Category Archives: Public Transportation

Only Child does stay vacations

Sailboats at Toronto Harbourfront Centre on Lake Ontario

Sailboats at Toronto Harbourfront Centre on Lake Ontario

When I was a child, my mom and I used to travel around Toronto by public transit (TTC) – buses, streetcars, and then the subway when the first line was opened. Some TTC galavanting was for shopping but Mom picked good and interesting areas, such as the Danforth, which had the big “dime stores” as they were called. You know Kresge’s, The Met and Woolworth’s. Yes, that’s dating me, but it was an adventure to go into all three stores before Easter to get that Easter hat. And stopping at the restaurant counters at The Met for a hot dog and ice cream was a treat. We also stopped in butcher shops and greengrocers. Sadly, the “dime stores” are all gone although Woolworth’s upgrade Wal-Mart is still around, in malls. And “dime stores” would never fly in these expensive times. Instead we have the Dollarama and Dollar Tree chains – which I actually like. They are the 21st. century’s Kresge’s and Met.

Mom also took me to places like the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) and to visit family and friends.

So, recalling all the above, and for the sake of my almost empty wallet, I’ve decided I’m doing a lot of visiting local touristy sites in Toronto, the free ones. Sure, I still hope to do my annual visit to my cousins in southwestern Ontario, but there is still the rest of the summer.

Besides my once or twice a week trip down to the Danforth for groceries, I also head for some of the events there, such as Taste of the Danforth – a celebration of food (yes, I’m a foodie), not just Greek in this Greek area of Toronto, but Italian and Asian. The nearby park, Withrow Park has several weekly evening events such as a Farmer’s Market and Shakespeare in the Park.

On Sunday I headed down to Toronto Harbourfront Centre on the shores of Lake Ontario. Since the street has been made more pedestrian, cyclist and streetcar friendly, it is easier to get around and also looks better. The Car doesn’t rule here anymore as cars are confined to two lanes. In fact all the traffic – pedestrian, cyclist, streetcars and cars – have their own lanes. There is also art in two buildings, although the outdoor art seems to be missing this year, a boardwalk to walk along the lake, lots of boats and ships – some you can book rides on. If and when I can afford it I’d like to take a two-hour tour on the Tall Ships.

Each summer and early fall weekend, Harbourfront has a theme and the foods and music are tied into that. Last weekend it was Latin music. And there are craft booths, two stages, grass (the fake type, which might be a blessing in this summer’s drought-ridden Toronto), and some restaurants. One building which used to have two or three restaurants and several small shops is now down to one restaurant – a pub and grill – and the Sobey’s grocery market (now expanded) on the main floor. It looks like the rest is being renovated but gone is my favourite – Tilly’s – you know the company known for travel clothes, especially the Tilly hat. The beaches are clean of mess and overcrowding. And it is fun to sit on a bench along the boardwalk and people watch.

But  my favourite part of Harbourfront is the Toronto Music Garden. Every other Sunday at 4 p.m. and one evening a week, classical music is presented by various musicians from all over. It is relaxing to sit on the grass steps (real grass here) or benches and listen and watch. And just walking through the other parts of the garden and looking at the flowers is amazing. I spent a lot of time trying to take photos of bees landing on the echinaccea.

Perhaps the highlight of this afternoon was helping a family from Cincinnati find what they were looking for. I was walking from Union Station (where I exited the subway and I prefer to walk from there than take the streetcar – the lineups are too long) to Harbourfront and waiting for the light to change when I heard a woman from behind call out something about needing direction “Any locals?”

I turned around and went up to them and started chatting with the woman. She had her smart phone out and said there was supposed to be an LCBO Market on the corner here. After I found out from her that she wasn’t looking for a Farmer’s Market (there are lots of those around closeby), but that she meant an actual store, I explained that the LCBO is the Liquor Store outlet but there was a Sobey’s Grocery right just down the street in Harbourfront.

“I’ll walk with you as I’m going that way, too,” I said.

She introduced me to her husband and their two daughter and we all shook hands.

