Friday, April 27, 2012

If we don't broadcast it, we don't lose much

Yesterday, many of you on the LSW, Milton and Barrie lines were affected by a system-wide combination of computer and signal failure. The end result was that many people were over an hour late getting into work.
The delay affected 10 colleagues of mine.
That's a lot of people late for work and a lot of meetings that had to be rescheduled or cancelled.

I'm sure it wasn't pleasant for the rest of you, either.

On Twitter, there's been chatter of announcements that were made on this morning's train service on these corridors that people can venture into Union Station and receive a credit for yesterday's fare.

It's 8:33 am when I write this. I have checked Twitter, GO's website and Facebook and there is no mention of a credit and not even an apology for what happened yesterday.

But starting May 6th, you can take GO Transit to Canada's Wonderland.

Life happens. Shit happens. Things break but GO Transit, despite all its social media efforts and useless Customer Service Charter, and its hundreds of "customer satisfaction" surveys, still has not figured out when and how to communicate to its customers.

These kind of directives come from the top and the top has no clue. Sorry. I hate to be so negative but I personally find GO's silence after system-wide disruptions rude and inconsiderate.

Last month, when service on the Barrie line fell apart and people wound up in Brampton, GO had apologies printed up on a credit voucher and had them distributed at Barrie corridor stations.

So why is today different? Signal and computer malfunctions are usually the cause of poor maintenance and bad code so someone is accountable. Right?

By not broadcasting the credit and remaining silent on social media, GO may think they're saving money but they're losing respect and confidence among its ridership to fulfill its customer service promises.

Update the Twitter, GO website and Facebook with an apology. 

You owe us that much.


lionel said...

I guess they figure if they don't address, they're not accountable. They don't need to own it because everyone is just gonna get back on again today.
It's not like there was a mass exodus to cars.
The trains were just as full.
GO doesn't care.
As long as we keep paying and developers keep building the suburbs, GO isn't losing shit.

AngelSil said...

The way this was handled from start to finish was unacceptable. Yesterday my train at least got into a station (Long Branch) where we were told 'TTC Protocol' was in effect. WTF that means wasn't made clear....

So you have hundreds of lost suburbanites trying to figure out how to get downtown with no GO staff able or willing to help. I lived in Mimico for years, so I know the transit out that way and directed people as best I could, but GO should have had someone making announcements as to TTC alternatives (as a minimum) or directing people to the TTC station with information on the different lines (better).

If they were doing refund announcements at the stations today that didn't help me one bit. I work from home on Fridays. Station announcements are a piss-poor way to communicate something on a global scale and assumes everyone rides their service every day.

Customer service my @ss! said...

They made that announcement on the LSW this morning to obtain your refund if you haven't done so yet. Yesterday I lined up for mine after I was an hour late. I have a Presto card. When I asked the cahsier for a refund she processed a credit voucher and handed it to me. I asked her what I was to do with it. She said the next time I load my Presto card I can hand it to the cashier and they'll add it to my Presto card. I asked her why she couldn't do that now, why I had to line up again and how do I use it if I load my card online. She said she could only issue me the voucher and I couldn't use it online. Despite wanted to raise hell I didn't given the lines were so long. This morning I went to the wicket at Oakville and asked to have the credit voucher put on the card and was told I need to load money with it as well! I handed her a nickle and said sarcastically "I guess you can load it now" and did my best to suppress all the expletives I was about to hurl at her. She loaded it. What blatant disregard for all of us "customers"!

C.J. Smith said...

I don't think anger should be directed at the CSR at the wickets. They're just following whatever process and procedure that's been outlined in a company memo.

I'm sure that many of them feel how you feel but they have mortgages to pay, too.

Anger needs to be directed at the top level. Customer Service Relations is a good start.

I do my best to advocate for riders on my personal soapbox but frustrations felt by those who were directly affected need to be put in writing.

Credits should be applied at the time the voucher is issued. I'm with you on that.

Squiggles said...

They should have automatically readjusted presto cards. That would have elimated a lot of lines and useless, wasted energy printing up vouchers.

I have gotten irritated/mad at the Wicket people. I know they have their burdens, but they should be able to think outside the box and many problems will be avoided. As well, they are in a position where their management can follow the breadcrumb trail and advocate for the riders or denounce useless processes.

In the end, if the riders are happy, the wicket people should be happy, and everything works for the best.

Anonymous said...

As a professional communicator, I think the lack of communication from GO Transit is pathetic and inexcusable. Whomever is in their management or in the comms role should really attend some training around crisis communications, issues management and reputation management. They obviously need it! That said, I'm incredibly grateful that I no longer work in the downtown core and don't have to worry about relying on GO Transit to get to work.

lswgirl13 said...

LOVE the 5 cent load on PRESTO! But I gotta say I find a couple of the wicket people at my station ignorant. I've waited while they are seemingly attending to NOTHING and totally lacking when it comes to social graces.
I was lucky enough to be working from home yesterday but I'm not surprised at GO's mishandling of yet another delay situation.

warningu2 said...

Apparently the min. Load allowed to presto card is $10. so like you I had to include another $2 to receive the credit on my card. But the next day. Couldn't be processed until the following day. This refund was from the pedestrian fatality last week on lsw when I complained about being charged for the bus and train.

Anonymous said...

@”Customer service my @ss!”: If you have a Facebook account, could you take a moment, and copy/paste your comments to GO Transit’s page ( under one of their PRESTO threads, please? (You may need to click the “See More Recent Stories” button as you scroll down the page.) This kind of experience needs greater exposure.

Sylv said...

Last year I had to bring my refund up to the $10 minimum to get a credit to Presto, but last month that was no longer required. Also this morning, I just gave my Presto card to the CSA at East Gwillimbury and he deposited the $7.95 directly onto my card - no voucher, no extra cash required.

Anonymous said...

@cj RE: "Anger needs to be directed at the top level. Customer Service Relations is a good start."

In email to, also CC: (President, GO Transit) and (Minister of Transportation).

lswgirl13 said...

@warningu2 - GO was giving reimbursements on the fatality day from a couple of weeks back??? I had already swiped my card, realized what was going on and took FOREVER to get home so for my inconvenience I "helped" myself to a free ride the next morning.

Dan-1 said...

GO's credit voucher thing is the stupidest thing ever. Don't give me a paper credit recipt, load it back on my damn PRESTO card, the one that GO's been pushing on everyone like it's the best thing since sliced bread.

The time I tried to use a paper trip voucher on the GO bus for the route it was issued (the person who issued it said I could just present it to the driver next time), the driver didn't know what it was and had to call up someone to figure out what to do with it.

lswgirl13 said...

PRESTO has no problem taking money from the card IMMEDIATELY, should be just as easy to credit the card.

kary said...

GO is doing business like it's 1999.

matt said...

I heard that you could obtain a credit voucher from Customer Service (announcement was made ON the train as we pulled into Union the next morning after the disruption), but I elected not to. Yes, I realize that this is somewhat counter-productive to holding GO accountable, but the reality of the situation is that I do not find waiting in line for a credit of my $6.20 fare to be a sound investment of my time. After all, it was only an hour late for work, not a whole day. Even if getting that voucher took me 10 minutes, that’s another 10 minutes of work on top of the 60 minutes I have already lost...for $6.20. Not worth it.

lswgirl13 said...

And that's exactly what they are counting on Matt . . . for people not to bother. My insurance company recently messed up and took an additional 90 cents on a pre-authorized payment. I know it's only 90 cents but it's my 90 cents so I want it back.