Monday, February 13, 2012

I'm the little blue light that flashes in the Bay Street office of GO headquarters

People complain to me a lot about GO Transit. I read the emails with a great deal of sympathy but am always confused about why people think I can help them. I guess it's cathartic to pour out one's frustrations to someone who rides the train, who knows the issues, who can relate to the aggravations about parking and people speeding in the parking lots, or smoking on platforms.

Just this morning this dude was puffing away on the Oshawa platform under a no-smoking sign and in full view of a GO employee. So I looked at said employee and asked, "Can't you say something?" And he said, "Can't." Then he turned so I could see the words BOMBARDIER emblazoned across the back of his coat.


So I took matters into my own hands. That's right. I tied on my green cape, adjusted my Hulk smash hands and asked the pompous shit to butt out his cigarette telling him the rules are for everyone. It was a full eight minutes to departure. This guy can't go smoke in the parking lot?! Get bent.

I asked him why he felt he was above all the other smokers quietly puffing away near the parking lot. He told me he was disabled. Disabled!? What the hell does that have to do with obeying the rules?


Anyhoo ... this email came in last week from SAM.

from: SAM
date: Wed, Feb 8, 2012 at 11:27 AM
subject: GO Transit called me!

I just came across your blog, and you are SO awesome for doing this. I had recently made a complaint to GO Transit about the awful parking donkeys at Ajax...

“Pause for a phone call”

Believe it or not, I just got a phone call from Julie at GO Transit as I was writing this. They must have felt the negative energy I was sending them. (No, it was that blue light that goes off in their office when they know the Crazy Train has been contacted - CJ)

As I was saying, I was telling them my story about two commuter vehicles,

- racing around the lot,
- trying to find a spot because they like to arrive 10 seconds before the train arrives,
- how I narrowly missed being struck by BOTH these vehicles because they couldn't see me behind fire-route-parkers,
- as I walked the 950m from my spot to the platform.

I'm not a very tall person (4'11" to be exact), so they are not likely to see me behind any donkeys. To imagine being struck by these vehicles really frightened me.

They phone me regarding this complaint to tell me that they forwarded my complaint to Transit Safety and the reason they can't tag or tow parking donkeys is that their Enforcement is spread thin and that it happens at every station. She proceeded to tell me that they are trying to be creative with their solutions, such as PERHAPS creating a computerized gate that counts the cars that come in and shuts when the lot has reached its capacity (Yeh, like that would work: you'd still have donkeys parking illegally while all the other spots near the back remain vacant). Even at Whitby where there is a parking structure, people still park illegally to be closer to the platform.

As an advocate of customer service, receiving a response - let alone the phone-call variety - is very rare. So you can imagine my surprise upon receiving a verbal apology - it allowed me some absolution to my daily grief.

Anyway, THANK YOU CJ. The stories - and story-tellers – you have collected are primo. Thank you for making my day and settling my sanity (if only for a short while).



TomW said...

Two points:
1) If the enforcement is spread so thinly, then maybe they need more enforcement people.
2) "Thin" is not "none". If you have one person going to a different station each weekday, then every station would get hit every two months.
If GO have more than four parking guys, they could cover all parking lots every two weeks or so.
If parking donkeys got tickets every two weeks, most would change their habits.

Anonymous said...

What? No torn red pants, CJ?

Squiggles said...

Wow. I think you hit upon the Holy Grail. Someone actually responded.

However, that response is BS. They can contract out to some tow truck drivers and tow the offending assholes. Do that a few times and the drivers pay for themselves with impound fees.

Plus, computerized gate? They installed something similar already at Ajax. Which was used for ONE WEEK, before just staying up all the time. Why would they think something more complicated would work?

James said...

Someone with the right lawyer will get hurt one day in a parking lot and things will change. It is unfortunate that people will risk their property and others well being to save a few lousy minutes.

Harith said...

I've submitted comments on the GO site, and I've always gotten a call back the same day.

Say what you want, but they really do try to care about your concerns.

The Bombardier person probably has no jurisdiction over what happens on the platform.

deepfish said...

Vigorous enforcement would pay for itself, at least in the short term, IMHO. For example: The Oakville Station platforms and bus area and even areas in front of the doors and even the (few and small) are basically nicotine minefields and smell like frat house ashtrays at all times of the day and night. Send two teams through the station every half hour or so and watch how the fine money pours in. Ditto tow trucks and impounds.

I'm a teacher, and I'll tell you, infantile minds like most parking donkeys, smoking donkeys, and a few kindergarteners, respond best to simple yet forceful and repeated correction. Snatch the ciggie from Stanley Buttsucker's phys a time or two, and dock him a c note or two in fines, and - who knows?- they might start living up to the GO Mission statement promise of safe and comfortable travel...