Thursday, November 10, 2016

Part 8 of an installment, exclusive to This Crazy Train, "Meet the Deckers"

Editor's note: If you have had issues while aboard a Double Decker bus, or have a story about a Double Decker experience, drop me a line at

Special to This Crazy Train
by GO Voyageur 

Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover

In this installment, I continue my quest to find the answer to Anonymous’ question, “And also has anyone written to GO directly to complain or is putting it on the internet the norm now?”

After nigh unto three weeks with no response from GO Transit Customer Relations (Passenger Charter violation +1), I escalated the matter to Greg Percy, Chief Operating Officer.

Date:          Sun, 17 Jul 2016 20:40:49 -0400
From:          Me
To:              Greg Percy
CC:             GO Transit Customer Relations, Cj Smith
Subject:      Re: GO Transit, a Division of Metrolinx EM0119002913

Dear Mr. Percy,

I am puzzled why no one in Customer Relations has responded to my e-mail of June 27.

Is Metrolinx denying the extent of the black soot inside its double-decker buses?  Allow me to share more evidence with you.  Bus Operations may have spent a goodly amount to reclad bus 8198 for the Pride Toronto parade, but the inside remains stained.

Bus 8190 is no different.

In the name of transparency, may we see an independent laboratory's toxicology report regarding this soot, please?  What is this black particulate we are breathing on your double-decker buses?


Over the course of the next week and a half, I received a number of “thank you for your patience” e-mails, and finally Customer Relations — not Greg Percy — responded as follows:

Date:          Thu, 28 Jul 2016 17:30:13 -0400
From:          Metrolinx Customer Relations
To:              Me
Subject:      Metrolinx, an Agency of the Government of Ontario EM0018003463

Dear Me,

Thank you for following up with me regarding the black residue you’ve noticed in some of our double decker buses.

As per my previous email, we have identified the cause of this reside to be a technical issue with the cabin filter in a small number of buses (less than 20% of the fleet). Since March, we have been changing these cabin filters and cleaning the ceilings. As you’ve noticed, this work is not yet complete and some buses have yet to have the filter changed, but this is expected to be finished by the end of August.

Our HVAC experts have advised that this residue is dust and the black colour is simply due to accumulation. However, we are sending out the used cabin filters for testing to see if we can discover the composition of this particulate matter. Unfortunately, I don’t have a specific timeline as to when we may receive these test results, but I will follow up with you again once I have them.

Thank you again for taking the time to write about this important matter.


(Name withheld for confidentiality reasons)
Supervisor, Customer Relations, Metrolinx

I wasn’t sure how to take that reply.  Were we now dealing with a case of “lies, damn lies, and statistics”?  Tune in next time when I volley back some of my own figures (and a colourful graph).


Tal Hartsfeld said...

Looks like they threw you a bone.
"We're looking into this" and "it's a technical issue" and "we haven't yet gotten to all the buses in question yet" seem to be the ideal red herrings they hope will keep you and your complaints at bay.

Iona Pintó said...

Exactly, Tal, and that is the message for “Anonymous” who commented on the original story. GO Transit Customer Relations will deflect these issues at every opportunity. Only by bringing transparency to the Ivory Tower’s ineptitude do we stand any chance of improvement. I have a whole wheelbarrow of stuff still to come. Stay tuned.