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Monday, October 31, 2016

Unsettling statistics from the TTC today regarding sex assaults on system


Toronto Star Article

And it's not just men targeting women. A male co-worker told me of a time he had college age girls press up against him once on a swaying subway car and one actually grabbed his left buttock. When he turned to give them a look, they all giggled in response. It's never okay.

I always think it's better to hold off on these kind of announcements at this time of year. The optics cause people to cry FARE INCREASE


For those blocked from Twitter, GO Transit unveiled its new uniforms today. Some passengers questioned the financial impact. The official word was the uniform launch was built into the existing budget.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Go Transit (well someone) moved a bus stop. Rage ensued

Three summers ago, the region of Durham made some road improvements at Trulls Road and Highway 2 in Courtice. This also included the installation of a sidewalk on the south side of 2, from Trulls Road, east to Courtice Road. Then some lines were painted on the road on the southeast corner to take advantage of how the curb moved inward and a "bus stopping lane" was born, but it was never put in use... until last Monday (you have to admire the speed of bureaucracy - it's truly breathtaking).

The GO bus (and DRT stop) was moved across the street from the southwest corner to the southeast corner. I like it. It means drivers can make their right turns onto Trulls Road without interruption, and there's a curb to step onto, unlike the previous location which was a driveway, meaning it was a long drop to the pavement if traveling on a coach instead of a double decker. Unlike myself, other passengers DO NOT LIKE THAT THE STOP MOVED LESS THAN 30 METRES. Why? Because they have to wait for a light so they can cross to the other side of Trulls Rd. to walk home. They also don't trust drivers making left hand turns (I'm with them on that one but that's part and parcel with being a pedestrian). But this one lady was having none of it. She's been crabbing to the driver almost nightly. She's insulted she wasn't consulted before the decision was made and said drivers can't just support decisions without proper consultation.

Really? Does she think a handful of drivers got together in a room and made a collective decision to move the bus stop, then, slapping their hands on the table to seal the deal, they all got up and drove out to Courtice in a pickup truck armed with a socket wrench, pullbar and hammer and moved the stop? Did they high five each other as they drove away?

I advised this passenger to call operations/customer relations/MPP/media (I'm using my sarcasm font here). She didn't feel it was necessary since telling the bus driver was enough. Okay, lady. Passive aggressiveness for the win, right?

I'm just tired of listening to her every night.

Reminds me of that scene in Austin Powers with the golf cart

Oh brother

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Good effort on her part? Yes? No?





For those who can't see Twitter at work, the gist of this is a teacher bringing students in by GO Train to the WE Day event downtown wanted the train trip to be considered a special event, and the quiet zone eliminated. She asked her followers to tweet GO Transit asking for no quiet zones on trains today. GO Transit tweeted back that the quiet zone would remain in affect for today. The teacher was not pleased tweeting, "disappointing 20 000 young people building schools, running food drives and volunteering at shelters isn't considered "special"."

This was followed up with a tweet that read (from the Umoja Study Program): "Thanks for traveling to Kenya to build a school, but @gotransit says your passion and enthusiasm must be quiet because #WEDay isn't special!"

But one question does remain, what does GO Transit consider a special event to be?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Say it with a French accent

Homework Assignments

Special to This Crazy Train
by Hy Perbolé


We at TCT Academy pride ourselves in our unwavering mission to help fill our students’ brains with knowledge.  We work relentlessly to better the human condition noted by George Carlin years ago.  Let’s see if we can learn from the following incident and achieve some improvements.

After a dinner of satiating wonton soup at one of Niagara Falls’ renowned eateries, I bicycled back to the bus terminal and boarded the GO bus bound for St. Catharines and points beyond.  Things went well until we passed Mountain Road on the QEW.  Traffic ahead was a sea of red lights.

A quick check of Twitter revealed there was a vehicle fire ahead near Bunting Road.  The OPP had closed the QEW Toronto bound lanes at Glendale Avenue.  As we entered the exit ramp to Glendale Ave., I overheard our driver requesting reroute guidance from Operations (control centre).