We asked each other questions such as how long had I lived in Toronto and how long were they here for holidays. They asked about Casa Loma and I told them how to get there and also mentioned another historical place, a house set up in the early 1900s, Spadina House, just across the street from Casa Loma. When we arrived at the corner with Sobey’s, she said, “That’s the place.”

I looked at the sign: “Sobey’s Urban Market.”

We parted ways at Sobey’s, but it was good to help someone to find their way – literally. As I did explain – I get lost too.

Afterwards I thought of so many other places they could look into and the dine Toronto  blog for restaurants that are rated.

One of those slapping your head for forgetting situations.

But, I’ll be going to some of the places I wanted to tell this Cincinnati family about.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

Part of the Toronto Music Garden including some echinaccea

Part of the Toronto Music Garden including some Black-eyed Susans and Lavender

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Filed under 1950s, Cities, Getting lost, Helping Others, Holiday Travel, Holidays, Mother and Child, Only child, Public Transportation, The Danforth

Only Child warns transit riders to mind their manners

Toronto transit streetcar

Toronto transit streetcar

I am quite vocal on the problems and mistakes with public transit, particularly Toronto Transit, known as the TTC. In pointing fingers at everyone from TTC management to drivers, we tend to forget ourselves, the passengers.

We have our faults when travelling public transit and a few of them that cause other passengers grief need to be addressed. So, here in no order of importance are the biggest offenders and offences of TTC riders that I see in my many travels on public transit.

  1.  Blocking the exit doors inside the subway when you are not getting off at the next stop. Many passengers seem to think they own the doorway and stand around yakking, using their smart phones for anything but phoning. The majority don’t move their butts when the train arrives in a station and the doors open. That leaves the rest of us having no choice but to push our way on or off, often stepping accidentally on toes. Would it really hurt to move in (unless it is sardine-crowded in rush hour) or at least go to the doorways on the opposite side of the car which is not being used at the time?
  2. There is much concern with people using their devices to text, etc. when driving or walking along the street. But a few jerks have the nerve to block the subway stairwells to text because they are too lazy to move a few feet off the stairs. I know they are trying to catch the reception, but standing at the top, bottom,  or midway on the steps by the railing is not only bad manners but unsafe for those of us who have to hang onto railings to go up and down stairs. I usually use my outside voice to tell these clowns (and this is an insult to clowns) that they are blocking the way and I need to use the railing. One a****** had the nerve to tell me to use the other railing on the other side of the stairs. I snapped back “that’s for people coming up the stairs.” He moved. Some people may be tempted to give these device addicts a shove, but more to the point, in busy rush hour with everyone hurrying, someone might just accidentally careen into the device addict.
  3. This one is more for bus and streetcar passengers. Those oversized baby buggies with the widely-placed wheels. Yes, I know parents have to get their babies and toddlers around. But some think they own the whole aisle at the front of the bus so just park their buggy anywhere there. Sometime they stand with it. Sometimes they sit in one of the front side seats. But do they have to take up all three seats with their carriage and themselves? Or worse – straddle the carriage to the first window seat, effectively locking in whomever is sitting there. One of the worse scenarios occurred on a bus I travelled on and to me it was a clear case of ageism. A senior with a walker got on right after me and she stopped near the front of the bus, but to the side as best she could, considering Mrs. Entitlement Parent was blocking most of the aisle-way before her with her monster baby buggy at the front. You can imagine the difficulty people had getting on and off. But there was worse. Mrs. Entitlement Parent wanted to get off at a stop and insisted the old lady with the walker get off the bus so she could do so. Now, if Mrs. EP had moved further in, she could have exited via the back door. The buses we’ve had since 2004 in Toronto have the wide exits with no stairs and the doors push open to the outside. Note: a few parents are considerate – move their baby buggies in well enough for people to get by and also use the back exit. A few have even pushed the side seats up and stood with the buggy there. Not Mrs. EP. And the driver didn’t even say anything to her. But I did. The lady sitting in front of me turned around and asked “Aren’t you afraid of repercussions?” I replied, “I’m too old to care.”
  4. People who park their bags on the seat beside them. And I have been guilty of this one a few times, so a bit of mea culpa here. Suffice to say, if you are carrying a lot of bags, try to place them on your lap, on the floor by your feet (I put an extra bag on the floor between my feet to avoid people tripping over feet and or bag), or on that shelf at the front of the bus just inside the front door. It does get tricky with suitcases but it can be done. Yesterday on the bus there were two ladies with huge suitcases, but they managed to each put their suitcase, standing up,  in front of them on the floor  – and they only took up two seats in the three-seater side seats
  5. So, for the last one, to all passengers. Think before you plunk yourself on public transit. It is public transit you are travelling on, not in your own private vehicle.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Only child, Public Transportation, Toronto public transit

