Thursday, December 02, 2010

Letter to Mayor Ford on Presto and TTC

I sent the following on to Mayor Ford. I look forward to his response. If you use Presto and feel TTC should get their act together
and continue the roll out please comment here or go to the TTC website and let them know.

If you look at Union Station you will see that loads of riders are using the new Presto cards to the point of stressing the system.
This wide popularity should tell the ttc that this pilot is working and they should expand it.

Instead the head of the Union run TTC wants to invest millions on their own system that will not connect to anyone else.
I think the TTC should get no more money until they stop wasting money. They should roll out Presto, allow people to fill
their presto cards at stations and extend the number of stations.

Go Transit and other local transit like Burlington Transit has already started rolling this out. I would like the transportation
mayor to tell TTC to get out of the dinosaur age and join the modern age where transportation works together.

Car when needed bus or train when needed but all working together. This is the goal behind presto.

I look forward to your response.

Chris Williams

Monday, November 22, 2010

95% less than 20 minutes late makes sense now

From looking at the mornings delays and actually looking back at past delays in my email, I noticed a trend. Delays tend to happen a lot but most delays are 10 to 15 minutes with some delays logged as 17 or 19 minutes which are under 20. Thus the selection of 20 minutes is a simple case of changing the math.

I would like to see the actual numbers on 15 minutes rather than 20 minutes or since you are so proud of the 20 minutes, what about changing the free ride from 30 minutes to 20 minutes. Since its less than 20 minutes late 95 to 98% of the time then this would make sense from a customer service point of view and customer satisfaction. Let's see Go Transit put their money where their mouth is.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Passenger Charter and Customer Service Ambassadors

I read through the printed copy of the Passenger Charter on the way home last evening and found it interesting how little information there were on Customer Service Ambassadors. It is interesting because in my opinion they are the ones who made the biggest difference.

The survey mentioned people feel safe and informed well at stations this has not changed much. Signs are not better or clearer, announcements at stations are still unclear due to old equipment, but the customer service ambassadors on the trains keep us informed of every delay or stop, they respond to emergency assist alarms. They help with directions, guide us on faster trains to take. Talk to us and make us feel comfortable.

When you see a Customer Service Ambassador today, be sure to thank them for the great job they have been doing. We really appreciate what they do every day.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Go Transit Passenger Charter

I just received an email about the new Passenger Charter. This is exciting as now we have a concrete document that states Go Transits commitment to us. We have felt the change in attitude at Go Transit over the past few years both from the friendliness and helpfulness of staff members and the free rides for delays over 45 minutes.
Their charter outlines 5 promises to the commuter:
- to be on time
- to keep you informed
- to provide you with a safe travel experience
- to ensure your travel with us is always comfortable and to always be available to help. 
Here is the link to the actual charter.  Check it out and let's keep them to it together.
One thing that looked inaccurate or unclear.
- We will run more than 90% of rush hour trains within five minutes of the scheduled time.
The stat shows 95% but from experience on the lakeshore line over the past 10 months, most trains closer to 9:00 arrival have been 10 to 15 minutes late.  I am interested on how they came up with this number and how this is audited. 
The Second thing I noticed was that safety is not measured on how safe the trains, stations are but on how safe customers feel.

Every three months, we conduct a customer satisfaction survey to better understand what we are doing right and what we need to improve on. This is the cumulative results for this year for customer satisfaction when it comes to safety.

What would matter more to me would be seeing the results of safety inspections, how often brakes fail, trains break down on tracks, in winter I would like to see random inspections of station platforms for ice buildup, how many people have slipped on stairways, hurt themselves on the platform. This would be more meaningful then a survey where some people responded to questions and others never reached the survey.

Just curious, out of the ridership totals how many actually answered the surveys.

I look forward to comments from Go Transit.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Yellow Line Safety Issues

Now that it seems to be legal for someone to push someone else past the yellow lines and there are no longer ttc safety officers to assist, I would like to know what the TTC will be doing to protect the commuters that use the system every day.

There has been talk of security barriers being to costly but what about two young lives. If you feel the same let the new mayor of Toronto know your concerns. He is all about Transit changes. This would be a huge one.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Time To Vote For Better Transit

Its election day today and all the candidates have a plan for the future of public transit in Toronto. Its an important day for us commuters as the decisions made will affect how long it will take all of us to get home.

For all you in the GTA that can vote, take a look at each candidates plans. They vary greatly both in cost and quality of service. Don't let everyone else choose a better quality of life for you, go out and vote for Better Transit.

One key question to ask each candidate is how they are working with Metrolinx to build their transit plans. What we need is a system that works together not separate systems like before.

