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Greater Golden Horseshoe Transit

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  1. I'm certainly concerned with a few things I see in the coming P&W Committee Report for December 6... 1) The LRT as long suspected by many is proposed to be privatized, I was holding out hope that the Region would keep this service publicly operated until something 'in writing' was presented to the contrary; which it now appears is being done. Time to funnel more local tax dollars into private companies? 2) Also, we now see that the GO Shuttle service is going to be contracted out to busPLUS (ie. Hendry Coach) which would probably explain the removal of it from the GRT operator's schedule last week, this is in addition to the planned expansion of busPLUS service to Doon South in Fall 2012 which is even more work being contracted out. I'm terribly disappointed by these developments.
  2. The new GO Schedules already list it as 'Kitchener GO'
  3. Shortest lived GRT Route ever...just got an e-mail from Scheduling that the GO Train shuttle that was supposed to start in January has already been cancelled . I will try and investigate the cause of the decision to terminate this service, but no promises. They had to go out of their way to change the operator's work assignment even though we're just getting ready to pick out our work for the Winter period. [sigh]
  4. The 12 will be split into 2 routes with different route numbers. One route will service Fairview <> Forest Glen <> UW/WLU. The other will service Conestoga Mall <> Lincoln Heights <> Uptown Waterloo. The notion that the 12 is being removed from servicing the universities as I think I'm seeing on some of these posts is simply...'not accurate'.
  5. A possible 'fix'...call the 201, Route '28 Fischer-Hallman'. I don't think people are objecting to the route itself or the stop spacing; in reality they only removed a handful of stops from the 12 to turn this into an 'express' route, and over it's shorter length it has many more stops than the 200. However the branding is there which is a bit misleading, one would tend to believe that something labelled as an express route would be quicker.
  6. [sigh] Really, the more I think about it the more I believe this entire iXpress network concept GRT has adopted should simply be scrapped altogether. IMO what has been proposed in the Business Plan to 'transform' GRT into a feeder service for the LRT is a half-asked attempt to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. To make GRT truly effective and integrate with the LRT we should be going right back to the drawing board with nothing but a blank map of the Region, draw the LRT line on it and start drawing our routes out from the stations along our major arterial roads, then fill in the blanks with the local routes through the neighbourhoods...there, done! The planned iXpress Routes are really not much better than a normal bus route, just with a fancy name. The more I think about it I don't think calling the 201 the 201 is really necessary at all, we could have essentially the same stop spacing on the same routing and easily have it called Route 28 Fischer-Hallman, what would be the difference??
  7. There are several other minor changes including specials for the universities becoming permanent, minor schedule adjustments etc, but nothing that I would feel comfortable posting officially at this time as all the information is in Draft format at the moment. When the final versions are released I may post something more substantial.
  8. Just a few tidbits for the GRT info miners out there for the Winter schedule period (effective January). 1) Route 201 iXpress is being pulled completely from the Highland Hills Terminal traveling southbound, a new relief point for Operators is being opened at Forest Glen Plaza. 2) A GO Train Shuttle is being added from the Charles Street Terminal to the VIA/GO Station at Weber/Victoria. The bus is planned to leave from the 8 Franklin bay at 6:45am and travel express the train station for 6:50am. I hope people pass the word on about this one, use it or lose it! 3) Several morning trips on the Route 201 iXpress leaving Laurier will now service the two stops on Columbia at Hazel and at Albert. I expect this is to help reduce overloads of buses heading to the U of W.
  9. THAT'S IT??....REALLY, THAT'S IT!?!? I'm sorry, I'm not going to make any friends at work by saying this, but having now FINALLY listened to this myself I think our driver's who have been commenting on Jeff Allen's segment are blowing this way out of proportion. Maybe when incidents like this make it to the media we should be lying low and STAYING OUT OF THE SPOTLIGHT instead of calling into the show and making things worse [sigh]. EDIT: To GRT Management...WHERE ARE OUR CAMERAS!?
