TTC Already Implementing Soknacki’s Ideas

It’s not enough that David Soknacki’s opponents are borrowing from his solution-rich platform without credit. This morning, the Toronto Transit Commission revealed that it is moving ahead on streetcar-wide proof-of-payment (POP) boarding to improve boarding times – without crediting the only recent source of this pro-rider, pro-driver solution.

Today, a news story detailed TTC CEO Andy Byford’s new plan to allow streetcar-wide rear door boarding of streetcars, paired with increased enforcement to ensure rear-door boarders have proof of payment. Mr. Byford’s plan comes as a recent TTC study confirmed what David Soknacki already knew: boarding times were a major headache for streetcars on congested streetcar lines.

Exactly three weeks earlier, on July 18, Soknacki released his “Real Transit, Immediate Relief” policy paper – found here. The paper was read by over 6,000 readers online over the weekend after its release.” In it, Soknacki committed to broaden proof-of-payment, rear door boarding for streetcars and buses, arguing that

“[O]ther transit systems – like York Region VIVA, OC Transpo and Minneapolis Metro Transit, to name a few – allow passengers to board at the rear of most vehicles to fill as much of every bus or streetcar as possible, as quickly as possible…. [other] cities take the view that efficiency for the whole system outweighs the risk of lost revenue from a small few who cheat the system.”

Soknacki’s plan committed to test system-wide rear-door boarding once elected, beef up ticket enforcement, and then implement it system-wide. The former budget chief made the promise after Soknacki and volunteers spent two months distributing a leaflet proposing “system-wide proof-of-payment boarding” to streetcar riders across Toronto to hear riders’ views on the issue.

For decades, the TTC had resisted broader rear-door boarding because of what one Soknacki transit advisor called “an institutional fear of lost revenue.” That fear held – until the TTC management’s sudden change of heart announced today.

“It matters that my campaign is the source of ideas for so many other candidates, and that it’s now ahead of the curve for solutions for existing City agencies – because there will be new problems in the next four years that will need another right solution, too,” Soknacki said.

“Toronto can choose leadership that respects the value of a well-researched, innovative idea to solve a problem, or voters can once again put their faith in celebrity candidates who don’t care for the duller details of good government,” he said. “I can’t deliver more of the right ideas to Toronto after Election Day unless I actually get your vote on Election Day itself.”

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