Only Child says TTC transit Toronto not the better way

Only Child complates Toronto transit snafus

Only Child contemplates Toronto transit snafus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The TTC, Toronto’s public transit system is embarking on many renovations, fixes and upgrades – both on subway lines, streetcar lines (read tracks and signals for these two) and subway stations. It is the latter that is causing me and many others grief. I agree that the upgrades, etc. are necessary. However, the way some are being mishandled with no concern for us the passengers, is what makes me very angry.

One example is the closure of bus platforms simultaneously at two subway stations for over a year – the Coxwell station and Woodbine station. On October 6, 2015 I wrote and mailed a letter of complaint and concern to the TTC head honcho, Andy Byford. Had to send it by regular mail to head office as I couldn’t find an email address for him. So far I have heard nothing back from him and Mr. Byford professes to be very pro customer service, including getting right on the subway and doing interviews right after problems surface. Not this issue – right now he seems more concerned with the mold and peeling ceilings at TTC headquarters.

Since writing my letter I have changed my mind about the new Woodbine station setup. The buses park and pick up passengers just around the corner (and I do mean almost at the corner) from the subway station. So passengers have what you would call a hop, skip and a jump to get from the subway station to board one of two buses and vice-versa. There are also two temporary shelters at the temporary bus “platform” which work well so far. Not so with the Coxwell station. Here are some excerpts from my letter to Mr. Andy Byford, which highlight these concerns.

The planned Coxwell Station setup is even worse – the stop right at the southeast corner of Coxwell Ave. and Danforth Avenue. The diagram from the June 23, 2015 presentation isn’t too clear if that is for buses going north and south or if those of us coming from the north to the subway station will also have to cross Coxwell Avenue and then walk up to Strathmore and along Strathmore to the actual subway station entrance. Same criteria of objection as for the Woodbine station apply with one additional fact. The subway entrance is on Strathmore. Why didn’t whomever made this decision have the buses turn onto Strathmore, line up there to let passengers on and off, and continue around the block as is the setup at Woodbine Station. At least passengers waiting for buses could wait inside the station. With the Woodbine set-up, all the heavy equipment was moved off Strathmore and onto TTC property by the actual Woodbine Station – so lots of road space. Couldn’t the same be done at the Coxwell Station? The buses already normally turn onto Strathmore briefly before entering the Coxwell Station.

This worrisome setup also begs two questions:

  1. Why are two consecutive subway stations having renovations done at the same time? Doesn’t whomever made the decision realize that many of us (depending on where we live) can take either an O’Connor or Woodbine bus from our homes to either Coxwell or Woodbine Stations? And vice-versa to return home? It would make more sense to renovate/upgrade one station first and then do the second station. I believe the Pape Station renovation wasn’t begun until the nearest large subway station’s (Broadview) renovations were completed.
  2. Although there were many things done wrong with the drawn-out Pape subway station renovation, one thing done right was to move the buses to nearby subway stations (like Donlands) when necessary and letting people know. This at least eliminated standing out in the open (Woodbine Station and upcoming Coxwell Station setup) during bad weather and a long hike during bad weather (Coxwell Station setup). Why couldn’t the same be done with the buses going through Woodbine Station and Coxwell Station? There are even fewer bus routes at those two stations than at Pape Station. Woodbine Station buses could go to nearby Main Station – a large station and Coxwell Station buses could go to Greenwood Station. Even if at the latter, buses had to park on Linsmore Avenue, it would be much easier access into a station as the main entrance is on Linsmore Avenue.

