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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Speedy buses are what's needed! LOL

An engineering feat so amazing, every single person subscribed to GO Transit's communication service, got a tweet or email about this

What's next?! An email broadcast about a working water fountain?!
Automatic paper towel dispenser?!

Doors that have a button you can push to open them automatically if you are using a mobility device?!


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Police arrested a man brandishing a knife at Oakville GO Station last week

Currently only one mobility scooter is allowed to be tied down on a train, all others have to be dismantled and/or stowed

When you miss your VIA train

Lolololololololololololololol

In Canada, we call people who do this "crazy". Try it on a GO train platform one morning. Let know how it works out for you

500 km in 30 days - I can do this!


Nothing like a nice walk down memory lane, right?

2014 was shaping up to be a really great year. I had started moving my fat ass shortly after December 4, 2011 when I turned in the keys to my leased Chevy Equinox and walked away from car ownership. I was car free for almost six years. But now I drive a Fiat. Don't judge.

I walked EVERYWHERE. And I took the kid with me. We walked to daycare, to the store, to the park, to the library, to swimming lessons. Then I bought a bike - a real shitty one off of Kijiji, with a bike trailer and I rode it EVERYWHERE. I took the kid with me. To daycare, to the store, to the park, to the library ... you get the idea.

I then took up long distance walking, averaging 10 km a night for five nights out of a week. I walked through the ice storm, through rain, hail, over ice, through heavy snow and once, in a blizzard (uphill, too). I lost 90 pounds in under two years.

Fast forward to Thanksgiving 2014. I'm the most fit I've ever been but unbeknownst to me, my right knee was having no more of this shit, and I blew out my ACL while trying to take up running. It was a stupid move.

For those of you who have heard all of this before, I'm glad you're hanging in there. It's repetitious because I have to tell the 'new to this blog' folks my whole life story. Forgive me.

Long story short, I injured many other parts of my legs and feet, and in the middle of this past April, after a really bad day and many months of feeling sorry for myself, AND piling on 30 pounds over the past two years, I decided I had enough.

That's me, a year ago to this day. Injured and miserable.

Despite the pain, I was going to cycle 500 km in 30 days. I got back in touch with my dietitian. We worked out a plan and I was going to commit to it. The first week was hell. I also was told to quit alcohol. Although I am NOT an alcoholic, I can sympathize greatly with those who struggle to abstain because THEY HAVE TO, and not by choice. Next to giving up sugar, abstaining from alcohol is god damn hard because I LOVE TO DRINK. Unfortunately, my body doesn't like it, and it causes all kinds of bloating and inflammation I just don't need.

Advil Arthitis in its pretty yellow and teal bottle is my only vice these days.

To track my cycling progress, I am using S-Health which is built into my Samsung S7 with GPS enabled. I also hooked up my Adidas fitness tracker and was surprised by how accurate S-Health is. I no longer strap on the Adidas device.

For simplicity, and for those who want to follow along, I've made all of my cycling posts public on Facebook. I reached 200 km last night in 11 days of bicycling.



For those who are thinking of trying this same challenge, I encourage you to invest in a good hybrid bike. I gave up the shitty Kijiji bike in June of 2015. You don't need to spend a lot of money. The one I have is the Giant LIV Cypress DX W - the W stands for women and it comes with a saddle specially designed for our lady bits. I've put over 2000km on this girl and it's still going strong. Also, don't clip your feet. You're not trying out for the Tour de France here. You'll want to be able to kick your legs out as you go down a hill, trust me. It's exhilarating. Start out slow before you ramp up to 500 km in 30 days. Stretch. Do hamstring curls. Take care of your ankles. Follow AskDoctorJo on YouTube. Her videos will help you get your body ready.

I also suggest that you buy a nice sized jar of Vaseline. There are all kinds of special cycling pastes and creams sold to ease saddle soreness and chafing, but Vaseline or its econo version, Petroleum Jelly (same thing really, just not name brand) will quickly become your best friend. And don't be stingy, coat it on, coat it everywhere, in all the valleys and crannies, ladies. Don't spend money on fancy cycling clothes. You don't need them. Tights and a t-shirt, or long sleeve shirt, whatever, it works (and for god's sake, don't wear black - you need to be visible). Don't wear a windbreaker. They act like fucking parachutes. I learned the hard way. You'll also want lights, flashing lights, a headlight, reflective tape, wrap around glasses (because bugs!) helmet, horn (not a bell, HORN) and tunes. Buy a bike mount for your phone so you can listen to your music as you ride. Don't use headphones. You need to hear cars. 

