It’s getting to be quite the soap opera isn’t it? The latest developments involve Premier McGuinty and the firing of the system’s General Manager Gary Webster.
Webster as we all know has been fired without cause, and Toronto taxpayers will likely be on the hook for somewhere between 500-750 thousand in severance. There’s no getting around it; the firing had blatant political overtones and very likely had political motives behind it. Webster wasn’t backing Ford’s subway plan, and if speculation is to be believed may have maneuvered Karen Stintz into her motion. Regardless, if Ford had fired Webster a year ago he probably would’ve gotten away with it- when a regime changes everybody expects some personnel to change. What makes uglier than normal is it’s coming now after Stintz got her motion passed.
When you take the politics, and intrigue out of it, was Gary Webster doing his job? Can anyone name one thing he’s done besides taking ridership to new heights? Because I can’t. I think the T.T.C. is pretty much a system stuck in the ’80’s, and it shows. Why didn’t he try and automate the system? Or introduce new pass options. I’d find a 10-ride pass quite helpful for example; it would be a new way of making money. He could’ve done so much with the system and didn’t. Ford may have been wrong to fire him the way he did, and with his timing but it probably needed to be done.
The ongoing drama at the T.T.C. prompted Premier McGuinty comment on his government’s growing frustration with the situation saying in the press yesterday: we’re running out of patience, I think the people of Toronto are running out of patience.” This is as firm as I’ve heard McGuinty speak on the subject. It’s also got a ring of truth to it; Torontonians are getting a little fed up with the dithering and want something done.
What does McGuinty really mean? Who knows. There is speculation it means Metrolinx will be asked to take over and sort the whole thing out. That would make sense- the provincial body could take over, and create one single broad cohesive system from Toronto to Hamilton. I’m sure the exact meaning will become to clear in the next installment of as the T.T.C. turns.