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GO Transit rail safety campaign aims to provoke

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Mar 2nd, 2017

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A bold new rail safety campaign by GO Transit is sparking some controversy.

With GO Transit increasing service, Metrolinx said they wanted to boost rail safety awareness.

The campaign began in January with the image of a vehicle parked on the railway tracks as a GO train barrels toward it. The caption below reads ‘Killer View’.

“We designed this campaign to provoke conversation, to make people pay attention to it, to get them thinking about rail safety,” Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikens explained.

“We want people to stop and think about what they’re doing because it can have deadly consequences. I know that it provokes people … that’s actually good.”

Over the past five years GO Transit has increased the number of trains across its system by 44 per cent. It’s annual ridership for both train and bus grew by nearly 20 million people – from 52 million to 70 million.

And that number continues to grow across the GTHA.

“Our ultimate goal is to save lives. We’re going to be bringing more and more service over the next few years … that’s why we’re doing this campaign ahead of more service coming,” Aikens explained.

Some of the emails received by Metrolinx called the campaign upsetting.

Aikens said they understand why some people might find the images disturbing — especially those who have learned first hand what it’s like to lose a loved one to this type of tragedy.

“I think people who have personal experience with someone perhaps dying as a result of being hit by a train, some sort of misfortune like this, I can understand why it provokes terrible, terrible memories,” she explained.

“Those images are to remind people that we don’t want them to be in the same position that you find yourself in. Their families are devastated by someone dying on tracks, our crew are devastated. We carry every one of these people with us forever.”

While some people are calling the new ads disturbing, others are praising the campaign for not sugar coating such an important issue.

“Brilliant campaign… It’s the ‘disturbing’ aspect that triggers the retention of the message. ‘Soft’ messages don’t stick,” Blair W Carrigan posted on Twitter.

“It’s graphic and it should be. It’s obviously working,” Valerie Ward wrote on Facebook.

“The fact that they have to create a picture like this to get their point across is what I find disturbing. Not the ad itself,” Susan MacDonald commented on Facebook.

Aikens said there are more images coming that some may find disturbing — including one involving a child.

CityNews got an exclusive sneak peek at some of the campaign’s next posters.

GO Transit Killer View Campaign poster

GO Transit Killer View Campaign poster

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