I'm lucky I live less than 2 km from some of the most amazing rural road bike routes in Durham Region, which is why I can cover the distance that I do. Find out where your local bike paths are, and bike lanes, and use Map My Ride to plan a route. Or, come out my way, park your car in the plaza at Highway 2 and Courtice Road, and just ride. And for god's sake, for the love of all things holy, STOP AT STOP SIGNS. I have zero respect for cyclists who blow through them. All you do is piss off drivers who then decide that I'm one of you, and so they do stupid things to "teach me a lesson". You're feeding into the game. Just obey the rules of the road. Don't be a dick.

I've lost 10.8 pounds in the past month and I'm down 14 pounds from my highest weight this year. My muscles and tendons have loosened up. The strength in my quads has slowly returned. I can get up off a chair without pushing myself up with my arms. I can now wear 65% of the clothes in my closet, up from 25%, and I move better. There's still pain, I won't lie, but it is no where near the level it was before April.

I have accepted that I will never be able to run again and though I've tried, I can no longer play tennis and probably never will again. That's been the hardest part of all this. I've played tennis since I was six years old. It was my passion. I can't part with my rackets. Tennis was a part of my life that was great and rewarding.
It's been heartbreaking to accept.

I'm also being careful to listen to my body. I rest when I should. The anxiety I had about re-injuring myself has greatly subsided.

I'm not a pro athlete and never will be. I'm just a fat girl on a bike.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Presto pulls through ... thank you

X
Today at 2:02 PM

To Cindy Smith

Afternoon Cindy, so what we have is this:

You loyalty steps cannot be transferred with your funds, so we will need to let GO complete that at the end of the month. I will check on that on June 1st to ensure it is completed.

Your funds and registration have been sent to the machines and will be picked up by your card on your way home this evening.

I also took the liberty of adding $6 reimbursement for the card purchase and $10.85 for your ticket in this morning, as this would not be included on your loyalty calculation.

Sorry we couldn’t get the loyalty steps transferred, but we will ensure that it is completed for you.

Have a great afternoon,

Name withheld
Customer Care
PRESTO /METROLINX | 20 Bay St | Toronto|ONTARIO | M5J 2W3
This e-mail message is privileged, confidential and subject to copyright. Any unauthorized use or disclosure is prohibited.

I like to drive my car... for now...

Getting used to having my own car again has felt weird each morning and evening when I drive it. There's some guilt when I see the Durham Transit 922 bus, but then I feel vindicated when I cross paths with the Durham Transit 411 bus and notice it's running late. I thought I could stop caring. But I can't.

It's only been a week, but on average, it has taken me 18 minutes to get to the GO station each morning. I leave the house 20 minutes later than when I left for when I took the bus (two buses because there's a transfer). So I can sleep 20 minutes longer (and I have ... and it's glorious). It doesn't sound like much, but I'm not waiting for a bus that may, or may not, be on time, which was the reason for breaking down and buying a car.

Parking at Oshawa GO has not been an issue because my car is so ridiculously small. I can easily find a spot next to a parking donkey with a pickup truck who has left no room beside it and the vehicle one over from it for a sedan or larger. I fit. I've been scoring some premium parking spots.

I've been averaging 25 minutes to get home (some days, exiting Oshawa's parking lot is a breeze, and other days, it's a nightmare) compared to 30 minutes on the GO bus and a 20-minute walk, because I am unable to use the same bus sequence with Durham Transit I would take in the morning for the evening bus ride home. In total, I'm getting back over an hour of my time every day by driving.

There are pros and cons to this decision I've made. So far, the pros are outweighing the cons. It's still early. I'll get back to you on this in six months...

My Presto card broke. Again. And because people don't read every word of every post, this post also has a shout out to the amazing CSR at Oshawa GO Station re: 8:30pm on May 11 (Holla!)


It may be time to run another contest. It was just a little over 2 years ago that my Presto card cracked... and now its replacement has met the same fate!

Surprisingly, nothing has changed with respect to the hassle for replacing a card. You still have to pay $6 for a new card. No warranty is offered. Your old balance can't be transferred right away. You have to spend close to an hour in telephone IVR hell across two different phone systems (Go Transit and Presto Card) to get the new card registered, and initiate the balance transfer and STILL... STILL ... STILL lose your loyalty steps. So then you have to rant and rave on Twitter and hope that someone reaches out and tries to help.

I've been told loyalty steps can be re-established but it's on a case by case basis. I've got a ticket in with GO about this and an email has been sent to an analyst at Presto Card. But until I have an answer, while all of y'all are paying $1.31 a ride on the days near the end of this month. I'll be the sucker paying full fare.

However, it wasn't all bad, at Oshawa GO, I had a great interaction with the agent working last night. She was incredibly helpful and took great care of me, which I appreciated. Front line staff at GO have all my respect. ALL OF IT.

I'll post an update about my loyalty steps when I know more.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

GO Transit turns 50. No need to advertise it.


