Friday, March 30, 2012

Not exactly the best weather to be half-naked. Mayan man on the GO

Thanks to Christine for sending this over and to the dozen LSE commuters who told me about him.

Anyone know the story? Was it ROM-related?

So the story is this is a Mayan high priest and it's to promote GO's discount partnership with the ROM's Mayan Exhibit.

Apparently the CSA on the 7:15 am train originating in Oshawa asked all of you to welcome him on board. Some of you were confused about the "high priest" expecting a guy in a collar smoking a doobie.

Offline today. Well I was ...

Poor kid woke up with a "shtuffy noze" and she says feel sick. So movies in bed it is!

It's a mommy and kid day for me.

Got to ride home with a bunch of sore-loser, drunk Leafs fans last night on the 10:13 pm LSE train.

My Twitter feed chronicles the nonsense if you care to read how it went.

The urge to break out the vodka when I got home was strong, but I drank Perrier water instead. See, I knew you'd be proud.

Til Monday, folks, when all this shit starts up again for another week.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

My reaction to almost every TMI conversation on the train

From: 1416417XXXX
To: 9054427423
March 29 2012 04:19 PM

Woman behind me is talking about how her headboard got ripped off the bed last night. And that the mattress was all off kilter. And said, "We are not small people you know". TMI!!!!! TMI!!!!!

Why not?

I'm gonna wear my hair in this Donald Trump comb over style on the train ride home tonight.

PS. I wrote this post completely sober. I'm sober in the picture too.

This Crazy Train's Presto Chronicles, Chapter 16: Bringing a guest along for a ride

In Chapter 2, I mentioned how Presto users who ditched the monthly GO Transit pass also lost the privilege of bringing a guest on board for free, as the graphic I drew above illustrates.

This morning I was chatting up my regular GO Bus driver (who looks like Santa) and I mentioned I'd be taking my daughter out tomorrow to hit up the Pickering Town Centre. She wants to try out the new pedestrain bridge spanning the 401 because she thinks "it would be cool." I also think it would be cool, too.

I asked him if I could buy a day pass from him for her to which he said I could use my Presto card. Don't get excited because he didn't say she'd be free. Because the card is an e-wallet, it can be used to pay for cash fares for people other than yourself.

I asked how that worked. He said he hadn't tried it yet. Guess whose gonna be his guinea pig tomorrow?

I'm bringing cash just in case the machine explodes.

"Can't compute! Error! Error! Error!"

Cue smoke.

The mark of "Zorro"

This was a morning train, according to an email, so this foot rider must have been on the first run of the day and was long gone by the time G.J. got on. But there's more ...
"It appears that a Milton Line passenger had quite a snacking feast, judging from all the crumbs that were left behind.

The bottom right also shows evidence of a dirty foot rider too!

Everyone made an effort to avoid this seat until the train arrived at Cooksville. With it being the last seat, a lady bravely brushed off the crumbs with her hand and sat down.

Some people and their children..."

Crossed Swords

How nice of these gents (who are a little too close for comfort) to have put their backpacks on the ground to accommodate the foot rider, and her backpack, on one of this morning's LSE trains.

All this photo is missing is a match. And flames.

- Submitted

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Email to MPP Jerry Ouellette re: Smoking infractions at Oshawa GO Station

Wed, 28 Mar 2012 07:01:18 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Speaking of a cash-strapped Ontario. Re: GO Transit and lack of by-law enforcement
From: "C.J. Smith"
Cc: "Mxxxx, Mxxxxxx",

Dear Mr. Ouellette,

I hope this email finds you well.

I'm the editor, writer and administrator for a website centered around commuting on GO Transit called, "Ride This Crazy Train". It's aptly titled, trust me.

I'm also a former Oshawa resident, now residing in Clarington. The Oshawa GO Station is my point of departure for my commute to my job in downtown Toronto.

Over the years, it's become quite apparent that many of the GO patrons at Oshawa are having trouble interpreting what a No Smoking sign means. This same phenomena also occurs at other GO stations throughout the GTA. It's a rather troublesome epidemic.

Yesterday's Ontario budget revealed some dire financial news for this province. The Liberal government has identified ways to increase revenue by hiking service fees and taxes, such as the land transfer tax, but seems to be unaware of the goldmine provided by smokers.

Yes, smokers.

I've written about this on my website and invite you to read my latest post.

Perhaps it's advantageous of me to think that fines can have any impact on the provincial deficit, but considering that fines never seem to materialize, maybe it's not unrealistic after all?

With Kind Regards,

Cindy J. Smith
Address withheld
Clarington, ON
905 442 0352

cc: Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario
cc: Mxxxxx Mxxxxxxxx, GO Transit customer (Oakville)

Entitlement? Stupidity? Ignorance?

But how can one be ignorant when there are signs?

Yep, I'm talking about smoking.

According to the Smoke Free Ontario Act, the reason why no smoking is allowed on any outdoor GO train platform is because under Section 1. Definitions, it's considered an enclosed public space defined as: "(ii) to which the public is ordinarily invited or permitted access, either expressly or by implication, whether or not a fee is charged for entry". Source

Watching people smoke at GO stations in the areas designated as non-smoking angers me. People have become too entitled and selfish and feel laws don't apply to them. And second, the lack of enforcement of the no-smoking by-law by GO Transit is equally frustrating which is why I addressed this situation (it's bad at Oshawa and even worse at Oakville) with the MPP for Oshawa, Jerry Ouellette. A copy of the email is online.

