So Long Wroute, We Hardly Knew Ye

I worried about this when it launched and eventually they started worrying about it too, but in the end, there was no saving it.

Transportation company Wroute Inc. has suspended all operations in the face of lower than anticipated ridership.
“Essentially it became apparent that the marketplace was just not present,” president Jason Hammond said Friday. Thursday was the eight-month-old company’s last day of service.

“In the end, while we had some dedicated regulars, we did not have the volume of passengers necessary to allow the company to be financially viable in the long term,” Hammond said.

Hammond said he believed that the number of people travelling between Waterloo Region, Guelph and beyond on a daily basis — coupled with the fact that schedules for intercity public transportation can be infrequent or not ideal — meant Wroute’s scheduled service would meet a need.
And that’s why the struggle to grow ridership came as a bit of a surprise, he said. “That was a known problem we were looking to solve.”

I don’t know what the sweet spot for frequency actually is, and the changing nature of work schedules is going to make that even harder to sort out over time. Obviously right now you can still hit the regular morning and afternoon rush periods and that’s not going to change any time soon, but with more and more people working flexible schedules that don’t start and end at regular intervals, how do you draw the line between accounting for that and wasting money?

Another thing to consider is the existence of Uber. Depending on the nature of your trip and the number of people with you, the Wroute model doesn’t always make sense. If you’re always traveling alone it generally does, but things fall apart fairly quickly if not.

Getting from the Fairview Mall area of Kitchener into Guelph or vice versa in an Uber has cost about $45 every time I’ve done it. A Wroute trip of the same distance was $20 per person, unless that changed after Carin and I used it. But using my numbers, the moment your group has more than two people in it you’re financially better off in an Uber, and that’s before we take into account the convenience factor.

An Uber will pick you up where you are and deposit you where you want to be. You don’t have to walk around a city possibly late at night on one end looking for your ride and then be forced to get yourself the rest of the way home even later when the Wroute drops you off at the designated spot. So even when there are only two of you and the cost is essentially a wash, any extra might still be worth eating for the sake of door to door service. I know it was for us. We had a very nice Wroute experience heading to Guelph in the daytime, but when a decent October day became a chilly October night and it was time to head back to Kitchener after hours and hours of fun, wandering through downtown again was just not something we wanted to do. And we didn’t, because we didn’t have to. And it only cost each of us $2.50 more than Wroute would have to go right home.

It’s too bad it didn’t work out and I hope somebody can eventually give it another go, but it’s going to be tough sledding for whomever decides to take it on.

My God, Guelph And Columbus Actually Won

It’s not every day that a team I root for does something historic that doesn’t involve losing to death, so allow me a moment to gloat. The Guelph Storm complete their remarkable comeback against the London Knights, winning Game 7 by a 6-3 score

It will go down as one of the greatest comebacks in Guelph Storm history.
They trailed the series 3-0 and fought back to force a Game 7.
They trailed 3-1 in the second period of that Game 7.
Then they kicked some ass.
The Storm scored five unanswered goals to complete the miraculous comeback and down the regular-season champion London Knights 6-3 in Game 7 Tuesday night at Budweiser Gardens.
They now move on to meet the Saginaw Spirit in the Western Conference final. That series starts Thursday in Saginaw.
“The first thing that came out of my mouth was ‘we did it! We did it!'” said Storm captain Isaac Ratcliffe.
“It’s indescribable. The resilience this team has, the character, the skill that we have. You put all those things together and we’re unstoppable,” said Ratcliffe, who scored both the game-tying and game-winning goals in the third period.

The first thing I did when the horn sounded was jump up, yell “Wow!”, and then text “lol” to one of my Knights fan friends.

When they were down 3-0 in the series, I texted that same friend and asked “are you ready for the four straight comeback?” I always had some hope, but I sent that mostly as a joke because I thought that even though they might put up a good fight, they were probably toast. But hey, here we are! And we’re only the fifth team in OHL history to sweep a series after nearly being swept. That’s pretty cool. The others are Peterborough, Ottawa, and Windsor twice.

