You spin me right round baby, right round

When I was growing up all the local towns and cities had their own bus service so, if you went from one town to another, you had to pay two fares. When my kids were growing up they changed that. All the bus services amalgamated into one big transit system called Durham Region Transit or DRT. Yes, this really is going somewhere, I promise.

Now the DRT was able to connect one town to the other in most cases but there were a few spots that didn’t have an available route. Enter GO transit. GO transit is a regional bus service that connects all the regions in the Greater Toronto Area to Toronto. DRT made arrangements with GO transit for them to accept DRT tickets and passes on the parts of the route where there was no DRT bus. Hopefully that’s clear.

This worked well until Covid-19 hit. Everywhere that sold DRT tickets and passes were closed. The DRT operated for free but the GO buses were still full fare. Luckily I had some leftover tickets but the drivers were starting to look hinkey at them and I was looking forward to getting my monthly pass back.

The mall reopened in the middle of June and I met with friends at the end of June to buy our passes. I’d heard rumours online that GO transit wasn’t accepting DRT fares anymore so I asked the City of Oshawa employee who was selling the tickets and was told, no, the 90 Go Bus was still taking monthly passes for sure.

I was still cautious so I contacted GO transit who said no they weren’t and Durham Transit who said yes they were. Their website said that GO wasn’t accepting paper passes anymore (which are held at least a metre away) due to covid but was taking paper tickets (which the drivers need to handle). Because that makes total sense.

A lady in a group I belong to on Facebook was quite irate and spoke to a lot of people. She ended up speaking to the Transit Committee who told her, “We have now reached an agreement with Metrolinx, effective Monday, July 13, that will permit customers to show the GO Bus operator a copy of the payment receipt for their DRT Monthly Pass purchase. This interim process and the One Fare Agreement will be in place until Aug 10, when customers will be able to travel between Bowmanville and Oshawa using the new DRT Route 902.”

That’s a bit worrisome for me as I have my actual pass but no longer have my receipt. I bought it just over two weeks ago and it wasn’t like I was planning on returning it. Then I got an email from a customer representative at GO Transit saying, “All existing passes purchased are accepted for travel.” This would have been a relief except I got a reply this afternoon, “Unfortunately, due to safety-related restrictions on the use of paper passes and transfers, the One Fare program between GO Transit and Durham Regional Transit is currently suspended until further notice; you will have to pay the full fare with your PRESTO card when using GO Transit.”

Seriously GO Transit, which is it going to be? Are you taking the passes or not? You’ve got me spinning in circles so fast you’re making me dizzy!

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Colin in front of a GO bus ~ 2012

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