How to Make the TTC Better, According to Everyday Riders
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How to Make the TTC Better, According to Everyday Riders

We asked seven Torontonians for their opinions.

Photo by Kimycup from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

Photo by Kimycup from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

When it comes to public transit, every city has a different system in place. While none of them are completely flawless in design or management, some are better than others—and it’s true that improvements can always be made.

On September 28, TTC riders gathered outside of City Hall to protest the coming service cuts and fare hikes and to express the dire need for more funding and overall better service across the city. Pinpointing the various issues may be easier than finding a solution, but what’s quite obvious is that there’s not one problem to tackle but many. We wanted to know more, so we interviewed seven people outside of City Hall and picked their brains about Toronto’s transit system.


Tom Varden

Tom Varden

What’s a shortcoming you’d like the TTC and the City to address on transit?
There aren’t enough lines that go everywhere; it’s not like Montreal. I just came from Montreal—I was visiting my son, and the subway there is amazing because it just goes everywhere. I don’t have any knowledge, for example, of when the downtown relief subway line is open—but it’s on the books and it’s in the works and all that stuff—but that would be one of the great things.

How would you address this shortcoming?
Well, there’s always the need for more funding. Increase the fare. I have no problem paying more than $3.25 for cash fare; we’re like the cheapest subway in North America and everybody’s bitching about the price. So, that’s what I would do.

Would you support new revenue tools, like a one per cent sales tax or a commercial parking levy, to help fund transit?
Totally. I’m all for paying more taxes if we get better service.

Amara Amour

Amara Amour

What’s a shortcoming you’d like the TTC and the City to address on transit?
I was just thinking about this today actually. I bought a Metropass for the next month today, and I was thinking it would be really nice if there was a more generous grace period because I can only use the pass now until October, which is in two days. And I think it would be more reasonable if the grace period started at the 26th and went longer—especially being somebody that always buys a Metropass, and they’re kind of pricey now.

How would you address this shortcoming?
Increase the grace period from the 26th of the month to maybe the 3rd of the month.

Would you support new revenue tools, like a one per cent sales tax or a commercial parking levy, to help fund transit?
Anything to support the system. So many people come to Toronto, and it’s growing by the second. And public transit is necessary, so anything for the public. I’ll agree with it.

Eden Moon

Eden Moon

What’s a shortcoming you’d like the TTC and the City to address on transit?
A shortcoming that I’d like to address would be possible space in the actual vehicle, either the train or bus, whatever you’re taking. I think space is a huge, major key–I definitely think I’d address that.

How would you address this shortcoming?
Maybe by looking at different sized vehicles, bigger buses, or even just simply adding an extra train under the TTC to give it more space.

Would you support new revenue tools, like a one per cent sales tax or a commercial parking levy, to help fund transit?
Yes, I think so. Not for any particular reason, maybe just to get it done and fixed faster.

Nezar Assawiel

What’s a shortcoming you’d like the TTC and the City to address on transit?
They can address the tickets so that a one-way trip ticket can last longer. For example, in Ottawa it expires after around 90 minutes instead of only going for one trip–that’s something they can look at to optimize.

Would you support new revenue tools, like a one per cent sales tax or a commercial parking levy, to help fund transit?
Probably, but I’d prefer if they can find some funding in another way. The taxes are high already, and there’s a lot of misuse of funding around the city. So if they can, tackle that issue and find a better way to optimize their funding allocation between different ministries or projects.

Jordana Cowitz

Jordana Cowitz

What’s a shortcoming you’d like the TTC and the City to address on transit?
That announcement I think is really annoying. The one where they talk about the delay. What is it, do they say? When they say, “Attention all passengers, there’s a delay.” You know what I’m talking about? They play it like every day. Every day, and I’m just like, why is there a problem every day that there has to be a delay? Or there’s an emergency alarm pulled every single day. There’s always something, and I just want transit that’s reliable.

How would you address this shortcoming?
I don’t know if they do work at night, but I feel like that would save a lot of trouble with things happening during the day when people are using transit. If they have to fix something, fix it overnight so they don’t have to inconvenience people.

Would you support new revenue tools, like a one per cent sales tax or a commercial parking levy, to help fund transit?
I would say if it actually makes transit reliable, then yes, but if they increase it and it’s just garbage, then what’s the point?

Jennifer Venalainen

Jennifer Venalainen

What’s a shortcoming you’d like the TTC and the City to address on transit?
I think that there are improvements in coordination that can be made. For example, just recently I got on not the most popular entrance to a subway station, and I didn’t know that the subway was stopping at Osgoode and not going all the way down to Union Station. So I was surprised there wasn’t signage at both entrances to the subway. Then, today on College, there was a streetcar and a bus running parallel the entire way down the street and both were taking passengers, and it didn’t seem totally coordinated. I didn’t know why they were both there.

How would you address this shortcoming?
To deal with all the construction in this city there needs to be a lot of planning ahead and coordination amongst different aspects of city departments in order to address how the TTC manages to deal with those blockages that they have from construction—that’s what I anticipate the problem was today—and just to communicate consistently. The TTC has really shitty branding. Oh, I shouldn’t say shitty. (laughs) Their branding is inconsistent, especially when there’s some sort of interruption to servicing; it’s really difficult to navigate visually—where am I supposed to go? Where are the disruptions? And one info person isn’t really dealing with the situation. There needs to be more signage consistently around the station.

Would you support new revenue tools, like a one per cent sales tax or a commercial parking levy, to help fund transit?
I drive as well as take transit, and if you are able to afford to drive a car in the city of Toronto, then it’s appropriate to be supporting the transit system. It’s integral to our city no matter how you want to get around, and so I would support that type of fee increase or what have you.

Roger Ho Ping King

Roger Ho Ping King

What’s a shortcoming you’d like the TTC and the City to address on transit?
One of the shortcomings of the TTC that I would like addressed would be a better way to deal with shutdowns of the University subway line downtown. I live downtown and I mostly just stay downtown, but when I’m not walking you don’t have very many options when they close the line. They’ve got shuttle buses, but sometimes you’re waiting 45 minutes or an hour for a shuttle bus, and I’d rather just walk an hour than wait half an hour to get the bus.

How would you address this shortcoming?
I’m not sure how they can rectify it because they have to do maintenance, so I don’t have a good answer for that.

Would you support new revenue tools, like a one per cent sales tax or a commercial parking levy, to help fund transit?
I’m also a driver, so I wouldn’t necessarily want to be taxed more because I’m a driver, but one thing I think they could do is make sure that people are paying their fares when they enter. I notice, coming onto a streetcar or a bus, people are just walking on and they might have passes and they might be willing to pay, but sometimes you don’t see people making an effort to and they’re getting a free ride and it’s costing everyone. And now they’re talking about having to increase fares to deal with maintenance and other kinds of issues, so we’re losing money from people not paying.

Photos by Roxy Kirshenbaum.

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