While Toronto’s subways vs. LRT debates splash against the front pages of newspapers our neighbours in Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge to the west have had their own ongoing debates about the future of transit in the city.
The major bus route throughout KW is King Street, and the plan was to run an LRT along it and to reorganize buses in the city to feed into the LRT for better, more reliable, and faster crosstown travel.
The plan, which also includes a multi-modal downtown transit hub, hasn’t seen any major battles erupt like the mention of LRT will garner here in Toronto.
That is, until Ted Livingston decided he was not only an expert at providing a platform for tweenagers to sext each other and perverts, pedophiles to collect child pornography (no, really) but also an expert at transit in Waterloo Region.
His beef? The trains for the LRT aren’t futuristic enough.
His Change.org tirade, which you can read for yourself here, begins earnestly enough as he lets us know that he “only started reading about the specifics of the LRT this past Sunday.” This should be a red flag to anyone reading, as the “specifics” of the LRT have been publicly debated for the past fours years or so, and there also isn’t a lot more ever going on in the news in Waterloo to keep you distracted.
He tells us that he was excited, because trains are cool, that is until he saw a picture of one of the trains. “Not a futuristic train whizzing by overhead, but just a glorified bus running up and down King in a dedicated lane.”
Yes, he’s upset because the train doesn’t look cool enough.
He goes on to explain: “We say that traveling by bus is brutal and that these trains will be so much more comfortable to take, but after two wheels are photoshopped in we will all see that it is simply a shinier bus.”
Oh, that’s right, he photoshopped some wheels onto a concept design of one of the LRT trains going by Grand River Hospital to, um, prove to us that these trains are a lot like buses, maybe?
Waterloo Region and Grand Rvier Transit could also do a lot worse than double length articulated buses like the one Mr. Livingston has photoshopped into existence here.
“Instead of a train we all know and love, we’ll have glorified buses that are just as miserable to take. Because instead of getting cars off the streets and opening our roads, we’ll have closed key roadways and made traffic a mess. And because instead of looking for a unique solution that would actually make commuting in Waterloo fun, we’ll have gone over budget and burdened any future options for decades to come.”
The whole thing reeks of someone who, fresh out of school with a cash cow of an app, has to pay taxes for the first time and thinks that the dedicated lane will make it more difficult to travel around town in his new car. In Toronto he might have a few more fans, but in Waterloo where most people who take public transit are captive passengers, meaning they actually have no choice but to take the bus to work or school because they can’t afford a car, I think he’s going to be a bit hard pressed to find a group of car snobs willing to turn down any step in the right direction.
Ted Livingston, Jim Balsillie you ain’t. Stick to your app instead of opining on Waterloo’s transit.