Friday, December 14, 2007

400 Millions and It will take 2 years to figure out what to do with it

This is very interesting. Communters have been complaining for years to Go Transit and the TTC and suggesting small things they could do now to improve things. The excuse was we don't have to money to do it.

Ironically, now they have the money and it will take them two years to figure out what to do with it. Well commuters can tell them a lot and the auditor did too. We need the switches replaced that are always breaking. For example the one leaving union on track 3. Its always frozen or broken or someone needs to jackhammer it. I am sure out of $400 million you could afford to do that.

For TTC, how about spending money on repairing some of the platforms. There are tiles that look like they are going to fall off above us at some stations. How about re-opening the order for the buses you were going to use to expand the fleet. Are you telling me it takes 2 years to make a new bus? If so, no wonder there are so many cars out there. They can mass produce millions at the blink of an eye.

If the problem is that you are not getting the money for 2 years from the government that is another story. The government has no problem taking our tax money every year but when it sponsors programs they always defer it. They get the popularity now but the next guy in office flips the bill. If it happens to be themselves then they reiterate how they are keeping their promise now after 2 years and here is the money.

The solution here is for more of us to be vocal to Metrolinx and Go Transit as well as to the Ministry of Transport. I know people from Go Transit and the Ministry of Transport read my blog so its a perfect place to post comments.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

McCarter's Auditors Report says Poor Service. Will Go Transit Respond?

Its interesting because last night I was on the 8:43pm train out of Union and we sat on the train until after 9:00pm while all the crew at Union worked on getting the switch fixed. Its funny in a way because the conductor joked about the dispatch finally waking up and maybe they would let us back up and go through another track when we finally moved forward. What if at 8:43 when the switch was determined to be broken they had backed us up and put us on our way. We could have got out of Union almost on time.

This morning on the 6:55am train arriving at Burlington, the entire train had no head and minimal lighting. Since this is a common occurance in winter, I have a good cost cutting measure for Go Transit. I came up with it as I wore my NorthFace Coat and Merrel Shoes. Why doesn't Go Transit run their engines all the time with minimal heat and provide all Monthy pass holders with a new NorthFace jacket. It would be a lot cheaper than fixing all the trains. The customers would be very happy getting their coats and would be warm, not noticing the missing heat. How about it Go Transit? You could take the added savings and use it to fix the switches.

I found it interesting how the Auditor himself got stuck at Clarkson waiting for 40 minutes due to mechanical conditions. The thing I found interesting was the 89.5% on time, I guess that is the official numbers, so since I have been on late trains that the customer service at go says never occured I wonder where the real number lies. I am thinking a lot lower.

Riders on the rapidly growing commuter-rail service endured more than 160 train
cancellations and 3,400 delays between October, 2006, and February, 2007, the
report says. Over all, only 85 per cent of trains ran on time, nearly 10 per
cent off GO's performance in past years.

Here is an idea, how about a rider suggestion box on your website one you actually look at to find ways of optimizing rail traffic. We ride it every day so we know first hand where, when and why the trains are getting delayed. Sometimes its just a matter of the train changing track unnecessarily.

The other comment the Auditor made was about fare collection and 40% of the time them not getting a ticket but a warning. One of the problems with the system is that a lot of the ticket stampers simply don't work. The other day I spent 3 minutes trying to get the ticket stamped and ended up missing my train because it arrived and left early. Most months I buy my monthly pass but in december since most of us have christmas break off its not economical to do so but I notice a lot of people use the ten rides year round and I see a lot of them complaining.

Now that the Auditor is complaining and not just all the Go passengers, it will be interesting if Go Transit responds. I know they read my blog so posting comments here would be one way to show you are listening. Another would be to issue a press release with what you plan on doing over the next couple months to help.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Metrolinx NOT Metrolynx or Metrolinks

It seems when it comes to the TTC they always do everything confusing and backwards so why
should their new name be any different.

Metrolinks would be obvious as a link of the metro transit systems. MetroLynx would be a cat
that runs really fast but maybe they decided not to because of all the transit delays. I guess they opted for a name that says we are metro and we will try and appear to be faster but not really.

Here is the real link to their site. Check it out and hopefully they will put up some area where we can voice our concerns to help improve transit.

Since I could not find the comment area on their site here is my first comment for them:

At the beginning of the month when people are wanting to buy their transit passes at Union Station. Instead of filling the metropass machines after the morning rush, how about doing it before so all those people in line for passes at the booths could use the machine. This would allow people buying tokens to get through faster and the same for those purchasing passes. It took me over an hour to buy my pass at union station because your guys filling the machines didn't arrive until close to 9:00. This is not just this month. Over the past 4 months it has happened each month.

Hope some of the MetroLinx people will eye my comments and take action. Once your commenting section is available I would appreciate if you would place a comment here with the link. It would help those reading my blog to take advantage of it.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Go Transit To Use Bombardier More

I read recently that Bombardier won some more contracts with
Go Transit. The plus side is that with everything under Bombardier
they cannot blame each other for delays. Oh it was the conductors,
oh it was the engines. Since the trains are theirs, the staff are theirs
everything but the track is theirs so if its broken it them.

This is a good thing. Now the only complaint we will hear from Go is
congestion on the tracks. The CN and Via trains. But with new track
being added that should help reduce them too.

Things are picking up at Go Transit. They are getting smarter and doing
all they can for Customer Service. Here's hoping they continue this trend of smarts.
I have to say the additional weekend trains to Aldershot and running more evening trains there is a real plus.

