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Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas everyone!

It's 537am and I can hear the kid moving around downstairs. For someone who recently announced she knows Santa is not real, she's up awfully early. I'm up because my bladder can't tell time.
I hope you all have a lovely Christmas break and Santa is good to you.
What my kid doesn't realize is Santa is real. He lives in the heart of anyone who sees this as a special time year where family is ALWAYS first.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Ever tried to use one?

Facebook gently reminded me why cats don't make great secretaries

THIS STORY TRUMPS THE FOUR-HOUR-HOSTAGE-TAKING-STALLED-TRAIN-AT-AJAX INCIDENT FROM THIS PAST SEPTEMBER


Turns out, I *was* told about this story. I just didn't do anything with it. Because ice storm.

from:Vin "Diesel"
to:"Cindy (Cj) Smith"
date:Sat, Dec 21, 2013 at 9:19 PM
subject:RE: 22:43 Union - 23:41 Oshawa, Friday 20th December
mailed-by:hotmail.com
:Important mainly because it was sent directly to you.

Friday night, I boarded a Lakeshore East train at 10:43pm. Mid-way between Ajax and Whitby (at around 11:30pm), the train hit some piece of metal on the track, damaging the brake line and the fuel tank. (No-one hurt) Clearly, the train could go nowhere, and we needed to be decanted onto some other form of transport. The loco has to be turned off, so no heat, and emergency lights only. The 112 passengers on board got moved to the accessibility car (which therefore stayed warm enough from all the body heat). I was glad it wasn't colder than -5C out.

At 3:30am (four hours later!!!!), another train pulls in beside, we transfer over, get taken back to Ajax, and put on a bus to Whitby. From there I cabbed home and ended up in bed at 4:52am, five hours late. Not Good.

There were two main problems with how events transpired. The first was how long it took for the second train to arrive. There was another train half an hour behind us, which got terminated at Ajax. Its passengers were put on buses - we saw them go past us on the 401. However, that train was not used to come and get us! (I know this because it was sitting at Ajax when we got there). I suspect the reason is because at that point, the plan was to bring buses to the side of the 401 (which was closed for the fire trucks, called as a just-in-case because of the fuel tank). 

So, that train terminates and its train crew go home from Ajax instead of Oshawa. (Instead, the train that picked us up had to come from the yard at Mimico).

Going by what the on-board staff were saying, the plan to use buses fell through because that would involve passengers crossing a track, which someone thought should be a no-no.

To me, this seemed extremely weird - the last westbound train had gone by, and plus you can use the signals to make sure no train comes along when people are crossing.

The on-board staff hinted that the control centre lacked someone sufficiently senior enough to make quick decisions, and that the plans had changed multiple times.

The second problem was that two of the passengers were obnoxiously venting at the on-train staff (who had no control over getting us off the train), to the point it was stressing everyone out, passengers and staff alike. Now, we were in a bad situation, but the remaining 110 of us managed to not be obnoxious to people who were doing all they could, and had minimal power to make things better.

Obviously I'll be writing to GO for a refund. However, I'll also be asking them just what went wrong (i.e. why it took four hours for us to get off the train), whether they have any contingency plans to deal with broken trains in any location at any time, and exactly what they will do to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Finally, I'd like to say the on-board staff did the best job they could under the circumstances. They weren't getting the information we wanted, but that wasn't their fault. They managed to handle the situation with professionally, despite very trying circumstances.

I love this.

Late to the ball ... I'd rather come late then not come at all -- Metrolinx launches public education campaign, new logo

This campaign was released on November 9th, before the damning auditor general's report earlier this month. It must have put a real damper on the expected outcome.

Called, "Let's Get Moving", the video spends a lot of time focusing on a transit agency that is the ONLY regional transit agency in the area it services. It continues to boggle my mind why so much marketing money is spent on a rail and bus service that is the only option for customers commuting in from the suburbs. It's like the LCBO. Where the hell else am I going to buy my liquor? My rum, vodka, amaretto, etc...? Anyway, I've lost my trail of thought here. The ad is "a typical day in the life of various Metrolinx services, such as Go Transit and the Union-Pearson Express". Really? I see a few other transit agencies in this video that receive no oversight from Metrolinx, other than they all use a fare card system wholly-owned by Metrolinx. A flawed system that remains nothing to brag about.

