TTC shutdown: Poor funding leads to poor transit, TTCriders says

Transit activists call on politicians to ride subway themselves

Toronto Observer reporter Marwa Mohkam Sheik with reaction from TTC commuters waiting for shuttle buses on Bloor Street.

TTCriders is calling for better transit funding from the Ontario government, following a surprise fuel leak at College Station that made tens of thousands of Toronto commuters late for work on Tuesday.

“This is another example of our transit system being stretched to breaking point, because once again thousands of riders are late,” said Jessica Bell, the executive director of the public transit advocacy group, in an interview Tuesday morning.

Subway services between Union and Bloor-Yonge stations were suspended due to the leak that fire and TTC emergency crews were still working to clean up.

Bell said that while there was not much known about the spill at this point, she blames the TTC’s underfunding as responsible for a number of delays the past six months.

“We have streetcars that cannot handle extreme weather, we have basic maintenance not being done and it’s outdated, so we get frequent break downs,” she said.

She added that Toronto is lacking in sensible and rapid investment in transit lines, which makes it difficult for riders to get around these problems and still make it to work on time.

TTCriders reached out to Wynne, inviting her to participate in their campaign, “Saved You a Seat.”

They have also invited other Toronto MPPs.

The campaign asks these representatives to commute to work with the TTC’s 1.8 million riders for one week in April.

“We believe that if elected officials experience being late to work, like we experienced today and many other days, then maybe they will be more motivated to fairly fund the TTC and provide us with better service,” Bell said.

“We don’t want transit delays like this to be the new normal but it’s starting to feel like it is.”