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 susan@clinchportal.com and we will post any comments you have anonymously.