It's absurd.



The facebook comments show people aren't buying it.




I also noticed that in early December, Metrolinx quietly rebranded itself. 

The old styled M in a circle with paths connecting to it is slowly being replaced.




Metrolinx has opted for a white wordmark on a black background. I like it. Not sure what it means but graphically it's clean and neat.



How much did this cost? Nothing. It was done in-house.

No offence to the Toronto Star, but we've taken the situation at Burlington GO station a bit more seriously

On December 3rd, my Niagara-Burlington correspondent, Chris P. Bacon, wrote up a report about the disaster that is Burlington GO Station.

This morning, the Toronto Star released its own report. I had forgotten all about Bacon's write-up while still dealing with the fallout of my Mexican vacation (too much food/too much sun/way.too.much.alcohol) and woke up today to a flurry of tweets about the Star article.

I feel bad I let Bacon down.

NO ONE SHOULD EVER LET BACON DOWN.

Who's Not Been Serving Us Lately? Part 10

Special to This Crazy Train
By Chris P. Bacon

Thanks for the regular update, GO Transit

Let’s take a closer look at GO Transit’s knee-jerk response to TCT’s scrutiny of the fiasco that is Burlington station.  This analysis will be rather dry, so if you’d rather switch to Say Yes to the Dress reruns, I won’t be offended.

This typically perfunctory e-mail from GO Transit begins with the following line: “As work continues at Burlington GO Station, we are committed to providing you with regular updates on the improvements we're making.”

I call RUBBISH!  Haphazard updates started in 2013 into 2014 and were subsequently abandoned as Bondfield Construction’s project plan derailed and Metrolinx did nothing but look on like deer caught in the headlights.

The e-mail continues: “Access to west tunnel, west waiting area and washrooms are already open and temporary heating will be installed soon as we continue to finish the in-floor heating system.”

A visit to the site on Sunday, December 3rd, revealed the following at the West end of the building:


Is the droning fan there as part of the “temporary heating”?  It was chilly inside the building.  I attributed the lack of warmth to the fact that no one had fired up the industrial heater outside.  What are you waiting for GO Transit?  IT’S DECEMBER!


Regarding the men’s washroom, can Metrolinx tell us why only one inefficient hand dryer was installed?  Why couldn’t they spring for a couple of Dyson Airblade™ dryers per washroom?  What do we use when that one dryer malfunctions?  (And it will.)  There is no paper towel dispenser.


The e-mail meanders on … “Increasing accessibility and providing more ways to get around the station are our priority of improvements to deliver to you. Next you'll have the option of using a new elevator and east tunnel, meaning shorter walks from the south side. The roof work is also progressing well as we add water proofing and insulation.”

That’s just crazy talk!  Accessibility is NOT a priority of Metrolinx.  My prior submission to TCT  showed there is NO access for WMA passengers between the station building and the West tunnel.  The elevators that should serve that function are nowhere near complete.


What is a priority at Burlington station?  Apparently “Metrolinx green” panels and painted lines in the West tunnel labyrinth.


As far as the East tunnel is concerned, the blueprints show two sets of descending stairs, but nothing is labelled as a tunnel at the bottom of the stairs.  Let’s hope those stairs align with the old East tunnel, which was situated in that vicinity.  Whereas shorter walks from the South side may be possible through the East tunnel, I don’t see that option applying to WMA passengers — it never did.



I do hope the water proofing is added quickly, because — once again — there is a bucket on the floor near the men’s washroom.  This time the problem appears to be more serious, since the bucket is behind a barricade.


Let’s move on to the next paragraph, which states “The ticket booth is almost ready. We are waiting on glass panels to be manufactured and delivered. Once installed, we can start the IT work required and open the ticket booth in the station building.”

Can someone help me understand what type of IT work has dependencies on ticket booth glass panels?  Why can’t the work proceed in parallel?  And why do GO Transit ticket wickets require glass panels with ill-positioned electronic speakers that garble one’s speech?  I don’t recall the last time I interacted with a bank teller who required a pane of glass between us.  Why do ticket agents need them?  BTW, the glass panels are installed.  When will the IT tasks be finished, Metrolinx?



