Friday, November 28, 2014

Someone forgot to unlock this TTC fare box - passengers still paid their fare

I bet you the person who paid with the five-r made his own change, too.

I've posted this before but here it is with commentary

Bored commuter gives unsuspecting commuters new faces

Posted on reddit
By dittidot

Don't you love it when they do it right in front of the sign?

I don’t understand Ottawa. I never did.

by Maken D. Bacon
Guest Blogger

A recent trip across the border into New York at Lewiston made me think of the Transportation Safety Board’s advisory letter (12/14) to the mayor of Ottawa.  You know, the one regarding the collision of an OC Transpo double-decker bus and a VIA Rail passenger train.

The TSB’s message to Ottawa bus drivers is to slow down when approaching any railway crossing, look both ways, be prepared to stop, and yield right-of-way to a train. In response, OC Transpo issued internal bulletins advising “when approaching a railway crossing, drivers are to observe posted speed limits, slow down, listen and look both ways before crossing the tracks.”  What?  No requirement to stop?

Now, GO Transit exercises the higher standard that is prescribed by Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act for school buses as follows:
174(2)  The driver of a school bus, within the meaning of section 175, upon approaching on a highway a railway crossing, whether or not it is protected by gates or railway crossing signal lights, unless otherwise directed by a flagman, shall,
(a) stop the school bus not less than 5 metres from the nearest rail of the railway;
(b) look in both directions along the railway track;
(c) open a door of the school bus and listen to determine if any train is approaching;
(d) when it is safe to do so, cross the railway track in a gear that will not need to be changed while rossing the track; and
(e) not change gears while crossing the railway track. 1997, c. 12, s. 13.
Regular passengers of GO Transit Route 12 know the buses stop at not only the protected crossing currently on Centennial Pkwy., but also the abandoned spur line that crosses Bancroft St. in Stoney Creek.

Back to Ottawa.  The city went so far as to reduce the posted speed limit in the vicinity of the rail crossing from 60 to 50 KPH.  However, the TSB’s speed tests showed there was less than 75% compliance with that action.

What does all this have to do with crossing the border into the USA?  The bridge across the Niagara River has a posted speed of 15 MPH (roughly 24 KPH).  Once across the bridge, transverse rumble strips are used to slow vehicles in preparation for a full stop before the inspection stations.

Anyone on a Burlington-bound GO Transit bus knows how effective rumble strips are on the QEW exit ramp to Centennial Pkwy.

If rumble strips are a cost-effective means to warn drivers of a stop or slowdown ahead at high and slow speeds, why won’t the City of Ottawa use them to slow traffic at a railroad crossing on a roadway dedicated for its buses?  Why don’t OC Transpo buses just stop at all rail crossings, period?


Thursday, November 27, 2014

I am on the 410 LSE and this coach smells like foul diarrhea

I am not moving. There is no where to go.

This train is packed.

It's amazing how once we have a seat, we will cling to it and suffer through anything, including what smells like a thousand, hard-boiled eggs died a terrible death in someone's colon.

That is all.

That is all I will say about this.

Damn you Megan Jones and your common name says the blogger with an equally common name

I got this email last night.
I guess it was supposed to make me feel bad and drive me to drown my sorrow in a 2-litre tub of peanut butter ice cream, but it didn't.
All it did was make me want to find out where Megan Jones works so I could add her to my ever-growing Christmas card list. Problem is, there are tons of Megan Jones on LinkedIN and I'm too scared to re-import my contact list (she's not on it so she must be a second connection? To one of you?) because I don't want to bombard 800 or so people again.

from: Jones, Megan
date: Wed, Nov 26, 2014 at 6:21 PM
subject: LinkedIN

Thank you not so very much for your LinkedIN request.
Are you that desperate in your overzealous quest for popularity that you now have to beg complete strangers to be friends with you?
I was surprised when I saw the email. Then I felt sorry for you. I'm not sure what you were hoping to accomplish but I see others were more than happy to accommodate you as your connections have grown to over 80 people.
You are a sad woman. I feel sorry for your husband and your daughter.
If running amok across the internet and social media is how you manage your self-esteem, your daughter is going to have a tough go at it in life.

Megan Jones

Some guy made a complilation video of train snow plows and it's pretty awesome


Presented without comment

The one with the empty gas tank

My husband has left Canada on a US football pilgrimage to Green Bay which leaves me the car and the babysitter runs it entails. This morning I was pumped to catch the 7 am Oshawa GO train but when I started the car at 6:32 am in my garage in Courtice, I noticed the 12 KM to empty warning on the dash.

You summabitch.

I love my husband. I really do. I know why he did this because we're trading the car in tomorrow for a 2014 model to replace our 2009 model of Ford Flex and he's keen on handing it over with as little gas as possible. Clearly, he didn't think this through on his way home from work yesterday because the new car is Brampton. Was I going to fly there?

I dropped the kid off at the babysitter and drove down to Bloor where I planned to hit up the Husky at Simcoe in Oshawa to fill up. I had no idea Bloor was a clusterfuck at Ritson and I sat in traffic, idling for 10 minutes, and watching the gas gauge with the same level of anxiety I used to watch it as a kid on our family treks to New Brunswick, always convinced my dad was going to run out of gas.

