Sunday, February 19, 2006

Decisions decisions

Transit Toronto notes various discussions about transit this weekend, including a Star article on TTC riders attitude to pregnant and elderly fellow commuters and the Globe on cutting the TTC's 33 Forest Hill route to help plug the TTC's deficit. In other news, Gord Perks is back in Eye and on the attack after his election defeat, although unlike other candidates he never actually abandoned his soapbox during the campaign, unlike Global TV's Peter Kent for example.

Matt Blackett runs Spacing magazine and the associated Spacingwire, and he comments on the Star's article in a "nothing to see here, move along" kind of way. To be honest when I read spacing wire I agree wholeheartedly on some stuff and want to puke reading others, like his kneejerk response to the launch of Porter Airlines and this latest (short) reaction to the Star article.

There's a lot of things that women and men tell each other "you wouldn't understand" (with men it's usually sports related) but being pregnant is unarguably a single sex point of view. Several pregnant or recently so friends have told me of being ignored by TTC riders while heavily pregnant. Now this is arguably just as anecdotal as MB's reaction but there is a general lack of civility and general cop-on by people with backpacks and hanging around in doorways preventing people getting by.

The Star does get the male thing down though - half the time we're in our own little world and honestly not noticing, and the other half in dread of either (a) being rudely refused or (b) having a "false positive" in assuming the other party to be pregnant - even the neighbouring female rider in the Star story witnessing a rare seat give-up did not assume pregnancy despite the pillow. Matt - get pregnant and get riding and let us know how it goes for you.

The 33 Forest Hill issue is interesting - it's basically a commuter route but for schoolies and maids. Service has been cut back to 20 minutes headways on weekdays and could probably be cut further to hourly (like 162 Bridle Path) except for the "rush" periods of the route. Maybe if their maids couldn't get to and from work their employers might pause on the way to their downtown parking spots and think about how transit is vital to the city... fat chance!

As for Steve Munro's "well if you remove 33 then all the elderly are left with is Wheeltrans" - by the looks of things the cost/ride is probably equivalent to Wheeltrans and if the elderly residents qualify for it they should use it rather than having to make their way to a stop and wait 20 minutes. While the actual cost of operating marginal services is one thing, there is also opportunity cost - the bus could be operating on busy routes like the future York University busway. It's actually amazing that some people who can't help but take shots at the Sheppard stubway will defend weird little bus routes like this to the death - and aren't little routes like this what community buses are for?

[UPDATE: Steve Munro has his own blog post here on this subject - but the post's quite long and it's quite late so it may be a while before I post on it]

Meanwhile Gord is sticking it to McGuinty about his "politics is about what's possible" in respect of transit and electricity supply but is doomed to failure. This is the Premier who imposed a health tax without even holding the line on OHIP covered services. All McGuinty cares about is provincial revenues so he can avoid breaking a new promise after the previous breakages: "no new taxes", "no more Harris cuts in education" and "no coal by 2007, er... 2009, er... 2010". At the same time McGuinty has a responsibility to preserve electricity supply in Toronto and Perks is doing a disservice to his readers by giving any veneer of credibility to Miller's desperate flailing around on the subject. People like Perks and Blackett are rarely there when TTC needs help saving money but are always willing to spend either TTC rider fares or the taxes of Torontonians, Ontarians, Canadians or better yet all three at once.
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