The other morning one there were some delays so they did an express train Burlington to Toronto to make up time. This was a smart thing to do. The two trains were close and it got all the people from the first train to toronto in good time. Whomever made that decision deserves a good pat on the back for a job well done.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Audited for Transit Credit

I have been asked by revenue canada to send in all my reciepts for transit. Not just the metro pass but the official receipts. I called ttc and it seems they were not always handing them out but will allow you to bring your passes to the Davisville station to get them. I am interested in how many are in the
same boat or if they are simply picking on me. If I don't hear anything I will assume they are picking on me because I am writing this blog.

If you are in the same boat and are facing the task of faxing in every receipt then please email me at as well email Mike Wallace at so he will have ammunition for this issue.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Expanded Weekend Schedule - Now I am really loving Go Transit

I just received a Go Transit Alert about a schedule change and got scared but it was a good thing. Instead of weekend trains starting at Oakville, they will be now starting at Aldershot. That means we don't have to drive to Oakville then catch the train saving on gas and helping our environment.

I have to say, Go Transit is finally making us Lakeshore Customers a little happier paying more than the other go lines for passes.

Keep up the good work!!!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

New Long Weekend and Transit Funding?

Now that Dalton McGuinty is in power for another term, hopefully his promises will
be kept. The big ones for me are the February Long Weekend promised and the promise
of vastly improving public transit.

We have seen some improvement but not a lot. We are still fighting issues with crowded parking lots. If I catch a train in Burlington after 8:00 it means I have to drive a lot further using more gas to take transit. I have heard worse stories from fellow commuters further east down the tracks. If they don't find parking they have to drive to work.

Its interesting that a study got released yesterday that said we should raise gas tax to prevent people from driving. How about give them a place to park in the Go or TTC parking lots. Then more would drive. Its like taxing cigarettes to get people to stop smoking then taxing the medicines they use to quit. He wait a minute don't we already to that.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Oops, I spoke to soon!!!

Well I guess I spoke to soon on that one. It seems Go has made improvements but today they fell back into their old pattern. This morning I went to take the train leaving Burlington at 7:25 am and unfortunately it left a couple minutes early so I missed it. Now normally I would say ok, you have to keep your schedule so next train. However, the difference today is that Go Transit knew at after 6:00 am that there were going to be train cancellations so the next train at 8:00 was cancelled. Knowing this it would have helped if they had been flexible with the schedule for the 7:25 am train so we could have caught it. Instead we had to wait for the 8:14 am train.

On top of this the 8:14 train was 15 minutes late so instead of arriving at work early at 8:00 am I arrived late at 9:30 am. I understand there are accidents, I understand delays are part of the situation but what Go Transit needs to understand is that sometimes, because of a cancellation it would actually help out the customer to have the prior train be a little flexible on its leaving time to catch a few strays that are going to miss the next cancellation.

I found it interesting that in the Metro this morning someone was actually complaining about Go Transit giving money to people left stranded because of the fire. I am guessing he is not a regular go user or possibly a go employee because I think most Go-Transit riders would appreciate the token of appreciation Go gave and that it was not the delay per say but kind of an apology of sorts for how they reacted.

In general, Go-Transit has gotten a lot better. This morning was a slip I think (hope), and possibly they will examine their behavior and fix it. A small change would help a lot.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Go Transit is now the Better Way - TTC Show us you deserve your title

I have to say, Go Transit has done leaps and bounds in customer service. I noticed today outside customer service people were waiting in line to get credits for the delays on the lakeshore stoffville lines. So now I am changing focus, at least for this posting to another big transit system TTC - The better way?

Here is the issue, its the beginning of the month and everyone gets their tokens and Metro Passes. So why is it that only one automated MetroPass machine is working. Secondly, from the looks of it, a large amount of the extra line this month and possibly next month with the increase in the price of metropasses was token buyers that could not use $20 bills in the token machines that had small lineups. Also the token machines today did not accept change either even though they are clearly marked with toonies and loonies on the front. I waited for almost an hour for my metropass this morning.

The interesting sidenote is that the TTC wondered why everyone jumped to get Metropasses they cited that it was simply money but fail to see that getting tokens is a pain. You have to have a $10 bill and are only allowed a maximum of 20 tokens at a time. Otherwise you need to buy tickets which means you are in line anyways so you might as well buy a metropass so you only have to lineup once.

In closing, Go Transit you have come a long way, keep up the good work. TTC, now its time to take a look at Go Transit and raise the bar because right now Go Transit is the better way.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Lakeshore East, Alternate Routes

There are some things that are out of Go Transit's control but then there are others they should be arranging better. This latest cancellation of trains East is an example. I heard about the fire at 3:00 and stayed later to avoid it.

Upon reaching the station, I noticed that the Lakeshore East trains were still cancelled and commuters were being told to go back up to yonge and bloor and take the train to scarborough and there were go buses waiting. Wouldn't it be great if that announcement were made on the ttc line as well. That way you would not have people rushing for Union Station on the subway only to spend another 1/2 hour on the subway to get to Scarborough to catch the Go Bus.

A lot of passengers do cross-over from the ttc, some from north up at Yonge and Finch so knowing they could have transferred at Yonge and Bloor instead. Hopefully they will take this advice and use it in the future.

I have to say, Go Transit has been doing a lot better job in the past year of listening to its passengers. I have seen vast improvement in service. Keep up the good work.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Good Job!! I have to give credit when its due

I have been through quite a lot of these delays due to police emergencies but I have to admit
the way they handled it last night was awesome. Even though almost all the trains were cancelled, they managed to get a train out westbound at 5:43 and actually managed to get a large number of people from the 4 missed trains on that one.

