Thursday, November 19, 2009

Excuses and Changing it to make it work.

Two things I found very interesting over the past couple days.
Firstly, the TTC has a public relations nightmare on their hands.
They have a fare hike nobody wants, they have people pointing out
waste of resources in the system. Now we have a 6 hour outage. From a
public relations point of view its easy to blame the subcontractor but
what about easing the passengers needs. It was cold and damp out.
People were standing for hours waiting. Why not bring out some portable
heaters to keep them warm or maybe supply them with a warm cup of coffee.
Its not our fault but we care. A missed opportunity they could maybe do next
time. Given the disorganization of TTC we know there will be a next time.

On another note, I had not taken the train leaving burlington at 7:38 for a while.
It used to arrive at Union at 8:22 am and the conductor would announce that it was on time.
I noticed that now the train arrives at 8:30 am and the conductor would announce that it was on time. I guess the way to reduce delays is to adjust the schedule to compensate. Way to go
Go Transit.

Susan came across this article about schedule 'Inflation' written by Ed Drass in the Metro News. You may wish to check it out here is the link:

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Go Transit and the Pan AM Games

It is understandable that bringing the Pan AM Games to the GTA will help out the cities
economy and we really need to show them our world class transit system but with limited resources at Go Transit and thus cancelling trains are we not proving the opposite to them.

A better approach, would be to cut the train in half. You do have extra engines at Mimico I see them every morning during the rush just sitting there. Why not split up the train and at least run a shorter train through the normal line. Commuters are used to delays so a delay due to congestion would not produce the negative feedback you are getting now.

It is all about thinking smarter. I think Go Transit really needs someone to take control of the behemoth organization and clean it up. Someone needs to look at Go Transit from the switch and dispatch level all the way up and figure out solutions fast. From my experience with him in the past I really think Rob MacIsaac is your man to do it. Every day it becomes clearer that MetroLynx should talke control of the TTC and Go Transit and make them more efficient and work together with existing transit.

I look forward to hearing your comments on this and other postings.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Go Transit Paranoia

Imagine what would happen if a real disaster happened on the Lakeshore West line.
All that happened here was a track outage and it is utter chaos at Union. From
what I heard from the Engineers on my train the 6:03 pm train from Union, there were
2 go trains ahead of us. So counting back that is the 5:43 and 5:34 train so that means it took Go Transit over a half an hour to determine that there was in fact a track outage.

Our train got stopped at Exhibition and the public relations person on the train told us the track was out at Oakville. From speaking directly with him he said that came straight from dispatch. Upon calling 1-888-get-on-go they told me long branch was out. To make matters worse, anyone traveling from Union to anywhere west except Hamilton and Aldershot were SOL as far as buses were concerned.

You would think this was Go Transit's first disaster by how they reacted but in fact only a few short years ago there was the were 3 such in one year, a fire at Clarkson, a track outage at Mimico due to a CN derailment. Even still the big Toronto blackout had buses available for people to get home. You think they would get better but I have to say that in past, they actually did a better job getting us home.

While we wait for the bus, three other buses come in and one express bus heads back to Union. Optimization would say to have that bus with only a hand full of people on it, go back to Aldershot with our load too, then to Union rather than sending another bus one stop and use extra fuel. I guess that is where are go transit pass increases come from, unnecessary fuel consumption.

As I sit on the bus in Hamilton at 8:37 they just announced that the trains are running. So leaving Union at 6:03, I have already been on the Go system for over 1 and 1/2 hours and the bus is still sitting here waiting to leave. One passenger was so irate at Hamilton bus terminal by the lack of information that Go Transit kicked him out of the station rather than simply answering which stop we needed to wait at.

Just as go transit thought their concerns were over with the trains running. Some incident at the Union Station bus terminal which included an ambulance needing to get through, stopped all go busses from entering the terminal. The dispatch told all buses to stay away from Union Bus terminal or they would be sent right through.

It is 9:00 pm and I am now at Aldershot. I am one of the luckier ones that got off at Aldershot to a ride waiting for me. Unfortunately most passengers heading back East will have to wait until 10:00 pm for the next train even though two empty west bound trains headed on to Hamilton which is not even a regular stop at this time of night. Another way to piss off us passengers and waste more fuel.

I look forward to hearing from Go Transit how they are going to improve the situation in the future at least on par with future major disasters and possibly a refund or rebate to those travelers who took the train and were stranded.

As a footnote for those people that want to bury the gardiner because its an eyesore, well if they had done that already then all the highway communter would be stranded too.

