After a few months of taking the TTC, I can confidently say that I understand why people drive to work.
Let me list a few experiences (that I know others share).
1. South-bound Yonge Subway at Rush Hour
("Getting farther with others than you usually do on a first date")
I get on at Lawrence, which isn't too bad. Train is probably almost full, but there is still a bit of room here and there to stand. Train departs Lawrence...then proceeds to move at "walking speed" with frequent near-stops all the way down to Eglinton. Eglinton is the first station where people are left waiting for the next train...unless they decide to push in. Recently, one lady said "F@#$ it" and shoved in without much room. This only encouraged others to do the same - in some sort of "No Passenger Left Behind" moment. It felt like those Japan videos, minus the people on the outside helping to shove more people in.
2. TTC Workers Getting Paid to Socialize
("Chillin' with my homies")
Alright, you've all seen them. In a solution designed sometime in the 70's, the TTC has put a bunch of workers throughout the Bloor/Yonge station. What are they doing? Socializing with each other. I need to take a photo of this - really feels like my tax dollars are working hard. I know they are there with the idea of passenger safety and to guide traffic - but this is the wrong solution to a larger problem.
3. Streetcar Drivers Filling out Paperwork while Driving
("Multi-tasking at it's best")
This was hilarious - I pulled the line for the streetcar to stop, and the driver kept on going. I was at the back of the longer streetcar, so I had to get up front, and he completely ignored me. He kept filling out his paperwork, and stopped at the next stop (3 stops later) without looking up or any other form of acknowledgement. After I got off, I realized this was a clear case for taking a photo.
4. Solution? Extend Lines Further North!
("So which Councillor owns a condo development company building in Vaughn?")
Extend the Spadina line further north! Vaughn People - come enjoy the Subway at rush hour!
Sheppard extensions!! Awesome - more people connected to the city!
Wait. What does this do to solve passenger congestion getting to the core? Oh, it doesn't solve it, it makes it worse.
We have new trains offering 10% more capacity, and the ability to move around. Potentially a new signalling system. Eglinton LRT from Black Creek to Kennedy (which may only make the rush-hour-into-the-core issue worse, we'll see). (Link)
Wait - where is the solution? Oh yeah - if you work downtown, drive.