I coasted into the Husky with 2 KM to empty. This has to be a new record.

I missed the 7 am train and I missed the opportunity to finally meet my favourite CSA turned train operator, Dylan, who was running the 7 am out of Oshawa this morning. This was a bummer.

But on a high note, I found a great parking spot, told off a smoker who was smoking in the shelter - on the platform (said he was cold), asked a lady to kindly remove her UGGs from the seat (she did AND APOLOGIZED - yes I'm buying a lottery ticket) and ran into an old friend who I haven't seen since 2010. This makes up for the empty gas tank.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Presto launches on TTC streetcars this Sunday

My reaction when the crazy dude at the bus stop this morning asked me if I was in my last year of high school

I told him I turned 40 in June. He took a long drag on his cigarette, blew the smoke upward and shook his head no. AND I SWEAR ON EVERY SINGLE BIBLE THERE IS ON THE PLANET, he then said:

"That's what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age."


This guy was creepy. He was creepier than the guy who hit me up on the bus last week who asked me to show him how Twitter works, his breath stinking like he drank an entire LCBO. He really needed to invest in some quality mouthwash.

"Our Man on the Train" - Columnist chronicles his commute for the London Telegraph

Phil (love you, man) sent me an email to ask me if I knew about "Our Man on the Train".

Phil moved here from the UK this past summer and commutes from Stouffville to Union Station. He found my blog early this morning and said I immediately made him homesick. I have no idea why. Ain't nothin' British about me.

The column is called "Commuter Spy" and it's written by an anonymous columnist simply known as "Our Man on the Train". THIS WOULD BE MY DREAM JOB, Y'ALL!!!

This guy could easily be me, especially this story about the banana.

Click here to read more of his work.

Airport workers to get a discount on new Union Station-Pearson train

In Russia, you push plane, ya? If plane too cold to fly

This woman just broke the first rule for what not to do on public transit

Is she... ?

She's not ...

She totally is!

So this happens pretty much every night when GO trains go to sleep

Oh for god's sake ... I think I pulled a Facebook-style please play this game stunt

... on LinkedIN

So it was suggested I set up a profile, and I did, and although I painstakingly went through almost 800 contacts that were pulled in from my Gmail account, and deselected over a hundred people (including my husband), I believe an invitation to join my newly created network was sent to EVERYONE (sorry!).

What was interesting about the exercise is that I now know where a majority of my haters work, along with photos of what they look like.

You can run but you can't hide?

Of course, other than creeping their profiles, there isn't anything else to gain from this information except to show up at my number one "fan"'s work and tell the receptionist I am there to take Richard out to lunch. Then I would have Richard paged and I'd wait patiently in the lobby for Richard.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

This is worthy of a repost - Tired of bag riders? Try this

Thanks to Elaine for sending it in - but Cindy had it first.

Someone better check on the gerbil

My favourite part is the "insert empathy statement".

Here's one for you. Sorry the gerbil died.

from: Pacman
date: Tue, Nov 25, 2014 at 11:09 AM
subject: Fwd: GO Transit, A Division of Metrolinx CR0006001409

I thought you would like this. This is a reply I received about a question asking why my trip was not eligible for refund since we sat at union with door issues. We were late already and by the time they got them open it was 18 minutes over the arrival time.
In trust you will remove any names/e-mail addresses.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "GO Transit Customer Relations"
Date: Nov 25, 2014 10:55 AM
Subject: GO Transit, A Division of Metrolinx CR0006001409
To: "Pacman"

Dear Mr.,
Thank you for your {email/letter/fax regarding} regarding {insert details of commendation}.
{Insert empathy statement if applicable}
{Insert details regarding concern/inquiry and resolution}
Thank you for providing me with the opportunity to address this {concern/inquiry}.
Name Customer Service Representative
GO Transit, A Division of Metrolinx
20 Bay Street, Suite 600, Toronto, Ontario M5J 2W3
This e-mail message is privileged, confidential and subject to copyright. Any unauthorized use or disclosure is prohibited.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Metrolinx bus purchase to improve service and create jobs

TORONTO, November 24, 2014 - Metrolinx has signed an agreement with Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) to purchase 253 fully accessible, low floor, double-decker buses to provide better GO bus service and create up to 30 new full-time jobs in Ontario.

Under the agreement, ADL will supply and deliver the 253 buses over the next five years and establish a bus chassis assembly facility in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area that will create up to 30 full-time jobs. Construction of the chassis facility is expected to begin in mid-2015 and the first order of buses is expected by 2016. If needed, there is an option for Metrolinx to purchase an additional 150 buses over the five-year contract, up to 30 per year.

The buses will support service growth throughout the region and will ensure continued service reliability for GO Transit customers by replacing older vehicles at the end of their lifecycle. With a lower height, they will enable higher capacity service on all of GO Transit’s bus routes since they will be able to access four major terminals that cannot be served by existing double-decker buses due to height restrictions — Hamilton, Yorkdale, York Mills and the Union Station bus terminals.

“We believe everyone should have access to fast, convenient and integrated transit,” said Metrolinx President and CEO Bruce McCuaig. “These buses represent the future of our bus fleet and set a new standard for the service we provide. Their lower floors will allow customers with limited mobility to board with ease, and their lower height will allow us to bring double-decker service to all of our routes.”

