Friday, July 31, 2015

CBC Metro Morning

Once y'all are done with the long weekend and you've put the liquor and bug spray away, I'll be on-air Tuesday morning to talk about tornadoes.

Some of you are in transit at this time so I expect you to pay for the bandwidth needed to listen to the radio live on your phone, and if you're in your car, you better move that radio dial from your country station to the CBC.

Tornadoes. Tuesday. 6:25 am. 99.1 FM

It was 4 am, are you sure the driver wasn't drunk? Fell asleep?

"Early Friday morning, a car mistakenly entered the TTC streetcar tunnel on Queens Quay near Bay St."

Let's look at that sentence, written by an editor at the Toronto Star, shall we?

How does a car make a mistake?

A car needs a driver.

The driver drove into the streetcar tunnel. This wasn't a "mistake". How many more DO NOT ENTER signs does one driver need to realize this isn't where cars go?

I think this is a little "reaching" for things that aren't there... but I can understand the concern (I have enough family drama. I don't need someone else's)

to:Cindy Smith
date:Thu, Jul 30, 2015 at 9:07 PM

Read the story about Harry on your site. I'm only writing to give you some advice here as I had a similar situation involving my dad who made "friends" at his local Tim Horton's. My mother died a terrible death because of ALS. My brother and I are in our early 50s and we made the decision to put my mom (who was 74) at the time in an LTC facility because my dad proved mentally to us he could not care for her. Physically, sure, he's a former football player and military man but his mind could not handle what was happening to his wife. He would yell at her for having to wear adult diapers for crying out loud and he would call me to tell me he was leaving, that he didn't ask for this. He was resentful towards us when we decided to take over her care and I learned was telling his neighbours how ungrateful we were to do this to our mother. Anyway, when she died, my dad started complaining to his "friends" how my brother and I were pressuring him to sell the house and move closer to my family so he could become a full time babysitter. Talk about twisting around a situation! It was his idea to move closer and we only suggested selling the house because he was considering renting it and my brother felt he shouldn't have to deal with the stress of being a landlord.

So what happened is these "friends" staged an intervention. I had complete and total strangers on my doorstep one Thursday night telling me they were going to be taking care of my dad from now on so I could live my life completely free of the burden of caring for my father since my brother and I practically "abandoned" our mother by putting her in care. 

It was crazy! I had to call the police. I was so freaked out.

When I spoke to my dad, he had no idea these "friends" would do this. 
He's still friends with these people though.

What I'm getting at is, you made a point to mention it was none of you business. Harry's family is none of your business. Please be Harry's friend by all means but leave his parenting and his children's childrening out of the picture. Don't feel like you need to get involved to fix anything. Sometimes it's easy for people to give off a "woe is me vibe". It's not always the case.


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Well this is different

Service Updates

Lakeshore West
  • The Aldershot GO 13:01 - Union Station 14:11 train is 13 minutes late from Aldershot and will not stop at Long Branch, Mimico or Exhibition stations because of earlier track work. Passengers at these stations may take the Aldershot GO 13:31 - Union Station 14:41 train.
Lakeshore East
  • The Union Station 14:43 - Oshawa GO 15:41 train trip will operate express from Union to Pickering. The train scheduled to operate this trip was 16 minutes late arriving Union Station due to an earlier brush fire investigation near the tracks west of Union. For passengers travelling to stations between Danforth and Rouge Hill GO: your next train is the  Union Station 15:13 - Oshawa GO 16:14 train trip. 
  • The Union Station 15:13 - Oshawa GO 16:14 train trip is delayed 10 minutes from Union due to the investigation of a brush fire west of Union. 
  • Kitchener Line GO Trains will be travelling at a reduced speed between Georgetown and Kitchener once again today; this is a safety precaution because of the extra stress that these temperatures can put on the rails. We expect that this may cause delays of up to 20 minutes to those of you traveling to Acton, Guelph and Kitchener GO Stations this evening. We thank you for your understanding.
Last Update: 3:52:41 PM

But I am le tired

Since the train is an extension of a living room for some, how about I offer some comforts of home?

You look cold. Here's the quilt my mother-in-law made.

