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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Police officer risks his life to save man from oncoming train



via Mashable

I don't need a woman to stick up for me - Man on GO train. In this century.

It literally looks like a fist coming at me, right?

But it's not. It's a distorted photo of a woman slapping a man who asked her to leave the Quiet Zone after putting up with shrill laughter and loud talking for most of the train ride home last night. I was trying to turn my video option on and while fumbling to do so, snapped this pic. When this woman slapped him the first time, I got up to intervene but was told by the man he "didn't need a woman to fight his battle" and, "You don't have to stick up for me, okay."

Really dude? I was more concerned that another person felt it was okay to slap a random stranger than what sex you present as.

So I sat back down, ready to push the yellow strip when the man actually asked another passenger not to push the yellow strip since the ladies announced they were leaving. They exited at Whitby. Shortly after, the man left the coach and walked towards the front of the train.

I regret not pushing the strip.

Toronto mayor to ride hot trains

Monday, August 29, 2016

Sorry officer, but what is a "bus"? Isn't that short for those driving for "business"?!

Ugh, really ...?

When in doubt, duct tape always helps out

Reason #387 why we can't have nice things


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Rowdy family coming back from CNE compares Quiet Zone exile with Jews sent to concentration camps

Last night's LSE train saw a large family arrive upstairs complete with cranky children, music blaring from an iPad and a grandpa whistling as loud as he could manage.

It only took until just outside the Distillery District for someone to remind the group of eight they were seated in the Quiet Zone and if they wanted to continue their Exhibition fun, they could do so downstairs.

Choice words were exchanged. Grandpa exclaimed it was a free country. Mom starting recording everyone on the coach so she would "have something for the police to watch if any of us started anything".

When the train left Pickering, a male passenger told the crowd they could go downstairs now since there were seats as he had quite enough of their obnoxious behaviour. He said he was a Metrolinx employee, so if they wanted to know who died and made him the boss of the GO train, he had the credentials to fill those shoes.

As they packed up their stuff and moved downstairs, the mother turned around and remarked to all of us that "this is what the Jews must have felt like during the Holocaust".  The man told her that was an ignorant and offensive comment to make. I tried not to throw a shoe at her head.

I can't with this. I really can't.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Every night when the train rolls in at Union

Man injured after jumping from moving GO train

Police say four men were on board an Oshawa-bound GO train early this morning when around 12:30 am, they managed to pry open the doors of a coach, and jumped just west of Danforth station.

One man was seriously injured. He's currently in hospital under police custody.

A Metrolinx spokesperson told 680 News prying open the doors of a moving GO train takes a considerable amount of force.

No names have been released.

UPDATE

The CBC has more details.

Friday, August 19, 2016

This guy is my spirit animal

Train etiquette, super simple stuff

It's called a *map*. I suggest you use one

My regular Durham Transit bus driver is on vacation and in his absence, I've been treated to a different relief driver each day this week. This morning's driver was 10 minutes late. When I boarded, I politely informed her I had less than two minutes to catch my connecting bus to the 7:03 Oshawa GO train and her response was, "Sorry. This is not my regular route."

WELL NO SHIT LADY.

I asked her why she was late. She seemed incredulous that I would ask this. "As I said, this isn't my route," she told me and then proceeded to tell me what other options I had to get to the GO station (this made me seethe).

It was only her and I on the bus so I asked her to radio the driver of the 922 to see if he could manage waiting two minutes seeing as he appeared to be two minutes ahead of schedule, according to Durham Transit's bus tracker app. She said she couldn't do that. I told her she could. She told me she would not.

Exasperated, I sat down and steamed. When we arrived at the Oshawa Centre, I told her that if I could manage to make it to the bus stop on time, she could manage the same. Again, she mentioned that she was merely a relief driver but I would have none of it. "Every driver before you this week managed to be on time before you showed up, so please don't insult your profession further. You're an embarrassment to anyone who does your job," I said to her. I was on a roll and didn't care. My commute is long enough, having to detour off my route because of her laziness put me at the office a whole hour later. It's not cool.

