Suicide barriers a waste of TTC money
Transportation has been identified as one of the major obstacles keeping the poor isolated and unemployed. Its true- as some of the posts have rightly asserted- that compared to small towns and northern communities, our system is amazing. But that shouldn't stop us from making it better and more accessible. I quite like the fare-by-distance traveled notion, there is a fairness about it.
And add to that what some small cities are trying, such as extending the time a transfer is valid to allow for shopping and appointments, or having free subway rides in the downtown core from 10-3. I enjoyed reading most of the posts, although a few left me scratching my head, such as the one that lumped the mentally ill and conservatives together. And speaking of the mentally ill, the cash-strapped TTC has recently decided to spend $10 million per station building suicide barriers. Three stations are targeted, and they will be in place by 2015.
Last evening I was with a group of psychiatric survivors, people who've been diagnosed with serious mental illnesses who have a passing acquaintance with suicidal thoughts and acts, and I asked them about these proposed barriers.
A good use of limited funds? A resounding "No!"
If there are millions just sitting around waiting for a bad idea to devolve, then we really can afford to lower the price of a single ticket. And we would have enough dollars left over to hire a few survivors to patrol the platforms looking for signs of people in distress. And the TTC could sponsor stigma-busting ads, splash them all over the walls and the stairs the way they do for major corporations, so that people in trouble wouldn't feel so hesitant about seeking the help they need.
We cannot prevent every possible tragedy out there. We can however ensure that those who are poor and vulnerable and in need can access public transit when required -- for appointments, for job searches, to get to cooling centers on those days when the city experiences extreme heat alerts. A small step to make life worth living in the big city.
To those who blame the drivers and the ticket collectors: they are not the enemy, and don't deserve the kind of collective bashing that is going on these days. Funny how we never look up to see where the problems start, we're too busy beating up on those whose circumstances most closely mirror our own.