GO Transit is a provincial organization funded with my tax dollars and fare, which in turn also pays the salaries of the people operating it and the ones who govern it. I've had enough.

Smokers have the whole planet to smoke on yet, many insist on smoking in the areas where it's not allowed. It's not allowed because the risks of second-smoke are well-known and non-smokers are protected by our government through the Act. You'd have to be living under a rock if you aren't aware of the taxing financial burden smoking has on our health care system.

Just yesterday, in the Ontario budget, it was mentioned that Ontario is cash-strapped. Drivers, wealthy seniors and new homebuyers are expected to help pay down the debt.

What about the smokers? Those who can't obey the law should be fined and enforcement is paramount.

One of this site's readers has started a Facebook page to highlight the infractions at the Oakville GO Station. It's a step but citizen activism is a thankless job and it's ridiculous that it's come to this when we have an organization, Metrolinx, and a provincial government in place to handle the governance of by-laws.

It's time to collect money where money is due.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Over capacity - short film about TTC passenger congestion from the National Post

Did anyone zero out on their Presto card this morning?

I'm so confused. I've only taken 37 Presto rides this month.

This morning when I tapped on at the Oshawa GO station, the card read $0.00 despite a balance of $68.35 on my card.

The deal is, after 41 rides in a month, the rides are free.

I'm not complaining. I'm just wondering if anyone else saw the same?

How to handle trolling Facebook friends

Girl, you can't wear heels and sport socks!

Friday. I'm walking south on Yonge, heading towards Union Station.

I'm passed by this couple, a woman on the left and a man on the right.

When you see it ...

Guess which one is the troll?

Monday, March 26, 2012

This poor student

Too poor to afford VIA so she takes up an entire accessibility seat for her tired self. At least she had her luggage tucked in from the aisle on last Friday's rush hour, express train on the LSE.

- Submitted

Presented without comment

Photo credit: @cruzing_life

Friday, March 23, 2012

This is your Friday

Well it could be if you win tonight's $50 million Lotto Max jackpot.

You know what I like about this particular hot tub? The built in bar shelf. And the stools. See, if I won the lottery I'd start my own business. I don't know what I'd do but I do know I would need somewhere to go every day and I've always wanted a corner office with a hot tub. This hot tub most certainly fits the bill. Colleagues would be invited to pull up a stool when they wanted to discuss first world problems with me and the shelf would be a place for us to put down our drinks.

Buy a ticket!!!

All hail this morning's rainy day foot riders!

- Submitted

What is this "rush hour" you speak of?

from: Andrew
date: Fri, Mar 23, 2012 at 7:59 AM
subject: LSW douche

Dude isn't even pretending to notice the train is almost full. Staring straight ahead into space.

I love the extra poignancy of the fact he's sitting in courtesy seating. You know, the kind that states "Please offer this seat if someone is in need."

... of a nut punch? - CJ

I thought we had already awarded Donkey of The Year but we may have jumped the gun

from: SA
date: Thu, Mar 22, 2012 at 9:54 AM
subject: Multi-tasker

This girl's got mad skills. She was able to put her mascara and eyeliner on, have a loud conversation with a fellow twat, play music on her computer, put her feet on the chair, all whilst giving me a headache as she applied nail polish.

Transit was so much better in the days when all we wanted was to eat some beef

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Why is this bus being a bus?

Yesterday morning, a young woman extended the privilege of allowing me and others to listen in on a conversation she was having on her phone while the train idled at Oshawa.

Please, let me share ...

Woman: "OH MY GAWD. That bus ride took forever. You should have just drove me. I'm never taking the GO bus again."


Woman: "It was ridiculous! The bus kept stopping, people kept getting on ... like, every stop. Every stop!"


Woman: "I know, right? Like where do all these people come from? I was shocked! And of course everyone has to pay and the driver has to give change, and he's taking his time, and I'm like, this is INSANE!"


Woman: "Well, I hated it. I'm never doing it again. What was even more annoying was the driver kept stopping at every yellow light, like, he totally could have ran them all. All it means is that the light's gonna change but he's stopping at every... single... one. And all this traffic is going by. I was like, for reals? Let me drive the damn bus."


Woman: Like seriously, right? Oh my god. I don't know why anyone takes the bus when driving is so much better. Okay I'm gonna go. I can tell everyone is like, listening to my whole life story. I'll call you lates. K? Bye.

... and my head exploded. Mushroom cloud. Boom.

Speaking of global water crisis

A couple of posts ago I confronted a hater and suggested this person do her part to solve the global water crisis by keeping her feet on the seats of GO trains.

Today is World Water Day. I know that somewhere on Facebook, people are working to solve this crisis by posting status updates from the comfort of their homes or offices while having returned from Starbucks after purchasing a $600 cup of coffee and lamenting about those poor people in Uganda who don't have any water to drink and wondering why more can't be done.

Anyhoo ... This is actually a cause that is near and dear to my heart so when you have a moment, please visit and consider a small donation.

