Saturday, December 11, 2010

TTC - The Better Way


Officially the Toronto Transit Commission is known as the TTC. Users of this type of transportation have another name for the TTC though ... Toronto Trash Cans.
The TTC’s slogan is ‘The Better Way’ but this week the subway was most certainly not the better way.

When I boarded a subway train last Wednesday, I heard the announcement that there was no service between Broadview station and St. George station.
I didn’t worry about this no-service too much, confident that by the time I got to Broadview the problem, whatever it was, would be fixed. I was wrong.
When I got to Broadview all passengers were instructed to leave the train as the train would turn back to Kennedy.

Some 300 people exited the train and joined the hundreds who already stood shivering on the Broadview platform.
After a while came the announcement that shuttle buses and streetcars would take passengers to their destination.
As another train arrived more people joined the throng of commuters already on the platform, shuffling toward the stairs. Seeing them go by, dressed in dark gear and keeping their heads down, they reminded me of the march of the penguins.

I had no intention of joining them. Cold as it was in the station, it would be even colder outside. The weather forecast had predicted -20 deg C (that’s -4 deg F) for that day and that was just a bit too cold for me.
Usually, if the TTC has a problem, it doesn’t take too long for whatever it is to be sorted out, so I preferred to wait inside. That wasn’t possible this time though. A TTC official walked the length of the platform informing everyone who, like me, had decided to wait it out, that it could take hours for the problem to be fixed.
Okay so I joined the ‘penguins’ and proceeded up the stairs too.

Ooh but it was cold. Even with a thick coat, a scarf wrapped around my head and gloves I could feel the cold wind going right through me, biting at my nose, fingers and toes. Where were the shuttle buses? Where were the streetcars? Oh they were there alright, but they were packed with people, like sardines in a can.
I got the idea of taking a cab to work. A good idea, except there was a problem ... there weren’t that many cabs available to begin with and with over a thousand people standing around Broadview station, I wasn’t alone who had thought of that.

Just then an announcement was made that the subway was up and running again and we could all go downstairs. Even though the words were greeted with relief, they presented a problem ... it would take some time for the mass of commuters to go back inside the station, down the stairs and onto a train. I suspected that it would take several trains to take care of this lot.
I was right, after we shuffled our way back onto the platform, trains - already full with peak hour passengers – had limited space to take in the waiting crowd.
Or let me put it this way ... my journey to work, which usually takes 45 minutes, that day took two and a half hours.

The TTC, the better way? I think not.

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