Falling onto the Tracks at Union…Almost

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While waiting for the Yonge subway last week, a reader said he watched “an elderly woman stumble on an uneven part of the platform and come unbelievably close to tumbling onto the tracks.”

Union and Yonge stations are the most dangerous ones on the line, I’d hazard a guess, because their platforms are way too small for the numbers of people that now crowd onto them. They were built decades ago for a smaller city, a smaller population. This city council likes to trumpet being green; but instead of practical solutions that will ensure greater safety and greater use of a technology or service that already reduces CO and CO2 emissions, they gallop after ideological ideas that just makes our lives more of a headache.

Apparently New York is one of the most green cities per capita. That’s because it has an extensive subway system as well as comprehensive bus service and wheelchair accessible buses. We don’t. After several cuts and fare hikes, our bus service is inadequate to our needs, even in spite of some reinstatements. Decades after New York bought and started using accessible buses, we’re just getting them, and many bus drivers still haven’t figured out how to press that down button so that users infirm and with strollers can get on. I have no idea if people in wheelchairs can get on. Our drivers have even forgotten how to use their vocal chords, so instead of spending the money on widening the platforms at Union and Yonge, something that was needed to be done yesterday, they’re spending it on vocal chord replacement technology. Not only does it signal the fact that we have bus drivers hostile to their customers and too lazy to aspire to doing a good job (unlike their predecessors), and not only does it signal the fact that clearly management has no control over the unionized workers (which really means customer complaints mean SFA), it also breaks the connection between driver and customers. No longer do we get to hear the cheery subway driver call out the stops, or the chatty bus driver add a little extra to stop announcements. Even listening to a clearly peeved driver is more interesting as one can fill the time by speculating what ticked him off. Now it’s the mechanical female voice. Oh well, at least we can hear her.

The TTC used to be a good system for this city. But when an elderly woman almost falls on the tracks, I think we can safely say it’s past its best before date.

2 Comments so far

  1. alden (unregistered) on December 7th, 2007 @ 2:14 pm

    yea, when i was in NYC earlier in the year I was in awe when I rode their subway system. It looks very old but everything seemed so much better. Looks like our system is on the express bus to outdated station.

  2. talk talk talk (unregistered) on December 7th, 2007 @ 2:21 pm

    What I really liked is that they have express trains and regular trains. Can you imagine having an express train from Eglinton to Bloor station, or Union to Bloor or St. George to Queen’s Park? Why was a system older than ours designed better for fast transportation, and why do we think we don’t deserve more subways, ESPECIALLY along the Queen Street corridor, the best one that meets all the user and population criteria to build a subway, and then some? Express bus to outdated station is right!

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