“The agreement to purchase 253 new buses is part of Ontario’s plan to make taking public transit even more attractive and will bring jobs to Ontario,” said Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation. “This is proof of our government’s commitment to making the daily commute and quality of life better for Ontario families, and creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives.”

“We are delighted to be working with Metrolinx on this further multi-year agreement,” said Robert Davey, Group Commercial and Business Development Director at ADL. “Our relationship goes back to 2007, and we currently have nearly 125 ADL double decks operating in the Toronto area. This latest contract will add significantly to that number, demonstrating that high-capacity double decks are not only popular with passengers but can make a unique contribution at the heart of sophisticated transport systems.”

Each bus will also come equipped with the following accessibility improvements:

  • a lower floor and a longer, more gradual entrance ramp for easier boarding and exiting
  • a wider area for individuals with wheeled mobility devices to manoeuvre and 120V charging outlets for motorized wheelchairs
  • automated next-stop announcements and displays.

This purchase is part of Metrolinx’s regional transportation plan to provide residents and businesses in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area with fast, convenient and integrated transit. Working through its divisions GO Transit, PRESTO, and Union Pearson Express, Metrolinx is transforming the way the region moves.

This Crazy Train's Presto Chronicles, Chapter 30: PRESTO? No. It’s more a matter of hurry up and wait …

All 29 chapters of the Presto Chronicles start here

The entry was written by Frank E. Futor:

This chapter of the Presto Chronicles has its genesis over a year ago.  I finally have some time to knit together the various events and bits of evidence to try to relate what happened.

My son, “N”, was an early adopter of PRESTO.  He liked the Autoload feature until it stopped working for him.  No one knows what went wrong, but he had to resort to loading funds manually to his e-Purse, which did not sit well with him.  After one agonizing trip (I’ll spare you the colourful language) last spring, I told him to give me his card and access to his online account.  After some investigation, I dashed off the following e-mail:

From: FF
Sent: Thursday, May 22, 2014 11:01 AM
To: Greg Percy
Cc: Robert Hollis; C.J. Smith
Subject: Yet another PRESTO problem – Autoload doesn't

Dear Mr Percy,

My son, N, approached me with a problem he has had with his PRESTO card (3124*****23090007) since last autumn, namely, Autoload does not work.  Despite discussing the matter with PRESTO CSRs and cancelling and recreating Autoload "contracts", the matter persists.

Here is a snapshot of how Autoload is configured for the card:

Here is a snippet of the transaction history showing that Autoload did not trigger:

Here is the card status as viewed on a GO Transit bus.  Why is the Autoload status "Disabled"?

Is this yet another PRESTO bug, or a case of “users unfamiliarity with the features”?

Thank you for your assistance in this matter.

I extend to Ms. Cindy Smith the rights to publish this e-mail as she sees fit on her blog site,


In response, I received the following e-mail:

From: L. B.
Date: Fri, 23 May 2014 13:15:20 +0000
To: FF
Cc: J. S., C. T.
Subject: FW: Yet another PRESTO problem – Autoload doesn't URGENT

Mr F,

My name is L. B. with the PRESTO Customer Care team.   I left a message for you this morning and just wanted to follow up with an email to ensure you had my contact information.

Thank you for your recent email to Greg Percy, President of GO Transit and Robert Hollis, Executive Vice President of PRESTO. Please allow me to respond on their behalf. I’m very sorry to hear of the challenges your son has experienced with his autoload contract.   On behalf of the entire PRESTO organization, please accept our apologies for these issues and the inconvenience they have caused him.

My investigation has determined that the autoload contract that was set up on October 20th, 2014 was not picked up.  After the contract is set up online, the card must be tapped to pick up or activate the contract.  If the card is not tapped within 30 days, the contract activation request expires.  According to the transaction history on the card, the next tap did not occur until December 20th.  At that point, 30 days had passed and the activation request had expired.

We can have the autoload contract activation resent, then after 24 hours (but within 30 days) you can tap the card, and the contract will be activated.  Please contact me to have this done if it is something you are interested in.

Also note that we have not determined what happened to the original contract.  To investigate this further, I would need to speak to you to gather more information.  I can arrange a call if you would like this investigated.

Thank you for bringing these matters to our attention and I look forward to hearing from you.

Senior Business Analyst - Customer Care - PRESTO

Problem solved.  Right?  Not so fast!  The investigation by PRESTO staff wasn’t as thorough as it should have been.  They completely missed the following attempt to reestablish the Autoload by tying it to a different credit card on April 18.  The PRESTO system fired off the following e-mail:

From: PRESTO Customer Service
Date: 2014-04-18 12:14 GMT-04:00
Subject: Contracts Modified / Modification de contrats
To: N

Dear N,

Congratulations, your request to modify the Autoload contract associated with the PRESTO Card 3124*****23090007 has been successfully processed. The contract ID number is 000618687_133.

Please take note of the contract number in your records, or keep this letter for future reference should you need to contact the PRESTO Call Centre for inquiries regarding this contract.

