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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Fare increase for 2019 GO Transit passengers doesn't appear to be on the agenda for this Thursday's Metrolinx board meeting

This has been one of my biggest worries seeing as commuting by GO now carries the financial equivalent of making a third or second car payment for many commuters. I'm at $344 a month in fare for myself (using November as a reference point).

Generally it's around this time of year that GO Transit presents a case to Metrolinx for increasing fares. I went ahead and reviewed the agenda for the December 6th board meeting and this isn't on it. There is a discussion about fare policy with 10 minutes allotted to the speakers, so I think we're safe to assume we've been spared an increase come February 2019.

But, we've been shafted before. The last increase happened in the fall of 2017 when we were all hit with a 3% hike, so we may not be completely out of the woods!

Better late than never for a feel good Go Transit Lost & Found story!

This past weekend I received a DM on Twitter asking if I had the chance to read an email a person had sent me regarding GO RER and Toronto Mayor John Tory. I did not recall said email and decided to scroll through my Gmail spam folder and stumbled across not only the email in question, but also this email from MS who forgot his Apple laptop on the train back in July.

I suspect emails from readers found their way into spam due to the filters and mail rules I have set up to avoid Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Boxing Day emails. I apologized to MS who was very understanding. I also apologize to others whose emails were trapped.

from: MS
to: cj@thiscrazytrain.com
date: Jun 13, 2018, 1:37 PM
subject: Love for Go Transit: Backpack with MacBook Pro returned intact

Hi CJ,

I found your blog when googling about GoTrain lost & found histories. I like your blog a lot. I've lived in Canada for ~8 years and never used Go trains until last weekend. My family and I (wife, one 3-yrd old and a 2-weeks baby) recently moved to Whitby and decided to try the Go Train to go to the aquarium on Saturday along with my inlaws that are visiting. I work as a software engineer and sometimes we need to be 'on call' in case systems break. I was on call so I took my laptop with me. A new MacBook pro 2017. On the way back, while chasing my kid (who was excited about riding the train and going up and down the stairs) I left my backpack on the upper level seat while chasing my kid downstairs. We arrived to Whitby and checked the seats so we don't forget anything (we were all sitting on the lower level), wife, inlaws, newborn baby, my 3-yrd old, stroller, diaper bag, etc; but as you can guess, forgot my backpack in the upper level!

Needless to say it's a horrible situation. I'm 3 months into this new job and I lose the laptop! never happened to me in my life and just had to happen as I start a new job. I filed the lost & found report online that night, visited them on Sunday at Union Station and they said there was nothing else to do but wait. My backpack contained not only the laptop but also charger adapter, accessories, airpods, etc; Finally, they called me back Monday 2pm to tell me it was found!

It's a shame there's no reward for whoever found it and returned it. I'd gladly had paid a reward to whoever did this, even if people don't do it for the money, it's a huge favor done to those of us who accidentally forgot something and perhaps being able to share a reward and/or thank you note would encourage more people to report/return lost items.

Anyways, I figured this success story could help anxious people like myself when they wander at 3am in the morning if they'll see their lost items again.

Attached pic of the most important returned item.

Cheers!

MS


Monday, December 3, 2018

GO train to Courtice-Bowmanville in 2024? Don't hold your breath!

The current Ontario government party in charge has put the brakes on the expansion into Niagara Region after Metrolinx sent a letter to the region saying the project had been "halted".

This makes me nervous. As with the Mimico station renovation on the Lakeshore West corridor, where a private developer was selected to build the new station, I suspect this is what will happen in Courtice and Bowmanville since the letter outlines that Grimsby will only go ahead once a third party investor has been found.


The Toronto Star also reported this may be the new normal for regional transportation infrastructure where shovels haven't yet met dirt.

I have mixed feelings about this. The area where the Courtice station is to be built could benefit from this kind of partnership as it's in the middle of a field with no subdivisions or amenities within a 5 km radius. In Bowmanville, it's a different situation where the area is over-developed and traffic would be greatly impacted if say, a condo were to built on the station site. In Oshawa, the new station is to be built where a Knob Hill Farms grocery store once stood. The area would benefit from housing, especially if it's rental housing.

This all sounds great in theory but how long do we wait? That's the billion dollar question no one in the Ford government is willing to answer.