She protested by telling me she was unfamiliar with the route and it happens to every bus driver. My god, what year is this?!

"HAVE YOU NOT HEARD OF A MAP?" I asked and walked off the bus.

Yes, I know there are worse things. This is right up there with finding a dead cockroach behind your oven. That's where this sits on my personal list of worse things.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Why are people so damn gross?

#gotransit problems Seriously #wtf. This woman's nasty foot is so dirty #410lakeshorewest.

A photo posted by Jonathan (@jonathanwylde) on

GO Transit releases ridership fact sheet

GO Transit’s distinctive green and white trains and buses serve a population of more than seven million across more than 11,000 square kilometers, stretching from Hamilton and Kitchener/Waterloo in the west to Newcastle and Peterborough in the east, and from Orangeville, Barrie and Beaverton in the north to Niagara Falls in the south.

Since May 1967, GO Transit has evolved from a single GO Train line along Lake Ontario’s shoreline to an extensive network of train lines and bus routes. Since service began, more than a billion people have taken a GO Train or Bus— to work or school, to get home, or for leisure activities. GO provides its passengers with safe, fast, reliable and comfortable service to downtown Toronto and other urban centres.

BY THE NUMBERS
Train Service Lines 7
Stations 64
Route kilometres 452
Weekday train trips 269
Weekday trainsets in use 52
Locomotives 75
Bi-level passenger coaches 649
Bus Service Terminals 15 (plus numerous stops & ticket agencies)
Route kilometres 2,709
Average weekday bus trips, total system 2,340
Average weekend bus trips, total system 1,248
Average weekday bus trips, to/from Union 579
Single-level buses 366
Double decker buses 127
Buses with bike racks 100%

Across Our System
Regular parking spaces 69,217
Reserved parking spaces 4,043
Carpool parking spaces 520
Park and Ride lot spaces 3,418
Parking structures 10
Stations/terminals with bike shelters 59
Stations with bike lockers 6
Solar Panel (photovoltaic) installations 3

AT A GLANCE
Annual ridership:
■ 2015: 69.5 million boardings
Average weekday boardings (in Spring 2016):

■ 251,000 boardings – 194,000 of these are on
the train system, while 57,000 are on the bus
system.

■ Ninety-one per cent of train commuters ride to and
from Union Station, and 70 percent of all bus
passengers travel to and from the City of Toronto.

■ GO connects with all 17 municipal transit systems
in its service area, with coordinated services and
discounted fares available to GO riders transferring
to and from many of the local systems.

Source

Reports of person with gun on GO bus leads to man in custody

A man is in custody after a passenger reported that seeing a man with a gun on a GO bus leaving the Yorkdale GO station, Toronto Police said.

Around 5:30 p.m. Thursday, officers responded to a call from a passenger reported that a “distraught” man appeared to be hiding a gun underneath his clothing. The bus was headed northbound, and York Regional police were notified.

- Toronto Star

Man arrested after woman sexually assaulted at Ajax GO Station

A 24-year-old man is in custody after an 18-year-old woman was sexually assaulted while she waited for a GO bus in Ajax last month.

At around 9:30 p.m. on July 18, a woman was waiting for a bus at the Ajax GO Station on Westney Road South when a man approached her and started an unwanted, sexually explicit conversation with her.

The woman told police she was then touched inappropriately.

- CTV News

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Well I definitely what to throw something up ... and it ain't feet

GO TEAM ... CACA ... ? CANACA?

Crop dusted

from:CL
to:"cj@thiscrazytrain.com"
date:Tue, Aug 9, 2016 at 7:47 AM
subject:Fart

First of all I hope this email finds you well!

I'm in an absolute rage and really when someone happens on the GOATrain I can't think of anyone but you to tell.

I got on the 7:27 am from Ajax to go to union this morning and grabbed a seat we proceeded our commute to Pickering when the man beside me leaned forward, I wasn't exactly sure what he was doing but he proceeded to angle his ass towards me before he blew a massive fart in my face. I looked around to see if I was being filmed on a just for laughs show and saw no sign of a camera. He proceeded to stand up and get off at Pickering. I've been gagging the entire way.