It was the excellent work of the Go Transit Workers that was very convincing in his banter to get people to squeeze in. Their orgazation meant I was only 1 hour late getting home. In the past it had been as much as 4-6 hours late so vast improvement. Hopefully this is not a fluke but actually a deliberate improvement on their part.

Keep up the good work!!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Issue with Go-Transit and the Transit Tax Credit

I filled out my tax return as normal and put on the new Transit Credit info. Since I am coming in from Burlington and taking the TTC. This value is at a maximum. I tried to reach Revenue Canada but the line was busy all day. I got a hold of the media relations person Sam Papadopoulos and he explained the procedure.

"The computer based on past filing history could ask for validation of application before assessing or within 3 years of assessing. A computer also picks random people"

So because they goofed up one of my claims in the past, now any time there is a new deduction they are going to target me. If you are in the same boat and are facing the task of faxing in every receipt then please email me at as well email Mike Wallace at so he will have ammunition for this issue.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Props to Go Transit Customer Service

It was a nice surprise last night on the commute home to see that Go Transit had someone handing out printed apologies and stated the real reasons for the delays. This is a positive
step for Go Transit and I thought I would say thanks and keep up the good work. A little communication goes a long way.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

New Track in Burlington, Any Relation To Cancellations?

So the train stopping in Burlington at 7:25 is now using the new track 3. How ironic that now the new track is there that there are train cancellations and delays everywhere.

Its interesting that now they have the new track they are still not optimizing their schedules.
The 7.25 train got to Oakville and told people about the all stop train across the platform. That train was allowed to leave before us. Given that we were the express train and would only be making a couple more stops, wouldn't it make sense to let us go ahead so we would not get stuck behind it at port credit. I guess that is why they work where they do. If they were educated in time management they would be in charge of more time critical stuff.

Why not ask the passengers for information and suggestions on scheduling. Its a shame because the passengers of the trains would be able to provide very good feedback on where the bottlenecks are and often time how to avoid them. Sometimes its a simple as not making that extra track change or letting one train go ahead of another in a logical manner.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Presto Chango - Let Me Pull More Revenue Out Of My Hat

Presto sounds like a good idea. It allows you to transfer between systems with a single pass. But from the documentation I received from Union Station this morning. It seems to be missing something.

Why would I want a Presto Card?

* Easy transfers within and between transit systems with just one
* No more searching for the right change
* Peace of mind. Riders who report a registered card lost or stolen
can have any remaining value transerred to a new card.

Wait a minute here, exact change, but what about my discounts I get now for Go Transit and TTC Passes. As we all know from recent news, so many people are using MetroPass that the TTC is short millions of dollars. So are these cards only aimed at people that don't have monthly passes?

You just have to look around when security officers are on Go Transit to see how many people pull out their Monthly Passes. They are cheaper and there is a government tax credit to make it even more so. The same for the TTC, you just have to look at the station entrances to see everyone pulling out their MetroPass. So my question is will the Presto Pass support individuals paying a flat rate for a month and then carrying their Presto pass instead of 2-3 transit passes. That would be very good. I currently have a Metro Pass and a Go Transit Pass, other have local transit on one end, Go Transit and MetroPass.

Let's break it down: I take Go Transit from burlingtion and MetroPass for the TTC every day.

Go Adult Pass $247.00
Metro Pass $99.75

Go 10 Ride $69.75 x 4 = $279
Metro Pass $99.75

Go Single Ride $7.65 x 2 x 5 x 12 = $306
Metro Pass $99.75

Go Adult Pass $247.00
Tokens $21.00 x 4 = $84

Go 10 Ride $69.75 x 4 = $279
Tokens $21.00 x 4 = $84

Go Single Ride $7.65 x 2 x 5 x 12 = $306
Tokens $21.00 x 4 = $84

Go Adult Pass $247.00
Cash fare: $2.75 x 2 x 5 x 4 = $110

Go 10 Ride $69.75 x 4 = $279
Cash fare: $2.75 x 2 x 5 x 4 = $110

Go Single Ride $7.65 x 2 x 5 x 12 = $306
Cash fare: $2.75 x 2 x 5 x 4 = $110

I await someone from Presto to clarify this as it could be a good marketing move for you to push this in your brochure too as there are a lot of us using the system this way.

From my calculations, the fare could be anywhere from $346.75 to $416 depending on how the Presto card works. Its only beginning so I am sure there will be more press on it coming soon and more information throught the newsletter. I suggest we all subscribe to the newsletter at and keep in the loop. It could be a good service but if we see now that it doesn't look useful we may want to let them know. They have many years before its fully implemented so lots of time to make changes.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Save the Shepard Line. Buy token not your MetroPass?

I thought this was odd that more ridership meant a loss of $30 million but it
does make sense. Tokens are more expensive so TTC makes more money off them so with all of us buying MetroPasses we are costing the TTC money it needs to maintain the network. The thing that doesn't make sense is didn't they realize people are going to want to save as much money as possible. How come it took so long before they realized that they were $30 million dollars short? Sounds like they need a new accounting team to look at their books.

