Toronto Transit Commissions Takes Stance on Whether to Privatize Toronto Public Transit

For anyone who lives in Toronto and takes the subway fairly regularly, you may have noticed the posters discussing the potential negative outcomes of privatizing Toronto public transit and using Vancouver, Melbourne and London and examples of why not to privatize public transit in Toronto.   You can read the full story in the Toronto Sun article entitled ‘Keep TTC public‘ about the 1/2 million dollar campaign by the TTC to make people aware of why the TTC shouldn’t be privatized.

Well now, it’s time for my rant…

Having moved to Toronto nearly four years ago, I can truly say that the TTC is the worst public transit system I have dealt with.  The ticket prices are astronomical (the price of a monthly pass is double that of Boston’s for example), the staff is extremely overpaid, rude and generally quite lazy, and the coverage for a city of Toronto’s size is abysmal.  On top of this, the subway stations are generally dirty and all of the subways and streetcars are old and regularly broken.  The fact that there has been so many problems trying to get the light rail projects off the ground highlight the TTC’s inefficiencies.

What I find most insulting is the fact that they bring up Melbourne’s public transit system as an example of why privatization does not work.  Most people in Toronto have not likely lived in Melbourne nor have they visited it.  Having lived in Melbourne back in 2006, I can set the record straight that Melbourne’s public transit system is a huge step up from Toronto’s.  The coverage of the transit system is incredible (whereas Toronto has 3 subway lines, Melbourne has more than a dozen).  The prices are reasonable and the trains, trams and buses are both efficient and clean.

So what can I conclude from all this?  Well if Melbourne really is an example of what happens when you privatize a public transit system, then I believe Toronto’s TTC should be privatized as soon as possible.  So thank you Toronto Transit Commission for helping me realize what the right thing truly is to do, but at least we’re not in Memphis Homes,

The Great Reset by Richard Florida

 

Any regular reader of the blog will know that i’m a big fan of the author Richard Florida.  Florida has written a number of outstanding books such as The Creative Classor Who’s Your City?.  Both books have a heavy urban focus and discuss why certain people decide on certain places to live or the new ways in which the current generations choose to live.

For his latest book, The Great Reset, Florida focuses on the recent recession and how it will change our economy and the way we live.  I have currently read half the book and am once again enthralled with the subject matter.  Florida relates our current recession to the last two economic crashes (The Great Depression and the Long Depression of the 1870′s) and discusses how these troubled times often brought about the greatest innovation that helped shape how people would live in the future.

As with any of his other books, Florida discusses a number of different urban issues.  He touches on the decline of the rust belt cities such as Detroit or Buffalo and the reasons for their decline.  Perhaps more intriguing is Florida’s focus on the decline of many of the sun belt cities such as Phoenix or Miami which were almost solely driven by real estate in the last decade.  Now that the recession has hit, property prices in these places have been decimated and unlike cities like San Francisco, Boston or Houston, they don’t have much else to rely on economically.

I will provide another post when I finish the book, but for the time being, I recommend anyone who is a fan of Richard Florida or a fan of social economics to pick up a copy of The Great Reset.

What can $300 000 get you in real estate?

With housing prices still deeply depressed throughout the world, I thought i’d take a look and see what $300 000 could afford someone in several of the major cities around the United States (give or take a thousand dollars or so).  Home prices have dropped considerably in some areas (such as Miami) while staying relatively stable (such as Boston).   The difference in quality might just amaze you!  Note that all these listings are in the city proper.  As well, also note that the listings will likely only be up for a few days or weeks.  Therefore, I created a small description of the property along with the link.

Miami: 3 bedroom, 1 bath single level  detached home. with large front yard  1216 square feet – http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/4465-Southwest-13-Terrace_Miami_FL_33134_M51691-35445

Cleveland: 3 bedroom, 3 bath luxury townhome close to the shore of Lake Erie.  2205 square feet – http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/7420-Goodwalt-Ave_Cleveland_OH_44102_M36987-55595

Boston: 1 bedroom, 1 bath apartment in a late 1800′s condo complex.  380 square feet – http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/60-Myrtle-St-Unit-5_Boston_MA_02114_M43540-59341

San Francisco: Studio apartment with large windows  access to a deck.  531 square feet – http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/83-85-Brady-St-Unit-2_San-Francisco_CA_94103_M29615-58768

Chicago: Two bedroom, 2 bath condo in a highrise complex built in the 70′s and including a communal pool. 1300 square feet –http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/1415-North-Dearborn-Street-Unit-11b_Chicago_IL_60610_M87440-01602

Honolulu: 1 bedroom, 1 bath condo in a highrise complex with a view of downtown Honolulu and the ocean.  1000 square feet –http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/1221-Victoria-St-Unit-1803_Honolulu_HI_96822_M70822-90298