A recent Toronto Star article has described the regions of Toronto poorly served by public transit as “transit deserts.” In these areas, as the article notes, “rapid transit is nonexistent and residents must rely on bus service that is often late.”
In South Etobicoke, where only one small pocket scores above 25 and many neighbourhoods rate a score of 0, transit users have first hand experience of this problem, and it is something that SETAC is striving to improve.
While the TTC’s Chief Customer Officer, Chris Upfold rejects the term “transit desert.” and claims that 99 per cent of residents “live within a 10-minute walk of a transit stop,” how reliable is the service at that stop? And how long does it take to get from that bus to higher order transit, such as a subway, and from there to major employment centres such as the downtown core?
The TTC responded to the article by insisting that service planning is based on how many people take it, but if the transit options available are consistently poor and unreliable, ridership levels may never reach a threshold at which the TTC will be prompted to make substantive improvements. As the article’s author notes, this kind of paradox exacerbates transit inequities throughout the city.