Friday, June 12, 2015

Thank you GO Transit/Metrolinx. For listening to us (updated)

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)
to:GO Transit Customer Relations
cc:Greg Percy

Hi Paula,
Let me stress how immensely pleased I am with the entire Transit Safety team. I have seen how hard they work and how dedicated they are to ensuring a comfortable ride for GO Transit customers. They are not at fault for this mess.
They have been present for the past four business days at Oshawa.
Unfortunately, their presence was not a deterrent.
I would like to hear more station PA announcements reminding passengers smoking is not allowed on GO Transit property. Similar to the prerecorded announcements now being played at Union Station intermittently reminding customers to stay back behind yellow platform lines. These began shortly after the unfortunate death of Daniel Pannicini in late April.
I believe that the agency's approach to smoking infractions is mired in 1970s policy which no longer has merit in 2015. Smokers who run afoul of the bylaws don't deserve to be treated with kid gloves.
These are adults. They should be treated as such. I highly doubt a passenger is going to change his or her commute because of a fine. The agency shouldn't be worried about a smoker no longer contributing to the fare box considering the monopoly the agency has on regional transit.
The agency has never taken a proactive approach to illegal smoking despite the Smoke Free Ontario Act having been in force for 11 years. That is far too long to have waited to put a plan in place.
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.
The tools are there. They are swift and inexpensive. They were brought into full force after the Union station fatality.
So I know the agency is fully capable of implementing grand scale advocacy campaigns in a short time frame.
My question is, why not in 2006? Why not in 2009? Why not just get ahead of the curve?
Thank you,

from:Cindy (Cj) Smith
to:GO Transit Customer Relations
cc:Greg Percy
date:Fri, Jun 12, 2015 at 10:55 AM
subject:Re: GO Transit, A Division of Metrolinx EM0018001651

Hi Paula

There was a TSO at Oshawa this morning doing exactly as I had asked. Writing tickets.
Thank you!
The woman didn't rip it up. She didn't run to her car, screaming, "Screw you GO Transit." And headed to the 401.

She boarded the train.
No fare loss. 


Squiggles said...


Now, they just need to have a TSO at each station in the morning and write them ALL up. Do that for a week or two, and I betcha things will start smelling a whole lot nicer.

And a side benefit? The tickets will pay for the TSO to be there.

April said...

I feel like I just saw a unicorn.

Taylor said...

Hooray! I wish he had been there at 6am though.

Nora1968 said...

At long last. But I agree with Squiggles - it's going to take blanket enforcement over an extended period to ensure that people don't see this particular moment as just that - an isolated event. Plus, it would really be impressive if the tickets were handed out just as liberally to the GO train operators who dismount, cigarette already in hand and proceed to light up on the platform!

Skin Man said...

Amazing!!! I can't click the love reaction box enough!

Bicky said...

*sheds tear* It's a beautiful thing.

Anonymous said...

Awesome, so tickled to see the TSO ticketing people.

deepfish said...

Yup - blanket enforcement coupled with some sign that they are on the side of the non-smoking public.
The subtext of every interaction with a buttsucker I have had on the bus and train platforms has been that "its no big deal" and that "GO isn't really serious".
Who can blame them? The no-smoking signs have heaps of butts under them.
If you want to engender a new culture you have to empower your most ready enforcement.
Let people know that they are right to expect a smoke free environment. Let people know that GO is serious.
I mean, if they are...
Good on ya CJ!
Call me a fool... but after three years I'm hopeful.

Warren Downe said...

I hope there are many more photos of enforcement in action.

Anonymous said...

Why are they enforcing it now all of a sudden?
The signs aren't new. The GO officers should be doing these smoking offenders and disruptive passenger checks daily.

Anonymous said...

maybe they are enforcing it because it's almost pan-am and they want toronto to look good in front of know...

Anonymous said...

There was an officer at the Oshawa Go again this morning :-)

C.J. Smith said...

Yes. There was. It will 2 weeks of enforcement this Thursday. Once it's over, smokers will resume their run of the platform.