Armchair Transportation Authority

Guest Commentary – 2005

Rancid Transit System

Congratulations to the TranStink Dictators who travel to Europe to study transit systems.  I’m sure they will enjoy the free vacation. Why don’t they check out the Toronto Transit System that has maintained 75% ridership for decades, all they need to do is try our local transit system to find how not to run a system.

After fifty years their trolley busses are so old they belong in the Antiques Road Show. Being in the same vintage as our ever malfunctioning and constantly crashing Sea King helicopters, these dinosaurs run at maximum bicycle speed, creep around corners as they slowly lumber along from block to block. They run on long convoluted routs in heavy traffic that crawls along. They keep loosing their antenna off the overhead cable tram system (technology that dates back over a century) and tying up traffic causing more delays and long waits for passengers until two or three arrive at a time. One wonders about their service record when their brakes scream like dinosaurs in great pain at every stop. The new trolley buses that are due to go into service in 2005 will at lest be a cosmetic improvement.

TranStink spent 25 million dollars on the 98B-line screwing up traffic lanes the traffic lights and installing flower boxes down the middle of Number Three Road in Richmond to improve transit. They bought hundred passenger articulated buses that come factory equipped with standing room only. They are as uncomfortable to ride in as the back of a dump truck, they race from stop to stop by stomping on the gas and the brakes while pounding over poor pavement and lurching from side to side to maneuver through traffic. They could do well as a gut wrenching PNE joyride. They also come equipped with air conditioning as standard equipment, but TranStink in their great wisdom “to improve transit”, remove them because they can’t afford to use them, so on hot summer days they turn into sweat boxes that amplify the heat. The tiny peephole windows are inadequate to help cool and ventilate the buses. In the summertime they get as hot as a new-used Canadian submarine when they turn into an unbearable oven-like temperature steam bath environment. Meanwhile the media publish stories and warnings about not leaving kids and pets in hot vehicles, because it’s risky and inhumane.

Skytrain is a monument to corporate greed and government waste with TranStink dysfunction working together to provide the ultimate in expensive, inefficient transportation, suspending a heavy weight railway train in the sky (or burring it underground) to accommodate ground traffic causes an exponential increase in cost and inconvenience to users. The seats in SkyTrain cars look great but are painfully uncomfortable to sit on stainless steel because the upholstery is only a couple millimetres thick. They are no improvement over the hard-ass oak wooden seats used in the steam powered passenger trains that our ancestors rode on back in the pioneer days, proving that our transportation technology hasn’t really improved a bit in over a hundred years. At two million dollars a car you’d think they could at least afford to pick-up some comfortable IKEA seats.

The old bus shelters may have looked like hell but were relatively functional compared to the new ones that probably looked like a crystal palace in the brochure but provide little protection from the sun, rain, or wind in reality and serve only as street art and advertising space. The upside down roof, gaps in the glass structure, and lack of system maps make them nearly useless not to mention the comfort-proof benches that are self-cleaning in wind driven rain. The shelters serve best as advertising space.

Ironically the greatest achievement of TranStink is not providing transportation but promoting more advanced cars, minivans, and SUV’s that come equipped with soft comfortable seats, air conditioning, or at least real windows, also a comfort oriented suspension system as proven in GM’s “creeps & weirdos” ad for the Chevrolet Cavalier. Who wouldn’t give up public transit for a convenient, efficient travel time with no waiting or delays (except in ever increasing traffic congestion). TranStink needs to run special promotions to make it sound so great claiming 11% ridership when Toronto has always made public transit the priority over “personal transportation”?

Perhaps TranStink dictators who have never used public transit in their lifetime should be left waiting outdoors, in all weather, for long periods of time. They should furnish their offices with SkyTrain seats, and turn off their air-conditioning, (to save money) to get a real feel for what they presently expect TranStink riders to experience. I can hardly wait to see what comfort and convenience TranStink is planning for our 2010 Olympics guests on their new RAV line.

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