And finally, the last paragraph: “Thank you for your patience. We know that construction continues to take longer than expected and that it will continue into 2017. We are conducting daily check-ins, progress reports, and regular site-visits to ensure that the contractor is building the station that meets our high standards for customers.”

Those words are trite and insulting.  We’re past being patient.  It’s time for heads to roll.

Thank goodness for the website transit.toronto.on.ca, because it is a journal of all things pertaining to public transit in the GTA.  It has a record of GO Transit’s notice of work starting at Burlington station.  The project was supposed to last a year (to August 2013).  Bondfield Construction echoed that estimate, too, but cited an original completion date of December 2013.  The construction notice posted in May 2016 claimed the station would be “fully complete by the end of the year”, but now we’re told construction will continue into 2017.  The Metrolinx project map no longer cites a completion date for Burlington.



What is the difference between “daily check-ins” and “regular site-visits”?  Who will conduct them and submit the progress reports (to whom)?  Metrolinx’s media spokesperson lives for this kind of stuff, so you know who I would nominate to fill the role.



In regard to GO Transit’s “high standards for customers”, are they the same standards that govern those pristine double-decker buses?

Of course, the ONE thing that passengers are dying to know, this e-mail ignored completely.  When will the family-run snack kiosk return?  We miss them.

Thanks for the regular update, GO Transit.  When is the next one?

EPILOGUE: Construction of Gormley station was announced two years after renovations at Burlington commenced.  On Sunday, December 4th, 2016, Metrolinx and GO Transit Safety officers hosted a party at the completed Gormley station.  Meanwhile Burlington and Niagara Region passengers shivered in the cold.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Luna the wonder dog!

Luna at the Vet that Evening
Luna, a two-year-old border collie mix, is alive and well after finding herself on train tracks near Liberty Village as a GO train came barrelling toward her.
On Dec. 8, Luna ran away from her dog walker and for nine hours, managed to survive a list of perilous events that eventually lead her back home to her owner’s door step.
During her run, the beloved pooch was spotted dodging traffic on the Gardiner Expressway and Lakeshore Boulevard.
She ended up on the tracks near Exhibition GO station, in the direct view of a train conductor who applied full brake to avoid the dog. But with the train travelling over 80 kilometres an hour, the vehicle couldn’t slow down in time.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

ICYMI: Death on the tracks: How bad is Toronto transit’s suicide problem?

FROM THE GLOBE AND MAIL
Suicide by transit is a human tragedy and a pernicious public-health challenge – and Toronto has costly decisions to make about how to prevent it. Oliver Moore takes an in-depth look at the data and what could be done to save lives.

Notable comments

  • The agency also relies also on train crews to keep watch and send back warnings about people near the track. In some of these cases, the next train will get a slow order, or may be stopped temporarily. A decision on whether to do that, though, has to be balanced against the need to keep the transit system running.
  • Fatalities using GO trains are concentrated on the lines with the heaviest service, in keeping with international research that links frequency of trains with incidence of suicide. The Lakeshore East and West lines alone account for about 60 per cent of the GO-train-related suicides so far this decade.
    Source

Friday, December 16, 2016

So why does it cost so much to ride GO Transit - could it be the fact that the agency gets hosed by CNR?

One last word on the Ontario auditor general's report

Bruce McCaig's statement (available at http://98zo02bh3v9r369dtffl01cj.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Metrolinx_AGreport_statement.pdf ) , says, in part: "The Auditor’s report focuses on a small sample out of the many hundreds of projects Metrolinx is currently working on or has completed between 2011 and 2016."

Yet the AG report, talking about contractor invoices and project budgets, states: “the [finance] system issues payments regardless of whether the payment is under budget or will exceed the budget”. That affects every single project.

Bah! Let's just change the story, k?

GO's Passenger Charter contains the promise "We will make your experience comfortable", along with a performance measure.

Spot the difference:


Remembering Burlington GO

Date:               Mon, 12 Dec 2016 20:10:44 -0500
To:                   cj@thiscrazytrain.com
From:              GO Voyageur
Subject:          Remembering GO Burlington - December 1, 2012

Hi Cindy,

I made a serendipitous discovery whilst rummaging through my photo dumpster this evening.  I should have included this snapshot with my submission regarding the 4th anniversary of renovations at GO Burlington.