Feel free to comment on the blog and I will approve them. You may also email Susan Fischer at and we will post any comments you have anonymously.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

GO Transit and Burlington Transit Rip Off Students

The Burlington Transit has 2-4-1 bus passes for students. If they pay $64 for the july pass they get august free or they can get the July pass for $40. I went to the Go Transit Burlington station and the attendant was rude and told me she didn't know about the deal.

I went home and brought the ad in the Burlington Post newspaper advertising it and she still said no. I called 1-888-Getongo and they put me on hold and finally told me they don't sell discounted passes, however they have sold Student passes at full price to many students already. So anyone buying the BT Student bus passes Go Transit and Burlington Transit just ripped you off for $64. If you are concerned about it please contact Burlington Transit and Go Transit Customer Service and let them know how you feel about being ripped off.

For those who have not bought yours yet, which I figure are few since its already July 1st. Go to Mapleview mall or Burlington Mall to get them. I guess in future the lesson is beware of buying your tickets or passes at the Go Station as they may be ripping you off.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Arriving on Platform 6 Today. Good Job Today Keep it Up.

I just wanted to say that bringing the 7:15 train from burlington in on track 6 today
was a good move. It allowed the platform to clear easier and by doing so when the 7:25 train
comes in on the outer platform its not as congested.

I hope you will keep this up for the 7:15 train as it makes sense from a safety concern. You get the train in and out and then pull in the east bound so it leaves on time and there is limited crowding on the platform.

Cheers to Go Transit. You made a good decision.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Go Transit Safety : The next sexy issue

Everybody is talking about the next sexy issue ever since that MP was quoted at claiming it was the isotopes issue. With the pending election to be announced probably in the Summer so most of the population is away, Susan Fischer predicts that Go Transit Safety will become the next sexy issue.

There has been a lot of talk lately about the safety of the new platforms at Union. For a while now we have been pointing out safety concerns on this blog. There are new lines being constructed and expanded. There is lots of talk about electrifying the tracks but nothing yet about safety concerns about people crossing them illegally like they do now and getting electricuted.

If you have any comments on this post them here or email them to Susan Fischer at and we will post them here.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Platform 26: It worked once why do it again?

Go Transit suffers from two syndromes which are veryapparent in their response to Ed Drass' article on theuse of Platform 26 and 27.

Early in the article he mentions that the issue is thatthe stairway is wide enough for two people but the dooris narrow and only lets one person through at a time.

To which Go states that the platforms are as large as theycan be without removing tracks. Duh, we are not complainingabout the platforms. The doors on platform 4 could easily havebeen placed on platform 26 had the door frame been made wider.

Now let's look at "It worked once why do it again". The reasonI say this is that all the older platforms have doorways wide enough for two people to get through so why change that for platform 26. Now let's lookat Thomas' comment "The design is being reviewed to see if wider doors or double doorscan be developed at each stairwell"

These after thoughts seem to be huge with go transit. I recommend the following solution.

1) The engineers on any project related to the rider should have to ride the effected train both before design an on the first trip during rush hour both directions. That way any changes can be started the day of the first trip not after a load of customers complain and an article is written.

2) Committe members and dispatch operators should be obliged to take a rush hour train preferrably one of the major delayed trains and keep an eye out for possible improvement in switch optimization and other optimizations in train scheduling.

If go transit were to implement these two solutions you would probably see a lot of issues get resolved. I look forward to Go Transit's comments in this manner and for a timeframe on implementing at least solution 2.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Nobody Working in Customer Relations At Union

It appears that nobody is on the payroll for customer service at Union. My friend tried calling about a lost blackberry and was informed that there was nobody to take his call and that he should run to union and deal with the matter in person.

Upon calling 1-888-getongo she tried for a good 1/2 hour to contact someone even a supervisor with no luck. Eventually after trying for another 1/2 hour to contact the next person up the chain of command I got transfered to Esther in Public Relations that told me that I was to just leave a voice mail and that the would deal with it in their own time. So if nobody is working in Customer Service then the 20 or so people sitting in the customer service office should not be getting paid. So if each person made 30,000 a year that is a cost savings of $600,000. Wait a minute if you took that savings and decided there were other jobs in public relations and administration you didn't need then there would be no need for the fare hike we had this year.

Hmm. Maybe getting rid of customer relations and public relations is a good thing. They don't appear to be doing anything anyways.

Monday, April 27, 2009

If you fail this quiz then you either don't take Go Transit or you wear your ipod too often.