I wonder how many other of these things are being missed and maybe instead of a fare increase they could find another way to get the money. While we are at it let's get the new accountant to look into where all the gas tax money went.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Closing The Sheppard Line

Its interesting that the TTC would choose the Sheppard Line to close as this is the transit route for many to get to IKEA. For those familiar, IKEA is known for needing police to do traffic duty in their parking lots because of the number of people driving there. This route is not just for IKEA but it is an interesting fact.

Anyways, on to the true issue here. It seems that because the TTC has been so good at marketing to us to use them and with the government incentive tax credit we have all switched to Metro Passes. Since the TTC does not make a lot of money off them they are $30 million short. But the real issue here is that the government is collecting almost half the amount we are using to fill out tanks with gas. Where is that money going? Is it all going to public transit like it should? I remember David Miller was fighting for that.

In the past 5 years, gas prices have more than doubled, since half of that is tax and if it were going where it should (public transit) we should see some improvements in this sector.

The TTC and Go Transit lines are the heart of the transit systems in Ontario, so why are there already less buses on the road now than 5 years ago. Why is the system overcrowded? Why are we actually reducing service during this time when Gas Tax revenue is up?

Whose pockets are getting lined? What private companies are getting public money as profit for building public transit? Well let's see, there is CN who is building the new rail lines with government money only to own them later themselves because they own the land. So the goverment pays to build them then pays to use them. Ok the 407, the government helps pay to build it but how much money is the government seeing back, plus government workers such as police, and public transit (buses) have to pay to use it Ok the rapid transit link to the airport, goverment funded but privately run. These are but a few examples of waste.

The answer is clear, the government likes to look good for their pictures and cameos but when it comes to really being dedicated to a better transit system it turns out to be all smoke an mirrors.

Maybe this should be the subject of a Michael Moore movie, "Full of Gas Tax, Empty on Transit"

This is only one opinion. I look forward to seeing others comment on this issue.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Train 407 Where Are You? That's Right You Are Delayed

The key to delays on our systems have been told to us over and over. Government is not giving transit enough money so they are cutting corners and having to order replacement stuff at the last minute sometimes these will create more than delay but also could be a danger to the passengers. Note in the July 5, 2007 article that the Train 407 is delayed 50% of the time and that one of the potential causes is the reduction of staff on the trains that happened in January.
But this is Go Transit you say the TTC is the Better Way. Well I have pasted in an article about that too.

The TTC is having its own issues, from the older article I found on them but the new chief over there is starting to get things going by doing much needed repairs on subway stations. Things were really starting to fall apart. The construction means delays but so be it if it means we are going to be safer. On the other hand Go Transit is delaying us, but not to make us safer.

Excerpts from July 5, 2007

Transit packed its schedule with trains over the last decade, partly to make up
for a lack of new tracks and infrastructure, but the result is brief holdups can
begin a cascade effect.

This train, identified by GO as No. 407, is chronically late because it runs at
the end of rush hour, according to agency chief Gary McNeil.
It is delayed at
least five minutes almost 50 per cent of the time, he says, and has one of the
worst records of all GO trains.
There is so little time between trains that
small delays during peak hours get compounded, he says.
“It’s symptomatic of
the majority of the GO system, especially along the Lakeshore line and the
Georgetown line and Richmond Hill lines.
“We are operating at capacity, from
a train movement perspective. Everything has to function to 100 per cent in
order to keep all the trains on schedule.
“There’s literally no slough in any
of the times.”
GO Transit packed its schedule with trains over the last
decade, partly to make up for a lack of new tracks and infrastructure, but the
result is brief holdups can begin a cascade effect.
McNeil admits the recent
change from two locomotive engineers on Lakeshore trains to one has cost
precious minutes when trains turn around.
McNeil says this problem should
“evaporate” when a new crewing contract begins next year.
As for train 407,
GO has asked CN Rail for permission to shift an earlier run by three minutes to
ease the pressure on the schedule.

Excerpts from October 17, 2006 :

Quote from Bob Boutillier:

“This last year in particular has been, I guess, the perfect storm — the
retirement of old buses, late deliveries (of new buses), and on top of that we
had to do a lot of warranty work that we would not normally do
(due to a manufacturing flaw that led to small fires on some

Next is a persistent shortage of bus operators,
by a higher-than-normal rate of new drivers failing the training

“There are actually seven ... command posts where you have people sitting in front of the computer — and it’s old technology.”
Some of these routes have 20 or 30 buses, and one person may handle eight or nine routes. More supervisors would mean more cost to the TTC, as would a decent notification system to tell riders why their bus is late, or why a vehicle must be short-turned. Getting the word out won’t fix the problem, but at least explain to us what’s happening."

I think that getting the word out lets people know how short changed we are when it comes to safe and reliable public transit and the reasons is our tax dollars are not going to transit. On top we expect people to stop driving and take it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Driving Can Be Dangerous

I know most of you take Go-Transit but you may be driving to the station.
For this reason I thought I these commandments passed on by the Vatican.
Maybe they could save your lives.

The 10 commandments of driving
  1. You shall not kill.
  2. The road shall be for you a means of communion between people and not of
    mortal harm.
  3. Courtesy, uprightness and prudence will help you deal with unforeseen
  4. Be charitable and help your neighbour in need, especially victims of
  5. Cars shall not be for you an expression of power and domination, and an occasion of sin.
  6. Charitably convince the young and not so young not to drive when they are
    not in a fitting condition to do so.
  7. Support the families of accident victims.
  8. Bring guilty motorists and their victims together, at the appropriate time,
    so that they can undergo the liberating experience of forgiveness.
  9. On the road, protect the more vulnerable party.
  10. Feel responsible toward others.

