With Metro reporting Thursday that the TTC will once again be hiking fares come the new year, we got together to think of some ways the TTC could justify increased costs-and make commuting less of a chore.
1. Better integration with Metrolinx’s GO Transit system, particularly when it comes to train scheduling. A common complaint is that for trains to places like Milton, it is altogether too easy to be either five minutes late or thirty minutes early to one’s destination, with no in between with trains only running every half hour.
2. Create schedules that have some semblence of being based in reality. It’s lovely that many stations now have large LCD screens that display when busses are scheduled to roll into the station. Now, if only those times aligned whatsoever with the empty bus bays just beyond them. We have all looked in fury at a schedule at 8am that clearly stated the bus was due at 8:15, only to stand until 8:45 for a bus that could generously be described as “intimate”. Or, worse still, standing on the other side of the street as three empty busses fly past, only to spend what feels like an eternity for the only other bus on the route to show up.
3. Decrease the length of time between trains so us lowly mortals have a shot in hell at getting on the train during rush hour. We know, we know, the TTC is doing “signal upgrades”-but those upgrades have been happening for years now to little noticeable effect, at the expense of service during evening hours, which impacts those of us who work late shifts and then face the vomit comet of a shuttle bus that is somehow supposed to be a replacement for the closed subway. It’s like paying to see a film with actors only to find yourself spending three hours watch Channing Tatum stuggle to string together two-syllable words. Which brings us to our next point…
4. Increase off-peak service. The people who work 9-5 jobs may moan about the crowds on the subway…but at least they have a subway during the hours they work. Working a Sunday shift downtown? Pray it’s after ten, because the subway won’t be open until 9-and with delays, you aren’t even likely to make THAT shift, either. With all the shouting down at City Hall about Uber, it is shocking nobody has considered an obvious alternative: open the subways past their current timeframe to make it a realistic alternative.
5. For the sake of our collective sanity, have in-station screens display relevant information. It is lovely to stand at Dundas Station and watch 17 ads in a row about TV shows the commute will make us miss, lottery draws we’re more likely to win than have a perfect day on the TTC, and various other nonsense. However, how brilliant would it be if instead of a constant “N/A” for “next train”, there were something like, say, a live twitter feed from @TTCNotices. Because it’s difficult to read those tweets when you’re trapped underground without service. Bonus points: Put those screens and feeds inside the trains as well so those 20-minute delays between York Mills and Lawrence Stations due to rabid antelope pressing against the emergency alarm strips are at least a tad less rage-hernia inducing.