Wednesday, October 23, 2013

TTC money better spent elsewhere in the system

TORONTO - So to be clear, Yonge is Number 1 and Bloor Number 2?

Not the bathrooms.

Subway lines. The TTC’s Yonge Line and Bloor-Danforth Line to be precise.

Well, maybe for not much longer.

Seems some inside the TTC are short of stuff to do and have come up with a make-work project that should fill a few years and drain some more dollars, too.

Was this dreamed up by the same people who designed the new proposed TTC uniforms in the colours of the Montreal Canadiens?

Or the ones who were responsible for bringing the stolen weekend take to the armoured security company?

Just teasing.

While Toronto may not be getting more trains or subway lines anytime soon, the TTC will be testing a new numbers system to identify the underground transit lines.

Just what we need!

“Under the system, the Yonge-University-Spadina line would be renamed ‘1 Line,’ the Bloor-Danforth line would become the ‘2 Line,’ the Scarborough RT line would be called ‘3 Line’ and the Sheppard line would be ‘4 Line,’” writes Toronto Sun City all Bureau Chief Don “Pistol” Peat. “The numbering would continue as the city added more subway lines. The project would also include new signs and maps for the subway system.”

Not exactly romantic. Could be a train line anywhere.

It also sounds like the metric system — billions to install and enforce and everybody still talks in inches, feet and miles.

But perhaps the new TTC numbers will make Toronto’s oh-so-easy-to-navigate PATH system seem user friendly?

“It is a confusing method for people (now),” TTC Chair, Councillor Karen Stintz told Pistol of how the subway is now.

Really Karen?

“I had the benefit of being born and being raised in Toronto but that’s not everyone’s experience,” she said. “Being able to come to the city and quickly navigate the subway network and the TTC network I think is a benefit.”

How did people do it here for the past half century without this?

And if someone is lost, why not ask somebody rather than spend millions?

The early reviews on the subway itself were mixed.

“I think the numbers will make it more confusing,” said commuter Lorraine Chrischlow.

“It doesn’t matter to me either way,” said Mandy Liu, who says she knows her way to work.

“It’s such a big priority,” added Elena Markina. “I mean we only have 2 1/2 subway lines.”

She said she could see such an idea for the Moscow subway which she rode as a child.

“It goes everywhere,” she said. “It crisscrosses crosses and uses colours for the lines so people don’t get lost.”

Markina has never had that problem in Toronto.

However, Stephan Jackson, of Hamilton, said he would appreciate the number system: “People from out of town don’t always know the difference between Islington and Eglinton and a numbered system will help with that.”

TTC chief customer service officer Chris Upfold told Peat this will make the service better.

“This is actually about improving the number of people that can get through our stations quickly. We’re leaving money on the floor.”

Why not leave the money in taxpayers’ pockets?

What is this going to cost and will there soon be a fare increase as has been rumoured? Is frugal Mayor Rob Ford going to sign off on this as he scrounges for hundreds of millions to built a Scarborough subway line? Will it add to a tax increase?

So many questions.

Councillor Josh Matlow is concerned.

“A transit commission that is crying broke, hiking fares every year, supporting spending $1 billion on three stops in Scarborough, cutting bus service?” he said to Peat. “I don’t believe this is a priority.”

Don’t forget the unnecessary swelling to the $1-billion Union Station revitalization fiasco, too.

Maybe they could put a coat of paint on the Captain John’s boat in the harbour, too, and call it a Lake Ontario cruise ship?

Fresh paint and new signage doesn’t mean it’s so.

The TTC needs more trains and more train lines before it needs to play another unneeded, expensive numbers game.
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