Dalton McGuinty is urging a refund if GO trains are delayed—provided commuters (read: voters) like the idea

Dalton McGuinty is urging a refund if GO trains are delayed—provided commuters (read: voters) like the idea

(Image: Loozboy) 

Apparently, Dalton McGuinty is proposing to run the government like a pizza delivery van (at least, so says the Toronto Star): 20 minutes or it’s on the house. In a painfully transparent pre-election ploy, the premier is suggesting that Go Transit offer commuters a “service guarantee” that would refund their fare in the event that trains are 20 minutes late or more. Now, besides the obvious point that most pizza places don’t come anywhere near hitting that mark, it’s kind of a pointless promise.

The Globe and Mail has the details of the proposal:

The promise is part of a gusher of cheque presentations and announcements being showered upon the province as Mr. McGuinty and the provincial Liberals court voters ahead of an October election.

The 20-minute service guarantee would cost the province between $6-million and $7-million, Mr. McGuinty told reporters.

He is now waiting for feedback from commuters and GO Transit officials before his government forges ahead with the plan.

At $6 million, the cost of the GO refunds would be just one tenth of one per cent of what traffic congestion costs the GTA annually. But if the proposal made GO more palatable to more commuters, it might actually pay off. There’s just one hitch: GO’s trains are already arriving at the station on time at a 94 per cent clip. So, really, this promise won’t really do that much—certainly not much more than GO’s existing plans to add more trains and improve their stations.

We know this amounts to little more than a grab at the commuter vote, but we can’t help but wish this kind of thinking would take hold in other areas. Say, road repairs, or station upgrades at TTC subway stops. Really, we’d just like the feel-good idea of the government treating our time like it’s worth something.

Refunds for late GO trains might speed things up, McGuinty says [Toronto Star]
• Money-back guarantee for GO riders proposed [Toronto Sun]
McGuinty promises refund if GO train more than 20 minutes late [Globe and Mail]