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.
Emergency Exercise: Simulated train/vehicle collision
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Exercise 9: 00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Media availability at 8:00 am and 11:15 a.m.
Level crossing at 20 Sideroad and the 12th Line of Bradford West Gwillimbury
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)

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! ¡Ándale, ándale!


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: '' <>
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: [
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.


Karina Gould,
Member of Parliament

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


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

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.


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.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Incident happened this past Tuesday

Are you surprised? I'm not surprised

Monday, March 13, 2017

GO Train Schedules Displayed for Highway Commuters — Update

From: Iona Pintó
Sent: March 9, 2017 3:50 PM

Hi Cindy,

It appears your enquiry to the Ministry of Transportation, may have initiated a call to action.  There is now a second variable message sign beside the QEW in Burlington.

The new display was erected recently alongside the Toronto bound QEW between Guelph Line and Walkers Line.  Even though the structure stands taller than the sign I shared with you in the prior article, I'm not convinced this one will provide Eleanor any better vantage if she is in lane 2 and there are high-sided commercial vehicles to her right.

Sadly, the quality of the information displayed on this sign is on par with the one we discussed previously, as you can see here viewed from the South Service Road.


Thursday, March 9, 2017

That's one way to fill your shorts with coleslaw!

Friday, March 3, 2017


Respect (P.S. Transit Driver Appreciation Day is March 18)

In the wee hours of Tuesday, February 14, a Winnipeg bus driver was assaulted by a knife-wielding passenger who had been asked several times to exit the bus, because it had come to the end of the route and was out of service.  The driver died later in hospital.

Later that day, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, Amarjeet Sohi, rose in the House of Commons to pay tribute to the slain Winnipeg Transit employeeMr. Sohi’s comments included that he was a former bus driver; this brought a chorus of laughter from Progressive Conservative members.  In my opinion, this display of disrespect demonstrated without a doubt the PC’s elitist tendencies.

The following day, Adam Vaughan (Spadina — Fort York) rose in the House on a point of order to demand an apology for the outbreak of laughter.  The response from House Leader of the Opposition, Candice Bergen, was fine up to the point she uttered the words, “I’m not sure what laughter; there’s all kinds of laughter that occurs here.”  To me that showed her words were insincere, trite, and disrespectful.

This brings me to the events of last Sunday evening at the Niagara Falls bus terminal.  I was waiting for the 19:30 Megabus departure on Platform 2 when an altercation between a male passenger and the GO bus driver erupted on Platform 1.  I kept my distance, because this dude was dropping “F-bombs” like there was no tomorrow.  As best as I could tell, the dispute was fare related.  Before I boarded my bus, I saw two NRPS cruisers arriving on the scene.  I trust the melee subsided quickly after that.

On the trip to Toronto, I got to wondering why a driver would debate payment of a fare with that kind of passenger, endure verbal disrespect and possible physical abuse, especially in light of what had happened in Winnipeg.  I wondered what that the highest GO Transit fare from Niagara Falls might be.  Let’s say it’s to Peterborough — $26.65 one way.

I value my life more than that amount; most people do.  Why not wave the passenger on board to avoid a confrontation, radio the control centre to have police or GO Transit’s constables meet the bus at the next stop and haul the passenger off the bus?  I understand that drivers are on the front line for trip policies and procedures, but to what extent?

In my opinion, drivers must not forget their real obligations — to family and friends.  The driver in Winnipeg may have been right per the rules of the transit company, but in the end he lost at a much larger game.  It’s a job.  There are more important things in life.  Understand and respect that.

Let me wrap up by reminding everyone that Transit Driver Appreciation Day is March 18.  This year that date is a Saturday, so the day will be celebrated on March 17, too.  A simple cheery “Thank you” goes a long way.  So does a tea or coffee.  And in Niagara Falls, I’m given to understand that delivered wonton soup is the ultimate compliment.

There's something awfully familiar in this opening scene from "Taken". I can't seem to put my finger on it

Monday, February 27, 2017

Celebrating 7 years today! And you know what I got as a gift? My work's content filtering software has blocked this website

Nice, huh?

I can use the back-end but I can't see the front-end. So I can post content, but I can't see it. Good times!

I don't think it was deliberate. There's been all these attempts to lock everything down, it's shocking we can even check the weather these days.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

So this happened

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

GO Train Schedules Displayed for Highway Commuters? So... how's that going?

When I received this submission for publication, I reached out to the Ministry of Transportation for Ontario for comment. So far, a week later, crickets.  For all I know, my email was filed under "G", for garbage.

Another burgeoning boondoggle for Burlington?

Special to This Crazy Train
By Iona Pintó

For a few moments, let’s set aside the engineering embarrassment that is Burlington GO station (and its parking garage).and look at Metrolinx’s latest experiment for that city.

I’m sure you recall the provincial government’s announcement on October 14, 2016 of “a year-long pilot that will use electronic highway signs to show drivers nearby transit information and promote alternative travel options, to help manage congestion and get people where they're going sooner”.