    Source: The Vatican website and
    the Associated Press

Hope these commandments will help you in your day to day travels.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

If It Were Not An Election Year .. Ontario Transit Plan

Kudos to Dalton McGuinty for finally realizing the crisis we have in transit. Unfortunately it took an approaching election for him to do it and interestingly enough this will start after the election.

The plan will see $17.5 billion invested in transit over 12 years starting in 2008.

It is unclear form what I have seen what the timeline is other than it will end in 2020. There are some good ideas here, like:

  • Adding GO Bus Rapid Transit from Burlington to Highway 401
  • Increasing speed and reducing emissions by electrifying the GO Lakeshore line.

Being a passenger on the Lakeshore line I will be keeping a close eye on this. Saving 15 minutes off my commute would be awesome,

Now, if they could do something to reduce the number of times we have to switch tracks that would further reduce delays. I didn't see anything about this in the plan but here is hoping.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Passenger Chaos, No Real Explaination

It all started on June 14, 2007 at 5:19 when the express to Oakville train was scheduled to leave the station. At the last minute all the passengers were sent down to the concourse with no explaination except that there was a Police Investigation. There was no sense in how long we would have to wait as in the past Go Transit had made us wait hours before telling us trains were cancelled for good during the Mimico derailment.

Time passed and more rush hour trains were cancelled so more people started to huddle in Union Station. It was getting crowded and no news except the recording that kept saying. Trains are delayed due to a Police Investigation. It must have been quite serious because it shut down all west end lines. In the past the Milton line was still running so passengers had some alternate.

Around 6:00 service restarted and the 5:19 express to Oakville stayed an express train. At least Go Transit did that right. Get the trains moving and people out of Union ASAP.

I searched the Go Transit site and even Google but it seems whatever happened its now covered up. We can only assume someone crossed the tracks outside union and did not have a safe crossing.

If this was the case it brings up an issue of Go Transit Safety and it starts with us the Passengers. The signs are everywhere and they announce it on every trip. Don't Cross The Tracks. Watch the signs and obey them.

Sometimes people cross the tracks for other reasons. This is a big problem in our society especially since there is really no action plan for the government for teens in this situation. Charities like that help teens in crisis has to survive on the help of good people donating and out of the founder's pockets. Its about time the government stepped up and instead of just preserving our world for our future generations how about funding agencies to keep our future generations safe now.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Cash for going green

Its an election year so its understandable that politicians are really acting green gung ho.
Its the season. Here is an article about money being given to municipalities that are going green.

The question I have is how much of this "green" money is going to help the overcrowding on public transit. If you really want to go green then pump more money in for buses and trains.
Pump money into analysing the Go Transit lines, especially the lakeshore line for inefficiency.

I take the line every day and on the 5:34 train we always wait at the hydro station for a train to leave the station so our train can arrive. We wait for 5 minutes every day. Why not move the other train to track 3 so we can arrive on track 1. It means we don't have to use up 5 minutes of extra fuel every day. Some times it 15-20 minutes if the go bus is late and the eastbound train waits.

If you know any politicians please point this out to them. It only makes sense since more riders want to use public transit instead of taking the cars. While we have to momentum lets improve things to keep them and have them invite more.

Let's get green together. By green I mean environmentally friendly, not green as politicians lining their pockets with it and only focusing on the environment close to an election.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Crazy Morning For Go Transit on the Lakeshore Line

It seems that a stalled train at the Burlington station was 1/2 way in the station. Havoc was caused as the station PA announced that the 6:30 train would be coming in on track 2 instead of track 1 and that it was arriving 15 minutes late. This confused passengers that were on the other track where there was a stuck train. The station officials had no idea when the 6:55 train would arrive.

Here is the trail of Go Alerts:

  1. Lakeshore East corridor: The 0612 train trip from Oshawa to Union (0712) is PARTIALLY CANCELLED between Oshawa and Whitby. The train is scheduled to depart Whitby on time.
  2. Lakeshore West corridor: The 0614 train trip from Hamilton to Union (0722) is PARTIALLY CANCELLED between Hamilton and Aldershot. The train will depart Aldershot on time. Buses will shuttle passengers from Hamilton to Aldershot.
  3. Lakeshore East corridor: The 0743 train trip from Union to Pickering (0808) is CANCELLED due to equipment problems.
  4. Lakeshore East Corridor: The 0818 train trip from Pickering to Union (0859) is PARTIALLY CANCELLED between Pickering and Guildwood. The train is scheduled to originate at Guildwood on time. The 0746 train trip from Oshawa to Union (0830) will make an ADDITIONAL STOP at Rouge Hill to accommodate passengers.
  5. Lakeshore West Corridor: The 0634 train trip from Hamilton to Union (0738) is operating more than 30 minutes late due to equipment problems.
  6. Lakeshore East: The 0731 train trip from Union to Oshawa (0826)will operate EXPRESS from Union to Pickering and then ALL STOPS from Pickering to Oshawa.
  7. Lakeshore West corridor: The 0704 train trip from Hamilton to Union (0808) is operating 31 minutes late due to equipment problems.
  8. Lakeshore East corridor: The 0818 train trip from Pickering to Union is Cancelled due to equipment problems. The 0754 train trip from Pickering to Union is operating 30 minutes late at Eglinton.

Now the question her is how many of these was caused by the train sitting stalled in Burlington station. If only they would have had the 6:30 train come in behind the other one and it could have pushed it to mimico. Then some of the congestion would be solved. Again 40 years go transit has been running on the Lakeshore Corridor and still they do not know how to schedule trains and deal with engine failures.