In case you're hungry when you wake up, here's a platter of crab legs, artichoke dip, some green stuff, pickles, crackers and cheese. Only the best for you.

All that cheese and crab might make you thirsty, so I've made this chocolate martini for you.

Oh, and this guy needs a television.

Happy rails!


Over the course of last winter and the fall before, I had gotten to know Harry who traveled three times a week on my GO bus into Toronto to visit his wife, Milly, who was living in a seniors home in the east end, receiving end of life care. Harry didn't want her there. His children made this decision. He knew it was for the best, but it killed him to be away from her. Three times a week on the GO was all he could afford...

Talking to Harry often broke my heart.

Last night, while I was out for a bike ride, I zoomed off my route to come down Townline Road, that separates Courtice from Oshawa, and spotted Harry as he stood on the corner at Highway 2. I came to a screeching stop. I was so happy to see him. I hadn't seen him since changing my morning bus routine in April.

His eyes brightened and then his smile faded... And I knew.

"When?" I asked.

"June," he said.

I put my bike down and asked him if he wanted a drink from the McDonalds nearby. He shook his head no.

And then I hugged him. I hugged him so hard, right there, at this busy intersection that I thought his bones would break.

"I just need to go to the bank," he told me after I let go. I said I would go with him. We walked over to the TD together, with me pushing my bike, and I waited for him outside. I had so many questions. What happens now? Who is going to take care of him? Is he moving? Does he have help? Who mows his lawn?

I didn't have grandparents. I also had to remind myself his business is not mine. And then suddenly, I felt awkward standing there, sweaty, and really, a total stranger.

When Harry came out of the bank, he asked me how my daughter was. "Fine... she's great..." I trailed off. I then I apologized to him if he felt I was intruding on his time.

"You're my friend," he said. "Come, walk me to the lights, I can tell you about Milly's service."

I don't know how many green lights came and went but eventually I had to leave because I promised my daughter we'd swim together for a bit before bedtime.

I asked Harry for his phone number and stored it in my phone.

I'm going to take him out for a pint one night next week.

Will someone PLEASE think of the seniors!

Cj, why you hate so much?

date:Wed, Jul 29, 2015 at 10:07 PM

I just discovered you and your Twitter handle, and looked at your blog, when someone I follow on Twitter mentioned you. I'm sure your intentions are all well and good. But C.J., why you hate so much? Do you not have any love in your life??? You're just. so. bitter. And you mask this bitterness with an attempt to be funny. I'm no psychologist but I'm pretty sure you don't have enough in life to keep you busy that you have to worry so much about what a person does on a GO train or what GO Transit does. It's so bizarre. I could see if you worked for GO Transit but you have to admit, you're pretty petty? And somewhat ridiculous? I mean, why bother with this? What do you get out of it? Don't hate. Just curious.
Just my 2 cents.


Sent from my iPhone

from:Cindy (Cj) Smith
date:Wed, Jul 29, 2015 at 10:13 PM
subject:Re: Hello.

If we all had to be "paid" to care about something, what kind of world would this be?
Thank you for your email.

Keep the change.

I want to marry him. And have his babies

The discarded chip bag is also another attractive quality.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

But wait... near the end, why was "and on time" added after "safe" in the narrative? This is a video about delays!

We’re in the middle of summer, and that means temperatures can soar well above 30. On hot summer days, we seek shelter from the sun to avoid the effects of extreme heat. Unfortunately, train tracks are fully exposed to the sun and can be affected by hot temperatures. In this video, find out how and why your GO train can be delayed on a hot summer day.

Burn this, too!

I'm getting angrier in my old age

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

HOV lanes a boost for GO bus commuters

The Toronto region’s flirtation with high speed HOV lanes has proven to be a bonus for GO bus commuters, a Metrolinx spokesperson said.

Statistics are expected within a few days on exactly how much the HOV lanes sped up GO bus travel but (Alex) Burke said the feedback has been positive.

“Our GO buses continue to benefit…

Confrontation, it's not for everybody

The video above shows a fight between a cyclist and a pedestrian over a red light incident on Queens Quay.

I get a lot of pictures from GO Transit passengers of foot riders on the train and people talking in Quiet Zones. When I ask if the photographer asked their subjects to refrain from the bad or discourteous behavior, 99% admit they were afraid to speak up.

