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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

He's great for photo ops. That's about it.

Is Burlington GO Station an indication of what we can expect when construction begins on the GO expansion into Niagara and eastern Durham Region?

3.1 km from my home is a magic bus stop that takes people to Oshawa GO in 13 minutes

I had no idea. No CSR from Durham Transit told me about this option. I just used the route I was first given when I moved into the neighbourhood in 2014.

I feel like I'm in a parallel universe.

I took the new route this morning - a route that has always been available in Courtice. I left the house at 6:25. I was at the Oshawa GO Station at 6:59 am. First bus 6:30. Second bus 6:46. The ride from the transfer stop was 13 minutes.

Prior to this morning, I spent 45 minutes getting to Oshawa GO.

I was on the 7:03 train this morning. This means I can leave earlier and take the 4:30 express which means I will be home by 6pm instead of 6:30!

I owe all this to a kind person who works for Durham Region Transit who texted me last night. Thank you.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

So you think all that feedback from yesterday's shit show will accomplish anything?

Black holes vis-à-vis communicating with GO Transit
Special to This Crazy Train
By GO Voyageur

One of my submissions to TCT elicited the following comment from Anonymous (November 6, 2015 at 9:01 AM):
“Um... it's up to the bus drivers to clean the buses so if there's such a concern for health, they obviously don't care about their own, never mind passengers? And also has anyone written to GO directly to complain or is putting it on the internet the norm now?”

I believe enough commenters addressed Anonymous’ first concern.  Allow me to speak to the latter.

I could have contacted GO Transit directly by any of the following channels:
The problem with all those interactions is they lack transparency.  “Putting it on the internet” helps to level the playing field between corporations and consumers.  Is it a perfect solution?  No.  But, ask CJ about some classic shootouts at the Twitter corral that attempted to make things right for Metrolinx customers.

On Twitter, I engage @GOtransit on matters of interest to the corporation and possibly other commuters.  Often, my feedback GOes nowhere.  Here are some examples:

Regarding the matter of removing timetables from bus stops on Route 12 without advance notice from GO Transit, I’m still waiting for @femwriter’s “team” to respond.  UPDATE: After much negative feedback from drivers and the survey Tell us how you use GO Transit's schedules! (Let GO Know), timetables were reposted for the spring board period (2016/04/02).  However, no one from “the team” ever replied to me.

Matt Baynie, VP of Operations, replaced Paul Finnerty in March 2015, but the INFO-GO Web page wasn’t updated.  As of this writing, the Web page still contains stale data.  Why?  After the shit show of Monday, June 27, I would hazard a guess that a few passengers had a desire to ring some of those telephone numbers.

I have sent positive feedback to GO Transit via Twitter.  The following two incidents are examples:

On Sunday, September 13, the 10:27 bus from Niagara Falls discharged passengers at Burlington GO station’s platform 14.  A passenger with a white cane exited the bus and stood there waiting.  After the last passenger left the bus, the driver approached the gentleman, took him by the arm, and guided him into the station so he could catch his train.  Later, the driver told me the bus previously let passengers off at platform 12, and the gentleman had become accustomed to counting the steps into the station from there.  Platform 14 was new territory for him and he required assistance.  The driver was happy to oblige.  I felt the least I could do was share the experience with @GOtransit.

On Friday, September 25, I was at the St. Catharines bus stop waiting for the Burlington bound bus.  The 12:54 bus from Burlington to Niagara Falls arrived and discharged passengers.  The driver noted the volume of customers GOing the other way and offered to sell tickets to those people so as to expedite loading of the other bus when it arrived.  He didn’t have to do this, but he knew the bus to Burlington was running late.  Again, I felt the least I could do was share the experience with @GOtransit.

I get upset when I submit a commendation for frontline staff, it’s acknowledged by customer relations personnel, but it is not acted on by those higher up in the organization.  As of this writing, senior management has not communicated my commendations to either driver.  Shame!

I asked CJ whether she or the author of a TCT story in June of 2015 had received a response from the president of GO Transit.  The answer was no.  If Greg Percy won’t respond to customers, where is the motivation for his subordinates do so?  The Sunshine List in action, or is that inaction?

Anonymous, do you understand now why putting it on the internet is the norm?  Because communicating with GO Transit is like a black hole — customer feedback goes in and nothing returns.

GO Transit never seems to learn from past screw-ups, do they?

Friday, June 24, 2016

Women are teaming up to fight sexual harassment in public

Had I been asked to speak, I would have said something like …

SPECIAL TO THIS CRAZY TRAIN
by Anonymous

Let me start by saying funerals make me uncomfortable.  I’m never sure whether the words I offer bereaved family members are sufficiently adequate to bring any comfort in the aftermath of a death.  Such was the case today, June 23, when I attended services for retired GO Transit driver Garnet "Garney" Thompson.

