Toronto has the World’s craziest transportation system. It actually uses streetcars.
While other cities throughout the World are moving to newer transportation systems, Toronto is stuck with “Tourist Trams”.
First, they are free! You don’t have to pay to ride on them. There is a fee, but no one has to pay. That’s because no one is there to collect any fares. So, if you do pay, then it’s basically voluntary. In fact, relying on the “Presto” system, many times, you just can’t pay at all. So, if you wanted to pay you would have to mail a cheque to the City. Most people don’t bother.
Second, it doesn’t go anywhere fast. It is the slowest mode of transportation available. Actually, it slows down all other traffic to a snail’s pace. No one is allowed to pass a streetcar when the doors are open. So, most of the time, no one can pass a streetcar at all. They creep along slowly. Everyone else has to stop when they stop, even cyclists. But, as we know, cyclists don’t stop for anybody.
Third, streetcars are great for sightseeing. Why? Because they are so slow! What else could they be for? It’s really, just like Disney World. Get on for free, travel a couple of blocks. Take some pictures. Do that whether or not you are a tourist.
Fourth, the whole streetcar concept is very far from an efficient transportation system. You certainly don’t see any other city in the World deciding to go into the streetcar business.
The problem is that Toronto City Council has endorsed the sightseeing Trolleys as part of the municipal transportation system. They don’t fix it. They don’t charge the customers. Yet, they are always “short of cash”. So, they don’t have the money for improvements. They order more streetcars. Most of the time, they don’t arrive and when they do, they don’t fit the rails.
Strange, strange system for a City which continues to self-proclaim its “World Class” status.
The solutions are obvious!
Brian Madigan LL.B., Broker