Success!

You may have noticed that I’ve been a little quiet lately. This is because I started a full-time job a week-and-a-half ago and haven’t had the energy to write when I get home at night. Hopefully, with the passage of time, I will develop a brain callous that will allow me to do something other than vegetate in the evenings.

Actually the whole paragraph above is “sampled” (as the vernacular has it) from the website of this guy who writes about music at afterbirthofthecool.com, which if you are interested in music is a lot more interesting than this website.

Anyway the success of the title is not, as many of you may suspect, that I have managed to ban automobile advertising. Some of you may have noticed that automobiles are still being advertised.

However, a couple weeks ago I had a letter published in the Toronto Star. They even gave it “pride of place,” in the upper right hand corner, and didn’t take out a word from the (admittedly too long) screed.

So, while waiting for the brain callous to develop, I’m going to append the published letter below:

“to the editor:

“re: “good Ideas worth stealing” Gordon Chong opinion piece, Ap. 6 ’05

“Chong’s article couldn’t have had worse timing. Imagine if Chong’s
fantasy bureaucracy were in existence today, on the eve of a transit
strike. While our choice today is paltry, at least we have the option
of taking GO transit. Fact is, an amalgamated transit board that
governs all transit services would be a terrible mistake, just like
that of Toronto’s amalgamation.

“What Toronto needs is more choice, not less, in the ways we can get
around. Look at the map on page B2 of today’s paper and ask yourself
how it would look without the 18 go train stations included. Ask
yourself what you would do out there in Agincourt, Guildwood,
Etobicoke North or Long Branch, if you had no option when transit went
on strike except cars, taxis, bicycles and your own two feet.

“Instead of an amalgamated transit board, with its new layers of
bureaucracy, we need more choice: give us jitney services, small bus
fleets that would serve local communities, and encourage ride sharing
by introducing places where people may wait or offer rides (for a
small fee if necessary).

“The simple fact is, the worst thing GO transit could do would be to
amalgamate with TTC. Indeed, the time has come for it to up the ante:
go into direct competition with TTC. Reintroduce or institute new
stops where they’d be useful: At Coxwell Ave, Jones Ave, and Pape on
the Lakeshore East line, at Dufferin on the Brampton line, and maybe
others.”

I sent copies of the letters to Howard Moscoe, the Toronto Councillor who heads the TTC commission, and to Gordon Chong, who wrote the opinion piece calling for amalgamation of TTC and GO Transit. I’ve since heard back from both of them.

Councillor Moscoe wrote only: “No disagreement here.”

Chong (or his ghost) wrote a lengthier reply:

“Dear Mr. Allderdice:

“Thank you for your email regarding my article in the Toronto Star on April 6th, 2005.

“In response to a couple of your points, the suggested transportation authority would not require all transit agencies to amalgamate. They can continue to function as independent agencies reporting through a single co-ordinating body. Likewise, the different transit agencies in the Greater Toronto Area do not operate under a single union. In fact, even today, there are different unions and union locals within TTC, GO and other agencies. In the event of an amalgamation, the probability of the whole transit system being affected by an employee strike is very remote.

“On the issue of more GO Stations, GO Transit’s success has been in attracting customers by competing with the speed of auto travel. Adding new stations increases the travelling time for all customers, thereby making it less attractive to use our service, so we must carefully balance those additions with the quality of service we are trying to provide.

“I appreciate your comments.

“Sincerely, Gordon J. Chong, DDS Vice Chairman”

Of course, Chong has missed the point. Putting in a platform here and another one there doesn’t mean stopping every train passing at those platforms. It might mean having a “local” train that stops once in the morning and once in the evening, as an alternative.

But GO stands for “Government of Ontario,” not “Toronto.” It stands for getting people from “Ontario” in and out of “Toronto” by, how does Chong put it? “competing with the speed of auto travel.”

When Chong says “Adding new stations increases the travelling time for all customers,” he means the existing “Ontario” customers. Nevermind the Toronto customers who might find the three-and-a-half minute trip from Pape avenue to Union station an improvement over whatever method they currently employ.

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