AN OPEN LETTER TO TTC CHAIR, MARIA AUGIMERI
Dear Maria Augimeri:
Since you have recently become the interim chair of the Toronto Transit Commission, I would like to express some serious concerns to you. As a strong supporter of public transit and a long-time TTC commuter, I have to tell you that I have never been so frustrated with the system in my life. I travel on the TTC frequently and I use the monthly Metropass. If someone like me is so exasperated, how can the TTC expect to persuade car drivers to leave their vehicles at home and travel by public transit?
The delays and disruptions on the system are so numerous that I no longer find it reliable. When I have an important appointment, I can no longer be reasonably confident that I can arrive at my destination on time. I realize that some delays can not be avoided and that emergencies do happen. Unfortunately, TTC delays and shutdowns have been occurring far too frequently. It seems that most days, as I enter a subway station, I can hear a voice on the public address system informing riders of a disruption in service and apologizing for the inconvenience.
This winter, due to TTC delays, I was late for an important dentist appointment, a session with a student that I tutored and a hockey game for which I had tickets. I'm certain that many TTC patrons have had similar experiences. Why are there so many signal and mechanical problems? It has gotten to the point that I have to leave much earlier than necessary for an appointment in order to allow for a TTC delay.
Taking a shuttle bus during a delay can be a nightmare, especially when it's as cold as it has been this winter. I've found very little direction to the shuttle buses. People are confused as to where to board the shuttle buses and they often find themselves pushed and shoved in a crowded atmosphere. This kind of chaos is not acceptable.
Here are some other problems I would like to address:
As you are well aware, there is too much traffic at the Yonge/Bloor and St. George transfer stations. Something must be done to relieve the congestion at those two stations.
I am also very concerned about the amount of debris left by passengers on subways, buses and streetcars. Why is there so many food containers and so many newspapers left on TTC vehicles? I have not seen that amount of garbage when travelling by public transit in other cities. I slipped and almost fell while getting off a TTC bus once because there was a wet newspaper on the steps of the bus.
TTC fares are far to high, especially for low income people who depend on public transportation. In other jurisdictions in North America, provincial and state governments shoulder considerably more of the costs. Why is so much of the onus placed on passengers to support public transportation in Toronto? At $133.75 per month, the adult Metropass is not affordable to many in this city.
In your capacity as TTC chair, I hope you will actively address these problems. Thank you for your time and consideration. I am very concerned about the state of public transportation in my city.
Ms, Augimeri, if you reply to this letter, I promise that I will publish your response.