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Newsstand: May 2, 2012

Somehow, it's already Wednesday. Creepy. So anyhow: Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam wants Ontario to join up with Quebec in the fight against long-gun registry data deletion (say that 5 times fast); surveyed TTC riders are strangely content with transit service; Doug Ford is pro property tax freezes; Toronto roads account for half of the province's worst; families of individuals shot by police meet to discuss better police handling of those with mental health issues; and Occupy Toronto up to slightly different tricks.

Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam (Ward 27, Toronto Centre-Rosedale) wants Ontario, as Quebec, to go to bat against the feds on the issue of deleting data from the recently-nixed federal long-gun registry. Though the registry was successfully abolished by Prime Minister Stephen Harper after years of touting its insignificance (this, despite the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police claiming they used it regularly as a law-enforcement tool), its database could potentially be used on an unofficial basis by police, and even updated, should they choose. Wong-Tam will bring a motion to the next city council meeting that calls on the province to do everything in their power to keep the registry data from being purged.

Yesterday, we reported on the release of an internal TTC audit , which was apparently used as proof that the agency needs to restore public confidence. Turns out, the public is more confident than previously suspected. In fact, according to a new survey of 550 riders, conducted in February and March, they’re downright satisfied: 60 per cent thought they were getting good value (seriously?) and 81 per cent said they would recommend transit to a tourist (because…there’s no other alternative?).

TTC customer service chief Chris Upfold said the agency is looking into improving the method of purchase for Metropasses. (Really? ‘Cause I personally liked having to withdraw $126 in cash every single month, then standing in line for half an hour to give it in…just me, though.)

Also, in a seemingly arbitrary twist, the survey found that people think streetcar drivers are more helpful and “smartly presented” than bus drivers. Huh. A focus group will, naturally, be held.

Let it be known that Councillor Doug Ford (Ward 2, Etobicoke North) is still, in spite of Mayor Rob Ford’s apparent wavering on the subject, in favour of property-tax freezes. He’s also into eliminating the land-transfer tax, so the brothers Ford are united on that fun front.

If you were feeling bummed about Toronto never winning any awards, buck up, because the annual survey from the Canadian Automobile Association has found that five of the very worst roads in Ontario can be found in none other than our your beloved city and mine , Toronto! Fifty per cent: not too shabby. Dufferin St. (you know it), renowned for its scenic potholes and artfully crumbled pavement, earned the number one place as crappiest road in the province.

Following the Toronto police chief’s recent promise to review the force’s response to people with mental health issues and those in crisis, this week, a group for families of people shot by police will meet for the first time in an official capacity, to discuss constructive ways police can deescalate issues with those who have mental health problems.

In the wake of May Day, or International Workers’ Day, Occupy Toronto protesters marched to Simcoe Park last night, across from the Metro Convention Centre, to protest mining big shot Barrick Gold Corporation, who are meeting there this morning. Three protesters were escorted from the premises and slapped with tickets after attempting to pitch tents. Organizers have said the action marks a shift in approach, as protesters hope to start targeting specific companies.

Correction: May 2, 10:35AM – The actual price of a Metropass is $126, not $136 as previously stated. The above has been corrected.


  • Anonymous

    What kind of city do we want that is lively, fun, good to live in and progressive, or one that merely functions?
    Seem that our Mayor and his minions what the later. they get in their car and go were life is good.

  • Anonymous

    The writer seems unaware of the fact that there are automatic vending machines that will dispense Metropasses, or the fact that you can buy the passes on the 24th of the prior month (including at the vending machines). Either way, you beat the queues. The vending machines should be in every station, take credit cards also, and not run out of passes, but it’s a sight better than what was there before: queue up for 20 minutes to hand over your money. The TTC could do a lot, lot better, but it’s important to recognize that things have improved, however minimally.

    As a regular TTC user, I’m broadly in agreement with the survey. My bus (53) is rather elderly and in need of replacement, but it’s on time (mostly), the drivers are courteous and polite, and it gets me where I need to go in a fairly minimal degree of comfort. If we had the kind of subsidies that YRT users enjoy, we could also have whizzy new buses with padded seats and tables. The TTC has to make a dollar stretch much farther than the YRT does, for instance.

    • Anonymous

      The vending machines are pretty easy to use, but putting the keypad at small child height — what were they thinking?

      • Anonymous

        Access for people in wheelchairs.

        • Anonymous

          OK good, I’ll need one after my back gives out…

    • Esra

      Also, if you are buying a pass for at least 12 months, you can always sign up for the Metropass Discount Plan and have it mailed to you and the money directly debited from your bank account.

    • Anonymous

      The passes are also $126, not $136.

      • Torontoist

        Thanks for bringing this fact to our attention.

        We have made the correction above.

    • transitagogo

      Would love it if the vending machines took cash. I get dinged for too many ATM withdrawls so I like using cash.

    • Anonymous

      Three paragraphs of sneering because a lot of people think the TTC is doing an okay job? I was one of the interviewees for the phone survey. It was a 15 minute long detailed survey, not a one-question street interview.

  • Anonymous

    Was reading the comments regarding Kristyn Wong-Tam and the gun registry at the Globe and Mail. I was shocked by how racist gun supporters can be. I hope this is a small minority and not reflective of rural people and gun supporters. This I expect from the Sun who tend to be generally racist.
    Reading that stuff I become afraid, what would these angry people resort to if they get hold of guns and don’t get their way. Scary stuff.

    • Anonymous

      It sure does bring the hard-core nutters out of the woodwork.

  • Pingback: » Newsstand: May 2, 2012

  • veryclever

    Why would you pay in cash for a monthly metropass??? There are handy pass vending machines everywhere that accept debit. Or DO YOU buy a metropass? Methinks not, with the price correction.