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August 2008
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My Day in Transit

This summer my goal was to reduce the amount of driving I did and use public transportation (which for me to get to and from  work is a bus ride,  followed by a subway ride and another bus ride, unless my awesome boyfriend drops me off at the subway!) or ride my bicycle.   Yesterday ended up  as a transit neutral day and here’s why.

TTC drivers definitely do not have the easiest job in the world
While engulfed in my book yesterday (currently Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel) I noticed a small altercation at the front of the bus. The kind driver had allowed an elderly woman to get on the bus and sit down without paying first; protocol on the TTC is to pay and then move to your seat. He had asked her to get her fare ready and to pay as she exited the bus. As the woman prepared to exit the driver asked for the fare where the woman proceeded to yell at  the driver. Instead of causing more of a scene, and delaying other fellow riders, the driver simply let the woman off the bus without paying.

A more serious incident occured in Toronto yesterday and a driver was attacked with a hammer. The driver alledgedly ignored an individual’s stop request and proceeded to attack the driver. The story can be found here.

I had an appreciation for these drivers and what they have to endure each day.

I had a very different experience on the ride home.
I wanted my car! It was an extremely frustrating and long drive back towards the subway. The driver, who must have been trying to meet a schedule, kept waiting at various stops.   Not only did it inconvenience the passengers on the bus but it also inconvenienced surrounding drivers.

At one of our ‘pause’ locations the driver had pulled over into a shared right-hand turn and bus stop lane. The drivers behind the bus, now trapped, had no idea that the bus would wait here until ready to go. And other drivers then proceeded to make the turn from the middle lane, to avoid being delayed by the bus. Another incident occured when the bus decided to ‘pause’ again in a general purpose lane. It was rush hour and the bus was blocking traffic in the right lane. Towards the end of our journey we came across some major congestion so were late anyways in getting to connecting subway!

On a bus that is considered frequent service on the TTC, one might think that it could just continue towards its destination.

I guess in the end the two balance each other out. Unfortunately for  some  having one negative incident may make the difference, the individual may revert back to using their personal auto. I won’t give up on Transit, I’m trying to make my difference, but those days it frustrates me!

Here’s to many more days on the bus with a good book (and please send me any good book recommendations)


Comment from Adron
Time August 22, 2008 at 5:29 am

A: Interesting book. I read it, dug it, still own it (and reference it sometimes).
B: Congrats on mostly going car free.
C: …and people say America is violent – it’s all about the specific communities, I hate the falsity that “Americans” are more violent. I mean jeez, hammers, knives, etc… just crazy. Usually the drivers have no way, no right, nor a legal opportunity to actually defend themselves either, which makes it even more f-ed.
D: I would not let some dummy hit my bus drivers… and I’ve stopped conflict like that before. Completely unacceptable.

…again though, good book and congrats on mostly getting rid of the car. :)