CPDC10-30 : give Toronto a real transit system? Makes it sound like you haven't really travelled much in your 21 to 25 years. Or you live way out in the 'burbs, an hours' bus ride from a subway line
Uh, oh Lucky727, you really hit a nerve with me here
. You couldn't be further from the truth on either count. The streetcars are rumbling past my window right now. I live in downtown Toronto and used to take the TTC exclusivley for many years. It has been such a frustrating experience that I will not take it again (unless in an emergency) unless one of two things happens:
1) The system is dramatically improved
2) I can no longer afford a car (which is coming close considering I have been unemployed the past 2 months)
My 3 main peeves are as follows with the TTC:
The Subway system is woefully inadequate!
There's no way around it. Yes, the subway is great for those that live within walking distance, but that is not the majority of the population in Toronto! And not everything in Toronto is downtown. Lets go back in time a bit to when I used to be in the Air Cadets and I had to travel between Don Mills and Lawrence to Eglinton and Royal York. This is a distance of about 18km. However, because the subway does not come even close to either the beginning or end points, the whole journey had to be made on bus. It would take an average of 1 1/2 hours each direction, including transfer time at Eglinton station. That is an average speed of 12km/h. If I was jogging the whole way I would have got there faster. Now think about my friend who had to commute between Scarlett Rd and Eglinton to Don Mills and Eglinton. Same deal, his only option is the bus, and it eats at least 3 hours out of his day. That is not what I call an effective transit system.
At a bare minimum, there has to be new subway or other rapid transit lines built on Steeles, Eglinton and Lakeshore. Otherwise, too much of the population has to rely on buses and that means a minimum 1 to 1 1/2 hour trip time each direction. You might as well live in Hamilton rather than North York or Etobicoke.
The Streetcars have to go
Yes, they are cute and are a Toronto icon. But they impede the traffic flow and are more dangerous for passengers. Just look at Carlton Street and Yonge in the morning. There is such a horde of people waiting for the streetcars that it takes over 5 minutes sometimes to load the two waiting streetcars. This causes all the traffic behind, including other streetcars to be tied up. Drivers sometimes get frustrated and push ahead, endangering the embarking/disembarking passengers.
The operators have to be retrained
I have found that quite a few of the transit operators have an "us against them" attitude to the auto traffic, sometimes resulting in dangerous, aggressive behaviour with both the bus and streetcar operators. In the mornings, I have to drive along a road that has streetcar tracks. In the winter, it can be very tricky passing the streetcars because usually the right lane is not snowplowed properly. So you would think the streetcar drivers would be courteous and let the first few cars behind them pass. But they don't, and a few times I have come close to losing control. Once I was so incensed by this agressive driving that I pulled in front of the streetcar and refused to move until the jackass driver got out to explain himself.
And for heavens sake, they can do better than pull a packed bus over for 10 minutes to get a coffee in the evening.
On the other point about my travelling, you are also incorrect. It is because I have travelled extensivley that I know the transit system in Toronto blows. Lets not compare it to larger cities like New York, London or Paris. That just doesn't work. But similar sized cities such as Amsterdam and Sydney have much superior transit systems. And even much smaller cities such as Ottawa, Washington and Perth are way ahead.
I'm going to get YYZ717 on my back for this again, but I think the main problem with people in Toronto is that the residents are in denial about the city's deficiencies. Toronto is not a bad city by any stretch, it is generally a good place to live. But it is also definetly not what many here like to tout it as. There has been very little investment in public infrastructure in the city in the past 30 years, and that has to change or else the standard of living will continue to decrease. We need action and money, not false reassurances that the city is "clean and safe" or "world class" etc.