So, I rode my bike to work for the first time today. Frakkin' awesome. Beautiful weather, beautiful lake shore and that great feeling you get while doing something that might actually be extending your life, as opposed to hastening your journey to the grave. But here's the thing: it took me 30 minutes, door to door. It takes me about 20 minutes to drive, given decent traffic. But if I were to take the subway, which I do frequently, it would take me 45 minutes on a good day. That is, if the subway isn't inexplicably delayed, doesn't break down, or the $%#^#& union goes on strike.
Which leaves me to wonder. Why the hell does our transit system suck so bad? If we're serious about getting cars of the street, we need to deliver some real value through the TTC. Like it needs to be faster. Or cheaper. Or somehow better. People seldom engage in society-wide changes in behaviour out of the goodness of their hearts. Social change is driven by better alternatives.
So, what to do? From my way of thinking, the idea of transit as a public utility has had its day. Sure, we could make it work, but that requires money. And to get more money, we need more taxes. None of the pantywaists who run the show seem willing to take that particular political hit, so we as citizens are forced to find our own solutions. I say privatize the sucker. Let's get some competition going in the transit world to improve efficiency, increase capacity and control cost. To preserve equity in the system, the government can provide subsidies or even free passes to kids, students, low income individuals and seniors. Simple.
But in the end, I'll probably still just take my bike. Let's face it: I need the exercise.