Thursday, April 19, 2012

9:13 pm LSE CSA takes on six smoking, drunk teenagers

My BFF and I took the 9:13 pm LSE train from Union last night.
We sat in the second coach from the locomotive.

Just after Rouge Hill, someone on the train lit a cigarette.

I smelled it first and jumped up and bolted up the steps.

Oh hells no.

Six young men (late teens? maybe 18-20 years of age?) who had made their way to the bi-level part of the coach, who  were carrying on like they were still at the bar, were passing around a cigarette and one was just outright smoking. There were other passengers who were staring straight ahead, pretending not to notice.

What?! Since when do a couple of punks "own" a train?

I stared at them all for all of 30 seconds, realized this was more than I could handle, and headed back down the stairs.

"Wait here," I told my friend. "I'll be back."

I am still shocked that I am the only passenger who went to find enforcement or alert the CSA. And not one pushed the emergency strip.

I tell the CSA who pulls out a BlackBerry and calls dispatch(?) to find out if there are Transit Safety Officers in the area. There were not any on the train. I also didn't want the CSA to confront six, drunk teenagers on his own without backup.

Between Rouge Hill and Ajax, the CSA was unable to secure enforcement which meant he had to deal with these jerks on his own. Myself, my friend and another male passenger offered to provide backup. He said he'd be okay but I also told him that his personal physical safety was paramount over a pack of cigarettes. Rest assured, I wanted these assholes kicked off the train, but that's an officer's job, not a CSA.

He assures us he'll be fine but I follow after him to watch him to make sure no one throws a punch at him.

He confronts the men with one getting up and getting right into his face. I remained too far back to hear what was being said but was ready to signal the male volunteer to provide assistance if the confrontation got physical.

The punk talking to the CSA was actually holding a smoldering cigarette. Some people's children!!!

The CSA returns. He was smart. He backed away from the men as he went up the stairs so as to not turn his back to them.

He told those of us who were ready to tag in for WWE Smackdown (insert #) that he told them he had notified police, that the fine was $100,000 (he admitted he didn't really know what the fine was but I was okay with that number) and told them to get off the train at Whitby or they faced being arrested at Oshawa (he really was left holding the bag on his own which concerns me as a GO Transit customer).

When we pulled into Whitby, all of them bolted from the train.

Those of us left on our coach began to have a discussion about what kind of people, drunk or not, decide to smoke on a commuter train in full view of other paying passengers. Self-entitlement? Lack of respect? Then we began to lament about the state of today's youth.

Sitting kitty-corner to us, those of us having this discussion, was a young man engrossed in his e-reader with his feet on the seats.

He catches my eye and says, "I'm 20 and even I see the lack of respect."

Irony. (insert rag time piano) Play me out Johnny!


GO anonymous said...

Dear CJ
Thank you for realizing the role of us CSAs. We are the passengers' conduit to provide safe passage and make decisions necessary to enforcement.
Mob mentality is frightening and at least you had the wherewithal to recognize that, and also, express this to the CSA.
It's unfortunate there were no officers in the area but generally, with this kind of non-compliance, we rely on local law enforcement to take care of such belligerent behaviour.
The CSA, bluffing or not, handled the situation as expected.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, the CSA shouldn't have to "bluff" but I understand GO can't police the planet and passengers are expected to be compliant but that's not always the case.
These men were smoking on a public train, in an enclosed space. From CJ's story, it infers the next stop was Pickering.
They should have all been told to leave by the engineer, via the loudspeaker or otherwise risk police action at the next stop.
It concerns me that the CSA felt he had to speak to them personally.
Then again, he is the physical face of GO and has to demonstrate his authority, I suppose.
in reading the story as is, I'm fine with how the situation was handled. I just think, in future, GO should have a prepared speech for CSAs and the engineers to deal with such a gross infraction. These men needed to be off that train at the next stop. It shouldn't have taken until Whitby.

C.J. Smith said...

The CSA did tell us that this was the first time in his career he'd been faced with this situation and I believed him. He was equally stunned as me that I was the only passenger who came to tell him which means it probably has happened before but no one said anything.

