Sunday, October 16, 2005

York Region Transit Strikes Out Again!

York Region Transit

This is an open e-mail to York Region Transit:

The added comments in brackets are meant to add some insight into my thinking that day and were not included in the original e-mail sent to

Re: Route 98 Southbound scheduled for 7:54 A.M.

Dear Sir/Madam:

On Saturday, I had to travel to Yonge & Major MacKenzie area yesterday to meet up with the manager of Coldex in order to do some work on Saturday.

So I checked the YRT schedule (thinking, hey they only messed up once so far, thats not too bad). Route 98, on Saturday, was supposed to stop at Yonge & Allaura Blvd. at 7:54 A.M.

Here is what happenned.

So I went out, bought a newspaper from the local convenience store and waited at the YRT bus stop at 7:40 A.M. I was totally enthralled in the newspaper article until I heard a bus sound. I looked up and barely had a chance to move when the YRT bus went wizzing by. I know it was the bus since it had "98 Bernard Terminal" on the front with about two people on the bus. I had barely enough time to wave at it. But it did not stop. I double checked my watch noticing the time was only 7:46 A.M.

To say the least I was not pleased. But thank goodness GO Transit has yet to give up the Newmarket "B" Yonge Street route as YRT's VIVA service has yet to start up this far. I walked accross Henderson Dr. at Yonge to the GO Transit stop. The YRT and GO Bus stops are seperate as the VIVA stop on the Soutn west corner of Yonge at Allaura/Henderson Dr. has been fully constructed (except for the fare machines) and the sign has been unbagged indicating that YRT stops at that stop. The GO Transit stop was moved to the North-West side so it could remain in operation while the new VIVA/YRT stop was constructed. I paid 4.15 to the GO Bus driver and went off to Major Mackenzie & Yonge Street.

I called YRT at their phone number (1-866-MOVE-YRT) at 8:30 A.M. (when their call centre opens) and waited two to three minutes in order finally speak with an operator. Why did I have to wait for two to three minutes? So the automated system could tell me useless information that VIVA service was expanding, if I wanted information on this and that (including I believe what paint they use!....kiddding!).

The person on the phone picked up and I explained what happenned in a nice way. I even said I was considering submitting my GO Transit ticket to YRT in order to pay the difference
between GO's fare ($4.15) and YRTs ($3.10 with 10 Adult 2-zone tickets). I also said, to make figuring out which driver was at fault, that during that time between being passed by the YRT bus
(7:46 A.M.) and being picked up by the GO Bus (7:54 A.M.) that I saw bus number 9801 heading northbound on Yonge on Route 98 around 7:50 A.M.(which by jove is right on schedule!) I was put on hold for five minutes so she could contact the contractor.

The operator came back to say the contractor said the driver picked up three "timed" fares on that corner at 7:54 A.M without any incident. I questioned how they could be "timed" fares considering that the VIVA machine (which validates the tickets by printing the time on it) had yet to be installed and the only fare machines on the buses don't print the times on it. (When your a regular rider on transit, you tend to know these things). The operator was dumb founded. She was a little confused. I asked to double check whether she had the right intersection on the right route by indicating Route 98 southbound at Yonge and Allaura scheduled to arrive at 7:54 A.M.? She said yes.

She indicated that the bus I saw at 7:46 A.M. might have been an off duty bus.

Added to this morning's observations, which I didn't mention on the phone I saw route 32 go Westward Henderson as I walked Eastward to the corner of Yonge & Henderson. I also know this bus doesn't go south of Henderson on Yonge Street at anytime. I also note that the Industrial Parkway bus doesn't operate on weekends and that the only YRT route to operate
on that section of Yonge Street at that time was Route 98. I also believe that the yards for the Newmarket buses are in Newmarket, so the only bus that would go down there off duty, not being a GO Bus, would be Route 98. I know it wasn't a GO Bus since it was in your colour scheme and said "YRT" and "Moving York" on the side of the bus.

I then indicated, in a rather angry tone, that I was not interested in being lied to in order that YRT not admit to its mistake. She said that this was what the operator had told her. I indicated that this was the second incident in about three weeks of early buses costing me either time or money. I also suggested I might submit my complaint to the Mayor of Aurora (who is also Aurora's Regional Councillor) to handle because I was getting the run around by YRT. I then hung up the phone after spending almost ten minutes and getting no where.

I find this situation to be unacceptable. This is the second time a York Region Transit bus has caused me to either spend more money than I need to (the fare difference noted above) or time (see my original complaint below about another incident as submitted via your website).

I will be forwarding this e-mail to Aurora Mayor Tim Jones as this is the second time in three weeks I have had issues with buses arriving early. I will forward my complaint to Mayor Jones if this issue is not resolved to my satisfaction by Sunday, October 23rd.

I will no be thinking twice before utilizing YRT services in the future.

I hope this problem can be rectified as I encourage public transit use whenever possible. However, I find these incidents to be truly unacceptable.


Michael Suddard

(see this posting for full story on my previous incident with York Region Transit referred to above)

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