 

I can only conclude that the decision-making for these one-year closings were made by person or persons who don’t regularly take public transit but drive cars. I know you don’t drive and do take public transit, but some of your underling managers obviously don’t. How did that one slip by you?

Not to mention the time-line for these two stations’ upgrades.

With TTC fares constantly going up, I expect much better service for its riders. I also believe accessibility is now the law in Ontario and doesn’t that mean even when work is being done to make it so? If passengers fall on the ice because of the extra walking, has any consideration being given to possible lawsuits?

Some of my concerns have become reality. Because the TTC big whigs in their “infinite wisdom” decided to combine the two bus routes down Coxwell Avenue (the bus number changes)  if there are traffic problems for whatever reason on one line, it now affects the other. We had that problem on Sunday, with an annual Santa Claus Parade in the area covered by one line. And I wanted the other line to get to the library, so couldn’t take the Woodbine bus route as I do now.

Can’t wait until winter weather factors in or next spring and summer with all the marathon walks and the like occurring in Toronto, but that’s a subject for other blog posts when they actually happen.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

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Filed under Coxwell and Woodbine Subway Stations, Only child, Public Transit, Public Transportation, Toronto public transit, TTC bus and bus station upgrades

Only Child on Toronto Public Transit construction then and now

The older (since 1980s) Toronto streetcars which Only Child likes

The older (since 1980s) Toronto streetcars which Only Child likes

I am rewriting the chapter “City Travels with Mom” in my memoir and it got me thinking about construction for public transit then and now. Here is an excerpt from my memoir about construction for the first subway line in Toronto.

During the first line, the Yonge-to-Eglinton subway’s building phase, Mom and I would emerge from Eaton’s or Simpson’s department stores at Queen and Yonge Streets into a deconstructive mess. Yonge Street had become the big Toronto dig, with the construction crews using the “cut and cover” method of tunnelling sections at a time, digging by hand and leaving heavy timber coverings supported by “steel cross members” for walkways. In winter, the Queen and Yonge corner was snow, slosh, mud and cold. (excerpted from You Can Go Home – Digging up the Dirt, ©2014 Sharon A. Crawford).

What a difference from today. This summer Toronto is experiencing the worst constructive mess and milieu in my lifetime. Just for public transit alone, there is a big LRT (much of it underground) being built in the northern part of the city. Although it is necessary to get the people in this overloaded city moving, the actual construction is causing problems. The tunnelling method is different (see http://urbantoronto.ca/news/2014/04/construction-progressing-eglinton-crosstown-lrt), but intersections where it is occurring have slowdowns and stoppages of some sort happening. This drives motorists into residential areas and may be partly to blame for the death of a seven-year-old girl hit by a car in one of these residential areas.

Toronto Transit (TTC) is also bringing in new streamlined streetcars which I hate. I’ve posted about this before. The first of these streetcars go on the Spadina Ave. line August 31, so now we get intersections completely closed for upgrades to the tracks. The TTC has removed the old streetcars and temporarily put on buses.