I don't blame you and I certainly don't judge you. You don't know how the other person is going to react and often, the outcome, which can turn violent, is not worth it.

However, this pedestrian demonstrates how not to do it. Don't come at someone with all guns blazing ... of course, the other person will be defensive (even if that person, such as this cyclist, was allegedly in the wrong). Then again, I've politely asked people to remove their feet from seats and paid dearly for it with a tirade of verbal abuse.

Sometimes, you can't win.

Don't you just love the world we live in?

Here's the full story on Beavis and Butthead.

Parenting ... so many fails ... all in one GO train trip

from:Name Withheld by Request
to:"Cindy (Cj) Smith"
date:Mon, Jul 27, 2015 at 3:39 PM
subject:Re: My Niagara Falls Excursion experience....

Me, the wife, my kid (19 yrs old) and her friend got on the train at Oakville for 9:30 last saturday morning. We got on the second car from the cab car because it's close to the station in the falls.

When we went upstairs because the kids wanted a view, I was shocked to see that a group of parents had their SUV style strollers in the aisle. Six of them lined up effectively blocking about 6 quads and the aisle completely. UPSTAIRS. The first event was when the fare checkers came around. They asked politely, I might add for the people to move the strollers either downstairs or place then inside a quad since the car wasn't crowded. They explained patiently that this was a hazard and not allowed. Well one of the mothers exploded with the "I pay taxes and I know my rights" routine. They adamantly refused to move them because they weren't bothering anyone. The fare checker patiently explained again that in the case of an emergency, they are blocking escape routes. Of course they said that it won't happen. Then the fare checker said that if they didn't move them out of the way, they'd be escorted off the train at Burlington. This caused a stream of profanity directed towards them right in front of the children (who I'll get to). They did comply and bitched about it the entire time. They demanded his badge number and promised to get him fired. I showed them my badge and told them to call me if required (editor's note, this person works for the province in an official capacity). I wish I had my phone recording.

Next we got stuck at the Welland canal by a boat passing through. In that span of 35 minutes, their kids went from well-behaved kids oohing and ahhing at the landscape to a bunch of monkeys in the zoo. They ran all around the coach, up and down the stairs, and took turns seeing who could slam the bathroom door the hardest. The kids were using the floor to ceiling pole in the aisle to jump from seat to seat playing tag. One kind of tripped and fell into my wife's leg. When she mentioned what they were doing was not polite, the kids' mother came steaming down the aisle yelling at my wife to not talk to her kid that way. I mentioned that someone should. She grabbed the kid and stormed off.

Next, when we were actually crossing the canal, one little guy was looking out the window wondering what all that stuff was. About 8 or 9 years old. I described what he asked about and explained in a kid's way what they were doing. We were having a great time. Until another hell-mom came screeching down the aisle yelling at me to stop talking to her little boy. If I didn't stop, she was going to press the yellow bar and claim I was luring her kids. We were sitting back to back, so that would seem an awkward way to lure kids like that. I actually dared her to press the bar. When I said my kid's phone is recording this whole conversation (I was bluffing) she slunk off, calling me names and questioning my heritage. I said thanks for the footage and see you on youtube.

Anyway, she returned to her gaggle of hens and they continued to talk about us from their safe perch. I later learned that their men were downstairs playing cards in a quad totally ignoring the kids as they ran rampant.

You might wonder why we stayed there and that's because it was only 10 more minutes to the station, and since they thought we were recording, they calmed down and stayed away. The kids got bored with the rampage and eventually sat back down.

I can't imagine being around people with so few manners and so little respect for others. I watched them struggle to get the strollers down the stairs and out the door. I had no intention of helping in the slightest, where normally I'd be the first one to offer my help despite my bad knee and my bad hip. It never occurred to them that it's ok if you take the stroller in one trip out the door and the extra gear in another. They tried to get it all off the train at once. Those bars dividing the doors nearly foiled their plans.

OK rant over. Of all my trips on that train, that was the only bad experience and it was a doozey.

It's time, once again, for everyone's favourite game: Name... that... STAIN!

I bet it tastes like peanut butter.

