Tag Archives: TTC

Only Child tells tale of two photo ID ops

Only Child getting ready for photo ops for photo ID

Only Child getting ready for photo ops for photo ID

It’s all in the level of government you tackle. The Municipality of Toronto (Ontario, Canada) may have a questionable character as mayor, but their TTC consumer service is sure going great, and I suspect improving a lot since Andy Byford became the head honcho at TTC.

Not so Service Ontario and its “parent” ministry – the Ministry of Government Services. (I spit on that last word).

So, the baddie first.

Last Saturday was almost a repeat of the previous Saturday’s venture to the Service Ontario centre near my residence. That includes it was again raining, again I waited ages for a bus, and again a line-up inside the Service Ontario Centre, which again kept moving.

Finally I got to the head of the line and with a different counter clerk this time. I might as well have been dealing with a brick wall. This bitch did clarify that the paper certificate isn’t valid but also wouldn’t accept the laminated version because she said it didn’t have a registration number. Bitch No. 1 the previous Saturday said they accept laminated versions. I was so upset I said I’m a journalist and I’m not letting this one go and stormed out of the place.

It wasn’t until I got home and had another look at my laminated birth certificate card that I noticed –yup, it does have a registration number.

I went to work online and used my journalistic research skills. First I found more rules and regulations for obtaining an Ontario Photo ID card. The only reference to a laminated birth certificate card was in the footnotes to the tune of if your original birth certificate says that any laminated version is void, you can’t use the laminated version. Well my non-valid original birth certificate was issued decades before laminated versions came along.

Then Ms. Google came through with finding out which Ontario Ministry oversees this photo ID business. Found a complaint form and did a generic form of my story (no personal information was allowed except I put in I was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada – but so were a lot of others) and I did mention the actual Service Ontario Centre giving me grief.

They got back to me two days later by email. Are you sitting down? It gets more ridiculous. The reply clarified that my paper documents isn’t valid and why. Okay, I accept that. But for the laminated one they said that any issued after 1982 isn’t valid. (Mine was issued in 1970) and it is up to the individual Service Ontario clerk whether to accept the laminated version or not). Monty Python would be proud. For some reason their dead parrot skit is running through my mind.

My next step was to forward the response from the MGS (including my online form complaint to them) to my Ontario Member of Parliament with a few comments to start off the email and a request to help me get my Ontario Photo ID using my valid laminated birth certificate card. And I gave my phone number and times when I’m available in case the MPP prefers to phone me.

Next step will be the media.

Now the goodie – the TTC.

Yesterday morning I phoned the TTC Metropass department to find out how to get my adult pass changed to seniors effective next month when I officially become senior. The fellow said he could do it over the phone and after a few questions (like my birthdate, name, address), he said the seniors metropass would start from December and would be in the mail for then. Plus the lower amount will be deducted monthly from my bank account (I will save about $22.25 a month). Then he transferred me to the TTC photo ID department.

The lady answering the phone was polite and told me that I would only need my Ontario Health card for ID and that they were open to 7 p.m.

I showed up there around 6.20 p.m. yesterday and I couldn’t be more impressed. These young counter clerks, late teens to early 20s, need to be complimented publicly for their professionalism, concern, helpfulness and friendliness. Actually the guy standing by the short lineup (mostly students for their cards) was probably closer to earlier 30s, but he checked my Health Card and then I went to the first clerk behind the wicket. At first she said I was too early and to come back the last week in November (because I’d have the actual Dec. senior card received in the mail) but when I explained that I had called earlier in the day and wasn’t told this, she said she remembered speaking to me. She said to save me another trip, she would issue the card but I wasn’t to use it until Dec. 1. I agreed. That makes sense.

The poor guy who had to take my photo – three tries but that was me not standing in the right place. But he was friendly and helpful and the picture turned out okay – just a bit of glare on my glasses. My new photo ID card spewed out in one minute flat.

I was out of there in five minutes.

Service Ontario you need to take a page from the TTC.

I still need the Ontario photo ID as it is a substitute for those of us who don’t drive and have no driver’s licence. The TTC one doesn’t have an address on it and can’t be used cart blanche.

The battle against Service Ontario and I suppose MGS continues.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Complaining tactics, Consumer action, Only child, Problems, Seniors, Sharon A. Crawford

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