In my opinion, this monstrous banner hanging in the great hall at Union Station plus the other advertising signage on trains and in the York Concourse are a waste of money. There's a whole campaign around this milestone. Why? Do you care? I don't care.

What GO should have done, was have their history available online from the day they launched their website. No need for a timeline now. 

But what makes this second sign eye-roll inducing is the fact that Burlington GO still isn't finished and the escalator at Aldershbot GO is now two years in waiting on a part. So, despite what GO is selling, they are slow.


Meh.

Monday, May 8, 2017

It's not like I didn't try

Courtice will never be adequately served by local transit if Durham Region Transit continues to act like schedules are just a suggestion and the customer is always wrong.

I was always puzzled why anyone who lived in Courtice drove to the Oshawa GO station when there are four bus options - GO 90, DRT 922, DRT 402 and DRT 411. Mind you, the stops themselves aren't convenient for all, but generally, almost everyone is within a 2 km walk to a stop. And this works great ... WHEN THE BUS ACTUALLY SHOWS UP. It's even more great WHEN THE BUS IS ON TIME.

I have no complaints about the GO bus. It shows up. The drivers are great. But it's a long walk for me to Highway 2. There's a DRT bus stop 400 metres from my front door. Sometimes a bus stops at it.

Long story short, because the 411 consistently runs late, I'd miss my connecting 922 bus which can add an extra 33 minutes to my morning commute. One morning, I left my house at 6:21 am and did not arrive at work until 9:25 am, all because the 411 was late and the 922 bus operator missed a turn. I actually watched the bus drive straight through the light at Townline, westward, instead of TURNING LEFT onto Townline. DOES NO ONE READ A MAP BEFORE THEY TURN THE DAMN KEY?

And with the 411, it's been a new driver every damn day. In one month, I saw the same driver three times. How is this possible?

I'm tired of calling, tweeting and facebooking asking for change. After the whole driver missed the turn incident, I found myself installing the AutoTrader app on my phone and two days later, test driving cars. I had three in mind, Fiat 500, Chevy Spark and Toyota Yaris. I decided on the Fiat and eventually scored a great deal on a 2013 500 Lounge model with a sunroof, leather seats, six-speed automatic transmission and only 38,000 km on the odometer. It drives like a sewing machine and I love it. The windshield wipers are shit (three different wipe speeds and none of them are adequate), but I still love it. If you put anyone in the backseat, you'll amputate their legs, but I still love it. I also loved the price - $9549

Plus, it fits perfectly at the bottom on my driveway allowing for my husband to get in and out while our boat is parked.

The courtesy is appreciated

SJWs to the rescue!

Because who doesn't love some 4:10 pm LSE Go train drama!?

from:JW
to:"cj@thiscrazytrain.com"
date:Mon, May 8, 2017 at 7:42 AM
subject:Drama on the 4.10

So, I managed to catch the 4:10 last Wednesday.  Sitting upstairs by a window, reading my book and waiting to get home and enjoy some of the last nice weather before Sprinter came again.

In the quad in front of me was a young man (YM).  Sitting with headphones and reading a book, half falling asleep.

Between Eglinton and Guildwood a fare inspector comes up (BTW first one I have seen in months!).  Across the aisle from YM was a couple of young women.  One of them hadn't paid her fare and the inspector was writing up her ticket or warning.

At the same time, he woke up YM and asked to see his fare.  He spent a good five minutes "looking" for his wallet/Proof of Fare and couldn't find anything.  Not a problem, inspector was going to give him a ticket/warning after dealing with the young woman.

Before Rouge Hill, YM gets up and starts walking away.  Inspector asks where he is going, YM says off the train because he couldn't find his ticket.  Inspector finishes the young woman's ticket and went after YM.

As we were almost at Rouge Hill station, a passenger gets up to walk down to the doors.  He then comes back up to go to the other set of doors saying something about a scene.

At Pickering, I get up from my quad to move into the empty one across the aisle from where I was sitting to get sorted to disembark at Ajax.  I look out the window just in time to see YM being hauled off the train in handcuffs.  Blood on his face and spattered on his shirt.  Two inspectors and 2 witnesses were there.  They had to keep putting YM into a seat on the bench as he kept getting up and trying to attack people.

The one witness did find the wallet in the backpack.  Not certain what else happened as the train was already pulling out of the station.

After I finally processed what I saw all I could think was that this was a hell of a way to get out of paying a fare.  $10 or so is not worth that hassle.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Damn nature, such an inconvenience

Construction showing signs of life at Burlington GO

Thursday, April 27, 2017

And now for some good news ...

High of 23C today but GO thinks that's in fahrenheit

Give the driver a raise! Be sure to read why

Now that the pity party is over and I've re-focused, I'm challenging myself!