This is an easy quiz. I challenge you all to try it and win a prize:

Let's show Go Transit that their little rant before each train trip is working.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Presto and Initiatives to Get people taking bus to the train

You would think that since they are pushing hard for people to take alternate moves to the station and given the money they are spending on the Presto people at the station to ramp it up that the Lakeshore line Presto program would be moving at high speed.

I asked one of the representatives about the Burlington Transit and she told me that Bronte Station will be getting it first sometime in 2010 and then it will slowly roll out from there. The milton line has had it for what seems ages now while the rest of us wait. Wouldn't it make sense to roll it out at Oakville Station since there are definite parking problems there. Bronte station is the secondary station so it doesn't necessarily need it. How about Clarkson or Port Credit since there are a lot of bus connections and limited parking.

I hope someone at Presto and Metrolynx is reading this and takes heed. This is where the real need is not just Bronte. Think about it too, at Oakville you have Via rail. Wouldn't it be amazing if you could tie Via into Presto too?

I look forward to your comments.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Metrolynx and Go Transit Merging

That is actually quite funny since Go Transit runs little more than customer service.
All the major stuff is done by CN/CP or Bombardier. But I guess merging them will get rid
of some of those politicians trying to get in the way. Possibly Metrolynx can merge with CN and
produce efficiency there. The issue here is switch optimization, politics over whether CN or Go Transit owns the new tracks. Well if Metrolynx owned them both, no problem no fight.

I look forward to the merger and hope Metrolynx realizes the next move is taking over CN and possibly VIA.

I look forward to your opinion in this matter.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Go Transit's Solution to not enough parking spots

Blocked parking campaign: Please practice safe parking

Rather than creating more spots at the stations, they decided it was more profitable for tow truck drivers to just tow the cars away. I would like to hear from Go Transit what else they are doing to fix the parking situation. We got the new parking garage in Burlington, have you thought about doing the same in Oakville?

Monday, March 16, 2009

TTC Parking Lots - Where are the profits going?

The question I have for David Miller is if its only costing 1 to 2 cents per metropass to maintain the parking lots, then where are the profits from the $3 to $12 a day parking going to. I think the ttc riders have a right to know where that money is being spent. Are the factoring in the cost of riders lost when determining the price calls? If so that is a lot of riders.

I noticed too that in the Metro article this morning, a TTC official compared parking at go stations to ttc. Well, Burlington GO created a new parking garage to assist with congestion. They also allowed people to purchase preferred parking. Maybe this is a route TTC should do. Make part of the lot preferred parking at a premium and the rest free to metro pass holders. The few reserved spots could help fund lot maintenance.

Interestingly enough, the TTC has been running the same service over the past 10 years as far as trains, cutting corners on cleanliness of stations and raising fares. So why now are they screaming for more money when there has been no improvements. At least Go Transit has shown some improvement in the past 8 years. New trains, track extensions, but what have we seen from the TTC.

Please post your comments on this article and please fill in the survey at the survey is called say NO to TTC.

Friday, March 13, 2009

GO Transit Fare hike. What if GO Transit ran the streets

Firstly let me comment on the GO Transit fare hike. Us riders have been putting up with poor service for so long and now the fake delay numbers are being used to tell us they deserve more because they are 90% on time. Here is the link to the fare increase article.

Secondly, let's think to if GO Transit ran the roads. Here are some changes in service we possibly would see:

1) Traffic lights would intermittantly work in cold weather or hot weather (Signal issues)
2) Your car would overheat or freeze up in winter on a random basis.
3) Go Transit would convert all streets to toll roads and charge you more money to drive on them every year.
4) Traffic lights would realize that you are already late for work and would adjust the signal to make you later. You are already late so you are in their negative stats. The light for the other direction would stay green until after rush hour.
5) You would in some occasions be allowed to run the red light if it appears they are red in all directions but you must do it a the normal speed limit. Any slower and you would get a speeding ticket.
6) Your radio would be hijacked by Go Transit as they appologize for the safety hazzard they caused by the traffic lights not working.
7) Drivers would be allowed to stop at a red light then the passenger get out and protect the crossing while the driver drives through.
8) Shopping cars and other debris would be placed in front of cars to cause further delays so there is an excuse for poor service.

It would be interesting to see the stats on how often traffic signals fail and how often train signals do. Are they not the same technology? Are there not many times more traffic signals than train track signals.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Shadow Delayed Trains

It is very interesting how GO Trains can be up to 45 minutes late but never make the delay board on the website or hit the alert application.

I challenge anyone to look at the go train schedule for February 26, 2009 and compare the on-time schedule to that posted on the website and to the alerts. You may also want to look at the logs of what train went through what switch as well.

