Sunday, September 24, 2006

On the way home....

My friend James and I were on the way home from a day out in Waterloo, Ontario, after seeing a Wilfrid Laurier vs Western Ontario university football game this evening. It was a good evening to be going home as the roads were dry and traffic was steady but moving.

We were on had been driving along Highway 401 in James' car heading back to Toronto following a stop off at the McDonald's restaurant outside of the Kitchener-Waterloo area. We were full of greesy burgers and fries from this fine gourmet eating establishment (did I mention it took my server in her royal robes to 10 minutes to serve me a Big Mac, fries and fine fountain coke?) when a "bang" happenned on the passenger side of the car. We immediately pulled over about two kilometres on Highway 401 from Guelph Line near Campbellville, Ontario.

We had a hole in the back passengar side tire. James pulled the car up to the Guelph Line into parking lot near Mohawk Raceway so we could change the flat tire. Neither, James or I had ever changed a flat tire in our lives. But I figured, "hey, this can't be that hard". So James showed me where the jack and spare tire is in his trunk. I took a look under the car but I couldn't figure out if the jack went behind the wheel or in front of the wheel. I also knew I had to also take the hub cap off in order to remove the hubcap. But I didn't want to break the hub cap.

I asked James if he had CAA. He didn't but he did have road side assist as part of his warranty. So we called Toyota around seven p.m. and by seven thirty we had a fabulous tow truck driver stop by and have the flat off and the new one on. He even gave us the information of how far the spare tire is good far and the maximum speed we could go. For safety sake, we took Derry Road all the way back from Guelph Line to just the other side of Lester B. Pearson airport.

Once we got into the Toronto we headed for James' apartment. I headed to the subway from there. You would think that would be all, but that is only where the lull in the excitement occurs. I got safely along the Bloor Subway line to Yonge and all the way north on the Yonge Subway line to Finch Station.

Next, I boarded the VIVA Blue bus northbound bus at Finch Station. We must have waited five minutes before the driver got on the bus and started up. We travelled up six lane Yonge Street and, just north of Steeles Avenue, had to merge left from the curb lane into the middle lane due to cars parked in the curb lane. The bus driver stopped there and got off the bus quickly and ran around and looked at the driver side of the bus. This is somewhat unsual but I thought nothing of it. She then got back on and pulled the bus ahead and back into the curb lane just in front of the parked cars.

According to the bus driver of VIVA Bus 5212, we were sideswiped by a car who was in that lane. She said the driver of the car continued on his way. She claimed it was a hit and run. There were thirty passengars on this sixty foot articulated Van Hool bus and not one of us, except the driver, would admit to witnessesing anything unusual.

We waited about five minutes before two VIVA supervisors arrived in their two white cars. One car parked in front of the bus and the other in the back. One of the supervisors put on the orange and yellow striped vest and took a look at the bus with the driver.

Another VIVA Blue bus (Bus # 5222) pulled up and stopped in the middle lane. The other supervisor, not wearing a vest and dressed in black pants and black fleece jacket signalled for the driver to stop in the MIDDLE LANE! The VIVA supervisor then signalled for the passengars on the bus the bus that was in the accident (Bus # 5212) to disembark that one. Next, these passengars were told to walk between the bus involved in the accident and behind the supervisors car in order to board the new bus (Bus # 5222). This was taking place at between 10:00 P.M. and 10:30 P.M. on a dark and steady rain night on a major six lane arterial road just north of Toronto.

The new bus could have easily pulled in front of the supervisor's car in the curb lane and then boarded the passengers from the affected bus. For passenger safety this would have probably been preferrable. But apparently VIVA supervisors believe in passenger safety. The bus that the passengers were boarding in the middle lane (Bus # 5222) could have easily been hurt or killed if a car or truck had come up from behind that bus and rear ended it. There was less of a chance of people being hurt if Bus # 5222 had of simply pulled in next to the curb on Yonge Street. It would also been just like picking up from a regular bus stop instead of forcing people to step up onto the bus ( a difference of about an added foot in elevation) Having the new bus pulling over to the curb would have also meant that only one of the three lanes on Yonge Street would have been disrupted instead of having two lanes disrupted. But again, apparently the supervisors of VIVA don't believe in safety for their passengers.

Further north on Yonge in Oak Ridges at the intersection of Yonge Street and Old Colony Road the VIVA Blue bus (Bus # 5222) comes up to the intersection. As we arrive at the intersection the light changes from green to yellow to red. Any normal driver would prepare to stop at the red light. But three metres from the stop line, with not another car around, the bus driver doesn't brake and we continue right through the red light and the intersection.

To make matters worse, this same bus driver rides the white dotted line of the two northbound lanes as we continue northbound on Yonge Street between Bloomington Road and the construction area just south of Industrial Parkway South in Aurora. This bus is now taking up two lanes of traffic!

This morning I called into the York Region Transit (YRT) call centre to report my trip home on VIVA (the rapid transit division). The customer agent, Leslie, said she took down my story and said she would have the Operations Division look into it. She asked if I wanted to have someone from Operations call me back with a response to what occurred. I said probably the people investigating the incident would be the same two supervisors who directed unloaded us at Yonge Street just north of Steeles Avenue. I said to her I don't trust those operations supervisors because of their lack of safety conscience in this particular instance.

I then said I would report this incident to York Regional Police's Roadwatch program so that perhaps a police officer could invistiagate and possibly get the driver of bus 5222 that evening off the road. During my conversation I requested the plate number of bus #5222 and Leslie (the YRT customer service agent) said she didn't have that information.

So ununfortunately I could not fill in the licence plate number of that particular vehicle into York Region's Roadwatch Program's online complaint form when I filled it out today. But I do hope this will help VIVA take notice that customer's safety should be important. This is because, as the above examples show, neither the two supervisors or the second bus driver do and I find that unacceptable.

So all in all, I had a fun Saturday night!


  1. Things that make you go Hmm....

    Did you say you couldn't change a tire? Hey Michelle can, next time call us I'll send her by.... (-: :-)

  2. I can now change a tire.

    I watched closely and took notes. :)

  3. next time you want a plate number for a bus go here:

    It's got the entire fleet roster for YRT/Viva.


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