Archive for August, 2011

An Investment in Public Transit?

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

Today, an announcement was made about the service guarantee that GO Transit will offer for its train passengers starting in 2012. The announcementon GO’s website has the headline “McGuinty Government Investing In Public Transit.”

The guarantee will be that GO train riders will get a refund if their train is more than 15 minutes late, down from the previously announced 20 minutes. The exceptions to this will be delays caused by extreme weather, police investigations, accidents and medical emergencies.

So what makes this an Investment in Public Transit? That’s right, McGuinty will use your tax dollars to pay out these refunds when they occur. Some investment!

Operation of GO Trains is contracted out to Bombardier Transportation (with the exception of the Milton service, which is operated by CP Rail). Since the exceptions, quite fairly, involve situations that are beyond the control of the operator, why isn’t the cost of the refund being borne by Bombardier when their contract is renewed? Bombardier has a five year contract to operate the trains that started in June 2008, so there is still two years before another contract would be in effect. The current contract with Bombardier has penalties, but only when a train does not run due to crew shortages.

It may be understandable that the province might foot the bill for a service guarantee in order to have it in place sooner than the contract renewal, but there is no word of transferring this cost to the operator with the next contract.

In Melbourne, the operation of trams (Yarra Trams) and trains (Metro Trains) are contracted out and the contracts require a performance target for punctuality and reliability to be maintained. Instead of refunds for passengers of a specific train, the performance is measured monthly and if the standard is not reached, the operator must pay compensation to all eligible passengers. To be eligible, a customer must use a monthly, six-monthly, or yearly Metcard, or use the myki card (their version of Presto) that was valid for at least 28 days and was used on at least 10 days in the compensation month. Compensation is in one-day fare units. Metcard users receive a day pass for their same zone for each unit and myki users receive an uploaded credit for the value of a day pass for their same zone for each unit.

For instance, Metro Trains is required to run 98% of their trains and maintain 88% on time. If either of these are not met, eligible passengers will receive a one-day fare unit. If the delivery is less than 95%, two units must be provided for compensation and the same goes if the punctuality is below 84%. If service is bad enough, each eligible passenger would receive 4 one-day fare units!

In May 2011, their delivery was 98.8%, but punctuality was only 82.2%. I should add that a train is considered on time if it arrives at its destination between 59 seconds earlier than and four minutes and 59 seconds later than its scheduled time. 

Given that GO Transit claims 95% of their trains are on time, and I assume that is the percentages of actual trains that run, they already exceed the standard set in Melbourne.

Hamilton Hosts B-Line LRT Public Information Centres

Monday, August 8th, 2011

The City of Hamilton is preparing the environmental assessment for its east-west “B-Line” rapid transit project along Queenston Road, King and Main Streets between Eastgate Square and McMaster University. As part of the transit project assessment process, the City is hosting several public information centres, where members of the public can learn more and talk to City staff about the project.

More information on Hamilton’s LRT projects can be seen here.

Here are the upcoming Public Information Centres (PICs):

  • Monday, August 15, 2011
    6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
    Sackville Hill Senior’s Centre
    780 Upper Wentworth Street, Hamilton
  • Tuesday, August 16, 2011
    6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
    The Grand Olympia Hospitality & Convention Centre
    660 Barton Street, Stoney Creek
  • Wednesday, August 17, 2011
    12:00 PM (noon) – 8:00 PM
    Hamilton Convention Centre, Albion Room
    1 Summers Lane, Hamilton
  • Thursday, August 18, 2011
    12:00 PM (noon) – 8:00 PM
    Hamilton Convention Centre, Albion Room
    1 Summers Lane, Hamilton

YRT Wants Your Input: 2012 Annual Service Plan

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

YRT/Viva invites you to attend an upcoming Public Information Centre (PIC). Come to any of the following PICs and offer your input for the 2012 YRT/Viva Annual Service Plan. Your feedback helps shape public transit in York Region.

The following PICs will be available: 

  • Newmarket GO Bus Terminal
    When: Wednesday, August 10 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
    Where: 320 Eagle Street West, Newmarket
  • Hillcrest Mall
    When: Thursday, August 11 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
    Where: 9350 Yonge Street, Richmond Hill
    (Laura Court located near The Bay Home Store & Kids)
  • King Township Public Library
    When: Tuesday, August 16 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
    Where: 1970 King Road, King City
  • Mount Albert Community Centre
    When: Thursday, August 18 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
    Where: 53 Main Street, Mount Albert
  • Lebovic Community Centre
    When: Monday, August 22 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
    Where: 30 Burkholder Street, Stouffville
  • Al Palladini Community Centre
    When: Tuesday, August 23 from 5 p.m. to 7. p.m.
    Where: 9201 Islington Avenue, Woodbridge
    (upper floor, wheelchair accessible)
  • Markville Mall
    When: Wednesday, August 24 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
    Where: 5000 Highway 7 East, Markham
    (upper level between H&M and London Jewellers, inside entrance number one)
  • Aurora GO Train Station
    When: Tuesday, August 30 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
    Where: 121 Wellington Street East, Aurora
  • Georgina Public Library ( Keswick )
    When: Wednesday, August 31 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
    Where: 90 Wexford Drive, Keswick