Six Hundred People Got Stuck in GO Train Purgatory for Three Hours
Welcome to hell.
There’s a scene from Seinfeld in which Elaine gets stuck on the crowded subway. Her inner monologue starts with mere annoyance—“Oh, this is great”—then quickly escalates to full-on shrieking: “It’s a nightmare! Help me! Move it!”
She’s on her way to a wedding, bringing the ring, and the transit delay makes her miss the ceremony (spoiler?). Every commuter can relate to this. Delays are an exasperating and inevitable part of taking public transit. Usually—luckily—these are brief.
But on Tuesday evening, 600 people were stuck on a Lakeshore East GO train for more than three hours. Brutal.
The train left Union Station at 4:30, headed to Oshawa, and broke down shortly after leaving Ajax. The power and air-conditioning cut out completely.
A GO spokesperson said it was the result of “an unfortunate sequence of events, but the bottom line is, it should not have taken that long to get them off the train.”
At first, crews tried to fix it, and then realized they had to get another train to tow it to the nearest station. This was all complicated by the fact that a gas leak shut down the Barrie line, requiring some staff to be sent there instead of to this problem on the Lakeshore East line.
According to one passenger, the train car he was in became muggy after the air conditioning died, though it wasn’t hot outside.
“Thankfully, [the passenger] said, the car wasn’t packed since the train was almost at the end of its route. And although people initially panicked trying to sort out things like how to pick up their kids at day care, the mood gradually lightened,” the Toronto Star reported.
The transit service will be issuing a $100 Presto credit to each passenger.
GO does have a service guarantee that it will reimburse fares when a train is more than 15 minutes late and the delay is GO’s fault.
Delays, when they do arise, are often no longer than that. But three hours is way above and beyond the duration of any wait a passenger might imagine. It’s unacceptable.
As Elaine puts it: “Move this @#$%&! train!”