Love,
The Fart Catcher

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

So what happens when the CNE starts?

If you think rush hour service on the Lakeshore West and East GO train corridor is a mess now, what about when the CNE opens August 19th?

This was brought up in the comments yesterday in response to the email sent to me by Metrolinx's COO

There are not enough trains as it is to service the regular crowd. If Metrolinx was smart and proactive, staff would create a campaign around its Exhibition promotion letting the general public know what peak times of travel are so that they could plan their departure from the CNE accordingly.

Can you imagine trying to board any of the trains headed east after they've passed Exhibition and head into Union? What about westbound trains as they pull into Exhibition?

I can only hope someone has given this some thought.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Platform changes at Union (click on image to expand) - takes affect August 11

Your fare dollars at work! $428M order for GO Transit rail cars

On July 20, I made mention on Twitter that Metrolinx needed to do something about its COO with respect to the lack of accountability

I received the following statement from Greg Percy, Metrolinx Chief Operating Officer after the courtesy was extended to me (via Metrolinx's PR person on Twitter) to have a discussion with him about the on-going travel disruptions and chaos this summer. I declined a phone interview and asked for an email instead (my reply to Mr. Percy is below the email from him).

Mr. Percy wrote:

I am a daily Lakeshore West rider of GO Transit, and have witnessed the recent frustration and disappointment from the inadequate customer service experience over the last few weeks. I agree it has not met our standard or the reasonable expectations of our customers.

The late June train schedule changes are the necessary result of construction staging changes at Union Station. To carry on the work within the train shed, the contractors need to shift their focus to new tracks and platforms, and since there is finite capacity in the train shed, we had to implement a new train schedule to accommodate as much service as possible from all seven of the rail corridors. The schedules are achievable, but with marginally less recovery time between train trips.

We are effectively moving the service through a fewer number of tracks at Union Station, and unfortunately it was necessary to make major changes to the train schedules. In fact, these recent schedule changes were the most we've needed to make at any one time in GO's history. This unfortunately is a significant inconvenience to customers, but is necessary to continue work on rehabilitating a 90-year-old national heritage structure.

While we have imposed these schedule changes on our customers, we have also been hit the past few weeks by a number of challenging service issues, some of which are in our control, and some not.

We need to continue finding ways to minimize the frequency of train performance failures within our control, such as signal, switch, software and train mechanical. We also need to identify more effective mitigation strategies for those delay issues that are not in our control, such as passenger medical emergencies, disabled freight trains, police investigations, and brush fires on adjacent properties.

All of these events have most especially impacted rush hour trips on the Lakeshore line. We have had crowding as a result—crowding that our customers are not accustomed to. Part of that crowding will be relieved in the next few weeks when we have coaches back in service that are currently getting HVAC overalls. We are also looking at ways to escalate the lengthening of trains to give customers more room (12 car trains instead of 10).

The extreme heat conditions of the last few weeks has further stressed our service delivery, as the performance of our tracks, trains and our service delivery teams have all been stretched beyond their usual capabilities. We have had more slow orders to ensure safe operation of our trains than we have had in a number of years due to the extreme heat.

I committed to doing a full investigation following the schedule changes. While we are continuing the investigation and monitoring of service and gathering of data, we made some immediate improvements, have determined which trips are most vulnerable to delays and have developed a number of strategies including additional resources and staff to mitigate those delays.

We are all committed to do everything we can to rebuild confidence in the GO service.



Dear Mr. Percy

I think you hit the nail on the head with your final sentence - passengers are losing faith and confidence in a system that when it works as it should, works really well but when it fails, we're an awfully unforgiving lot and our tempers run hot and we become frustrated. The answer why is quite simple. Money. It all comes down to money.

GO Transit passengers pay a lot of fare to commute to work, which for many, is equivalent to a car lease payment (in my case it's $343 a month). Because of my website and Twitter presence, I have built a loyal following. I am incredibly passionate about the commute and am honored that others respect my work, sense of humor and desire to advocate.