After bidding farewell to our driver, I headed to Track 3 to wait for the LSW eastbound train.  From the platform I saw two surveyors in the now closed South bus loop.

It was 8:00 AM on a Saturday.  Workers were eager to get this project rolling.


Such a good start.  What went wrong?

Sincerely,

GoV

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Bye Mexico. Bye Sun! Hello Crap





Ahhh, winter. It's here. It's early.
I'm used to Sprinter. You know, the mild Decembers we've gotten used to in the GTA.
WHAT THE HELL IS THIS ARCTIC CRAP?

I've got boatloads of material to catch you all up on. Tweets (those that follow know/those that don't won't) that contained golden nuggets of info that are blog-worthy. Give me a couple of days to pull it all together.

PS. Tequila and I are not friends.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Not sure if you've heard about the Christmas gift GO Transit customers got

WiFi here at the resort is spotty so I'm using this rare opportunity to tell those who don't know yet that Metrolinx decided no fare increase will happen in 2017.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Yesterday's Anniversary tweet & post about the Burlington GO Station must have rattled some cages. This email went out today to passengers subscribed to Burlington GO Station updates


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "GO Transit" <no-reply@gotransit.com>
Date: Dec 2, 2016 12:00 PM
Subject: Burlington GO Station Improvements
To:
Cc: 


Burlington Customers: As work continues at Burlington GO Station, we are committed to providing you with regular updates on the improvements we're making.
Access to west tunnel, west waiting area and washrooms are already open and temporary heating will be installed soon as we continue to finish the in-floor heating system.
Increasing accessibility and providing more ways to get around the station are our priority of improvements to deliver to you. Next you'll have the option of using a new elevator and east tunnel, meaning shorter walks from the south side. The roof work is also progressing well as we add water proofing and insulation.
The ticket booth is almost ready. We are waiting on glass panels to be manufactured and delivered. Once installed, we can start the IT work required and open the ticket booth in the station building.

Thank you for your patience. We know that construction continues to take longer than expected and that it will continue into 2017. We are conducting daily check-ins, progress reports, and regular site-visits to ensure that the contractor is building the station that meets our high standards for customers.

A sad story

Pretty much everyone who lives south of Bloor in Courtice (VIA rail line and CN line). Residents hate the blaring of train horns. I'm not sympathetic.

Nobody likes a Norman

Wanted

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Because Christmas is coming ... here's some "feels" and nostalgia

Check out this piece of transit history

The most describing image of the Norwegian Royal Family

Traveling the Lakeshore East before the whole Rouge to Pickering beach revamp

This is how I remember the LSE being like before the big push to tear down the houses near Rouge Hill GO and claw back the cliffs to put in a trail. It was the mid 90s and I'd travel to Whitby to visit my boyfriend at the time. I used to marvel how close to the water's edge the tracks were.


This is a painting, done in 1969 by Ontario Transport artist, Moma Markovich. Markovich painted many Ontario infrastructure projects. Some of her collection is available on Twitter and the rest can be explored online using the Archives of Ontario digital collection.

Celebrating four years of disappointment

Special to This Crazy Train
By GO Voyageur

Saturday, December 1, 2012 6:55AM … I boarded the first Burlington bound GO bus in St. Catharines.  Early morning pleasantries were exchange with the young driver, a report, who was unfamiliar to me.

We left the Fairview Mall stop promptly, as we did every other stop along the way.  This driver’s timing was impeccable, like he’d driven the route frequently.  He had no CAD/AVL to guide him — only a printed paddle sheet that was folded neatly and hung over the left side of the dashboard.

When we exited the QEW at Fairview St., I asked him, tongue in cheek, if he felt honoured being the first bus into the North bus loop at Burlington station.  Stopped at the Maple Ave. intersection, he turned, gave me a quizzical look and stated there were no advisories regarding Burlington in GO’s route information system, which he had checked the night before.  I told him I thought all Hamilton drivers knew that the South bus loop would be closed from that day to the following summer.  That’s when he told me he was from the Oshawa garage.  Neither Operations nor the Hamilton supervisor had updated him when he signed on for his shift.  I chuckled and then proceeded to navigate him along Brant St., Plains Rd. East, and onto Queensway Dr.  Coincidently, that very same day, TCT published a story about passengers assisting drivers.


