g&m alert

I was about to post my annoyance with one Stephen Harper, when I turned over the newspaper and saw my essay in the "Facts & Arguments" section. I didn't expect it to run so soon. What's more, I didn't expect the editor to leave the reference to wmtc, including the URL. Cool! (Welcome, new readers!)

I think it will be online only today, then tomorrow I'll post the piece here.

Many thanks to Marnie for providing me with an ending - and for all your good wishes, in advance. Because now I have to go to work.


Marnie said...

I'm famous! I'm fa-- uh, I mean, you're famous! You're famous! Congratulations!

James Redekop said...

Nice little essay!

Your comments about the honour system on GO got me thinking of the problems the TTC has had with freeloaders in recent years -- not on the subway, but on the trolleys.

Queen Street is so busy that it wasn't uncommon for people to jump onto the trolleys through the back doors instead of the front, just to avoid the crowds. The TTC often run the articulated trolleys on these streets, which have three sets of doors -- the farthest back are about 17 metres behind the driver, completely unsupervisable.

Many folks would try to work their way forward to pay the fare after they got on, but this is often impossible during rush hour. The TTC tried banning access through the rear doors, but that slowed loading and unloading down too much during rush hour.

Their final solution was the POP system (Proof Of Payment). If you were on a Queen trolley, you had to have proof that you paid: either a transfer from the driver, or a pass of some sort. That way, people with passes and transfers were free to use the rear doors; only people paying cash fares had to use the front.

This only applied to the Queen Street line -- all the other trolleys still required that you get on in front.

This is enforced by TTC constables doing random spot-checks to make sure that people had their POPs. In the past 10 years, I've never been checked, though I've seen one or two people ejected for not having proof of payment.

In 2000 there was a move to go back to requiring that people get on at the front door, but it never went anywhere.

Masnick96 said...

Beautifully written Laura.

Expat said...

Congrats on your piece in the Globe, which led me here this morning.

From an American by birth, Canadian by... parents' choice ;o)

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

Ottawa also has an honour system.

On 60' articulated buses, they allow rear door boarding to speed things up, but you have to have POP (i.e. a bus pass or transfer) as they do random (and rather infrequent) checks. When I've been on the bus during a check, there's usually only one person out of the 150 or so onboard who's a freeloader.

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

Oh, and in Calgary they actually have a free-fare zone downtown for the C-Train. You only have to pay a fare if you're riding the train to a station outside of the zone. I assume they must have a similar random POP check.

laura k said...

Oh, and in Calgary they actually have a free-fare zone downtown for the C-Train.

They have that in Seattle and a few other US cities. What a terrific idea. Great for downtown businesses, great for the environment, traffic, etc.

andrea said...

Great article, Laura!

The debate about the honour system on Vancouver's Skytrain surfaces regularly but so far, we've stuck with it. It's like being a teacher and assuming your students will do what's necessary -- it works better than browbeating.

Rognar said...

Speaking of the Calgary LRT system, the electricity to run it is generated almost entirely by wind power.

Kudos on the article, L-g!

John said...

I live in Port Credit too. Have for most of my life.

Very windy place, but there are 2 great festivals come summer-one in June and one early in September (jazz +)

John said...

I've lived in Port Credit almost all my life and can't imagine being anywhere else.

Two festivals coming up-one in June and one in September.

laura k said...

We love Port Credit. We arrived shortly before last year's Sept Jazz & Blues Festival.

James Redekop said...

Oh, and in Calgary they actually have a free-fare zone downtown for the C-Train.

They have that in Seattle and a few other US cities. What a terrific idea. Great for downtown businesses, great for the environment, traffic, etc.

It's a great idea, though Toronto's routes aren't set up to support it. It works best when there's a downtown loop with lines radiating away from it.

Unfortunately, Toronto's transit system is rather underdeveloped for a city of Toronto's size, and recent work hasn't helped much. The Sheppard line is next to useless -- it was chosen over the Eglinton alternative (which would have run out to, or at least towards, the airport) largely because Mel Lastman wanted the work to happen in North York.

There are rumours of new expansion on the horizon; let's hope it's well thought out!

doggerelblogger said...

Very nice - I hadn't realised you'd only been here for a little while. You fit right in.

laura k said...

I hadn't realised you'd only been here for a little while. You fit right in.

I take that as a great compliment - thank you. We've been here 6 months.

rb said...