Tuesday was a horrible day. I had biked the night before but the achilles pain was like fire all day and I was cranky, weepy and truly a hot mess. I kept crying on the bus ride home prompting a few looks of concern. I went to physio, had acupucture and went to bed telling myself I can do this.

Monday night I pulled this off:


But as I said, I paid for it on Tuesday. I think I was in so much pain because I was depressed and feeling very negative.

I also starting "patching" again on Tuesday night and felt much better yesterday. Patching helped to ease the bursitis in my knees and my doctor, by email, okayed me to start patching the achilles area of my right foot. I also upped my arthritis medication and felt immediate relief.

So last night, I set out to see if I could push myself further on the bike and this happened:


Today I feel great. I'm sore but there is no pain. The ankle is tender and surprisingly, there's no inflammation or swelling present in my knees. I was able to get out of bed this morning without hobbling.

I also worked up the nerve to weigh myself and the scale high-fived back with 277.6 pounds. That's a 6.4 pound loss since my highest weight this year of 284.

One thing I am most grateful for, because it is nerve wracking to put yourself out there, is how supportive all the crazy train fans have been. After I tweeted the Back in the saddle post on Twitter, I received a few text messages from people who appreciated I put my story out there. I also received some recommendations for personal trainers and doctors who can work with me. I am weighing these options. I am happy with my medical level of care so I don't think I will change that, but I think some personal training will help with my muscle weakness, imbalance and lack of core strength.

Thank you for being my friend, friends!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

I'm sorry, what? No idea what time this was, it's noted by Trip #

Thursday, April 20, 2017

I've inquired about a train derailment situation, since I think this one is a good start, but let's take it up a notch

Emergency Exercise to Simulate GO Train Vehicle Collision

TORONTO: April 18, 2017 - On Tuesday, April 25, 2017, in support of Operation Lifesaver’s Rail Safety Week, we will be conducting a rail safety simulation at a level rail crossing in Bradford West Gwillimbury. Metrolinx, along with our partners from South Simcoe Police, The Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury, Bradford Fire & Emergency Services, County of Simcoe Paramedic Services and Holy Trinity High School will participate in an emergency exercise that will simulate a train/vehicle collision. This exercise will not disrupt GO Train service.
Media is invited to observe as emergency responders deal with a simulated collision between a car and a southbound GO train. It is not an actual emergency. This exercise will demonstrate the hazards of both distracted driving and railway crossing hazards. During the simulation, the public will see student actors pretending to be injured and first responders and Metrolinx operations staff acting out the response protocol. A debriefing with students who participated will be held the following week to further underscore the importance of rail safety.
The exercise is a critical component of our Emergency Management program to test our emergency response preparedness
Prior to and following the exercise, Metrolinx Manager, Operational Support, Safety & Security will be available to answer questions from the media.
WHAT
Emergency Exercise: Simulated train/vehicle collision
WHEN
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Exercise 9: 00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Media availability at 8:00 am and 11:15 a.m.
WHERE
Level crossing at 20 Sideroad and the 12th Line of Bradford West Gwillimbury
WHO
Metrolinx Spokesperson: Steve Harvey, Manager, Operational Support, Safety Security
South Simcoe Police Constable Rich Williamson

For more information:
South Simcoe Police, contact Police Constable Rich Williamson at 905-775-3311 x2006

For media inquiries:
Metrolinx Spokesperson, Vanessa Barrasa, 416-230-3732 Vanessa.Barrasa(at)metrolinx.com

Back in the saddle even though I'm a mess

It'll be a year this May 2 when I tore my left leg's hamstring. It has not been an easy recovery and I'm left with so many issues stemming from this injury (weight gain, mental distress, anxiety, depression). I've also developed other problems that have become aggravated by the injury and the recovery process.

The worst has to be that I developed pes anserine bursitis in both knees. This is a painful condition that makes walking down hills and stairs difficult and challenging. To add to the pile of woe, I also have iliotibial band syndrome (IT band for short) in my left leg (I'm telling you the fun never ends). But wait, there's more! Just recently I was diagnosed with achilles tendinosis in my right foot - this is truly a party that never stops. I can only wear flat shoes which aggravates my left foot and is probably going to result in extensor tendonitis, a condition I've had before and is most painful first thing in the morning. There's been some discomfort which tells me it's inevitable.

I spent most of the summer crying myself to sleep, crying in the shower and just being fucking miserable. It wasn't any better emotionally leading up to Christmas. Depression set in when I found myself sized out of 90% of the clothing in my closet resulting in me breaking down and buying clothes in a size (22/24) I haven't worn in over three years.