Fast-forward to the present.  December 1 marks the fourth anniversary that Burlington GO station officially became a disaster zone (IMO) — a disservice to fare paying passengers and frontline staff alike.  Here is the current state of the South bus loop.

When will this boondoggle be finished?  Here is a link to the construction notice posted earlier this year.  You decide.

To the young driver I met four years ago — Sir Rodney of Brighton as we dubbed him on Route 12 — I trust all is well with you.  It was a privilege to ride your bus that morning, and a couple of times thereafter, too.

Happy anniversary, indeed.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

It is *not* hard to believe. One only need to look at Burlington GO Station to forgo any amazement at this news


Source: http://www.auditor.on.ca/en/content/annualreports/arreports/en15/4.00en15.pdf 
Lots more stuff relating to Metrolinx in the Auditor General's report... the Pickering Bridge section is shown below.

[Quote, bold highlights all mine*]
4.2.2 Metrolinx Awarded a Contractor Phase 2 of Pickering Bridge Project Even Though It Had Performed Extremely Poorly on Phase 1

The contractor for Phase 1 of the construction of a pedestrian bridge over Highway 401 in Pickering performed so poorly that Metrolinx staff had to take over performing many of its duties. Nevertheless, Metrolinx hired the same contractor for Phase 2 of the project because it was the lowest bidder. On Phase 2, the contractor caused significant damage to the bridge. Nevertheless, Metrolinx paid the contractor almost the full $8 million of their contract. We noted that, after performing poorly on both Phase 1 and Phase 2, Metrolinx still awarded this contractor another major project valued at $39 million.

The bridge in question is a landmark structure allowing pedestrians to cross 14 lanes of Highway 401 between the Pickering GO Station and the evolving Pickering City Centre development. Phase 1 of the project involved the construction of the bridge and stairwells; Phase 2 involved the installation of external cladding over the bridge. The bridge was to serve, according to the City of Pickering website, “as an iconic, luminous landmark, signifying where Pickering and Durham Region begin.”

Phase 1: Contractor Demonstrated Complete Lack of Experience in Building Bridges
Although building the bridge structure and stairwells would be fairly straightforward for an experienced contractor, the contractor awarded the job was performing poorly; as a result, Metrolinx staff had to take over and manage many of its responsibilities on this $19-million project. For example, the contractor had no experience in installing the bridge trusses (a bridge truss is the metal skeleton that is the most basic component of the bridge), something that a contractor constructing a bridge would be expected to know how to do. In fact, it installed one truss upside down. Seeing this, Metrolinx project staff stepped in to manage the truss installation even though this was clearly the contractor’s responsibility. They managed the truss supplier and related sub-trades, arranged the delivery of the trusses, shut down Highway 401 during installation, and managed other aspects of traffic flow. Metrolinx staff also went so far as to find a hauling company to move the trusses to the site: work that all should have been managed by the contractor. The contractor was still paid the full $19 million in payments.

Phase 2: Contractor Again Won Contract Despite Poor Performance then Damaged the Bridge 
Although Metrolinx was aware of this contractor’s lack of experience, its poor work ethic, and its unwillingness to improve performance, Metrolinx did not restrict it from bidding on Phase 2 of this project. Because this contractor’s bid was the lowest, Metrolinx awarded it the contract for the second phase of work.

The contractor’s performance was again poor—poor enough, in fact, that Metrolinx eventually terminated its contract. But not before the contractor caused significant damage to the bridge. By improperly welding some metal components, workers splattered metal over large areas of glass. A glass expert hired by Metrolinx later identified that 87% of the glass had been damaged, and recommended that it all be replaced. Metrolinx estimates it will cost about $1 million to fix the glass.

Metrolinx also discovered that the contractor built the stairwell incorrectly (in Phase 1). Because the stairwell had been built too wide, the cladding material would break if the contractor attempted to stretch it over the stairwells. The contractor did not fix the stairwell and, at the time of our audit, the problem still had not been solved. Metrolinx was working with an engineering firm to develop a cost-efficient solution to fix the stairwell problem at its own expense. Figure 5 shows the concept of the iconic bridge, and what is in place today because of the contractor’s mistake in constructing the stairwell.

