Wednesday, May 31, 2006

A TTC Traffic Report: How Unusual

The TTC strike has resulted in two unusual events: Toronto is threatening to hold a union accountable, and both the print media and radio are reporting on the subway shutdown. The latter is probably a blip and the media will go back to not informing TTC riders of transit problems, and radio not after about 8:30 am. I don't get why radio ignores transit problems. We get lots of traffic updates on all stations before 9 am and lots on CFRB after 9 am, but apparently TTC riders are not worthy of such a service, except on the odd day like today. Is it because TTC employees don't even know about problems unless they're in the thick of it? Is it because the TTC doesn't inform radio traffic reporters? It can't be because transit riders don't have cell phones to call into radio stations to report on troubles like car drivers do. Those things ring everytime the train surfaces, and they beepbop all up and down every bus and streetcar. Radio stations encourage car drivers to report on traffic problems, so why not transit riders?

Last time the Bloor-Danforth line was shut down on a day I had to use it, I made the unusual effort to listen to the radio traffic reports, as I was on my way to an important appointment. Nada. So thinking I was A-OK, I left with just a little extra time. But of course, the subway was down, the ticket booth collector had no idea what was happening, there were no useful announcements on the PA system, and everyone had their cell out...but me. I had to find a free payphone -- thank goodness subway stations are one of the few places that still have those -- then an alternate route by bus, with a driver who liked his convenience store breaks. Luckily, the person I was meeting with had an open day.

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