I spent two years changing everything about myself which resulted in a 90 pound weight loss. I started in February 2012, two months after ditching my car and relying solely on my two feet and local transit to get to and from the GO station. My highest weight was 326, possibly 336 (this is a guess since my scale maxed out at 320). I made it all the way down to 250 in February 2014. My goal was 236 pounds. I got down to 246 but struggled all summer of 2014 to stay there. I plateaued at 256 until Thanksgiving of that same year when I blew out my right knee while running (I was running 2 km which was impressive considering my osteoarthritis). I tore my right ACL. The recovery was long and painful. Just when I was starting to feel better, I fell down the stairs of a double decker GO bus which resulted in me developing infrapatellar bursitis in the right knee.

Even now, just writing this all out I'm left with a sense of despair.

The only thing that saved me from the 2014 injury was taking up long-distance road cycling. At my peak, I was cycling 400 km a month - mostly evening and weekend rides. Now that my kid is finished daycare, I'm considering cycling from Courtice to the Oshawa GO station but the amount of trucks and crazy, distracted drivers terrify the shit out of me. I haven't worked up the nerve. My only options are Bloor Street or Highway 2. These are extremely busy arteries at rush hour and I'm convinced I'll be writing my own death sentence if I do it. There are no bike paths I can take that are a direct route. Cycling out in Durham really is a suicide mission. It's not like cycling in Toronto. Drivers aren't looking for cyclists and when they do see you, most try to run you off the road. Or maybe it's my own paranoia that feeds into my distrust...

Cycling helped my right leg get better. And when Spring rolled around last year, I was eager to get back into my cycling routine. I had no idea that all the cycling from the year before had over-lengthened my hamstrings (due to a poor seat position most likely) which made me vulnerable to hamstring injuries and all it took was one kick-boxing class a year ago and poof! My life changed for the worse. I've spent more time with my physiotherapist than with my own family these past 12 months.

Last Saturday, I tuned up my bike and went for a 4 km bike ride. I felt fine. Nothing hurt outside of pain I am used to feeling. Last night I went for a 9 km bike ride. I felt fine. Nothing hurt... until this morning. My IT band grabbed its fucking mariachi maracas and quickly reminded me it was fiesta time. Hey?! Remember me?! ¡Arriba, arriba! ¡├ündale, ├índale!

Fuck.

I currently weigh 279 pounds. I was hovering around 284 in March. At the beginning of April, I had a pow wow with my dietitian and we developed a strategy where I would consume 1200 calories a day to kickstart weight loss. My body loves to be big. My metabolism is non-existent. I don't burn much. She and I discussed how obese people remain obese because the body actually becomes conditioned to being obese. She pointed to a study about contestants from a TV show called The Biggest Loser. It's a heartbreaking read.

I'm determined to be physically active. Despite all the pain, I remain committed to walking 1.8 km every morning to a bus stop where I can take a bus directly to Oshawa GO that puts me on the 7:03 am GO train. I just punch through it. It's been tempting to take a different route where I don't have to walk beyond the corner of my street, but it means taking a later train, which means leaving the office later... so it's a no from me. I've considered buying a car. The thought comes and goes. It would make life a lot easier but it's an expense I've become very accustomed to not having.

I will figure out how to deal with the IT band issue. Stretching will help. The concern now is the struggle to stay in one clothing size and remain there. I don't need to be skinny. I gave up on that years ago. I just don't want diabetes, high cholesterol, heart problems, breathing problems and whatever else being obese can bring. I've had osteoarthritis since my early 20s. It was always manageable, but it's definitely progressed in the past two years and primarily due to the stress and strain of the injuries and conditions.

The depression has been the hardest part of this. I'm not medicated. I find ways to cope. I fight the feeling of just giving up, quitting work and filing for disability. On weekends, I won't get out of bed until well after noon. I look forward to when it's time to go home each day so I can have dinner and just retreat to my bedroom. I'm no longer in physiotherapy, but I do force myself to perform stretching and strengthening exercises for 10-15 minutes in the morning and again just before bed. Some nights I just cry. Then I get mad at myself and remind myself of how good my life is, that I'm not dying and it could be so much worse. But boy, what I would give to just be able to climb a ladder again without feeling like I'm about to fall, or just being able to run down stairs - just for the hell of it. What I miss most, tho, is dancing.

Anyway, enough feeling sorry myself. I just wanted to put out an update for those who have read this website for years so I could share my woe. Thanks for reading.

What bottle of alcohol?

This is when I start kicking the bag. Y'all are too kind

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

What rules?

I wonder how this is working out for him (this happened in December)

When you're so entitled and the all the space belongs only to you

So last night this woman who yapped on her phone for the whole train ride on the 4:30 pm train from Union to Oshawa, took offence when another passenger coughed while waiting to exit the train. I do believe she was reminded by other passengers it was the Quiet Zone, but didn't clearly give two shits. I could hear her over my headphones and I was five quads away from her.

