When is it acceptable to delay someone's commute?

I always marvel at how it’s okay for non-car commuters to suffer “minimal impact” to their travel times, but if a car commuter suffers the same “minimal impact,” everyone screams like it’s the end of the world.

I believe that the language people use says a lot about their beliefs and intentions, so I find it interesting that someone like Rob Ford, in the two quotes linked above, basically sits on opposite sides of the congestion fence at the same time. In defending TTC cuts (or as he calls them, “service level modifications”), he co-opts the reasoning of cycling advocates who defend bike lanes, saying that a few extra seconds of waiting isn’t a big deal. But in his case, he’s applying it to transit riders instead of drivers. It’s a perfect example of windshield perspective: delaying my commute by a few seconds is a travesty; but it’s okay if it happens to those other people. All those buses and bikes just get in my way anyway.

My guess is that Ford will always rail against congestion while simultaneously taking actions that will only make it worse, all in the vain pursuit of saving a few seconds and/or dollars. The only question is how long this council will let him get away with it.

3 Replies to “When is it acceptable to delay someone's commute?”

  1. My guess is that where the TTC is concerned this council will let him get away with it until there is enough of a drop in ridership to make them wince. I live on Broadview just below the subway and take the 504 to work in the winter (I ride my bike from May to October). This line, which goes along King to the far west end, has to be one of the worst in the city, with long wait times after 7 p.m. (up to 20 mins.) and every second or third car a short turn — and it’s on the list of routes to be trimmed. My creaky bones don’t take well to biking in winter, but I can walk.

    1. The thing is, I believe that Rob Ford and his ilk would love to see TTC ridership tank: it would lower the cost to the city and allow them to sell off a few buses and streetcars to make a quick buck. Yes, it would be disastrous in the long term (even in the short term), but that doesn’t matter when your only measure of success is lowering the cost on the books year-over-year. And when it makes congestion worse, well, that’s just one more reason to pave a few more roads and highways. Because you know, getting everyone into a car is the solution to congestion.

  2. Val. I think the current crop at City Hall would be happiest if some private enterprise came in and took over the whole transit shooting match and they could wash their hands of it completely. Ford and his gang have a crush on the idea of private companies providing public services that’s a bit unseemly, in my view. They forget that City Hall still has to write the cheque. And the “most competitive” (read lowest) bid is just that for a reason.

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