Monday, February 16, 2009

Family Day follies continue at YRT/VIVA

Last year I pointed out how poor the transit service was during Ontario's first family day holiday. Well this year, YRT/VIVA refused to change their schedules to recognize that despite it being a provincial holiday that there are still a few poor schmucks who must work (according to the Toronto Star, in 2009 thirty percent of us still must head to work).

Here's an example, let's say one lives in Aurora and works at Yonge & Sheppard in the federal government building (i.e. the Passport office). The worker is a cival servent for the federal government, thus, must work on Family Day as the provincial holiday act doesn't apply. Therefore, the worker must report to work at 8 A.M. which is the hour they normally start work in the morning.

The YRT/VIVA schedule provides no options to get from Yonge & Wellington Streets to Finch Subway station:

1. VIVA Blue: Leaves Yonge & Wellington at 8:05 A.M. and arrives at Finch Station at 8:55 A.M. Great, the federal cival servant is already late before they even board the bus, presuming the bus is even on time!

2. YRT Route 98 & YRT Route 99: Route 98 leaves Yonge & Wellington at 7:22 A.M. and arrives at Bernard Terminal at 7:40 A.M. Route 99 then leaves Bernard Terminal at 8:00 A.M. and drops you off at Finch at 8:29 A.M. Well at least YRT gets the civil servant part way there before work started. However the civil servant is still late for work!

3. GO Transit: The only option to get there via transit is walk for 10 minutes to the Aurora GO Station to take the bus from the Aurora GO Station to Union Station in downtown Toronto and then ride the TTC subway back up to Yonge & Sheppard. The complete round trip is an approximatly one hour and thirty minutes which also includes a scenic view of the Don River and downtown Toronto via the bus trip down the Don Valley Parkway. All of this for the great fare of over $10.00 on way.

4. Bum a ride: Have someone, who probably has the day off anyway, drive you to the Yonge & Sheppard. This involves having them get up before 7:00 A.M. to make the forty five minute drive from Aurora to Yonge and Sheppard. Luckily enough for our federal civil servant this is the option chosen. A dinner out may be coming with the person driving.

After all of this it should be noted that for increased service improvements in 2009, York Region Transit raised fares for it's services by 9.2 percent as well as continues to charge an additional $45.00 per month to residents in Aurora and Newmarket over those in the south end of the region despite there being less service north of Bloomington Road. As an example, those in Richmond Hill along Yonge Street from Bernard Terminal have service on YRT Route 99 starting at 5:30 A.M.

Why can't YRT at least provide a combined Route 98/99 local service from Newmarket GO Terminal down to Finch Subway (via Bernard Terminal loop if need be) so that those still having to work on Family day could at least have some sort of transit service? YRT already has this type of combined local service on Yonge Street most weeknights and Saturday nights. This improvement would also recognize that those in Aurora and Newmarket also are paying for increased transit service. However, as of right now that is not the case and YRT continues to jack up fares (the 2009 fare increase is at the third fare increase in the three past years) while refusing to provide also increase service that people will use in Aurora and Newmarket.

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