Some gigs at city hall may be cushy, but explaining to angry urbanites why Transit City had to be killed isn’t one of them. Karen Stintz has her job cut out for her. Today’s Globe and Mail has an interview with her about Rob Ford’s plans for the TTC, keeping the subways clean and changes to the commission itself. Here’s what we learned.
1. Presto is going to be here a while, so get used to it
One of the most incomprehensible fights the last TTC chair got into was the bickering over whether the TTC should use Presto or contract out for a different open payment system. Stintz lists the payment system as one of her biggest concerns and says she was an early supporter of Presto.
2. She blogs, just like us!
OK, she didn’t “say” she was an early supporter of Presto; she told the Globe’s John Lorinc that she wrote a blog about it. We applaud this trend. Could the next TTC chief simplify things further, by “liking” something on Facebook?
3. It’s probably not a good idea to get excited about subways just yet
Interrogated about the contradiction between shrinking the city’s budget and blowing it up with expensive subways, Stintz seems oddly coy. There’s basically a whole lot of “we’ll wait for the report” and “we’ll have to get answers for that.” If we didn’t know better, we’d say there’s some wiggle room on the Transit City versus subways debate. Then again, this could also mean that there’s a chance Toronto ends up with neither.
4. Wait, that was up for discussion?
Stintz says that as part of modernizing the fare system, there will be a review of possibly changing from the flat-fare system to a zone-fare system, where the cost of the ride changes depending on the distance travelled. Call us cynical, but we sort of thought Ford et al. would love this system—it effectively taxes the short commutes of downtown residents and subsidizes the longer commutes of suburban riders.
5. She’s going to be on TV
Like her predecessor, Adam Giambrone, Stintz will be hosting the CP24 show Ride the Rocket. Also like her predecessor, certain taxpayer-funded lessons are finding good use.