What you will find is if the train ride ends at Union, odds are the delay may not be logged as it did not delay another train. You will find that sometimes trains get flipped to hide delayed trains. It's a conspiracy that should be uncovered as it is deceiving and makes it look like Go Transit is doing a better job than they are. I wonder how many bonuses at Go Transit are tied to ontime.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Green Means Go, Red Means Slow, Yelow Means Go Fast So What Signal Means Stop

I came across two dangerous safety hazzards both for passengers and crew yesterday.

The first was during the morning rush. I took the 7:38 am train from Burlington and upon arriving at Union there was excess traffic so they pulled our train past the switch and past the red signal in behind another train. I have seen this a lot lately and that combined with conductors always having to reposition the train, it could end up being a collision at Union.
Someone may want to investigate this.

The second is a bit more dangerous. I was on the 5:34 pm train out of Union. When we reached Burlington, specifically signal 393P1, we got stopped on all red. Our conductors did their job and called dispatch and they told them to go manually flip the switch. While the employees were at track level flipping the switch and standing on track 2 to do so, another Go Train rushed by and I heard the conductor scream. He looked and was relieved his co-workers were okay. As I looked up at the signals, I noticed all were red except the yellow light in the top corner. So I guess Yellow means go fast. The danger here near the mall is that this part of the track is extremely dark even if the engineer had put on the front light of the train. But the train that rushed by didn't even use his train whistle all we could hear from him was the clacking of the tracks.
If we don't be careful we are going to have another incident like we did on the ttc where an employee got hit in the tunnel.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Safety Issues With The Doors On Go Transit

Since this blog was originally created to bring up safety issues. It seemsa good time to not that this morning's train leaving Burlington at 7:15 am left Appleby Station and after passing the refinery, which means totally clearing the station, they then realized there were door problems.
My question is should it not be common practice to check that all the doors are closedprior to leaving the station. As a safety concern and especially in the winter when all the cold air pushes in while the train is moving probably around 60 km / hour. This season has been plagued with door problems but at least past ones were discovered at the station rather than when the train wasin motion. I will give them credit though. When we stopped at Bronte and the doors opened upon closing thedid check the doors again and found there was trouble. However after traveling 100 metres from the station we were stopped again.

I would love to see a response from vanessa, the spokesman for Go Transit that said they wereoptimistic about the winter season.

I would also like to hear her comment on where the additional fare increase went. You know theone that should have gone to air blowers on the most important switches. Although being pushed pastas an issue in yesterday's delay, the switch in the Oakville train yard that gets used by the 7:15 am and 7:25 amtrains and many other trains every day was frozen. The conductor told us they were manually flipping the switchand they would lie would they? So where is the air blowers on this troublesome switch?

Next time there is a fare increase, I am sure you will hear a public outcry into where this money went. It isbetter for Go Transit to get it all out in the open now as everybody on the train today was talking about that veryissue.

Switch and Statistical Optimization (Post Delayed Just Like GO)

This post is actually from yesterday but given the Go delay I did not have time to post it until now.

This morning is a good example of swich and statistical optimization.The train that was supposed to leave Burlington at 7:25 am was already 4 minutes late when itarrived at Union. We arrived at Oakville at 7:45 am and it was noted that trains were cancelledso our train was additionally crowded. After leaving Oakville we sat literally 100 m from the stationwaiting for a broken switch, however as we sat for the hour, other trains were allowed to pass us in both direction including other Go Trains.
Here is the two statistical optimizations:
1) Cancelled trains to NOT appear on the results on the Go Transit website By cancelling a train that is most likely to run late, it does not affect the stats.2) Since our train was already late and would appear on the stats as a negative, it was better to let all the ontime trains pass us than to back us up to Oakville and let us use another switch.
The other thing to note is that this particular switch seems to be the one that fails most of the time and is highly used. Given this knowledge should this switch not be up for replacement and possiblythe air blowers. There were three CN trucks on scene watching the conductor manually flip the switch.
This brings up a vital concern that Metrolynx and possibly Transport Canada needs to address.Passengers complained about the poor service from Go Transit but rather than actually improvingthe service for all passengers, they are just playing the statistics game.
If anyone has any better explanation on why a train leaving oakville at 7:45 am was still 100 metres from Oakville an hour later when other trains that left Oakville after it arrived at Union Stationon time. I will also note that this is not a one time issue. Over the past month, I personally have been on 2 such trains, one had switch problems like this one, the other had issues with the doors openingand shutting at stations on route. Other trains were allowed to pass us by.