I’m still not sure if they’ll win the league, but it’s getting harder to doubt them after this. So bring on Saginaw and let’s see what happens.

In other hockey playoff news, holy shit, Columbus! Way to screw up everyone’s pool. Ok, everyone but Carin, who now looks like some sort of genius.

And since we’ve been talking history, with the loss, the Lightning have made some by becoming the first team since the NHL expanded beyond the original six in 1967 to have lead the league in points and then not won a single playoff game. Yay?

And back to the subject of screwed up pools, I knew I should have picked the damn Islanders. I was half a second away from doing just that when my stupid inner voice said “pssst, remember this is Pittsburgh.” Thanks, idiot.

But even though winning the pool is unlikely at this point, I’ll still call it a win if I manage to time the inevitable Sharks exit correctly. If all goes to plan, I should be throwing that victory party by Thursday.

Update:
Victory party cancelled. Fucking Sharks got me again. Sounds like a hell of a game though.

And Vegas, I’m sure it feels like no one understands you right now, but believe me, I know how you’re feeling. I’m a Leafs fan. We’ve been down this road once or twice. At least this year we got straight up trounced. It’s still no fun, but it’s easier that way.

And…That’s One

Hopefully this isn’t the beginning of another list. And why the apparently fake dong? Do those come in the official city of Guelph indecent acts starter kit so you can decide whether the new town hobby is truly for you?

On Feb. 19, 2019 between 8 and 8:20 a.m., a 13-year-old female was walking to school in the area of Edinburgh Road South and Honey Crescent. An unknown male approached the child and exposed, what appeared to be, a fake penis to the child. The suspect did not make any attempt to grab the child and nothing was said. The child was able to flee to her school and Police were contacted.

The male is described as white, 40-50 years old, wearing all black clothing, including a black toque and black scarf.
Guelph police are asking anyone that was in the area of Edinburgh Road South and Honey Crescent within the time frame of 8-8:30 a.m., that has dash cam video capturing pedestrians, to call Detective Sergeant Melanie Clark at 519-824-1212 or email her at MClark@guelphpolice.ca. If you have information and would like to stay anonymous, you can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

And yes, even after all this time I still giggle softly to myself when we get to the word tips.

Wishing the cops well finding this guy. We make fun, but fake wiener or not, there’s still no room for creeps like this to be roaming free.

Wroute, Now With A Few Less Routes

One of the first things I said when I heard about Wroute, the service that will Tesla you between Kitchener and Guelph, is that I thought they were aiming too high out of the gate. Unfortunately, it seems they’re starting to realize that I was correct.

The owner of Wroute said they expected there to be a lot more passenger activity than there has been.
“It is increasing every month (passenger volume), which is great, just not at the rate we expected. Unfortunately to make sure that the company can continue for long enough to wait for that passenger volume to increase, we had to reduce both our service and the size of the team … to make sure the company extends long enough to do that.” Jason Hammond explained.
Wroute launched in September with 27 drivers. They’re now down to 20.

“We took about one hour from the morning and an hour from the evening, during the week. Then a few hours in both the morning and evening, over the weekend.”

The news isn’t all bad, though. A few weeks ago, the company expanded its offerings to include trips to the Waterloo Airport, the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory, the University of Guelph, the Aldershot GO station and Mapleview mall in Burlington.

I sure hope they can get things stabilized. They’ve got a good idea and much needed service here and it would be a shame if we lost it.

He Was Then Packed Off To Jail

When you hear the word ballsy, you probably think of something heroic or crazy, like running into a burning building to save someone’s life or jumping out of a perfectly good airplane for no practical reason. But when I hear the word ballsy, I think of things like this fellow in Guelph who brought a suitcase on a shoplifting expedition to a store he’d already been thrown out of at least once.