Go home Triplinx, something something drunk

date:Mon, Jul 27, 2015 at 2:19 PM
subject:Triplinx is messed up

Just did a search for getting from 1 Atlantic Ave in Toronto to Niagara Falls for 10am on Friday. 

It told me to start at 5:45 am and walk to Dufferin St.
Take Dufferin Bus to Bloor. Bloor Night bus to Danforth Go.
Take westbound train to Union.
Stay on train to continue to Burlington.
Take GO bus to Niagara Falls. 

The entrance to exhibition GO is at 1 Atlantic Ave.

Tried another one: same locations. 

Told me to walk north on Atlantic to Liberty St.
Take Ossington bus to Eglinton West Stn.
Take subway to union.
Take westbound GO train to Burlington. 

20 km on TTC bus and subway for a 30 sec walk???  

It would be faster to just go up to King St take the streetcar to Bay St and walk to Union.

Try it yourself

Monday, July 27, 2015

Be prepared for delays this week my friends, because of safety

Steel doesn't like heat, especially extreme heat.

Because you know me, and I know other people, I am here to tell you that GO Transit will be extra diligent this week with track safety. This means you may experience slower speeds so not to derail.

Excessive heat can cause tracks to buckle, but only in spots where rail stressing has the potential to occur.

I know we all find delays annoying but derailment isn't something we want.

Is that a winter tire?

If I were a CSA, I'd be a raging alcoholic when I'm not working ... because this

The GOng show that is Route 12 (Going to Niagara this weekend - expect delays)

 The GOng Show That Never Ends
 Sun, 26 Jul 2015 21:21:39 -0400
 GO Voyageur
 Cindy Smith

Good evening Cindy,

On Friday morning, Stan Salter directed the following tweet to me:

I responded, including @GOtransit in my reply, and the following exchange with ^LH with GO Transit’s Twitter team ensued:

Was my last remark a little unfair?  Well, let’s fast forward to Friday afternoon when I had the following one-sided Twitter exchange with @GOtransit:

Was the 12D bus really missing in action?  Well, of course not!  Here’s a photo of it parked smackdab in the middle of the bus platforms at Fairview Mall (rookie driver error):

For those of you not familiar with Route 12, the 12D is an express bus between Burlington and St. Catharines put into service a few years ago to provide relief for increased passenger volumes on Friday afternoons.  It is scheduled to leave Burlington at 1:54 PM and depart St. Catharines for the return trip at 3:07 PM.  Last Friday, the bus didn’t arrive in St, Catharines until 3:05 PM.  As I walked up to the door, the driver emerged and announced he was going to Niagara Falls.  I stated the 12D doesn’t GO to The Falls, and asked where the real 12D was.  The driver responded it would be along shortly.  This was a lie – another rookie error.

The “12D” left, and the next bus arrived moments later.  It wasn’t the real 12D as promised; rather, it was the 3:14 PM all-stops to Burlington.  Everyone climbed onboard, and the near-capacity double-decker headed westward (eastward by GO Transit’s compass) down the QEW.

So, what happened on Friday afternoon?

Well it started with a delayed Union to Aldershot LSW train, à la:

When the 12D arrived at Burlington for its 1:54 PM departure, there were already some 40+ passengers waiting to board the buses to Niagara.  The 12D was commanded to take those passengers and operate as an all-stops bus to The Falls.  The regular 1:54 PM all-stops bus was told to wait for the delayed train.

This is an example of the myopic vision that plagues GO Transit management.  Did it not occur to them that passengers at St. Catharines would be expecting the 12D for the express bus trip to Burlington?  Did it not occur to them that maybe an e-mail alert or Twitter post should be issued to passengers affected by their decision?  And why wasn’t the driver of the 12D given explicit instructions to inform passengers at St. Catharines of the change in schedule?  The supervisors also gambled that a bus overflow situation would not occur at St, Catharines as we know it can when the 12D is cancelled.  The Passenger Charter was violated again.  CIT’s for the managers responsible for this debacle!

Sidebar: Yes, Billy Bob, there is a bus company that “messes up that big”.  And don’t get me started on the situation with the WMA passenger who phoned GO Transit two days ago to apprise them of their travel plans for today, only to be told by the driver, “Sorry, this bus is full.”

