Clang. Clang. Clang.

November 7, 2009

What’s up with the TTC? For those of you outside of the GTA, TTC stands for the Toronto Transit Commission – aka – “The Better Way”. It is the better way, in many ways for me, because I don’t drive. Yes, I’m one of those… someone who aced their driver’s test a buh-gillion years ago but rarely gets behind the wheel. My various modes of transportation include my feet, the occasional rental from Auto Share (Bill drives), a lift or two from a friend, or the TTC. Living in a city the size of Toronto I think the system is pretty good. Not as sophisticated as some – like Paris, New York or Montreal – whose systems, from my limited experience in those cities whose public transport I’ve used to get around, I find impressive. I think the TTC could do a things or two to make our system An Even Better Way.

For example, what is the point of having two streetcars leave a station tail light to head light with the back car completely empty? Yesterday, I was completely miffed when I bolted off the bus carrying me to the station where I catch the streetcar, only to have that very car basically slam its doors right in my face (along with the other cummuting frenzied joggers behind me) then pull away. No worries since there was another streetcar right behind it poised to take its place. Much to my shock and dismay the second car glided right by us. This COMPLETELY EMPTY STREETCAR ROLLED RIGHT PASSED US WITHOUT ITS DRIVER BATTING AN EYE. WHAT THE ?!!!!! What this usually means is, that for the entire route, the first street car gets more and more jammed with passengers while the car trailing behind it has only a few people on board. Seems strange that the people waiting at the various stops would choose to wedge themselves in a packed vehicle instead of waiting for an almost empty car in a close pursuit. But, the problem is, you risk being duped waiting because the second bus or streetcar always seems to be just that little bit too far away for you to read the route number. You’re not quite sure if that vehicle will be short turning, or has been rerouted from another line. This kind of thing happens all the time. And, it seems like on more than one occasion, whether or not a driver will wait that extra mili-second when they see someone burning it down the road, risking their lives to catch their ride (and I know sometimes those drivers do see them – or me as the case might be) is completely dependent on whether or not that driver is having a good day. All fine and swell when it’s not freezing, or raining, or both and the next ride doesn’t arrive for 10 to fifteen minutes.

Anyway, yesterday I knew the second bus was going my way because it had whizzed so close to by my stunned face I could feel that cool autumnal breeze roll off it. A few seconds after the shock wore off I noticed a couple of the other recently snubbed commuters hightail it to the next stop. I shook my head, pressed the twenty pounds of bags I was carrying close to my person and burst out the station doors (a big ole sorry to all those innocent bystanders I knocked over) and met both streetcars on the corner, about a 2 minute sprint away. By the way, that trick will only work if you have a metropass, which I do, otherwise you’d have to repay the fare. Argh… Of course I waited for the second car. I mean, after all that running, I did have to catch my breath and staunch the urge to vomit. And, it was good because other than two or three other people, I had the car to myself. But I barely noticed, since I sat and snarled and fumed as I stared out the window.

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