Then there is the construction further downtown on Front St. and Queen’s Quay. On Front St. it is the renovation of Union Station – both the choo-train part and a new subway train station underground. Both, especially the subway train station with its so narrow platforms, were needed and at least it is being done in stages. But what convoluted passageways for pedestrians – lots of outside stairs up and down to get to streets. And the street itself for one long block is completely closed to traffic – there are a couple of make-shift crossways from Union Station to the Royal York Hotel across Front Street. Maybe I should be thankful I’m travelling by bus leaving for my holidays but am returning by train, late at night, so will have to check out the latest walk-around for then so I can get to the subway without problems to come home.
Queen’s Quay is being changed to more of a pedestrian-friendly walkway with fewer lanes for vehicles. Despite the stairs business outside Union Station, this Queen’s Quay issue is much more of a nuisance and as far as I’m concerned bad for the tourist industry last year and this year as Harbourfront Centre and all its summer activities go on there now. I went down once this summer and that may be it – just because of all the construction. It was so bad there was a cop directing pedestrian traffic in the middle of the blocked-off street. At that point, vehicles weren’t allowed. The buses (again temporarily replacing streetcars) have their routes fractured. You literally have to get the bus going west at one end of the closed block and the bus going east at the other end and never the two shall meet. I decided I could do better with the 10-minute or so walk from Union Station (even with all its stairs at one end and crossing the pseudo-highways – with lights – near the other end). Some people have found their own way through this Queen’s Quay mess rather than the marked off ones. And I don’t blame them.
And into this milieu is the Gardner Expressway – an up-high overhead expressway built over 50 years ago and now crumbling. That end of the Gardner near Union Station and Queen’s Quay is also going through construction
Many of these updates/upgrades renovations are for the PanAm Games coming to Toronto in July 2014. With all due respect to the games, this pre-construction is driving us all nuts. And I don’t mean just motorists but also pedestrians and cyclists.
I suppose this is all due to our over-expanding city (people-wise and condo-wise – many built and being built in…you guessed it…downtown Toronto).
No wonder I relish my little corner of Toronto, especially out in my garden (when the rain isn’t falling down, but that’s another story). You can actually see a few butterflies and hear the birds sing. Of course, we also get racoons and squirrels…

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford
Only Child Writes

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Filed under Mother and Child, Only child memoir, Public Transportation, Railways, Road Construction, Toronto, Toronto public transit, Train Stations, Union Station Toronto

Only Child asks: Plan or not Plan

Only Child - an old foggie or just the times?

Only Child – an old foggie or just the times?

You know the old saying about the best laid plans…? That and the over-uncertainty of the times we live in, have made me wonder – is it worth it to make ANY plans when too often they get screwed? Blame it on other people, God, Murphy’s law – whatever you believe in, but make no mistake life, society has become too uncertain and maybe too unbearable.

I believe it started to escalate and change once we hit this new millennium. True, there were signs in the 1990s but life was still bearable then. Now it is not. I absolutely hate the world we live in, for the most part. The technology is changing too fast and there is too much of it with the result that many people spend more time glued to their smart phones than actually talking to people on the phone or even what is now considered old-fashioned – email. People are in too much of a busy-rush and seem to be doing too much at once. Then there is what I call “rude rage” which I believe is the result of what I said in the last two sentences. Extreme severe and uncertain weather is now the norm year round everywhere in the world. Hurricanes and tornadoes, for example, used to be infrequent but are now common occurrences.  If you don’t believe me go to The Weather Network http://theweaternetwork.com/ and check out anywhere in the world. Then there is people’s sense of entitlement where it shouldn’t be.

I’m going to stick my neck out here as a senior and say seniors are excluded to a certain extent. We have lived 65 plus years and hopefully contributed to society including our family friends. (Of course not all have.) Add in the government pension plans and for those who are lucky enough to receive them – private pension plans from companies or government departments where you worked. We are entitled to that. We are also entitled to a seat on public transit. And chivalry is not completely dead here. However, more women have offered their seat to me than men – and I’m talking young men – too busy with their smart phones to notice I guess. So a certain amount of entitlement for seniors is okay (including those retailers’ senior days). And I do my part to give up my seat for other seniors in worse shape than I am – men or women or anyone else who seems to need assistance. Except the people and those like them mentioned in the next paragraph.

However, entitlement doesn’t apply to those parents who take over the public transit space with their oversized buggies. I touched on that in last week’s post. Another place where entitlement doesn’t apply is those stupid jerks who stand in the subway doorway (when there is lots of room to move in – I’m not talking crowded rush-hour subways when there is no choice) and won’t move. I had a run-in last week with this late-teens-20ish b**** who was blocking the subway doorway. I wasn’t looking at the floor but straight ahead so accidently stepped on her toe. Because she was blocking the doorway I didn’t apologize – otherwise I would have because stepping on someone’s toes or heels is awful in my opinion. As I walked by, she grabbed my arm and said something rude to me. I said “you are not supposed to block the doorway.” She said something else rude so I pointed to the sign on the glass partition in the doorway which says “Please do not block doorway,” looked at her and said, “Read.” Then I noticed her feet. No wonder I stepped on them. They were sticking out almost halfway in the doorway. She was still there blocking traffic and listening to her music with her headphones when I got out. This time I took care not to be near her.