From other material from Go Transit itself it said that the engines are very sensitive to hot and cold days, so when the warmer weather comes Go Transit should know by now to expect issues and have action plans for such occasions. Just another way Go Transit could look out for us, the Customer.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Toll Roads and Government Giving Money to Other Countries

I saw an article on a poll done on converting high congestion areas to toll areas to stop people from taking their cars. This sounds like a good idea but where would the money from the tolls go? Would it go to helping transit? Probably not if you look at past examples of taxing in this manner.

1) Gas tax does not go to Go Transit and the smaller transit areas. If it did that would be a lot of money that transit is getting.
2) 407, sure make people pay for riding the highway but this highway is not owned by the government and they have no control over how tolls are collected and where the money goes. The 407 is owned partially by Royal Bank and partially by some country outside Canada. Imagine if the profits from 407 went to transit. We would have one heck of a transit system.
3) The new toll road to the airport is supposed to be built but again it will be privatized so the profit will not go to help the transportation issues but into someones pocket.
4) The government is paying for the expansion of rail for the GO Trains to run on but CN will own the rails and have control of them. This is another example of government giving in to private corporations. Go Transit owns the customer service desk and ticket checkers, but CN drives the trains owns the land and Bombardiar runs the trains. All this private profits from public transit.

One thing to note, when CN was on strike we had a lot less delays because of signals waiting for CN trains to shuttle in and out of the freight corridors. As for switching, I have watched as I have been taking the train and just doing a simple switch optimization would save a lot of delays. When I take the 5:43 train and it gets to burlington it arrives in the north track but then close to the station it switches across 1 if not two switches to get in on the middle or south track. If we didn't have to switch and came in on the north track then the delay waiting for a switch would be gone.

Common senses but in 40 years of service Go Transit still has not done switch optimization.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Go Transit Contest For Free Monthly Pass

This may be of interest, for Go Transit's 40th anniversary they are giving away free Go Monthly passes in a contest. The link is below:

Good Luck

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

GO Transit Cancellations Report

I have decided to keep a note of all the Go-Transit Cancellations I get via GO Alerts, I will also be keeping an eye on delays and cancellations that occur that do not make GO Alerts.

If you have any Go Transit Delays or Cancellations not listed here please let me know at: and I will post it here. I hope that seeing them in a larger list customers will realize the degradation of service and Go-Transit will react and improve things.
  1. 04/03/2007 - The train trip scheduled to depart Burlington at 0844, arriving Union at 0927, has been CANCELLED due to an equipment problem. The next eastbound train trip is scheduled to depart Burlington at 0914.

GO Conductor did not hear the alarm

I have posted Dylan's Comment as he wrote it below but as stated here below, I spoke to the Lady operating the door and she had no idea the alarm was going off. It was not a matter of not being able to shut the door and reopen it. She did not hear the alarm. That is the issue. What if it was not simply the doors not open but someone having a heart attack. Not hearing the alarm could mean life or death for the individual. Thanks Dylan for your comment its good to see someone from Go Transit is paying attention to the blog, its just that I wish someone at Go Transit would make a change to bettter safety instead of just posting a response to my blog.

This happened last week, it was an evening train the 7:43 train to be exact. We pulled into burlington and I was in the cars west of the handicap car. There were a lot of us there and the doors opened and everyone got out that were east of the handicap car. We all moved to another car to get out and realized those were shut too. We hit the yellow bar but nobody came. We made our way to the handicap car and said to the operator finally a door is open. All the doors in the west end of the train were shut so we pushed the alarm. "Oh I didn't even hear it" she replied. "I must not have hit the button hard enough to open them"

But what if an actual emergency had occurred, nobody would have responded and it would have not been until she made her walk of the train from end to end that she would have realized the emergency.

Talk about safety. I guess that is what happens when you reduce the staff on the trains to an unsafe level.

If you have any complaints about GO Transit let me know and I will post them here. Email them to me at

Cortez and The Way We Look

It is unfortunate that a customer service department in a provinical rail establishment is prejudice about how people look when allowing them to complian.

Case in point, yesterday I missed my train, I ran up platform 4b instead of 4a so the doors were shut. The CN Employee operating the door saw me, we made eye contact and I ran down the stair and back up the other side. Just as I reached the top of the stairs he closed the doors. He waited for another minute or two then left, refusing to open the door.

I went to customer service to complian as I usually do but it had been months since I had to complain so in that time I had grown a goti and shaved my hair short. I arrived and asked to speak to the manager like I always do and wanted the employee # of the CN employee so I could mention it in my customer service form. The supervisor (Cortez) who didn't recognize me from before looked at my goti and shaved head and said you are a trouble maker use the phone to call. I asked if he could call public relations for me and he said use a pay phone. I called customer service and reached Carl Baker (he could not see me of course) so he treated me with respect and told me the best way was to report the time of the occurrance on the customer service form. I went back to the Customer Service office where Cortez refused to give me a customer service form and said never to come back to that office. All because I wore a goti and shaved head.

Customer service only to those who look like normal people. What a way to run a PR office. I guess that is Go-Transits way of saying that blogging my complaints is the right way to do it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

77% Trains On Time, that means almost 25% are late

This stat alone is a cause for concern, but given that last year for the same quarter they were 96% on time it shows an even greater issue.