PRESTO is committed to providing you with the best customer experience possible. If you have any questions or comments, we would be delighted to hear from you. Please visit us at or call our toll free number at 1-8-PRESTO-123 (1-877-378-6123).

Thank you for choosing PRESTO.


The team continued to investigate, but first they “pushed” the Autoload contract to the field, and my son activated it after waiting 24 hours.  So, why was Autoload still not working after the e-mail was sent?  As L. B. explained:

Subject: RE: Contracts Modified / Modification de contrats
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2014 14:21:53 +0000
From: L. B.
To: N

Hello N,

I just wanted to let you know that our technical team completed their investigation into why your contract did not kick in in April.  It appears that while the contract you set up in October of last year expired because it was not picked up in 30 days, it did still appear in your account (which is normal, but misleading).  When you went into your profile in April it appears you altered that contract (changed your credit card info, I think you said?).  That triggered the ‘Congratulations’ message you received, but unfortunately, because the contract was not ‘active’, nothing was pushed out.  Interestingly enough, I have been told that if you had changed your threshold, or top up amount, it would have reactivated the contract and sent this info out to the devices and you would have been able to pick it up with no problem.  As you know, after I contacted our technical team, they resent the action (contract) and you were able to pick up the contract and start receiving autoloads.  And because you had changed the billing info, it is billing to the correct card.

Well, I just wanted to pass on that information.  As always, contact me if you have questions.


Post Mortem Analysis

On October 20, 2013, my son talked to a PRESTO CSR who admitted "something doesn't look quite right" with the current Autoload setup.  My son informed the CSR he had to catch a GO train within the hour, so with the CSR still on the line, the existing contract was cleared and a new one created.  The CSR confirmed that the new contract was set up correctly in the system and would be activated on the next tap ON and that my son was good to travel.  This advice wasn't quite correct.

When an Autoload contract is created, the PRESTO system requires up to twenty-four (24) hours to push the contract request to all card interface points in the field.  In order for the contract to be applied to the card, the customer must tap the card after this one day synchronization period and within thirty (30) days of the Autoload contract's creation.  Because the October 20 tap ON was within an hour of the creation of the contract, the card did not pick up the Autoload request, and because there was no card usage until December 20, the Autoload request expired.

Even though the October 20 contract had expired, it remained tied to the PRESTO card and displayed a status of Active, although the PRESTO technical team stated it was not active.  This situation cannot be viewed as normal.  It's clearly a deficiency – a bug – that must be rectified.

It should be noted that PRESTO’s congratulatory e-mail confirmations state nothing about actions required by the customer to activate the contract.  If the system requires specific synchronization steps to be followed by the cardholder, then it would behoove PRESTO to communicate those instructions to the customer at every opportunity.  Otherwise, as we've seen, a race condition is created wherein the results are indeterminate, i.e. a bug.  Hence, the e-mail confirmations need to be revised to include the same timing constraints that are displayed after an Autoload contract is completed online.  CSRs need to remind customers of the timing constraints, too.

Thank you to L.B. and her team for resolving nine months of Autoload grief for my son.

PRESTO’s Autoload advertising, “Set it up once.  Never have to think twice.” remains pure balderdash.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Florida's "GO trains" have tables

Sun Rail runs the same locos and coaches as GO Transit, which are manufactured by Bombardier.

Them bitches got tables. Tables!

Buffalo fans of share their pics

Our friends south of us don't get their transit system back til Monday ... maybe Tuesday...

I like how the bus states the obvious.

So this exists on commuter trains in Galway, Ireland

Transit advocates pushing for affordable fares on Union-Pearson air rail link

Our Union Pearson Coalition is planning a series of rallies and canvassing events right up until Dec. 11, when Metrolinx is expected to officially announce the fare levels for the four-stop rail service offering rapid trips between Terminal One of Pearson International Airport and Union Station, beginning in the spring of 2015.

It’s been speculated fares will cost between $20 and $30 for a regular one-way trip traveling the full length of the line. In recent months Metrolinx officials have publicly stated there’s room for “alternative” pricing.

That’s not good enough for coalition spokesperson Jessica Bell, who said Thursday, Nov. 6 all UP fares should be fixed at the level of TTC cash fares: around $3 per trip.

“It’s outrageous,” said Bell, who is also chair of the transit advocacy group TTCriders. “What we don’t understand is why would you take this massive 23-kilometre line and turn it into a service for just the One Percent.”

“Why should we be paying 20 or 30 dollars when it should be a true transit line?”


Metrolinx's UP Express to use American firm's app to accept mobile payments (you mean PRESTO can't support mobile payments?!)

Toronto’s new airport line will be using a mobile ticketing app when it opens next year.

The Union Pearson Express will be using an app from New York-based Bytemark, which lets passengers buy and present tickets using their smart phones, in a move targeting visitors to the city.


Is arriving at Toronto's Union Station from Kitchener by GO train seven minutes sooner worth $900 million?

Electrifying the GO train line between Kitchener and Toronto — something the Liberals have promised to do within the next 10 years at great cost — would save only seven minutes of travel time each way and cost $800 to $900 million in 2010 dollars, according to a report completed by Metrolinx.

