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Smart cards ready for GO fares, but not Grand River Transit


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Intercity passengers on GO Transit buses can now pay fares by loading money onto plastic cards.

And they can use the smart cards when commuter trains start rolling out of Kitchener later this year.

But passengers won’t be able to use the cards to pay for Grand River Transit. The local bus service is not planning to launch smart cards until 2013 at the earliest, said Graham Vincent, regional director of transportation planning.

http://www.therecord.com/news/local/articl...d-river-transit

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Quote: "The local bus service is not planning to launch smart cards until 2013 at the earliest..........."

Hell, they can't even get the new bus shelters installed before September 5th, as I understand they were supposed to be! So ............. do you really think they can pull off a Smart Card system by 2013??? All my monies on "NO"!

2015, Maybe. 2020, probably a better chance! LMFAO!

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Quote: "The local bus service is not planning to launch smart cards until 2013 at the earliest..........."

Hell, they can't even get the new bus shelters installed before September 5th, as I understand they were supposed to be! So ............. do you really think they can pull off a Smart Card system by 2013??? All my monies on "NO"!

2015, Maybe. 2020, probably a better chance! LMFAO!

Ha! Exactly! They can't put out proper maps, build proper terminals where busses are not stopped side-by-side, buy busses on time for expanded routing, make corrections to the on-bus-stop-announcement system after 2 years, etc, etc, etc.... Let's be realistic and get the minor stupidities fixed, GRT, then think long-term.

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Ha! Exactly! They can't put out proper maps, build proper terminals where busses are not stopped side-by-side, buy busses on time for expanded routing, make corrections to the on-bus-stop-announcement system after 2 years, etc, etc, etc.... Let's be realistic and get the minor stupidities fixed, GRT, then think long-term.

Alot of it comes down to funding. GRT itself does not purchase the busses, the operate them, Regional Council deals with that. Everything that is "wrong" with GRT comes down to the amount of funding they have available and where it is most desperately needed.

Smart cards would be a great idea but once again it comes down to funding, installing readers and beacons on every bus is not cheap.

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Hell, they can't even get the new bus shelters installed before September 5th, as I understand they were supposed to be! So ............. do you really think they can pull off a Smart Card system by 2013??? All my monies on "NO"!

2015, Maybe. 2020, probably a better chance! LMFAO!

Precisely what does GRT have to do with the bus shelters? The tender was awarded many months ago and specified quite clearly that shelter are needed by September 5, with per-day penalties for each day over that. It would be reasonable to blame Daytech Limited, or to blame staff for having placed an insufficiently high late penalty. One should be clear about the "they".

As for smartcards, the thinking is that it makes sense for GRT to join all the GTA agencies and OC Transpo with their Presto system. The 2013 figure is from Metrolinx's timeline for roll-out of Presto across Ontario systems.

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No, it's those running it.

If you seem to be so content on how to control the GRT, try running it. You think GRT turns a profit? How do they pay employees and buy busses? How do they maintain the facilities they have? Funding. If it's not there it's beyond their control.

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Not a transit system in North America runs a profit. I wasn't talking about that. I was referencing many bad business decisions, some of which (but not all) are political.

1. Running empty buses on some routes on weekends or at night because it gives the illusion of "fairness" is ridiculous, but that's what happens. Those service hours (read $$$) can be better used to improve frequencies, oh, let's say around WATERLOO !

2. Telling drivers not to enforce the fares costs GRT a FORTUNE every day.

3. INIT system .... total joke. Not reliable, i.e. calls out wrong stops, displays wrong destination signs, etc etc. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. Waste of money.

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If you seem to be so content on how to control the GRT, try running it. You think GRT turns a profit? How do they pay employees and buy busses? How do they maintain the facilities they have? Funding. If it's not there it's beyond their control.

And you seem to be so content on having an unprofessional organization that has no standards on excellence and quality.

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2. Telling drivers not to enforce the fares costs GRT a FORTUNE every day.

^5's to you for that!

