Union Station Revitalization

I moved to Toronto 3 years ago from the burbs. Admittedly, I had never been a public transit kind of person, but with the move to the ‘big smoke’ I sold my car and had been left with no choice but to rely on city transit. My office is located at Dundas Station on the Yonge line and is about a 30 minute brisk walk from my condo in CityPlace (Spadina at the Gardiner). 

My plan for getting to work:

·         Most days: I could walk to Union station through the Skywalk bridge at the SkyDome (Roger’s Centre) easily into Union and take the Subway north from there to Dundas Station.

·         Cold / snowy/ rainy days: I would take the Spadina streetcar south to Union station then hop on the subway north, to Dundas Station  

·         Nice days in the spring and summer: I would make the 30 minute walk (each way)

Well, 3 long years have passed and I can say that my plans all fell apart. I now walk to work every single day. Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays makes me want to take the TTC to or from work.

Here are the 10 reasons I walk to work:Edit

1.    Closed “Skywalk”: Construction of the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada closed down most of the Skywalk, making the walk in the rain to Union station simply not worth it. If I was going to get soaked in the rain for 15 minutes just to get to shelter, why not just walk the other 15 outdoors or in the PATH? I guess I’ll just take the Spadina streetcar…

2.    Spadina streetcar closure: No longer an option…Yup, they also shut down the Spadina streetcar on me. Set to re-open finally in February of 2014.

3.    Fares: They keep going up! In 2010 fares were hiked to $3 cash fare, $2.60 per token for 10 tokens, and monthly Metropass to $126…. Guess what? it is happening again: City News reported yesterday,  that the TTC will be hiking fares again effective Jan 1, 2014. Riders will see a five-cent hike in tokens and a $5.25 bump in the price of an adult Metropass. The price of a single adult token will go from $2.65 to $2.70 and the Metropass will spike from $128.50 to $133.75. Cash fares will remain frozen at $3.00

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Jam-packed streetcar on Dundas St.

4.    Reliability / Delays: My walk to work isn’t impacted by track issues, mechanical failures, people or animals on the track or traffic. My feet give me a time guarantee that the TTC never could.

5.    Union Station flooding: Every commuter knows that with any heavy rainfall union station will undoubtedly be flooded. Ain’t nobody got time fo dat!

6.    Shady characters: I’ve seen some things - Fights, grab ‘n runs, drinking, puking, I’ve been starred down, I’ve been asked for money… I’ve even watched a man shadow box for an extended period of time.

7.    Strange smells:  Urine, vomit, body odour and other unidentifiable scents…gross – no thanks.

8.    Getting rubbed on: Major issue on the rush hour streetcars, I can handle a few shoulder bumps and the occasional ass grab, but I can’t imagine what it would be like to be a claustrophobic or even an attractive female on these close-quarters cop-a-feel machines.

9.    Union station is a mess: When construction began on Union Station for its revitalization, the place was a disaster. Daily commuters have established routes and routines to get them through the station during the morning and evening rushes. Then all of a sudden WHAMMY! There regular routes were closed and mass amounts of people were forced to find new routes on the fly and this resulted in chaos. I’ve never seen more puzzled faces. The flow through Union Station was brutal, just walking through the station added 10 minutes to your travel.

10. Free exercise: Can’t argue with an excuse to walk 5km a day

Does the TTC work for you? What are your reasons for Rockin’ the Rocket to work?