2016-07-15 Fri

Observations

There is much gnashing of teeth in Toronto and the Toronto Transit Commission over the business of fares. Right now it is Presto-Identity cards for children aged six to nine years old. A few months ago it was the “Children ride for free” discussion. Every year we have the “Oh not another fare increase” article. And so it goes.

Here’s a thought: Abandon fares altogether on the Toronto Transit Commission.

Good.

You’d only fainted.

I thought you might have gone to The Great Transit System In The Sky.

Pros

Cons

Everybody gets to ride for free

Out-of-towners get to ride for free

The Toronto Transit Commission has to go to the city each year to ask for their operating budget.

The Toronto Transit Commission has to go to the city each year to ask for their operating budget.

I think that sums it up.

Just imagine what it would mean to Toronto if you just hopped on a Toronto Transit Commission vehicle and hopped off again if you felt like buying an ice-cream.

Just imagine what it would mean to Toronto as a tourist destination if tourists didn’t have to worry about fares, tickets, transfers, tokens, passes, Presto cards and so on.

Just imagine what it would mean to Toronto as a tourist destination if tourists didn’t have to panic when they got on the wrong vehicle, or headed in the wrong direction.

Just imagine that you could let go the staff whose job it is to handle all that filthy coinage.

No need to staff or police fare-cheaters, subway station kiosks. No need to print rolls or sheets of tickets, you’d never need a transfer. That means you could eliminate those bright-red transfer machines just inside the turnstiles and THAT means you’d remove the annoyance as idiots like me dash across a stream of passengers to get a time-stamped transfer to record my trip duration.

Just imagine what it would mean to Toronto when people might use the bus to go to the library and to return, instead of backing the car out onto a busy street.

I know that you’re thinking that this is a really stupid idea, such a mammoth change from the way the world really works.

But think!

Think as a tourist.

Think of what a tourist already gets for free when they visit Toronto:

(1) Drive on the roads

(2) Walk on the sidewalks

(3) Visit the libraries

(4) Visit the museums

(5) Ask directions from a policeman

(6) Use the parks and benches

(7) Visit the conservatory in Allen Gardens

(8) Attend free lunch-time music concerts

(9) Explore the University exhibitions galleries

Some of these are huge; I think the Toronto Police account for one-third the city budget.

Roads. Sidewalks. Libraries. We allow outsiders to use these for free. Why not transit.

Just imagine what it would mean to Toronto if folks from Milton, Bolton, Beaverton, Bradford and ... could be persuaded to park their cars at Steeles Avenue and hop on Truly Public transit.

Construction Sites – Breadalbane Street

Christopher Greaves ConstructionSites_04.png

Our fourth construction site, marked with a purple blob, is on the north side of Breadalbane Street. It runs between Breadalbane and Wellesley streets, with St Luke Lane on its eastern border.

Excavation started about six months ago, could be nine. The tower cranes(!) have been in place for two months at least.

FWIW I stayed in Breadalbane Guest House for a month or so when I started work at Australian Iron & Steel in Wollongong, 48 years ago.

Christopher Greaves Home_DSCN4220.JPG

This is the third-closest site to me, and both cranes are visible just over the roof of the YMCA, from my apartment window.

Christopher Greaves Home_DSCN4222.JPG

Here is a shot of the site from St Luke’s lane, the south-east corner of the site. The black-clad building in the rear, looking like that commercial building from the Python-like movie by terry Gilliam(?) is “The Brits”. More about that later. The Brit’s crane, too, is one of the four cranes currently visible through a single pane from my apartment.