Monday, June 22, 2015

Will GO Transit wait for a serious injury to happen before policies are actually enforced?

from:Peter S
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:
  1. Next stops were not announced on the bus – neither by the automated system nor the driver.  Why?
  2. The sequence of next stops was not displayed on the bus' monitors.  Why?
  3. The scrolling message board stated the bus was equipped with WiFi.  I checked – it wasn't operational.  Why?
  4. 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?
Please, no perfunctory platitudes from Ms. Edwards’ department.  I’ve had my fill of those responses.

Increasingly disappointed,


Nora1968 said...

In my opinion, yes they will. This, while deplorable, follows the same mentality that means that, unless and until someone suffers a serious injury (or worse) as a result of an ungoverned intersection, no stop lights will appear there - regardless of how clearly unsafe the situation is.

Of course, it's always possible that this particular driver was an exception, but based on Peter's comments in the letter he sent, this is just one of a series of problematic and disappointing situations where policies have not been followed. I'd be interested in the response (if any) Peter receives.

Anonymous said...

If the train is eastbound there are no crew members in the cab car.....banging on the door will only leave you with sore hands. The engineer and conductor are in the locomotive when the train is eastbound. If a bus is delayed, the only way the train will hold is if it is told to do so by GO operations. If ops doesn't contact the train crew, they will leave as scheduled. At least that answers the question as to why there was no information relayed from the conductor to the CSA.

Peter said...

Thank you for clarifying, Anonymous. I did not know that. My actions and question were based on experiences riding in the cab car on eastbound LSW trip 922. Upon arrival at Union Station, a Bombardier person (assumed to be the conductor) would appear from their compartment and open the south side doors with their magical keys, so pax could scoot across the platform to catch the 16:25 LSE express train.

Anonymous said...

I don't think a serious injury is likely. Just more fed up commuters.

In terms of your e-mail I would suggest:
- Follow up with an e-mail to Metrolinx Customer Service
- Follow up again with a phone call (or two).

I'd love to get confirmation on why all these screw ups occurred and if anything is being done to address them.