Phone lady, who clearly felt the Quiet Zone meant only others had to be quiet, was seated sideways on her seat, leaning into the top part of the stairwell and to be honest, was blocking the aisle. Her head was lowered down which made it awkward for those standing in the aisle while the train pulled into the station.

The confrontation I witnessed happened when I was standing on the first step. Behind me stood another passenger who coughed suddenly. This clearly awoken Satan on a cellphone, who, not even politely, told the passenger who coughed that they rudely coughed right in her face. Satan went on and on about how much she didn't appreciate it. The passenger who coughed would have none of this fuckery and told Satan she didn't appreciate how she talked the whole train ride in the Quiet Zone.

I don't know how it ended as I was "salmoned" off the train, but I really wanted to put in my 2 cents. I'm bummed I didn't even get a chance. I should have spoken up the minute Satan felt her health and overall immune system had been compromised. Argh.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Monday, April 3, 2017

Is it still possible to charter a GO train?

Subway in St. Petersburg, Russia bombed this morning (at least 11 dead)

Friday, March 31, 2017

Feds pledge $1.8B for GO

Wind. Ripped Open. Doors (SO MUCH SAFETY IN ONE TWEET!)

Have you heard from your MP yet about the death of the public transit tax credit? Twitter user @WarningU2 did

Mine is too busy posting pictures of his college glory days on Twitter instead of giving my email any attention it seems.

From: WarningU2
Sent: March 30, 2017 10:27 PM
To: 'Karina.Gould@parl.gc.ca' <Karina.Gould@parl.gc.ca>
Subject: RE: Transit Tax Credit?

Dear Karen Gould

Thank you for your reply. 

I still have to disagree with the government’s position on this.   The refund was one of the few I was able to take advantage of.   It made the overcrowded and degraded service, at least monetarily palatable.

Sure I would take the train regardless of the credit … what other choice do I have?

No response required … but please be aware I am no longer a supporter of the Liberal party because of this position.

I voted for you and now regret it.

From: Karina.Gould@parl.gc.ca [mailto:Karina.Gould@parl.gc.ca
Sent: March 30, 2017 2:12 PM
To: WarningU2
Subject: RE: Transit Tax Credit?

Dear Mr. W.

As the Member of Parliament for Burlington, I would like to thank you for reaching out to me regarding the elimination of the transit credit in Budget 2017.

The Public Transit Tax Credit, which was implemented in 2006, was intended to promote the use of transit. Evidence has shown that this credit has been ineffective in encouraging the use of public transit, as transit users would use transit with or without credit, or with reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Our Government is committed to public transit. Starting in 2016, Phase 1 of the Government’s infrastructure plan included $3.4 billion over three years to upgrade and improve public transit systems across Canada. As of March 8, 2017, 744 public transit projects have been approved, including 214 projects that will make public transit more accessible for people with disabilities. Investments made will expand 132 transit systems across the country and help communities acquire more than 1,000 new buses, among other improvements.

Through Budget 2017, the Government will provide $20.1 billion over 11 years to the provinces and territories for improved public transit. Budget 2017 will continue to strengthen the middle class by building stronger, better-connected communities through better public transit. This will provide shorter commute times and more efficient, better-integrated transit.

I would encourage you to read more about Budget 2017’s investments in infrastructure here.  

I appreciate your concerns with regards to cost and will be sure to raise this issue within the context of our dialogue at the federal level on public transit and encouraging ridership. As someone who took the GO train to work when I commuted to my job in Toronto, I understand the impact this has on your household expenses.

Thank you again for taking the time to write to me regarding Budget 2017. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any more questions, comments or concerns on this or other issues of importance.

Sincerely,

Karina Gould,
Member of Parliament
Burlington

From: WarningU2
Sent: March 24, 2017 7:56 AM
To: Gould, Karina - M.P.
Subject: Transit Tax Credit?

I was very disappointed to see this credit cancelled.  As a regular commuter to Toronto on The GoTrain, the credit was a welcome relief.  Public transit despite all the hyperbole, continues to be more expensive, over crowded and mismanaged i.e. the never ending construction at Burlington GoTrain station.

Please reconsider the decision to cancel the credit.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

For those who burn the midnight oil - Starting April 10: There will be a new Lakeshore East weekday late night train

Lakeshore East Line Passengers: Starting April 10th, a new weekday eastbound train trip will depart Union Station at 23:43 and arrive at Oshawa at 00:41. This trip will connect to new route 90 bus trip departing Oshawa GO at 00:49 and arriving in Newcastle at 01:34. 

