Not since the last world war has mankind been so disrupted by a common challenge. COVID-19 has impacted the way we all connect, buy toilet paper and travel. While many have temporarily stopped using GO Transit and UP Express, we wanted to acknowledge the customers who still count on us daily – as well as our transit staff who show up to make those journeys possible.
A few weeks ago, as much as we like to think journeys on our vehicles should always be awesome, a casual daily commute wasn’t really worth putting in a diary to one day show the grandkids.
Today, those travels are rather exceptional.
While many customers temporarily stop using GO Transit and UP Express, as they listen to health officials urging people to stay put if they are able, there are those who just need to keep GOing. They include our train operators and bus drivers – and hundreds of others supporting them – who all still must show up on the job.
And it includes travellers, who ride those vehicles, because their jobs and home-visits to the vulnerable still need to happen.
While more than 300,000 people would normally share those daily rides, today, there are relatively few of those travellers. Their experiences are historic. So we recently put out a call for selfies and images of what customers are seeing during their rides, as well as context about why they must keep moving when the world has all but stopped.
🚉Keeping Calm and Carrying On🚌
Some GO customers can’t stay home as they have to keep going. Whether you're a nurse, a construction worker or a first responder — we want to celebrate you. Share your selfies & stories as you travel to get where you need to go. #GOTransitPhoto pic.twitter.com/YcktsNQ1Uy
— GO Transit (@GOtransit) March 23, 2020
Those customers are nurses heading to downtown hospitals, construction workers making sure our cities aren’t stalled when things ease up, grocery store workers putting out daily bread and attendants headed into senior homes to tend to the scared and confused.
Platforms for train into work and heading back- huge thanks for those who stayed home today and to essential services for your commitment to keep the city running during this crisis. #greatjob #StayHomeCanada #WeCanDoThis pic.twitter.com/BUm1MNlk4y
— S/Sgt. Chris McCann (@sgtSleeves) March 24, 2020
They are, largely, those who keep things running, so we can all keep moving.
Among those faces, and stories, is…
Andrew Wolczyk, an IT professional that works in downtown Toronto. He notes the vast majority of his colleagues are working from home, but a critical few must show up to ensure they all have access to internal systems. He shared the view from his morning commute, which is noticeably different from just a few weeks ago.
Marilynn Taylor shared a photo of herself on an early morning GO train as well. Noting – a bit tongue in cheek – how she’s observing proper social distancing with her fellow customers.
Thank you all who keep the trains and buses clean and running for those who are working hard to fight the virus, and for those who are doing critical work: health care workers, supermarket staff, reporters, police.
— C (@Super_Ce) March 23, 2020
Many customers have also emailed in their stories and kudos to our customer service team. One GO rider says:
“Big shout out to Dave, the driver of the 40 – Richmond Hill Centre GO bus, who picked me up today (March 18, 2020) from the Dixie Transit Way at around 7:10am. He mentioned that this is not his typical route as he is usually driving out in the West in the Waterloo area – but nonetheless took this new trip today when he found out it was originally cancelled. As someone who works in healthcare, where working from home is currently not an option, I wouldn’t have made it to work without you! You have greatly impacted not only myself but also the patients that I work with during this stressful time, so thank you. Individuals like Dave are valuable and essential members of the GO/Metrolinx team – keep up the positivity and great conversations!”
It’s not just drivers getting praised. Other GO customers are fans of the cleaning staff.
“I would like to send compliments to the GO cleaning staff. Getting on the train this morning I could smell the disinfectant. Thank you for your extra efforts in keeping your riders safe by providing a sanitary environment.”
We’re here to keep get you there. We’re just curious about the story behind that journey.
Story by Scott Money, Metrolinx media relations advisor.