Yeah, we complain a lot about Toronto’s transit system: Delays, over-crowding, and rude employees are just a few of the ordeals you must occasionally suffer when riding the rocket.
But the TTC ain’t all bad. Swallow your bile for a second and appreciate these 8 good things about the TTC.
8. Begging is Rare
This might not seem like a big deal, but if you’ve ever traveled outside of Canada, transit can be BRUTAL for people constantly harassing you for money. In South Korea it’s common for men to constantly patrol up and down the subway cars, trying to sell trinkets or asking loudly for money. You think rush hour is bad? Imagine constantly turning down aggressive beggars.
7. Sweet Tunes
The TTC actually auditions their buskers, resulting in some of the most delightful jams any transit station can offer. At one station you might see a full mariachi band dressed to the nines, while at another there could be a blind kalimba player. The music is always way better than we deserve, and actually makes walking through the station a nice experience.
6. Lots of Free Reading Material
It used to be that people had to pay for newspapers to read on the subway – now you’re spoiled for choice. The Grid, Now Magazine, Metro, 24 Hours, and The Onion are all usually available inside or close to the station (and it’s all free). Half the time you don’t even have to get one, it’s just waiting for you on your seat.
Fun stuff happens on the TTC. Once a year, people ride it wearing no pants, impromptu concerts spring up, spontaneous freestyle rap competitions, even a diss match between Batman and Spider-Man!
4. Pretty Cheap Considering Our Government Screwed Us
It seems like the TTC is always raising their fares, those rotten bastards. What people don’t realize is that a criminally small amount of funding goes into the TTC. A measly thirty percent of the budget comes from the city. AND ZERO FROM PROVINCIAL OR FEDERAL SOURCES. Compare that to 10% for those whiners in Quebec, and 9% for those Loyalists in Ottawa. The TTC is getting SCREWED for funding.
With that in mind, don’t think of the TTC as greedy nickel and dimers – they’re doing the best they can considering Ontario has the massive population of a super province, but gives all its money to the other crap provinces. They’re holding back an avalanche every year, forget expansion.
And price? Quit complaining. You can travel from Kipling out to Scarborough for three bucks? Seriously, go to Australia or Japan and see how far you get for that amount.
3. Rocket App
The TTC is actually pretty forward thinking. Along with a new fleet of subway and streetcars designed to be bigger, more ergonomic and comfortable, they’ve also embraced technology. When you’re waiting on a platform, there are signs that lists the wait time for the next subway. If you’re at a bus stop, you can text a special number or use the rocket app and know how long you have to wait. That’s hard to pull off – give them some props.
2. The Occasional Hilarious Driver
It’s fairly rare, but if you ride the subway enough, you catch the driver in a good mood, and they’ll joke around with you. Sure, we only remember the dour, angry drivers, but considering these people have to deal with the human trash on the Blue Line and the like every day, they’re pretty good natured. Once I was caught in a delay and the announcer had the whole car chuckling as he comically described the nature of the delay.
1. Learning music
That chime that you hear when the doors close? It’s a descending arpeggio starting from a perfect fifth down to a root, stopping on the major third. Internalize these intervals and you’re halfway to understanding the progression in most major pop and rock songs. Basically, ride the subway long enough and you’ll eventually be a composer like Mozart, that’s a guarantee.
So next time you’re riding the rocket, think about these things before you poo poo it. Or just chew on a bagel or something.