The visitation and memorial service were lovely.  There were memory boards with photographs of Garney and his family through the years, as well as his achievements as a driver with GO Transit.  One of the photos — of a much younger Garney — touched me.  Why?  Because he wore the same facial expression that ended a discussion on my last trip with him.

During that trip last autumn, Garney told me of his desire to retire.  He told me he'd been in the saddle long enough — forty-one years total with TTC, Gray Coach, and GO Transit.  He related to me not only his first trip with GO Transit, but also the genesis of Bus Ops.

I reciprocated by beginning to share with Garney my first trip with him from Burlington to St. Catharines one sunny Sunday afternoon in June 2011, but before I got very far, he cut me off with a terse "I don't work weekends!" 

Undaunted, I continued my tale.  I related to Garney details of that day — details that only he would know.  I finished with, "Are you certain you've never worked on a weekend?"


As we came to a stop at a red traffic light, Garney cocked his head in my direction, and gave a sly smile — the same facial expression he had in the photo positioned in the lower right corner of the first memory board.  I winked in return.  No more was said on the matter.

My lasting memory of Garney is that he had a kind heart.  I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to toast him and congratulate him on his retirement.

This Sunday marks the fifth anniversary of the day I first met Garney.  May he rest in peace.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

What a disgusting human being

Someone made a video montage of New Yorkers missing subway trains (some actually do catch them)

Came for a fight - got owned

Two women boarded my bus last night after - judging by their conversation - spending some time at a visitation at a nearby funeral home. Whoever died was young, and predeceased by a parent. Lots of comments about how she is with her father now. God will take care of her ... and other sentiments made by those who have faith in the afterlife and Heaven.

Enter asshole chainsmoker (ACS) in the cut-off jeans. He starts mumbling at first and then gets louder as the women's conversation continues. Eventually he pipes up asking them to "shut up about Jesus and God" and "all the other lies about where people go when they die".

These ladies weren't talking loudly. I could hear them because they were directly behind me. ACS was in a seat directly beside them. One of the women told him to mind his own business and suggested his mother would be ashamed of him if she heard how he talked to a complete stranger. He fires back with "my mom fucking taught me to speak my mind."

The woman would have none of it. She pulls out her phone and asks ACS for his mother's phone number so she can call her herself and discuss the situation. ACS tells her she's crazy. She tells him he needs to "grow a pair and man up to his lies." At the front of the bus, you could see the driver slowly lean over searching for her bag of popcorn.

He mumbles something and tells them he doesn't need to listen to them anymore. Both women suggest he take another bus. He just rolls his eyes and tells them to call Jesus. Weak. He exited the bus before me.

When I got off at my stop I told the women I thought they handled ACS beautifully. They both laughed and one mentioned she's a retired high school teacher - this was nothing, she says.

No doubt.

Is the surprise a fine? Polkaroo should know better

Presented without comment (NSFW!!!)

... So many questions ... #gotrain #whatisinyourpants

A video posted by Lauren M. Peterson (@filmgeek06) on

Ewwwww - seriously? Come on...

Great night on public transit!!! #etiquettefail #gotrain

A photo posted by Paul Hague (@paulroyhague) on

What could this be for? #gotransit #lakeshorewest

A photo posted by Kevin Stolz (@kevin.stolz.262) on

A trifecta of footriders - because it's morning time and they can

Dixie chick fans bring all the chunks



Via text message this morning:
Here's one for ya! Last night on the train home from the Jays game, we were unlucky enough to be sitting near a group of 16 year old girls, who were super drunk from the Dixie Chicks concert. One of them tried to run to the bathroom to puke, but it was locked and she threw up all over the stairs and by the doors. Instead of helping her, her friends all took pictures, videos, etc and one of the other passengers on the train called them out on it and there was quite a few verbal slings back & forth all the way to Oshawa. 
2 hrs

Monday, June 20, 2016

ICYMI

Metrolinx finds a work around and announces new stations and new train service for a LSE extension to Bowmanville

Ontario is working with CP Rail on infrastructure and service planning for the extension. A portion of GO service on that Lakeshore East line would use CP’s existing corridor north of Hwy. 401. “The building of an overpass over 401 will be the biggest piece of construction,” explained Minister Del Duca.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

But I don't know how to schedule!


For the fastest and easiest way to figure out what train you will need to take when June 27th arrives, visit http://www.gotransit.com/timetables/en/schedules/full_schedules.aspx and choose June 27 as the date you are travelling.