Metrolinx terminated the contract with the contractor, even though the stairwell portion of the job had not been completed. Nevertheless, Metrolinx signed a settlement agreement, and paid the contractor 99% of the contract’s original value of $8 million.

We noted that after the contractor’s poor performance on both Phase 1 and Phase 2 of this project, Metrolinx awarded this contractor another project valued at $39 million. After that, Metrolinx chose not to award the contractor work on a few projects (for which the contractor provided the lowest bid) because it was not deemed qualified to perform the work based on past performance with Metrolinx. We discuss our concerns with this in Section 4.2.3 below.

[unquote]

*Mine being a concerned passenger who would like to stay anonymous who painfully read through the report and gave ThisCrazyTrain.com the highlights.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Monday, November 28, 2016

Can you guess what happened here?

This vehicle was left parked at Oshawa GO Station this morning.
Just as how you see it.
Window down. All smashed up.

Take note of the second photo (why are there no pylons to warn drivers???)... possible source of damage? Or is this a hit and run, then dump and run?

Anyhoo, the experts are handling it. I'm more concerned about the open hole.


Thursday, November 24, 2016

To quote @madhatressTO "Many millennials don’t even own cars. They’re stuck on substandard transit or riding bikes on congested streets" It's the baby boomers who will start brawlin' over this

Troll bait - this, ladies and gents, is how you troll... I also liked how this person stopped short of implying "honest fare evasion" is a pet peeve of mine. Almost got me there...

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Ewwwww - seriously? Come on...": 

I have been reading your comments for a while now, and I must say; you are the definition of arrogance and entitlement. You spew "holier than thou" posts in every direction; sure, these people may not be completely considerate, but the way you berate them for something as small as putting their feet on the seat or simply taking his foot out of a shoe, or even isolated incidents of unintentional or misunderstood fare evasion.

You are worse than these people.

So much worse. 

Posted by Anonymous to You. Me. Ride This Crazy Train - Adventures and Observations on The GO at November 24, 2016 at 2:36 AM


I read these comments to my lawyer while he was ensconced in his luxurious sherpa blanket after an exhausting day. His expression says it all.

Y'all ready for Bitching Betty on trains?!

We already have her on the GO bus. She yells every time the doors open, thanking us for pre-purchasing our fare with Presto, screams out the stops and sternly reminds us how to conduct ourselves. Now she may be joining us all on the train! Good times.


Here's what Anonymous had to say about it:

I've observed a fair number of different automated stop announcements on various train systems over the years. The best systems limit the announcements to just three things:
1) As you approach a station, providing the name of the station ("This is Oakville station")
2) At the station, providing the crucial information about the train for those boarding ("This is an eastbound train to Union station")
3) As you pull away from a station, providing the name of the next station ("The next station is Clarkson")
... AND THAT IS IT. 

You'll notice the ideal matches pretty nicely with what CSA does now. However, I worry that someone at Metrolinx/GO will feel compelled to add a large amount of surplus information, and we'll end up with something like the external announcements on GO Buses ("Thank-you for pre-purchasing your fare. For passengers using Presto, please have your card ready. Thank-you for choosing GO Transit"). 

I'm hoping GO Transit doesn't overengineer this either. No feet on the seats reminder -- next stop -- and then shut the hell up -- works for me.

Friday, November 18, 2016

I miss him. He was one of my favorite comics

Mitch Hedberg dump

If I was wearing that parka, I'd be hunched over, too. Hunched over from heat exhaustion ... (spring in November, anyone?)


However, she's hunched over because that whole two seater set-up belongs to her. And her being tired is more important than anyone else who may be tired, but manage to stay upright for a whole fucking GO train ride, on a rush hour train.

*mic drop

Reports of sexual assault on GO Transit low compared to Toronto Transit Commission

by Cindy J. Smith
Blogger-in-Chief

On October 30, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) released a report about the frequency in which sexual assaults occur on the Toronto transit system. Every three days, passengers file reports about incidents where inappropriate touching or unwanted sexual contact had taken place.

Sexual assaults on public transit are a crime of opportunity for perverts, regardless of gender. Crowded and confined to a bus, subway car or streetcar, assailants press themselves against their victims and grope them. Usually victims of sexual assault don't realize they're being assaulted while traveling on a jam-packed subway car. Objects and body parts being pressed against them seem almost normal considering the crush of bodies jockeying for space. Unfortunately, that's not the truth for what's happening and the problem is worse than TTC officials realized.

