Monday, May 8, 2017

It's not like I didn't try

Courtice will never be adequately served by local transit if Durham Region Transit continues to act like schedules are just a suggestion and the customer is always wrong.

I was always puzzled why anyone who lived in Courtice drove to the Oshawa GO station when there are four bus options - GO 90, DRT 922, DRT 402 and DRT 411. Mind you, the stops themselves aren't convenient for all, but generally, almost everyone is within a 2 km walk to a stop. And this works great ... WHEN THE BUS ACTUALLY SHOWS UP. It's even more great WHEN THE BUS IS ON TIME.

I have no complaints about the GO bus. It shows up. The drivers are great. But it's a long walk for me to Highway 2. There's a DRT bus stop 400 metres from my front door. Sometimes a bus stops at it.

Long story short, because the 411 consistently runs late, I'd miss my connecting 922 bus which can add an extra 33 minutes to my morning commute. One morning, I left my house at 6:21 am and did not arrive at work until 9:25 am, all because the 411 was late and the 922 bus operator missed a turn. I actually watched the bus drive straight through the light at Townline, westward, instead of TURNING LEFT onto Townline. DOES NO ONE READ A MAP BEFORE THEY TURN THE DAMN KEY?

And with the 411, it's been a new driver every damn day. In one month, I saw the same driver three times. How is this possible?

I'm tired of calling, tweeting and facebooking asking for change. After the whole driver missed the turn incident, I found myself installing the AutoTrader app on my phone and two days later, test driving cars. I had three in mind, Fiat 500, Chevy Spark and Toyota Yaris. I decided on the Fiat and eventually scored a great deal on a 2013 500 Lounge model with a sunroof, leather seats, six-speed automatic transmission and only 38,000 km on the odometer. It drives like a sewing machine and I love it. The windshield wipers are shit (three different wipe speeds and none of them are adequate), but I still love it. If you put anyone in the backseat, you'll amputate their legs, but I still love it. I also loved the price - $9549

Plus, it fits perfectly at the bottom on my driveway allowing for my husband to get in and out while our boat is parked.


RonNasty said...

Under 10K? Does it come with any kind of warrantee?

Unknown said...

It's so pretty and cute.

Oddly, I have given up on the bus as well. I was better served but with the re-routing last fall made some aspects less appealing. Plus, their craptacular* customer service, I started driving more than not.

Come knee injury this past March, I have taken the bus once. Once! And it was so jam-packed full, I haven't gone back.

* Day of snow storm on December 15. Stood waiting for the bus for over an hour. Talked with customer service 3 times, every time they assured me that the bus was coming. Which it did.... straight into the yard. Eventually got home, after 7pm.

Called the next day and waiting on hold to talk to a supervisor. Which incidentally they only work 8-4. You know, right when most commuters would need information - NOT. Asked why it was deemed acceptable for people to wait 1+ hours for a bus. Was given excuses about it being the longest route, yadda yadda yadda. Asked why I didn't just walk home - because I am not stupid.

Eventually, it came about that they have NO contingency plan for winter weather. Which I told them was asinine as it is Canada and we have Winter in Canada.

Since then anytime they called for a significant amount of snow, I worked from home. A dusting, I drove to the station.

** Had issues for months where a bus would come at 6.18am. The bus is scheduled to arrive at 6.04 or 6.24. No one could tell me what was going on and which bus was it. Running late or early? Found out that some drivers were not putting on their GPS tracking units.

There were more instances over the 4+ years I took the bus and all registered. All said they would call me back and update me on the situation. 4+ years later still no call. Which is a shame because the one woman knew who I was as soon as I said hello.

And to add insult to injury, I heard the co-fare went up again.

C.J. Smith said...

No consumer warranty remaining.
Just the 5 year/100,000km powertrain warranty remains.
I'm married to a mechanic. It's not an issue and I don't worry.

C.J. Smith said...

I am DONE with Durham transit. For all the reasons you mentioned, Squiggles

Bummed in Burlington. said...

Moved to Burlington recently. 20 minute walk to the GO station. If needed it's one Burlington Transit bus for me to the station.

