Extra! Extra! Public Transit Enters the 20th Century!
The TTC was coasting for a long time on its “best transit system in the world!” laurels before Mike Harris cut it down to size. In fact, the commision was so happy with itself that it failed to notice that transit systems in other large cities were doing all sorts of neat-o things.
For example: while we all love losing tiny TTC tokens (or even occasionally finding them in the laundry) other transit systems devised Smart Cards. They then took the debit card-based programs further, allowing them to be used on multiple transit systems in the same region.
Here, meanwhile, petty politics, shortsightedness and, yeah, a lack of money, ensured that local transit users had to make due with separate fare systems for GO, the TTC and any other systems they might use. Now it’s looking like GTA’ers might soon to be able to enjoy the same kind of system as the rest of the civilized world…sorta.
The Greater Toronto Transit Authority (an allegedly real organization that may or may not have something to do with controlling transit in the GTA) has announced that a Smart Card system could be in place by 2010 (!) thanks to a $250 million cheque from the province.
That will put us a mere 15 years behind New York but, hey, baby steps.
Oh, did we mention that the TTC seems to be the only GTA system that’s not involved? They just feel they have bigger fish to fry right now but they may come on board later.
The cash-poor Better Way is figuring out if they can join the rest of us here in the computer age. For now, they’re still patting themselves on the back for groundbreaking innovations like the weekly pass, but there may yet be hope. We pray.
In the meantime, try not to lose any more tokens.