Mar 27, 2008

Go Transit bus transport passengers across the Atlantic

Your transit humour for the day.

It remains unclear whether the stowaways were on the Atlantic Container Line vessel Atlantic Cartier before the bus was loaded, or if they rode the bus onto the ship.

Last week, a spokesman for Alexander Dennis - the Scottish-based bus manufacturer - said it was "absolutely impossible" that a driver could have smuggled the stowaways onto the bus.

The buses leave directly from the factory in Falkirk, Scotland and are driven 600 kilometres to England for delivery to container ships.

Four stowaways traveled across the Atlantic Ocean hidden in a double decker Go Transit bus and then sprinted away from a single commissionaire staffing the entrance of the Cerescorp container terminal in Halifax.

The four Algerian men then made their way to the Via Rail station in Halifax, where they offered to pay more than the listed price for tickets. They also wanted to buy the tickets using European currency. Their insistence on using either Euros or French currency and their willingness to pay in excess of the actual fare set off a red flag with the ticket agent. The men then travel to Truro in a taxi and were captured by town police before boarding a train.

Colin Kenny, chairman of the Senate national security committee, received an e-mail from Jeff Cox (the ticket agent) on Tuesday, the day after the senator criticized the federal government for not doing more to tighten port security in Halifax.

The agent's e-mail paints an unflattering portrait of the system set up to respond to the possible illegal entry of people into Canada.

Read the full report.

Mar 21, 2008

Ontario sets rules for Canadian transit content

Premier Dalton McGuinty announced yesterday, that all future public-transit vehicles purchased with provincial government funds must include at least 25 per cent Canadian content.

This is a far cry from the Buy America Act, which requires 60% of the components of U.S. transit vehicles to be sourced in America. The act also requires 100% of final assembly be performed in America.

As of this date there is no requirement of federal government funding to be spent on Canadian content. In fact Ontario may have the only government in Canada officially requiring Canadian content on transit funding. It is still not as effective as the "buy Ontario" policy for transit vehicles that used to be in effect.

Mar 17, 2008

Irish fun

Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated worldwide by Irish and non Irish people. Many cities have their own St. Patrick's parade and Canada's capital Ottawa, was no exception. They were fortunate to have their own Irish bus.


Mar 9, 2008

Reduced student fares for March break

Students are now into their March break. This is the time of year when they will be off school for one week. March break is a slow time for transit. Rider counts take a dive. Some cities and towns in Ontario have taken the initiative and are offering reduced student fares for March break.

In Windsor Instead of students having to pay the typical $1.70 cash fare, it will be reduced to $1 starting Sunday through to Saturday. They proposed the idea after hearing about a similar initiative in the City of Niagara Falls. March Price Break flyer.

Niagara Transit is offering a Student Promotion during March break (March 8th - March 16th). Students ride for only 25 cents!! View the March Break Student Week Flyer.

Students in the Town of Milton that show their student ID card can take advantage of a 2 for 1 transit fare all day long, from March 10 to 14.

Burlington Transit (BT) has the BT Freedom Pass which gives students unlimited travel on weekdays beginning at 5 p.m. and all day and night on weekends. This March break, Burlington Transit is offering unlimited travel for students with a March BT Freedom Pass from Monday, March 10 until Friday, March 14.

Oakville Transit has a Freedom Pass that is similar to Burlington’s. As a bonus, from March 10 to March 14, 2008, Oakville Transit Student Freedom Pass can be used all day, every day at any time!

Durham Region Transit has no plans to to reduce the student fares for March break. Student passes and student cash fares are still valid during this time period.

Mar 5, 2008

TTC strike?

The labour contract between the TTC and Local 113 of the Amalgamated Transit Union will expire on March 31, 2008. Contract talks have been underway between the union and management.

On Sunday March 9, 2008 the union will be presenting it’s members with an offer from the TTC. This will be followed by a system wide secret ballot vote on Wednesday March 12, 2008.

If negotiations are taking their normal path you can expect this offer to be turned down. The percentage of votes will determine how bargaining will pick up again. The union and company are still only in the early stages of bargaining.

Mar 4, 2008

Out with the old and in with the new

Flag bus ELF In 1992 Ajax Transit introduced a community bus service which became known as "The Flag Bus". Passengers are able to flag down the bus at any safe location along the route. The photo on the left is the brand new flag bus in 1992. This type of bus were known as ELF's. That stands for extremely low floor. There is nothing in DRT's bus fleet that needs replaced more than the ELFS.

030308-Flag_2008 The first of the newest version of the "Flag Bus", pictured on the right will arrive at Durham Region Transit this week. It is expected to be in service late March or early April. The bus is a 30 foot Eldorado National EZ Rider II with a Cummins ISB 6 litre engine and 5 speed Allison B300R transmission. It is air-conditioned and meets the more stringent current emission requirements. There is capacity for up to 3 mobility aid devices with ramps at both front and rear doors. It will replace one of the current ELF units on the Flag bus service.

Mar 1, 2008

Articulated buses troubles

This picture was taken on the morning of December 16, 2005 in Hull, Quebec. It brought back memories to me about when I used drive articulated buses at the TTC. They were terrible buses to handle in the snow.

OC Transpo fleet of 18-metre articulated buses has a poor track record in the snow. The buses use rear-wheel drive, have trouble moving in reverse and can't make turns of more than 45 degrees. But OC Transpo said demand for its service is such that the city can't afford not to use shorter, non-articulated buses.