Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Long story short, last Thursday night, a driver ran a stop sign. Then he STOPPED in the middle of the intersection when he finally saw me approaching, quickly, downhill. I screamed at the top my lungs for him to move. He accelerated (honest to GOD, was he stupid???). I whizzed past his back-end and nearly wrapped myself and my bike around a lamp post. I came home, told my husband I had to get a proper bike and I got a proper ROAD bike.
It's a Giant Cypress LX W. It's the most amazing bike I've ever owned. Last night, I rode 16 km up hills and over bumps like it was butter. Nothing hurt. I can stop, dismount and hop off in seconds. I almost wept.
And I want to be honest with you, I am only taking a 5-day vacation but my mental health break started much earlier. So many of you are freaking out about PAN AM. I have no idea how to help anyone deal because I have no idea what the impact will be.
How I've been coping is I imagine Friday nights when a Raptors game, Jays game, Slipknot concert and Disney on Ice are all letting out at the same time. I have done many of these nights.
Those of you who haven't, yes, you will probably become alcoholics.
I've already beat you to it.
Monday, June 29, 2015
ThisCrazyTrain.com is taking a break. Content updates will return July 6.
Happy Canada Day!
Friday, June 26, 2015
And even if I.T. doesn't know what the problem was, then say that. Then conclude with it appears to have been resolved but the situation is being further investigated. It's not hard.
Don't write to us about "blips". We deserve better than that.
Thursday, June 25, 2015
It's been a while since I've mentioned where I'm at with my struggle to be healthy and fit. In October I had a setback when I fell down the stairs of a Double Decker GO bus when the driver accelerated to leave the bus stop as I was making my way down to exit. I slammed my right knee into the fiberglass wall and hobbled off the bus after exchanging angry words with the driver. He admitted he didn't look at his monitors to see if anyone was exiting from the upper deck. A week later, I went to put on my shoes at my sister's house after Thanksgiving dinner and my knee screamed, I screamed, and just like that - BURSITIS.There's a country song here somewhere. But seriously, who doesn't like #cycling fresh asphalt? pic.twitter.com/v9B4Dg6f9A— CJ Smith (@ThisCrazyTrain) June 23, 2015
What an absolutely awful condition. There have been days when I could not walk. Days when I cried just from going down a few steps. Days when I could barely get out of my office chair after sitting for an hour. Nights where I couldn't sleep because of the pulling and swelling sensation. Days of sobbing and feeling sorry for myself because I lost my stability, had trouble with balance, and was stuck with limited mobility and range of motion. It's taken close to 40 physiotherapy sessions, a dozen acupuncture treatments and months of stationary cycling to get where I am today - walking, standing, climbing stairs, descending stairs and being able to bend the knee and put full weight on my right leg. I'm not out of the woods yet as my knee is out of alignment after months of a poor gait, and I am experiencing hip pain and joint pain that I am told should eventually subside. I've also been warned that surgery may be necessary.
You know that saying, a body in motion stays in motion? There was no motion so my body became a body at rest, and even though I restricted my caloric intake to 1800 calories a day, the scale moved up and before I knew it, I gained 20 pounds between November and May. I blame the weight gain to reintroducing bad foods into my diet - sugar being the main culprit. This month, after turning 41 on the 14th, I literally slapped myself in the face. Self-pity isn't my style but it's easy to be swallowed up by it. My lowest recorded weight in the past three years was 238. My highest weight (2010) was 328 (rough estimate). I am now 260 -- so no where near the shit show of 328, but far away from the best weight of 238.
I'm back to cycling since long-distance walking is still off the table. And I mean hardcore cycling, with hills and steep inclines that stretch for two kilometers or more. Living in east Courtice, surrounded by long stretches of country roads, I can cycle for 15 to 20 kilometers and burn 1000 calories in an hour. Of course, some of these roads are narrow and with no shoulders, just deep ditches, it can be nerve-wracking when drivers act like douchebags. I am not an aggressive or entitled cyclist. I am a "share the road" cyclist. I am a"stop at the stop sign" cyclist. I am a "helmet always on" cyclist. I am a "always uses hand signals" cyclist. I am a "wears a light when it's dusk" cyclist. I am the type of cyclist that motorcyclists will go out of their way to stop me and tell me they appreciate I follow the rules of the road. I don't do it because I'm a nice person. I cycle the way I do because it's the right thing to do, and in some cases, the law. It's a shame that law-abiding cyclists have to be thanked for being law-abiding.
As it stands, I think I am back on track. No more sugar. Lots of cycling. And more weight training. I've been told when it comes to cardio, your body eventually becomes efficient of whatever exercise you undertake and you have to "switch it up". For me, that means more challenging bikes rides and lifting weights in my ghetto home gym.
