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Transit geeks get social on Facebook



cross-posted to Spacing Wire by Sarah Magwood

Every week, Spacing profiles Facebook groups that are using the social network to articulate their experiences and share information about Toronto.

This week, I searched “Toronto transit” and “TTC” and was pleasantly surprised to discover that there were over 300 groups dedicated to this topic alone. Among them were people who wanted to share their funny and often random TTC experiences — I Pre-Drink on the TTC, I’ve Seen/Encountered At Least One Crazy Person on the TTC, and Adventures on TTC, to mention a few. One group in particular, You Know You Take the TTC When…, is especially hilarious. With a whopping 12,455 members, Torontonians speak of their creative bus-stopping tactics, laugh about passengers who’ve struggled with the doors, share knowledge learned of the lives of random people from eavsedropping, and admit embarrassment after having run for the bus, only to realize it was “OUT OF ORDER.”

Other people use Facebook to discuss their opinions on TTC development issues (through groups such as Extend the Sheppard Subway Line to Scarborough Town Centre) or to vent about this sometimes infuriating mode of transportation. There were many MANY groups about this later topic. On example was Top 10 Reasons to Hate the TTC, a group for haters to share their stories about rude drivers, frightening TTC washrooms, price increases, bus schedules — “Schedule? What schedule? Why do they bother posting one when it never comes on time anyway?” — and the trials of construction traffic.

A third category that emerged is one that focuses on supplying its members with interesting facts and website links about Toronto’s public transit. Employees of the TTC, for example, spoke about the TTC’s security and how recent TTC violence has affected the commitment to install the rest of the proposed security system cameras. The group TTC Subways is dedicated to offering a history of all subways, work cars, and work equipment, while Everything TTC offered full-length newspaper articles about current transportation issues. 299 Eglinton, 299 Eglinton: Call Control was especially interesting, offering an extensive “TTC talk decoder” resource. Members of this group were dedicated to compiling subway speaker codes: 299 is for line mechanics to respond, 143 is the call to summon the chief supervisor, 722 calls the team of mechanics on the tracks looking for dry/rusty/damaged rails, and 161 calls head-count specialists for planning routes and wait times.

All considered, while each of these groups takes a unique approach to the issue of urban transportation, they reflect an overall commitment to communal dialogue and the multiple viewpoints of Toronto’s citizenry.

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