TTC ~ Toronto Transit Commission


A New TTC.ca?

TTCLast spring I wrote a little love letter to the TTC. Although I was gushing at the time, I gave the TTC some much deserved lumps with regards to their website.

Finally, if you want to see how out of touch TTC marketing is in this new age of viral communique, one needs to look no further than their official web site. It's one of the worst commercial sites I've ever come across and a complete embarrassment. If you're interested in a challenge, try and learn from ttc.ca what a single adult fare would cost you today. Good luck! The official TTC site looks especially horrible when compared to Transit Toronto, a fan site that's vastly superior to the TTC sanctioned site.

TTC.ca is unusable. It was horrible then and it's horrible now. Both Torontoist and BlogTO have entries this afternoon about how Adam Giambrone is interested in hearing how local bloggers would improve the TTC's site. As the new Commissioner of the Toronto Transit Commission, he might just be able to give us TTC riders what we deserve... a new TTC.ca that works.

This makes so much sense I can't believe it's actually happening.

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Tokens or Tickets?

ttcForget that boxers or briefs question. The Toronto equivalent is far sexier. Tokens or tickets?

I'm a tickets guy. I keep them in my wallet where the rest of you keep your paper money and I haven't lost one yet. Whenever I use tokens they get mixed up with my coinage and cause me all sorts of grief. They're lighter than coins, so while I'm reaching in for a fistful of cash one or two tokens are libel to fall to the ground. Visually, those damn tokens look way too much like dimes. This problem, it seems, is finally coming to an end.

The TTC has unveiled a new token with a new colour scheme and texture. It's gold and silver, toonie style. It's a step in the right direction, but it doesn't beat the ticket.

I'm just a tickets kind of guy.

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TTC Swag Suggestions

ttcArtur wants me to mention the TTC swag suggestions made by Torontoist. I've checked it out and it's no doubt hipper stuff than what the TTC sells. I've been complaining about the TTC marketing effort for a while now. It's sadly out of touch.

A tee shirt with the "Mind the Gap" graphic or "Please Move Back..." would be very cool. Instead we just get "Ride the Rocket". I'm getting tired of beating a dead horse. This time, it's Artur's fault.

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Jane Station Enters the 21st Century

ttcI recently wrote about the pathetic news ticker at the Jane TTC subway station. The clock was 40 minutes fast, the ticker didn't actually deliver news and other subway stations had been outfitted with modernized information screens long ago.

Late last week, those modern screens were indeed installed at Jane station. They haven't been turned on yet, but they're there. I'm not foolish enough to think my entry had anything to do with this, but the coincidence delights me.

Jane station, you are loved.

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Show Jane Station Some Love

ttcFor most of my life, the Jane TTC subway station has been my home station. I think the TTC needs to show Jane station a little love.

Many stations now have those great information screens that give you the news, weather and time while you wait for the next subway. It's like watching TV. Jane station, however, still has those old scrolling screens that nobody reads anymore. It seemed pretty cool in the late 80s, but today it just seems pathetic.

To make matters much, much worse, the time on these units, on both the eastbound and westbound platforms, is exactly 40 minutes fast. It's been that way for months. I've adapted and now instantly add 40 minutes to the time displayed, but can't they fix this? I'll bet there's a couple of button you press simultaneously at the controls to move those minutes to where they belong.

Jane, divided, but I can't decide what side I'm on
Jane decided only cowards stay, while traitors run
Jane, Jane

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Name That T35A08

ttcThe TTC is ordering 234 new subway cars and they're having a contest to name them. To enter, send an email to namethetrain@ttc.ca with the train name, your name, a daytime telephone number, your address, city and postal code.

I've suggested "veloCiTy" with the stylized TTC "T". Don't steal my idea!

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She's Lovely and She's Ours

ttcYesterday, in sweltering hot, hot heat, thousands of Torontonians cursed out the TTC and their illegal wildcat strike. There was record heat, a smog warning, a humidity warning and, for many, a long walk or bike ride to work. It was a great way to start the week.

