In defence of the TTC

I’m one of those people that tries to avoid arguments and heated discussions. I mean, they’re fun sometimes – pretty much when you try to trash my team in front of me. Like nope, only the fans themselves can trash their own team because they’re the ones who actually experience the pain when it happens, therefore they are allowed to trash their own team – but when it comes to netizen comments or social media comments in general, I try to avoid them. In fact, the last time I left a YouTube comment was a positive one.

But today, because of the TTC emergency shutdown during morning rush hour, I came across a friend’s Facebook post who shared a news article about the incident, and commented by saying that the TTC is trash and they’re not doing enough to become a better transit system.

Now look, I ride the TTC five days a week. My commute is 1.5 hours long. That’s 3 hours everyday. 3 hours that I could use more productively. So if I have the right to complain, I have it, but to say that the TTC hasn’t done anything to better themselves in the past few years is a lie.

So I left a comment on this friend’s post, and now I’m in this comment thread where we are both leaving paragraphs of arguments to backup our side of the story.

Yes, the TTC is a shitty transit system when compared to the London’s, the Hong Kong’s, the Seoul’s, and the Tokyo’s of the world. It’s one heck of a craptastic system. However, I just don’t think that you can say that they haven’t been doing anything. You can’t say that they haven’t implemented major changes in the past few years to better the system. Ever since Andy Byford came on board, I’m pretty sure most regular commuters have noticed differences.

Trains have been cleaner; TTC subway ticket booths have been cleaner; there are Q&A station assistants always ready to help; regular scheduled maintenance periods have been clearly communicated to riders; train delays are often with replacement buses than without; subway platforms are cleaner; there’s signage during scheduled maintenance periods; etcetera etcetera.

Ever since Byford has come on board, there has been a noticeable difference in the way things are communicated to us as passengers. We never had these things before. I’m not saying that things are ideal right now, and we should be complacent – obviously not – but I just think that with what TTC leadership works with on a daily basis, we should be more understanding and look at how things have changed so far.

Change isn’t instantaneous, and considering the lack of government funding the TTC gets, we need to be a little more patient with what we have. (But Toronto should seriously consider the real estate venture system that Hong Kong has in place. I mean, 20+ condo buildings are supposed to go up in Toronto in the next several years, so why are we not using them as they are using us? How else can we transport their x number of citizens from their newly built skyscrapers?)

Anyway. The TTC is shitty. We all get it. We all expect more. We all want more. Andy Byford knows this. But I think just complaining and ranting about the TTC without considering the full scope of things is a little unfair.

Let’s be a little patient, you guys. Change will come. It will happen. We just gotta keep expecting and pushing for these changes, so the people who have the power to make those changes don’t forget about us little people.

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I did an epic journey via Uber and train from Canary Wharf, London to Gatwick Airport with three massive luggages and one carry-on on my last morning in the UK. It took me three hours because I had to somehow get all three bags – two of them were overweight, one of which was 31kg – from the second floor of my apartment building to the @AirTransat airline counter. An airline counter that wasn't even in the same terminal as the train station I would be arriving in.⁣
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So, from second floor flat, to a 30+ minute Uber to Blackfriars, to the second floor of the Blackfriars train station (by lugging two bags 20 metres, then the other two 40 metres, repeat), to the Gatwick Airport train station, to getting an airport employee to find a trolley for me (by asking him nicely as I stood there waiting by my four bags because lol I'm not going to drag four bags across a busy airport terminal), to somehow pushing my trolley cart onto the inter-terminal train, to finally, reaching the airline counter of #AirTransat.⁣
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For three hours, from 6:30 AM, to when I finally had all my bags checked in at 9:15 AM, I was running on pure adrenaline. I don't even know how I was able to do it. I was like a bull on a mission, to get from point A to point B to point C etc. But what I also remember, was my body basically crashing into a damn near anxiety attack while at the counter. I was gulping for air, taking deep breaths, and trying to calm myself down. When I finally walked away from the airline counter, I nearly forgot my carry-on on the trolley, and when I finally had the chance to sit down, my hands were actually shaking. For all the times I've solo travelled around the world in the past year and a half, this has never happened to me before. That morning, I finally understood why airports need therapy dogs.⁣
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(Continued below...)
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