Wish me luck!
... Then I told the asshole sucking cancer right outside the bus door that he can walk 40 metres to the smoking area and puff there. I didn't even let him get a "but" in before I told him he was compromising the health and safety of the bus driver, who is at work, in his office, and who is protected by the law to not be subjected to harmful second-hand smoke while he operates his vehicle. I could see a "fuck you" forming on this ape's lips so I told him if he had any further objections, we could wait for the police to decide who has the upper hand.@metrolinx had a contractor come by and install a butt stop for the smokers at @gotransit Oshawa station. A+ pic.twitter.com/TgsKS6Lo3e— CJ Smith (@ThisCrazyTrain) June 24, 2015
And seriously, rather than just move over to where he could smoke - freely - he threw his cigarette to the ground, tossed his hands up the air and started yelling at me about his "rights". I boarded the bus. I couldn't listen to his shit anymore.
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
This happens a lot. A person submits a photo with no description and doesn't respond to texts or emails I send in response asking for context.
I'm going to assume that the area of interest to the photographer stems from the logogram on the bag. Otherwise, I can't see what the subject was doing wrong in this photo. Sitting sideways isn't objectionable so .... yeah. I got nothing else.
Hi Cindy. Thought you might get a chuckle from this photo.
I've made a poem/limerick to accompany.
"Heading home on the GO and needing a nap,
But wait, what is this? Could that be a cat?
I'm settled in my seat,
Yet I feel such defeat,
As for MY sleepy head, where do I put that?!"
|date:||Wed, Jun 24, 2015 at 11:50 AM|
|subject:||Tuesday's 1720 LSE|
Tuesday night's 1720 started off bad, but got worse in a way that could have been avoided. Problems on the LSW line meant that the screens were showing it arriving 1730. It turned up about 1733, having vanished form the on-platform screens at 1730 (what's up with that?).
The 1720 stops at Danforth, Scarborough, Pickering, Ajax, Whitby, Oshawa. The 1735 makes all stops from Danforth to Pickering. Ideally, GO would have dropped the Danforth and Scarborough stops from the late-running 1720, and those passengers could have used the on-time 1735 instead (for about 2 minutes delay), and the 1720 could have made time up (about 5-7 minutes). This didn’t happen.
The 1720 and 1735 depart from adjacent platforms, and both normally use the same track east of the Don (the right-hand one, as the engineer sees it). The sensible thing would have been to let the 1720 go first, so that it would be in front of the all-stops 1735, and the 1720 not be delayed on its express potion. (This would have delayed the 1735 by about 3 minutes). This didn't happen.
Somewhere west of Danforth, the 1740 VIA train went by on the centre track. Once that had cleared, the centre track has nothing scheduled until the 1753 LSE express. The 1720 could therefore have used that track to overtake the 1735. It could have been switched onto that track either at Danforth or at Scarborough. This didn't happen.
So, instead, the 1720 was stuck behind the 1735 all the way to Pickering, and hence was half an hour late at Pickering to Oshawa. This train forms the 1838 form Oshawa, which consequently started its trip late (about 1850). Any further hiccup, and it would have ended up 15+ minutes late, triggering service guarantees for all its passengers too.
What started out as a mild delay (10-15) minutes ended up as a major delay eligible for service guarantees, because of the way the dispatchers handled the trains. GO will have to pay out service guarantee money that it could have avoided through some better actions by dispatchers.
Service Guarantee Claims - the system struggles to be "up to date" so you should always call if you're denied
|date:||Wed, Jun 24, 2015 at 9:05 AM|
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
I saw it with my own eyes this morning as my train pulled out of the station.
How does this help non-smokers avoid inhaling second-hand smoke? It's called wind.
If smokers need to smoke so badly, they can do so in the location Metrolinx set up for them near the bus loop.
Unless this was done to accommodate Bombardier and GO Transit employees, there was no need to bend the SmokeFree Ontario Act to do this. Metrolinx would have had to map out where their "place of business" ends in order to determine where it would be acceptable to have passengers or employees smoking.
How do you feel about this?
Me, I'm finding this ridiculous. Where's my designated drinking area?
Bring all the drank!
Monday, June 22, 2015
|to:||Greg Percy |
|cc:||Cj Smith |
|date:||Sun, Jun 21, 2015 at 9:26 PM|
|subject:||Another GO Transit Friday afternoon fiasco|
Dear Mr. Percy,
The following comments pertain to bus trip # 12570 and its 16:37 connection with train trip # 726 on Friday, June 19.
The bus arrived at Fairview Mall, St. Catharines approximately 15 minutes behind schedule. The trip was further delayed when a young lady asked the report driver to wait for her father who was making his way from the parking lot to the bus platform.
