Comment 2896

By bigbri (registered) | Posted January 10, 2007 at 20:52:40

After going car-less in Hamilton for 10 years, and commuting every day to Toronto, I burned out on public transit, plain and simple. For the longest time, I was an advocate and supporter of public transit, really believed GO was southern Ontario's best kept secret. This in spite of the challenges of being a full-time public transit user, having to adopt that regimented lifestyle for travel, having to jostle with strangers. But what killed my love for public transit was the cellphone: The way people use them in confined public spaces these days is reprehensible. I got sick of having to listen to banal, one-sided, LOUD conversations in my left ear; indeed, I was getting in arguments with people and their ignorance. I wasn't alone: GO Transit has acknowledged rider complaints about cellphone use but prefers to mildly chide users to mind their manners. When I broke down and bought a car, a colleague who was aware of my public transit use remarked that he'd rather spend two hours stuck on the Don Valley Parkway every day than do what I did - take the bus to work every day. It was a telling comment. Cars are here to stay. Eventually, they will no longer burn fossil fuels. Humans are in love with their cars. All the finest public transit alternatives will not change that. What we need to do is manage auto traffic more effectively. For starters, in Hamilton, that would mean doing away with one-way streets. Look at James Street since the conversion, it's a proper city streetscape now, no longer an inner city highway. On a broader scale, government should not invest any more money in new highway; maintain what we have, but no more new lanes. Use the money to teach people how to use what we have more efficiently, buy better buses for those who choose to public transit (and can put up with other people's LOUD cellphone conversations), adopt HOV lanes. Sorry if this doesn't jive with your outlook but I think it's the kind of sentiment that you confront. (And aren't there other issues in the Hammer besides transportation?)

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