Monday, August 17, 2015

Route 12 is steaming and it's not the weather

Special to
by @GOvoygr

New VP of Operations — Same GOng Show

CJ, I know you know the answer to this question, so you can’t play along here.  For everyone else, who is GO Transit’s new VP of Operations?

Tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock.

Time is up!  Of course, everyone knew the answer to that one — Matt Baynie.

Mr. Baynie has been in the saddle since March.  We’re now into August, so that should have given Mr. Baynie plenty of time to come up to speed on his organization’s pain points, namely, Routes 90 and 12; not necessarily in that order.

The events of Sunday afternoon brought to light that Matt has not been doing his homework assignments.  What happened?  The following caca went down (times are relative to St. Catharines stop):

·         17:49 … The Niagara Falls to Burlington bus took on some passengers.  The driver then announced his bus was full, closed the doors and drove off stranding about a dozen passengers.

·         17:50 … The Burlington to Niagara Falls bus discharged its passengers.  Irate, stranded passengers confronted the driver of this bus demanding to know when the next Burlington-bound bus would arrive.  The driver contacted Operations, explained the situation and asked when a relief bus would be along to pick up these passengers (and those down the line).  The response from Operations was incoherent, so the driver requested a “10-9” (repeat transmission).  Operations responded that a bus was being dispatched from Niagara Falls and would be there in approximately 20 minutes.  The driver turned on the external speaker and announced to those on the platform what Operations had told her.  Commendation to this driver.  Why didn’t the driver of the Burlington-bound bus do that?  IMO, that driver deserves a CIT.

·         Since a number of passengers had wandered off, I told the driver of the Niagara Falls-bound bus I would relay her message down the platform.  After doing this, I returned to sit with a gentleman sitting on the bench.  He told me he was from Sydney, Nova Scotia.  He was visiting relatives in the Niagara region and was on his way back to Toronto to attend a pipefitters union convention starting tomorrow.  We chatted for a while until I realized 20 minutes was long past.  It was time to call GO Transit.

·         18:23 … I dialed 1-888-438-6646 and had to listen to something, something, blah, blah, blah.  WTF, GO Transit, I want to talk to a live body.  I “zeroed out”.  Well, this was NOT my lucky day, because I think I woke up this young CSR.  After I explained the situation, he told me he wasn’t sure what he could do for me.  I suggested he conference in the Hamilton supervisor or Operations.  After being on hold for what seemed like an eternity, he told me he had contacted Bus Ops who was trying to determine where the bus was.  WTH, the newfangled CAD/AVL tells you exactly where the bus is!  After another eternity, the CSR told me a bus would be there in five minutes.  A woman on the platform who was also in contact with her GO Transit CSR was told the same story.  I pressed my CSR for free rides for the dozen passengers who had been stranded (and now lied to by GO Transit), because GO Transit has accommodated passengers like that before.  This caught the CSR by surprise and he claimed he couldn’t authorize that.  His supervisor had “stepped out” and was unavailable.  He suggested I leave my number, so the supervisor could call back.  I said that was pointless, because the bus would be along in less than five minutes and passengers needed to know now that they would not be charged for this disservice.  He reiterated there were no managers present to authorize that request and he was not making up a story.  We decided to end the call there.  CITs for Customer Service management for “stepping out” and leaving no one in charge.

·         The promised bus did not arrive in five minutes.  Another lie from GO Transit.  CITs for Operations for lying to everyone.

·         18:49 … The next Burlington to Niagara Falls bus arrived and the stranded passengers climbed on wanting to know where their promised bus was.  That driver also “made the call” over the radio and was told the bus would be there within 20 minutes.  Didn’t we hear that earlier from Operations?  When asked what happened to the prior relief bus, the answer was it had loaded to capacity in Niagara Falls, so it had bypassed St. Catharines.  CITs for Operations and Bus Ops management.  The bus driver announced she would sell tickets to all Burlington-bound passengers, which delayed her trip back to The Falls.  Commendation to this driver.

·         19:05 … Bus 2536 finally arrived to pick up the stranded passengers, who had been waiting over an hour for their ride.  I noted that some of the passengers in the queue to board this bus were with the Para Pan Am team from Mexico.

So, Mr. Baynie, your subordinates “got some 'splainin' to do”.  How could Operations commit to delivering a bus in 20 minutes and then have the driver load up the bus elsewhere and not deliver on the promise?  It seems folks on the north side of the lake have a problem keeping a promise.

Earlier this year, a bus operations analyst visited Route 90 to assess the issues there.  IMO, Route 12 needs a whole team of bus operations specialists in the field to clean up the mess in Niagara region.  It’s not sufficient to send a manager of Safety and Training to manage a double-decker overflow situation at Burlington station (13:54, Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015):

IMO, Mr. Baynie needs to deploy Bus Ops supervisors to Niagara Falls and St. Catharines for the rest of the summer and into September.  Labour Day weekend is fast approaching, and it’s guaranteed to be a true shit show, believe me.  It’s time for all hands on deck.  If extra help is needed, I’ll make myself available.

1.    To those who were on the platform with me, especially the woman who was on the phone to Customer Service at the same time I was, please share your perspective of this situation via GO Transit’s Customer Comment Form and by e-mailing
2.    To the gentleman from Sydney, I won’t blame you for sharing your disappointment in GO Transit with everyone at the convention and back home.
3.    Were there any e-mail alerts sent regarding this fiasco?  Of course not.  More CITs for Operations.


Anonymous said...

I thought GO was running a weekend train service to Niagara?

Anonymous said...

There is though it was scheduled to leave at 7:45 Pm from St Catherine's
Though there is the option of the Via (Amtrak from Nyc)

GOvoygr said...

There is limited seasonal train service to Niagara Falls. Ref: (copy/paste to browser address bar)