Illustration by Brian McLachlan/Torontoist.
Torontoist is ending the year by naming our Heroes and Villains—Toronto’s very best and very worst people, places, and things over the past twelve months. From December 13–17: the Villains! From December 20–24, the Heroes! And, from December 27–30, you can vote for Toronto’s Superhero and Supervillain of the year.
We expect a lot from the TTC. We want delay-free commutes, clean stations and vehicles, top-notch customer service, and amicable drivers and collectors. And this year, to its credit, the TTC has been taking our complaints to heart. In 2010, the transit service launched its Customer Service Advisory Panel; released a service that allows riders to use text messages to find out when the next streetcar is coming; started to install new information-status screens in stations; and, in an effort to improve cleanliness, accountability, and overall customer relations, introduced station managers in some of its downtown stations. Sure, there’s still stuff to be done, but it’s not bad for a year’s work.
And at least the TTC is trying, which is more than can be said about those among us who put our feet up during rush hour, sneak on without paying, and generally treat the service like a dumping ground. The TTC is a public transportation system, and if we, the public, want it to improve, we’re going to have to do our part too.
Proper TTC etiquette isn’t rocket science: just be considerate, helpful, and try not to be an ass.
If you’re looking for some hard and fast rules, BlogTO’s recent poll on the most off-putting rider behaviour is a good place to start. Topping the list of don’ts: door blocking, personal grooming, and using seats for belongings. The National Post‘s poster series on rider etiquette also offers some good tips, like leaving the nail clippers at home, and, you know, bathing. And the TTC continues to offer up its own suggestions through PSA-style ads, like how to ride the escalator properly and how to throw out your gum. (Some of the gum PSAs even came with little sheets of paper for passengers to wrap their gum up in—though many just used the sheets to write silly messages.)
Besides annoying your fellow passengers, rude and irresponsible behaviour can also have a negative impact on service. Despite readily available and clearly marked trash receptacles, many of us seem content to leave our garbage on seats, station platforms, and worst of all, the subway tracks. You know those track fires that lead to massive delays? Guess what? They weren’t started by fire goblins.
TTC etiquette campaigns really shouldn’t be necessary—most of this is just common sense. The TTC is a partnership between all of us, and if we truly want to make the service the better way, we all need to step up.