It is times like these that I wish I had the powers of a witch.

So, there isn’t much I like about this world – but there are a few people and things I do like – my son, my cousins, some of my friends and colleagues, writing and teaching writing, editing, my garden, my books and other reading material, my computers (surprise, surprise – but I’m talking writing, email , blogging, and Internet research here), walking, and sleeping – what little I can get of the latter.

Some of the changes are for the better – for example, the inclusiveness for gay people, especially gay marriages and the total acceptance for that in Ontario, especially shown in our election June 12 with the first openly gay premier. That wasn’t even an issue leading up to the election. And I am not gay.

As for the weather, I prefer summer but I can no longer feel safe where weather is concerned and that’s year round.

And making plans? I do some, much of it is contingency planning. But I don’t hold my breath that they will be a reality. Seeing is believing.

How do you feel about today’s world?

Just sign me a grumpy old foggie who no longer cares that she is cranky.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford
Only Child Writes

 

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Filed under Family and Friends, God, Only child, Planning, Public Transportation, Seniors, Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child disses new Toronto streetcars

The older (since 1980s) Toronto streetcars which Only Child likes

The older (since 1980s) Toronto streetcars which Only Child likes

Toronto gets new streamlined streetcars starting the end of this August. I had a look at one, inside and out, during Toronto’s Doors Open a few weekends ago. I don’t like the new streetcars.

They look more like subway cars than subway cars without all the space of subway cars. These new streetcars are supposed to hold more people. Like the new subway cars there are extensions joined together and people can walk through to each one for a seat.

If they can find an empty seat. These new streetcars are built for more standing room. That does make sense, but when you look at what is available on them for sitting, I have to shake my head. What works on the Viva Blue buses in York Region just north of Toronto doesn’t work on these new Toronto streetcars, i.e. both have seats facing each way. True, the streetcars have room for cyclists to put their bicycles and hopefully for people to put those overlarge baby buggies which the old streetcars definitely don’t have room for. Don’t know if space to park their bloody buggies out of people’s ways will get rid of some parents’ entitlement issues with their big baby buggies. Don’t get me on this topic – let’s just say that I’ve had to tell one Mrs. Entitlement off about her buggy blocking the way for a senior to get on the bus and another time I praised a couple who pushed up two bus seats (set up for wheelchairs and scooters) and put their big baby buggie in that spot – out of everyone’s way.

There is also something disturbing about the setup in these new streetcars. At the Doors Open display I was talking to a TTC rep because I had seen those Presto scans where you scan your pass in. The rep said that for now until Toronto gets into that system, payment will be on the honour system like the Viva in York Region. The difference here is that you pay before you get on the Viva bus and don’t show proof of payment to the driver, but there is often a supervisor on the bus who checks. I’ve had that happen and yes, I had paid. The TTC rep let it slip that when the Presto system is in full force it will hurt seniors and others on low incomes. My journalistic and consumer antennae revved up so I asked, “What do you mean?”

“It t is going to be pay as you go.”

“What about us seniors who get the discounted metro pass mailed to us each month and the monthly fee comes out automatically from our bank accounts?

He didn’t know the answer as it hadn’t been worked out. He did say to get after Andy Byford (the big cheese at the TTC) and my city councillor.

You bet I will, especially as there is a city election this fall. And I hope anyone else on limited income – seniors or not – will raise a big stink about this. Presto cards or not, there has to be a way to set it up so that we can still pay only a set amount each month.

Otherwise the TTC may lose service, as you can bet that some people – low income or not – who have cars but use the TTC will go back to taking the car to work and defeating the purpose of improving the traffic flow in downtown Toronto.

