Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Good Samaritan or "How to Feel warm and Fuzzy Inside"

Last Saturday (a week ago yesterday) I was sitting outside of Finch Subway station waiting for a bus northbound. I had brought my extra VIVA/YRT bus tickets with me because a friend of mine from my teaching days in New York City was up visiting for a couple weeks. That night we had gone down to Toronto to see the CNE and have dinner out with another colleague.

It was around eleven p.m. and we had to wait for ten minutes for the next northbound bus to arrive. The inside waiting area, convenience store and ticketing machines were closed for the evening.

A sixteen or seventeen year old woman inquired if we had change for a ten dollar bill. We both didn't. I indicated the outside YRT/VIVA ticketing machines would give change. I thought this because YRT/VIVA shows on their VIVA maps that Finch Station has "Multi Ride" machines. Multi Ride Machines dispense one ride & monthly passes as well as change. So I thought the problem was solved.

However, in VIVA/YRT's infinate wisdom they decided to put all the multi ride machines in doors which, conveniently enough for a young woman riding alone on a dark Saturday night at an empty bus station in north Toronto, was locked for the evening. All three ticketing machines outside the station and were the only ones currently accessible were single ride ticketing machines that require exact change only.

So here we have VIVA/YRT spending multi millions of dollars on the ticketing machines and advertising Finch Subway Station as being a multi-ride machine location when, after ten p.m. the multi ride machines are inaccessible. Sure they put three single ride machines out doors for people to use. But if you advertise or indicate to riders Multi Ride machines are available at this station passengers would assume these Multi Ride machines would be available as long as you are running VIVA service. At eleven p.m. on a Saturday night VIVA service is still operational. So for safety sake, why not have at least one multi ride machine outside and accessible for people to use?

Now back to the story. I thought to myself: "would I want my younger sister wandering around Yonge & Finch Streets at night looking for change in order to get home safely?"

The answer was pretty simple considering: I had won ten free VIVA tickets playing their online game back in December of 2005. I also had found four VIVA tickets one day at York University in January of 2006 as well.

So I shared my good fortune with someone who needed it.

But I still can't believe the "bright lights" with their "PHds in transit logistics," at YRT/VIVA who you would think would have thought this out a little further, would have made Multi Ride machines accessible so a situation like this would not occur. I bet this situation has occurred in the past and will occur in the future and probably won't change until something bad happens.

Question to VIVA/YRT: Why isn't the brightly lit terminal open to at least midnight on Saturdays? Wouldn't this invite people to take transit after partying downtown instead of trying to drive, possibly drunk, home? As a single person I would feel nervous waiting alone on the platform at this terminal late a night. But perhaps a warm, dry, brightly lit terminal with bus drivers, transit enforcements, and/or closed circuit cameras would make me feel a little more safer.

But at least it made me feel good to be human and thoughtful for at least one evening.

A big thanks to the teenager who wrote a kind thank you note as well. It made my night even more warmer.

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