Additionally, the 07:27 train from Pickering GO will depart all stations from Rouge Hill GO to Danforth GO approximately 4 minutes later while the departure time from Pickering GO and arrival time at Union Station will remain the same.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Meanwhile, in Courtice/Bowmanville (*crickets)

Bruce McCuaig to leave Metrolinx

TORONTO: (March 28, 2017) – On behalf of the Board of Directors, Chairman J. Robert S. Prichard announced today that Bruce McCuaig is stepping down as President and CEO of Metrolinx after 6 1/2 years of remarkable leadership to accept a new federal role in the Privy Council Office as Executive Adviser (Infrastructure Bank) effective April 24, 2017 to support the launch of the Canada Infrastructure Bank.

“Bruce's decision is a big loss for Metrolinx but an equally big win for Canada's ambitions to finance and build infrastructure nationally for the 21st Century. Bruce came to Metrolinx after 26 years in the Ontario public service‎ that culminated in his three years as Deputy Minister of Transportation” said Chair Prichard.

"When he arrived at Metrolinx in 2010, he took the helm of an organization in its early days with a mandate to build a fully integrated organization able to deliver on our mission to champion, develop and implement an integrated transportation plan for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.”

“Since then, Bruce has worked with extraordinary dedication and skill to deliver on his mandate. The results speak for themselves with growth and accomplishments in every dimension of the organization,” said Chair Prichard. “Metrolinx is delivering the largest transit build in Canadian history, and has matured into a well-integrated organization building major new infrastructure, delivering expanded and more frequent train and bus services, and developing regional transportation policies and plans."

In a message to Metrolinx employees Mr. McCuaig said:
“The people of Metrolinx have achieved many accomplishments for the public and our customers. Growing GO services, the launch of UP Express, the growth of PRESTO, completion of the tunnels for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, entering into Canada's largest ever public-private partnership for the Crosstown, partnering with York Region of the Viva Rapidway, the construction of the new East Rail Maintenance Facility, the advancement of Design Excellence, the launch of Triplinx, and the first-ever introduction of Community Benefits in Canada, all represent accomplishments we can be proud of. We have laid the groundwork for much more to come, with Regional Express Rail and the light rail transit systems in procurement for Finch West, Hurontario and Hamilton projects. We have set the stage for major new initiatives like Fare Integration, integrated regional Wayfinding and new, more integrated approaches to enhancing the customer experience. On the organizational front, we have grown our capacity to deliver on our commitments."

"Metrolinx has been on a remarkable journey and I have enjoyed every moment of being part of this endeavour since I joined the corporation in September 2010. It has been my honour and privilege to work with the dedicated men and women of Metrolinx over the past six-and-a-half years.  Thank you all for the support you have provided to me over the past years. I look forward to following your ongoing journey as Metrolinx continues to make new connections for the people of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area,” said Bruce McCuaig.

Chair Prichard stated in a message to Metrolinx staff that "Bruce's leadership has contributed to every aspect of Metrolinx's success. His work ethic is legendary. His deep knowledge of planning, transportation and infrastructure developed over his entire career has been invaluable.  His calm and unflappable leadership style has kept Metrolinx clearly focused on its mission. His exceptional collaborative skills have built strong partnerships with all levels of government and key stakeholders. And his unerring integrity and commitment to non-partisan public service have set the standard high for all who work at Metrolinx."

Furthermore, the Chair added: "Bruce leaves Metrolinx a far stronger and more mature organization than he inherited with a long list of accomplishments and record of progress of which he and we can all be proud. The government of Canada is very fortunate indeed to be able to harness Bruce's leadership to its cause. We will miss him very much. He leaves Metrolinx with the deep respect and lasting gratitude of the board of directors and all of us who are a part of the organization. He has made us and the region we serve better and he leaves a legacy of achievement that will last for decades to come. It has been our privilege to be able to claim to be colleagues of such a fine leader."

Much work lies ahead for Metrolinx to deliver on our mandate and the many initiatives underway. We will continue on our mission without interruption.  John Jensen, the Chief Capital Officer, will serve as Interim Chief Executive Officer beginning April 14, 2017 and we will initiate an open search immediately for a permanent successor.”

J. Robert S. Prichard,
Chair, Metrolinx Board of Directors

Please share & retweet: GO transit passengers needs help locating lost item

Hi CJ,

I'm hoping you could help me out in putting up something on your page to help me locate my lunch bag I forgot on this morning's LSE 6:21AM train from Pickering this morning.  I realized I forgot it on the train about an hour after I got to work.  Went to Union Station's lost & found but no one has yet handed in.  I was told that typically if lunch bags are found, any contents get tossed (understandable) and perhaps the bag might show up at Union's lost & found but that could take 1-2 weeks!!!!

Let's see if your social media and many, many followers can locate my lunch bag quicker than GO Transit.

The picture below is the exact bag that I lost.

If you have found this bag, please contact cj@thiscrazytrain.com


-> TWEET THIS POST
-> SHARE ON FACEBOOK

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Can we save the tax credit for public transit?