The general public has NO IDEA at the fare fraud going on with the University passes, and the lack of GRT management to enforce the Fare policy with regard to all of the other fare issues. (Expired transfers, Expired Monthly passes, Expired University passes, the list goes on, and on, and on)

Personally, GRT has won the battle because I don't care anymore and therefore I don't even check the passes anymore! Is that right? NO! But after years, and years for frustration dealing with this, and never seeing any forward movement (Card Swipe???) what can you do? The customer rides for "free", the "FREE" button on the Farebox is punched and everyone is happy! The Regional taxpayer ................. that's another story. Do thay have any idea? NO! (It's almost criminal the way management just turns a blind eye to this) I could go on but nothing is going to happen anyway.

Jack the taxes up some more to cover the huge fare revenue losses, and pass it on to the taxpayer. (Just wait for Light Rail, and "all door boarding!")

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1. Running empty buses on some routes on weekends or at night because it gives the illusion of "fairness" is ridiculous, but that's what happens.

Uh... if there aren't buses running on weekends or at night, then who with any choice in the matter is going to rely on them during the rest of the time?

I remember reading about how a transit agency decided to cut the last run of the day on a route, since while the second-last bus was full, the last one was running empty. Of course, all the passengers then shifted to the new second-last bus since no one wants to risk missing the last bus of the day. You need to run buses all the time so that people are willing to entrust their transportation needs to the bus system.

2. Telling drivers not to enforce the fares costs GRT a FORTUNE every day.

And time spent vigorously enforcing fares would also cost a fortune. The vast majority of fares are paid. Some of the people who don't pay the fare would not be riding the bus if they did, so they are not a lost fare. And the rest may or may not be worth the time and cost of higher enforcement, but I guarantee you that the answer is nowhere near as obvious as you think it is.

3. INIT system .... total joke. Not reliable, i.e. calls out wrong stops, displays wrong destination signs, etc etc. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. Waste of money.

Wow. Are you sure you drive buses in the same region in which I ride them? I find that the "sometimes" it works is a good 90-95% of the time, and it's been improved since installation. The result has made it much easier to use unfamiliar routes, and allows me to pay less attention on familiar ones.

By no means do I think GRT does everything right, but this is just ridiculous.

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And you seem to be so content on having an unprofessional organization that has no standards on excellence and quality.

No what I "seem" to be content about is stop bashing a publc service, if you like telling us what the GRT "needs" to do then go run it. Suggestions sure, like how to improve service, that can be dealt with and constructively discussed, but the outright bashing and pure disrespect for GRT is completely uncalled for. Once again it comes down to funding. How is GRT unorganized and unprofessional?

How was the 201 today despite being a holiday?

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How was the 201 today despite being a holiday?

From a sample size of 1, I saw a full seated load heading southbound into Highland Hills.

There were also at least 5-6 students waiting for the 29 at almost every stop on Keats Way. From those 5-6 students, 4 of them were staring at the route changes posted on the poles.

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And you seem to be so content on having an unprofessional organization that has no standards on excellence and quality.

Why don't we all stop with the pointless "bashing" and move onto some constructive comments.

If you really have such a huge issue with quality, and professionalism of service, why not call a Regional Councillor, tell them of your concerns and be a "voice" for change?

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How is GRT unorganized and unprofessional?

- shortage of busses for announced service expansions

- unreliable on-bus stop announcements

- some bus destination signs not ready for route 200 (some still say IXPRESS - CONESTOGA MALL)

- all bus destination signs not ready for route 201 (all say EXPRESS)

- no standard naming system for regional destinations (University of Waterloo, U of W, UW, U Waterloo and Fairview, Fairview Mall, Fairview Park Mall, Fairview Park)

- no standard design for route maps (7 and 8 vs. the rest)

- no standard design for route posts on stations (200 vs. 201, 201 vs. the rest)

- system map errors (http://www.grt.ca/en/routesSchedules/resou...side2012map.pdf)

- route map errors

- double assignments of bus stops at terminals (Fairview Park, Forest Glen)

- website errors

Is this enough?

If you really have such a huge issue with quality, and professionalism of service, why not call a Regional Councillor, tell them of your concerns and be a "voice" for change?

Because we assume professionals to do their work, not kids behind a desk.

