News

 

Former TTC head calls transit debate "ludicrous"

David Gunn says the politicians and mayoral candidates should leave transit planning to the experts

A former TTC head says it is "ludicrous" the way the transit debate in Toronto is being politicized.

It's been a hot topic among the mayoral candidates ahead of this year's election.

But David Gunn, who is now retired and living on Cape Breton Island, is criticizing the candidates, as well as current politicians, over their transit plans and ideas.

"They don't know what the hell they're talking about, most of them," he says. "They've turned subways and streetcars into religions - there are Sunnis and Shiites."

Gunn was the chief general manager of the TTC from 1995 to 1999. He was later the president of Amtrak, the U.S. passenger rail service, and has held top transit jobs in New York City, Washington and Boston.

He says the choice of mode of transit in a particular part of the city should be based on an expert analysis of ridership.

"The planning should be done by professionals, people who actually know the economics," he says.

Gunn's priority would be to create a single, "competent" organization that plans, builds and operates transit in Toronto.

"The first thing you have to do is to have one person in charge of everything," he says, rather than the current split between the TTC and Metrolinx.

"If you want Metrolinx to be in charge, give them the TTC, give them the whole ball of wax."

And then, he says, you let the experts solve the transit problem.

"You don't make those decisions off the of your head in the middle of a political campaign," Gunn says. "It's voodoo transit planning."

Leave a comment:

showing all comments · Subscribe to comments
Comment Like
  • 12
  1. Frankie posted on 03/24/2014 05:30 PM
    I recall David Gunn being an excellent TTC head. I may be wrong but he may have been turfed by the idiot councillors (Howard Moscoe may have been the councillor responsible for the TTC) because he was trying to run it professionally rather than politically.

    He is 100% correct about the current idiots running council and the same comments apply to other important infrastructure issues.

    It's absolutely ridiculous that we have the morons we do interfering with the running of the TTC. Professionals like Byford, Gunn, etc. should be left alone to run it.

    It's a multi-billion $ business controlled by idiots that couldn't order toilet paper without a fight.
  2. Jack posted on 03/24/2014 05:59 PM
    Between automated token machines, automated pass vendors, automated turnstiles, and the very prominent maps in each subway station, WHY are we still paying bloated wages to ATU lifers to sit in a booth and give bad attitude to customers?

    Not to mention every six-man cleaning crew where only one guy is doing anything, and not even doing it well. And furthermore, every bus and streetcar operator who has been caught on camera showing more interest to their newspaper or text messages than to what's happening on the road around them.

    Get the greedy, bloated unions out of the TTC and it will run as smooth as silk and well within budget.
    1. Jack posted on 03/24/2014 07:18 PM
      @Jack Yes, you've discovered that you can make posts that look like they're from me. Congratulations, well done, A+ for political discourse.
    2. Jack posted on 03/24/2014 07:28 PM
      @Jack The REAL JACK. Wow, ok, someone has discovered that they can make posts that look like they're from me and then further perpetuate the dialogue to make it appear that I'm only talking to myself. Well played sir. Well played....
  3. Jack posted on 03/24/2014 05:59 PM
    Between automated token machines, automated pass vendors, automated turnstiles, and the very prominent maps in each subway station, WHY are we still paying bloated wages to ATU lifers to sit in a booth and give bad attitude to customers?

    Not to mention every six-man cleaning crew where only one guy is doing anything, and not even doing it well. And furthermore, every bus and streetcar operator who has been caught on camera showing more interest to their newspaper or text messages than to what's happening on the road around them.

    Get the greedy, bloated unions out of the TTC and it will run as smooth as silk and well within budget.
    1. Jack posted on 03/24/2014 06:00 PM
      @Jack Accidentally posted twice.
    2. Dr. Blitz posted on 03/24/2014 06:58 PM
      @Jack I agree that city employees should have to work. But I think that we'll save the most money by dealing with the people at the top first. If we could just get the Mayor to show up for work and work for more than a few hours a day, I think that would send a good message. Right now, people see the Mayor showing up at 11:00 (when he shows up) and leaving by mid-afternoon, and they think, "If the Mayor doesn't have to work, why should I?"
    3. Jack posted on 03/24/2014 07:19 PM
      @Dr. Blitz Except that this has been happening for far, far longer than the socialist elements of Toronto have had Rob Ford around to blame for everything from poor employee performance to bad weather.
  4. Rachel posted on 03/24/2014 06:01 PM
    Get rid of the Passenger Assistance Alarm. Even if someone's having a heart attack, what good is stopping the train going to do? Get them out of there at the next stop; they'll get the help they need there!
    1. moaz posted on 03/24/2014 08:12 PM
      @Rachel Stopping at the next station is exactly what TTC operators do when a passenger assistance alarm on their train is tripped. Then the train sits and waits until assistance (police, fire, ambulance) arrive. Other trains wait in place (sometimes in tunnels) because there are red signals in front of them. It's not as if trains can creep up behind each other like cars at a red traffic light.

      The problem with passenger assistance alarms is that the vast majority of times they are tripped (and I'm not including the hockey sticks and skiis) are because of non emergencies. ..including many fools tripping the alarm because they missed their station (which doesn't help because the train moves on to the next station anyways).
  5. Dr. Blitz posted on 03/24/2014 06:50 PM
    I agree that people who are knowledgeable should be taken seriously in TTC decisions. Unfortunately for Toronto, when Gary Webster tried to speak up about dumb council decisions a few years back, Ford immediately had him fired (and cost the taxpyers $600,000 for breaking his contract without grounds). So one priority will be to crack down on the kind of bullying that we've seen from Ford, We need to assure the competent experts that they won't be immediately turfed for giving their suggestions.
  6. JohnH_6636 posted on 03/27/2014 01:43 PM
    I believe he was chair during RTEP which would have had Sheppard to the Scarborough Town Centre and Eglinton West of Allen Road, that Mike Harris chopped and filled in, while Mel saved a part of Sheppard to be the most useless line in the system.

    He's right pros should be involved, but politics will always have influence. I am not impressed with Metrolinx's lack of information, most of what they are planning is not in their documents, but Wikipedia. Not consulting the public that needs it, or commuters that have no choice because there is none, is wrong. They have a far better idea than a planner. Planners create those lanes to nowhere on all of our highways and busy streets. Drivers know that Motorists don't read, and Planners simply don't get it. This is why Black Creek at Jane is a stupid termination lane on a corner, just like Colossus drive in Vaughan at the Cinema does the same thing.
    As a draftsman, I am constantly fixing things planners don't understand. I should be one, but my education is supposedly unqualified. I disagree.
showing all comments

Your GTA

Sign Up For Breaking News Alerts

Becoming a member only takes 60 seconds! Members get access to exclusive information and products that non-members do not, including concert ticket presales, trips, advance notice on upcoming entertainment events, movie screening passes, music giveaways and more!

Login with Facebook

Stay connected 24/7! Receive breaking news and programming alerts right to your inbox. CLICK HERE to sign-up.

Today's Poll

How do you decide who gets your vote?

Voting is restricted to one vote every 24 hour(s) VoteResults

Top Stories

Facebook

Twitter