And yes, I did email Franca suggesting she check it out. I will post her reply if I get one.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Selfish observatio​ns from the Kitchener afternoon train

from: Iceman7525
date: Tue, Mar 20, 2012 at 8:09 PM
subject: Selfish observations from the Kitchener afternoon train

Hi. Love your blog; It aptly describes daily travel "on the Go".

The 4:45PM Union to Kitchener train fills up pretty fast; seats are a premium.

I'm one of the first to board at 4:35PM, and get a seat next to a pretty woman. Next to us an East Indian woman gets on, sits across from both of us in a quad, and promptly drops her purse and shopping bag next to her. I assume she'll take her bags off if someone needs a seat.

A blond girl gets on a few minutes later, looks around for an empty seat, spies the empty on in our quad and asks the woman if someone is sitting in the seat. The East Indian woman says she's "saving it for her friend to arrive". The girl goes past us to look for an empty seat.

A minute later the girl comes back and asks to sit in the empty seat. The woman repeats she's saving it for her friend again.

Both the pretty woman and I look at the woman incredulously; what nerve! The pretty woman now tells the East Indian that saving the seat is uncouth and the girl deserves the seat in no uncertain terms. Sheepishly the woman removes her bags and keeps them on her lap.

All through the ride the three of us are ignored as though It was that woman's right to keep a seat from someone!! She got off at Malton and ignored us. The girl thanked us for standing up for her.

There's always someone...

GO steps up for its Barrie customers

The Background

From Sylvie:

I was on the train that ended up being delayed by two hours because of signal issues between Union and York University. To bypass the problem spot, trains two and three (out of the five that make the run to Barrie) where sent on a "slight detour" (their words). We somehow ended up at the Bramalea station on the Kitchener line, from where we backtracked (after crew changed to the other side of the train) and slowly made our way to York U, where the crew switched sides again. In all, I was on the hot, overcrowded train for three hours! And the other trains that didn't make the "slight detour"? Yeah, well, they were allowed to proceed through the faulty signal slowly, and got through much faster. Trains two and three where the last to arrive.

Of course this was the day I only had about 40 minutes ofbattery life left in mynetbook ...

In response, GO Transit issued this:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The luck of the GO was a no-GO for me

Dang, my entry wasn't selected.

For the past month, in advance of St. Patrick's Day, GO Transit ran a contest asking commuters to submit stories of "Good luck on the GO" for a chance to win a Presto Card pre-loaded with 10 GO rides (Congratulations! You get to travel to Exhibition and back! Oh, you live is Stouffville? Sucks to be you!).

I'm bummed my story wasn't one of the three finalists.

Here's what I wrote:

It started with a key, a really late night and a shuttered GO station. I was at the station because I had been dropped off to retrieve my own vehicle after a six-times delayed flight home from a convention and no train would be getting me anywhere considering the hour I had left downtown Toronto.

Someone had lost a set of car keys. They were lying on the ground when I came across them. I won't tell you which GO station on the advice of my lawyer because apparently if you write stuff down it becomes something called evidence which is a load of bull because I write down stuff all the time for my husband to do and none of it gets done and the police aren't helpful at all. Why can't I have him arrested for not cleaning the cat shitter when it says, "clean cat shitter" on that little notepad our local real estate agent likes to leave in our mailbox as "swag"? I'm still stuck with a cat shitter full of shit and no one cares! Not even the fire department. Besides, I didn't do anything wrong that night but Howard Bigfird is an expensive lawyer and I do what he says.

I picked up the keys and inspected them. There were two key fobs on the ring, each one for a different make of vehicle. Key fobs are those clicker things that you point at a car to remotely open its doors.

There was no one to turn the keys into since the station was closed, so I began wondering around the parking lot pressing the door open buttons on both key fobs. Feeling like a gunslinger, I spread my legs apart and fired off each knob one at a time. After about 30 minutes, I heard the click and saw the flicker of headlights from a nearby car. A clunker, really. Don't know the year but it was rusting around the logo and along the fenders. Not only did I find car keys, but I also found the car they belong to! Tell me that's not lucky!? Not for me. For the owner.

I opened the car door and looked inside. What a mess. Packaged food containers were everywhere. Clothes were strewn across the back seat. Wait, before you judge me, I did NOT take the car for a joyride nor did I even think about such a thing. I did, however, take a look in the trunk. I don't know what possessed me to look in the trunk, but I did anyway.

Holy mother of God!

It was empty.

Not sure now what to do with the keys, I decided to put them on the floor of the car and lock the doors. This way, the person gets them back. I didn't particularly care if they had to call a tow truck guy to jimmy the doors. Most likely, there's a spare key and all that's needed is a phone call to a spouse or parent. Right?

I pressed down the door lock and shut the door.

As I was walking over to my SUV, this dark figure appears out of nowhere and comes running towards me. "Hey!" The person yells - a man. "You didn't happen to find a set of car keys did you!?"

Call me paranoid but the first thing I'm thinking because I watch way too much Dateline and read way too many crime/suspense novels is that I'm somehow being set up for a scam.

I yield my rolling suitcase in front of me preparing to use it as a battering ram - Chuck Norris style. I figure I could snap off the handle and use it as a weapon if it came down to that.

