Grumpy Riders Share Their Transit Frustrations
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Grumpy Riders Share Their Transit Frustrations

New campaign from advocacy group gives transit users the chance to vent about their struggles with the TTC.

Photo by pəruse, from the Torontoist Flickr pool.

Waiting for a streetcar or bus in the heart of winter can be a frustrating—and chilly—experience. Delays, short-turns, and vehicle bunching can make commuters’ blood boil in even the coldest of temperatures. That’s exactly why transit advocacy group TTC Riders launched its #grumpyrider campaign last week.

“We wanted to channel all the collective frustration that all of Toronto’s 1.7 million riders feel just about every day and ask them to use that negative energy to campaign for something good,” says Jessica Bell, TTC Riders’ executive director.

TTC Riders is asking commuters to take “grumpy” selfies or write posts using the hashtag and then share them with Toronto mayor John Tory and Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne, in the hopes that these politicians will push for changes to the transit system.

So far, the campaign has met with a positive response. According to Bell, most #grumpyrider submissions are coming from Twitter. Tweets shared by the TTC Riders Twitter account include:

Angini Mohammed is a “grumpy rider” who relies on the TTC to get to three jobs and used the hashtag in a tweet posted on Monday:

For Mohammed, the streetcar system is the main thing contributing to her commuting grumpiness, in part because she’s consistently anticipating short-turns. “It seems to be constantly plagued with problems. I swear something could happen on Finch and it’ll affect the College 506,” she says. She also complains about streetcar or bus drivers who “don’t seem to care” and don’t offer adequate explanations for commuting problems.

Mohammed would like to see Tory and his deputy mayors, as well as transit control officers, riding the rocket on a regular basis. “I want to see them actually experiencing what we experience, and understand why, at $134 a month, we should be getting something better,” she says.

Tory responded to the #grumpyriders campaign last week, saying, “I didn’t need any grumpy selfies involving myself or anybody else who sent them to me to know that people want better service on the TTC.” TTC Riders rebuttal to Tory? They’re going to continue sending the grumpy rider selfies until transit improvements have been funded and transit problems have been fixed.

So far, there’s been no response from Wynne.

The campaign has launched in time for the TTC commission meeting in January, at which the commission will discuss the TTC’s 2015 budget. Proposed changes on the table include 10-minutes-or-fewer waiting times for service and two-hour transfers, which will allow people to get on and off transit within a two-hour time period without having to pay twice.

“It’s a new City Hall, and we really need to send a message that talk is not enough: we need action, and we need funding,” says Bell.