Part of the Bay Area News Group

oh, Canada! you’ve let yourself go.

By enelson
Tuesday, July 18th, 2006 at 5:51 pm in Environment, Funding, Transit vs. driving.

Ahh, Canada. It’s where all right-thinking (er, make that left-thinking) Americans would be living if there were no Bay Area.

I’ve not spent much time there, but I remember going to visit the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, and, as if on cue, I witnessed a well-dressed woman with a little dog being told by a police officer that she’d better clean up after her pet, or else. It could have been in the script of “Canadian Bacon.”

But alas, my stereotype has blown a speaker.

torontosmog.jpg  photo from

I just read that the Toronto Transit Commission is waiting for a “cold day in hell” before it will offer free rides to mitigate the summer’s 20th smog day “even as American cities embrace the idea.”

American cities? Read “The Bay Area’ in this Toronto Star story:

Public transit in most American cities, including San Francisco, receive much more state and federal funding than the TTC on a per-rider basis. State and federal funds typically cover half the costs related to operating buses, streetcars and subways. In Toronto, provincial funds cover about 20 per cent of the TTC’s operating costs, the rest coming from the fare box.


The San Francisco area’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission — which oversees 25 public transit systems — has about $12 million (U.S.) in its coffers to cover expenses related to offering free rides during smog days in sweltering heat. The money comes from federal, state and regional sources.


“It’s part of a co-ordinated effort from state and regional governments, with some federal financing,” said (TTC chairman Howard) Giambrone. “It’s not just free transit, it’s a whole package of things. We need to have a similar approach in Canada. When the provincial and federal government step up to the plate, we’ll be happy to participate with them and provide free transit. Without their help, it’s really not in the game plan.”

So there you have it. We’re more progressive than Canada, or at least richer.


And for a taste of what those wacky Londoners are up to, check out this BBC story:

[You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.]

One Response to “oh, Canada! you’ve let yourself go.”

  1. Inside Bay Area > The Capricious Commuter > keeping up with the Jeanses Says:

    […] I also learned a little more about Canada as a model of all things socialized and federal. Single-payer healthcare they got. When it comes to public transit, they look south of the border for inspiration. I noted this when a Canadian newspaper story mentioned the Bay Area’s free transit on Spare the Air Days this summer. In Canada, such a thing would be très impossible. […]

Leave a Reply