Monday, March 6, 2006

TTC Subway

* TTC Subway
TTC Ride the Rocket I have to say, I was most impressed by the subway system of Toronto. Entire public transit system actually - TTC.
Bangalore commuting hassles being what it is, it is no wonder that the one thing I valued was the convenience of this transit system. I made the most use of the Weekly Pass

Want to cross a few blocks ? Hop in the nearest subway.
Live in the suburbs ? No problem. Park your car and use the subway for downtown shopping. No hassle of parking at each halt.
Trains every 2-3 minutes. Even till very late in the night.
On so many occasions, after reaching my destination, I would find that I have forgotton my wallet at home. But no prob. Went home and back in no time.

With Street Car, you can get a complete but unguided tour of the city. What I did was, used the subway to go to last stop. Got in a street car, for an art gallery. But this turned out to be the wrong car. It started going back to downtown. I didn't mind that; gallery for some other day. It winded through the suburbs and downtown streets, which till now had been underground subway stops.

Subway stops are unique, characterized by their advertisements and artwork. Advertisement in neat frames. Different color tiles for each stop. And then artwork - murals depicting the character of that stop - College, Queen, King ... Instructions everywhere - escalator safety, exits, washrooms. More than technology, it's the design and planning of this system that is noteworthy.

Subway Musicians really add character to this place. And they play so well. Mostly guitarist, with vocals. (Just now came to know that they play a license fee to TTC !) They also sell their CD's here. But mostly they play for money from commuters. My constant question was "how much would they earn this way ?" Nevertheless they play unobstructively at their usual hours in their usual place. This is a romantic contrast to our train singers, who have strong poverty-driven aggression.

And then there were commuters. I have to say "Commuter" is a universal class of people. They exhibit similar behaviour in both parts of the world. Group of people, packed in a box together. Each in her own world - planning, thinking, day-dreaming, reading book or taking a nap. Holding their bags in tight clasp. Once in a while something grabs everyone's collective attention. A mad-cap attention-grabbing one in open shirt with a body-builder physique, whistles for everyone's attention and then does pushup, right in the middle of the car. Oh yes, I saw this. Then there are people in bathrobes, or with 3-4 dogs. One time a fellow sitting behind, talked non-stop about everything on this globe - Hamas win in Palestine, his pet dog, why people in India hate dogs (I have no clue), then organic food, yada yada. All this to a sympathic lady, who patiently heard him out with a "sure" & "ok", till she got off at her stop. That was some 30 minutes !

This was my first hand experience in slowing time and squeezing in more in short time. It's delicious ! Toronto felt like a small world city, though it's immensely bigger than Bangalore. I wish Bangalore had Metro built long back. Imagine Malleshwaram to JPNagar in less than 1/2 an hour. Yumm ! But now, I am not sure about living through the under-construction hassles, for the convenience for that may come after 4-5 years. Anyway, it might happen any time soon. Ah ! the scarifices one has to make ...


Akash Sethia said...

Nice post.

Your posts oflate have made me travel the place. This one however was thoughtful also.

Prithi Shetty said...

Thanks for noting, AKS.
I too am trying to relive my travel thru these posts :) Most imp one is yet to come.

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