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11.12.2018

I'm baaaack!

I have begun putting back together my old website, uwto (Unofficial WInnipegTransit Online).
  • Purchased some disk space and a domain.
  • Purchased a .ca domain for the next 2 yrs.
  • Installed and am learning XML Mind as my primary HTML editor. This editor also does DocBook, so now I can import text entered a decade ago and export to "chunked" -- each chapter as separate page, as well as the usual PDF formats.
Last month (October 2018) the AC cord that connects to my laptop and provides power to the battery to recharge got frayed. But I didn't know it at the time. I thought it was the battery that had worn because of the "Critical Battery Error" messages I got from the BIOS.

Just prior to all of that happening, I discovered an even better XML editor than Jaxe. I found XML MInd, which is also freeware and includes HTML, DOCBOOK, DITA editors separately packaged in Java files.


9.24.2018

SAXON 9he and 9ee

This weekend I discovered a freeware XML (DocBook, DITA, XHTML) editor. Doesn't cost a cent.

Other similar editors I've tried since 2002 require payment, and for me who just wants to fool around with DocBook and doesn't require 'enterprise' grade software, I can get by with something for FREE or little cost.

Enter Jaxe. This programme has a GUI and doesn't allow 'illegal' DocBook elements (context sensitive) to be added. Jaxe will validate XML code 'on the fly', so you don't have to wait until you press some sort of Validate button on the menu.

So I am aware that Jaxe uses the SAXON XSLT processor. I checked the Wikipedia entry for it and it says there are 3 different versions of SAXON:
  1. 9he (Home Edition, Freeware)
  2. 9pe (Professional Edition, Commercial ware)
  3. 9ee (Enterprise Edition, Commercial ware)
This is one of the things that makes the Oxygen editor so expensive -- the license for SAXON 9ee.
 Jaxe uses '9he', which is FREE.

9.18.2018

Save As... DocBook in LibreOffice Writer Broken

Writing DocBook style tags in LibreOffice Writer and then saving to DocBook outputs a very small file with 'Article' and DocBook 4.1.2 version. Nothing else is exported.

The answer is to install OpenOffice suite.

However, to do this, you need to first Uninstall LibreOffice suite and then Install the OpenOffice suite and then re-install LibreOffice.

9.02.2018

Definition Lists in LibreOffice Writer

In HTML to create a glossary of terms you go:

<dl>
<dt>Term</dt>
<dd>Term definition.</dd>
</dl>

In LibreOffice Writer it's not called a "Definition List". Instead it's called a "List Heading" (for dt) and "List Content" (for dd).

So style those and you'll be OK.

8.09.2018

Inefficient Transit Routes

PAST

60 Pembina (local)
60 Pembina Express (very few runs)
62 Richmond Express
63 Waverley Heights Express (very few runs)
64 Lindenwoods Express
65 Grant Express
66 Grant (local)

The above is how WT organized routes (I'm only listing relevant to Pembina Hwy.) prior to 2012.

CURRENT

60 Pembina (local)
64 Lindenwoods Express
65 Grant Express
66 Grant (local)
99 Misericordia Hosp. - Windermere
137 Richmond SuperExpress
160 Pembina Express
161 University SuperExpress
162 Fort Richmond Express
163 Waverley Heights Express
170 Fort Richmond - St. Norbert Express
180 Industrial Express
181 Whyte Ridge Express
183 Richmond West Express
185 Osborne Village Express

What we have since April 2012 is completely inefficient, confuses most riders, duplicates service, and takes away service from other, centralized routes such as 20 Academy / Watt.

PROPOSED

60 Pembina (local)
160 Pembina Express between U of M and Downtown
170 Richmond Express between St. Norbert & Downtown

In order to simplify the understanding of WT routes, many of the 'rt' routes are cancelled/eliminated/surplussed. There are just too many to remember. This is not 'rapid transit'. This is intentional confusion foisted upon Winnipeg Transit riders for the sake of a "one-seat ride". Well, in practice it just doesn't work very well.

Instead, emphasize two routes, the 160 and the 170. Everything else is cancelled.

