Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Hide and "GO" seek

date: Tue, May 1, 2012 at 9:36 PM
subject: Hide & GO (seek) Transit Officers

Hi CJ,

Had to stay at work a bit later today so I took the 6:30pm Stouffville train. So we pull into Markham station and being the last northbound train of the day it's fairly quiet. The train stays on the platform while everyone gets off. Until the doors close, people walk in front of the train to get to the 2 parking lots. When the train is ready to move it always blows its whistle many times to give riders a long enough warning.

So I cross the tracks with the rest of the herd and 4 GO transit officers literally jump out of hiding from behind the big sliver electronic box and state the we have all broken the by-law and to present our identification.

I asked the GO-stapo, err, GO transit officer where the sign is that one should not cross the tracks? He pointed backwards. I asked him if that "official" sign has the bi-law number on it together with the recommended fine. He responded with "I don't know. ID please". I checked and no it does not.

Then I proceed to ask him why they are picking the 6:30pm train that is the quietest of them all and not the 4:18pm or the 4:48pm (where they can make a monetary killing!) to which he responded that they do. Funny things is that they don't as I always take either one or the other and have never seen them. Then he asked for my identification again. Oh! and meanwhile all the other patrons are tripping over each other to give the officers their IDs.

Here's my question to GO Transit: You guys are so big on safety as I've read your tweets, emails, posters and announcements. That is fantastic! But if your officers really reallly really were big into safety and want to educate your customers then they would place themselves BEFORE the track crossing to ensure their customer's safety. But no they don't. They wait for as many customers to cross so that they can make $140.00 a pop and then give a lecture on safety. Does anyone else see the irony in this?

Anyway, I simply walked back to confirm that yes I was right and that the sign did not have any writing or bi-law # or fine information. On the opposite side of the road, there is no sign at all. Did I get ticketed? Nope, just walked away. My wife came to pick me up about 10 mins later and she saw them on the side of the road walking back to the station with a donut box eating their yummy treats.

So I guess I'm going to take videos of people crossing at Markham, Centennial and Mount Joy and also get a good video of the transit officers hiding behind the big silver electronic box thing-a-ma-gigy and post them on YouTube. I'm sure the GO Transit execs will appreciate the bad press.

No more crossing tracks for me!


McDarver said...

And when the train coming from the opposite direction splatters your 'no by-law number'ed face on the windshield of your wife's car, we can all clap as you were correct to stand up for your civil rights

TomW said...

I looked at Google Streetview (see ). If peoplecontinue about 2-3m further, they are then using the sidewalk beside the road, are not on GO's land, and can cross the tracks providing they don't endanger anyone. Given this, I don't see the point in what GO is doing.

If they really want to make sure you don't cross the tracks on their land, they could errect a 3m long fence between the end of the platform and the sidewalk. Alternatively, they could pay to convert the road to underpasss or overpass, so no-one has to cross teh tracks at all.

Mt Joy said...

Perhaps if GO built better pedestrian walkways? This is just sneaky and wrong.

DF said...

How about not breaking the law to begin with? That's like complaining that a cop who is hiding behind something with a radar gun suddenly steps out and nails you speeding and gives you a ticket.

Mt. Joy said...

You LSE'r and LSW'rs are missing the point. Take a train ride up our way and see the lack of ped safety measures.
It's also rail safety week which is why GO gives a shit all of a sudden. they won't be there next week

Squiggles said...

Agreed DF!

But, the gentleman in question does provide an reasonable argument. Why only ticket the by-law breakers on one specific train and not all of the trains? Especially if this is an every day occurance. Which it sounds like it is.

At least, it sounds like he learnt his lesson and won't become a future statistic in that manner.

Skin Man said...

I've always been bothered by the need for a company to erect fencing to keep people from improperly entering thier property. why do we need a fence to stop people from walking on the about dangerour behavoir comes with risk. I suppose the same is true of seat belts, but then it blows me away that some people still don't wear them.

DF said...

@Squigs: the same reason They don't patrol all the trains looking for fare jumpers. And the same reason they dont ticket all the illegal Parkers every day. Because they don't have the manpower. If they ticketed all the fare jumpers, smokers, bylaw breakers and illegal Parkers they would.never have to raise our fares Again!!

DF said...

And how is transit officers ticketing people illegally crossing train tracks bad press ? They are just doing their jobs.
I am not familiar with these stations. So Mt Joy are you saying there is no other alternative ti illegally crossing the tracks ?

April said...

Love it. Basically, what the writer is saying is that it is okay that he is doing something illegal because everyone else is doing it. Oh, the things that are wrong with this society.