Out of breath, this guy, age hard to tell, comes to a dead stop in front of me, panting. He's now leaned over in an attempt to catch his breath.

"Sorry," he says, breathing heavy. "I saw you walk from my car."

Jesus Christ, I thought. Superman? Is that you? I was pretty far away from where this guy could have been standing before he broke into a sprint.

I wasn't sure what to say. I was still working the handle of my rolling suitcase wondering about the best way to force it to break. Don't believe what you see in the movies! That handle wasn't budging. Worst case scenario, I swing the suitcase and knock him out cold.

I had a lot of questions for the guy such as, why are you here at this hour? How did you see me from wherever you were? Why is your car so messy?

I told him I did find the keys and that I locked them in the car.

Suddenly, he goes all Jack Nicholson in the Shining on me. I get ready to start swinging.

"Why didn't you just leave them on the seat with the door open?!" He yells. He's stomping his feet, cursing and flinging his arms around.

I'm standing there, amazed at what I'm seeing.

All this over keys!

Screw this, I thought. I don't owe this guy anything. I back away and move sideways towards my SUV. The guy is too busy ranting and raving to notice I've beelined it to my car. Thankfully, I didn't have to put my key in the ignition and start crying and muttering "C'mon, c'mon, c'mon", urging the car to start. That's the problem with horror films, the cars are always old and unreliable. I threw my SUV into gear and accelerated out of the lot.

'Jack' gave chase for a bit and actually whipped his boot in my direction as I drove away.

Unbelievable, right? I find the guy's keys, which was lucky for him, and this is the thanks I get!? I really hope he submits an entry to this contest, too, because I'd really like to hear his side of the story.

Please do not smoke near the Presto machines or the ticket stampers

I've suffered with asthma my whole life and as an adult, I find it harder to tolerate second-hand cigarette smoke then when I was younger.

In college, I used to be stupid and would take a drag off friends' cigarettes simply for the headrush only to cough for hours afterwards. See? Stupid.

Asthma aside, I think the low tolerance stems from how little I am exposed to it these days. Unlike when I was a kid and everyone smoked. My parents used to smoke in the car with myself and my sisters in the back and one window cracked open.

My first newspaper job was in an office where everyone smoked. I went home smelling like an ashtray every night.

Now we can go to nightclubs and bars and come home smelling like we did when we left.

I imagine smokers feel like they've become lepers in society. They've been pushed out and into smoking in doorways and that my friends, is THE PROBLEM.

No matter where I go downtown, I am subjected to plumes of cigarette smoke as I enter and exit buildings. The worst is Union Station, the east side near the GO Concourse, it's a wall of smokers and the west Teamway is horrific. I tried to walk through there once and came out gasping and wheezing for air. The east Teamway isn't any better as the smokers like to congregate around the doors.

It is a free country but I still think some smokers push the envelope a little bit with where they choose to smoke without being aware they're actually bothering people, even though nothing forbids them from smoking where they're smoking. This is where a little common courtesy helps.

For the past several mornings, at the Oshawa GO station, this girl has been standing right beside the three Presto machines, at the entrance to the platform, and smoking. There's nothing stopping her from smoking there but she has the entire grounds surrounding the station, the bus platforms and the parking lot to smoke but nope, she smokes RIGHT THERE.

This morning, I said something. I said, "I'm sorry to say this, but people, myself included, should not have smoke blown in our faces while using the machines."

I pointed out her smoke could be bothersome to commuters who need to use the machines and asked if she would consider standing with the other smokers.

She apologized and then said, "I don't like to smoke there because it makes my clothes stink."

The hell?

Rarely am I at a loss for words so I said nothing in response. I think I may have nodded which probably only validated her feelings and added to her sense of entitlement.

My God.

She must be the mastermind behind this sign.

What 'bikes prohibited during rush hour' rule?

Uploaded by justguelph2011 on Mar 19, 2012

This is on the 5:45pm GO Train to Kitchener from Union. This person puts his bike in front of me. There is a sign saying that trains that leave Union Station between 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. Bicycles are prohibited as well as inside Union Station during those times. I am not sure how he got past all that. The kicker is that his music was so loud, It reminded me of my radio at work. You can hear it at the tail end of this video, but I swear it was loud from Union right to Brampton where he got off.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Hipster is too hip to sit on seat

Needy payphone, is needy

Richmond Street, Toronto

The following conversation is real


By Telephone

Yours Truly with random GO Customer Care representative

Long-winded pre-recorded introductory message.
Repeat long-winded pre-recorded introductory message in french.

Hit "0"

Waiting ...

GO: Good day, (name withheld) speaking. How may I help you?

CJ: Oh hi, I'm calling because I want to discuss the thermostat configuration within your coaches.

GO: Sorry?

CJ: It's too hot in the trains.

GO: Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. We are having rather unusual warm weather.

CJ: Yes, unexpected for March, I know, but I'm curious, when the temperature is set for the coaches, don't the CSAs or the conductor lick their index finger and stick it out the window and gauge the weather? Who the heck thought it was a good idea to set the thermostats to "broil"?

GO: (Chuckling...) Well no, that's not how it works, they would have an idea of the temperature outside.

