Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Thoughts on reasonable expectations

Earlier today, the administrator of GO Transit's Facebook page put up a link to advertise their airport services ahead of the long weekend. The comments on the link, however, pointed out that there is no direct bus from Halton or Hamilton to the airport. Apparently, this is an epic fail, according to the commenters. But, is it reasonable to expect that there will be a direct service from any random location in the region to Pearson Airport? From my perspective, in a world with limited budgets and competing priorities, no.

If you want to travel between locations in Halton or Hamilton and Pearson Airport, you're going to have to transfer from the 407 service onto the Brampton Local at Bramalea GO Station. If you're travelling on the weekends, your best bet might be take the train to Long Branch and then take the TTC to the airport via Kipling Station. Yeah, transfers suck, but there is no way that any transit agency can provide a direct service to cover every conceivable trip. At the end of the day, we have to have a reasonable expectation about what sort of service public transit can provide. It may be able to replace 99% of the trips that the average person takes, but is it truly an epic failure if 1% of the trips aren't as smooth?

People love to use the internet to complain. Haters gonna hate and trolls gonna troll. But, wouldn't it be awesome if those same people stood up and said that they would support the revenue tools necessary to fix the problems we have?

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At 10/10/2010 7:04 p.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course anyone wanting improved service, should generally be expected to be prepared to pay for it (though fares/fees/taxes etc.).

I might also add, 'Epic Fail' is a rather juvenile critique of anything, even if it what one critiques is in need of substantial improvement. Constructive criticism would always be preferable.


With the above in mind, however, I am not sure a critique isn't warranted. After all, we know that transit can't serve every trip or every trip well, but which can/should it be able to serve well?

The answer, I would argue is points of major supply (commuters) to major demand (trip generators of scale).

This is always the most cost-efficient service deliverable.

Pearson is w/o a doubt a massive trip generator, quite possibly the region's largest, along with the University campuses and downtown Toronto. Put travellers to one side, its serving the non-luggage baring employees that I'm thinking of. Though obviously this can accommodate travelers as well.

If we accept that Pearson merits this on one end, of course we still can't connect it to everyone and everywhere, directly.

But if we asked where is the supply of people coming to the airport, or where could it be?

We might conclude that major nodes would ideally be connected.

Hamilton, downtown Toronto, Mississauga's City Centre, North York City Centre even.

Then we might consider how practical that is. Of course we need to test demand before option for something like heavy rail.....

But what would the highway network permit? I can see a direct route from Burlington GO via 407 and 401 to the Airport.

I can see another via 403 which could also serve Mississauga City Centre; probably run out of Burlington or Oakville Stations.

I can even see several practical rail connections, not only via the Georgetown Corridor, but Lakeshore, sending trains up at Canpa, and extending that corridor along the already secure hydro corridor to the north which leads almost perfectly to the Airport.

You can't have service from nowhere to nowhere; and even nowhere to somewhere is a tough sell; but somewhere to somewhere??? Maybe that is an expectation that should be reasonable, at least in the fullness of time.


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