The Downside of Bicycle and Transit City

During the warm summer months it was easy for Miller to advocate a Bicycle city.  Many Torontonians were pointing out that bicycles aren’t a practical way to run a city.  Miller and his bicyclists supporters were ignoring that feedback.

So what do we have to show for it this year?  Yesterday’s snow storm shows that bicycles are useless in the snow. But, it also shows how bicycles have been abandoned and in the process are blocking designated handi-capped spots.  In fact, this is an example of how bicycles are hurting traffic and accessibility not helping it.

Where have the riders gone?  They’re taking the TTC or hitching rides with car drivers of course.  Where do you think they’re going?  If it weren’t for the drivers during this storm and reaching out to those without cars, many people wouldn’t have been able to get home, at least not without walking in the snow for hours.

Then there is the whole situation with the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) and its drivers.  Based on 2011 numbers to date, you are more likely to die by being hit by a bus than you are by being hit by a car in Toronto.  If you consider the TTC as a community on its own, it’s driver’s probably have the highest accident rate. 

I seriously wonder what is going on with the TTC drivers.  In the past there is a track record of TTC driver’s being rude to passengers, but I don’t recall a time where it seemed that they were launching what could be a gang war on Torontonians.  What I mean by this is that if cab drivers from a certain taxi company were to have these kinds of numbers, the police would be all over them investigating and trying to figure what’s going on.  What are the consequences to the TTC drivers?

In the past we’ve seen TTC employees sleeping on the job, accused of being drunk or on drugs, even texting while driving a bus.  But, I have never seen such a horrible track record whereby pedestrians have been killed in different accidents in such a short period of time.  There have been incidences such as the 1995 subway crash that was brutal (check it out on YouTube) and in which cause was suspisciously not determined.  This year’s numbers seem like a systematic consequence.

The sad thing is that ex-Toronto Mayor Miller had rewarded these drivers with significant pay increases and unionized benefits that are unheard of in private companies.  I find it difficult to take the bus knowing that the bus driver may only have a grade 12 education (if they were even educated in Canada), making more money than me and able at any moment to run over someone on the street that I may know.

Maybe we should privatize the TTC and get rid of the union.