My friend and I got talking yesterday about the whole transit mess in the City of Toronto. We’d both been to London, UK and experienced the Oyster Card- think a re-loadable transit fare card that never expires. We both dream of using a similar card everywhere we go in southern Ontario- good on the T.T.C, and good on GO transit. The Presto Card is its equivalent, and transit systems are starting to adapt to that.
We both agreed Toronto fancies itself a world class city with a somewhat less than world class transit system. We would both go ahead with Rob Ford’s plan to bury the Light Rapid Transit (L.R.T) lines. It is possible to pay for it with little impact on the taxpayer simply through advertising. In London for example, there are ads all over the place- on the floor, and along the walls going down to the train levels, why can’t Toronto do something like that? The one thing that is arguably at a premium is advertising space.
I think Toronto has come to a sort of crossroads with the transit issue. Yes Ford still needs to find efficiencies, and save money. But on some items I think you should spend money- and transit is one of them, if we are ever to take enough cars off the road to make a difference. If he can work with Metrolinx on finding a way to do it for a decent price, why not let him?
It’s a balancing act for Metrolinx too. But one thing I do wonder about is while they’re busy trying to solve Toronto’s transit woes, are we in the suburbs going to be stiffed? Milton for example has needed full-day Go Train service for at least the last 10 years if not longer, and so far as I know, it still hasn’t happened yet… and I’m not really holding my breath on that one.
It takes vision, and healthy amount of bravery to scrap the status quo and look at doing something new. Underneath it all I believe Toronto is a world class city. Now I hope City Council is brave enough to build a transit system to make it one.