2016-02-22 Mon

Clear Thinking on Transit

I traveled by subway train to Yonge & Sheppard yesterday, lunched with a friend, and rode the Toronto Transit Commission home. In passing I happened to walk through the platforms for the Sheppard line.

This morning I continued reading Jane Jacobsís ďThe Economy of CitiesĒ, a 1968 book that contains many arresting thoughts.

I arrived in Toronto in September 1982; the Kennedy and Kipling subway stations were opened earlier that year, I believe. Thatís thirty-four years ago.

Since then Toronto and the Province of Ontario have overseen the construction of THREE White Elephants:-

(1)†Around 1984 the Scarborough LRT, which is limited in speed, is a train system separate from the subway (think two levels apart!) and regularly ceases to operate when the snow falls.

It is the last point that is the most telling. ďWho knewĒ (when we built this thing) ďthat it would snow. In Winter. In Toronto?Ē

(2)†Around 2000 construction was well under way for the Sheppard line. I have read many accounts of low ridership, but not one account of this lineís operation as a successful means of transporting large numbers of passengers.

The Sheppard line can be described as a Mel Lastman Vanity Line Ė like the plates you put on your automobile.

(3)†The ďUP ExpressĒ which doesnít arrive at Union Station at all. It has its own platform outside the Union Station (on the west side of York Street), and involves suitcase-and-toddler dragging adults to walk five minutes to get to the Toronto Transit Commission barriers, Five Minutes to get to the GO Train ticket wickets, and a whopping TEN MINUTES to wander a left-right-left-right maze to get to the GO Bus station.

I have read many accounts of low ridership, but not one account of this lineís operation as a successful means of transporting large numbers of passengers.


I had the very good fortune to be in a position to lend a friend some cash and without worrying about it, drew out $500 in banknotes and handed it over.

I am well within my motherís advice ďNever lend anything youíre not prepared to giveĒ. That is, donít lend what you canít do without because there is a chance that you wonít get it back!

I have no fear of the cash being kept.

However, my business advisors admonished me ďManagement MeasuresĒ so on the way home I did a bit of mental arithmetic.

The $500 came from my 1.3% interest savings account at BMO.

That means that I am losing interest at the rate of 1.3% on $500.

1.3% of $500 is $6.50.

But that is the interest per year.

I am losing interest on a daily basis, which comes out to about 01.7808 cents per day.

Letís be generous to ME for a change and call it two cents per day.

If my friend pays me back sometime Thursday then Iíll be owed for five days or parts thereof, which comes to 8.9041 cents.

Letís be generous to ME for a small piece of change and call it ten cents.

The only question is: Should I demand repayment of all the interest with the principle, or should I allow my friend terms, such as the right to pay it back at, of, say, five cents per week?

All of which goes to show that if you have $500 in a savings account and a friend loses their wallet (or purse or briefcase or ...) you should not pause for an instant but leap to lend them some of your savings and then focus attention on what had been the second-most pressing problem, which is by now the most pressing problem.