  10. Alright, here's your opportunity to get in on the "LET'S FIX ALL OF GRT'S BUS STOPS" project. Seriously though, I am inviting all of the keen eyes in the public who use GRT and the GRT workforce to help straighten out our mish-mashed bus stop standards, signage issues, unsafe or uncomfortable passenger conditions at stops, signage errors, INIT inconsistencies and any other suggestions etc. etc. etc. etc. I've had a really nifty tool recommended to me called 'Trello' and I've created a tracker for the various issues we have with GRT's bus stops. The goal is to identify any problems and requested changes, suggest the changes or corrections needed, and either forward the issues directly to the party's in charge OR add it to the next month's Operations meeting agenda where feasible. This is where everyone can get involved and help out (this is YOUR transit system after all, time to take charge). As much as I'd like to be in all places at once the GRT system is simply too vast for me to go through all by myself, and keeping track of the various issues has been a challenge coming from a variety of people with duplicate issues arising, long threads in the forum to go through etc. etc....until now. I am asking anyone who wants to participate in this ongoing project to sort out the mess that we consider our bus stops across the system; and I say ongoing not because the initial task of collecting the list changes to be made will be daunting (although it will be), but because the GRT system is constantly in a state of flux (as is any transit system). I've made the Issues Tracker 'public' meaning anyone can see it. You can view it here: Grand River Transit - Bus Stop Issues Tracker How to participate...Simply check the issues list and if the issue doesn't already exist send me a Personal Message through the forum, e-mail me (if you have my e-mail) send me a tweet (see my signature below) or contact me by any other means that I have made available. Issues on the tracker will be colour-coded as follows... GREEN - BUS STOP SIGNAGE - These issues include: Incorrect or missing signage (eg. Someone pilfered my bus stop!), Errors on signage (eg. Missing or incorrect route numbers), incorrect position of the sign (the bus stop sign should ALWAYS be in line with where the front door of the first bus at the stop is...LOTS OF THESE OUT THERE, LOOK FOR THEM!), etc. YELLOW - PASSENGER AMENITY ISSUES - These issues include anything that is related to bus shelters, benches, garbage cans, lighting (eg. a burnt out street light at a bus stop), errors in posted schedules, information display problems, outdated maps etc. ORANGE - CHANGES IN BUS STOP LOCATIONS - These are suggestions/requests to add, remove or relocate bus stops for some reason or another (can be to facilitate better connections between routes, remove stops to close to other stops, safety issues or anything else). RED - BUS STOP ENVIRONMENT - These issues include: incorrect parking signage around the bus stop (typically there is no signage at many bus stops at the moment; but if there is no parking signage it should indicate a clear 15m no parking zone ahead of and behind the bus stop...LOTS OF THESE OUT THERE, LOOK FOR THEM!), issues with trees at bus stops (eg. branches rubbing on the buses, branches obstructing view of the bus stop), safety issues at bus stops (uneven pavement, road shoulders or concrete pad etc.), etc. BLUE - INIT ISSUES - These include any and all errors with the INIT system including: incorrect or inconsistent stop naming, incorrect or inconsistent stop call-outs and any other issues. These can be tricky, the goal here is to STANDARDIZE and MAKE CONSISTENT the display and call-out of all the stops (eg. 'Fischer-Hallman at Path' needs to be changed to 'Fischer-Hallman at Path to Laurel Gate' and the audio needs to match the display as well eg. displaying 'Davenport/Path to Anndale' and simply calling out 'Path to Anndale' is not acceptable either). PURPLE - MISCELLANEOUS - Anything else that doesn't fit into the other categories including operational issues that may not be related directly to bus stops (the Operations Committee deals with other stuff too). If in doubt throw the issue at me and I'll see what I can do with it.