CJ: My concern is that last week it was so hot on the train I was on, that I nearly passed out. Then I was told that the coaches are set by some Oompa Loompas in some magical yard to 22C. Is that true? Because that's way too hot. I don't even set my home furnace to that.

GO: I'm not sure how the interior temperature is established but you can always visit the CSA in the accessibility coach to mention your discomfort.

CJ: No dice. That didn't work last week so I am calling. In advance. I'm concerned about this Wednesday. It's supposed to be 26C.

GO: Can I ask what train you take? What line?

CJ: Lakeshore East.

GO: Do you remember what day exactly and the time it was too hot?

CJ: March 13th. 5:10 LSE. Heat was CRANKED. I even tweeted the GO Transit Twitter hamster. I know it's a hamster, because after my tweet, the wheel stopped spinning. Hamster was dead. Ask it a question that requires an answer. Boom! Road kill.

GO: (Silence)

CJ: So ... do you think, in this modern age, you can do me a HUGE favour and make sure the crew of today's 5:10 LSE sets the thermostat at 18C and actually switches to cool air. Not hot air?

GO: You're actually serious?

CJ: Yes. Can I have your word? Pretend you're a medieval knight and not the kind that do that fake jousting at the CNE while people shove chicken legs into their mouths. A real knight. Like Mel Lastman in that movie.

GO: Uh ... don't you mean Mel Gibson and he wasn't a knight. I'm pretty sure he was a soldier.

CJ: Whatever. But he kept his word, right?! We shall have our freedom and all that. Well, I want my freedom to be air conditioning.

GO: (Laughing ... ) You made my day. Just for you, I will see what I can do. Okay?

CJ: I just want my ride home to be comfortable.

GO: Absolutely. It would be my honour.

Other pleasantries exchanged as well as personal info.

He thought I was kidding when I said I'd be bringing a thermometer on board to hold him to his promise.


So (name withheld) got back to me and as it turns out all the trains are pre-programmed to a set temperature and can not be adjusted until March 20th - the first official day of Spring.

Until then, we must all suffer.

I can not explain why or how other commuters managed to get CSAs to adjust the temperatures in coaches but it is apparently true that at the service/maintenace yard, the thermostats are set to a pre-programmed temperature that can't be changed until a certain date. Similar, said the CSA, to how buildings have a schedule.

Again, this the first time the system has had to deal with summer temperatures in what is essentially winter. There's no mandate in place because no one ever thought it would get this hot.

Bring water. Dress in layers. Think cool thoughts.

UPDATE #2!!!

So apparently, on the 4:10 LSE, the air conditioning is running as I received two text messages from two different people in two different coaches that the train is blowing cold air.

Ok, (name withheld), I'm coming to collect. I don't know what I'm collecting. But it will be something.

Good morning...

Photo credit: @Nilaye10

RT @Nilaye10: what would Hulk do if he saw this on a busy train? @ThisCrazyTrain… - ME SMASH BAG! ME SMASH EVERYTHING!
Mar 18, 6:51 AM

I don't know what to make of this weather

Apparently on Wednesday, it's to hit 26C with a humidex of 30C.

Yesterday, a friend of mine who lives in the Riverdale area of Toronto mentioned on Facebook that she turned on her central air.

My dad, all 65 years of him, can't recall a March like this in his lifetime.

Personally, I find these weather patterns scary.

You know what else is scary? Driving in fog. It was intense on the weekend on the QEW through the Hamilton region.

In Port Credit, Adam Kemp tweeted this pic to me of a GO train making its way through the soup.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

There's a web show ... about the "currrazy". Just watch.

Abandoned love and a cheatin' heart


Today, comedy gold fell from the sky in the form of a love letter that I stumbled across on the floor, at the foot of the stairs, to the 12/13 platform at Union Station.

Half-folded and covered in script, it caught my eye and I almost didn't pick it up. I hesitated before snatching it and I quickly scanned it.

I discovered the letter was unfinished, part of a series of pages that may have been dropped by the woman who wrote it or the man it was intended for.

Pages 1 and 2 have been posted for your perusal and because I have some shred of a soul, I have blacked out dates, names and a key identifying comment in order to protect the author.

Click on each scanned image to enlarge the letter in a new window.

I have a ton of questions for the person who wrote it, such as, was the affair going on prior to the wedding? Why does she feel diamonds are better gifts than household appliances? How much money does she make that she's in a position to bankroll him? I also would like to tell her to dump this guy. We all know he's not going to leave his wife. Many rarely do. Send him packing, sister!

Despite a few shoutouts in the TO Night Newspaper from me and a few others, we were never able to get the rest of the letter. Bummer.

Chat with Skin Man on 2/29/2012

Don't be fooled by its innocence.

CJ Smith. Ridin' this crazy train, Skin Man


Skin Man:
Hey CJ! On my way home via VIA tonight. Very interesting trip. All of the staff are being very careful to follow the safety regulations. Safety messages are spoken clearly and completely. However there is one young women who is refusing to stow her luggage. The attendants have explained that if there is a problem her luggage may become airborne and hurt herself or other passengers. A couple of other passengers have told her to smarten up, but she's sticking to her guns. Some peoples children. You'd think the proximity to the tragedy would have some impact. The security I think have been called to enforce compliance.