Transit has started to get better under the Metrolinx realm. Yes the TTC sucks but expansion is not necessarily the answer. The answer is making it easier for passengers to get where they are going. Don't spend millions on Credit card systems when Presto will work fine. It works well on the Go Train. TTC has only two Presto terminals at Union and only a few stations with it active. Save the millions you would have wasted on the new Credit Card systems and focus on safety and reliability of trains.

That is my opinion. Regardless of your opinion, everyone has complained hard about TTC, tonight is your chance to vote for a better system don't waste it.

Monday, August 09, 2010

What the TTC can learn from Go Transit

This morning I witnessed an interesting issue at Union Station. A lady tried her Presto card on
the subway and it told her to proceed but it would not let her through the turnstyle. The rep told her to go to the other presto booth, but she already paid. Another told him that presto was out of service at the other side. With that he said, "Not my problem, its prestos." Upon one gentleman's complaint, just walked away so the gentleman scanned his pass and hopped over. At that point the rep got upset as it looked bad as other passengers were confused about Presto. His comment, "Remove your F*#* headphones and you would hear me that the other Presto one works."

Lesson 1: The customer is always right. He could see from the turnstyle that she paid, simply let her through.

Lesson 2: If a customer tells you something is broken, regardless of whether its presto issues or ttc, listen and don't get snippy.

Lesson 3: Treat all your customers equal. Whether they have long pointy hair, headphones, or a business suit. Just because someone is wearing an ipod with earbuds does not mean its on and they cannot hear you. Ironically the rep who made the comment was the one not listening to the customer.

Lesson 4: The best way to fix customer service is contract it out. Go Transit had lots of issues with client facing workers not many years ago so it pursued new contracts from outside to work with customer service on the trains. It seems a contract worker is more likely to worry about their contract renewal and provide better service than someone in a Union that will protect them.

For all you that complain heavily about Go Transit, I challenge you to take the subway to work for one month, you will be so proud of where Go Transit has gone with customer service and appreciation.

As a foot, note, on August 11, 2010 at Yonge and Bloor an interesting thing happened. A lady was getting on the train and she was a little slow to walk. She crept to the door and got close as the chimes went off. She tried to rush and was a little flustered. She fell on the platform. The train doors closed then reopened. The train sat there for a few minutes but nobody from TTC came over to see if she was okay. After a couple minutes some passengers on the train noticed her and helped her on and onto a seat. She was a little shocked. You might claim that nobody saw what happened but firstly, the train driver reopened the doors so he must have seen something. If not, there are survalence cameras all over yonge and bloor as they were installed for the RCMP and for passenger safety so someone had to see what happened.

On the Go Train, if someone falls on the platform and gets hurt, you see the customer service ambassador come over to check if they are okay. Its common decency. Cudos to Sammi and Nicole and the other customer service ambassadors on the Go Trains, they really care. TTC employees need to maybe go for a coffee with one of them and get some advice.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

TTC Delays and Fires

It seems over the past week, commuters have been experiencing a variety of delays. A few times
over the radio on the subway, I heard it was due to fires. One day in particular I heard the driver at the St Clair station radio that he was putting it out with an extinguisher. I am curious about whether these fires are at track level or on the platforms and if this is a safety concern on the subway system in general or just a problem at one station.

As for signal problems, these have been shutting down the entire line lately. Recent case in point is the following delay:

The is no service on ALL subway lines due to signal problems. No delays on the SRT Line. More info to follow.

Last updated Jul 22, 2010 9:30 AM
To affect all lines in all directions this is a large outage.

We all know about switch problems, or broken down train, but at least a broken switch defaults to stop. Fires can hurt or kill us. I look forward to hearing back from someone working for TTC.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

New Uniforms Bring Safety Officers Down

I had a good chat with two safety officers about the new uniforms. I kind of liked them but didn't realize why. The uniforms make them look more like security guards and less like officers. Instead of the old traditional police officer blue they are wearing grey like a security guard.

To make it worse they have this huge logo on the front that says safety officer. This is another way to tell them and others that they are not real officers they are "safety officers". They do a lot more than just protect our safety.

I thought I would post this on the blog and see how others feel about the new uniforms. Please post your comments as I know Go Transit itself reads this blog and your opinion is important to them.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Has anyone actually won anything on this contest?

I have seen the link each week for the contest on the Go Transit Facebook group but nobody
ever congratulates anyone on winning or lists winners.

Check out the contest here:

If you have actually won a prize or know people who have please comment on this post.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Go Trains Go, Stop Via Stop (G20)

Its like the little train that could. We have less access to the tracks, we have lower priority at Union Station but bring on the G20 and Go Transit is running trains. Via cancelled all trains in and out of Union Station.

Way to Go Go Transit. Good job. Neither Rain, Nor Sleet, Nor gloom of night, Nor G20, Go Train will get you there and back.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Go Transit Preparing Passengers With Pre-G20 Delays

Probably not on purpose but the dreaded signal issues have come back this week. Delays of half an hour on the evening rush.

