Top ten tips for safe travels during the holidays

Ring in New Year’s Eve 2019 on a safe note

Just pause for a moment.

Because we get it – you have a lot on your plate this time of year.

The holiday season means the lives of many of our customers turn into military-like campaigns, with dozens of objectives and nonstop troop movements.

But relax. Anne Marie Aikins, senior manager of media for Metrolinx, has compiled her annual timely and terrific travel tips to help ensure your commute – throughout the holidays and over New Year’s Eve – is safe and doesn’t add to your stress level.

Remember your stuff — gifts, very ‘personal’ belongings, mitts, hats and other miscellaneous clothing, your expensive mouth grill, your pets or children. We’ve had it all passed in after being found. So always look around before you leave the bus or train so you’re not leaving behind your treasured belongings. And don’t panic if you did. Check Lost and Found at Union Station.

Give yourself plenty of travelling time — whether you have to work or play, shop, visit weird Uncle Pete, or work throughout the holidays, transit is the safest way to get around. Both GO Transit and UP Express staff work throughout the holidays so you can get around.

Respect the Quiet Zone— forgiveness is divine but if you’d like to avoid the wicked ‘stink eye’, avoid chattering away on your phone. For QZ fans please remember we have lots of occasional riders and young people riding your trains during the holidays and they may be unfamiliar with the rules. Peace on Earth – and on our trains – is always the goal.

Don’t drive under the influence — it’s great you made the smart choice to take transit when you’re partying, but a train ride is not likely to sober you up. That’s true for alcohol or cannabis use. It still isn’t safe to drive from a GO Station parking lot if you are under the influence. We provide free parking — and it’s good for overnight. Leave the car there and don’t drive it home and potentially alter the course of lives forever. We’ve got free service and late night trains on New Year’s Eve too.

Safety first— the last thing we want to do is deliver horrible news to your family, so please stand behind the yellow line, obey all rail crossings and don’t take risks with your life.

Bring your pet along— we have a new pet policy for GO and UP that allows you to bring your best furry friend (I’m referring specifically to your dog) on the train. Please remind Fido that he must travel with his human.

Get a PRESTO card before end of year rush— last minute shoppers will be lining up to get a PRESTO card so they can load their monthly TTC pass on at the end of the year. Beat the lines by ordering online, visiting a Shoppers Drug Mart or TTC Station. Register your card and protect your monthly pass or balance. And download the PRESTO app — it’s out in Beta.

Keep connected— before you leave for your train or bus, make sure there are no service alerts. Sign up for On the GO alerts, monitor Twitter or check the website or Triplinx. Speak to station staff or call customer service. They’ve heard every possible kind of question so don’t be shy.

Bring provisions, be prepared— bring food (nothing stinky please) and something to drink (nothing spiked please). Union Station Food Court is open so you have lots of choices. Wear layers so you stay warm but not overheat. Any form of transportation is subject to unexpected emergencies so always travel prepared.

Bring cheer to a stranger— remember not everyone is feeling festive or loved this time of the year. And stress levels and lonely feelings can skyrocket. A kind or understanding word can make a big difference in any given moment of someone’s life.

Have a safe and happy holiday from all of us at Metrolinx.

By Anne Marie Aikins, Metrolinx Senior Manager of Media