It doesn't hurt to try.

During a press conference this morning, the Prime Minister defended the decision.

“(The public transit tax credit) was very complex, there was extremely low take-up and the money is better spent actually investing in opportunities for more people to take transit,” he said, continuing, “I think what is important in transit is investing in new transit lines, investing in new buses, making sure we’re responding to the needs that municipalities are putting forward.”

I did an interview with City News today and I don't know if it will air tonight, but I am going to ask Mr. Trudeau to put his money where his mouth is because I said that the government needs to do more to encourage Canadians who have access to public transit to use it. The TTC used to advertise. Have you ever seen an advertisement for transit in your city? How about for Durham Transit or Hamilton Transit? In my own neighborhood I'm often told by my neighbors they would take transit if they were told how to use it. I know it sounds crazy, but in the suburbs, this is the kind of hand-holding that is sorely needed. So Mr. Trudeau, let's help these transit agencies boost ridership. Get on board!

But many of us who know all about public transit relied on that credit to ease the cost of commuting.

So, what can you do? Well, you can start by emailing your MP. Tell him or her why the tax credit is important to you.

Find your MP's email address online at
http://www.lop.parl.gc.ca/ParlInfo/Compilations/HouseOfCommons/MemberByPostalCode.aspx?Menu=HOC

Meanwhile, at the Presto offices ...



Whoever had to put together those god-awful transit usage reports is either wondering if s/he still has a job or ... see image above.

Yesterday the federal government announced in its 2017 budget that after July 1, Canadians will no longer be able to claim the 15% tax credit for transit expenses.

Nice, huh?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Those comments ... (whistles)


Click on the F icon (on the top right) to load up the page in Facebook.

On Sunday, some douchebag punched a GO bus operator. On Tuesday, said douchebag was found and arrested

March 21, 2017
Police identified the 24-year-old suspect wanted for assaulting a GO Transit bus driver on Sunday.

On Sunday March 19, 2017, officers attended the area of King Avenue and Baldwin Street in Newcastle after reports of a disturbance at a GO Transit stop in the area.

On Monday, March 20, 2017 officers were able to identify the suspect and he was taken into custody without incident.

Matthew JACIW, age 24, of Regional Highway 2 in Clarington is charged with: Aggravated Assault; Robbery and Mischief/Damage Property not Exceeding $5000. He was held for a bail hearing.

EARLIER PRESS RELEASE:

Mar 20, 2017
Police are looking for a male suspect after a bus driver was assaulted Sunday night in Newcastle.

On Sunday March 19, 2017, officers attended the area of King Avenue and Baldwin Street in Newcastle after reports of a disturbance at a GO Transit stop in the area.

Witnesses reported a driver had unsuccessfully attempted to wake a male passenger who was passed out on the upper level of the bus.

The driver returned to the front and the male awoke and began yelling at the driver and kicking the cash box. The driver attempted to stop him and was punched in the head several times. The male fled in an unknown direction. The driver was taken to hospital and treated for head injuries.

The suspect is described as male, white, 18-23 years old, with a thin build, blue eyes and glasses. He was wearing a long green military style coat with a light grey hooded shirt underneath, blue jeans and running shoes.

Are you sitting down? Good. What I'm about to tell you might shock you. Guess what? You're NOT the most important person on the train

I know it's hard to hear this when you've been led to believe for your whole life that you are more important than anyone else, especially any person with mobility issues.

JW writes:

Back Story: 2 weeks ago, I messed up my knee (ice is evils I tells ya!). 1 week ago the Dr. put me on crutches.  I have mostly worked from home, but I am into a busy point and need to be in the office more.

The rant is this: why do people, even when seeing the crutch, feel free to push ahead to get on the accessibility coach and the elevators?  Last week a CSA had to tell 2 women twice to wait and let me on the elevator first.

This week, a very nice woman has made certain I get on the elevator when we arrive at Union (she also makes certain a visually-impaired gentleman with a service dog gets on the elevator as well).  Then held me up because others jammed on and pushed me over!

There are nice considerate people.  But more and more, there are so many that are just rude and pushy and very self-important.  Even some of the CSAs are not telling people to wait while those of us are trying to get on.  In the mornings there is myself and a gentleman with a cane.  Unless the train stops directly in front of where I or he is standing, people will force their way onto the train.  I have seen the carnage.

Basically, people need to know that those with mobility implements are not using them because they want to (believe me, I am hoping I can ditch it after the Dr. appt on Friday).  We are slower and hurt and can't dodge and weave like everyone else. Some common decency goes a long way to making our day a little nicer.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Crisis averted!

There is no strike by CN Rail. GO service remains business as usual.

Anyone else experiencing fare overages on their Presto cards on GO?