Skin Man:
I guess to her defence you don't need to store stuff on the GO. Cheers

CJ Smith. Ridin' this crazy train:
Oh good. I'm glad security was called! I'm sick of people and their entitlement!

Skin Man:
Sadly security in this case was a fellow how looked like Santa and gently told the young lass as he was taking tickets to store it above. She said she had to watch it at all times b/c she was worried about theft. Santa response: everyone here look like nice people and then he wondered off. He's walked past several times since.....ugh!

CJ Smith. Ridin' this crazy train:
Oh come on. For god's sake. Man I wish I was on that train then I can tell her the figure skate story.

By Cindy J. Smith <-
Yes, this is my real name but transit reporters never believe me

It was a dark and cold February night. Jerry and Katy were returning home from a romantic night of hot chocolate and skating at the arena in town.

It was quiet in the SUV. The sound of the tires on the road was comforting. Both began to reminisce about the past several hours together.

Suddenly, a dark figure, low to the ground, darted across the road and Jerry jerked the wheel, steering the car to a hard right, heading for the ditch.

In a matter of seconds, the car entered the ditch and then slammed into a wooden telephone poll.

Both Katy and Jerry survived the terrible crash, but not without extensive leg, head and facial injuries.

You see, Jerry liked to use his SUV as his mobile living room and littered the back seat with his tools, a laptop, coins, shoes, CDs and other crap. In the cargo area of the SUV, were the couple's ice skates.

When emergency crews arrived, one of the firefighters brought Jerry back over to his mangled vehicle and using a flashlight, pointed it at an object impaled into the back of his headrest.

It was one of Katy's ice skates, it's back blade embedded in the cushioning of the headrest.

"That could have been your head, sir," the firefighter said.

Use netting to secure cargo in an SUV. Keep the backseat of vehicles free of debris. Secure BBQ propane tanks with bungee cords and do not put them in the back seat. Keep hockey bags in the trunk and CDs in a lockable storage container.

In a crash, everything not belted down becomes airborne and acts as moving projectiles. Head and facial injuries are common injuries sustained in car crashes and can be avoided if people keep their vehicles neat and objects secure.

There's a reason why VIA employees and airline attendants ask people to stow their belongings.

And now you know ... [whispering] ... (Bell Biv Devoe)

Presto and tax credits

You know what I like most about having this website? How us GO/This Crazy Train regulars truly care about each other and look out for each other, specifically each other's financial interests.

For example, this email from TomW:

date: Thu, Mar 15, 2012 at 12:42 PM
subject: Presto and tax Credits

Hi CJ,
I went to H&R Block the other day to sort out my tax return, and took my Presto usage statement with me. The person helping me throught the statement was rather confusing, and ended up going to a senior person to make sure she'd go things right. Senior person said he'd seen several of these, and had concerns that they "weren't in CRA-approved format" (!!). We ended up putting the relevant amount down for the transit tax credit, but was warned I might have issues if the CRA audit me. (My reply was that there will be 100,000+ people submitting these things...)
So, I thought the above may of interest to fellow readers.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Oh, you're hot? Too bad. Don't bother asking GO Transit on Twitter for assistance

CJ Smith ‏ @ThisCrazyTrain
On 510 LSE. Heat is CRANKED on coach 2132. A+ @GetontheGO It's 18C outside - as in "PLUS"! Went to next #gotrain coach - also set to broil.

CJ Smith ‏ @ThisCrazyTrain
RT "@JenLynH: had the same problem on the 5:15 LSW. Had to go thru three to find a more comfortable temp #gotrain" @GetontheGOUnacceptable!

CJ Smith ‏ @ThisCrazyTrain
@JenLynH If someone faints on this damn train and it results in a medical emergency ... Then what? Don't the CSAs get weather reports!?
GO Transit ‏ @GetontheGO
Hi @ThisCrazyTrain. Please speak with the CSA in the accessible coach about the temperature in your coach.
In reply to CJ Smith
CJ Smith ‏ @ThisCrazyTrain
@GetontheGO It's impossible to get to CSA with crowd of people blocking the stairwells b/c of ajax door restrictions. Hence the @ mention TY

Deborah Smerek ‏ @dsmerek
@ThisCrazyTrain @GetontheGO was asked for help re: Barrie line delay all they could suggest was to sign up for GO alerts.#NoHelpAtAll
In reply to CJ Smith

In reply to CJ Smith

CJ Smith ‏ @ThisCrazyTrain
@dsmerek @GetontheGO How is this possible that there is no way to communicate with engs/csas with all this technology!? Rethink CSR comm!
In reply to Deborah Smerek

CJ Smith ‏ @ThisCrazyTrain
@HULKGORIDER Thanks Hulk but I'm sure there are more diplomatic ways to deal. I think I see smoke signals coming from 20 Bay Street in T.O.
In reply to HULK RIDE GO

Drop-kick me, Jesus, through the goalposts of life

In this case, Pear.

Did I ever tell you how good I am at kicking?

I can punt any object and get incredible distance. Football players got nothin' on me.

And when I see your shit blocking the aisle while the train is boarding, all I see are goalposts.