Hi Laura,

Nice piece. And bienvenue chez nous, by the way.

Canada is a great place, mostly in quiet and humane ways. But it's far from perfect, which is something we all accept, I think. We don't carry a great national abstraction around in our heads that we have to live up to. We are a work in progress, an experiment. As a result, we are OK with ambiguity. I hope you are too.

You probably understand this already, but we don't actually hate Americans (contrary to certain media hysterics on both sides of the border). Quite the opposite. We all have American friends, family, clients. What is frustrating is the gap we often find between the America we love & admire and the one that drives us absolutely mental. How we feel about the US government is too often mistaken for how we feel about America or Americans generally.

Besides, anyone who spends any time at all in the US (and is paying attention) quickly figures out that there is no one monolithic USA. There are thousands of them, side by side (and largely impermeable). The redstate/bluestate thing is just the coarsest of those divisions.

Same here of course, a bit less extreme perhaps, but I think we accept it a bit more. (vide: Quebec. Hell, in any other country Rene Levesque would have been hanged as a traitor. We let him run a province and he died an honoured pubic figure.)

But as I said, we're OK with ambiguity, so we roll with it.

Anyway. Enough sociopolitical babble. Here's the important stuff. If you haven't done it yet, try to get around the country, just 'cause it's so goddamn beautiful. Personal favourites: Cape Breton (especially for kayaking), PEI, Algonquin Park, north shore of Superior, Quebec City, the trans-canada through the Prairies, the Rockies, the north shore of Vancouver Island... it's unreal. And humbling and scary. (Secretly, it's the real reason why we don't get too bombastic. We're too awestruck by the scenery. We know we can't compete.)

Finally, it seems to me that the Americans who come here are always the good ones.

Hope it works out for you.



laura k said...

Thank you for your thoughts, RB. If you're inclined to sift through this blog, you'll find these topics much discussed here. It's always nice to add more voices to the chorus.

We very much intend to travel in Canada. We haven't had the opportunity yet, but we plan on being here a long time.

Wrye said...

Conratulations Laura, and welcome new readers. The regular commenters here are an eclectic but generally friendly bunch, with people of all political and regional stripes, so feel free to hang out from time to time. Leave your shoes at the door or not, as culturally appropriate.

Unknown said...

Great article! As I was reading the quote near the bottom about not riding the Go-Train for free I was thinking to myself 'I totally agree' with that statement. Then I realized, it was my statement!

Lorna (formerly lmcatl)

laura k said...

Leave your shoes at the door or not, as culturally appropriate.


Then I realized, it was my statement!

Hi Lorna, I was hoping you'd appear today! If you didn't leave a comment, I was going to track you down.

impudent strumpet said...

Great article! Welcome to Canada (slightly belatedly)! :)

laura k said...

Thank you very much! Perhaps belated, but no less appreciated.

gito said...

Laura I just read the article you wrote, I am very touched in many ways... I meant to send u an email last week. We heard from CIC last Monday and the note they sent us " Your file is with the officer for final review" We are hoping to hear from them again very soon. Take care. Gito

laura k said...

Gito!!! FINALLY!!! I'm so happy for you. I'll be in touch by email. Big hugs to you both.

RogerThat said...

Enjoyed your article... Welcome to Canada!

laura k said...

Rogerthat: thank you!

Wendy said...

I'm so pleased your essay in the Globe led me to your blog today ....I grew up in Port Credit, still live in Mississauga. It has changed so much over the years. I'm pleased with the changes in Port Credit. So many wonderful restaurants now. Look forward in checking back with your blog to follow your discovery of the area. Wendy.

laura k said...

Thanks Wendy!

James Redekop said...

Off topic: Some interesting architecture from Canada's youngest territory, the Inuit-administered Nunavut (formerly part of the North-West Territories)

Crabbi said...

Congrats, Laura! Excellent essay.

Andrea said...

damn I missed it!! way to go though!! I will be checking in very often for when you post the article. hint hint. hehe

got ya bloglined now!

laura k said...

Thanks Crabbi!

Andrea, I changed the link, so if you have a subscription to the G&M's website you can still get it. If not, I'll post it soon, probably over the weekend. Thanks for your interest. :)

And James, thanks for the tip.

Sass said...

Congrats on your essay, I really enjoyed it. I only wish that your move to Canada could have been as easy as mine was.

Public transit seems like a strange beast to me, as South Florida offered almost nothing to help people get around. It's pretty awesome.