  11. RE: The Upcoming GRT business Plan PIC, here's my personal 'Top 5' wish list for GRT service 'additions' (among the plethora of local service changes that should also be completed of course)... 1) Implement two express routes using the Conestoga Parkway; one from Fairview Park Mall to Conestoga Mall and one from Fairview Park Mall to The Boardwalk to reduce travel times for long-distance transit trips (the highway is already there, use it!!). 2) Additional fixed-route rural transit service to Baden/New Hamburg (connecting at The Boardwalk) and to the Cedar Creek Industrial Park/Ayr (connecting at Ainslie Street via Hwy 97 or Conestoga College via Hwy 401 or both (but 'both' might be overkill)), dial-a-bus or zone-bus services could be used for smaller settlements if necessary 3) Direct service to Bingeman Park, possibly build a terminal there as the terminus to the proposed Ottawa Street and Highland West/Victoria North iXpress routes which currently are shown as ending at Victoria/Lackner anyways (although the proposed Breslau GO Station would be a good terminal point for the Highland West/Victoria North iXpress as well) 4) Service to the Region of Waterloo International Airport, possibly from Fairview Park Mall via Fairway North and along Fountain Street from Sportsworld Crossing to the Breslau GO Station (opportunity to service Breslau itself there as well). 5) GRT OR Guelph Transit Route (or some combination thereof) between the Hespeler Terminal/Smart!Centres Cambridge and the Stone Road Mall/University of Guelph using Highway 24 (GO Transit would continue to service the Highway 7 and 401 corridors).
  12. Define "failed to stop"; The Record article reports she was standing on a median, you don't get hit by a bus while you're standing on a median. I'm just trying to figure out exactly how this happened, The Record doesn't explain it worth a hoot.
  13. As much as we need two extra bus bays there NOW, I'm not going to hold my breath, when the Block Line LRT station is built I would expect the Forest Glen Terminal to become redundant/obsolete. Any money spent on upgrading the terminal is throw away costs, but ya never know, with the LRT being ~6 years away until opening day they might just do something temporarily.
  14. I feel your pain, and we keep pushing these issues, I've had other - mostly family - obligations the last few months and haven't been able to make our last 3 regular Ops meetings, but trust me we have - and continue to - bring up these issues repeatedly. 1) I have personally created and proposed the standardization of all GRT destination signage and adoption of route naming and numbering conventions, and for illustrative purposes drew up a table of what all the destination signage system-wide would read like with it implemented (INCLUDING ON THE INIT), despite it being a low-cost (changing route numbers on bus stops is pretty much the ONLY expense since timetables and maps are printed all the time anyways) it hasn't been implemented. I am told this is 'under review', but for how long or if it will be adopted I cannot say. However when the September changes came around I was dissappointed there was ZERO movement in the direction I suggested. For example, signs currently read '29 Keats Way' going outbound and '29 Keats Way to University/King' going inbound when the former could be '29 Keats Way to The Boardwalk' to be consistent etc. etc. etc. (there's plenty of examples out there!) 2) As for rollover of the INIT system to call out the next stop sooner, we keep repeating this one as well, and to be quite 'blunt' and honest I really feel like I'm hitting my head against a wall at times, we are consistantly told it's just 'a parameter change' in the INIT, supposedly the system is configured at the moment to change to the next stop after the bus has gone more than 40m past the defined location of the previous stop. One of the problems is GRT has bus stops too close together in some cases (their own guidelines dated in 2001, of which I have a copy, recommend 250m min where possible, but I'm told this is 'under review' as well) with distances as short as 60m apart in some areas. Sometimes the stop locations themselves in the INIT aren't programmed correctly and the INIT doesn't think the bus has passed a stop yet and won't call out the next stop until it does. The other problem is this 40m parameter itself (which to my understanding is applied to BOTH sides of a stop, 80m stop zone in total, but I stand to be corrected on this), this should be shortened to 25m or less and applied to the approach side of the stop only if it is possible; a standard bus is only 12m long and an artic only about 20m, so this would still allow two buses to be within the stop zone as far as the INIT is concerned to count boardings/alightings at any particular stop. 3) A personal observation I've had with the way GRT operates makes me believe there are too many people trying to do one thing. As much as we need the staff we have doing their respective tasks there should be one person, and only one person, who knows the transit system well keeping the INIT database maintained, keeping public timetables maps and stop listings up to date etc. It's my understanding that right now we have our on-street passenger facility co-coordinator printing info post timetables, one of our schedulers building the route map and stop information for the INIT and programming destination signs, one of the planners creating audio files for the stop call-outs etc. and knowing that these people are very busy with everything else their job entails, things get overlooked and co-ordination between them could be better. I think the most frustrating thing is, being a bit of a transit nut myself over the years, is knowing I could probably sit down and fix all the issues we've witnessed in a month and keep it that way, when I really have to fight the red tape and a half dozen levels of bureaucracy and feel like I've accomplished nothing when all I want is to have it work properly...is that really so much to ask??
