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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.

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.


Sincerely,
IP

Thursday, March 9, 2017

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

Friday, March 3, 2017

#BeKindToOneAnother

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