In a move that benefits no one and screws us all over, the Toronto Transit Commission decided last Friday to reduce its 2012 budget by 10% - doing exactly as Mayor Ford
I'm not sure how this is even possible, considering that overcrowding on TTC vehicles is already a huge problem, but apparently 50 routes will see reductions in frequency during the morning and afternoon rush. I guess cutbacks on 60 off-peak routes don't seem so bad in comparison? But that's absurd, because any further decline in service is outrageous, no matter the time of day. Just last week I was on a streetcar that refused to pick up any more passengers because it was full... at 2:00 in the afternoon. WTF!?
In terms of cutting staff, the picture turns from bleak into cruel: today, 251 non-unionized employees will be laid off. In other words, for hundreds or thousands of TTC staff, this weekend was one of stress, uncertainty, and anxiety, wondering if they'd be the ones to find out today that they are no longer needed. And it's not like those who still have a job to come to tomorrow will feel relief: in total, 1,000 jobs will eventually be cut. I can't even begin to imagine what it must feel like to worry every day that you might be let go, let alone not know when it could happen.
Transit users can take small comfort in the fact that fares won't go up until the new year, and when they do, the increase will only amount to ten cents per ride - that's much less than the 25-cent hike we experienced in January 2010. Except... we're going to be paying more for less. Something about this math doesn't add up. And it's not just the math, it's the reality that everybody loses. In fact, I anticipate that stress levels will go up astronomically. Think about it: TTC users will loathe the longer wait times and more crowded vehicles, drivers and cyclists will hate how many more cars will be on the road, and those of us lucky enough to be able to walk to work? We'll arrive at the office in time to greet our irate colleagues ranting about how bad their commute was. Oh joy.
Since there is no silver lining to this bad news, I will say this: Thomas Fuller wrote that abused patience turns to fury, and it is fury that we need to motivate us to stand up against this injustice. So go ahead, be impatient, get angry, organize, and then take action!
Photo of TTC logo used under Creative Commons from Neal Jennings (Sweet One/flickr).
Photo of Dundas West station used under Creative Commons from Andrew Goloida (theapoc/flickr).
Photo of Bloor/Yonge station used under Creative Commons from Jamaalism (flickr).