Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Where's the Train?


TTC Rush
Originally uploaded by Points North.

So there I am standing on a warm platform, waiting for the subway train to show up. It's quiet, a few people sit nearby, a couple stand. From my right, a distant roar comes into hearing; a train thunders in. People get off, people load. The train, with an electric whine, starts up and leaves, blowing hair and paper in its wake. It wasn't my train. It's quiet.

A few people straggle onto the opposite platform. More come onto the one I'm standing on. Another distant roar comes into hearing; the opposite train flies into the station and soon leaves. One lone person is left behind. Ours is getting a bit more crowded. It's quiet.

A train's lights appear slowly into view on the left. People move towards the tracks. The train sounds its horn. It trundles past us and on out the station. Some look confused, others sit back down, some continue to read.

Another train rushes into the station to pick people up from the opposite platform, and slowly starts moving into the tunnel. It's quiet. It's quiet for quite awhile, except for some mumbling over the intercom.

People are jostling for space on our platform, when a fourth train enters the station. When that train leaves, the opposite platform is empty, ours is packed.

Finally lights to our left reflect off the ceiling tiles, signalling a train for us. It whines to a halt, the doors open, and very hot sweaty people rush the doors; I consider waiting for the next train, then realise that since there was no announcement to say there was trouble on the line, the next might be awhile too.

We pull into Yonge-Bloor and through the windows, a mob looks back at us, such an angry, hot, impatient mob that people can barely squeeze out. A man runs down the platform yelling at the conductor, wanting to know what happened to the train.

Well, that's an easy question to answer. It's the middle of the day, and the TTC has reduced its service -- since it's summer and the powers-that-be figure people don't mind waiting in the heat, sweat trickling down their backs, heads faint from no air -- so that every hour is rush hour and every train is standing room only, with a seat here or a seat there, next to a guy who thinks it's his god-given right to sprawl or a gal who thinks her bags need a seat of their own, and consideration for others has become a dirty word.

What happened to the train? What happened is nothing. This is just service TTC style.


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