For more info on the problems with these new streetcars, some photos and a video go to http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ttc-s-new-streetcars-raise-concerns-with-riders-1.2672486

And for the schedule to put the streetcars in place, see https://www.ttc.ca/About_the_TTC/Projects/New_Vehicles/New_Streetcars/index.jsp
Fortunately it will take to 2019 to get them all up and running on Toronto’s streetcar line. Maybe some of the problems will be straightened out by then. I’m no holding my breath.
The old streetcars may be cumbersome but except for the stairs and the too-high-for-us- shorties-to-reach easily line to pull for a stop request, I prefer these older streetcars. If the newbies were designed like Toronto’s new subways (and I really like them – much better than the oldies which are still on Line 2) and the Presto setup was scrapped or at least modified to take in monthly pass amounts, I would go for the new streetcars.

At the Doors Open display, two older versions of Toronto’s streetcars sat in the TTC parking lot for us to go inside and experience all but the actual ride. There was a fellow giving us the history of the streetcars and pointing out their features. The middle-aged one (i.e. between the old streetcars and the present) is the one I remember travelling on a lot as a child. And the aisles were very narrow in them. I remember once getting on one of the oldest version – maybe when I was around six years, in downtown Toronto. It might have been when they were being phased out or actually phased out but needed to supplement for passenger use. I wouldn’t know that back then. Just remember getting on one with Mom to go home after finishing some shopping downtown.

They call this progress – but one thing progress advocates often forget – retaining some of the old features, or at least new features to keep the old functions that work still operating, and the payment setup are both important.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

 

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Filed under 1950s, 1960s, Nostalgia, Only child, Public Transportation

Only Child rides the crowded streetcar rails

Toronto streetcar circa 1980s like the one Only Child rode to the CNE

It happened again – a “train” I was riding stalled. This time it was the streetcar to the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto.  First it was a long wait for any streetcar to show up at the Bathurst Station. Extra streetcars were supposed to be running for this final weekend of the CNE but I guess they were invisible or maybe they were up in the air with the airplanes in the air show.

I don’t remember it being this bad when I was a kid travelling with my Mom on the streetcars (yes, we had to take two streetcars then) to and from the Ex. Sure we lined up to get on a streetcar to come home, but it was an adventure and mom always snagged a seat with me sitting on her lap and falling asleep.

Not this past Sunday’s ride.

When I surfaced onto the streetcar/bus platform from the subway below, I gasped. A long double-line up wound its way from the other end of the platform (where you board the streetcar) to way-way back and around the other side of the station platform. Ms Goody-two Shoes here went to the end of the line and waited and waited for a streetcar to show.

Fifteen minutes later (for me –others could have been waiting up to an additional 15 minutes) one double streetcar, followed by another arrived. Those at the front of the line-up got on the first streetcar. When I noticed a secondary line-up fanning out from the main one near the front and no third streetcar was in sight. I kicked off my Goody-two shoes and darted up to the end of the second line. I got on but had to stand almost all the way. When we arrived about one-sixth of the way we stopped for another 15 minutes at an intersection. The traffic lights were working and traffic was moving both ways except for Streetcar No. one ahead of us. To keep our sanity some of us were making sarcastic comments about the delay. These old streetcars (circa 1980s) may look magnificent but they are hotter than Mr. Devil’s house.

Punishment for moving up to the shorter line? Not exactly. An older woman (older than I) offered me her seat a few stops before the end of the line. Under normal circumstances I would refuse, but I do have feet problems. When I arrived at the CNE entrance to meet my friend (who came in by air-conditioned Go Train with no delays) I found she had purchased our CNE entrance tickets and wouldn’t take any money from me for it.

And here’s the kicker – late Sunday night when I rode the streetcar rails home (service normal and fast) the lady who sat beside me had been on the first streetcar that stopped ahead of mine going to the CNE. She said there was something wrong with that streetcar.

More fodder for my complaint, which I sent online the next day. Can’t help wondering if there is some serendipity or compensation working here?

Not that I want to travel in hell temperatures to receive compensation. It can get hot enough inside my home some days when the temperature and humidity go up too far – now that the air-conditioner doesn’t work properly anymore since I returned from holidays.

I suppose that’s my “reward” for taking time off from work for a vacation.

What says you? What’s the public transportation like where you live? Especially if you don’t drive.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Mom and Dad, Mother and Child, Only child, Public Transportation, Sharon A. Crawford, Toronto public transit