On Nov. 28, 2018 at approximately 10:34 p.m, Guelph Police were called to a business on Woodlawn Road in regard to a shoplifter.
It was learned that the male had brought his own suitcase to the business and had filled it with two drones, cold medicine, camping equipment, and some beverages. The male was confronted in the store by police as he was on conditions not to be in the business from previous charges.
As a result, a 26-year-old Guelph male was arrested for theft under $5,000, breaching his recognizance, and two counts of breaching his probation.
The male is scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 29, 2018.

So You’re Telling Me Her License Is Suspended? But She’s Such A Careful Driver!

I’ve seen so many dumb criminal stories over the years that it generally takes something going pretty spectacularly wrong to get my attention anymore, but now and then a simple event like the one detailed in this Ontario Provincial Police news release just strikes me the right way at the right time and I can’t help but laugh and laugh and laugh.

By the way, I don’t know who wrote this thing, but I know who edited it. Nobody. All below typos are theirs, not mine.

TOWNSHIP OF GUELPH/ERAMOSA – On Monday, Sept. 17, 2018 a Wellington County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer was monitoring traffic on Highway 7, west of Guelph.
At approximately 5:30 p.m. the officer observed a female operating a blue pickup with authorized plates and attempted to pull the vehicle over. The driver initially pulled onto the shoulder of the road as if to stop but then rapidly accelerating away from the officer and fleeing through dense traffic.

Shortly after, police were notified of a vehicle that had entered the ditch that matched the description of fleeing vehicle. The driver was seen walking away from the stopped vehicle.
Police attended and located the woman and arrested her. Further investigation revealed that her licence was suspended and the licence plate was reported as stolen.
34-year-old Shannon C. Payette of Kitchener has been charged with Flight from Police, Dangerous Operation of a Motor Vehicle, Possession of Property obtained by Crime, Drive while Suspended and two-counts of Unauthorized use of a Plate. She is scheduled to appear in Guelph Criminal Court on Oct. 23, 2018.

I can’t end this without giving a few bonus points to Guelph Today for making me not skip right over the rather boring headline “Kitchener woman drives away from police” by adding “Police catch up with her in a near-by ditch”. That may be my favourite part, the more I think about it.

Wroute Will Drive You Between Kitchener And Guelph In A Tesla For Cheap And On A Pretty Sweet Schedule

Update: A few things have happened since I wrote this.

This is certainly interesting.

A new service called Wroute, which you’re supposed to say like “Root” because it’s the law that every startup must have a nonsensical name, is going to start offering frequent, daily Tesla rides between Fairview Mall and Guelph Central Station for $20.

Each shared Wroute trip can carry up to six passengers and two bicycles. The all-electric Teslas run emissions-free.
Wroute (pronounced “root”) is launching with an ambitious schedule that will see its vehicles departing the two stations every 15 minutes, seven days a week. The service will begin at 5 a.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. on weekends, winding down at 11 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday, and at 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

“The idea there is that instead of building your day around how you’re getting to Guelph, you just fit us into your day,” Hammond said.
Each one-way trip will cost $20 including tax; a reduced price for daily users may be introduced as the service grows. Reservations and payment will be made online in advance, and no tipping is required as the drivers are salaried.

Other routes could be introduced in the future. Hammond said he doesn’t intend for Wroute to compete with existing transit options. Rather, he believes Wroute will enhance those options, especially for commuters and students. “It sort of sits in the middle in terms of cost and convenience.”
Taxis or Ubers cost more but take you door-to-door, Hammond said. Buses or trains are cheaper but don’t run as often. “By filling in the gaps with this high-frequency service, we want to build up the marketplace.”

I like the idea. I just hope it ends up being sustainable. They’re making a ton of trips which is exactly what this sort of service should be doing to make itself attractive, but is there that much actual demand there? I hate asking that because there are times in our lives when both Carin and I would have used the bejesus out of something like this and they’re in a tight spot between overdoing it and not doing enough, but my gut says the schedule might be a touch ambitious, at least starting out. Obviously the fuel costs will be lower, but even with that working in your favour there’s only so long you can pay people full-time wages to drive themselves back and forth.

I wish them well though and look forward to trying it out sometime. I’ll bet Carin does too, especially if they’re not going to be dinks about her guide dog like the Uber folks so often are.