Once on the highway, there seemed to be no urgency to make up for lost time.
At Grimsby, there were more passengers than normal waiting to board. There was a problem completing the cash sale of a ticket for one passenger. After we left Grimsby, I sensed a greater speed toward and through Stoney Creek and on toward Burlington.
We arrived at the Burlington station at approximately 16:35. It took but a minute to exit the bus from where I was seated on the lower level of the double decker, but other passengers were not so fortunate. As I reached the door of the train station, I saw the eastbound train arriving. I ran down the stairs and along the tunnel to Track 3. As I reached the ascending stairs to Track 3, the train schedule monitor at that location showed the time was 16:37.
I made it onto the cab car and heard the CSA announce "Stand clear of the doors. The doors are closing." Since I was in the cab car, I banged on the conductor's door and yelled "Hold the doors. There's a connecting bus." Passengers were still ascending the stairs to the platform when the CSA repeated his prior announcement. The doors closed, and we left.
Why did the report driver not radio Operations and request a Watch and Hold? Customer Relations previously committed to another passenger that W and H requests would be honoured for this connection, because the next eastbound train is not for another hour, i.e. 17:37. Are report drivers not apprised of this requirement for the trip?
Why did the conductor not contact the CSA with the information that passengers from a connecting bus were still coming?
Because GO transit management and front line personnel didn’t take the time to communicate effectively, passengers’ safety was put at risk – we had to race down and up stairs at Burlington station to make a train connection – again. What will it take to correct this untenable practice – a 911 call because a passenger fell on the stairs, or worse, incurred a myocardial infarction?
Other questions pertaining to this trip:
- Next stops were not announced on the bus – neither by the automated system nor the driver. Why?
- The sequence of next stops was not displayed on the bus' monitors. Why?
- The scrolling message board stated the bus was equipped with WiFi. I checked – it wasn't operational. Why?
- It was a busy afternoon with many passengers heading into Toronto, so why did the train come in too fast and overshoot the platform at Port Credit?
Friday, June 19, 2015
I guess it will take more then a bus driver to make the designated smoking area a success at Oshawa GO
I will tell you all, people are PISSED this actually happened. I won't publish all the comments because some of them are too profane, some of them are mean (people are blaming me for not taking a stronger stance - like I tell Metrolinx what they can and can't do!?) and some are just so poorly written I won't subject you to this butchering of the English language. It makes me weep.
Yesterday I had high hopes the smokers would corral themselves into the mercy (I really want to say f--k here but I promised my mom, and all her friends that now that I'm a Z-list celebrity transit blogger, I'd watch my language) pen given to them at Oshawa to butt-suck in but alas, the anarchy is strong.
This morning, I exited my DRT bus and passed several smokers puffing away right under NO SMOKING signs posted at the bus loop. I politely informed all of them of the designated smoking area is now open which one smoker glanced at in disdain. "Really," said said sarcastically. "I'm not 12".
One smoker told me he planned on complaining as he found it offensive he was being singled out and forced to stand in an area not convenient for him since his bus loads several metres down the platform.
Thursday, June 18, 2015
Looks pretty lonely, doesn't it?
But they've got a bench and I'm pretty sure they'll get a canopy for shelter from the rain. (I'm not being sarcastic - this has been a long time coming).
Only a bus driver took the lead to sit down and have a smoke while reading the paper.
Where Metrolinx chose to put this area is close enough to the entrance to the platform that a butt can be extinguished, a Prestocard tapped, and hopping on the train can happen in less than 2 minutes.
The only thing that bummed me out a bit is the smoking area is right next to where the 90 bus boards. If the wind is just right, lining up for the bus is going to suck.
I also took note that there isn't a refuse receptacle for extinguished butts.
On-board announcements at Oshawa also began today reminding Oshawa passengers smoking is not permitted on the platforms (which how this bullshit fight started). This is a personal request of mine and several others who wrote into GO Transit asking for advocacy measures.
We just wish it didn't take 11 years.
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Last night I was stuck on a coach, or as you UK folk say - carriage - where it was pretty clear that someone responsible for HVAC at the maintenance yard forgot to set the thermostat for coach 2330 on the 16:53 LSE. Funny side story about using the 24 hr clock for the train departure: I helped a woman on Monday figure out the 15:20. "Math is hard," she said. It sure is, honey,
By the time we rolled past the Home Depot, it was so hot, my pants had ironed themselves.
I bolted from the coach once we reached Pickering, where I could climb over the people sitting on the stairs, only to discover that the next coach was also steamy. I'm halfway through my monthly fare of $335. I agree with fellow passengers who were also sweltering on coaches on other trains and on other corridors and expressing their rage on Twitter -- we pay a lot of money to sweat. We also pay a lot of money to sit on stairs...