For those who leave Union on the LSE, like me, the ride home offers the following options (x denotes an express train to Pickering and all stops afterwards):

400x
410
430x
440 kind of x (all stops after Eglinton)
500x
515
515x
530x

The mornings aren't all that different. A few trains roll back and some roll forward. I think it's the mornings that may be challenging for some if they take local buses. In my case, I will no longer be able to take the train I am used to since DRT's schedules change as well and not in my favour.

Monday, June 13, 2016

It's a no from me

Integrating GTA transit system fares to make cross-border rides easier and cheaper will take more than saying “Presto”

Integrating GTA transit system fares to make cross-border rides easier and cheaper will take more than saying “Presto.”

Seriously?

ICYMI: Man threatens to have a bomb aboard GO bus - shuts down 407 for six hours on Saturday

A 28-year-old Hamilton man has been charged with mischief after allegedly telling a passenger on a GO Transit bus that he was carrying a bomb, forcing the closure of Highway 407 for several hours Saturday.

It happened around 9 a.m. ET on a bus travelling between Derry Road and Brittania Road in Milton, Ont.

The suspect is now in police custody. It's unclear whether he posed a serious threat.

FULL STORY

Ed: - This part I find very disturbing (from the Toronto Star): Ontario Provincial Police officers advised the driver to lock the doors of the bus and keep everyone inside until they could arrive.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Today I learned that if GO Transit cancels a morning train, it takes 3 trains to make up for it - so says anonymous person

I got schooled quite rudely in a phone call someone dialed from a number that when I called it back, after the person hung up on me, connected me to an automated message from a Bell payphone.

The woman was irate about a tweet I posted this morning. I tweeted: "728 from Oshawa also an all stops train. Why are 2 express trains compromised because of 1 train issue?"

This was not a stupid or rude, or an ignorant question, but according to the person on the line, I was stupid to ask it.

Person: One train holds, what? Like, 1200 passengers. If one train has already 600 passengers on it and it's going to be full by Union, how are 1200 passengers to get on it... so it will take three trains to be all ready to pick up all the people who can't take one train. Don't be so ignorant. You present yourself as this expert when you're stupid. Get your facts straight first before you run your mouth spreading false information. *click

Well, let's see random person, if GO would be more transparent about their logistics, none of us would ask any questions. Would we?

Thanks for the phone call. And from a payphone no less...

Batman and Robin stumble upon DRT’s Bus Tracker

Special to This Crazy Train
by Yew Wannanohooiam

Holy public transit, Batman!  What did Durham Region Transit do to that sign?



It appears they added the stop number, Robin, which can mean only one thing, namely, DRT has implemented real-time bus information.  Quickly, Robin, launch the mobile Batbrowser and point it at the DRT website!

You’re right, Batman.  There it is on the home page!



Follow that link, Robin, and enter the bus stop number.



We’re in luck, Batman, there’s a bus due in ten minutes.



Continue to monitor, Robin.  I wonder if it’s actually reporting real-time information or just the time remaining to the posted schedule.

Look, Batman, it’s now reporting the scheduled departure time!



Excellent, Robin.  Let’s see what happens as the bus approaches.

Holy chronograph, Batman!  There’s the bus now, and that’s what the website is reporting!


Just as I knew it would, Robin.  The citizens of Durham Region now have real-time bus information to tell them when their next scheduled bus will arrive.  Hopefully, the remaining DRT tools will be rolled out in short order.

Holy pax, Batman!  GO Transit bus riders still don’t have their real-time bus facility.  That’s criminal!

If, Robin, you mean GO Transit management haven’t delivered on their promise of almost three years ago, whilst burdening their customers with inflationary fare increases year after year, then yes, that’s criminal.


Let’s return to the Batcave, Robin.  There are some PRESTO matters that require our attention.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Bare feet must be considered porn

It's a no from me Jessica. There is no "just cause" for this crap

#gotrain #feet #justcause #toronto #sistersdayout

A photo posted by jessamicaa (@jessamicaa) on

It's been awhile since I've seen a rolling along like it's my bedroom pic

#wednesdaynightpartyhard #etiquettefail #gotrain #snoozing

A photo posted by Mark Threat (@markthreat) on

Last night I asked my seat mates if they minded if I ate some peanuts and this guy chewed me out for asking

We had just left Whitby. Coach isn't very full. I'm starving. Before I open my bag of peanuts that I have been craving since I bought them (I love the PC brand, salt and malt vinegar flavour) I asked the two ladies sitting next to me if they had a nut allergy. Both said they were free and clear. I opened my bag.

As we started to get off the train at Oshawa, this man sidled up to me and told me he would never ask others for "permission to eat food". "This is a free country and if people with nut allergies don't know how to manage in the real world - they should stay home," he said, all smug-like.

I told him it was none of his business why I asked and if I wanted his opinion, I'd give it to him.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

I don't think GO train delays will ever compare to this chaos when the TTC suspends service