Thanks to SM for the pic. Apparently this woman does this daily:
Every freaking day, morning train on Lakeshore East, this woman gets on with her ‘bags’ and takes up half the aisle as people climb to get past her. She gets on early, and there are always ample seats available, including those seats under the stairs for people with luggage…but she opts for the seat where you can’t put anything under (though I doubt it would fit!), and leaves it in the aisle creating a hazard. Selfish twit! Her purse is bulging at the seams too – who needs that much stuff EVERY DAY for work!?!?!

Our fare increases at work

Installing 2- and 10-ride ticket stamping machines at Pickering GO Station, only to remove them come June following the end of 2- and 10-ride ticket sales.


Photo courtesy of Tom W.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

ON Liberals NOT moving ahead with charging for parking at GO station lots

Instead, Dalton's gonna make drivers in this province help pay down the debt by charging us more to renew our licences and validate our plates.

Not surprised. It's been 15 years without an increase.

And we thought it was an urban legend... GO Transit refunds do exist. Just be prepared to jump through hoops, writes author

Photo credit: Dylan Passmore via Flickr

by Emily Burke

For over a year, Luke Bailey left his house in Oshawa at the crack of dawn (or earlier) to catch the 7:13 a.m. GO bus nearby that dropped him at the Oshawa GO train station for the 7:53 train. This train would take him to the GO station at Exhibition for 8:55. By the time he got up to his office in Liberty Village, the whole commute clocked in at about two hours, door-to-door. At the end of each day, he spent another two hours getting home. That was on a good day; on a bad day, there would be delays. In Bailey’s experience, a short delay added an extra 15 minutes to his trip, but there were times he waited much longer and was once stuck on the train for an extra hour and a half.

“That can be really frustrating at the end of the work day,” Bailey says. After a delay like that, anxious passengers eager to rejoin normal civilization might not stop to wonder, right then and there (while there are GO staff members on hand) whether they’re entitled to a refund for their ticket. But trying to figure out GO’s refund policy from the comfort of your home is no easy task.

GO's refund guidelines are nowhere to be found on its website. Instead, people have to head to the customer service booth at Union Station, or any staffed GO station during business hours, to find out which delayed trains are eligible for refunds. But the general rule is that if a train or bus is at least 45 minutes late and if GO is very clearly responsible for the delay, the company is more likely to offer a refund, says Malon Edwards, GO Transit’s media relations and issues specialist.


I almost became one of "them"

Them being people responsible for medical emergencies, and the train grinding to a halt at the next station, and thousands of people being late to pick children up from daycare.

A few months back a friend had been going on about a movie called The Human Centipede. Knowing I like horror films (keyword being horror), he suggested I watch it.

Okay, here's the thing, there's a MASSIVE DIFFERENCE between medical gore and downright, knockout, grossness and horror films. I can take blood and gore, provided I avert my eyes, even managing to sit through all five Final Destination films but I can't handle medical, gastronomy-based filth which is what The Human Centipede is.

I was watching the movie on the train ride home. There's a scene where the deranged surgeon begins to outline and sketch on a white board what he intends to do to his victims. It's disgusting.

Let me tell you something about me and graphic medical stuff. For as long as I can remember, if you show me anatomy charts detailing any function of any organ of the body, especially anything involving the reproductive system, I faint. Bag of bricks. Down for the count.

I can't even read the instructions for a certain feminine hygiene product without feeling the need to gasp for air and stick my head out a window.

I was a lot of fun in sex Ed.

While watching this scene, my brain went into repulsion-overload. I quickly stopped the movie but not before I began to feel all the symptoms that lead up to passing out.

So I peeled off all my clothes leaving me sitting on the train in a tank top in an effort to combat the clamminess. Then I leaned forward a bit to try to calm the light-headedness and the urge to vomit. None of what I was doing was working.

The train was heading into Whitby at this point so I knew I had to get off. I was so weak, I barely had enough strength to carry my stuff and negotiate the stairs. I know I definitely looked drunk as I made my way down to the doors and I guess I was pale enough to generate a few stares of concern as the train began to slow down. One woman did ask me if I was okay. I felt like the biggest tool. All this over a movie.

She helped onto the platform and kept a hand on my arm to steady me. I told her I was just feeling car sick. The cold air felt incredible. I just stood there inhaling deep breaths.

She gave me her cell number in case I still felt ill since she offered to drive me home, which I thought was incredibly kind. By the time the next train rolled in, I was right as rain.

I deleted that god-awful movie. Shit nearly killed me.

Note. I can't even bring myself to Google an image of the movie poster without feeling the need to stifle the urge to vomit.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Your money is no good here

The bus drops me off early enough at the Oshawa GO station that I have time to buy a coffee at the Gateway "Newstand" (I use this term loosely since there are more chocolate bars and beverages at this particular outlet than newspapers).

This morning was hellish. I don't care what the clock said. When I got up my brain said 4:30 am. When I walked to the bus stop IN THE DARK (eff you daylight savings) my brain was clearly registering 5:30 am.

I was so out of it. I knew I needed coffee. (I still feel I could use another one)

I asked for an extra large ($1.70 - a bargain if you consider coffee prices at other places) and pulled out a tenner.

"Nuh-uh-uh!" Exclaimed Mr. Coffee Man. "I don't take that kind of $10 bill. It's counterfeit."

