Today I will narrow my usual global scope to my city of residence: Toronto. As those of you who live here know, our beloved public transportation has been dying a slow death in the past several years. Service has gotten worse, buses and subways more crowded, fares far more costly. I am a die-hard anti-car person, and yet... and yet... lately I've been getting fed up with the TTC ("The Bitter Way"), which as they say, should stand or Take The Car. And now, faced with an ever-worsening budget disaster, the city proposes insane service cuts. Yes, insane. Don't believe me, read about it here, or just look at this map of the proposed cuts.
Oh how far we've come since our naive and hopeful discussions of this
I won't go into the details of the terrible things that will befall our city if the proposed cuts happen, but consider the congestion now, and then consider it if even 25% more cars were on the road. Those who choose the TTC for their daily commute will simply go back to their cars, because what middle income earner in her right mind would sardine herself with strangers for half an hour twice a day when there's a comfortable air conditioned car ride as an alternative - especially when the sardine rides cost her 50 cents more each day. Those who have no choice but to take the TTC, predominantly school children, poor people, carless people, the elderly, and students, will be screwed. Having no alternative, they will pony up the extra money. For middle class college students, perhaps it means a little less beer or coffee, but for many of the city's poor, it means a little less food in the tummy. This is outrageous in a city with so much wealth.
Although I believe the TTC needs increased public funding, if we must pay higher fares, it is preferable to service cuts. I propose along with the higher fares, a system of subsidized passes and tokens for those of low income. At minimum, the tax credit for bus passes should be refundable, since right now many of those who need it most don't even make enough money to use the credit.
Anyways, the TTC cannot cut service without public consultation, so they have devised a meagre and pitiful survey. However, if you live in Toronto, it is important you take this survey. Fill in the comments, since that is the only real forum to express your opinion.
When you are done, check out this much improved survey at Torontoist.