August hasn’t been a great month for some GO riders, particularly along the Lakeshore West train line.
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Even those who don’t use the commuter rail network may be familiar with the list of delay-causing challenges: Track construction, signal failures, equipment problems, crewing issues. GO regulars know these are slowly being addressed, but patience is faltering — as shown in these messages from two Burlington readers.
On workdays, Tim Salisbury uses Burlington Transit, GO Lakeshore trains and TTC.
He writes that GO “management need to re-engage the commuting public to reassure them. Many of the promises made will not be fully delivered until late 2008. From my perspective, GO has not been honest with the commuting public and even with the improvements, we will be seeing significant delays for years to come.”
He adds, “It is time GO Transit (created) a Customer Bill of Rights and began to deliver on its promises.”
Jan McPherson writes, “Those responsible for GO Transit do not appear to be listening to the travelling public who … take the daily risk of showing up on time for trains that are either cancelled or delayed.
“I would like to suggest that all riders request their employers start complaining to … GO Transit in the hope that these complaints might carry more weight.
“I am presently taking a train which is about a half-hour earlier than I actually need to take. I have to allow that much extra time for the fact that GO is almost always late. This adds another 2.5 hours to my work week — without the accompanying increase in monetary compensation. I am awaiting with trepidation the commencement of the increased ridership at the beginning of September.”
Yes, GO riders don’t have much choice but to find continued patience this fall and beyond.
The train system now has very little redundancy and it will be at least one year until new tracks and trains can noticeably relieve bottlenecks and crowding.
Even then, seeing is believing. Since ever-growing highway congestion means ever more commuters will turn to GO, the effect of promised rail improvements could be muted.
In the nearer term, new locomotives are set to arrive as soon as next month, although that won’t suddenly eliminate the problems of older models breaking down.
Tomorrow, the Greater Toronto Transportation Authority will vote on asking the province to immediately boost the number of new GO rail cars and buses on order — some of these could arrive before late 2008.
Even the McGuinty government’s massive MoveOntario 2020 transit proposal — or any rival plan from Ontario’s political parties — would take time to implement.
We’re still playing catch-up on a decade-plus of under-investment in GO.