Last night’s budget consultations reveal Rob Ford’s biggest foe: roller derby squads
Last night saw two rounds of budget consultation—that’s half of all the public meetings Toronto’s going to get this year—in East York and North York. There were arguments about arts funding, the land transfer tax and, of course, the scrapping of Transit City. Awesomely, one of the best-organized lobby groups in the city at the moment appears to be the Toronto Roller Derby (ToRD) league. Deputees from ToRD appeared at both East York and North York to protest the proposed cut of the 101 Downsview Park bus, the only bus that services their league’s arena.
One of their members explained their grievance in McClung’s blog:
I spoke to Candy Crossbones, Captain of the Chicks Ahoy!, about the bus route cuts and how it could affect ToRD. Candy Crossbones, who daylights as Saira Peesker, is a hot jammer and has been playing with ToRD since its inception in 2006.
ToRD currently has approximately 120 skaters, and more than 50% of them take the bus at least once a week to and from practise, said Crossbones, herself included. Most skaters commute for at least an hour from the downtown core to the Hangar. It’s a long trip, but one that Crossbones and dozens of others are willing to make because The Hangar is the only space that is big enough for a full sized track that is not iced over for hockey in the winter months. This makes the space indispensable.
Of course, the laundry list of proposed cuts was itself shelved for a month while the TTC figures out what to do—they’ll be holding meetings next week for public consultation, and we’d wager the ladies from ToRD will show up at those as well.
If we learned one thing from watching Whip It (aside from the shocker that Texas might be a repressive environment for a teen) it’s that picking a fight with scrappy, underdog roller-derby athletes is a bad idea. Though if Rob Ford and the executive committee wanted to strap on some rollerblades and challenge ToRD to settle this, we’d be all for that.
• War on Roller Derby: Bus Cuts will Hurt [McClung’s]
• Citizens give Ford an earful at consultation meetings [Toronto Star]
• TTC holds public hearings on cuts [Toronto Sun]
9 thoughts on “Last night’s budget consultations reveal Rob Ford’s biggest foe: roller derby squads”
Aside from calling the venue The “Hanger”, and a reference to “rollerblades” (boo! hiss!), well done.
Well done Toronto Roller Derby. Strength in numbers. I hope you surprised them all with fact that we are infact all VERY intelligent well behaved women on and off skates. Our practice time is very important and to cut off your transportation when the push is for more people to use public transportation does not make sense.
So what is your point? Are you saying that, if you owned this transportation business, that you would keep a gas guzzling bus & paid employee on a route that does not generate enough profit to sustain itself?
Are you saying that a few people that use this route once or a couple of times a week, whether day or night time, justifies it’s existence?
In a perfect world it would be great to have free everything, but unfortunately, nothing is free. Although I do feel bad for those few people that will be affected by the route cut, we have to look at the fact that it is just not cost effective. IT IS LOSING MONEY. No one operates a business to lose money.
And TTC is a business whether people want to accept it or not. It’s the tax payers business and it’s time that it either broke even or made a profit.
Cutting out the expensive, low ridership routes, is long over due.
These protesters seem to think that they are still in the Miller age. Wake up, there’s a new Sheriff in town. And he was elected by the majority of taxpayers that are fed up of being gouged to death for public services/gov’t, that constantly operate at a loss, instead of a profit.
End of story!
I would agree with Missy’s post except that this route is often very busy. During the evening hours there are people waiting at each stop and I often see the bus half full or completely full of people.
I can only assume the usage calculation heavily weights the rush hour usage, which may be low compared to some other routes (but I don’t know this for sure as I don’t use the park during those hours).
I have to disagree with Missy. Ford was not elected with a majority. He was elected by 47% of voters, 53% of toronto voted for someone else.
Transit systems are not supposed to make money. Cities are not businesses. A business’s interests are making profit for shareholders. No reasonable person expects the city to make a profit and then pay us back!
All transit systems are subsidized by the taxpayer at some form of government. It is unfortunate that most of our subsidy comes from the fare box 70%. That is the highest rate in North America. We need more assistance from the federal government in this country. All parts of the city should be available by transit.
Riding the TTC is not free, either. People pay good money to ride public transit in this city, and have the right to accessible transit – it’s not a privilege as you seem to think. The fact is, most routes don’t make money on their own during parts of the day, some more so than others. If you took each route, and cut it back to one bus an hour, that one bus would be overflowing, and sure, the cost of operating that bus and paying its driver would be more than compensated for by the farebox. Is that how transit should be operated?
As others noted, as much as you want to call the TTC a business, it is not, it is a public service. It exists to serve, ideally at as little cost or loss as possible, but it is not there to make money in the traditional business sense. If upper levels of government hadn’t downloaded operating subsidies to the City, resulting in that 70% of subsidy coming from the farebox, we wouldn’t be in this position. Regarding the Downsview bus, the TTC’s own numbers show that while weekday daytime the numbers are poor, on Saturday nights the bus averages 90 passengers per bus; their stated cutoff point for poor ridership is at 15 – 15 PER HOUR. (do the math: 90 per bus at 3 buses per hour is, um, 270.) If you were one of 90 people on a given bus route, you’d protest its cutting, too.
@Mr Whistler & @ Cherly
You both have made some very valid points. Thank you for reminding me of my nightmare times with the Finch Ave West line back in the 70’s. (my pre-car era) which left me stranded many a time during the rush hour winter storm times.
I stand corrected. One tends to forget these things when one has driven a car for many years to earn a living.
Yes, you are correct, I too would be pissed & protesting if it were happening to a car less me. I apologize for forgetting to think outside of the box. Thank you again for the POLITE & ENLIGHTENING wake up call.
Having said that……so what is the solution to keep the routes and make things MORE affordable for TTC riders, without gouging ALL of our incomes anymore than they already are? If you have fathomable ideas, then phone Mayor Ford and share them with him. He does listen. He does try. And I am sure that if it is a feasible idea, he will work with it. Just give him a chance.
Perhaps the TTC & Metrolinx upper echelons management team have forgotten, like I did, just how horrible it would be if they too were stranded.
Maybe, just maybe, your ideas would spark some creative solutions that they are not seeing at the moment.
So yes, keep trying to open everyone’s eyes. :) Good Luck!
@Mr Whistler & @ Cherly
P.S. In the grander scheme of things, if and when, all 3 levels of gov’t FINALLY stop creating jobs with our tax dollars ie: bloated gov’t, subsidizing projects to create employment (windmills & solar panels, Samsung deal), bringing salaries of the over paid upper management (not the hard working class) in line with the real world, and FINALLY does what ever it takes to let the PRIVATE SECTOR grow & flourish so that they create the jobs, then there would be so much monies in the city coffers to do what is necessary for our Health Care and TTC etc.
Do you understand what I am saying? By NOT using our tax dollars to create jobs, there would be all kinds of monies to bring all of our necessary services up to speed and at no additional cost to us.
Political leaders that are hell bent on subsidizing companies and expanding gov’t, all in the name of job creation, are & have been doing all of us a major disservice.
In my eyes, Private Sector job growth is the only way to go = more tax dollars in the city coffers & more monies in our pockets as our taxes would NOT have to keep going up to keep this insane money grab cycle alive. It would be a win win situation across the board. IMHO. :)
ahh read the NFL to toronto by the Ford brothers story..
Where will the NFL play Downsview…. how to close Downsview…. Low usage… how to get low usage MAKE IT HARD TO GET TO…
therefore cut off the TTC service to the “hanger” it is a pain to drive there.. and no ttc…no team or league will want to book this venue….
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