There’s no free ride when it comes to transit

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$1.2 billion better spent building more transit

The notion of free city transit is appealing at first glance (NOW, March 5-11). However, the TTC is far behind the curve in expanding its infrastructure. If the city is willing to invest an extra $1.2 billion in transit annually, then those funds should be directed toward building more subways, light rail and dedicated bus lanes.

Michael Forest, Toronto

Here’s one way to fund free transit

The book Free Public Transit: And Why We Don’t Pay To Ride Elevators has chapters describing ways for cities to help pay for free transit. It consists of a tax on those businesses, institutions or real estate (apartments and condos) that benefit from public transit carrying riders to and from their doors. 

It is well-known that real estate near transit has a higher value. Why should real estate owners receive an unearned financial windfall? They should be charged a fee that would be dedicated to paying for the transit they benefit from. Mayor John Tory spoke of this when he described how real estate taxes on properties near transit would pay for the costs of building his Smart Track scheme. Why doesn’t the city look into this? Revenue from these increased assessments would go a long way toward paying for free transit.

Murray Lumley, Toronto

Transit fiefdoms the real cause of waste

Right now the TTC and GTA transit systems are fiefdoms. You might as well have a passport to use transit in the GTA. This leads to inefficiency, unneeded car use and frustrated transit users. 

My brother lives Amsterdam’s equivalent of Woodbridge, and I have never experienced transit issues there like I have here simply because I have to cross Steeles Avenue. 

Just integrating the transit systems will be the equivalent of a “free” ride for 905ers. You won’t have to pay a second transit far. 

Consequently, you won’t be wasting time transferring or waiting between transit systems that should be seamless in the first place.

Izzy Bedibida, From nowtoronto.com

A streetcar named disaster

Is it not time for people to be fired over the new streetcars? These hulking monsters are causing more traffic issues than all the construction in Toronto.

Bombardier has had to admit they got the original design completely wrong. The TTC paid upfront for a design that is a total misfit. Some 25 cars are currently going to Montreal to fix bad welds and they have to be trucked there, rather than fixing them in the yards here, as it is a “warranty” issue. And apparently the life of the gearboxes, driver controllers, power units and doors is only two years. 

Nicholas Brooks, Toronto

Biden isn’t the “moderate” Dems need

Re Joe Biden’s Shocking Super Tuesday Win Was About Electability As nice as “moderate” Joe Biden sounds (NOW Online, March 4), he still translates into an establishment Democrat with thinly veiled ties to corporate interests who’s not going to adequately improve poor peoples’ lot in life.

I find it’s arrogant to expect that low-income citizens will vote for any candidate who wants to satisfy financially comfortable middle-class Democrats’ intense desire (which I happen to share) to vote out an undesirable incumbent president.

Frank Sterle Jr., White Rock, BC

A simple solution to reconciliation

Letter-writer Julian Bynoe makes a good point that Canadians should know better by now about offering real reconciliation with First Nations (NOW, March 5-11).

The solution is simple. The RCMP and Coastal GasLink should get out of Wet’suwet’en territory. We have no right to violently remove First Nations People at gunpoint from their own land for the benefit of corporate profits.

Tom Smarda, Toronto

El Mo redo looks like an expensive joke

Regarding your Inside Look At The Brand-New El Mocambo In Photos (NOW Online, March 4) Lol. This looks like a $30-million joke – an uber-rich asshole’s last kick as the loss of most of our art spaces in Toronto continues.

Jason Wydra, Toronto