T.O.'s wheelchair shame
Great article by Eli Shupak (now, May 10-16). And this city wants to host the Olympics?
A guy in a wheelchair who loves sports can't even get home after dark. And suppose there were no extra innings, but the fan just wanted to have a beer with some friends after the game, only to discover that time had elapsed and Wheel-Trans had gone to sleep for the night? It just ain't fair.
Someone who can write as articulately and as passionately as Shupak in defending the rights of the handicapped should not have to spend the night in someone's apartment sleeping in his own wheelchair.
If all of us more fortunate souls who are able to walk and attend to our bodily functions were made to spend the night in a wheelchair and then have to "hop" on a bus, we would be more empathetic to the needs of all the special people who make Toronto so unique.
- Sol Fleising, Vaughan
A way out of streetcar jams
As a 20-year veteran of the TTC who has worked with the crush of rush-hour commuters at the subway stations along the King streetcar route -- Broadview, King, St. Andrew's and Dundas West -- I know unquestionably that speedy boarding and exiting on the King streetcar is the answer to delays.
A King streetcar operator's major problem is the processing of passengers getting on and off the streetcar. He/she must verify the validity of fare media (transfers, day passes, Metropasses and the correctness of the fare deposited) and ensure that passengers are safely aboard before the doors are closed.
A simple method to minimize this delay is to allow passengers to board through both front and back doors and to pay their fare at a later location.
I recommend as a solution designating King from Jarvis to Bathurst a deferred-pay zone, so no passenger would pay a fare on the streetcar during rush hour from 3 to 7 pm and no transfers would be issued.
However, a fare would be paid at the subway station of entry. This would eliminate costly delays routinely associated with fare collection and inspection. Since the majority of commuters on the King car arrive at some point at one of the two subway stations en route (King on the Yonge line, or St. Andrews on the University line) and will pay their fare at that location, little loss of revenue would occur.
To do as the TTC proposes -- to create pedestrian walkways to streetcars -- would merely complicate the traffic/transit congestion, which is not only frustrating to commuters and other users of the road, but is also a wasteful, costly and inefficient use of public transit.
The simplicity of the deferred-pay zone would eliminate the unacceptably high cost to the thriving business community on the King line that the TTC proposal would impose.
- Bruce H. Bryer, West Hill
Teachers need a lesson
The reaction to Nigel Lezama's piece (NOW, May 10-16) authored by nine (!!) teachers was extremely disturbing. The first thing children should be taught is respect for human dignity. It is also the last. If that were the only thing anyone remembered from their time at school we would all be a lot better off.
The culture of blaming society -- "Our students are the victims of their neighbourhoods" -- for all ills is wrong on all counts. It excuses and absolves, indulges and trivializes. For what is society if not a series of human interrelationships and the institutions we set up to foster them?
Children should learn responsibility for their actions sooner rather than later. Age 10 to 13 may already be too late. That this reaction should come from teachers is shameful. It also explains much.
- Max Blanco, Toronto
FTAA should expel Canada
the media portrays the anti-FTAA protestors in Quebec City as divided into a civilized group of peaceful protestors versus a group of violent, anarchist hooligans who were challenging the fence.
In reality, the vast majority of the thousands of people protesting close to the anti-democratic fence were peaceful protestors who don't endorse throwing stones at police. Calling a large, peaceful group of protestors violent just because of the violence of maybe 1 per cent of that group is ludicrous.
The main reason for protestors not to go to the fence was fear of police brutality and of being arrested. A fear well grounded in reality, as many people witnessed.
Hearing first-hand experiences of people being arrested who haven't engaged in anything unlawful or aggressive makes me doubt the Canadian "justice" system. Hearing that in prison (innocently!) arrested protestors are denied water, food, access to a washroom and telephone for eight hours, are strip-searched in relatively public spaces and beaten by police makes me fear that democracy doesn't even exist in Canada.
According to the lauded "democracy clause" in the FTAA agreement, Canada should be expelled from the FTAA for violating basic democratic values.
- Jean-Francois Gouin, Julie Joyce, Rhian Salmon, Christian von Savigny, Bart Verheggen
Bring back the old design
I'm writing to complain about an irritant in your otherwise fine mag -- the placement of the live music club listings and the movie times listings.
I've been a NOW reader for years and have come to rely on your live music listings. I go out to hear live music in clubs several times weekly, both nights and weekend matinees, and usually go out to a movie at least once a week. So I keep my trusty issue of NOW handy for the entire week to consult the listings, even if I've already read everything else of interest in the issue.
Also, please put the list of contents on page 3 -- not in some hard-to-find place like page 11 or 13. (Unless, of course, you want to add a Sunshine-NOW girl on page 3 -- I wouldn't object to that!)
- Dean Nixon, Toronto