Saturday, November 21, 2009

PART 2: My Submission to "What's ahead for the next 5 years?" at YRT

This past Tuesday on my commute I ran into two issues that were relevant to my submission to YRT/VIVA for their future Service plans. I thought I would provided YRT/VIVA with concrete examples of how service could be improved over the next five years if details were paid attention to.

The following are the two points (in grey) that made in my previous entry with the examples of YRT/VIVA issues that I ran accross that could easily be resolved:

Schedule Adherence: YRT schedule adherance on some routes is pathetic. The words "schedule adherence" basically answers the question: "Can the bus arrive by the scheduled time or, at most 2 minutes late?" The answer should be "Yes" or "No." With YRT Customer Service I've received replies that as long as a bus reaches a point within ten minutes of the scheduled time then the bus is considered "on time."

Example from this past Tuesday: On Tuesday November 17, 2009 @ 5:16 P.M. the Eastbound Route 86 left Rutherdford GO Station early by 3 minutes (posted time on for departure is 5:19 P.M.) to begin his route. There is absolutely no reason for this bus to leave early as this Route 86 Bus wasn't in the middle of the route (i.e. arriving at his stop three minutes early) but starting his route from a point of origin (i.e. first stop on trip). A Miller Supervisor was present, sitting in Miller car # 52105, was said he recorded this poor schedule adherence occurance and the fact the bus left one passenger (myself) behind. Please see YRT Customer Service CARES Ticket # T55364 YRT's investigation on this. In this case I did have another option, Route 85 that arrived a minute later to take home, but had this been another route the results would have been different.

VIVA Bus Maintainence: VIVA Van Hool busses, that are no more than 5 years old, continue to have mechanical difficulties. Usually in the summer I find one or two buses a week on Yonge Street alone off to the side of the road waiting for a tow or a mechanic. As a taxpayer I find this especially disheartening that these buses worth over three quarters of a million dollars are on the side of the road stranding passengers who pay, in 2009, the highest transit fares of any local transit agency in the Greater Toronto Area.

From the buses I've ridden and hear back from YRT Customer Service the main issues seem to be one of two things: 1. The "turbo chargers" (at least twice ) and 2. The breaks ceasing up (once in the middle lane of Yonge Street just south of Industrial Parkway South).

The recent addition in 2007 and 2008 VIVA buses will probably start showing these same mechanical issues will soon appear if nothing is done in terms of better maintenance practices and supervision by YRT over their private contractor Veolia on this issue.

Example from this past Tuesday: On Tuesday November 17 @ 5:50 P.M. I arrived at Bernard Terminal on a Northbound "VIVA Blue Bernard Terminal" bus and walked up to Yonge Street Bernard Avenue VIVA station to find the next bus was 18 minutes away. I called YRT Customer Service on my cell phone and waited until 6:00 P.M. (10 minute sitting in the que for customer service agent). The YRT Customer Service agent relayed the following information to me about a service advisory for the Northbound VIVA Blue to Newmarket (i.e. the bus I would take to Aurora from Bernard). 1. Bus #8206 at 5:30 P.M. failed to leave as none of the exterior lights (the lights on the outside of the bus) would illuminate. A replacement or the actual bus didn't leave until 23 minutes later. I confirmed with the YRT Customer Service Agent that if a bus was over 20 minutes late for VIVA a fine under the contract with Violia would be levied by the Region of York. The Customer Service Agent confirmed this. I also told the agent as a regional taxpayer it makes my blood boil that the Region of York would have a bus around one year old worth $750,000 with such poor maintenance. This is recorded under YRT Customer Service CARES Ticket Number T55367. Finally, after I disembarked Route 98 at Golf Links Drive & Yonge Street two VIVA Blue to Newmarket Terminal bound buses pulled in less than 2 minutes apart.

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