Monday, July 27, 2015

The GOng show that is Route 12 (Going to Niagara this weekend - expect delays)

 The GOng Show That Never Ends
 Sun, 26 Jul 2015 21:21:39 -0400
 GO Voyageur
 Cindy Smith

Good evening Cindy,

On Friday morning, Stan Salter directed the following tweet to me:

I responded, including @GOtransit in my reply, and the following exchange with ^LH with GO Transit’s Twitter team ensued:

Was my last remark a little unfair?  Well, let’s fast forward to Friday afternoon when I had the following one-sided Twitter exchange with @GOtransit:

Was the 12D bus really missing in action?  Well, of course not!  Here’s a photo of it parked smackdab in the middle of the bus platforms at Fairview Mall (rookie driver error):

For those of you not familiar with Route 12, the 12D is an express bus between Burlington and St. Catharines put into service a few years ago to provide relief for increased passenger volumes on Friday afternoons.  It is scheduled to leave Burlington at 1:54 PM and depart St. Catharines for the return trip at 3:07 PM.  Last Friday, the bus didn’t arrive in St, Catharines until 3:05 PM.  As I walked up to the door, the driver emerged and announced he was going to Niagara Falls.  I stated the 12D doesn’t GO to The Falls, and asked where the real 12D was.  The driver responded it would be along shortly.  This was a lie – another rookie error.

The “12D” left, and the next bus arrived moments later.  It wasn’t the real 12D as promised; rather, it was the 3:14 PM all-stops to Burlington.  Everyone climbed onboard, and the near-capacity double-decker headed westward (eastward by GO Transit’s compass) down the QEW.

So, what happened on Friday afternoon?

Well it started with a delayed Union to Aldershot LSW train, à la:

When the 12D arrived at Burlington for its 1:54 PM departure, there were already some 40+ passengers waiting to board the buses to Niagara.  The 12D was commanded to take those passengers and operate as an all-stops bus to The Falls.  The regular 1:54 PM all-stops bus was told to wait for the delayed train.

This is an example of the myopic vision that plagues GO Transit management.  Did it not occur to them that passengers at St. Catharines would be expecting the 12D for the express bus trip to Burlington?  Did it not occur to them that maybe an e-mail alert or Twitter post should be issued to passengers affected by their decision?  And why wasn’t the driver of the 12D given explicit instructions to inform passengers at St. Catharines of the change in schedule?  The supervisors also gambled that a bus overflow situation would not occur at St, Catharines as we know it can when the 12D is cancelled.  The Passenger Charter was violated again.  CIT’s for the managers responsible for this debacle!

Sidebar: Yes, Billy Bob, there is a bus company that “messes up that big”.  And don’t get me started on the situation with the WMA passenger who phoned GO Transit two days ago to apprise them of their travel plans for today, only to be told by the driver, “Sorry, this bus is full.”

The luster is starting to wear off GO Transit’s American Public Transportation Association (APTA) award.


GO Voyageur

1 comment:

Michael Suddard said...

"Operational error" could be anything. Yes it may look like staff issues as opposed to a "mechanical issue". But let's step back for a second here and review this issue in a Twitter exchange between Toronto Transit Blogger (and Transit Expert) Steve Munro and Metrolinx's ("Are you stalking me by mentioning I'm on vacay in Burlington after I posted it on Twitter?") Anne Marie Aitkens:

Notice "Operational error" in trains doesn't necessarily mean it's a "staff issue" or necessarily a management issue all the time.

I think Metrolinx is using "operational error" to reduce the number of "mechanical issues" that are being reported. They are doing this because they have promised to invest money (read: the latest fair increases) into the system and a final yearly report with a rise in "mechanical issues" wouldn't look so good. But an "operational issue" spreads the blame out more. Therefore, you could have the same number of mechanical issues (i.e. equipment issues) in theory but, in the overall final report, have a decline on paper! Anyone else notice this Metrolinx spin?