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- shortage of busses for announced service expansions

- unreliable on-bus stop announcements

- some bus destination signs not ready for route 200 (some still say IXPRESS - CONESTOGA MALL)

- all bus destination signs not ready for route 201 (all say EXPRESS)

- no standard naming system for regional destinations (University of Waterloo, U of W, UW, U Waterloo and Fairview, Fairview Mall, Fairview Park Mall, Fairview Park)

- no standard design for route maps (7 and 8 vs. the rest)

- no standard design for route posts on stations (200 vs. 201, 201 vs. the rest)

- system map errors ([

Because we assume professionals to do their work, not kids behind a desk.

You don't seem to understand what the word funding means, or the fact that the contracts and tenders put out specified a specific date to be done. You can argue they should have put the tenders out earlier all you want. It's beyond GRT's control. As for signage, honestly who cares. Anyone with common sense can tell what the destination is. When you understand how transit systems work, as in tenders and contracts, I will be more than willing to have a logical discussion with no insults.

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You don't seem to understand what the word funding means, or the fact that the contracts and tenders put out specified a specific date to be done. You can argue they should have put the tenders out earlier all you want. It's beyond GRT's control. As for signage, honestly who cares. Anyone with common sense can tell what the destination is. When you understand how transit systems work, as in tenders and contracts, I will be more than willing to have a logical discussion with no insults.
It matters because we get thousands of new students every year at UW and WLU. When all the northbound iXpress buses/shelters say "iXpress Ainslie Terminal", and the southbound ones all say "iXpress Conestoga Mall", don't we have a problem here? Then you go to WLU and you have this mysterious GREEN IXPRESS who's signs are either blank or say "Express"............. "does the Green iXpress go to Conestoga Mall?"

Agreed with GRT Kid. And I'll add to that. If a visitor to the region is taking transit and he sees Fairview, Fairview Park, Fairview Mall, and Fairview Park Mall referenced on the system map, route map, terminal platform layouts, and bus destination signs is that person to "assume" that this is all referring to one place? Would you assume, not knowing the region and system, that Fairview and Fairview Park are the same place? I will turn this around and tell you that anyone with common sense running GRT should have a sheet of paper with standardized names for all regional destinations.

You don't seem to understand that something as simple as signage on bus stations may not matter but when you go around the region it looks like GRT gave a kid some pencil crayons to play around with and said, "here draw on these and we'll put them up as signs". For whatever reason, 200 is still referenced as iXpress while 201 is the Green iXpress. From this I guess we can start calling the 200 as the colourless iXpress.

Maybe we're silly to assume some level of professionalism and all we can expect from GRT is a random day-by-day operation.

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It matters because we get thousands of new students every year at UW and WLU. When all the northbound iXpress buses/shelters say "iXpress Ainslie Terminal", and the southbound ones all say "iXpress Conestoga Mall", don't we have a problem here? Then you go to WLU and you have this mysterious GREEN IXPRESS who's signs are either blank or say "Express"............. "does the Green iXpress go to Conestoga Mall?"

That would be the operators fault for not changing the signage which leads to miscommunication between bus and shelter.

You don't seem to understand that something as simple as signage on bus stations may not matter but when you go around the region it looks like GRT gave a kid some pencil crayons to play around with and said, "here draw on these and we'll put them up as signs". For whatever reason, 200 is still referenced as iXpress while 201 is the Green iXpress. From this I guess we can start calling the 200 as the colourless iXpress.

Maybe we're silly to assume some level of professionalism and all we can expect from GRT is a random day-by-day operation.

Honestly the people that work for the GRT have better things to do.

How was ZUM launch in Brampton? How was MiWay's launch in Missisauga? Were they perfect? Personally, GRT signs beat Hamilton's signs, at least the route number is printed on them, or even Sarnia where they're just plain old bus stop signs.

200 and 201 are different numbers, no? People are so used to calling the "200" iXpress, why bother changing it? It's easier to mould peoples minds around a new thought rather than the old one.

As far as random day-by-day, every system has it: Will a bus show up, on time or at all? You and all the other "haters" seem to think GRT is the only agency with this issue. Well here is what you can do about it: 519-585-7555 or mail us at 250 Strasburg Rd., Kitchener, ON N2E 3M6.