Get rid of the "one-seat ride" goal. You WT, have created such a MESS with the way you run things now. It just doesn't work.

If WT had been open enough to have a subway built, the 65 Grant Express and the 66 Grant would terminate nicely at Stafford Station (Pembina @ Stafford) underground. Stafford Station would be close to the Salsbury House Restaurant, Giant Tiger supermarket, Manitoba Hydro workplace. So instead, the 66 Grant now would have to terminate at Windermere Station.

The 163 Waverley Heights Express would be cancelled and a route 63 Waverley Heights feeder would circulate thru that neighbourhood. No need to take that bus all the way downtown. Passengers would ride the 'rt' instead.

Cancel the 185 Osborne Village Express.Passengers who are close enough to underutilized Harkness Station can walk to from. Passengers further away can ride the 68 Crescent bus, although I have also though about cancelling the 68 and putting more frequent service on the 20 Academy/Watt route.

In our SuperExpress proposal of 1999 I said to WT that they can run the SuperExpress then do (rail based) rapid transit. So why is the 161 SuperExpress still running? It makes no sense to run this route if 'rt' is in operation, already duplicating the 137, 160 and 170 (and other routes) that all go to the University of Manitoba.

180 "Industrial Express". Really? Which Industrial Park does this serve? Oh I see. Scurfield Industrial Park. And why can't passengers to and from this area ride a 160 or 170 and then transfer to a frequent bus route 94 Point Road which already serves the Fort Garry Industrial Park? It is not necessary for the 180 to travel all the way from downtown Winnipeg to here. The 74 Kenaston and 78 Waverley already serve Scurfield Industrial Park area.

Route 162 Richmond Express mirrors the old 62 Richmond Express route, except that for a portion it uses the 'rt'. Well, so does the 160 and 170. Is this route still needed? No. Get rid of it. It's duplication.

183 Richmond West Express. Cancel it! Replace with a South Pointe feeder bus that serves Waverley West, running every 30 mins., that connects to one of the 'rt' Stations in Fort Richmond. As for Richmond West, an older Fort Richmond subdivision, isn't there already or wasn't there already a Richmond West feeder bus at one time that didn't go all the way downtown?

One of the benefits of not running so many 'rt' routes is that all these routes, except the '185 Osborne Village Express' terminate downtown at Balmoral Station. With fewer 'rt' routes, there will be fewer transit vehicles in the downtown area.

Winnipeg Transit is just such a mess. It's making me feel depressed and anxious because it seems like they've forgotten how to plan routes that make sense and don't cost $ running empty buses, or not providing enough bus resources on certain routes like the 170 that experiences constant under-capacity (standing room only) situations.

8.07.2018

Crazy Transit


Decades ago, Winnipeg Transit's Planner, since retired promoted BRT (Bullshit Rapid Transit) as a "one-seat ride" for passengers using said "transitway".

Today, with Phase I completed, we have a whole cornucopia of confusing routes that all use the BRT here in Winnipeg.

This wasn't how it was supposed to go.

Pros

None that I can think of.

Cons

  1. Too many routes to remember. Too complex a system. WT BRT should use the KISS principle .. Keep It Simple Stupid. There are 10 BRT routes, plus 3 others that shouldn't even use the BRT at all and should terminate outside of downtown Winnipeg.

    The confusing array of BRT routes are:

    137, 160, 161, 162, 163, 170, 180, 181, 183, and 185Which one should I take? For a newcomer to Winnipeg this must be really confusing to him/her.

    Really, there should be a maximum of two BRT routes, the 160 Pembina Express (between Univ. of M and downtown Winnipeg) and the 170 St. Norbert Express (between St. Norbert and downtown Winnipeg). All these other routes should be cancelled and bus resources put back onto other non-BRT routes to provide some semblance of a frequent transit network.

    When I am in other cities with rail transit, such as Toronto, Chicago, Vancouver, Montreal, I do not have to question if I am taking the correct train, but I do have to know which station to enter.

    If I miss a train in Toronto or Chicago, I wait maybe 5 minutes tops, and another one stops for me.