I believe we could have travelled Glendale Ave. north, left on York Road, cross the lift bridge to Queenston St., right on Dunkirk Rd., right onto Dieppe Rd., across Welland Ave., and then merged back onto the QEW.  However, those local roads are in an older area of St. Catharines, and there was a risk that our double-decker (not a super low model) might snag a low hanging wire not visible after sunset.

The response that came back on the radio was astounding: “I’m sorry, but I haven’t been down that way in a few years.”

EXCUSE ME?!

Our driver, realizing we had been left to our own devices, executed the detour route shown in the following map:


Is it not Operations’ responsibility (i) to know the detour options available to buses, especially DDs that are geofenced to routes, and (ii) to communicate those options clearly to drivers? 

And what email alert was issued for our delayed trip?  The following was:


Given that the driver had explained our predicament to Operations at approximately 20:40, why was the alert issued more than an hour later?  Clearly, this level of service from Operations is unacceptable and deserves a failing grade.

Do you remember the commitment Matt Baynie, VP of GO Transit Operations made last year?  Was that a limited time offer?  I interpreted it as an “onGOing” commitment.

Rather than call for CITs as was done previously, let’s turn this lackluster performance into a learning opportunity, shall we?

Operations, your assignment, due next Friday: Assume the QEW-Toronto lanes at Bunting Rd. are closed.  What detour guidance do you provide a driver requesting reroute instructions?  Repeat for the scenario in which the QEW-Niagara lanes are impassable in the same vicinity.  Explain all assumptions, options, and recommendations.  Please submit your assignment to Matt Baynie.

Matt Baynie, your assignment, due by month end: Produce a compendium of detour options for Route 12 drivers between Burlington Carpool Lot and Niagara Falls.  The reroute instructions are to be vetted by drivers, and easily accessible by Operations when needed.  Prepared a recommendation for a real-time bus information solution for passengers.  Explain in detail why GO Transit has not implemented any such solution even though one was promised more than three years ago.

Bonus marks: Issue a commendation for the driver whose quick thinking ensured the safety of passengers and protected the $800K++ double-decker bus.


Class dismissed.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Can you help find this locket lost on the Lakeshore East?



FOR THOSE UNABLE TO SEE FACEBOOK AT WORK: This is a long shot but I lost my silver locket and chain yesterday morning between Courtice and downtown Toronto. I took the GO train in from Oshawa station and when I arrived at work (along Bremner Blvd) it was gone. I have worn this locket everyday for 30 years and it contains pictures of my sons. The locket is engraved on both sides "Michelle" is on one side and "love mom and dad" on the other. Please, please, please share this post and pray that this will be found and returned. It's the most sentimental item I own and am lost without it


Email cj@thiscrazytrain.com or contact Michelle directly on Facebook.
Please share her post. Let's do what we can to help her get the locket back.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Who hasn't ridden one of these clunky coaches? Doesn't mean it's broken! And on whose dime, I ask?

Province Building More Parking at Maple and Rutherford GO Stations

PRESS RELEASE
Ontario is making the daily commute easier for families in Vaughan, by building more parking at the Maple and Rutherford GO stations.
Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation and MPP for Vaughan, was at Maple GO station today to make the announcement.
The province will construct new multi-level parking structures to help address the parking demands at Maple and Rutherford GO stations, which will provide 1,200 new spots at each station. Metrolinx will also be adding new pedestrian tunnels at both stations that will connect to the future second track and platform, which is needed to increase GO Transit service. This is another important milestone in expanding GO service on the Barrie line as part of Ontario's ten-year GO Regional Express Rail (RER) plan.
Ontario is making the largest investment in public infrastructure in the province's history -- about $160 billion over 12 years, which is supporting 110,000 jobs every year across the province, with projects such as hospitals, schools, roads, bridges and transit. Since 2015, the province has announced support for more than 475 projects that will keep people and goods moving, connect communities and improve quality of life. To learn more about infrastructure projects in your community, go to Ontario.ca/BuildON.
Investing in transit infrastructure is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.
Quick Facts
  • Construction will begin in 2018 at both Rutherford and Maple GO stations.
  • To accommodate construction of the tunnels, GO station parking spots will be temporarily relocated at both stations. The number of parking spots will not be affected during tunnel construction as alternate parking spots will be available.
  • Ontario remains committed to building a new GO station at Kirby which will include more parking for this growing region.
  • GO RER will provide faster and more frequent GO rail service across the region, with electrification of core segments of the network. Weekly trips across the entire GO rail network are expected to grow from about 1,500 to nearly 6,000 over 10 years.
  • Since 2003, Ontario has extended the GO rail network by nearly 90 kilometres, opened 14 new GO stations, rebuilt four existing stations and added more than 31,000 new parking spots across the system.

