Tuesday, May 31, 2016

No surprise here

Glad I'm no longer a Markham taxpayer because I would never support this - City to spend $5.4M to silence train noise

Markham’s anti-whistle plans are on track, moving full speed ahead, with construction to start next spring.

“It’s good to see progress,” deputy mayor and Regional Couniclllor Jack Heath said during this week’s general committee meeting.

City staff put forward a report outlining work required at each of the 13 road-level rail crossings in the city.

The report lists both mandatory safety upgrades as well as additonal upgrades to comply with anti-whistling guidelines.

The total costs for all 13 rail crossing upgrades is $5.4 million, of which $1.94 million is to be paid for by Metrolinx, $2.2 million by the region and $1.26 million by Markham.

The city is also calling on the region to implement a 24-hour anti-whistling bylaw for regional roads.


"But my feet are only on the edge..." and other cries of protests from foot and bag riders

from:L, A
to:"Cindy (Cj) Smith"
date:Wed, Apr 27, 2016 at 6:47 PM

OK, here's the scene. A packed rush-hour train. She is among the last to board upstairs, has a large roller briefcase (because of course). 

The only seat in our quad is right across from me (next to the window) but she can't sit there with the enormous bag so the woman in the aisle seat generously offers to switch. That woman is a saint. Pleasantries all around. 

Bag lady decides to leave her bag in the aisle anyway, even though there's room under the seat. 

When we hit Oakville, the rider across from her departs. Bag lady hauls her bag from the aisle onto the seat and then perches her shoes on the seat.

I wait a minute or so and ask politely, "Could you please take your feet off the seat?" She stares at me like I just asked her to remove a prosthetic leg. I continue: "Your shoes are dirty and we all have to sit on these seats."

She says, "My feet are only on the edge. What does it matter?"

I say, "Well, it does matter. Also, there's a bylaw and you could get fined."

"Uh-huh, sure," she says, flashing me a side-eye that was simply outrageous. 

She moves her feet off the seat with a sigh. I say, "Do you really not understand why that's inappropriate?"

"I just don't see what the problem is, or why you care."

I went back to ponder the meaning of human existence. 

Just some guy cleaning toe jam with his housekeys and a woman who clearly wants no one to sit during rush hour on the TTC

Friday, May 20, 2016

Did you know that the bi-level part of GO train coaches is the "semi-Quiet Zone"? -- Me neither

I despise sitting on the lower level of the GO train because it's a goddamn free for all of chatty Cathys, obnoxious ring tones and chat message pings, people who project their personal phone calls and others who think of all us find their grandstanding and guffawing enjoyable to watch.

No. We don't.

I feel great sympathy for those, who, because of being unable to manage stairs, are stuck on the lower level at rush hour with these assholes. There's no escape.

I can make my way up to the Quiet Zone but I have to be very cautious on stairs while my hamstring heals. This morning I decided to only go up to the middle level.

There was a couple sitting behind me, near the door to the next coach, who were laughing and carrying on with no fucks given that it's 7 am. The long weekend had clearly started for them.

I had my music cranked to drown them out.

At some point during the train ride, this woman came charging down the stairs, angry as all hell and told them both to shut up and asked if they knew that part of the train was the semi-Quiet Zone.

Words were exchanged, and when she stormed back upstairs (to no applause -- I know, shocking) this couple decided to move closer to the stairs (now standing) and continue their conversation, louder than before and with more shrill laughter.

I seriously thought an all-out brawl was going to happen.

One guy did tell them they were behaving like grade schoolers.

These were grown-ass adults. Nice work.

I admit, I kept my mouth shut for this one. I felt the woman did a great job. She spoke up. ALL THE APPLAUSE!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

ICYMI: Laskeshore East proposal

So some guy was watching this on the train this morning on his 21 inch laptop

He might as well been carrying a television around as far as I was concerned.
What a ridiculous movie.

Oh, and before I forget, it was an Asus® latop. Gotta keep those advertising cheques rolling in!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Oh look! A person with a cane struggling to open a door is inviting us all through - hurry up!

You know how Union Station has that big ramp area that goes up to a bank of doors, of which there are nine?

I made my way gingerly up the ramp, summoned up more strength to push open ONE FUCKING DOOR when all of a sudden, I had a line of people behind me impatiently waiting to follow me out.