    Those routes beside the 160 and 170 should be immediately CANCELLED, the "one-seat ride" mantra should be CANCELLED, and those routes such as 163 Waverley Heights Express should ONLY OPERATE as far as a "rapid transit station" in the suburbs, no further. They should become frequent suburban feeder buses TO the rapid transit stations. That's how it's done elsewhere.
  2. The $30 million that was spent on Osborne Station did not give much bang for the buck when it came to waiting for a bus during the Winter. One must wait inside this "wind tunnel" for several minutes, in the cold, and the only "consolation prize" that WT offers is a glass-panel windbreak. How's that for WT caring for its riders? Not much, eh. Really, there should be a shelter inside the station, on both sides (northbound and southbound) and heated, to provide the maximum comfort for waiting passengers.
  3. On Winnipeg's BRT, because we use lowly diesel buses, there is but one entrance when boarding. There is only that one entrance to show your pass or pay  coins or tickets in the farebox. If this were "real" rapid transit, passengers could pay at a Station or Transit Terminal and there would be Supervisors checking that passengers had paid their fare.
  4. After 6 years in operation, the BRT roadway is in need of replacement due to heavy wear and tear CAUSED BY BUSES. The cost to repair sections of the BRT roadway is $700,000. If Winnipeg had paid a bit more and chose rail transit INSTEAD, the track bed would have lasted many more years before needing replacement. I don't know how long this would have been, but I am sure it would be longer than paltry 6 years. Bumpity bumpity bumpf. What a waste BRT has become!
  5. Empty Stations. Most of the dedicated BRT stations such as Harkness, Fort Rouge, Jubilee see little to very few passengers getting on or getting off the BRT bus. If Winnipeg had chosen rail transit instead, just because rail transit provides a more comfortable ride in acceleration / deceleration than diesel buses.
  6. Under capacity BRT. If you ride the 170 bus, try and catch it early on, because most of the time you will find yourself standing. It don't matter if its late at night on a weekend, or noon on a weekday, the 170 is packed to the rafters, and Winnipeg Transit doesn't do anything about it. They put the "long buses" onto the 160 instead.
Winnipeg's Bullshit Rapid Transit is just that. BS. It cost us taxpayers close to $140 M for Phase I. Phase II is gonna cost ~$500 M (half Billion) ... for a busway! That's really really stupid.

7.30.2018

Saw Callico Cat Beside Me

On the late evening of July 21, 2018 I had a nap.

When I woke up I saw the spirit of a Callico cat in colour standing parallel to me on the bed.

I saw it for about 10 seconds then it vanished.

The next Monday I attended a group therapy session. When I relayed this story, a young woman said that she has a Callico cat, and that Callico cats are always Female.


Divine Intervention - Seeing '75'

Today I had some errands I had and took the bus to travel to and from there.

I noticed the number '75' kept showing up.

First it was bus '175', then a few minutes later I spotted bus '705'. OK, '75' I said, so what.

On the way back there were noisy people on the bus, so I got off on Memorial Blvd near St. Mary Ave.

Was getting frustrated because there were lots of buses, some were whizzing by, while others were stopped for a break.

By then it was a little past 4pm.

I caught another bus on Osborne St. Stopped in to Soups, Sandwiches &More because I had to go to the bathroom.

But first I bought an ice cream cone. It cost $1.99 + tax and I paid with a $20 bill. I received $17.75 in change.

This was getting a bit weird now.

So I sat down with my cone and the only other customer was a middle aged Mediterranean woman.

I told her that I kept seeing '75' today and that 1975 was the year we moved from one house to another.

Suddenly, bus '754' stops near the cafe and doesn't move. Passengers start leaving the bus. The bus stays put.

The Medit. woman asks maybe it is Stalled. I said it couldn't be because it would have switched the sign to say so.

Then we see an ambulance driving westbound. That's when I knew it was the bus could have hit a pedestrian or something like that.

So I guess seeing the '75' everywhere meant that Heaven was looking out for me and protected me from seeing the ped - bus accident or being involved in it.