The fact that that GO Transit is given the right to make these by-laws (#2 for your reference) by federal statute, and that they announce that it is "illegal and dangerous" to cross the tracks on every singly bloody trip should not keep you from crossing the tracks anywhere you see fit.

Keep it up. Stupidity is the best way to thin out the herd.

C.J. Smith said...

I'm in agreement that people should be stopped before they cross. If it's as illegal and dangerous as we know it is, why would these officers risk lives over tickets?

I think you could still issue the fine! I mean, caught in the act and all that? How about right when the foot steps forward ... ?

Subliminal said...

The OP almost had me until he salted the story with the donut line. Apparently his wife makes him hike 10 minutes north of the kiss n ride at the station in order to pick him up and drive him back past the station too.
No wonder he imagines everyone else walking down the street eating boxes of donut and adding to his misery. LOL
This is my favourite story of the day and I wish I could give it 4 stars.
I think if GO spent $500,000 to build stairs up and down with a tunnel under the road beside the street crossing to protect people from their own stupidity of walking in front of of a train with its horn blaring because they are obstructing its movement is definitely the solution here.
Unfortunately, 9 out of 10 would still cross the path of the train rather than use it due to laziness.

Perhaps this is another ideal location for a catapult?

DF said...

CJ. Isn't that kinda like giving a fine to a smoker who is holding a cig but hasn't lit up yet? :)

TomW said...

@ McDarver: It's single track, so there won't be a train coming the other way.

I agree it's trespassing and wrong and illegal. However, if people walk an extra THREE METERS it's on the sidewalk and fine and legal (and equally risky).

(Also: the GO officer lied when he said there was a sign forbidding it. That shouldn't happen, regardless of the action).

GO Criminal said...

Loving some of the comments on here....Yes I'm "the guy".

Ok so McDarver you totally missed the story. Train in the opposite direction huh? Anyway, look at the google maps street view that TomW posted and that will help you out.

DF, the commuters do not know that they are/were breaking the bi-law as it is no-where to be found at the station. If we all read the bi-law book then we'd know but how many people actually do that? Well I did today. (Wish I could post a picture of the actual little useless sign). Your analogy is not perfect as on our roads there are plenty of signs with speed limits. This does not exist at Markham station. Regarding bad press, what I mean is that if I take a video and post on YouTube of 4 GO Transit Officers hiding behind a box jumping out to catch us criminals and ticket us then that looks very shady versus 4 GO Transit Officers standing in front of the tracks ready to provide education. Makes it look like they are more interesting in handing out fines and making money than they are interested in safety. Makes sense?

Mt. Joy, you are BANG ON! The old Great Trunk Railway was built in the early 1900s and with today's infrastructure there is very little separating the train and tracks from the sidewalks and nearby shops. Very very different than the LSW and LSE lines.

Squiggles, you are exactly correct. GO Transit MUST provide education to everyone not just a few people. If they did this when the early trains arrived then they would get the message out to 100s of people not just the handful that are on the later trains.

April, again you missed the point regarding safety versus money. The announcement that GO provides is to not cross the tracks at Union and other stations but in order to get to your car at Markham or Mount Joy we MUST cross the tracks. Take a look at google maps. Thin out the herd? Yeah! Through starvation of not being able to get home!

lswgirl13 said...

I've actually got no problem with it. Thing is, if a train comes along and you get smucked, oh well. If you are gonna mess with a train, you are gonna die, it's that simple. When that girl died on the LSW a couple of weeks back I saw one of her relatives on TV complaining about the fencing. Really?????

C.J. Smith said...

@DF ... true

Crossing at Markham is the same as crossing in front of the trains at Oshawa, facing east... no more track.

GO Criminal said...

@Subliminal. You have some interesting theories that are quite amusing. Thanks! Let me put it a bit more into perspective for you.

Hike 10 mins north? No more like 1 minute to the parking lot. Ok 1½ mins if I have to dodge the cars coming out of the parking.

Anyway, I was heading home, when my wife texted me to ask if we should do dinner on Main Street so I said sure (really great restaurants there!) So rather than go to the car I turned around and headed south to our favorite place. Was a nice warm afternoon for a walk so why pollute the environment with the car, right?

While I was walking south my wife drove past and saw the officers. By the time she picked me up I was about 20 feet away from the restaurant but we had to find parking first so I hoped in.

And yeah, I was a bit miserable as I was hungry but after dinner I felt way better! Even without a donut!! Do you like donuts Subliminal?

TT said...