Wuh-woh Shaggy

Significant fare drop in March was the boost UP Express needed

by Cindy (Cj) Smith
Blogger-in-Chief

After a rocky start, where low ridership was blamed on unreasonably high fares, Toronto's airport express train, Union Pearson Express (UP Express), is experiencing increased ridership thanks to a lower fare structure introduced in March. 

Thiscrazytrain.com conducted an email interview with the head of  Metrolinx's public affairs department to find out how much UP Express's ridership had increased since the fare drop. 

When the service first launched in June of 2015, a one way fare was $27.50. Metrolinx reduced the fare to $12 for passengers traveling without a Presto card. Fares are now $9, down from $19 for Presto card users. Seniors pay $5.64 with a Presto card and $6 without one. Children under 12 ride UP for free.

Dialy ridership under the old fare structure was 2,400 passengers a day. Since the new fare prices were adopted, ridership has skyrocketed.

People are loving the service—ridership is now over 8,000 passengers per weekday and continuing to rise, wrote Anne Marie Aikins, senior manager of media relations at Metrolinx, in an email to thiscrazytrain.com

Since fares dropped in March, wrote Aikins, approximately 80 percent of passengers are airport travellers – people flying in or out, or working at the airport (UP Express promises a 25-minute train ride from Union Station to Pearson)

Aikins said the remaining passengers are daily commuters, occasional commuters, or those attending an event or game. The percentage split for passengers goes up during the morning and evening rush hour.

What's interesting to thiscrazytrain.com, and relayed to Aikins, is learning that people living near Weston and Bloor UP Express stations have given up the TTC, opting to spend more in fare to save time by grabbing an UP Express train, rather than fighting for a bus or subway trains; once the service became more affordable.

Aikins was pleased to hear that. As with any new service, she wrote, we have learned from our experience. By lowering fares, we are able to make this service more accessible for commuter and airport traffic, encouraging more people to use transit and removing more cars from the roads.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Um...

Harvest feast, personal accomplishments and derailment

It was a great weekend for me because, baby, I'm back! Back on the bike!

October 11th marked a horrible two year anniversary for when I first injured myself, sustaining a blow to my right knee, which resulted in bursitis of the upper patella. I had fallen down the stairs of a double decker GO bus after the driver missed my stop. I went down the stairs to tell him but had no idea he would brake suddenly. It took 18 months to be able to walk without pain. To help with the healing process, I took up cycling more aggressively, working my way up to 35 km bike rides through Courtice and Bowmanville. I did this up until November of last year. I stayed active over the winter using a treadmill. In April, I took up long-distance walking again, and well, I had no idea I had weak hamstrings when I decided to teach myself kickboxing in my basement. Also, I never was one to stretch religiously. SO MANY LESSONS WERE LEARNED WHEN I TORE THE HAMSTRING IN MY LEFT LEG on May 3rd.

It's been a long road, folks, to get better, and thousands of dollars for physiotherapy, massage and yoga. The first time I tried to cycle 10 km was August 3. I cried the whole way. It hurt so much to pedal. I stopped trying and took up yoga on the advice of my sports medicine doctor. Two months later, just this past Wednesday, I hopped on my bike and did my 10 km training route -- a route I designed to train my body to climb hills with a considerable, but gradual, elevation. I did it without pain. And I did it again two more times! Tonight I ride again and this time, I am going to add 5 km to the route. As some of you may know, back in early 2013, I embarked on a journey to get in shape as I was tired of being tired (and round). After an almost 100 pound weight loss, I gained 40 pounds of it back, and all of it after I injured myself. In the past six weeks, I've lost eight pounds of that gain.

