Having been a weekday rider of the GO bus for 5 years now, I find it’s time that I articulate my grievances. I ride the GO bus from the Hamilton GO Centre to Union Station anytime between 6:40 and 7:40am, and I come back anywhere between 4:30 and 6:35. I’m not going to piss and moan about being late. That’s not GOs fault. Pay attention to traffic before you depart, or risk getting swamped up.
Now, on to my griping.
1) Shades or Window Tint On the Greyhound bus, you have a window shade that you can pull down. It’s a nice defense against natural enemies like THE SUN. Not the GO bus. If you want to nap, you have to find one of the magic seats that block most of the sunlight. About halfway through your trip however, this seat is no longer magic. Given that I ride the express to Toronto, many of us want to nap. It’s hard to do that with blazing sunrays blasting you in the retinas.
2) Bathrooms It has only happened ONCE, that I’ve had to ask the bus driver to pull over and let me take a whiz. But it still happened. Sure, it was my own fault for staying late at the bar, having too many beers, and then having to book my ass from the Subway in time to catch the last express. By the time the bus started moving and I settling into my seat, my bladder was already screaming at me. Greyhound has bathrooms. GO does not. I searched around in vain for a bottle, a sponge, ANYTHING I could relieve myself upon. No such luck.
Around Etobicoke, I couldn’t handle it anymore. I asked the driver, much to his dismay, to pull over and let me out. As I stood at the front of the bus, the wind was far too strong, so I had to walk to the back; pissing into oncoming traffic to avoid getting wind soakage all over me.
Boarding the bus again, I did the walk of shame all the way down the aisle, trying hard not to stare into the disapproving eyes of my fellow commuters. The GO train has a bathroom. The GO bus, sadly, does not.
3) Air Conditioning In the middle of the summer, it’s hot out. I walk down from College Park every day, and even in shorts, I find myself sweating my balls off by the time I get to the station. Arriving just after a bus pulls away is the WORST. You have to wait another 10-15 minutes in the direct sun with other sweaty arseholes. The bus finally pulls up and you get to board. The first thing you notice is how AMAZING the cold air is! It breezes against your moist skin, causing a ripple of pleasure while you find an empty seat to park your soaking trousers upon. Here’s the tricky part. You have these two nozzles that you can open up and direct upon yourself. Once you’ve cooled down, you can close them. Great, right?!
Now after you’ve cooled your body down to a somewhat normal temperature, you notice that you keep dropping in temperature. The frigid air blasting out of the useless window sill is quite chilly indeed. About 15 minutes into your trip, you notice women pulling their pashminas out, and younger children going into seizures. Old people start complaining to each other, and then you find me in the fetal position, lips blue, trembling.
The weird social aspect to this, is that I’ve never seen anyone get up and bitch about it. Not a single person. Not even me. I guess it’s our own damn faults for letting the drivers think that we enjoy sub-arctic climates.
4) Unexplainable Detours The beauty of the express bus is that the driver doesn’t have to stop anywhere between Point A and Point B. They’re given the freedom to be creative with their route choice. This can be a blessing.
What I don’t get, are days when we’re cruising along fine along the QEW, and we approach the QEW/403 split at the Ford plant. The driver takes the PACKED 403 North to the 407, meanwhile the QEW/403 towards Hamilton looks just fine. I hop on my phone, load up my traffic application, and start looking at camera feeds. From here all the way to Hamilton, I see traffic moving along at a steady clip, plenty of spacing. Meanwhile, we sit bumper to bumper on the 403, taking us an additional 20 minutes to get further away from our destination.
Granted, I’m sure they’re on the phone with other drivers who might be telling them things that I’m simply not privy to. I suppose if I sat closer to the front, I’d hear more about what’s going on.
All in all, I find my GO Transit experience to be quite pleasant. I get to nap, people are generally nice, I have a few Twitter friends that I run into now and then, and it takes me almost directly to my favourite pub in Hamilton. I just felt like bitching, know what I mean?