TTC should be an essential service – because it is!

On a mild night like this open windows let in the din of my downtown neighbourhood – the occasinal siren, the shouts of bar patrons on their way home, the hourly gong of the Old City Hall clock, the honking of cars and the TTC: the Toronto Transit Commission’s streetcars squealing on the turn from Carlton to Parliament Streets, the buses on Sherbourne and Parliament Streets, and the distant rumble of the subway trains as they emerge from underground and cross the Don Valley on the tracks beneath the Bloor Viaduct.

Not as of midnight.

When the tentative deal was reached last weekend, the one that was ultimately rejected by members Friday, the Mayor had said this was not the time to discuss making the TTC an essential service.

“Bob Kinnear has a lot to answer for, for the way he’s handled things.”: TTC fare collector at Ossington Station (close to the Queen St. W. club district)

Perhaps, now that the strike is on, despite union promises that 48 hours notice would be given before service was withdrawn,this would be a good time to get Premier Dalton McGuinty and his crew to (a)legislate an end to the strike if it continues past Monday and (b) declare public transit an essential service.  This would mean more arbitration, with the possibility of more costs to the city, but the essential service designation could, and should, be backed up with more core funding from the provincial and federal governments. 

Between Conservative Premier Mike Harris and Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin the TTC’s budgets were decimated and it’s taking a long time to get anything resmbling that level of funding restored – this as all governments pay lip service to going green. 

The TTC IS essential for the environment, the environmentally-conscious and for lower-income Torontonians! And what precious car-driving commuter would not like to have the TTC’s one million-plus riders out of their way?