Thursday, December 29, 2011

Our Love-Hate Relationship with Transit

We have a love-hate relationship with transit. It's true, don't deny it. It's a tense relationship, always teetering on the edge of oblivion. Will you end it? Are you better off alone? Is there something better out there? But in the end, for better or worse, it always ends up being the same. It's like a loyal spouse, a spurned lover, an abusive husband, and a veiled mistress all rolled into one. And yet, we can't live without it.

On the one hand, we hate it. We curse the bus when it's late, spit on the streetcar when it's full, give each other dirty looks when the subway's been delayed. Shuttle bus? What shuttle bus. We wish we'd taken a cab instead.  Or the car. Or biked. Or walked.... We make fun of it. Lament it. Wish we were in another city, like London, Shanghai, or Paris - oh, Paris! We despise those who plan it, those who fund it (and those who don't), and those who say they'll fund it in the future. Yeah, right. And so, we've become disenchanted. Numb with disappointment. Trapped in a cycle of self-loathing. We hate public transit.

On the other hand, we love it. We peek over the shoulder of the guy reading the Metro, revel in our quest to obtain a good seat, steal a glance of the hot girl (or guy) across the platform. We're in love with the voice that calls out the stops along the way: Spadina. Augusta. Bathurst. We wink at those who struggle with their tokens - or worse, coins - as we gracefully slide our Metropass through the turnstile - our key to exploring the city. We meet our friends on it, make missed connections on it, and - on rare occasions - some of us even make love on it. Heck - even the pigeons have gotten in on the transit act. We love public transit.

Why the topsy-turvy relationship? Why the constant battle between love and hate? Why do we have such a strong tie to nothing more than a car on rails? I'll tell you why. Because it gets us not where we need to go, but where we want to go. It takes us to places far and wide - from familiar haunts to undiscovered nooks, to places where we all converge, to celebrate or commiserate. Love it or hate it, it's our gateway to the city, our key to getting around, and the main way for getting to the places - and people - that we love.

It's time to change the balance of the relationship - to take the love that we have for this city and bring some of that back to transit. TransitHub will help :)


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