Saturday, August 06, 2005

10 Years Later: TTC Safer but Poorer

August 11th is the 10-year anniversary of the TTC subway crash that killed 3. There's an excellent review of how it affected the TTC in the GTA section of The Saturday Star. From a rider's perspective, there's a greater feeling of security, knowing that the TTC is better maintained and better prepared for handling emergencies (including, as a side benefit, terror attacks). But the system now sucks in customer service -- drivers don't call out bus stops, are erratic at times in calling out subway stops; bus service is very poor in some areas; and simply put it does not meet Toronto's growing transit needs. The latter has been sacrificed to ensure safety is fully funded. Of the two, I'd pick safety. But we're only having to pick because of worsening funding, based on the decisions of let's-all-hate-Toronto-to-get-more-votes politicians.

TTC managers boast about how much better the TTC is and pooh pooh the previous era's grab at glory i.e., expansion. But fundamentally they're no different from the previous era. Whereas the previous bunch chose expansion, this bunch chooses maintenance, while both then and now, TTC managers let their political masters off the hook. We should NOT have to choose between maintenance and expansion. The provincial and federal governments just have to pony up the cash to pay for BOTH because Toronto is the engine of the country -- whether politicians and non-Torontonians like it or not -- and that engine relies on good transportation. Poor transportation = poor Toronto engine performance = poor productivity = negative effect on Canada.

Harper's solution: The Conservative Party of Canada will reward transit users with a 16% tax credit. That's nice. How will that help the TTC fund both maintenance and expansion to meet the needs of a growing population and keep them safe while riding the "better way"? Oh well, at least that's better than Martin's solution of making promises then doing nothing, until forced to by Layton.

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