If looking at the numbers it means the trains were a minute or 2 late per trip than that is ok it happens, the issue I have is when people are running up the platform for the train and when they arrive the train is still on the platform waiting for signal for sometimes 5 minutes and they keep the doors shut. Why not let us passengers on, you are waiting for a signal anyways. Its not like its just sometimes that they do it, the doors close at exactly 5:19 or 5:34 but the train may not leave until 5:25 or 5:40. I think this is very inconsiderate, especially given that the train are late almost 25% of the time. That means 25% of the time passengers will arrive at 5:20 and the train is still there but they have to wait for the next one.

On the Lakeshore line its not too bad the next train may be only about 15 minutes away but on lines like the Milton line it could be almost an hour for the next one.

Hopefully Go Transit will take this into consideration when pondering their delay numbers.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Go-Transit Leaves Connecting Passengers Freezing

I guess the first place to start is to say the train that normally arrives in Burlington at 6:55 was delayed 10-12 minutes at the Snake. Normally this train
connects with the train leaving Oakville at 7:30. Being late we arrived at Oakville at exactly 7:30. The dispatch decided that they would let the Oakville train leave ahead of ours, so the passengers connecting to the all-stop train at Oakville missed their train. Had they let us leave first on our express train then those connecting passengers would not be caught out in the cold at Oakville Station.

As well this delayed our express train as we had to wait for it to make all its stops. Our engineer negotiated with dispatch so they would let us pass the all stop train near Port Credit.

The interesting thing is, I went to Customer Services to confirm that my facts above were correcet and that they did indeed miss the train. They had no idea, they called upstair to what I assume was dispatch and they flatly denied that the 6:55 train was delayed at all. It makes you wonder how many other train delays are not documented or reported and that is why when Go-Transit publishes their reports they see minimal delays for passengers. It is the hopes that someone in management at Go-Transit will look into this. That extra minute holding that one train back would make a lot of commuters happier and since its so cold out a little safer too.

Interestingly enough, in the past Go-Transit has delayed trains so they meet up with the bus I guess possibly it was a simple mistake in this case. If it is a policy change it is the hopes they change it back.

Its the little things that make the difference.

Monday, February 12, 2007

CN Strike, GO Transit Smooth

Thanks to the staff for making sure my train arrived on time.
I noticed no delays due to freight trains this morning, maybe its
good that they are on strike our commute is great.

However on a more serious note, I saw an article in 24 the other day that say that GO Transit
may be getting rid of CN in 2008. I am not sure how accurate that story is but its interesting.
From a recent letter I got from the Ministry of Transport it makes me wonder if they are not making their payments on time.

Here is a response from Minsitry of Transport, I emailed them and this was the response:

Dear Chris Williams:

Thank you for your correspondence of
5, 2007, to the Honourable
Lawrence Cannon, Minister of
Infrastructure and Communities,
regarding Canadian National's
operation of GO trains.

The Minister has asked me
to reply
on his behalf. Transport Canada is
responsible for regulating
the safety of
rail operations, including the
transportation of dangerous
goods, under the
Railway Safety Act and the
Transportation of Dangerous
Goods Act.
However, there are no federal
requirements that
stipulate the minimum number
of operating crew members
required for
commuter trains.

As such, CN's crew-reduction initiative
would not require any
exemptions to
existing federal operating
requirements. CN has provided
Transport Canada with a
copy of its risk
assessment on the crew-reduction
initiative and has met with
representatives to discuss the risk
assessment so that consideration
could be given to union members'
comments. Further to
Canada's overall role in
promoting safety, the department has
reviewed CN's risk
assessment and
determined that CN complies with all
federal regulatory
Should safety issues be
identified in the future, I
can assure you
that Transport Canada will
work with CN to address them.
Again, thank
you for writing. Yours

Andrew Walasek
Special Assistant
- Ontario

The first thing that comes to my mind is no wonder we had a freight train accident at Mimico this summer, when the federal regulatory requirements are so lax. Given the stipulation of the law the frieght train could have possible had no crew and still passed regulation.
The official version of this story was that the heat caused the tracks to warp. If this was the case then how come more of the tracks did not warp with the heat. There have been a
lot of hot summers so over the past while we should have seen more of these
accidents. This brings up another point why were passengers during
this incident made endure hours of heat on the train that should have been
brought back to the station so they could find an alternate way home.
Instead those passengers were left to the point that someone cracked and
opened the doors and everyone ran across the fields. Instead of
attempting to safely get them across the tracks there were police there
issuing people tickets for trespassing.
I guess when it boils down to it, wherever the Government is receiving lots of money that is where they listen, when it comes to safety well I guess that is another matter.

Monday, February 05, 2007

GO Transit Runs Regardless Of Strike

It seems both CN and the Union care about us and have decided to run the
Go Trains anyways. Instead it will only be the cargo trains that will be halted.

We are unsure how smoothly they will run but at least we can all get to work.
Cudos to the Union and to CN for avoiding commuter gridlock. I know you have made
a lot of us breate a lot easier.

GO Transit Runs Regardless Of Strike

It seems both CN and the Union care about us and have decided to run the
Go Trains anyways. Instead it will only be the cargo trains that will be halted.

We are unsure how smoothly they will run but at least we can all get to work.
Cudos to the Union and to CN for avoiding commuter gridlock. I know you have made
a lot of us breate a lot easier.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Transit Blog that Go Transit Employees Read

There are some entries here about ways to get back at GO Transit using
a credit card.

It also metions that this is a good place to complain about GO Transit.

