Friday, March 26, 2010

PDP #196: A Short Turning

In Toronto, a "short turn" happens when a transit vehicle is prematurely turned around by transit control and sent back the way it came. Generally this is used to plug holes in the schedule, or to try to get a vehicle running well behind time back on track. It's not particularly fun to be part of, especially if you're travelling beyond the short turn.

I mention this only because the provincial government of Ontario has, with its latest budget, done an exceptional job of short turning transit in Toronto. Most of the Transit City light rail network is on the chopping block - though, through the province's munificent wisdom, we are still getting an express airport rail service using dirty diesel trains on land that could have been used for an aboveground subway extension, not to mention the Spadina Subway Extension to A Bunch of Big-Box Stores in Vaughan.

I'm sure glad that the province recognizes, in the words of the City of Toronto Act, "that the City plays an important role in creating and supporting economic prosperity and a high quality of life for the people of Ontario," and that decent transit plays a huge role in making that possible. Talk about having your priorities in order!

Once again we see the baseless self-assurance that there will always be time to invest in transit later. The only problem is that, for governments, there never is a later. We have the system we do now because politicians in the 1980s decided that we would be able to build things later. I wouldn't have thought transit and space had all that much in common, but I've come to think that they have an unfortunate relationship - in that they're both generally the first to go on the chopping block when a government is in the mood to cut something.

I, the copyright holder of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. This applies worldwide. In case this is not legally possible, I grant anyone the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.

1 comment: