More on The TTC

A couple of days ago I was riding the TTC one more time. I was heading north from St. Clair Station heading to Sheppard. The train was moving along at a relatively rapid clip, for the TTC. 

We arrived at York Mills station and there was an announcement that the train would be delayed for a change in crews. I don’t know about you, but it’s not a Boeing 777. I’m not sure why a crew change was required. But there we were waiting for the train to leave.

Suddenly

I saw a man walking toward me. He was either drunk, stoned or had other issues. He was walking towards me on the train. As he got closer there were women sitting with an empty seat beside them. He sat in the empty seat next to two women, talking to them with his face directly in their face. It was frightening. The two women were far more calm then I would have been. It was shocking. I was frightened for them not knowing what this fellow might do.

Exit

He left the train when it was still sitting at York Mills station. I guess that he ran out of patience for the train sitting around. He was either singing of screaming while he was standing on the platform.

No Help

I often see the TTC so called special constables at stations. Walking around, chatting, having a pretty good time. I have yet to see them deal with these individuals who are harassing passengers and scaring people riding the trains. If they are not on the trains what are they doing? It’s a great job. Walk around, check things out and apparently not do much else that I can see.

As I have mentioned elsewhere, there is no help on the trains if you get into a problem. There are no cameras and no one at the platforms. You are completely on your own. It’s truly frightening. 

Not one seems to car. The riders don’t care. The media seemly doesn’t care. And certainly the TTC doesn’t care. But you should care. Someday, something will happens. Someone will have a life changing experience. And given the local media, we’ll probably never here about it. 

Driving Around Toronto

Another day, another issue. I guess that it’s just me.

Yesterday I took the car and headed out to Costco. I live south of Eglinton where the construction is going on for the new subway line. It makes it very difficult to go north and then south from where I am located. So I found a shortcut to work around the construction.

If you have a look at the construction you’ll see that it is all above ground. I have lived elsewhere where the construction of a new subway line is all below ground. Businesses here, however, have been disrupted. The City of Toronto and the Government of Ontario seem to care less. If you drive past Eglinton West and Avenue Road you’ll see all the empty stores. Their parking has been destroyed and many businesses have closed and moved. I can’t imagine the cost and loss of income. But then what is the purpose of municipal government in Ontario other than to destroy businesses? Not sure, but it seems to be the not so hidden agenda.

Traffic

The traffic heading north on Bathurst is horrible. It’s a lot of volume on a street that is in need of resurfacing. I have in almost 40 years seen little if any construction to repair the road. It just gets more and more crowded and bumpier all the time. It’s almost like you need a military vehicle to drive on some parts of the road.

I made it to Costco on Billy Bishop Drive. It amazes me how many people are around that don’t seem to need to work. You gotta love Canada. Thousands of people seemingly with time on their hands and money to spend. The place was very busy. 

In contrast, I walked into the Best Buy. You could have shot a cannon through the place and not hit anyone. I guess it’s their online business that keeps them going.

I finished my shopping and headed back. It used to be that you could find boxes at Costco to help you get your stuff to your car. For some reason, they did some renovation that restricts customer access to the boxes. I was told that it’s to keep the store tidier and to only give boxes to people who need them. Who knows why, and I guess who cares.

I got the one intersection and the traffic lights weren’t working. There was a police officer there and a maintenance crew. The officer was directing traffic. The crew fixed the light but ended up with a four-way red light. Quite the comedy watching them sort it out.

Customer Service

Customer service is something that had left the country. Canada was always well known for a lack of customer service, and it’s gotten worse. I was wandering around Best Buy for about 20 minutes and no one asked if they could help me. My understanding is that the Best Buy crew is not on commission. So whether they sell or don’t sell, doesn’t matter. Don’t get me wrong, the staff is very friendly. But to get someone to help you is like pulling teeth. Actually, pulling teeth is easier!

Getting Back Home

Finally, after getting through the traffic, the work around at Eglinton, the traffic on Spadina Road, I made it back to my apartment building parking. Quite the adventure. Traffic congestion, crowded stores, poor road maintenance, buses that get in the way (can’t be helped I guess) made for a fun drive. For me, it’s not relaxing. Not that there is any reason why it shouldn’t be. I’m in no rush. But it just seems so hard. Maybe it’s me.

The Toronto Transit Commission

One of the favorite things to talk about in Toronto other than the weather is the Toronto Transit Commission (“TTC”). A lot of us make jokes about it, complain about it and curse it. And correctly so. The TTC, in my opinion, is a disaster compared to other public transit systems.

Getting From A to B

Getting around on the TTC is no small feat. It’s difficult. Last Friday I was going from Spadina and St. Clair Avenue West to Seneca College. The college is located at Don Mills Road and Finch more or less. It should take around 50 minutes normally. It took me one hour and 40 minutes. The reason, signal problems.

Now those of you that live in Toronto know that signal problems on the TTC are a regular event. They never seem to be able to get it right. Even the newer sections of the system suffer from signal problems. It’s a daily event. And there seems to be no cure to it. Toronto is a pretty big city. And it always claims to be “world class”. Whatever that means. But things like the TTC just don’t work.

One definition of a world-class city is “A major international destination. Most often it’s a major international political, cultural or commercial center. Includes cities of all sizes and not just the world’s largest. “

If transportation was on the list, Toronto would fail miserably. The subway is old and dirty. The new subway trains that were ordered from Bombardier are already showing signs of wear and tear even though they are only four or five years old. They creak, they sway and they make noises like twenty-year-old subway cars. The cars are dirty inside and seemingly never cleaned. You have aggressive panhandlers on the trains begging for money. You see people eating and throwing their garbage on the floor. It’s awful.

More TTC 

You see musicians on the trains asking for money. You see people with “issues” behaving badly. And what you won’t see is those so-called special constables that are supposed to be policing the trains. In two years I have never seen anyone that looks like a police officer on the subway.

If you ever got into a personal problem on the subway, there would be no one there to help you. There is no visible security on the subway or the buses. Not even a random show of force.

So if you come to Toronto, don’t expect much and you won’t be disappointed. If you read that the Transit system is great, be suspicious. I don’t know where those positive comments come from. Someone suggested that the acronym TTC means “Take The Car”. It seems to be more truth than a joke.

Here’s Nothing – What It’s All About

My blog’s title is Here’s Nothing. It’s not quite all about nothing, it’s about my day to day experiences and how they affect my life. Sure, it might look like a lot of complaining, but it’s really not. It’s observations about the world around me, the good, the bad and the very ugly. Let me give you an example.

Ordering Runners

I ordered a pair of runners from Footlocker. Now Footlocker is a pretty big company. They have a vast number of stores throughout Canada and the United States. Browsing around the internet as I often do, I spotted a pair of runners that I thought were pretty interesting.

So I went through the tedious task of setting up another account. One of the many thousands it seems that I have accumulated over the years. Filling in the usual stuff like my email address, billing address, shipping address and other details that I seem to have put into a vast number of templates. This was after I had just completed my order as a guest.

The whole idea of this exercise was to make it easier to order in the future. Why these companies with their seemingly endless resources can’t get their act together so I can do this one time escapes me. One more time. And of course, I’ll need to remember yet another ID and another password. My god, I am really running out of passwords!  (By the way, I don’t keep track of them so I am constantly pressing on the forgot password button!). Credit card details (again), numbers on the back of the card, seemingly endless. If the idea was to make it easier to order in the future, they failed.

Getting The Runners

So let’s get back to the whole point of this seemingly never-ending story. I ordered a pair of runners. Everything was going along pretty smoothly. Emails confirmations pop up and I’m “off to the races”. I get a confirmation email from UPS saying that a label has been created. This label creation business is most annoying. Label creation means just that, they printed one. The package hasn’t gone anywhere. It’s a print job. So finally I get an advice that the item has been shipped. 

I ordered on the long weekend Monday. The shoes were shipped and then the delays started. It took four days from placing the order to receiving them. Four days to move a box in Toronto. Sounds like Canada Post.

This online shopping business is very convenient, if they get it right. It’s very inconvenient if they get it wrong. They seem to get it wrong as often as they get it right.

What A Waste of Time

The shoes arrive and guess what, they don’t fit. What a waste of time. The problem is that they offer items online that don’t appear in the store. You’re stuck. Now I have to go to the store to return them anyway.