The luster is starting to wear off GO Transit’s American Public Transportation Association (APTA) award.


GO Voyageur

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Just watch

Meanwhile, at No Frills

Saw this a while back at my local grocery store. 10/10 Grant!

You can make it (ps. driver survived)

View post on

Don't care if I start something, last night was ridiculous

I'm very much aware that most of the door donkeys who ride the first coach behind the locomotive home to Oshawa on every rush hour train between 3:30 and 5:30 do not like me.

I also know that a few of them peruse this website from time to time to see if I've had anything to say about any of them lately, and I haven't, because I've spent the past 18 months going out of my way to avoid them all. They are the reason I have commuter rage. They are the reason why I have to stifle the urge to throw a boob punch.

Last night, because of crowding, I somehow sheepled my way to the far eastern end of Platform 24 and wound up on the coach to hell, right behind the worst of the worst. The train was packed and there was no where to go when I got on, except to stand, near the door area, with my most favourite type of crazy train people.

Personal space? Not with these donkeys.

Trying to read a book? Not with these donkeys.

Trying to use your phone? Not with these donkeys.

Trying to listen to music? Not with these donkeys.

None of these people can stand still. They yell, as loud as they possibly can, to each other, and they talk. They talk about their day, their spouses, their television, their sporting events, their kids, their in-laws, their decorating styles, their wardrobes, their cars, their goal to find the cheapest hot dog buns in town, their dog's testicles, their nana's flatulence issues, their front steps, their key cutting experience, their dock is sinking and on... and on ... and on.

The volume on my phone just wasn't loud enough. I tried to drown them out with the Thompson Twins (King for a Day), Sly Fox (Let's Go All The Way), Level 42 (Something About You) and Tone Loc (Wild Thing).

I had to sidestep the flailing arms of one donkey as she demonstrated to the others how she tries to balance on her sinking dock. It's like she didn't notice or care that perhaps not all of us give a shit, or that someone might be behind her.

I went on a Twitter rage that my husband found impressive after she turned around at one point and asked me to turn my music down.

The worst. Train ride. Home. Ever.

Billy Bob, a raccoon, a BBQ and the Niagara Falls GO bus gong show that was Saturday, July 18th

Special to This Crazy Train

Hidy ho, Ms. Cindy!

Billy Bob here in St. Catharines.  I got a bit of a favour to ask of you.  Well, truth be told, it’s my missus, Daisy May, who’s askin’.

You see, Daisy May planned this big family do at our place last Saturday.  Relatives (mostly hers) was comin’ from all over.  Now, Daisy May does these affairs up right – spends days and nights plannin’ and preppin’.  So, folks was arrivin’ in the afternoon, and the fresh road kill raccoon (a 20 pounder!) had about another 45 minutes on the BBQ rotisserie, when Daisy Mae turned to me and said, “You better head over to the bus stop and pick up Aunt Winnie; she’s comin’ in on the GO bus from The Falls.

I got to the bus stop at about 4:40, just before the bus was supposed to pull in, but like you know, Ms. Cindy, them schedules ain’t gospel.  Well, by 5:00 that bus weren’t there, so I called Daisy May to let her know.  She said hang tight, but to call back when the bus arrived, so she could synch the final food preparations for when I got back to the house with Winnie.

At 5:20 my cell phone rang; it was Daisy May.  “Where’s that [expletive deleted] bus?!  The coon is lookin’ mighty charred on the BBQ, and you ain’t started grillin’ them skewered baby bullfrogs yet!!!”

“Let me check,” was all I could mumble as the line went dead.  My heart was sinkin’ faster than the Titanic.  That tone of voice was all too familiar like.

I headed over to the platform, where a lot of unhappy folks was checkin’ the time on their phones.  I asked a couple of ‘em if they knew what was up with the bus from The Falls.  One fella told me he’d heard from some dude who’d hired a taxi to take him to The Falls that things was real messed up cuz GO was supposed to be runnin’ shuttle buses between here and Niagara, except their plan weren’t workin’ out.