Hopefully connecting to this site and posting will help get through to GO Transit that our safety and after that more reliability is a must.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

CN May Strike GO Transit

I was just reading in the news today about the potential CN Strike.

The full article is at:

Here are some snips I found important:

"GO Transit riders could face service disruptions in less than two weeks if CN conductors walk off the job when they are in a legal strike position on Feb.9."

"A strike would come at a difficult time for GO Transit, which has already gotten off to a bad start in 2007, with freezing temperatures causing switch problems and many train delays."

After 30 years of winters you think GO Transit would be used to it by now. I think they are relying on us commuters being used to it.

"In addition, CN chopped 34 engineers in late December as a cost-saving move for GO, causing some irritation among engineers. GO Transit reported that there were delays because the engineers had initial problems adapting to the new procedures."

Not only is it irritating engineers but as noted in a previous posting here it is a serious safety risk for us passengers.

"We're going to do everything in our power to try to keep GO out of this fight," Beatty said. "Our view is, `Why affect the citizens of Toronto?' The GO Train is a separate entity all together."

The conductors who continue to work during a strike would be asked to contribute their earnings to a charity, according to the union's proposal.

At least the engineers and conductors care about the passengers.

"It boils down to abuse, harassment and intimidation on the property," Beatty said.

For example, he said, conductors working in a north Toronto yard are not allowed coffee breaks and only get a 20-minute meal break during a nine-hour shift, he said.

Beatty also cited examples of improper investigations.

"Every little hiccup that happens, they call our people in for investigations and they call them in on their time off," Beatty said. "Not only are the people working their normal hours, they're also being hauled in on their time off for these, quite frankly, silly little ridiculous investigations."

Beatty called the tactics "strictly in-your-face intimidation."

Beatty predicts that when a strike mandate is called next week, the percentage support will be in the high 80s or low 90s.

"That gives you an indication they're fed up," the union spokesman said.

The conductors have been without a contract since Dec. 31.

I think an investigation should be done into where GO Transit is putting the money it receives from ticket sales and the Government. I would just like to point out that at Burlingtion Station it says there is lots of parking at Appleby but does not tell people that it is not wheelchair accessible so people who cannot find parking at Burlington and go to Appleby with their kids in a stroller or someone in a wheelchair are stuck carrying all the stuff down the stairs and back up. The thing is its not just a couple stairs its a staircase of say 30 or 40 stairs down and then back up to get the train.

Let's investigate where its needed and stop wasting our money where its not.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Does Go Transit Need A Dristan Or Just Some Ice For Its Staircases

Yesterday was understandable, there was ice everywhere, but today the excuse
was simple congestion. Train scheduling and lack of planning.

However there are deeper issues here, not only are trains being delayed so they become
twice as full but in the case of last evening in Burlington, the stairs were not salted or anything.
It was understandable yesterday morning as the ice was just forming and people were communting but they had all day to de-ice the stairs. A couple people slipped on those stairs.

This brings up another issue with stairs actually it was an escalator at Union Station. A month or so ago there was an accident on the escalator on track 5 where multiple people where taken to hospital for minor injuries and the escalator was shut down for a week while they investigated. There was never any reason given for this it just re-opened. It would be nice to find out why. Was it over crowding? Are there too many people using too few staircases?

I look forward to hearing from someone at GO Transit on this. I will update this article as I get details from GO Transit.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Some GO Transit Customer Service Co-Ordinators are Nice

I just wanted to say. I recently got an email response from Ashley Ward and I have to tell you
I am always impressed with her helpfulness. If you do end up connecting with her at customer service be sure to be polite to her as she is one of the good ones over there. She will help you if she can.

She found out about my concern about not being able to email directly and instead having to use the form and she was able to get me the proper email address for those that need it you can use

The other customer service co-ordinators have a lot to learn from Ashley, she is phenomonal.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Agencies Concerned About Our Safety Too

You may wish to check out some of the following websites for more information:

One Engineer, No Safety

Despite no new technological advances in safety Go Transit and Canadian National have decided to remove one of the locomotive engineers from each Lakeshore GO train.

Now Go Transit has made some really silly decisions in the past but this takes the cake. This
one may actually place customer safety in jeopardy. Some locomotive drivers do really long shifts, I know because often I have left in the late morning to go to Toronto and then in the late evening after a concert etc they are still on the train. A recent Metro article mentioned that they work 11 hour days.

Just a simple look at the Go Transit safety ads about crossing the tracks tells us that the Go Trains are moving intese energy and momentum.

I welcome comments about this decision here. I will be emailing Go Transit officials to notify Peter Smith, the Chairman of the Board of this blog. I will also be notiflying Lawrence Cannon, the minister of transport via the government email address

From talking to an individual that knows more than I do, the primary safety concerns are:

a) Excessive hours of duty and lengthy commutes by operators of GO Trains
i.e. Split Shifts, crew reporting for work in Mimico and then transported to distant yards

b) Lack of ATC (Automatic Trains Control) or ATS (Automatic Train Stop) on GO's network where single person (i.e. cab car forward movements) exist.

You can contact them directly using the following:

GO Transit Head Office
Phone (416) 869-3600
Fax (416) 869-3525
Unfortunately as the customer service supervisor (#606) informed me, go transit does not have a customer service email address so you have to go to the website and use the webform.

Honorable Lawrence Cannon
Minister of Transportation
phone (613) 991-0700

Let's get the word out so Go Transit can make our commute a safe one.

I look forward to everyone commenting on this so we can let them know we care for the safety of our fellow passengers.