Another guest contribution from J. Dilkas. For the record, the opinions and ideas expressed are solely (and probably, in the entire universe, only) his own.
I was reading some inspirational quotes today and I came across one by a French philosopher that said, “Things are only impossible until they’re not.” And it touched something inside of me, so I’m throwing something out there that I know most people think is impossible. But now that it’s been said, I think it’s only a matter of time.
Shut down the TTC. Get rid of the subways and buses and streetcars. Scupper the lot of it.
Let me explain, because it’s not just because I never use the TTC that I’m proposing this. I have numbers to back me up.
The first number is the TTC’s operating budget, around $1,500,000,000.
Right there, that’s double the size of the city’s deficit for this year. That’s even before the city’s $430,000,000 operating subsidy, so we’re WAY ahead of the game.
“But Dilkas,” I hear you saying, “People still have to get around the city. What about the people who rely on the TTC for that?”
Relax. I’m not proposing that all the non-drivers have to walk from now on. I’m proposing something much better. Because here’s my second number: the MSRP of a Chevy Cruze: $14,995
For the cost of running the TTC for a year, the city could buy 100,033 Chevy Cruzes. Allowing for a bit of bargaining, that’s probably more like 120,000 (or even 130,000 if we cheap out and go for the Aveo instead).
So in two years, we could give a quarter of the city’s 979,330 households a brand new Chevy Cruze, completely free. I’m figuring that covers almost all the households who don’t have cars and thus need the TTC*. (I’m not counting the people who own cars and, perversely, don’t want to drive them around. There might be no helping them.)
So in two years, everyone in the city could be able to get wherever they need to go. More places, even, since there are lots of places the TTC doesn’t even cover.
Did I mention we haven’t even touched the city’s $430 million operating subsidy? Maybe that can go towards still running Wheel-Trans and even paying for cabs for old people and young people who shouldn’t be driving. Even still, that’s probably not going to eat up all of the subsidy, especially not with all the lifts they’ll be able to bum.
And even then we still haven’t taken into account selling all the stuff the TTC owns. I know San Francisco and Kenosha bought a bunch of our old streetcars. Maybe they can buy a bunch more. It’s a start.
And there’s still the matter of the over $1 billion we’ll no longer be spending on fares and metropasses, now freed up to spend on our homes and pump back into the economy, which means more taxes and less deficit. When I started thinking about this, I don’t think I even imagined how much money we could free up, just by imagining what seemed impossible before now.
But speaking of pumping money back into the economy, it’d be downright stupid for us to pump all that money back into Oakville or Oshawa or Ingersoll or wherever they build those cars right now. I think if a car company wants this city’s business, they should have to build them right here. Give them a chunk of land in Downsview Park or – shudder – the Portlands and let’s get the thing pumping out the people’s cars.
And they don’t have to be Chevy Cruzes, by the way. Chrysler, Pontiac, whoever wants the business, that’s fine with me. They’ll probably wind up being called Fords anyway.
* On its busiest day ever, the TTC carried 1.7 million riders. Most of those are round trips, so the number is really around 900,000. But many people take, say a bus and the subway, so let’s cut that number down to 500,000. 4 seats, even in an small car like an Aveo, so we’ve got everyone accounted for in our first year.)
Ideas Free to a Good Home we’re too lazy to develop ourselves.