Thursday, December 2, 2010

Transit City - RIP

Well, it's looking like Toronto's new mayor - the resurrected, maggot-bloated corpse of Chris Farley - is making good on his promise to be a belligerent, reactionary, anti-downtown, anti-transit boob-o-saurus. Yesterday, in his FIRST ACT as mayor, he announced the end of "the war on the car" and the death of the previous administration's Transit City plan for light rail service throughout the city. Here's a report from the free Toronto daily paper, Metro, on the subject.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Death of the Dufferin Street Jog

Parkdale calling. Jerky speaking. With the recent completion of a years-in-the-making urban revitalization project in the heart of one of Toronto's scuzziest neighborhoods, the century-old transit aberration known as the Dufferin Street Jog - a twisty detour around a homely patch of industrial real estate that used to break up Dufferin street just north of Queen - is officially a thing of the past. Thanks to the creation of an impressive new tunnel structure in this former transit dead-zone, Dufferin street now stretches uninterrupted from the grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition all the way north to Wilson, just north of the 401! Personally, I have noticed that this civic infrastructure improvement has shaved a full three minutes off my twice-daily commute, not to mention the much smoother ride now that bus doesn't have to swing over to Gladstone , then whip across Queen under the frequently streetcar-clogged underpass and back up Dufferin again (phew!). So now there's one less reason to call the TTC's busy Dufferin 29 route "the Sufferin' bus". Kudos, Toronto, on a job well done!

Toronto Star Story on the Dufferin Renovations

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Baby Transport Utility Vehicle

Lately I've noticed a trend among female transit-riders of color... their preference for baby carriages of a particular immensity. These devices I refer to as BTUVs, or Baby Transport Utility Vehicles.

Perhaps it isn't fair of me to categorize this phenomenon by race. Perhaps black women aren't even more inclined than the average mother to purchase and use these baby-moving behemoths. However, seeing as my sole personal experience with these things is on public transit, and seeing as public transit is where they are far more likely to be a nuisance and cause a hassle, and seeing as black people as a demographic group take public transit with greater frequency than white folks... well, I don't want to over-explain myself. Let's just say that this is my PERSONAL, anecdotal experience, and move on.

From what I've been able to glean, the standard stroller is no longer good enough for today's urban mom-on-the-go. No-siree. They have to be pushing little Jamal or Jenesayquah in what looks for all the world like a captain's chair ripped out of the front of a Cadillac Esplanade, flipped upside-down, then mounted atop 6 to 12 toe-mangling, dinner-plate-sized wheels.

I must admit that watching "mamma" struggle to get one of these beasts onto the bus, past the driver and around the first corner, then past the first gauntlet of bus-riders - none of whom, shockingly, are ever willing to give up three seats' worth of space to her aisle-clogging BTUV and its Smartcar-sized footprint - has become a highlight of my daily commute.

Especially hilarious is when there are three or four of these fucking idiots trying to cram themselves and their over-sized cargo onto the same bus. They suck their teeth and glare at each other, bumping and jostling for position, spilling bits of shredded lettuce from their McDonald's sandwiches - and it is INVARIABLY McDonald's - as well as loose French fries and splashes of Diet Coke, all over their cell phones - of which they invariably own two or more - their Ipods - for which a super-convenient speaker-dock is often generously provided by the BTUV manufacturer, along with the mandatory double-wide, molded beige plastic cup-holder/tray combo - and, of course, straight onto baby's head.

Perhaps one reason for the size of these aisle-clogging monstrosities is that these black mothers all insist on pushing their kids around - as opposed to having them actually walk - until roughly one or two weeks before the little darlings hit puberty. At which point they will start shitting out broods of their own, and the whole process can begin anew.  Ah, the circle of life!

Finally, if I begin ranting on how "mamma" usually has these little darlings dressed up for their no-doubt incredibly important visit to one of Toronto's hideous mega-malls, I fear Google Ads might start sending me Klan meeting invites, so I'll stop before I dig myself too deep.

Until next time... see you on the bus!

TTC Transit Safari Bingo - COMING SOON!

Ah, the Toronto Transit Commission! The sights, the sounds and the smells all come together to create an institutional experience quite unlike any other in the Western world. In the Great Lakes metropolis of Toronto, Canada, public transit isn't just a way to get from Point A to Point B, it's a veritable way of life. It also happens to be one of the greatest people-watching venues ever created. With each daily commute to and from work providing gobs of grist for my misanthropic mill, I either had to start blogging about it or allow those dark ideations to fester in the secret crevices of my cortical folds, where they might metastasize and eventually erupt in an orgy of horrific public violence. Instead, I have chosen to let off steam in a more socially productive - if somewhat less dramatic - way. Keep watching this space!