The frequency of stops allow these criminals to escape. Many drift through the system undetected and protected by the volume of passenger traffic. They easily take advantage of a system bursting at the seams.

So what's it like on GO Transit?

Although the numbers released to ThisCrazyTrain.com don't reflect incidents reported to police agencies instead of to GO Transit, wrote Anne Marie Aikins, spokesperson for Metrolinx, in an email to this website - the numbers are small for a system that transports 70 million passengers annually:

In 2014, 23 passengers complained of being sexually assaulted while traveling on GO Transit's system. In 2015, 22 passengers filed reports and in 2016, 12 customers have reported being sexually assaulted to date.

But are these numbers realistic?

According to public safety experts, unreported sexual assault on public transit happens because most passengers don't realize an assault has taken place. Overcrowding and the assumption passengers are "accidentally being touched" are many reasons why people don't consider themselves a victim of sexual assault. Or, they fear they won't be taken seriously.

One anonymous female GO train passenger texted ThisCrazyTrain.com describing a recent incident on a busy Lakeshore West train. She alleged a male passenger grinded his pelvis into her back whenever the train swayed side to side. This passenger confronted her assailant and when he denied assaulting her, other passengers came to her defence. This passenger said she didn't report the incident to GO Transit because she believed it was "isolated", and that she had "effectively handled it".

I can back her up with my own story of "handling" unwanted sexual advances when traveling on transit. I was in my early twenties and traveling to Yorkdale subway station one Saturday afternoon. Seated next to me was an older gentlemen who was fondling himself through his pants pocket. He was trying in vain to get me to watch him and I was trying in vain to ignore him. The subway was crowded and I was in a two-seater with him. I was seated in the seat closest to the window. Occasionally, he would press his thigh into mine. I began to plan my escape after we left St. Clair West station. Suddenly, he asked me if I wanted to "touch it". Using all my strength, I lunged at him and managed to knock him off the seat and into the aisle. I don't remember what I said. I just remember feeling humiliated, scared, disgusted and super anxious. I vaulted over him and pushed my way off the train, and managed to escape just as the train doors closed. Standing on the platform at Eglinton West station, I tried to make sense of what had just happened. I didn't report it.

I've never had a situation on GO Transit where I felt sexually violated or touched inappropriately. I find traveling on GO to be quite safe. Unlike subway cars, passengers have the ability to move through the train freely to escape situations we feel might get out of hand. We also have a living and breathing person we can go directly to if we need immediate help, since all GO trains have a customer service ambassador on board.

GO Transit has demonstrated on numerous occasions they take all reports of sexual assault very seriously. Transit safety officers conduct regular patrols of stations and vehicles to deter and prevent criminal behaviour, issuing system-wide and public security bulletins when incidents of sexual assault occur.

A suspect in a recent sexual assault on a GO Transit passenger in York Region was quickly arrested after the decisive and swift actions of GO Transit's Safety division, wrote Aikins.

Aikins also said in her email that GO Transit Safety Officers freely share information with other GTA transit and law enforcement agencies, which is why arrests tend to happen swiftly.

To report an incident of sexual assault on GO Transit directly to GO Transit, contact 1-877-297-0642.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

You would think sleep studies would be a medical requirement for this kind of job...

F this nonsense - my morning commute in one brief summary

Get on GO train at Oshawa.
Head up to Quiet Zone.
Arrive at Whitby.
A group of ten 20-somethings board on-route to TO for a conference/meeting/entertainment (not sure).
No idea about Quiet Zone based on their really loud arrival.
CSA makes no further announcement other than the first one made prior to departure at Oshawa.
It gets LOUDER.
I get up and leave.
But this group doesn't realize why I leave.
As I go down the stairs, someone says just loud enough so I can hear it: GUESS YOU DON'T LIKE BLACK PEOPLE.

It took everything in my being not to toss out a really bad word (a phrase starting with an "F" and ending with a "u") and start a brawl.
Because I don't like jail.
AND BECAUSE IF YOU GO LOW, I'LL GO HIGH.

The disdain for Presto on the TTC continues to grow