I trust you all had a lovely harvest and long weekend? You did?! Great. Imma keep going on about my life, k?

On Sunday, we took our boat out onto Lake Simcoe and... NEVER AGAIN. It was too windy. The water was too choppy. Although we caught some impressive jumbo perch, I'm not cut out for that kind of fishing. It was too terrifying even though my husband swore we wouldn't capsize. The drive up was breathtaking, though. This is my favourite time of year! I ate too much but exercised enough that I broke even. 

On the weekend, I had a lengthy text conversation with a GO train passenger questioning the safety of the trains, commenting they travel too fast and doubtful anyone at Metrolinx cares about derailment, because he/she was one of the people affected by the three and half hour delay last month, and doubted that there's a procedure in place to handle a derailment and ensuing evacuation in a "timely manner". It's a valid concern, but it was the "timely manner" part that left me scratching my head. I told this person that much. Also, all GO trains have, what, a crew of three to five Bombardier personnel, including the CSA? These folks have families, too. I am positive safety is paramount to them. We're not the only ones who want to get home safe. 

I don't think anyone can accurately predict the consequences of a derailment, so much to a point, that Metrolinx has a time frame for the rescue effort. There are so many factors to consider. Do I trust there is a plan? Yes. I trust there is a plan on what to do and who to call to coordinate a rescue effort. Do I still have an answer as to what warrants a train evacuation? No. Sometimes situations may result is passengers having to make executive decisions. I'm always ready. I know where the tools are. I'm not afraid to ask for help. If the train is on fire, I'm the first one out. If we've gone off the rails and we're upright, I'll wait for emergency personnel. If we're on our side and people are gravely injured, and I'm okay, I'll do my best to administer first aid. As for evacuations after engine failure... guys, I have to believe in my heart of hearts, there is no way in hell the mistakes made that night will be repeated. I'll keep my eye on the Metrolinx website for the report. I will share it when it becomes available.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Is there a war on Thanksgiving no one told "us" about?

I'm only saying "us" because I've received a few emails and texts about this.

So this email from GO Transit put a few people off.


At first blush, my thought was, welp, that's a little casual, but meh, whatever.

Meanwhile, in email, some of the choice comments:

WHAT THE FUCK CJ?! IS THIS A THING NOW?

Please don't destroy Thanksgiving with a poor and misguided attempt at political correctness

And in text:

NO. They did not go there.

Fuck this nonsense. Will you say something? Is there a war on Thanksgiving no one told us about?

Your thoughts? I think someone was just trying to be different. Please email GO Transit if you need more clarification. My pitchfork is in the shed and I really don't feel this is worth getting it out.

Metrolinx is not happy with the TTC success rate in regards to its Presto card implementation

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Ladies and gentlemen! WE HAS A WINNER!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Toronto Star reporter asks...

Monday, October 3, 2016

Because I know you like cat stuff

ITG (Inside the GIF): How do I get into these situations? (Part III)

Thugs open fire at GO bus in Oshawa Friday night

It happened on Simcoe Street South, just north of Bloor Street, near the former Zellers plaza.

I've been told so many things but can verify that a minivan stopped, a side door was slid open and shots were fired. People were standing on the opposite side of the street when the incident happened around 11 pm. Police were able to recover the vehicle and several weapons. Three men face over 35 charges in relation to the incident. No names have been released.

The GO bus was empty and presumably not in service at the time. No shots hit the bus. The driver is uninjured.

A woman who was on another GO bus, but heard the drama unfolding over the bus radio, said drivers chatted back and forth that the incident happened in an area near what is presumed Hells Angels biker territory.

It's believed the GO bus was not an intended target.

I realize this is all third-party information. People like to gossip. I like to throw things out there and see what comes back.

Either way, a terrifying incident.

Other people's children ... come on!

Halloween comes early for these passengers

Oh man... I've had so many bad experiences with collectors, here's hoping all this positivity rings true