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Maybe we're silly to assume some level of professionalism and all we can expect from GRT is a random day-by-day operation.

This attitude is just toxic. Everything wrong with GRT is indicative of its total lack of professionalism? OK, and what are we to do with this claim...? Give up, fire everyone, bring in Veolia to run the show?

No transit agencies are perfect. Transit agencies in North American car-oriented communities have even more issues because their entire existence (let alone funding and service quality) is tenuous and often questioned by vocal "taxpayers" and politicians.

I've seen nothing to indicate that GRT's failings are out of the ordinary for comparable or larger size transit agencies. If anything, my impression is that GRT is above average.

Instead of decrying GRT's supposed lack of professionalism, how about being constructive instead? Explain what exactly you believe they are doing wrong, and - this is critical - how they should instead be doing it. Then write to staff, council, or the paper, and get the union to advocate for particular changes. GRT is not some huge faceless bureaucracy, honest. They are approachable, as is Regional Council. But you have to want to improve things instead of just complain.

I'd be happy to have discussion and perhaps consensus here on ways to improve GRT, and I would be happy if the union was also interested in advocating for those improvements. Just so it is clear, my role is as a transportation advocate and I am part of TriTAG.

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This attitude is just toxic. Everything wrong with GRT is indicative of its total lack of professionalism? OK, and what are we to do with this claim...? Give up, fire everyone, bring in Veolia to run the show?

No transit agencies are perfect. Transit agencies in North American car-oriented communities have even more issues because their entire existence (let alone funding and service quality) is tenuous and often questioned by vocal "taxpayers" and politicians.

I've seen nothing to indicate that GRT's failings are out of the ordinary for comparable or larger size transit agencies. If anything, my impression is that GRT is above average.

Instead of decrying GRT's supposed lack of professionalism, how about being constructive instead? Explain what exactly you believe they are doing wrong, and - this is critical - how they should instead be doing it. Then write to staff, council, or the paper, and get the union to advocate for particular changes. GRT is not some huge faceless bureaucracy, honest. They are approachable, as is Regional Council. But you have to want to improve things instead of just complain.

I'd be happy to have discussion and perhaps consensus here on ways to improve GRT, and I would be happy if the union was also interested in advocating for those improvements.

Well said, once again.

I bolded your point of Veolia running the show. One doesn't need to look far to see what kind of debacle a transit system would be if Veolia took over (YRT Southwest, and to an extent Viva). In fact, any sort of privatization for that matter.

Southwest is facing massive service "optimizations" next year due to "lack of ridership" and "balancing supply and demand", but looking at their 2012 service plan it involves cutting routes entirely, and eliminating service at some points of the day for others. In Viva's case, it could've been a much better system if the rapidways were built initially (back in 2005), and not right now. Once the rapidways are done, the original shelters they built would be useless. Waste of taxpayers money, should I say?

Miller and First Student are planning to strike later this month because of their non-competitive wages (the highest you can earn is roughly $22/hour), with next to ZERO benefits. As one of my Miller friends puts it, "If I break my leg and have to walk to the hospital while on my shift, my pay stops."

Oh, and YRT itself is planning a fare increase to $3.50 next year, combined with the expected service cuts across the board. Shall I say a transit system run like a business, instead of providing a social service?

To play your game as well, Transpo, YRT/Viva has even more unstandardizations than GRT. While GRT has Fairview, YRT has Finch Station. We have variations ranging from destination signs to maps such as Finch Station, Finch GO Bus Terminal, GO Finch Bus Terminal, Finch Terminal, Finch GO Terminal, GO Finch Terminal. I'm not even gonna begin telling you the variations for Markham-Stouffville Hospital.

I agree that there can be improvements GRT can consider (I'm still waiting on all-door boarding for iXpress routes), but how about we look at the achievements as well? The introduction of the 201 has one-handedly solved the route 12 loads between Fischer-Hallman and Seagram by splitting the loads in half; one that sticks on F-H, and one that sticks on Keats Way. That way everyone will get a seat and less people will be left stranded at the bus stops.

TL;DR: Every time I'm in York Region (or the GTA for that matter), I can't wait until I get back to GRT and ride a transit system that's actually reasonably served for its size.

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