Passengers trust me and they reach out to complain about service and value, hoping I've achieved enough influence so someone who matters at Metrolinx might pay attention. There's this steadfast belief no one listens to the little guy so let's get someone bigger. So they come to me. And I rattle a cage here and there but after six years, it was starting to feel like there's no point.

And then a note arrived in my Twitter inbox...

I'm truly grateful that day has come. I appreciate the attention you have given to me today. And I am appreciative that Ms. Aikins extended an offer.

No doubt the past month has been stressful for street level/on-board employees and executives.  And there's little faith anyone truly cares about how this trying experience has greatly impacted the work life balance for thousands of people. I know I'm not alone in this situation where I now work a 9-hour day because taking the 4:30 pm Lakeshore East train resulted in being physically assaulted on three occasions by passengers pushing and shoving to board the train. I am dismayed by the mob mentality and frankly, appalled.

So instead, I now work 8 am to 5 pm and catch the 5:15 pm LSE because it's less crowded and less emotionally taxing. I get home an hour later than I am used to which makes it a very long day away from home - 615am to 705pm. I chose not to start my day later because the crowding on the Lakeshore East in the morning is too much for me to handle mentally on trains leaving Oshawa after 730. I tried that for two days. It's a no from me. I quickly learned I wasn't the only passenger now working different hours due to the new schedule.

I realize the service has also impacted your own commute.  At least you're not paying for it financially and feeling ripped off. But you do understand the frustration of arriving late and leaving late and this impact on your life is clearly fueling a desire to do better. I appreciate you are not discrediting the problem and dismissing these concerns. It truly felt you were just giving boilerplate responses. We're all tired of hearing apologies.

Which circles me back to your last statement. If Metrolinx sincerely wants to repair confidence and trust in the system, a fare freeze for 2017 has to be considered by the board as a way of thanking us all for our patience. Actions speak louder than words. This summer and the impact of construction is the straw that broke the camel's back for many after enduring two winters of failing equipment, switches and signals. Stations such as Burlington that are years behind schedule. Smoking and vaping on GO Transit buses and station platforms.  Quiet Zone fights. Shuttle buses that never arrive when there's a service suspension. Email alerts that come out hours late; trains where it looks like the seats are never cleaned, poorly air conditioned coaches or heaters that don't work, and double decker buses that blow black soot into the cabin areas that no one can truly say is not toxic. Let's not forget lights turned on during the day at GO parking lots and on Union Station platforms outside. When it's time to reload the Presto card, one can't help but ask how much of our fare dollars are being wasted on unnecessary hydro bills?

The best thing that ever came out of the transit agency in the past three years was the implementation of a strong social media presence. Interacting with passengers in real time is something many seem to take for granted. It annoys me when people fail to realize that Ms. Aikins, the transit officers and the Twitter team are real people. The abuse and foul language infuriates me. But it doesn't shock me because these are probably the same people who will eat your babies to get a seat on a train. But I want to take a moment and let you know I greatly value and appreciate the work they do online. It's not an easy job.

I realize my email was lengthy. I had a lot to say. I look forward to the improvements. I hope passengers get what they are looking for in the end: value, validation and a reprieve from a fair hike.

Thank you,
Cindy

Provincial arbitrator rules TTC didn’t protect its employees from harassment on Twitter - Toronto Star report

Have any of you ever sat and watched the @gotransit twitter feed? It's appalling how grown adults conduct themselves. The verbal abuse lobbied at the people who work the social media feed for Metrolinx/GO Transit would make your toes curl...

From the Toronto Star:

In a labour ruling believed to be the first of its kind in Ontario, a provincial arbitrator has censured the TTC for its behaviour on Twitter, determiningthat the transit agency didn’t do enough to protect its employees from harassment on social media.

The case centres on the commission’s @TTChelps Twitter profile, which the agency launched in 2012to field questions and complaints from the public. The union that represents TTC workers filed a grievance about the account in 2013.

According to a decision released earlier this month, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113 argued that by operating @TTChelps the agency was “providing a forum for haters and abusers to heap abuse” on employees, and failed to “effectively deal with that abuse.”

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