To shorten the travel time on the Kitchener line by more than seven minutes, GO Transit president Greg Percy told Metrolinx's board of directors in September that the agency will need to add a new rail track parallel to the existing one and work with CN Rail to co-ordinate boosted train service.


What's with this aversion to opening doors all of a sudden?!


For your Friday night train ride home

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Battle of the taxi companies plays out over a payphone at Whitby GO Station

Train passengers in Buenos Aires jumped from a MOVING TRAIN yesterday after it caught fire

I know this morning's delays on the Richmond Hill and Lakeshore East lines were hella annoying, with mechanical failures and a missing foreman, but at least none of the trains CAUGHT FIRE.


This exists? Boston area commuter rail company fined for late service

The operator of the MBTA’s commuter rail service has been fined $804,000 for late trains and other performance issues, including station and train cleanliness, according to transit officials.

“After four months of running MBTA commuter rail, October was a disappointing month for Keolis and our passengers, but we’re determined to improve,” said Mac Daniel, a Keolis spokesman.

The MBTA levied fines of $434,000 for inadequate on-time performance, which dipped to 85 percent in October, and also fined the company $370,000 for inadequate fare collection, staffing, cleanliness, and lighting failures during the past four months.


So this is really happening

Go home engineering, contractor-type guy from PRESTO. You're drunk

This is a big pet peeve for a lot of GO commuters (TomW sent in this pic) and a big one of mine, PRESTO machines that are too close together which causes the biggest body traffic jam during the morning rush.

Worst are the machines at Oshawa that bookend the Metro and 24 newspaper boxes. So many people wind up slamming into those reaching for papers. It's ridiculous.

I don't know who thought this was a good idea but it sucks.

Because everybody needs to "get around" ...

Where everybody knows your name

Riding the train these days is like my own personal Cheers bar.

You know my name. I just don't know yours. And I still, STILL, don't know how to react when you ask me if I'm that girl with the website.

Anyhow, I want to thank the woman on the train next to me this morning who said hi and told me how my site helps her deal with her commuter rage. It makes my day to know my site makes your day.

I'm sorry I didn't ask you your name.

Eglinton GO Station Parking Donkey

Not to be outdone by the donkeys at Rouge Hill, this person in .... in ... is that ... is that a YARIS??? I could park that thing between two Presto machines with my eyes closed and still stay between the lines.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Kantar Worldpanel study reveals our time-wasting activities as commuters vary according to method of transport we use

But what exactly do we do with the time?

Turns out it really depends on what kind of commuter you are.

Subway folk are more likely to have their nose in a book or newspaper and are more likely to drown out fellow passengers with music.

Bus passengers like to talk and text - a lot, which makes you the most popular person on the bus.

According to this article, bus passengers are the least likely to bring work on-board with them.

Commuter train passengers like to pass the time playing games. This is totally me. I Angry Bird for most of my train rides.

For the full story, with graphs! Click here.

Um .... no, I did *not* hear about this > Ohio man found on fire on top of Connecticut commuter train

Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) officials said the man was found on fire on top of a Metro-North train shortly after 5am on Sunday (November 9, 2014) in Greenwich.

Crew members were trying to figure out why the train lost power when they found him.

The MTA identified the hospitalised man as Brian McClellen.


Unfortunately, this happened > Aspiring actor dies after catching fire atop commuter train

GO looks at a quieter ride on Montreal's electric commuter train

A Yeti rides the TTC subway

Thanks to Valentino for the pic!

I'd wait til my stop and then karate chop his knee before bolting from the train

Because you asked about Train 48

No, really. People do.

I never watched the show but it appears to have a cult following because I get the occasional email from "fans" (seriously, they exist) if I know how to purchase the video catalogue. Nope.

Blog,TO did a write up about the show and although it's interesting, I'm still not interested.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The horrible rage you feel towards anyone munching celery, an apple or carrots on the train is a legit medical condition

Do you feel vindicated?

My husband can't eat an apple near me. The sound makes me want to karate chop him in the the throat. This weekend we discovered there is a name for this rage - Misophonia.

Misophonia means "hatred of sound." I know, it's not hatred of people which many of you feel some days towards fellow commuters.

According to the Academic Medical Center (AMC) in Amsterdam, sufferers of misophonia have feelings of disgust, anger, or frustration brought on by certain sounds. The AMC describes the reviled sounds as typically innocent ones like chewing or heavy breathing.

This website explains more AND has videos of the sounds of people chewing the foods that drive others crazy.


Friday, November 14, 2014

How to be civil in the Quiet Zone - 12 things to know

This morning's situation STILL irks me, so on my lunch hour, I wrote out some rules for GO Train etiquette.

The Quiet Zone is not the Dead Zone, but there are things that people do that can be an annoyance on the train or on any form of public transit - quiet zone or no quiet zone:
  1. If you want to eat - go ahead. If you want to eat anything that requires you to dig deep down into anything plastic, paper or cellophane - consider fasting for the rest of your journey home. No one wants to listen to your incessant crinkling. No one.

  2. Care to read the newspaper - fantastic! Do you need to snap the page after every turn?! Consider buying a tablet and read the paper electronically. No one wants to listen to your furious paper abuse.

  3. Listening to Metallica? Pantera? Maybe you're into Death Metal? Guess what? I'm not. So I don't want to hear it. Turn it down.