I think they decide to ticket vs education or warning because many people are complaining that GO doesn't issue enough tickets. Warnings don't do anything, hitting the pocket book makes people think.

Either way, in this instance I don't care too much. If people don't listen then they die. At least they paid their fare.

DF said...

@subliminal: bahahahaha!! That totally made me LOL!! Catapult- priceless!

@Criminal: so you need a big sign with the bylaw written out to realize that walking in front of a train isn't such a good idea???

Damn now I want a donut.

Anonymous said...

Why does anyone need a sign? Do most of us not have common sense and knowledge that when a train is occupying a track, the railways signals are activated with barriers, bells and signals to stop the cars...that means its not safe to proceed? And the railway track owned by go transit is go property, whether at the station or at the sidewalk. Step near it and you are back on "go property". Wait 2 min and cross.

Anonymous said...

You should have ran away from the GO police if you have a chance. If you run fast enough, the cops cant chase you down forever.

Anonymous said...

Ii must ask.... why do we need a sign to tell us NOT to cross a railway track IN FRONT of a train???

Subliminal said...

Sometimes the obvious is just that...

@the self-branded Criminal
Your story has more holes than a donut but that is alright since I enjoyed reading it. Wish I had a donut to eat while waiting for you to post the next chapter but someone stole the box I had hidden by the train tracks and there isn't a donut shop within a 10 minute walk.

The morale of your story is:
It only takes common sense to know not to walk in front of a locomotive when its horn is blaring.
Just remember the last time you did the same thing and walked into the intersection against the signal while texting your wife and that car horn was blaring (and the flashing "don't cross" sign had no Bylaw number on it either) if you need a reminder.

Anonymous said...

GO criminal your an idiot! You cross In front of a train sitting in the station that can move at any minute! Go transit does not make money off these fines, and why would they educate the impatient idiots that can not simply wait 30 seconds for the train to pass instead of full out sprinting to get to their cars 30 seconds earlier! Bad press for go transit for officers writing up idiots? Good luck with that , good on the officers for fining these people

deepfish said...

Judging sadly from past experience, if you had a sign right there outlining the bylaw and the infraction, I know of at least two or three guys from Oakville who would be happy to stand right there in front of the trai - and they'd be smoking too...

GO Criminal said...

Great news this morning. There are 3 GO Transit Officers and a couple GO Staff at Markham station handing out flyers on rail track safety for both pedestrians and cars. I'm glad as this shows that GO is indeed more interested in safety than making a quick buck. But it shouldn't take a stupid story like mine to make this happen. Guess the officers won't be playing hide and GO seek anymore so this defineatly deserves donuts for all of them the next time I see the lot.

GO Criminal said...

@CJ I love this place! It's amazing to read how people comprehend the story and reply. Should have taken psychology in university.

@Subliminal. Cool man, I understand why you call yourself subliminal as you come up with some amazing ideas during the comprehension of the story. Hey!? Do you work for The Star or CNN? I love it! Please continue. Oh yeah, nobody walks in front of a train with the horn blaring. Well not unless you were really asking for it. C'mon, let's be friends and I'll take you to Timmies up the road from Markham Station.

Anyway, just a reminder to all that have gotten off of track (no pun intended. Then again...) My main concern was regarding GO Transit Officers stopping people after crossing the track rather than than BEFORE crossing the track. See what I mean? Getting to write a fine seemed to be more important than safety. But as of today GO is doing the right thing.

Hope everyone has a nice day and please post some more fun stuff before 10:30am so that I can have more laughs during my break.

Anonymous said...

I asked the officers giving out flyers about this. They do the flyers and educating (that you're so concerned about) in the morning, and the ticketing in the afternoon. They're doing it this week at stations where it happens the most. Did you really think they tailored their program based on your whiny post? Good luck with that track-hopping, doof.

Anonymous said...

If there was a sign, you were tresspassing and could have been arrested immediately upon crossing the tracks.

Number or no number...

Anonymous said...

In anycase the redflashing lights and the fact that you crossed infront of a train that was going to be in motion says it all. On top of it all you said you just walked away from the GO cop? Wow way to be a man and run away when you made a mistake. :/

Anonymous said...

Hello All, remember that ignorance is not a defence in the eyes of the law (enforcement,court ect) just because you dont know every law that there ever is, does not mean that you cant be held responsible when you break one.

Kathy said...

@GO Criminal I applaud your sense of humour. There are a few people here who have clearly missed your points. I am familiar with Markham station and completely get what you're saying. TomW summed it up best in his last post.

Sure maybe not everyone would have acted the same but I'm a bit surprise (and admittedly amused) by some of the reactions here. People are people I guess.