Friday, June 02, 2006

Adventures in the Quebec-Windsor Corridor.

I like taking the train between Montreal and Toronto. I prefer it to driving or taking the bus or flying. But VIA often drives me to distraction...

Here's the thing: I'm on my way to Montreal for the weekend so I can take part in the Tour de L'Ile, a mass bicycle ride that I've only missed once in the past 13 years. I was planning on taking the 5 p.m. train today, but when I called to book with VIA found out that the ONLY train that I could bring my bicycle on was the 11:30 a.m. train. And I'd have to buy a $16.05 ticket for it.

Okay, fine. But I have a little thing called a job, so taking a day off work just to take the train with my bicycle was not really what I wanted to do.

And yet, I thought, thinking I was smart, the last three times I've taken the train there was wireless in "comfort" a.k.a coach. VIA's in the middle of installing wireless in all their trains; the process won't be complete until December 2006, so at the moment only certain trains are equipped.

So, here's the thing: I didn't mind taking the 11:30 a.m. train as long as there was wireless, which would allow me to work on my journey. So, I asked, is there wireless in "comfort" class on the 11:30 train?

"There's only wireless in VIA One," a helpful customer agent told me.

Uh, no. The last three times I've been in "comfort" class, there has been wireless.

"You have to have a corporate account," the helpful custumer agent said after checking her computer.

Uh, no again. Five minute wait as she checks with her superiors.

"There is wireless in comfort on certain trains."

Great, now we're on the same page. But my question, Ms. Helpful, is will there be wireless on the 11:30 train on June 2 from Toronto to Montreal?

"I don't know."

Can you find out?

"No."

Why are you unable to find this out?

"That's operations."

Can you call operations to find out?

"No."

Can I call operations to find out?

"No."

Why?

"Blah, blah, blah, meaningless babble."

Great. Anyway, I took my chances and got on the train and -- lo and behold -- no wireless in comfort. Thanks luck.

So, whatever, I upgraded to VIA One, which always has wireless and from where I am blogging AT THIS VERY MOMENT.

And guess what? The train has now broken down somewhere just past Belleville. We gotta wait for a new engine.

But, you know what, I'm done complaining. UNLIMITED BOOZE BABY! Woooo!

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