  4. Listening to anything, or playing a game, without headphones? GET OFF THE TRAIN.

  5. Working on a crossword? Holy hell, #19 down is hard, huh? Clicking your pen at 80 km/hr probably helps you concentrate better, but it makes me want to take your pen and stab you in the ear with it. Just don't.

  6. "WATCHA GONNA DO WITH DAT BIG FAT BUTT?!" Oh, is that your ring tone? How about you put your phone on vibrate?

  7. Your phone is ringing. ANSWER IT. Don't sit there and pretend it's not your's because you forgot to turn it off, or put it on vibrate, and you're stuck in the Quiet Zone and don't want to be "THAT PERSON". ANSWER. YOUR. PHONE. Especially if your ring tone has anything to do with fat butts.

  8. If your phone rings - go ahead and answer it. Listen to who the person is on the other end and respond accordingly. If it's your child calling, crying, because they vomited all over the kitchen floor, tell your kid to hang on and tell your quad mates, apologetically, that you have to take this call and that your kid is sick. People are surprisingly sympathetic when other people are GRACIOUS. Did you get that? GRACIOUS. This also works if you get a surprise call from your Chicago office about an AWOL cable installer. Rather than launch into a loud, hysterical conversation asking how much vomit there is, giving directions for where the mop can be found, what towels should not be used, etc., give your fellow commuters a heads-up. Vomit happens. We get it. If it's the roofer wanting to ask some questions about your house because you submitted a request online for a quote, well shit, that conversation can wait until you get off the train. There used to be a time when people would phone your number, get an answering machine, because you weren't home yet, because you were on a train, and they would leave a message. I know, right? WHAT VOODOO IS THIS? Voicemail is a wonderful thing. People need to embrace it.

  9. Need to make an urgent conference call? GO. DOWN. STAIRS. Better yet, go to the toilet. And stay there.

  10. Typing a text message? Wait ... how is this annoying, let alone a disturbance? (Chuckle) It is if you've left your phone's keypad tone enabled. SHUT IT OFF. I had an iPhone user next to me on the train this past summer who was painstakingly typing out her grocery list one letter at a time. I couldn't take it. It was torture. So I asked her to turn off her keypad sound. She didn't know how to do it so I did it for her. Then she asked why it makes a sound in the first place. That's a good question. Anyone care to answer that?

  11. Chatting by text? In rapid succession? TURN OFF THE VOLUME ON YOUR PHONE. We all don't need to know you're enjoying a rowdy text conversation. We don't need to hear your pings, your bells, your chimes, your whistles, or your "uh-oh"s circa 1998 in an ICQ chat window.

  12. Is your friend on the train with you? Are you both pumped about the latest issue of Canadian Living and need to discuss - at length - the recipe featured on the cover? Sounds delicious but please, SIT DOWNSTAIRS.
Did I miss anything?  Let me know in the comments.

Safety breach on the TTC: Subway power rail went live before evacuation was complete

Psst! Your banana is showing

from: CB
date: Fri, Nov 14, 2014 at 8:08 AM

You may use the attached photo for your site if you like. Not sure if the quality is good enough, it was dark last night on my ride. But the point I'd love for you to make is that particularly on buses, this sight is all too familiar. Banana peels, coffee cups, fast food containers... rather than take their refuse with them, too many passengers think its okay to stuff their garbage in the mesh webbing at the back of a chair and leave it for GO staff to clean up. But there's a good chance that it's going to sit there all day. It's unsightly, can smell and is just plain rude. Yes, Go Transit has cleaners, who likely vacuum and sweep the seats. They're not your personal maid paid to clean up after you.

This morning I broke up a fight in the Quiet Zone and now I have to move and switch corridors

Just kidding. Although the person did snap off a pic of me, I have no idea what for, so if you see WANTED posters Monday morning in the Union GO Concourse - now you know.

I couldn't help myself. If I see a person in need, I'll jump in. It's what I do.

It all started around Ajax on the 7:15 train that originates in Oshawa. Some guy in a suit answered his phone, suggested two other people get patched in (not sure if he was in a motorcycle gang or I just watch too much Sons of Anarchy) and did the one thing any GO commuter, in a Quiet Zone or not, hates - he put his call on SPEAKER.

I was watching "Let's Be Cops" on my phone. I was sitting opposite of him and I heard everything over the sound of my movie. The lady next to me? NOT IMPRESSED.

She gave it until Pickering before she leaned over and tapped his knee and told him he should take his call downstairs. He waved his hand at her with an annoyed look on his face and shifted in his seat so he was facing the aisle. The call was about Chicago and some sort of office move. It seems Raj didn't come in with the cabling system like he promised he would at 5 am this morning, and Bettina is waiting in reception for him and she's mad.

You know who else is mad? The lady beside me.

She got up and excused herself to move past me and stepped into the aisle. She asked the man to end the call. She wasn't the only person annoyed but she was the only person willing to say anything about it.

I had paused my movie and sat there waiting for the moment when I would step in. The guy told the people on the line with him he'd call them back when he got into the city. He made a dramatic point of pressing the end button on his phone. This is when I clapped my hands really loud and fast for a few seconds and said, "Thank you!" Around me a few people chuckled and others squirmed uncomfortably.