Update:
I wasn’t able to find it on Friday for some reason, but I’ve since found the company website. There looks to be quite a bit of information there, but you’ll want to pay particular attention to this things to know page before you take your first trip. It even has a service dogs are good and please don’t pet them section, which sounds promising and which I have no doubt Carin will totally be holding them to.

OUR FURRY FRIENDS ONLY COME ALONG WHEN THEY’RE WORKING.
We love our pets, and we’re sure we’d love yours, too. However, our passengers may have allergies that mean they can’t enjoy the journey if others bring animals along for the ride. So, we only board service animals. Remember that they are working to keep their humans safe, so resist the urge to spoil them with all the affection they totally deserve.

What In The Actual Hell Is Going ON In Guelph These Days?

These are all items from Guelph police news releases, and all were published this summer. I’m not 100 percent positive that this is a complete list, but lord love a duck, there are certainly plenty of them as it is.

Obviously there were incidents here and there, but I can’t recall there being this sort of volume in such a short time during the years we lived there. What is happening? Did somebody slash the event budget? Are you aiming to change your slogan from Royal City to Oil City?

Good lord.

Update: The local CBC appears to have stolen my gimmick and begun compiling a list of its own. Theirs stretches back to March, so has a couple of items mine doesn’t.

Also, Mayor Guthrie is unimpressed.

“Guelph is known for our beautiful parks and green spaces — so people, whether they’re visiting our city or live here, they need to be able to enjoy them without any fear of this activity going on,” said Guthrie.

“Police are very aware of these incidents and are taking this very seriously,” said Guthrie. “Over the last couple of years, we’ve had some increased investments in enforcement — and I’m going to continue to support that.”

Guthrie adds mental health issues and drugs are most likely playing a part in this as well.
“Those can’t be full out excuses for what is happening, and for the younger people performing any ‘acts’ as a ‘prank’ . . . it’s not a prank, it’s disgusting. My message for them? Find a different hobby, or get a job.”

“As I said, there is also a part of this which is mental health issues – so we do need to have some further support from the provincial government for all municipalities. We need to make sure people are aware there are drug issues involved in this too – but these aren’t way of ‘explaining out’ the situation, or using it as an excuse.”
He adds as much as we need to be aware of these issues, we also need to acknowledge that Guelph is a great place to live.
“It is going to take our whole community coming together to not be fearful of this issue. Go out, enjoy our parks — but at the same time, be vigilant and call the authorities if you see anything out of place.”

Update two: The naked meditator has spoken. He is 29-year-old Peter Holm, and he definitely sounds like he’s gonna fit right in with some of the locals I met during my Guelph days.

“I’m not a pervert,” said Holm.

“My intention was to be my true, authentic self. We are all born pure and beautiful,” Holm said in an interview with GuelphToday.
He believes nudity is a natural and healthy state, even in public.
He fully understands what he did was against the law, but feels the law is wrong. Basically, he was making a point.
“I want society to legally recognize my right to express my self and body as I choose …. am I really actually doing harm?
“I wanted to show that just because I chose to be naked doesn’t mean I’m a criminal, bad person or am going to hurt someone.”
He said he knew he was going to get in trouble when he decided to go for a walk that day and then sit under a tree nude while meditating.

Holm said if people are upset by his nudity, “that’s more on them.”
He was asked if a park with a children’s playground might have been the wrong place to make his point. Or if the recent public masturbation reports might have created a situation where people might be a little upset at the sight of a naked man in a public park.

He answered that he felt the time and place were appropriate given that he was trying to make a point.
“I think it was great timing, all these emotions were activated,” he said.
“I want it to be recognized, that I have a right to recognize my body as I choose.”
Holm said two families arrived at the park shortly after he began meditating in the nude.
Holm said he was yelled at, then two “furious” men came over and kicked and hit him while he was sitting on the ground. He has bruises on his body and scratches on his back but did not go to hospital.
“I knew this was going to happen and I’m ready to accept what was going to happen,” Holm said.
Asked if he planned to continue to meditate nude in city parks, Holm said that for now there might not be too much public nudity.
“It was an incident. An event. I’ll let that percolate.”

