oshawa and realized once Igot to the car, it was left on train and I ran back but I missed the train pulling away. Could you call me? I don't care how early it is. All I need is a phone number of someone to call maybe the CSA of the train. Do you know what happens to the stuff on the train? It's an Acer laptop/Win 7. I can probably find the serial number. Would that help at all???

from: Rogers Extreme Text Messaging 
to: cj@thiscrazytrain.com
date: Thu, Oct 10, 2013 at 6:12 AM
subject: Copied Text Message From 190572188XX

Hi. Just checking if you are up yet.

from: Rogers Extreme Text Messaging 
to: 190572188XX
date: Thu, Oct 10, 2013 at 6:46 AM
subject: Copied Text Message From 19054427423 THIS IS ME

Adam? You have to go to GO Transit Lost and Found. I can't help you. I don't know anyone I can call.

from: Rogers Extreme Text Messaging 
to: cj@thiscrazytrain.com
date: Thu, Oct 10, 2013 at 6:57 AM
subject: Copied Text Message From 190572188XX

There has to be someone we can call? Don't you know people?

from: Rogers Extreme Text Messaging 
to: 190572188XX
date: Thu, Oct 10, 2013 at 6:59 AM
subject: Copied Text Message From 19054427423

Absolutely I know people. I know the guy from the post office across the street from me, I think his name is Larry. Then there's the guy who stands with me at my bus stop every morning who offers me Twizzlers but I don't take them because I quit sugar but I think he thinks I don't take them because he's not hiding behind a bush offering candy like in those films we watched as kids about not taking candy from a stranger. Remember those? Hilarious!

from: Rogers Extreme Text Messaging 
to: cj@thiscrazytrain.com
date: Thu, Oct 10, 2013 at 7:00 AM
subject: Copied Text Message From 190572188XX

I really need you to take this seriously. Do you think you can do that? Like fuck! This isn't funny! You don't answer your emails. You don't reply back to texts. It's not cool.

from: Rogers Extreme Text Messaging 
to: 190572188XX
date: Thu, Oct 10, 2013 at 7:03 AM
subject: Copied Text Message From 19054427423

You said it was an Acer laptop? And what train again? LSE?

from: Rogers Extreme Text Messaging 
to: cj@thiscrazytrain.com
date: Thu, Oct 10, 2013 at 7:04 AM
subject: Copied Text Message From 190572188XX

Yes! Black Acer laptop. LSE from Union to Oshawa last night and I took the 10:43. I put this all into an email for you. Don't you read your emails?????

from: Rogers Extreme Text Messaging 
to: 190572188XX
date: Thu, Oct 10, 2013 at 7:07 AM
subject: Copied Text Message From 19054427423

Ok. Give me until end of day today. I will see what I can do but you really should go to the Lost and Found on Bay Street at Union Station.

from: Rogers Extreme Text Messaging 
to: cj@thiscrazytrain.com
date: Thu, Oct 10, 2013 at 7:08 AM
subject: Copied Text Message From 190572188XX

Okay. So should I call you around 5 or so?

from: Rogers Extreme Text Messaging 
to: 190572188XX
date: Thu, Oct 10, 2013 at 7:09 AM
subject: Copied Text Message From 19054427423

Not necessary. I will email you before that. Have a good day.

from:  Cj Smith
to:  Adam Leblanc
date:  Thu, Oct 10, 2013 at 12:47 PM
subject:  Laptop

Hi Adam. Please see the attached. I hope this will be helpful.


Click here for the high resolution file (hover over the image and use the magnify tool to expand it when the image loads in a new window)

from:  Adam Leblanc
to:  Cj Smith
date:  Thu, Oct 10, 2013 at 2:03 PM
subject:  Re: Laptop

What the hell is this? Did you call anybody?

from:  Cj Smith
to:  Adam Leblanc
date:  Thu, Oct 10, 2013 at 2:04 PM
subject:  Re: Laptop

It's a poster about your laptop drama. Did you go to the Lost and Found?

from:  Adam Leblanc
to:  Cj Smith
date:  Thu, Oct 10, 2013 at 2:11 PM
subject:  Re: Laptop

No I did not go to theLost and Found. You told me you would take care of it!!!! Thanks for nothing! You're an Asshole.

from:  Cj Smith
to:  Adam Leblanc
date:  Thu, Oct 10, 2013 at 2:12 PM
subject:  Re: Laptop

So you don't need the poster then?

from: Rogers Extreme Text Messaging 
to: cj@thiscrazytrain.com
date: Thu, Oct 10, 2013 at 4:10 PM
subject: Copied Text Message From 190572188XX

I went to the Lost and Found. They had my laptop. Someone found it on the train and turned it in this morning but no thanks to you of course.

from: Rogers Extreme Text Messaging 
to: 190572188XX
date: Thu, Oct 10, 2013 at 4:22 PM
subject: Copied Text Message From 19054427423

I need an address to send the invoice to for the work I did on that poster.


I've been pointed to a post from David Thorne about a missing cat poster. You should definitely read it! Here's a PDF from the copy in his book and on the web