Thursday, February 2, 2017

The CRUD continues! Part 9 of an installment, exclusive to This Crazy Train, of "Meet the Deckers"


Sadly, yes.

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

The Crud Continues

A recent Twitter post by @nickromyn reminded me I owed CJ an article.  My apologies for being tardy.

In this installment, I continue my story to illustrate to Anonymous that “putting it on the internet” IS the norm now; writing directly to GO Transit can be a long laborious effort in futility.  Note that my use of the term crud is a colloquialism rather than the acronym for Chalk River Unidentified Deposits, although some may be want to draw parallels.

Upon reading the response from Customer Relations to my prior e-mail, I thought I, too, could present some numbers, so I volleyed back the following e-mail:

Date:          Sat, 6 Aug 2016 08:02:38 -0400
From:          Me
To:              Metrolinx Customer Relations
CC:             Greg Percy, Cj Smith
Subject:      Re: Metrolinx, an Agency of the Government of Ontario EM0018003463

Dear Supervisor, Customer Relations, Metrolinx

Thank you for your response of July 28 regarding the black matter being pumped into GO Transit double decker buses.  Greg Percy and Cindy Smith were not copied, but I have included them on the distribution list for this e-mail.

On November 11, 2015, you wrote "We are working with the manufacturer to solve the problem as quickly as possible."

In your current e-mail you write "Since March, we have been changing these cabin filters and cleaning the ceilings."  Are you saying for over a quarter of a year nothing was done to address the problem?  How can that be considered "as quickly as possible"?

I'm trying to understand the context of your reference to "less than 20% of the fleet".  If we look at the fleet as presented in the July 2016 version of GO Transit's Bus Fact Sheet, the Enviro 500 LHD Double Decker buses come close to what you cited.  In fact, these buses — numbered 8101 to 8205 — are the ones exhibiting the black crud.  I believe we can agree that 100% of these Alexander Dennis Ltd. double decker buses have defective HVAC systems.

As for testing the used cabin filters, why wasn't that done when I brought this matter to your attention last year?  With respect to the overall cleanliness of your buses, I have not noticed the improvement you promised in November 2015.  I'm still not sure what you meant by "brought up to our standards".

Please pardon my cynicism, but based on the evidence in the field and Metrolinx's track record for on time delivery (Burlington GO station, real-time bus info, ADL SuperLo DDs on the road), I don't see how the remediation efforts are "to be finished by the end of August" (this year?).

Here are this week's collected photos of dirty deckers.

(i) Air vents above windows

(ii) Air vents on entry to bus

(iii) More air vents on entry to bus

(iv) Cockpit wall

In the aftermath of the train scheduling debacle, Mr. Percy stated, "As chief operating officer, I take personal responsibility and am committed to a full investigation,"  Who is taking "personal responsibility" for this on-GOing mess on your buses?


After one month — and several “Thank you for your patience” notes — the following e-mail landed in my Inbox:

Date:          Tue, 6 Sep 2016 12:45:34 -0400
From:          GO Transit Customer Relations
To:              Me
Subject:      GO Transit, a Division of Metrolinx EM0156004019

Dear Me,

Please accept my apologies for the delay in my reply. I have looked into the results of the investigation of the Indoor Air Quality report conducted on our GO buses.

The results concluded that no unusual particulate materials were identified and the composition of the dust samples was similar to that observed in typical household or office settings. The staining was much more visible on the lighter colored ceilings. Dust accumulations around supply air vents are not uncommon, however, the stains that you have observed appear to be more visible given the colour of the ceilings.  In light of this, we will pay closer attention to the build-up that occurs around the air vents and ensure that that these areas are thoroughly cleaned.

I would like to assure you that we continue to remain committed to ensuring our buses are maintained to the highest standard.


(Name withheld for confidentiality reasons)
Supervisor, Customer Relations, GO Transit

Well, that reply scared me.  Why?  I’ll tell you next time.  Meanwhile, follow @nickromyn’s example and share your photos of those dirty deckers.  (N.B.  The DDs destroyed by fire don’t count.)


Anonymous said...

They conducted a test inside 1 bus, ONE Bus! In not real conditions.
A typical response came from what we would except from a Government source "it complies with the standards etc...."
We are still awaiting the toxicology reports into what the dust is??
The biggest concern has to be this "black soot".
MCI's have never had "black soot" in them unless it was in a fire.
Do you have "black soot" on the furniture of your home when you dust? Or the interior of your own vehicle?
The answer is simply NO!!
An indecent investigation that is non biased should conduct a series of tests of these vehicles over the course of a week or more.

Hilda Ogden

Anonymous said...




matt said...

Maybe someone should take a sample and send it off for independent analysis?

Unknown said...

Based on the article on The Star website I would be concerned about this.

Unknown said...

Based on the article on The Star website I would be concerned about this.

Unknown said...

The obvious solution that GO will come up with is to have a mottled dark grey fabric and interior that won't show the C.R.U.D. If they were really Chalk River Unidentified Crud they would probably glow in the dark.

The proper solution is to tie Robert Pritchard and Bruce McCuaig to the back of a double decker bus with their nose next to the exhaust pipe for a week, then we could examine their lungs to see if there is any adverse affect on living people, or a close approximation to living people.