He stood up so he and the woman were now face to face in the aisle. Yep - this is my cue! I stood up and got between the woman and the man. I told the guy to calm down. At one point, he said to her, "You know, you people, you think you can just say what you want." How do I put this into context as to why the way he said, "You people" was offensive? I'll just leave that to how you want to interpret it because many of you are very smart.

Someone called out that we should "take it outside" - ha ha ha, very funny.

I said to the woman we should go downstairs and we left, but of course, this guy had to get his 50 cents in and called us bitches as we walked down the stairs. Charming, right?

At Union, my new BFF thanked me again for coming to her defense and I exited the train. I stood on the platform for a few moments to adjust the cuff of my jeans. I was interrupted by a tap on my back. When I stood up, it was office move douche who shoved his phone in my face and took my picture. "Thanks," he said, "I'll need that for later." And he sauntered off. It caught me off guard so I had no time to react.

"Need that for later?" For what? Twitter? Facebook? The six o'clock news?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

I'd feel the same way if I ever saw an ad for GO Transit (substitute Islands for Toronto and ferry for train)

Andrew found this on Facebook relating to BC ferries looking to save money.

Dear BC Ferries,

I know that you are having a hard time trying to figure out ways to save money. Please, let me help you.

1. You are not a cruise ship line. You are a bus.

2. You are not a travel agency. You are the travel method.

3. You do not need to advertise. You are the ONLY alternative.

So, with these three things in mind, please consider the following:

  • You need a news stand, not a gift shop.
  • You need a cafeteria, not a restaurant.
  • You don't need slot machines, you need good WiFi and some big screen TV's.
  • You don't need a "marketing department", you need a full on Social Media and Customers Service department. You don't need a fancy travel office or vacation planning department, you need plan to keep the actual travel agents informed of what is happening with your ferry service.

I shouldn't see the BC Ferries logo on the boards at Rogers Arena during a Canucks game, or on a TV commercial. Believe it or not, people really are smart enough to figure out that if there isn't a bridge or a tunnel to the Islands, then they will have to take a ferry or a plane.....and you can't get your car into your carry on luggage.

See. I just saved you millions upon millions of dollars.

You're welcome.

Isn't it nice when a person puts his foot up like this, you move and they still don't get the hint?!

This was texted to me. The person was sitting beside this foot rider at first until the foot rider swung his leg up. Really, how rude?

Like anyone would want the bottom of a shoe across the chest? So the person moved to sit opposite of this clown and the foot rider still didn't get it.

Brought a tear me eye ye did

One of your fellow readers has taken the approach of attaching this sign to his/her bag (sorry, don't know the gender as most of you who text me never tell me personal details). This person exits at Exhibition.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

I know my headphones are in here somewhere ...

I will warn you, there is TMI is this post so if you've got some work to do, such as formatting a Word file or Powerpoint presentation about next year's budget, now's a good time to close this window and get at it.

I've been on antibiotics as I heal from my gum surgery. Any ladies reading this may be familiar with how our bodies react to penicillin or amoxicillin. Not every woman becomes an automatic bread machine on two legs, but some of us do. Sadly, I am one of them.

It's been a rough few days and yesterday I decided there are places a ruler should never venture, and I broke down and bought a box of stuff that my father NEVER understood.

I put the box, with no bag, in my purse and boarded the train.

Halfway through the ride, I decided I would watch a movie and reached down and pulled on my headphone cord which I did not know was wrapped around the box.

They weren't budging, so I lifted my bag onto my lap, gave the cord another good pull and like a dove being released to celebrate the love of two people joined in matrimony on a Cuban beach, watched as the box flew across the train and hit a woman in the back of the head (two seats over) before clattering to the floor.

A man, being very kind, reached down to grab it and I entered the aisle to retrieve it. But oh, not before several people got a good look at it.

I apologized profusely to the woman, my cheeks redder than a tomato and sat back down, shoving the box deep into my purse. I thanked the man and stared at the floor for the rest of the train ride.

Oh the embarrassment this caused me!!!

"Unfair competition" will cost us how much?

by Ali Gator

Per this article, Coach Canada (CC) is phasing out bus service between Hamilton and Niagara Falls citing “unfair competition” and expansion by GO Transit.

I assume their claim of unfair competition stems from GO Transit being “heavily subsidized”.  Can someone quantify the subsidy?  We’ve seen previously how the GO Transit’s routes through Niagara region operate inefficiently.  Also, the recent personnel issues there make one wonder who is running the show.  I’ll give CC the benefit of the doubt on the competition matter, but I’m not buying in on their “expansion” plea.

GO Transit doesn’t operate a route between Niagara Falls and downtown Hamilton.  A Park & Ride stop exists at Barton and Nash in Stoney Creek, and Hamilton Transit (HSR) operates local buses between there and downtown.  There exist alternate routes from Burlington GO station to Hamilton, but I won’t get into the logistics of those.  Is Coach Canada confusing “expansion by GO Transit” with consumer demand for rail service to the region?

Is CC losing money, because they made errors in their strategic business plan?  Is meandering through small communities often for no passengers a wise practice?  Let’s not forget that the Niagara region has Canada’s highest unemployment rate.  Did Coach Canada come to that realization only recently?