  15. 1st Exposure > 200 IXPRESS 2nd Exposure > CONESTOGA MALL or AINSLIE ST. TERMINAL
  16. LMAO, it's funny I just saw this now...that was the hit and run I was involved in that I told you about Transit 5. Somone clipped my bus on Century Hill just before Country Hill and just kept on going, you can thank the bimbo driving the SUV that hit me for delaying the bus and having the police come out to make a report.
  17. The bus bay directly behind where the Route 4 currently stops, both buses will face Wal-Mart.
  18. RE: The 2012 Transit Map, it just seems to me that every year the map gets sloppier and sloppier. Someone with some graphics skills (it's all done with CorelDRAW) and real knowledge of the Region's geography needs to sit down and freshen it up from top to bottom, when I helped update the transit map back in 2002 we even took GIS data to update new subdivisions and streets, but now it just seems like they're eye-balling everything and it's a complete dog's breakfast. For amazing quality of the publications that GRT normally puts out (flyers, fare guide, transit talk etc.), the transit map is now on the completely opposite spectrum, when it's probably the most important publication a transit system can provide to it's customers.
  19. To add insult to injury, after recently reading through the 201 schedules we have received it appears there is more than enough time to service Highland Hills Mall properly by entering the terminal going northbound. For example, they are giving the route 8 minutes just to travel from Forest Glen Plaza to Fischer-Hallman/Westmount, which is the same amount of time they give the 22 Laurentian West to travel between the same two time points; yet the 22 travels through all of Glencairn first making something like 10 stops, when the 201 is traveling straight down Block Line Road making two stops. In addition, they give the route 8 minutes to travel between Westmount/Fischer-Hallman and Fischer-Hallman/Highland when the 22 gets 5 to do nearly the exact same thing (Activa to Highland Hills). Also, they have scheduled a 10 minute layover upon arrival back at Forest Glen Plaza. The result of this scheduling is not only is there plenty of time to enter and exit that terminal within the existing schedule, but that operators are going to have to pull over the bus at most stops on Fischer-Hallman Road anyways and just sit there to avoid getting ahead of schedule, which IMO is going to irk passengers a lot more than servicing one terminal stop. Frankly, I don't understand the double-standard here; if speed is so important that we should encourage passengers to run across multiple lanes of traffic to make connections (until the grid-system is more developed and frequencies increased, they will still rely on these connections at these terminals, which BTW is years away) why then is the existing iXpress (aka 200) still going to enter Charles Street Terminal or Cambridge Centre (Nothbound), how much time and "inconvenience" could be saved by simply putting the stops out on Charles Street or Dunbar Road? I read this article in the paper, but having just read the article online it really saddens me some of the comments made by readers (take a look), too bad commenting is closed, I would have had something to say. Being one of the members of the Operations Committee and the Scheduling Committee we sit for hours every month hashing out various concerns with management on many issues. Things like the hazardous placement of the bus stop on Belmont Avenue in Belmont Village that forces passengers to wait on an island in the middle of the road that's maybe a foot wide and have people exit the bus into a vehicle travel lane; Improving signage and begging management them to have security enforce the rules at the terminals like "Stay off the roads", "don't bike on the platforms" before someone gets hurt or even killed. And over the last few weeks we have been pushing the safety issue more than anything with management regarding this ridiculous setup at Highland Hills Mall and it is them telling us "they don't see a problem", them telling us that "the regional traffic department is not concerned with passengers crossing the street", them telling us that "it's not illegal to cross mid-block to make connections so it's therefore an okay setup". We seem to get no where with management on some of the most serious issues, yet when we bring something like this to the media everyone out there believes it's just us wanting a place to take a piss. I don't know why I bother, it simply disgusts me.