Think of it as a practice run for next week when there are protesters and other reasons for even longer delays. If you could not handle the half hour delay during the rush then probably you should stay home next Friday because odds are they will be longer. Even Go Transit is telling people to bring snacks and drinks in preparation.

For your own safety follow Go Transits advice and try and bring extra water and food. Also, try and sit in one of the coaches that have a larger washroom just in case.

If you have any comments or suggestions for passengers on making next weeks delays bearable please comment on this post.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

New Uniforms For Safety Officers

I just got an alert from Go Transit on the new uniforms they will start wearing June 21st. Be sure to compliment them on them and ask them to help if you need it.

On Monday, June 21st, we are introducing a fresh new look for our Transit Safety Officers. Designed to increase officer visibility and profile, it will make it easier for passengers to find the assistance they need. This new uniform reflects GO Transit’s commitment to customer service, passenger safety and easy access to friendly assistance.
Our Transit Safety Officers receive comprehensive training in customer service, law enforcement, first aid and CPR, and in their day to day roles carry out a variety of activities to enhance service reliability, business continuity, passenger safety, comfort and security.
They are equipped to handle a variety of emergencies and strategically deployed throughout our system with a primary focus to ensure passenger safety at all times.
Please click on the link for an in depth look into the roles of our Transit Safety Officers.
If you have any tips or information regarding Go Transit Safety you would like to share with the group please comment on this blog or email them to Susan Fischer at

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Get something from Go Transit. You pay enough

Go Transit has a new contest and there are some cool prizes.
For once they actually announced it on facebook and the link works.

Here is the link to the contest:

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Presto - You Gain Some You Lose Some

Everyone is so excited about Presto. You are going to save money. Its going to be more
convenient going cross systems, however for Go Transit riders that have monthly passes you are not saving anything. In fact you are losing.

How are you losing you ask? Well Presto costs the same amount each month as your Go Transit Monthly pass but one perk that Monthly pass holders got was the free ride for another on the weekends. Its not every month that I use it but it is nice to enjoy a day in Toronto with my wife or my son. It would cost me $14 more for those trips.

Secondly, the reason a lot of people went monthly is because then they don't have to remember to scan every trip. They just have to remember end of month to buy another. This is another loss of convenience.

I am okay with losing those two perks if there were new perks with Presto like savings. I am very disappointed in the lack of extra discount to get people on presto even just for the first month or two months. Instead all you save is the $6.95 setup fee.

What a rip off. But I guess we are all going to bite the bullet and get one on June 1 to save the $6.95 All I know is the first time presto does not scan for me I am headed to customer service for some free rides. I suggest everyone else do the same.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Week - Some ways Go Transit has made changes for the environmental worse

Go Transit public relations love to tell you how they are making things better for the environment but you don't really see how they are not.

The extension of Trains on the Lakeshore Line to Aldershot seems a good move on reducing the footprint on the environment but it also hurts it. If you listen closely to the campaign Go Transit has about parking, they mention alternative means of getting to the station. A lot of people relied on the Go Bus as an alternative to get to the station if they live between stops. Removing the once an hour bus during the day ensures those people drive to the station.

Recently, Go Transit removed bus routes from York region. This forced people to drive rather than take the slower local transit.

These are only a few examples I found with a simple google. If you have more examples, please comment on this blog so Go Transit can see the ways they can change during this earth week.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Just what is the process for Go Transit to resolve customer issues?

Here is an example of a rightly frustrated customer:

We are very disappointed with the evidenced bad attitude of your bus driver for Go bus departing from Hamilton GO station, Ontario at 11 p.m. on 22 January 2010. The bus destination was Union Station in Toronto, Ontario.

The bus-driver was an apparently "middle-aged", tall, Caucasian-white male, clean-shaven, with a bald head [and a fringe of white hair on the back of his head].

In spite of our polite request for it, he did NOT assist us to load our bag at Hamilton, NOR did he even have the door opened for the luggage compartment until we asked him for it a FOURTH time, needlessly making us wait out in the cold weather.

When we reached Union station, he began YELLING at us IN FRONT of all other passengers SWEARING AND RUDELY demanding: "Why THE FUCK did you put your bag in the back?". We politely tried explaining to him that since there were other passengers BEHIND us with luggage AND OTHERS who may get onto the bus [since the bus may make multiple stops in Hamilton] AFTER it leaves the Hamilton GO station, we did not wish to inconvenience others NOR have them damage our fragile bag and it's fragile contents.

He shouted: "I am IN-CHARGE and you are not supposed to place it further in the back".

We politely pointed out to him that there WAS NO CLEARLY visible POSTED sign ANYWHERE [on the bus NOR on the luggage compartment] that confirmed his flimsy verbal assertion: "you are not supposed to place it further in the back".