He also said that he planned to plead not guilty to the charge of causing a disturbance that was filed against him when he was arrested on August 12th. that court appearance is set for September 18th.

Police have also confirmed that Holm has filed an assault complaint against the fellas who felt it necessary to make a point of their own and say they’re looking into it.

Final update:

This ended up being number ten on Guelph Today’s list of the top ten stories of the year. I’ll refrain from making any sort of rising up the charts joke. Hopefully I can also refrain from making a new list for 2019.

Hi! It’s Adam From the Ontario NDP. Do You Have Some Random Numbers I Can Dial?

I don’t know how widespread it is, but the NDP is causing a bit of annoyance in some places thanks to texts from someone or something calling itself Adam.

A lot of locals aren’t happy about receiving random texts on their cell phones from the New Democratic Party.
The texts started popping up on phones earlier this week.

“Hi! It’s Adam from the Ontario NDP. Do you know about the election happening on June 7?” it reads.
It then advises to reply “stop” if you want to “opt out” and that SMS rates may apply.
People responding would find themselves in a political discussion with “Adam” who would also provide links to the NDP platform on issues.

I haven’t gotten any of these myself, and I’m not sure how much of a problem I’d have with it if I did. On the surface it’s basically a modern version of a party calling you, and it’s even less irritating because you don’t have to get up from dinner to answer it because it might be something important. Man do I ever not miss those days at all. Whoever invented caller ID should win every award that exists and a few I can make up if those aren’t enough.

But while the text itself may not bug me, I’m not so sure about the NDP’s response to the controversy.

“We use texting as part of our program to get voters out on election day to cast their ballots,” Party spokesman Jared Walker told GuelphToday. “We use texting, but we do NOT use lists.”

Ok, so then where do the numbers come from?

“If you receive a text from us, you’ve either signed up OR you’ve received a random text that comes with an opt-out option. Our texting method is sort of like our door-knocking method, we visit everyone!”

First of all, if people have signed up, that’s a list. But the bigger issue is the random part. Sending hundreds or thousands of texts at a time helplessly into the wind and hoping that maybe a few will land? That sounds inefficient. It also sounds an awful lot like spam.

If you guys are using lists, just admit it. And if you aren’t, maybe now might be a good time to start. It seems like a much better strategy than what you’re doing now, bothering people with cell phones and confusing old folks with landlines.

I, For One, Cannot Wait To Get The Day Started! Oh, And Where In The World Is Dave Hannah?

I don’t know what’s going on down at CKWR this morning, but it sounds like somebody might not have had the best weekend. In the span of an hour or so, I heard both this

and this.

Don’t you just want to jump right out of bed and take on the world?

And while we’re talking about radio, what in the heck happened with Dave Hannah on CJOY? When he disappeared suddenly a few weeks ago, I didn’t think much of it. I thought maybe he was sick like everybody else around here. Carin and I haven’t been able to speak for more than a few minutes without coughing for like two weeks now, and when you’re doing radio that’s just not going to work. But then last week they aired this announcement, which they’ve also posted online.

1460 CJOY wants to thank Dave Hannah for his service to the community and for his many valuable years of being "that…

Posted by 1460 CJOY on Tuesday, March 6, 2018

1460 CJOY wants to thank Dave Hannah for his service to the community and for his many valuable years of being “that voice” you’ve been used to hearing on radio first thing in the morning. Unfortunately Dave is no longer the CJOY morning man or a member of the Corus/Guelph team. We want to wish Dave the very best in the future.

And then…nothing. No local news coverage, nothing so far in any of the various radio industry news places, not even any rumours. I know broadcasting can be a pretty garbage business about letting people say goodbye, but there’s been a trend, especially with long-serving employees, of giving them a sendoff. CJOY and the papers gave Neill Clemens one just last year. But now it’s this year, and Dave has simply disappeared. Hopefully everyone is ok and nobody’s in any trouble.