Burlington’s MPP, Eleanor McMahon, positively gushed with excitement in Inside Halton’s news article when she gave the following example of the signs’ benefits:

“So, I’m sitting on the QEW westbound in lane two, I just hear on my radio… there’s a collision on Mississauga Road on the QEW and you suddenly realize that you’re now not going to make your 9 a.m. meeting,”

“You look up and the sign says GO train 12 minutes…. I’m going to do that. Why? Because I can sit on the GO train and make a phone call hands-free to my staff saying I’m not going to make that meeting, please tell the folks I can join them by phone… and have my material infront [sic] of me.”

“.... There I am, I haven’t missed the meeting, I haven’t wasted anyone’s time and I can actively participate because I can sit on the train and I’m leveraging my personal technology to participate,”

What?!  There are some things I just don’t understand about what Eleanor said, like the following:
  1. Is it safe to assume Eleanor is making her way from her constituency into Toronto?  If so, why is Eleanor heading westbound?
  2. If Eleanor is in lane two, she better hope there isn’t an eighteen wheeler or other large commercial vehicle to her right, because she won’t see that sign.
  3. In order to make that GO train in “12 minutes”, does Eleanor believe there is a reserved parking spot for her close to the platform?  Has Eleanor paid for a reserved parking spot at a GO station?  If she hasn’t, she’ll be hiking in from the “back forty” of the parking lot.
  4. Does Eleanor think she’ll get a seat on the train?  If she does, what if it’s in the Quiet Zone?

Neither the Ontario government, nor Inside Halton bothered to provide locations for the signs.  The best they could do is state “near Appleby GO station”.  WTF does that mean?

The QEW interchange before Appleby Line (Toronto bound) is Walkers Line.  The star on the map identifies the vicinity of a sign matching the description given in the news article.

A recent drive by captured the following information displayed on the sign:

Play the video as many times as you want; there’s NOTHING displayed on that sign.  Is this the correct sign?  Perhaps readers of This Crazy Train can provide the exact location of any working sign along the QEW with GO train information.

Given that we’re four months into a one year pilot project, I’d like to know where these signs are, so I can provide meaningful feedback to Eleanor and Metrolinx (as I’m sure we’d all like to).

It's like a black hole, isn't it?

From: name withheld
Date: Thu, Feb 16, 2017 at 3:44 PM
Subject: Learnings from a long trip home

Hi CJ.

Back on Jan. 25th, I was on the Stouffville train departing Union at 16:18...that was involved in the trespasser fatality.I wanted to share a couple of learnings:

1.  Be sure to check the Presto website, particularly if your trip is delayed.
I tapped on at Union around 4:15.
When we finally arrived at Unionville, around 7:45, I dutifully tapped off.
The usual fare (with Presto) for these two stations is $7.28.
For my trip home on the 25th, I was charged a total of $25.40:
$5.30 for the tap-on at Union
$11.90 for a missed tap off
$5.30 for a tap-on at Unionville (in reality, this was me tapping-off)
$2.90 for a missed tap off…that was applied a few days later (on my next GO trip using Presto)

To be fair: GO has refunded me the full $25.40; I was expecting them to refund only the amount I was overcharged. It took a call to start the investigation (where the rep told me I could submit this request on their website...which is not what their social media team told me), and a follow-up email as the first credit was short.

I get that these types of incidents are beyond GO’s control, but perhaps a better protocol could be put in place (maybe announcement by CSAs to not tap-off and call customer service for proper adjustment).

2.    Don’t trust the Presto website
After logging-in, the bottom part of the home screen (under the heading “My PRESTO Card Activity”) shows my last 5 transactions.
The pulldown menus default to ALL (for Agency) and February 2017 (for Date).
If I change the Date menu to “All 3 months”, I see 5 transactions from December 2016…and nothing from 2017.
The behaviour is similarly inaccurate if you follow the “Go to Card Activity” link. (I’ll spare you the list of Agency/Date combinations and results.)

Please feel free to share this info with your readership if you deem it worthy.


PS: But please keep my name/email to yourself.

From: Cindy (Cj) Smith 
Date: Thu, Feb 16, 2017 at 4:35 PM
Subject: Re: Learnings from a long trip home
To: name withheld

Huge failing on the CSA to not advise you all not to tap. And of course, there's no communication between presto and GO.
It's absolute crap. So much of it is manually done. Zero automation. 
Your secrets are safe with me.

And it's almost as if it's on queue

I publish a post about Burlington GO and three days later...

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "GO Transit" <>
Date: Feb 17, 2017 7:06 PM
Subject: Burlington GO Construction Update
To: name withheld

Burlington GO Station passengers: We want to give you another update on the work happening at your Burlington GO Station: Work is progressing on the exterior of the station building, bus loop and canopy. The building roof is being prepared for the cladding and solar panels. We've posted the latest information here. You can also see the notices found at the station.

We know that construction is taking longer than expected and we will continue working with the contractor to ensure the work is done to our standards. We'll also continue to update you on our progress in future emails and notices posted at the station. Thank you for your continued patience as we work to improve your Burlington GO Station.