Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

What Role Should Council Play in GO Transit Discussions?

Posted by auroracitizen on March 13, 2010

GO Transit is changing routes. This may not be a hot issue because it doesn’t affect most people in Aurora (read voters), but it does affect some. And for those it affects, it has a significant impact on time and dollars.

So what is Aurora Council doing to help those who are asking?

Granted, stirring up support with a vocal, concentrated group like the Wells Street folks is certainly a more efficient strategy to gain votes — but is it what we elected our politicians for?

Granted, transit is not one of the issues that municipal councils are responsible for — any more than school closings — but working to represent a disparate group within our community is exactly who politicians are elected to represent with a common voice.

Our concern is not how GO Transit should run their business or change their routes. We are just wondering why Council is not representing their stakeholders.

Maybe they should look to Frank Klees MPP for guidance on how to solicit input and work with the community. We understand Frank organized a meeting which included the community as well as representatives from Go Transit and YRT.

That’s how issues get resolved — invite all interested parties (not just your friends and inner circle) to the table and have an open discussion about the issues.

No telling what will happen!

However, clearly Phyllis Morris doesn’t see it as a great vote gaining strategy so Aurora Council isn’t interested. Yet.

Time will tell whether they get the message.

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10 Responses to “What Role Should Council Play in GO Transit Discussions?”

  1. Robert the Bruce said

    I have an example of something Aurora council should be doing instead of GO transit…..

    A couple of weeks ago I received the annual notice to renew my dog’s license tag. In the past, I have gone to one of the Pet Valu stores. The document says that I can do this again. Went there today, they have not yet received the tags from the Town. They were supposed to received them in January. The store has called the Town a number of times with no results. The response from Pet Valu – don’t worry about it they are so messed up there (the Town) they will never know.

    Fuimus

  2. Robert the Bruce said

    Elizabeth,

    While I agree GO needs to hear from users of transit, I do not think Aurora Council has the skills to see a bigger picture of GO. The problem is Aurora Council would only have the interests (or perceived interests) of Auror residents. GO is much bigger than that. Aurora is but a 5 minute stop 8 times a day (and only 5 days a week) for the GO Train. Even York Region understood that transit is a bigger thing than what cities could handle and thus YRT.

    Let GO deal with the user community directly – let Aurora Council deal with whatever they do.

    Fuimus

  3. Elizabeth Bishenden said

    In response to both Robert the Bruce and Tim the Enchanter, I can suggest one reason why Aurora Town Council should become involved.

    The Town has a number of studies that it has conducted. Presumably those have yielded some interesting information about the Town of Aurora as it currently exists and as it is predicted to exist in the next few year.

    In what I’ve seen from the information about the “Aurora Promenade” the main push for development will depend on public transit.

    The Council currently has a new masterplan for recreation. This document will influence whether or not young families move to this community and participate in community activities. In order for parents of young children to participate (as opposed to receive) these services, they need to be able to commute home in a timely manner. GO provides the commute.

    Long before I moved to Aurora, there was transit to and from Toronto for commuters. Everyone loved the idea they could get on a train with a bar car and get home for dinner. Well, except for the part you had to function when you stepped off the train.

    Forty years later, the town still has many residents who commute long distances. Public transit is still an important part of how people can work in other places and still arrive home, ready to be part of Aurora.

    Getting home for a soccer/theatre/lacrosse/hockey/dance practice, attending a meeting about development, tucking the kids in… not exactly your parents’ experience of the outer ‘burbs… but welcome to the other 99% of the new millenium.

    We can’t depend on GO to work in Aurora’s favour. We don’t have a local transit lobby group. Town Council is the best we’ve got. Good luck to us.

    • Tim the Enchanter said

      Public transit is indeed important but I think there may be some confusion here.

      Local transit running the Yonge corridor is mostly a YRT/VIVA issue – not GO.
      As a matter of fact YRT has posted a press release announcing service enhancements to offset the decrease in GO service.
      http://www.yorkregiontransit.com/news/index.asp#GO62

      So at the end of the day how disruptive is the cancellation of that particular GO bus service?

      Our primary concern with GO is the train service which doesn’t seem to be affected although I’d love to see more frequent service and not just at commuter hours.

      “We can’t depend on GO to work in Aurora’s favour”
      Not sure what this means.
      I don’t doubt GO has a “use it or lose it” attitude, as do most transit systems, but I doubt that it’s borne out of a dislike for Aurora.

      “We don’t have a local transit lobby group. Town Council is the best we’ve got”
      Why don’t we have a lobby group? There are lots of transit users in Aurora.
      If we need a transit lobby can council not facilitate the start-up of such a group rather than take on the job itself?
      If council steps in exactly what will they be lobbying for? How will they decide what to lobby for?

      If we are unhappy with our transit service will that be the fault of GO and YRT or should we blame council for not lobbying hard enough or for the right services?

      The point bears repeating: Council should place themselves in the role of facilitator – not decision maker. There’s a difference.

  4. evelyn buck said

    When my kids were considering next steps from high scjool, York university might as well have been on the other side of the moon as far as accessibility was concerned. the only way they could go there was if they could afford a car as welll as unversity

    We waited a long time for the transit service.It made a huge difference.