I feel he did a great job handling the situation considering he exhausted his security options first before deciding to speak to them personally. He wasn't alone. I know where the ax, hammer, and other tools designated for emergencies are kept. He was protected.

I'm sure the CSA has taken something away with him from this incident and I'm sure your comment will be taken into consideration.

It's a good point as it did annoy me that these jerks puffed away for as long as they did.

lswgirl13 said...

And why don't they have an officer on all trains??? At least on the nighttime trains when they know there is a Blue Jay or Leaf (or whatever) game or a concert???

James said...

There really should be a GO cop on each train especially at night. They can make up the extra costs with all the fare jumpers and other fines they'll catch. People will definitely pay their fare if they know they'll most likely be checked every single ride.

Squiggles said...

I was in a similar position, but it was with one yahoo and a joint. I was getting off on the next stop, so I couldn't make it to the CSA and back without missing my stop.

But I agree with lswgirl: why not have a Transit Officer on the night trains? I know they have them on the nights of the Leaf games (saw them traveling in packs of 8 one night).

The law clerk bunch said...

Bad stuff can happen on the GO trains at any time of day. The middle of the afternoon is just as isolated for the CSAs. There should be an officer on all trains at all times. PERIOD.
This really concerns us as long time users of GO that this CSA was truly on his own last night. Passengers shouldn't have to be pulling rogue vigilante crap! We pay enough that we shouldn't have to police the damn system or provide backup to a CSA.
We're calling to complain.

C.J. Smith said...

Law clerk bunch. I'm sure there are logistics to consider with what you're proposing.

Spoke to a lovely lady starting with an "L" at GO Transit Customer Care about this situation. Also spoke to Customer Relations. GO did receive a complaint about this situation. The CSA did handle it as expected. The person who complained was asked why he/she didn't press the emergency strip. He/She said he/she didn't feel the situation was serious enough.
These are the donkeys I ride with and people wonder why I rage.
How else would the CSA know?
He doesn't have laser vision.
His spidey-sense doesn't tingle.
He doesn't have a dog that comes running to tell him someone fell down a well.
People, we're on this damn train together.
Help a sistah out, mkay?

Peter Seelert said...

After leaving Rouge Hill station, the train entered Durham Region. Why wasn’t DRPS contacted to meet the train at Pickering or Ajax? DRPS respond to reports of rowdy behaviour in public places frequently. Why should this incident be viewed any differently? In my opinion, the CSA and their supervisor erred on this matter. The CSA is not paid to be a hero. DRPS has at its disposal the resources to handle the matter; the CSA didn't. In the end, the juveniles got away (laughing, no doubt), emboldened to do it again another day.

joe blow transit user said...

That is the million dollar question!
But I will tell you that had I been on that train, I wouldn't have been happy to sit at Pickering for 20 minutes while waiting for police to arrive. Someone having a heart attack? Sure!
Sitting in a locked train while someone keeps smoking?! Kick them off. Yep, sure, arrest them but think about the hassle and LOGISTICS. Some of us just want to get home.

Kelly said...

After the day I've had (some guy nearly killed me with his car in his super important race to the GO Station), I've pretty much lost faith in all humanity. I'm moving to a remote island somewhere and going to have a wolf pack adopt me.

mumzthewurd said...

Most Go passengers are sheep who will silently endure just about anything. While I agree that passengers shouldn't have to police the system, they shouldn't just meekly accept the daily crap either. It is up to Go transit to change the culture of entitlement by enforcing their own rules.

TT said...

I lost faith in humanity a long time ago. I just can't afford the remote island yet. Maybe a Buddhist monastery is the answer.

lswgirl13 said...

I just hate all people equally.

Suicide_Boi said...

Smoking teenagers is NOT a valid reason to push the emergency strip.

That strip is for EMERGENCIES ONLY!

C.J. Smith said...

Hi suicide boi,
Respectfully, GO Transit, as communicated to me, on-the-record, officially disagrees with your statement.
Subjecting passengers to second hand cigarette smoke which is considered dangerous to health, and is also forbidden and illegal on trains, is an emergency.

Bill Giamou said...

Calling the DRPS for help is like asking Hannibal Lechter over for dinner......GO security guards are foolish if they think they will ever get back up from the police in Durham.