"The Better Way"? Hardly

This morning’s TTC strike brings to the forefront again a very important issue for the city of Toronto. First of all, I have to say how much I love living in here. Toronto is a very safe and beautiful city, I wake up every morning and think about how lucky I am to be able to live in a great area like the beaches and work downtown in the very hip entertainment district.

If the TTC wasn’t so massively poor we wouldn’t be in this mess. This isn’t to say that I’m agreeing with the strike action this morning (illegal strike action, I might add), but it’s really just a symptom of everything that is going on in the TTC. The governments at all levels, up to federal need to pay more attention to the fact that Toronto has an aged, crumbling transit system, that is one of the most underfunded in the world, and certainly the most underfunded in north america. Which, frankly, is a shame in a country that has a reputation for being more of a socialist nation than our neighbours to the south.

The TTC has received $100 million drop in funding since 1990, which was about when the transit system needed it the most. Most people would remember the massive train crash at Spadina station when a driver ran 2 or 3 red lights and the last light happend to malfunction, which ended up causing a collision. That incident not only cost millions of dollars to repair, but forced the TTC to backtrack and have to focus on safety issues instead of being able to make strides towards a more advanced system.

Raising fares is clearly not the answer either, as many of you know it now costs $2.75 to ride the TTC (I’m also sure that many don’t, as most people just drive), which is a great bargain if you’re going clear across the city and happen to not have to make transfers, but most people don’t ride that way on a regular basis. Toronto’s system is also one of the very few in the world that don’t have electronic tickets or fare zones.

On an aside of this issue, there was a great article in the Star this weekend about bicycles in the city, which is another important thing the ministry of transportation should look at. A significant number of people (myself included) would ride their bike to work if only it were safer. More bicycle lanes in the city would mean less hold ups when cars get stuck behind riders, and less cars on the road when more people are biking or rollerblading, especially in the summer months.

If Toronto really wants to be a world-class city, these issues need some serious attention. The streets of Toronto are already flooded with more cars that they can handle and there isn’t room to build more roads. Give people another option.

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