    I understand buses are often standing room only all the way down. If one listens to the people who use the buses,it seems there’s a need for more buses,not less.

    For a while York provided outreach courses for residents who wanted to continue to learn.

    That service was withdrawn because of cost.

    Cancellation of the direct transit service is going backwards.

    York is as much our university as anyone else’s .But it’s not much use if it takes two to three hours to get there and the same to get home.

    I think a strong expression of support from Council for transit access to the University would not be out of place.

    How else will the powers- that- be know it matters to this community that our young people should have equal access.

    • Tim the Enchanter said

      Here’s an idea for our funny little town.

      Why not post this link on the Town website so interested residents can comment to GO directly and immediately?
      https://secure.gotransit.com/en/service/goservice.aspx

      That way GO will have some actual feedback to consider while council debates the exact form and content of their “expression of support” which will no doubt include but not be limited to:

      3 lengthy explanations of exactly what GO is.

      2 referrals of the matter back to staff for clarification.

      1 clever proposal to eliminate the transit problem entirely by establishing our own university (in the old Wells St School building of course) complete with a jazz-themed event to raise awareness.

  5. Robert the Bruce said

    I certainly hope Aurora Council keep their noses out of this. As stated, it is not an issue for council. Public transit in the GTA should be run by one all-encompassing body to address the needs of the whole. We are starting to move this direction with MetroLinx and their running of GO transit, but we will not be there until MetroLinx is in charge of not only GO, but the TTC, YRT, Viva, BT, MT, and so on. Only then can we fully appreciate the needs of the enitre GTA from Hamilton to Oshawa and Toronto to Barrie and all points in between. A common carrier, a common fee structure and a common schedule that meshes each transit platform into one service.

    Aurora Council needs to concentrate on what they are there for – making sure our garbage is collected, our streets are plowed, etc. YRT was formed in part because we had a transit system that had what 3 or 4 routes and it was losing money (there were other reasons, but this was Aurora’s). Aurora Council could not run transit then, they have no business commenting on it now.

    For those that use GO and are upset at the schedule changes….. life sucks sometimes.. but this too will pass.

    Fuimus

    • evelyn buck said

      Here’s another couple of thughts on Transitissue.Viva is a regional system alo. Government subsidies in the millions keep it operating Nickname for the service is Freeva.

      The objective of Viva is o get people out of their cars. Reduce the need for more highways and exhaust pollution.

      They have won an award.

      The noble objectives are justification for government funds being poured into the service. We all know where government funds come from.

      YRT costs a bundle as well. We are all familiar with buses trundling around with not a soul in them save the driver.

      I hear there has been a deal was made to lease the regional tranist facilities .. In return. the plan is to unload York Univeristy passengers on to YRT.to make their bottom line look better.

      It won’t happen. People will not willingly add four hours travel to their work day. They will scramble for cars and car-pooling.

      Parking at York costs $180 a month. With a twenty minute walk to the buildings. Secuirty is not good. Assaults are not uncommon.

      The timing of the changes in service reveals a total lack of knowledge about the University year. It does not stop at the end of June and start again in September. There are forty-eight thousand students and ten thousand d faculty. Seneca is on the campus and they operate throughout the year.

      It’s not about special interests. It’s about services we are all paying for ,users and non-users. which are not being sensibly managed. And we are not getting what we are all paying for.

      I never use the service. But it sure makes me mad to see public money mis-used this way. And taxpayers declare Oh Well,it’s not my problem.

      It damned well is.

    • evelyn buck said

      Oh Yes and another thing. The University is silent on the bussing fiasco because they are afraid to jeopordise their chnance of getting a subway into York

      These guys are wheeling and dealing with people’s lives as if they’re of no more importance than a fish market.

      Oh yes…you are right….that’s what they are a market like spoils to be divided.

      The big shots have limos or can call a cab like Gambrione the sprightly hormone-driven head of the T.T.C.The unwashed masses can just trudge along as best they can.

      Like hell they can

      I hear all kinds of scuttlebut. People tell me things because they know I’ll tell you.

  6. Tim the Enchanter said

    To paraphrase Mr. Fudd – “be verwy verwy careful!”

    Why?

    Because GO needs to hear what Aurorans think, not what council thinks. Public meetings between residents and GO reps would be one method and the Town can certainly help facilitate that.
    This is also another excellent opportunity for the Town’s website to offer an on-line questionnaire/poll for those who are interested in this issue.
    What we don’t want is council stepping in and making recommendations to GO based on what they “feel” Aurorans think because those recommendations will be perceived, rightly or wrongly, to be influenced by the ubiquitous “friends of council”.
    No need to burn up council time here.
    No need for committees.
    No need for arguments.
    No need for councillors to worry about which way the public winds are blowing.

    Just let Aurorans speak. If we aren’t happy with our GO service we’ll take it up with the boss, Dalton McGuinty, in the next election.

    Remember, the big green sign says GO – Government of Ontario not GA – Government of Aurora.

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