Statements from Coach Canada’s spokesperson, John Crowley, are often nonsensical, like “stopping at centres such as Welland on the way”.  Per CC’s web site – and confirmed by one of their drivers –Welland is not on the route between Niagara Falls and Hamilton.  In Welland, Coach Canada competes with Niagara Transit, not GO Transit.  Why didn’t the Hamilton Spectator reporter and editor pick up on this?

Has CC invested in infrastructure, i.e. the bus terminals that they use?  Per their web site, Coach Canada uses GO Transit’s terminal in Hamilton.  In St. Catharines, CC uses the downtown bus terminal, which was paid for by the provincial government.  Coach Canada passengers have ticket agents, protection from the elements, and washroom facilities in St. Catharines, whereas Metrolinx has provided GO Transit passengers NOTHING at the Fairview Mall bus stop.  In reality, CC is being subsidized, too.

Mr. Crowley claims, “We only get revenues from our fares.”  CC is the ticket agent for GO Transit in Niagara Falls.  Is Coach Canada offering this service pro bono to Metrolinx?

Should we be concerned that Coach Canada is meeting with GO Transit to “work out a solution”?  What are Coach Canada and Metrolinx discussing behind closed doors, and how much will “the solution” cost taxpayers?

Could this be why Metrolinx is holding a meeting tonight?

This story aired on November 3rd:

That same day Metrolinx sent out this note:

From: GO Transit
Sent: Monday, November 3, 2014 4:02 PM
Subject: Public Meeting on Accessibility Initiatives

You are invited to share your ideas on how we can make it easier for people with disabilities to travel around our region.

Wednesday, November 12, 6:30-9:00pm
Metro Hall, 55 John St, Toronto
Rooms 308 & 309 (third floor)

Tuesday, November 18, 6:30-9:00pm
55 Gordon St, Whitby
Abilities Centre, Theatre/Multi-Purpose Room (second floor)

Those interested in attending are asked to register in advance at or at 1-888-438-6646.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Ever wondered what it's like to evacuate a TTC subway train at track level?

Only on a GO train can you be this cozy

This got its own seat this morning

I mean, nobody is going to ask anyone to move the company potluck contribution, right?!

Isn't it nice when "one of their own" pulls an all your space on a crowded subway train?

According to the photographer this employee was oblivious to the bodies piling in station after station, never thinking that maybe he should move his stuff.

I bet his union rep would be quick to point out that all someone had to do was ask.


Because who doesn't love a good fart story? (this story is NOT about me)

I share this true but pathetic story to commiserate with other tortured souls who relentlessly endure and survive extreme humiliation. We're a group of accident-prone fools who regularly trigger embarrassing situations that would permanently traumatize a normal person. My experience this week will be difficult to surpass: I farted inside an MRI machine.


Lest we forget

Monday, November 10, 2014

So... just how BIG is this rat colony that has moved out of Union Station?


And it's not a colony but a population. A POPULATION!

More from the Toronto Star
Abell Pest Control says construction at Union Station ‘has displaced a large rat colony.’

Downtown business owners are bracing for a rat infestation after a pest control company warned that “the demolition and construction of several underground structures at Union Station has displaced a large rat colony, forcing its migration to new areas of the downtown.”

But the exact location and size of the rat colony remain a mystery along with other facts about the alleged rats.

Some highlights:

Where in the station were they living?
Nobody knows. Rats are common in any city, especially in underground areas like subways. Since Abell doesn’t service Union, none of its workers have gone in to look for rats, Heimbach said.

Where are the rats going?
No one really knows. Heimbach said the station rats are pushing out other rats in the area, which in turn causes those rats to spread out through the city. As well, since it’s getting colder, more rats will try to get indoors.

Did you read that? NOBODY KNOWS ANYTHING.

Burn it down. Just burn it.


When asked if the coat was real skunk, he said yes

You couldn't pay me enough

Here's what happens when you try to feed two hamsters at once

So which one is it?

An equipment issue or passenger assist?

Did you know bicycles aren't allowed on rush hour GO trains?

And here's a perfect example as to why.


According to the photographer, this was on the Richmond Hill train and no, he never lifted a butt cheek.

What parallel universe am I living in?

Shut up. You had me at Oshawaygago.

Oshawaygago is going to be my new gang name, if I decide to start a new gang.

While I was away, running around with my last gang (nickname - Bleeding Gums Murphy), GO Transit finally deployed its next stop announcement tool. There's a fancy term for this technology that I'm too lazy to look up so NSAT it is.

At first, I wasn't sure what was happening when I heard this creepy HAL-like voice announce (and way too loudly), "Next stop, Regional Road Highway 2 and Varcoe Road". Huh? What voodoo is this?

And wasn't GO Transit supposed to launch NSAT back in January? Only 11 months late, so, right on time!

The robotic voice has trouble with annunciation. Hell, my Samsung phone can enunciate better this this brokeback Suri version. The highlight of the bus trip, that made up for the driver running 12 minutes behind, was listening to it call out, "Oshawa GO". There was no pause between Oshawa and GO, so it was sounded out phonetically - OH-SHA-WAY-GA-GO.