In response, he angrily kicked our bag and broke an expensive glass-vase that was inside it.

He refused to provide us his name/driver-operator-number NOR would he let us write down the bus-number and/ or the bus license-plate information.
Here is customer services response:

I am following up on your email of March 18, 2010. I am sorry that you
had this unfortunate experience on our system and we certainly
understand your frustration.

An investigation was conducted by Bus Operations supervisory personnel,
however, we were unable to establish the issue of a broken vase. As you
are requesting reimbursement for the cost of the vase, your request must
be addressed directly in writing (electronic not accepted) to our Legal
Services and Claims Department for consideration.

Please send a detailed letter, including a copy of the original receipt

GO Transit Claims Department
20 Bay St. Suite 600
Toronto, ON
M5J 2W3

We appreciate you bringing your concerns to our attention.

The question here is how did they follow up. Did they ask for witnesses that also took the bus trip
were there video cameras in the station? or did they simply talk to the driver? Are there cameras at the Hamilton bus station that could have seen this happen? If not, this brings up a safety concern especially for female passengers taking late night buses to Hamilton from Toronto.

As for foul language and harsh treatment, I too have experience this attitude from both train and bus personnel. It has not been to the extent of the above but I can relate.

I would like to hear someone from Go Transit comment on the safety concerns at the Hamilton Go Station and how it plans to resolve these issues.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Shopping carts please stay well behind the yellow line

It seems that the message for people to stay well back from the yellow line is working but those shopping carts are not listening. They are making their way onto the tracks and causing serious concerns. I guess they are following those mattresses across.

Seriously, whomever is putting shopping carts, mattresses and other large items on the tracks, stop it. You are going to kill somebody. This is a serious safety concern. Maybe we need cameras on the tracks in areas this is happening more often to catch these people.

If you have any safety concerns or other issues you would like to share with the group please post them here or email them to Susan Fischer at

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Average 80 minute commute, Government Surplus but delayed transit plan funding

A study released today shows how commuters in Toronto spend an average of 80 minutes commuting

Not much earlier was the news that Transit funding was being delayed
But wasn't one of the major announcements in the latest budget transit spending? Am I missing something?
Where is this transit money going?

I would love to hear responses on where this money is going. Please comment on this post.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Warning: Schedule Changes April 3, 2010

For all those loyal blog readers, I thought I would remind you of the schedule changes that are happening April 3, 2010. If you are taking the Lakeshore line the normal trains will be leaving earlier from your stations.

If you have any tips, comments, etc you would like to share with the followers of this blog please post them as comments or email them to Susan Fischer at and we will post an article.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

More money for transit less money for silly songs

O Canada, our home and native land.
True paitrot love in all your coyotes command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise
Our Go and TTC Fares.
The tax money is better spent
To ensure our anthem is gender free.

As you may have guessed, the opposition party does not like the word sons in
our anthem but has no problem letting coyotes run wild in our school yards and
attack pets in our backyards. They also have no problem giving no more money to
public transit to help the environment.

If you would like to let the government know that our kids safety is important join the protest here:

If you don't like the go transit fee hikes, fill in the petition at:

Friday, February 12, 2010

Had an affair? Work for TTC

It seems rather hypocritical to be all up in arms about a company paying millions to advertise on the subway saying its morally wrong but then as head of the TTC do those same immoral acts.

This hypocracy between management at TTC and its employees is unfair to both the employees and the customer. Change really needs to happen at the TTC and removing the highest person for someone ready for change is a bold move that needs to be made.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Reasons to feel lucky you take Go Transit

You have come a long way Go Transit when it comes to customer service.
Lucky for us passengers we don't have to deal with employee feuds with management,
employee passenger feuds. Here is an article that points out some of the reasons I am
glad I no longer take TTC and simply purchase my Go Monthly Pass:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Just when the Go-ing was good

It looks like another switch malfunction. This is two in the same number of weeks.
Both times service was suspended on the Lakeshore West line.

Due to an ongoing CN signal and radio communication malfunction, train
service on the Lakeshore West and Georgetown lines is temporarily suspended. CN
and GO Transit are working to resolve the issue and resume train service. We
apologize for the inconvenience. An update will be provided.

At least last time they gave us a free ride. For those who have not collected it you should check it out. I know if service is still out at the rush hours I will be asking for another free ride.

Here is another update. Looks like a 40 to 50 minute delay. That is possibly a 70% delay for the 5:19 train that normally arrives in Burlington at around 6:20

The CN signal and communication malfunction has been resolved. Train
service on the Lakeshore West and Georgetown lines has resumed. Passengers may
expect delays of 40-50 minutes. We apologize for the inconvenience as we work
with CN to resume regularly scheduled train service on these lines.