We're misfiring at the TTC
While I'm not new to the suburbs, I have never lived in the suburbs as an adult making adult decisions. These include thinking about the distance to the nearest subway that would take me to work, locating the nearest grocery store (because downtown there’s a 24hr Metro everywhere) or finding a restaurant that doesn’t close before 10 p.m.
Last week was my first official week in suburbia, and I decided to tackle the issue of commuting time to work.
I expected there to be a complex route that included, bus, streetcar, bus, then train.
Fortunately, I learned that six blocks from my house, a TTC express bus drives directly into the downtown core (Queen Station).
To confirm this information, I called the TTC's info line at 416-393-INFO. Not only did the woman on the other end of the line confirm that the bus existed, but she pleasantly informed me that I can take it for an extra $2.50 each way at one of the three scheduled times.
I felt the left side of my body go numb and the right side tried to join it.
I did the math in my head, and was in disbelief. So I pulled out my calculator. Both numbers turned out to be the same; $121 for my metropass plus $110 to take the express bus every work day for a month equals $231. My numbness soon turned into a wave of indignation directed squarely at the TTC.
I thought, where does Toronto get the nerve to call itself a great, livable city if it costs me $230 a month to take the TTC to work? And then it dawned on me. It’s not entirely the TTC’s fault. City council is to blame too.
TTC isn’t just the issue of the Mayor or the TTC chair. It’s an issue for all of us, which means we need to make our elected officials speak up. After all, TTC ridership is up to 473 million rides annually, breaking the previous record of 466 million. Ridership is steadily increasing. Doesn’t that count for something? I’d hope so.
Let’s put the issue in front of our city councillors. We want them to know that we’re concerned, angry, irritated by the service of an underfunded system. It's time that they take our concerns and insert themselves into a transit subsidy strategy.
As for the future mayor, I have one question: As our city continues to grow, what strategies (creative or otherwise) will you employ to address the issue of subsidizing our transit system with the appropriate levels of government?