When I asked why, he said somethin’ about a parade happenin’ on the streets GO travels in The Falls, so the buses had to follow a alternate route, but the double-decker buses can’t travel on ‘em cuz of somethin’ called “geo-fencing”, so spare drivers out of other garages was assigned to drive to The Falls with them regular buses, except “Operations” dispatched ‘em to sit in Burlington, and then some other spare driver drove to the garage in The Falls and hit the road to St. Catharines with the last available double decker bus, but then “Operations” realized that was a mistake, so they sent them westward down the QEW, and then after the parade was done and things should have been getting back to normal, one of them deckers broke down, and somethin’, somethin’, blah, blah, blah.  The bottom line was nothin’ was GOin’ into or out of Niagara Falls for a while.

I thought the fella musta been a little daft or affected by the heat and humidity standin’ and out in the sun too long.  No bus company messes up that big.  But Aunt Winnie was still missin’.  I know what yer thinkin’.  Why not just call her and see where she’s at?  Winnie don’t own a mobile phone – never has.

Pullin’ at straws, I fired up that Twitter app on my phone.  I figured someone musta tweeted about this mess.  It didn’t take long to hit pay dirt.  That “GO Voyageur” person shared the Niagara Falls alert from days before about a Indian Defense League of America parade, and asked why GO Transit thought it were a good idea to tell their customers a hour after the parade started!  Then he and that “@crash8668” fella tag-teamed @GOtransit by tellin’ ‘em their info was wrong – there’s no Robert St. in The Falls and Roberts St. was renamed Falls Ave. years ago.  But there weren’t one bit of news ‘bout where Aunt Winnie’s bus was at.

Well, the bus rolled in around 6:00 with Winnie gushin’ how nice the driver was.  We got back to our place real fast.  As we came through the door, my missus was fumin’ and lookin’ at me madder than Nancy and Karen on LSE Platform 27.  But Winnie was real upbeat and helped Daisy May pull things together, and soon everyone was havin’ a great time.

As I’m writtin’ this, I went back to Twitter and looked at what else was said that I mighta missed.  What was real interestin’ was the followin’ tweet from that spokesperson at Metrolinx:

I don’t get why Ms. Aikins thought she oughta say somethin’ about a CN freight train wreck in your neck of the woods, Ms. Cindy, but she didn’t say peep about her customers stranded on Route 12.  Nope!  The best we got out of her was “No impact on GO Transit trains”.  Kinda shows you what them Metrolinx brass thinks ‘bout us bus folk, eh.

After all the fuss was over and done with, that “GO Voyageur” person summed it up:

And that brings me back to the favour Daisy May wants to ask.  You see, she saw how Aunt Winnie came in and helped us save the family do by gettin’ us all workin’ together like.  So, she’s wonderin’ if you can play this little ditty by Canned Heat for them folks at GO Transit up there in Hogtown.

Thank you right kindly, Ms. Cindy.  If you’re down this way, be sure to drop in.  There’s lots of BBQ’d raccoon left in the freezer!

Best wishes,

Billy Bob

Hey, let's just spray paint this VIA train and throw rocks at the windows... just because...

The end of this video truly is the best part.
Be proud mom and dad.

Although the video is old (2009), it doesn't mean it's not relevant.
Thanks to Shavi for sending this in.

I agree, it's disturbing.

Like the footriders who proudly publicly photograph their feet, here comes the painters

A photo posted by Vanessa P S Demitto (@vanepir) on

No bikes to or from the airport - says Metrolinx

Union Pearson Express puts the brakes on bikes

It’s got Wi-Fi, luggage storage and plush seating.

One thing Toronto’s new airport train doesn’t have is bike racks. Gary Dienesch found that out at the end of a 10-hour flight following a 1,000-km bike tour of England and Scotland.

When the computer programmer and his travel mate landed back in Toronto Sunday evening they had…

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

This Crazy Train's Presto Chronicles, Chapter 33: Some more research into the "travel window"

By Frank E. Futor
Special to This Crazy Train

As with all things PRESTO, nothing is simple – like an answer to issues raised in Chapter 28.  After a number of “Thank you for your patience” responses from the CSR I was dealing with, I thought it was time to call for an answer.  Well, my CSR was “out of the office”, so another CSR stepped in and provided the following reply:

Subject: RE: GO Transit, A Division of Metrolinx
Date: Wed, 11 Jun 2014 20:46:28
From: LH
To: FF

Thank you Mr. F for your patience and again, I am sorry for the delay in responding.