He actually stood back from the counter and raised his hands up in the air. From the way he reacted, one would have thought I just handed him my dirty underwear.

I asked him why he thought it was fake. I also reminded him that the bank of Canada frowns upon retailers who outright refuse to accept bills even if they feel the bank note is counterfeit especially considering he had no signage indicating he refuses THIS EXACT TYPE OF TEN DOLLAR BILL (see below):

"I only accept the ones with the shiny stripe," he says. Like this one:

But clearly dude knew the rules (scroll to the Legal Tender section) because he told me he would accept whatever other money I may have on hand, even if it was change and even if I was short because he knew he couldn't outright deny me my purchase. This location also takes debit, so there other options for payment.

Years ago, I took this course about counterfeiting and I remember the instructor telling us that if there was matter of dispute about legal tender where a resolution couldn't be met (such as one party disagreeing if the note was legal or not) a mutual decision about payment could be met using other methods such as tap dancing for the retailer, or mopping floors, and even washing dishes. This may be a load of crap now (considering the introduction and use of debit cards) but it made sense back then.

I needed the coffee. And yes, I could use my debit card but he didn't seem too keen on it considering the size of the transaction.

I was able to come up with $1.70 after digging through my bag and pockets.

When I got to work, I went into the CIBC branch in my building and asked them to check the bill. It was legit.

Drink that, Mr. Coffee Man!

I did, however, ask the bank to give me two fives in exchange for the note. Ones with shiny stripes on them. And Mr. Coffee Man? He needs to make a sign.


Source: @Norms_Brain

RT "@Norms_Brain: ! @ThisCrazyTrain #gotrain"

Let's get it on ...

Source: @carlyconway9

2 of my biggest #GOtransit pet peeves right before my eyes: PDA and shoes off w/ feet on seat. THIS IS NOT YOUR

Noted Canadian singer-songwriter barking mad at VIA

I'm hesitant to use the word celebrity in this case because if my dad doesn't know who you are, you're not *that* famous.

The 'celebrity' in question is Canadian singer-songwriter (and talent show judge) Jann Arden.

Arden had her dog in a carrier as she sat in a VIA coach. After the train left Toronto, she was told her dog would have to be put in a special coach for animals to protect other passengers who may be allergic. In the same breath, she was told service dogs were the only dogs allowed in coaches.

Arden also claims in a series of tweets on Twitter that she had encountered up to five VIA employees prior to the train departing and that not one asked her to remove her dog.

VIA made her get off the train in Oshawa.

In response, Arden told VIA they could eat her bra. She eventually rented a car to finish her journey to Ottawa.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Be prepared to have problems with the CRA in regards to Presto transit usage reports

The CRA accepted 2011 Presto usage reports without any problems according to several readers who wrote in after May 2012.


I called Presto to complain about the nightmare that is the transit usage reports, indicating how by using those reports it is not possible to 100% determine how much per month that I spent. She informed me that these 'transit usage reports' are NOT official tax receipts and that I should visit the CRA website to determine exactly what I need as an official tax receipt for my transit expenses.

From the CRA Website:

To make a claim, you need:
  • the passes,
  • or the receipts for the passes,
  • or a letter from her employer if her employer participates in a transit pass program.
(For example) Felicia has all her passes, and she just needs to make sure the pass displays:
  • an indication that it is monthly or longer
  • the date or period it was for
  • the name of the transit authority or organization
  • the amount paid
  • and the identity of the rider by name or unique identifier.
The CSR said what I should have been doing is printing off the monthly usage reports each month last year!!! Well fuckyouverymuch and thanks, PRESTO, for telling us that LAST YEAR!!! Especially since one can only go back 3 months on the site. CSR says, 'Ya, I think there was a miscommunication maybe on our part'. I said "No shit Sherlock".


- Pissed off Presto User

This is your Friday

There's a collection of best and worst GO stories on Reddit.

And This Crazy Train was given a shout out in the thread.


What 'No Smoking' Sign?

Nice to know our fare increase pays for by-law enforcement. Oh, wait ...

Here's what this guy had to say when confronted by a passenger about smoking in the non-smoking designated areas:

If you know this guy, have him email me. I'd love to engage him in conversation so I can find out why he came to feel so entitled.

- Submitted (Oakville GO Station)

Sleepin' Hardcore


Meanwhile, on a TTC subway

- Submitted

Shelter does not provide shelter

Someone threw a rock. Nice huh? Oh, and it wasn't @HULKGORIDER. He said HE NO SMASH BUS SHELTER EVEN THOUGH BUS WAS LATE.

- Courtice bus shelter

Burning question

bre_the_ren 15 hours 56 mins ago Twitter
@ThisCrazyTrain What is it with people carrying suitcases to work? And to do so on #GOTrains?

Dumb and dumber

- Submitted

Wet rain boots on a dry cloth seat? Absolutely!

She is settled in feet propped up and boyfriend called to tell him LSE 813 train is underway at 840 tonight. So let's review my evening... working late, late train, sitting across from young foosa and, oh no! shamrock shake machine busted. Damn solar storms knockin out shake machines.

Could be worse... the Bell sisters Ding and Dong could be in the last car tonight.

An early Happy St. Pattys day to ya.

- Fellow Go Patriot