I literally threw a temper tantrum. Cane was flailing. I was yelling. No one was safe.

I am totally renting a mobility scooter. It's time to start mowing people down.

God DAMN I *wish* I could take credit for this one

It's a no from me

Friday, May 13, 2016

Army crawls and bathroom stalls

Wednesday morning, while boarding the train (AND ON THE DAY I LEFT MY CANE AT HOME) I made the mistake of leading with my left leg when I boarded (with less than 30 seconds to the doors closing) and felt a pop followed by pain -- pain everywhere; behind my left knee, radiating to the front of the knee and then down to the ankle.

I was held hostage by the pain and unable to stand up until we arrived at Union. It took help from the CSA, a TSO, a "person transporter" (aka a wheelchair) and the kindness of strangers to get myself to Front Street. From there, I was met by a co-worker who helped me to the office. As we were crossing Front, where my movement was just a shuffle, this woman in a white SUV blared her horn, gestured and gave us both the finger as she impatiently waited for both of us to get across. As she passed by us, she had her window rolled down and shouted obscenities about how "roads are for cars" and said we "both need a fucking kick in the head". Ah, Toronto. And to my American friends, stop believing all that "Canadians are so polite" propaganda - it's not 100% true.

At work, I called my doctor and physiotherapist. I was advised to rest, elevate and ice. I did this until another co-worker finished her work and was willing to drive me home. I am forever grateful for the people I work with and my immediate supervisors. I work for a compassionate group of people who are supportive and understanding. It helps relieve the anxiety I have about the impact my injury has on work. I can work from home, but my job entails a lot of hands-on interaction most days, so it's difficult not to be there.

I went to physio. I came home and spent 10 minutes getting up the stairs. It took me 20 minutes to get into bed. I have a bed you need to climb into. I should have switched with my daughter who has a bed you can fall into. Once in bed, I suddenly had to pee. I was frozen in terror because it took so long just to get in bed. And my husband was already fast asleep in another room and sleeps like the dead. How was I going to get out? The swelling and inflammation made it impossible to twist, move, or hold my left leg up in any way - not without screaming in pain kind of pain. It was the worst pain. I managed to make it onto my stomach and like something out of the movie The Ring, I slid forward out of bed using my arms to brace myself against the floor and like a rhino sinking into mud, I made it to the carpet and then lay there like a bloated snake who just finished eating the rhino.

Now what? I couldn't get up so I army crawled my way to the bathroom. It was all so ridiculous that I started to spontaneously cry from laughter. Once in the bathroom, I began to appreciate the design of bathroom stalls with their many bars. Using the bathroom counter, I managed to hoist myself up to a standing position and using a plunger and shower door for leverage, managed to use the facilities. Thirty minutes later, I was back in bed - exhausted and weepy.

Today, after three intense physio treatments and icing like crazy for the past 48 hours, I still can't bend my knee but I can put weight on it. Using my right leg as the dominant leg is now causing my bursitis to act up and this morning, I had to slide down the stairs because there is a stabbing pain just above my right knee cap. When I got to the bottom, I tried to see if I could go back up a step and my right leg said no. There is very little strength left. I need to get on top of this issue or else I will have ZERO mobility.

Right now, I am sitting up and surviving because of extra strength Naproxxen. I am exhausted, but in a better mental state than last week thanks to the support of my best friends, husband and co-workers.

I know many GO Transit employees read this site. I would like to thank Mary Ann and the ladies and men of the Lost and Found team for all their kindness, sympathy and help on Wednesday. I've never needed the support of the Customer Care Team and I was impressed with their teamwork and their overall compassion.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

I can move. Six weeks to heal

Let me tell you that moving around the GO Transit system with a cane has been a very eye-opening experience as to what it's like to be a person with a permanent disability.

My disability is temporary. Eventually I'll be able to do handle stairs again. In the meantime, the long painful walk to the accessibility coach each morning, to the equally long painful walk to the elevators at Union, demonstrated to me that there is not a single thought given to passengers using canes and crutches.

I said as much to the CSA when it became apparent that walking to the accessibility coach to board at Oshawa meant an even longer walk at Union to reach an elevator. Why is there no announcement to this?