You've tried for 6 years to make it work with local transit with no luck. Those at DRT need to rethink how they supply bus service to GO Transit. Perhaps a single bus ride is what needs to happen from different areas in Durham to GO options. . Each transfer is a chance for delay.

I'm glad that I rely on one train, 60 minutes with no transfer.

A sad day for commuting. When a dedicated local bus commuter packs it in.

CJ Smith said...

The goal was never to buy a car.
I really tried but I've had enough.

Rob said...

I hear you. I tried to avoid being dependent on having a car when I moved into the house I'm in now four years ago but the train timetable change in 2015 when West Harbour station opened made my morning commute by public transportation alone excruciatingly painful. I broke down after a couple of weeks of that and became a park-and-ride customer.

Congratulations on sticking it out as long as you did.

Robert Gilbert said...

I've been a Durham Region Transit rider for just over two years, dependent on the 922 bus to arrive and depart from the Oshawa GO Station on weekdays.

My experience has been in order obtain reasonable, on-time service, you need to be on them like a hawk, and call and complain every time when the bus arrives too late for the next arriving Go Train or when a driver neglects to wait for passengers disembarking from the Go Train (just yesterday, I spent about two minutes trying to flag down the 922 bus departing the Oshawa GO Station like a crazy person, despite the fact that the Go train had arrived about a minute prior to the bus departure time and further despite the DRT policy that drivers are to wait up to five minutes after their scheduled department time to pick up Go train passengers. Curious time for the DRT to be suddenly vigilant about being on-time).

That being said, complaints only do so much, especially when the same issues keep popping up over and over again, so I certainly can see why customers get so fed up that they finally throw in the towel.

Hopefully, the higher-ups will read this post and be motivated to institute real change at the DRT that puts customers first and promotes viable public transit.

Unknown said...

Robert: that policy is only applied when the driver's feel like applying it or if there is a supervisor around.

I ended up walking home one evening in January because the GO Train was just on time and the bus left on time or early. And only my bus. All the others were waiting. So either I wait 1 hour for the bus or I walk home which took me 45 mins.

I have stood at the bus stop outside the station waiting for the bus. A driver is nice and snug and warm in the car and the bus is late. The bus was always late. And no word letting us know when the bus would arrive.

Calling only wastes my time. I rarely saw any change resulting from those calls. Well, not completely true. Because the bus never arrived at the station on time, it didn't leave on time. So instead of fixing the arrival times, they changed the departure time to 5 mins later. And it STILL didn't leave on time.

But I will admit: starting next week, as long as it is good weather, I will be taking the bus to the GO station and walking home in the evening.

C.J. Smith said...

Oh my god. I event went to the durham transit/metrolinx open houses where they asked for public input on the future of transit.
It's almost like these things are done just so someone in an executive management position can clap his or her self on the back, get a fat bonus and consider it checked off the list.
It is RIDICULOUS that any of us have to be on DRT like white on rice. The solution seems to be a supervisor rides along on the route for a week and OF COURSE THE OPERATOR IS GOING TO PERFORM THE DUTIES CORRECTLY. How about you do this undercover???
I called MP and MPP's offices. I wrote emails only to get boilerplate replies and to add insult to injury MPP Granville Anderson's fucking face is on Courtice bus shelter talking about improving Durham... yet, doesn't answer my tweets. Doesn't return my calls.
It's a joke.

Robert Gilbert said...

Certainly agree that the calls and emails don't work...but at least it's cathartic and therapeutic. And again, someone needs to make a stink about it.

I think one of the issues is that the driver of the route changes constantly (sometimes it's a different driver each day) so you never get a consistent level of service. This might be a reflection of the new driver contract that was signed at the beginning of this year.

Another factor is endless schedule changes which seems to wipe out any progress that might be made in terms of timeliness and being able to adhere to DRT policies, necessitating starting from scratch and making the same complaint calls that were made just a few months ago.

But, the criticism that no one in DRT really seems to care about public transit is a fair one, IMO. This is likely true of Metrolinx as well, which seems to me to be simply government "do-nothing" bureaucracy at its most elemental (their shenanigans in trying to wiggle out of the Bombardier contract were a good serving of humble pie IMHO). No advocate in this neck of the woods the equal of an Andy Byford, I'm afraid, which of course necessitates good citizen advocates who speak up.