Monday, May 29, 2006

Strike ONE

Today sucked.

Toronto commuters awoke to a "surprise" transit strike.

As in: "Surprise! You have 10 minutes to figure out how you're getting your ass to work!!!" 3...2..1.. GO!"

Ironically, it's Bike Week in Toronto. Lots of people rode past me. I thought of Steakbellie for a couple moments, his wistful energetic cyclist haikus taunting me. I thumbed a ride with a stranger, wondering for the first 3 minutes if getting to work was worth losing my life. Turns out the dude was trying to freak me out on purpose, for his own amusement. I let it slide because he was doing me a huge favour, so he might as well reap a simple reward that doesn't involve holding me at knifepoint.

I felt kinda bohemian, thumbing a lift to work. I've never done that before. And I made record time. Sadly, it's definitely the better way.


steakbellie said...

i feel for you. New York and Philadelphia have both had transit strikes recently. While I typically support the rights of workers to strike, I question the inordinate leverage public transit workers have in their negotions.

1,000 people can keep a full city captive? yup.

Try the bike if you can pull it off safely, you just might enjoy yourself!

katrocket said...

Agreed, SB - I also support the right of workers to strike, but in this particular case, the TTC transit union already negotiated and ratified a full contract in April 2006, which included a significant pay increase over the next 2 years, improved benefit packages, and increased security for drivers.

These demands were met by me and the rest of the commuters here - thru a 25 cent increase per ride that we now pay on every ticket. That's two-fitty a week baby, $130 a year. I only wish my employer in the private sector saw fit to increase my wage accordingly. I'd strike over it, but hey, I'm not allowed to strike, because like most people, i gotta like it or lump it.

The stike action they conducted yesterday was not legal. It was a job action in response to propsed changes to work schedule for maintenance workers (custodial staff). Management is trying to place on workers on night shift to improve overall service in the daytime and cut operating costs (the TTC is REALLY hurting for cash). 800 workers are affected by this decision, and I truly feel bad for them, but i don't think that fucking up the lives of over 1 million people to make an illegal and rather triavial point on behalf of 800 janitors is the way to go. I'm now living is one really angry city. Any support these workers had from the public is now pretty much null and void.

I'm going bike shopping this weekend. Thanks for the encouragement :-)

Chris said...

Out here in the boonies public transportation is nearly nonexistent. Things are just too spread out to make it feasible, I guess, but the city does try. I see big huge giant diesel belching buses hogging up two lanes of traffic with TWO PEOPLE IN IT. I think smaller cities would be better off selling their "big city size" buses off and buying twice as many buses that are half as big. It'd give more people work (drivers) in an economically depressed community, and they could double the routes with the same amount of fuel. The reason most people don't take the bus around here is that the nearest bus stop is often farther away than where you need to go in the first place.

I'm rambling. Sorry.

I bet it did make you a bit nervous hitching a ride with some babufto stranger! I dunno if that makes you brave, or off-your-rocker nutzo insane.

katrocket said...

i'm probably the latter.