Monday, August 18, 2014

GO Rider comes to the Church of the Crazy Train with his Confession

I ride the GO Train at least twice a week as my girlfriend lives out of town, and I normally spend weekends with her.  As we have been together five and a half years, I have been riding the GO with that frequency at least that long.

So here is my confession.  For the first time in five and a half years last Thursday July 30, 2014 I got busted without paying.  It was not on purpose, but I feel the need to confess because I don't see the following as being an excuse:  Basically I took work off early at 12.30pm, and my train was at 12.47pm.  I booted it from my office to Union and sprinted up the stairs onto my train.  Once I caught my breath, and settled in it hit me as the train was pulling out that I never tapped on.  This has happened to me twice before, but I dodged a bullet those two times.  Not this time though.  Sure enough just after the train pulled out of Oakville, I was in the second car from the locomotive, and a fare check came around.

I didn't do the searching my pockets "where is my presto card" routine,  I didn't ask "I was supposed to tap on?" or "I was sure I paid for a ticket all the way to Burlington" routine, these are all tactics that I have seen several times by people….my compliments.  I simply explained the truth that I was in a rush, and completely forgot to tap on.   The fare checker was stern, saying it only takes a second to tap on, and she was right, it does, there is no excuse.  I handed over my ID and spent the rest of the trip looking at a written warning feeling absolutely sheepish.

I guess I write this as proof of the "honour system" working.  It wasn't pleasant at all.  It's downright embarrassing.  Even though it wasn't rush hour, there were still people in my section of the train that saw it all go down.  The embarrassment factor alone during rush hour has me being vigilant, making sure I pay, cause I can only imagine how extra embarrassing that is during peak time.   Now that I have that warning, the next time I get caught without paying it's a fine, and it escalates after that.  So there it is GO Train peeps, this Toronto snob got busted, and will be on his guard to make sure something like that never happens again.

- VA

You are forgiven my son! Be sure to put your money in the bowl for Jesus.


Bicky said...

VA, it is VERY embarrassing to get caught during rush hour! It happened to me! And to make it worse, when I get nervous, I break out in hives all over my neck. *le sigh*

It was almost 10 years ago I got caught. I still have my "written warning" as a reminder not to let it happen again.

Anonymous said...

Happened to me once as well. My usual entrance was closed that day as they were doing constructions and I had to go around to find another way to get on the platform. Got distracted and totally forgot about tapping on until I almost reached Union. Sure enough, there comes the inspector, and I explained it and he checked my card and asked if I've been paying for my trips and I told him I always tap and just so happens I got distracted and didn't tap that morning. He was nice and let me off with a verbal warning.

Anonymous said...

The pre-pay or fine system is stupid. In England most rides are subject to inspections and those who have not pre-paid - most of whom are legitimate - pay the top fare on the train. You also need to flash your ticket on departure - i.e. the exit the platform - so there is little chance to cheat (although I did manage it a few times when I was a wee scamp).

GO uses a truly Canadian approach - trust people to do the right thing then act all morose when we let ourselves down. Only in Canada!

C.J. Smith said...

I happen to like living in a non-nanny state of transit.
I'm a grown woman who is responsible enough to tap my Presto card.
Just like I'm responsible enough to remember my driver's licence.

But hey, sometimes life happens and we forget wallets and we forget to tap. Last thing I want is thousands of cops roaming the roads pulling drivers over, or roaming the coaches of a GO train, checking my ability to be responsible.

Sorry, not the world I want to live in.

Anonymous said...

I've often wondered if it's more economical to just ride around for free and pay the fine when you get caught. What's the fine, $150 or something like that? If I got inspected twice per month it would be a break-even proposition, but the truth is that I sometimes go three or more months without seeing a fare inspector on my route. I'm guessing that after you've been caught a few times they stop fining you and start criminally charging you with trespassing, though.

Besides, I'm not a jerk so I just tap my card.

C.J. Smith said...

I often thought about not renewing my driver's licence, let it expire and meh. What's the worst that can happen? I pay a fine. Same with the sticker on my husband's car, why bother? I mean, what are the odds a cop will notice?

Yet, there we are, millions of Ontarioians, lining up at the MTO ready to fork over cash for something that may or may not be checked.

Integrity. It's what you do when no one is watching.

Anonymous said...

Same thing for me too. It was before Presto. I was always on monthly pass, which I loved, but happened to buy a 10 ride since I was going on vacation for a while. As soon as I bought it at the counter, I went to use the washroom and totally forgot to stamp it while walking to the platform. Got a warning.

Also when I was brand new to GO, I had a monthly for Georgetown line but was taking LSW line on the weekend one time and didn't realize only Milton and LSW monthlies can be used. He just gave me a verbal warning.

Since Presto went mandatory, I have forgotten to tap on four times, including last week. The board said 17 minute delay and so I sat down on the bench under the sign and inside. It was chilly that morning so didn't want to sit down outside. This threw me off my routine and when I got to work and was about to submit a claim for service guarantee, I thought to myself, did I even tap on?

Turns out I didn't because my claim got rejected.

C.J. Smith said...

^ Life happens but there's a big difference between forgetting and intentionally not paying.

I once drove all the way to Buffalo and back with no drivers licence. I had my passport but no licence. I was never asked for it. Luckily nothing happened. It was not intentional. But I remember the sliver of fear that went down my back when I realized where it was and where it should be.

Anonymous said...

Well if we're advocating being honest (so sweet!) why can't we just tap on on the train? The devices are already on buses...

Anonymous said...

I don't think tapping on the train like the bus would work at all. It would back up the loading process which people are already upset that it takes long enough. Some trains get to the platform only minutes before they are due to depart and have to unload people before loading (LSW to LSE trains non-rush hour are like this). I like the presto card especially since the city buses in my area use them.

Anonymous said...

I disagree. You could put the devices in the middle of the lower cars and folks could get on, sit down, and then wander over to tap when the loading is finished. Most people are not going to do this due to the inconvenience but it would at least allow people who forgot to tap the ability to prevent getting a warning.

Anonymous said...

You know that's not going to happen...and will also give people the chance to go "oh I 'forgot' let me tap now". It would cost a boat load of money, which would raise our fairs...again and take time to implement which would take trains out of service to do. It's not just an easy quick fix. It's also not practical in any way.