You can clearly see me with a fucking cane, right? Why not tell me that heading down to the farthest, most western part of the train will line me up with an elevator to the York Concourse? This way, I can avoid a painful walk after sitting for 45 minutes. (Rant far from over, trust me).

When you finally get to the elevator, you're swarmed by people with wheeling suitcases (I see the handle - piss off you can't carry that notebook-sized case down the stairs) and when the elevator arrives, it's every man for himself as these people will eat your babies to GET. ON. FIRST. I'm not going to judge anyone because some disabilities aren't visible, but I will say one thing - as one oversized person to another - your girth does not make you immune to stairs. It doesn't hurt to try. Going down isn't as bad as going up. Just sayin'.

Now, as for blogging ... it's annual report time at work (yay!) and also another annual publication is due and well, with the mindset I've been in, blogging is furthest from my mind these days. I haven't been happy. I haven't been sleeping well. I really have not been myself.

But this shall pass and when it does, I'll be back in fighting form.

Monday, May 9, 2016



Wednesday, May 4, 2016

I came so far only to go all the way back

Monday night, while attempting to pedal uphill, I stood up for leverage and immediately came crashing off the bike after an intense pain in my left knee made me want to vomit.

I managed to make it back home and I iced the area. I even sat in the hot tub but the pain remained. As Tuesday wore on, the pain intensified. Today, I broke down sobbing on the GO bus after I boarded this morning because every step to get there burned like fire. During the train ride, I tried to keep it together as I struggled to comprehend why my body hates me so much. I was stupid to even think to go to work.

I just got over bursitis in my right knee. I limped for 18 months. I could not kneel, bend to pick things off the floor, dance, jump or climb a ladder. For the last month I'd been enjoying my newfound mobility.  I took up long distance walking again. I could dismount off my bike without feeling like I was going to fall over. I could go up and down the stairs like a regular person.

I can't believe I'm now "disabled" again. The initial assessment is this is hamstring tendinitis or a grade 2 strain of the semimembranous. I have a cane (to help with stairs and not falling over) and doctor advice to rest and use ice to relieve the swelling and inflammation. I get reassessed Monday when it will be decided if xrays are needed if there's no improvement.

I can tell you that being unable to walk due to this pain is messing with me mentally. I am so drained from the first injury, I am unable to cope with this one. All I've done is cry all day.

I can't accept I have to go through rehabilitation and recovery again. I don't think I can mentally take much more.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Foot rider's socks give a clear indication of how he feels about GO Transit's etiquette campaign

You can keep my loonie!

date:Wed, Apr 27, 2016 at 3:26 PM
subject:no pics.. just blog
You can keep my Loonie…
Should it really be called Service Guarantee when the benefit is only valid for the first 35 trips which in most of the cases is 3 - 3.5 weeks and not the entire month? Considering that from ride #36, the reimbursement are paid at a lower rate which can be a loonie* or even zero, once you hit the 40-rides mark  (*it can be different for other routes but the same principle applies).
I am a ‘Milton line’ long-time user. Last night on my way back home, the train came to a full stop @ Kipling for an hour due to ‘signal issues’. Reviewing my claim history, I noticed that there are more delays in the last few days of the month than those at the beginning; hence the reimbursement towards the end might be a loonie (like last night) or $0 later in the month.
Following is an example of a reply from claims@ which came as a surprise -an unpleasant one-
“The GO Train Service Guarantee can only credit you what you paid for your trip. Passengers on their 41+ trip within a month pay $0. Your trip falls within this timeframe, therefore your credit will be $0, as this trip was free”
This trip was free? Wait a minute, I pre-pay $277 per month (Streetsville-Union), the loyalty trip is a great idea, but it doesn’t make any of those rides free. Moreover,this means that the service guarantee benefits more the non-frequent users instead of the everyday users, who by the way are the main customers of the go train
The Service Guarantee should be even throughout the month for presto-card holders. i.e. for a user like me who pays $277 for 40 + trips per month, the credit should be 1/40th of my monthly fee or $7 per trip, or perhaps the price of a single ride to make things even with non-frequent customers which for the Streetsville-Union route is $8.75 CAD instead of the loonie that I am eligible for due to my last night’s 1-hour delay.