Not long ago, I gave this site an overhaul. I completed the migration to Movable Type and rewrote the XHTML and CSS. Looking for a main logo and new colour scheme, I wanted a symbol that said "Toronto". I toyed with the CN Tower, our crappy Toronto flag and our sports teams but I ended up with the TTC logo.

To me, it's the life blood of the city. Our subway, bus and streetcar system covers every nook and cranny and gets you from A to Z quickly, safely and reliably. I've always loved the TTC, and I shared some memories of her when the subway turned 50 in 2004. It's a great institution, but it could be so much better.

The TTC has no concept of how cool a symbol it could be. Last year I linked to the TTC Subway Rider Efficiency Guide. It was so cool, but it didn't come from the TTC. It came from http://ttcrider.ca. Remember the ultra cool buttons featuring replicas of the tile art from each station? That was probably the coolest piece of TTC marketing ever, but it didn't come from the TTC. They came from http://spacing.ca. Just this past February RobotJohnny.com put out a very funny anagram map of the TTC subway system. I was so dissapointed when TTC lawyers sent him a cease and desist order. Luckily, ttcrider.ca is still hosting the original. The TTC ought to be encouraging such actions instead of calling the lawyer.

Finally, if you want to see how out of touch TTC marketing is in this new age of viral communique, one needs to look no further than their official web site. It's one of the worst commercial sites I've ever come across and a complete embarassment. If you're interested in a challenge, try and learn from ttc.ca what a single adult fare would cost you today. Good luck! The official TTC site looks especially horrible when compared to Transit Toronto, a fan site that's vastly superior to the TTC sanctioned site.

I'm sticking with the TTC logo in the top left corner of this site until I'm inspired to change it or I get one of those nasty cease and desist letters from the TTC, whichever comes first. The TTC doesn't get it, but instead of hating them for it I pity them. So long as we continue to put out efficiency guides, tile buttons and anagram maps, we'll eventually drag the TTC kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century. It's worth it. She's lovely and she's ours.

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TTC The Bitter Way?

TTCEarlier in the week, RobotJohnny.com posted this Anagram TTC Map. I saw it and smiled. It's a cute spin on a Toronto institution. What Torontonian hasn't seen that map a billion times?

The TTC didn't find it nearly as harmless and funny. They've sent the creator a cease and desist letter. They just don't get it and that's a shame. Former Torontonian Cory Doctorow puts it best on Boing Boing:

It's part of every Torontonian's experience of the city, a part of the cultural fabric. Culture gets remixed -- that's what happens with it. Trademark is supposed to protect rightsholders from competitors who use their marks to confuse the public in the course of commerce. No one who saw RobotJohnny's genius map would have confused it for a second with a real TTC map and sent him a subway token. The TTC's legal bullying here is completely needless -- they face no risk and no loss from letting their riders make turn the map into their own personal remix.

How can the TTC not be amused at the fact Bathurst is an anagram of Butt Rash or Ossington is Gino's Snot?

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TTC Subway Rider Efficiency Guide

TTCWhile in university, before starting my first full-time job, I was a power TTC user. There were two ways to get where I was going, my bike and the TTC. When it came to the subway, I knew exactly where to get on so that it aligned with the exit at my destination station. I had it down to a fine out, optimizing my TTC experience so that utmost efficiency was achieved.

I just learned of the coolest document that would make anyone an efficient TTC subway rider. Download your TTC Subway Rider Efficiency Guide and learn where the escalators and stairs are at each station. For additional convenience, there's the double-sided pocket version.

A most excellent idea.

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TTC On Strike Monday?

TTCThe president of Local 113 of the Amalgamated Transit Union said today that the union would go on strike Monday morning. He blamed government underfunding and the specific inability of both sides to come to agreement on the issue of the contracting out of some jobs.

We're a city that heavily depends on our public transportation system. Whenever the TTC goes on strike it screws up the entire delicate balance and chokes the highways for all. Here's hoping this strike doesn't last very long, I'm not sure how much strain the T-dot can take before she breaks.

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