Saturday, October 27, 2007

Keeping the TTC in Toronto's Hands

The Star has an editorial today that suggests that it may not be so bad to have the province (in the form of the Greater Toronto Transportation Authority) take over the TTC. They appear to praise local control and then turn around and say this:
"The TTC's celebrated "intimacy" with people making local demands might not always prove beneficial. Parochial pressures could well result in misguided transit decisions that benefit a loud and local few at the expense of many more transit riders. Such inefficiency only causes gridlock to worsen and service to others to be adversely affected."
Unfortunately parochial pressures could still apply to a region-wide system. I suspect that the term "parochial pressures" is probably a veiled reference to Mel Lastman's ability to force through a truncated Sheppard Subway. The problem with a regional board on which Toronto has a minority of votes is that the area over which some politician could place a pet project is ever expanded. Under regional control would the TTC have to compete for funds with ever local bus service in outlying areas of York Region or Peel or Durham? By placing all tranist under regional control we surely run the risk of simply encouraging sprawl by creating a transit system that is designed to serve such sprawl. I have no idea why a region-wide body would be less parochial.

There are however legitimate concerns raised in editorial such as connections between the various transit systems currently in operation. Buying multiple types of tickets and trying to go from transit system to another can be annoying. That said what the GTTA ought to do is create some sort of region-wide fare system as well as a package of incentives for those transit systems that participate. This would address the major concerns of many commuters while avoiding a drastic and unnecessary experiment in transit management.

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