A few weeks ago, I tweeted about a young businessman who had unbuttoned his dress shirt and rode the train the rest of the way to Oshawa like Fabio on a Harlequin romance novel cover. I had been sitting across from him. It was awkward. Yes, it was hot, but riding bare-chested? That's a lot of nope.
When I was walking through the coaches as the train left Whitby to find at least one that didn't feel like a sauna, I spotted Fabio. His dress shirt was off, but at least he had a white tank on. Still looked weird but perhaps someone said something to him?
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Please stand well behind the yellow line... or in the case of Whitby, please stand behind the yellow dots
So apparently commuting in from the GTHA suburbs is a better love story than commuting in from the Boston area suburbs
My ThisCrazyTrain.com roving US reporter sent this in after salivating over photos of the new Bombardier coaches we're set to be rolling along in soon.
That paneling! Those two-tone leatherette seats! But seriously? +1 for luggage racks.
Monday, June 15, 2015
Friday night after a night of light, and I mean very light drinking, I accompanied Squiggles and Bicky through the York Concourse to catch our LSE train home.
I'm no building or "water is bad we should divert it" engineer, but we were surprised and dismayed to see that the brand-spanking new facility can't handle rain.
When it comes to birthday party themes, William Canu is on a different track. All the train-obsessed youngster wanted for his 7th birthday was a ride on Toronto’s newest train, the UP Express, with his friends. Besides some of the usual features of a kids’ party — colouring, magic tricks provided by 8-year-old brother Nicolas, and…
Friday, June 12, 2015
AND IT ONLY TOOK TWO YEARS FOR THIS TO BE ADDRESSED.To those of you taking @GOtransit who are smokers, "I didn't see the sign(s)" is not a valid excuse. The fine is $60! pic.twitter.com/uUECfmkjVb— Brandon Turner (@GOTurner64) June 12, 2015
Doesn't matter now. It's time.
Below are the emails I sent to GO Transit recently ("Paula" is Paula Edwards) about the smoking situation at Oshawa.
|from:||Cindy (Cj) Smith<firstname.lastname@example.org>|
|to:||GO Transit Customer Relations |
Unfortunately, their presence was not a deterrent.
And the reaction method of sending TSOs to chase away adults from platforms because passengers went public on Twitter with complaints is getting tiresome and yields no results. I am certain the TSOs would prefer a more positive Twitter experience.
So I know the agency is fully capable of implementing grand scale advocacy campaigns in a short time frame.
|from:||Cindy (Cj) Smith <email@example.com>|
|to:||GO Transit Customer Relations |
|date:||Fri, Jun 12, 2015 at 10:55 AM|
|subject:||Re: GO Transit, A Division of Metrolinx EM0018001651|
Thursday, June 11, 2015
|to:||CJ Smith |
|date:||Wed, Jun 10, 2015 at 1:08 PM|
|subject:||Well it seems transit woes aren't limited to Toronto|
|from:||Cindy (Cj) Smith|
|date:||Wed, Jun 10, 2015 at 1:29 PM|
|subject:||Re: Well it seems transit woes aren't limited to Toronto|
Scary how we know this pain. Even more amazing how GO woes aren't national news.
|to:||Cindy (Cj) Smith|
|date:||Wed, Jun 10, 2015 at 2:46 PM|
|subject:||Re: Well it seems transit woes aren't limited to Toronto|
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Special to ThisCrazyTrain.com
Sunday I hosted a backyard BBQ party for my husband's 40th birthday complete with food truck (Stuttering John's Smokehouse) and a bouncing castle.
I promised my daughter I would go in at some point and jump with her.
I barely made it out alive.
Once in, I couldn't stand up and the recoil from the kids jumping "waved" me over to a corner where I lay wedged between the mesh wall and a hump.
It didn't take long for my guests and the kids to clue in as to where I had wedged myself and the ensuing fallout. I had cut off the air intake valve. The castle began to deflate. Kids ran out screaming as the roof started to fold in on itself and with the help of my friend, Sandra, who was trying to pull me up, I managed to move away from the air supply tunnel and then slid myself out of this awful death trap. A few men fixed the hose and I laughed off my near death experience.
And what does that have to do with public transit? One of my guests took the GO train in from Oakville to get to the party.
Monday, June 8, 2015
There will also be extra GO bus service for the Pan Am Games on several routes to accommodate increased passenger volume to and from events, including:
“Adding extra GO bus and train service is part of our plan to help keep people moving during the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games. It will be a busy time, and I encourage people to plan ahead and consider carpooling, taking transit, working flex-time or telecommuting to help make the Games a success,” said Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation. “I would also like to thank those already planning ahead for the Games.”