Our buses are overcrowded and bus tickets are expensive

Waiting for the 36 Finch bus can make one ponder the meaning of life. It is never quick or an efficient use of time. Bus service is so unreliable, that if car insurance premiums were not so expensive in our area, most people would choose to drive instead of taking public transit. 

The majority of bus routes in Downsview are unreliable and overcrowded during the morning and afternoon rush. This reality leads to more cars on the road and more congestion. In case you have not heard about this update in local news, Toronto has the longest commute of any City in North America. [1]  

If taking public transit was more affordable, that would at least make the experience of longer than normal wait times more reasonable. However, Toronto is also known for having one of the most expensive bus fares in North America. An individual bus ticket in Toronto is one of the top five most expensive fares in general and our monthly transit pass is the most expensive option in the continent. [2]

Even though more commuters are added to our roads each year, it is not surprising that the growth of TTC riders has slowed down recently. Commuters will always choose another option if it’s offered to them for a fair price. People downtown, for example, have taken to cycling in very large numbers. A bicycle is the fastest mode of transportation for short trips in the city’s core. That being said, up here in Downsview cycling is not a realistic way to get to school or work year-round if you have far to go.

The way to get more cars off the road is not complicated, even if a series of successive governments have made it seem so. Building more reliable transit networks and making it affordable has worked everywhere an appropriate investment has been made.

That being said, here in Ontario successive Conservative and Liberal governments have reduced their share of transit funding, downloading the cost to rate payers and municipalities. Toronto gets the smallest share of higher level government funding out of every major city in Canada. That is the real reason why we take so long to build any new transit lines, nobody is paying for them. 

It took over 20 years to build the York University subway extension. By the time it’s finished, it will take a similar amount of time to build the Finch LRT. The improvements are coming too slowly and without the adequate funding required to make them work properly. 

Municipalities do not pay the bill for public transit expansion on their own. In other cities, higher levels of government step in to pay for the big projects and subsidize the trips for commuters. That type of investment makes transit more accessible, creating an incentive for people to leave their cars at home. The less cars we have on the road, the better. Helping people get to work more efficiently improves their quality of life because they can reallocate those wait times towards other priorities, like spending time with family.

Accessible and affordable public transportation options eases gridlock and boosts the local economy. In Toronto, we have not had a higher level of government involvement for decades, and you can see the lack of investment every time you are out there waiting for the bus. 

[1] https://www.cp24.com/news/toronto-has-worst-commute-in-north-america-sixth-worst-in-world-study-1.3983200 

[2] https://www.blogto.com/city/2019/01/how-ttc-fare-compare-toronto-north-america/ 

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