I believe there is confusion between the length of time involved to travel and the ‘transfer window’. I want to clarify that the ‘transfer window’ is a three hour time limit for passengers to receive applicable Co-Fare or for a GO Transit trip to be considered continuous, regardless of the time it will take a customer to go from one destination to another.

Our drivers do not have the ability to change the three hour time span as it’s programed into the software. The communication you received in the case file (Reference # 2012005893) is correct. The GO bus driver cannot make any adjustments to this three hour time span on the PRESTO card. If there is a delay and we are going to accommodate passengers, we instruct them to not tap onto the bus.

The extension Mr. A is referring to, is when we instruct a bus to wait for a delayed connection and this has nothing to do with the PRESTO card itself. This would be what we refer to as a scheduled transfer between two connections, and the holds are done in 15 minute increments as we need to be mindful of the impact this will have on others commuting.

In reference to the blogger JeNNy the Jet, there is no physical way to change the window on the card. The most the driver can do, based on the information provided by the customer, is to accommodate the passenger to the location they are traveling to and have the customer not tap their card. Alternatively, the customer taps as normal and then follows up with Customer Relations for any additional monies a person has been charged.

I realize we make use of the word ‘transfer’ to reference multiple aspects of our service, such as to transfer between our service and local transit, scheduled transfers between our own service, and the transfer window on PRESTO cards. I am sorry there has been a misunderstanding surrounding this. Further, if a customer has exceeded their transfer window (meaning the three hour time frame on their PRESTO card)  due to a delay (whether it was on our service or not) and approaches our driver, our staff will direct the individual to contact Customer Relations so that we may assist them.

I hope this explanation helps.

L.H. | Customer Service Representative
GO Transit, A Division of METROLINX

20 Bay Street, Toronto ON, M5J 2W3
416.869.3600 Ext.****

Cc.       Greg Percy, President, GO Transit
            C.J Smith, This Crazy Train

Well, this response is just silliness from the 20 Bay Street.  How can the driver know in advance whether there will be a delay, so they can instruct passengers “not tap onto the bus”?  Here is a TCT example of what I mean.

Even during times of inclement weather, like that which triggered the following e-mail alert, I have never heard a driver advise passengers to “not tap onto the bus” (because we have no hope in hell of keeping to the schedule).

The extension CSR R.A. referred to back in March 2012 had nothing to do with a “delayed connection”.  I talked to Mr. A. directly; Ms. H. did not participate in the conversation.  Mr. A. made specific reference to delays caused by weather or traffic conditions.

Does the explanation around the “scheduled transfer between two connections” make sense to you?  If a bus is made to wait for a train that is 15 minutes late for reasons satisfying the GO Train Service Guarantee, then train passengers qualify for a refund, but the passengers who are held hostage on the bus are not compensated, i.e. they’re screwed.

Not satisfied with the perfunctory reply from head office, I set out to gather evidence.  My task was to determine whether there was any way the Travel Window could be extended by a bus driver.  I executed two field tests with different drivers.  Both experiments ended in failure.

During my search for the truth, I had opportunity to discuss the Travel Window extension problem with two of the drivers who are, IMO, most PRESTO savvy.  One of them confirmed my suspicions.  During my third and final experiment, I ran from the bus to the card checker at Burlington station.  It showed nothing of interest other than I had tapped on in Zone 83 (St. Catharines).

Back at the bus, we selected SettingsWindow Ext. to show the default time for the Travel Window, namely, 180 minutes.

Then we increased the Travel Window by an hour, and I tapped off.

Back at the card checker, I captured the following image, which confirmed the Travel Window was not extended, because the time left is 1 hr. 45 min. – St. Catharines to Burlington is roughly a one hour trip.

There you have it.  This is the Travel Window extension capability Mr. A. referred to three years ago.  It’s clearly not a matter of the assertion that drivers don’t have “the ability to change the three hour time span”.  The PRESTO device on buses can increase the time of the Travel Window, but the extension is NOT transferred to PRESTO cards.  It’s plainly another software deficiency in the $700+ million PRESTO “solution”.

Yes, fellow bus passengers, we’re screwed – again.