  20. There is something to be said for due diligence and making a reasonable effort. If the operator simply lets everyone out the front door willy-nilly as happens 95% of the time I personally believe that if they cross the street in front of the bus and get hit by another vehicle there may be some liability there (you know there's got to be some nut out there who would sue...read spilling coffee on one's self and suing restaurant) even though it is stated in the local traffic by-laws that crossing in front of a transit bus is illegal; but if nothing else there's remorse running around in the operators mind after the fact (could I have done something differently to have prevented this). If the operator makes every reasonable effort to have people exit from the rear doors and the person still crosses the street and gets hit by another vehicle anyways at least the operator can say they made every effort and the passenger is indeed a complete moron. But if the operator makes no effort, when the signage in the bus and the operator policy manual clearly state people should exit at the rear (and actually, it does state that they should exit at rear with the exception of school specials unloading at schools since no one will be boarding) then I believe there may be some blame (if only on their conscience, if not in court) to go onto the operator in that case.
  21. Just to add a little fuel to the fire, did we already forget that girl who died in St. Jacobs a year, or year and a half ago?? This is exactly what happened, off Route 21 bus through front door, ran in front of bus and moving pick-up truck, that was the end of that. The media never reported what happened, but I was working spareboard at the garage when the radio call came in from the operator on the 21.
  22. 1. No interlining in Waterloo 2. If I had to take a guess the 200 will keep the iXpress livery on the buses, it is slated to be replaced by the LRT anyways and then the decals can come off the buses. 3. I agree, but to be very blunt and honest, we (the union/operators) were only told in the last 2 months that this is the way it's going to be; when the platforms for the 201 at Fischer-Hallman and Highland were already in the contract for the Fischer-Hallman reconstruction perhaps months earlier. Honestly, this is becoming a habitual jump first look later situation from upper management (read Transit Planning staff specifically in this case), our planning staff contend that the few minutes spent entering and leaving HHM is too much of a inconvenience for the RIM and University employees (not a word of a lie, they said that) that will use the 201 service that live in Laurentian West, when all we are asking for is for safety reasons that we use of the HHM Terminal until they remove said terminal in 2014-15 when the grid system is more developed and timed transfers not depended upon, AND so we have a proper washroom facility on the route, without having to park the bus ON the road IN traffic and run into some plaza somewhere which could take 5 or 10 minutes (if there's even a business that will let us). 4. Not a clue yet, will likely learn this one in the next few weeks.
  23. Alrighty, Just to clarify some stuff and add some more information to those who are drooling for a bit more. 1) The express route on Fischer-Hallman is indeed going to be Route 201 iXpress. The existing iXpress will be 200 iXpress which will be displayed on the destination signs and is set to appear on the 2012 transit map. 2) The new 200 stop at King/Victoria will be in both directions (NB and SB) there won't be many additions to the stops other than digital signage given the limited amount of space NB and the fact utility relocations for LRT construction, LRT construction itself and construction of the new transit hub itself afterwards will impact those locations starting next year or so. 3) Interlining (generally speaking)... - The 201 will be interlined with the 3 at Forest Glen - The 11 will be interlined with the 16 at Forest Glen - The 4 will be interlined with the 29 at The Boardwalk - The 12 will be interlined with the 31 at Conestoga Mall 4) The 201 iXpress is not slated to enter Highland Hills Mall at the moment, however potential safety concerns with passengers crossing mid-block to transfer between routes at the existing terminal (until the grid-system is developed further, once that terminal is gone this will be less of an issue) and the fact drivers won't have access to a designated washroom facility for nearly 2 hours of travel time is being contested.
  24. You waited 8 months to post a reply?! Anyways, don't shoot the messenger, I was asked to post the message.
  25. No, the remaining routes will be converted to the new format in time, the 12 is to be done next.
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