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.