Toronto

GO Transit employee, Jim Young, retires after nearly 3 decades

For 28 years, Jim Young has been a familiar face to GO Transit riders. But he has inspected his final fare.

'I'm going to now be blending in with the customers. I will be the customer,' Jim Young says

Jim Young is retiring from Go Transit after 28 years of service. (Jonathan Castell/CBC)

For 28 years, Jim Young has been a familiar face to GO Transit riders.

Currently, he's a provincial offences officer who ensures riders pay their fares.

But as of the end of his shift on Tuesday, he will have inspected his final fare. Wednesday will be his first full day of retirement.

"It's a mixed emotion day. It's sad to leave in one sense, but I'm happy to leave knowing that everything that I have done for the company, I have done well.".

Jim Young talks to customer about his fare on Go Train. (Jonathan Castell/CBC)

Young started his career with GO as a bus driver. He did that job for 15 years, but health issues forced him off the road. He then moved to roles in the IT and human resource departments, but 11 years ago, a position opened as a provincial offences officer opened up.  

"I normally like talking with people, so now it's face-to-face, talking to people, interacting with people and I found it very very refreshing," said Young.

Throughout the course of his career at GO, Young has seen several changes, including the transition from a paper- based ticket system to the current Presto system. He now inspects cards electronically by using a handheld card reader. 

The City of Edmonton is moving a step closer towards implementing a new smart card system, like this one, for transit fare payment. (Jonathan Castell/CBC)

As a provincial offences officer, Young travels on GO trains daily to check if people have paid for their fares and he's run into some interesting scenarios.

One incident happened while he was training another officer. Young said he was on the bottom deck and the trainee was on the top deck, when two men who didn't pay their fare tried to escape them by locking themselves in a washroom.

"Neither one have tickets and they're fighting over a washroom door to get in to evade us," he said.

"Well, I got both of them,"

Young also described a time when a customer, who he had once fined, approached him in a mall a few months later to apologize for his behaviour.

"He said, 'I am deeply, deeply sorry that I caused you any grief and I deserved what I got,'" Young recounted.  

"To get greeted like that out in the general public, and even though, yes, you gave a fine, that's pretty good. That's neat," he said.

Jim Young was approached by a woman named Rachel during his CBC Toronto interview, she congratulated him on his long career. (Jonathan/Castell)

While CBC News was interviewing Young on his last day, a woman approached him at Union Station to thank him for his service. She told Young her name was Rachel.

"I remember you when I first moved to Milton and you were one of the most helpful drivers out there," she said.

"Congratulations on a great career."

Young got emotional after that encounter.  

"I'm blown away," he said.

"It's not too often you get that kind of positive feedback. It's beautiful." 

His advice for new employees: "Be courteous to the customer. The customer is our bread and butter. Treat people exactly how you want to be treated."

Jim Young invited CBC Toronto on one of his last train rides as a Provincial Offence Officer on his last day on the job. (Jonathan Castell/CBC)

Now that he's retiring, his plans are to travel and spend time with his six grandchildren.

Young, who will celebrate his 66th birthday in just a few days, says after wearing a uniform for most of his professional life, he looks forward to getting back into regular "city clothes."  

"I'm going to now be blending in with the customers. I will be the customer,"  

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Victoria is a social media producer and manages the strategy for CBC Toronto's Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. She is also a writer and editor for CBC Toronto. Previously, she produced local Toronto TV newscasts and chase produced for CBC Radio One's Metro Morning and Here and Now.

now