Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I HATE Commuting

I live in the north east end of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and the commute is a killer. I leave my house at 6:50am in the mornings to get to work for 8:30am. My usual journey to work involves me trotting to the bus stop (sometimes I even go at a full sprint - heels and all) as I am always late - to catch the 7 o' clock bus. It is a 20-minute bus ride to the Scarborough Route Train (aka RT) which is an above-ground subway - i.e. the blue line on the pic below. When I hop off the bus I have to walk at a quick pace, with all the other passengers trying to be first up the stairs, to get the first available RT. Sometimes I have to wait a minute, sometimes five. This morning it was a frigging 20 minute wait before a train came.

Anyways, when I finally get on the RT, without stopping delays, it is a 10-15 minute 5-stop ride to the end of the RT line. Then I have to again jostle with the crowds coming out of the RT and trying to get down the two flights of stairs or escalators to get the subway level to take the subway train. At the subway level, again if there are no delays, there is usually a train waiting that is fairly packed. People coming down the stairs always make a mad rush for it and if one is not careful one WILL bump into others or get bumped by others. I usually wait for the second train to arrive so that I can get a seat. However, if there is a delay, then that means that when a subway train finally arrives, I have to try and get on regardless of the number of passengers that will be on it.

If there are no delays on the subway then I can get to the yellow line (the one going North-South) in 25 - 30 minutes. Lately, it seems there is always some delay and us passengers are left wondering why the train has stopped in between stops for 5 - 10 minutes often with no explanation from the drivers...but I digress...

Once I reach the intersection of the yellow and the green line (Yonge/Bloor station) then I am at the busiest subway stop. By the time the train reaches this stop people are packed in as tightly as possible - this is why at the beginning of my ride on the green line I try to wait for a fairly empty train so that I can get a seat. Okay back to my arrival at the Yonge/Bloor station...

Making my way to the stairs to get the southbound train takes me at least 7 minutes, although with no traffic it would have been a 1 minute walk. However, waiting on the train is the problem. Waiting on the southbound train almost always causes problems. It seems that it is never on time. Because this is the busiest subway stop, when the trains are late the platform fills up quickly. If one train is even 5 minutes behind schedule then this creates a domino effect for the trains behind it and in a matter of minutes, the Southbound platform at Yonge & Bloor station is full. When I finally get a train, and I usually have to wait for one or two trains to pass me by because they are usually at capacity, I am squashed in with the other passengers like sardines - forget about me even thinking of getting a seat. I then take this southbound train to the second to last south most stop on the line. Without much delays, this is usually a 10 minute ride. However, it can take up to 25 minutes. The last part is a 5-minute walk to my workplace.

Because of all the variables involved with me taking 1 bus and 3 different trains then I can get to work anywhere from 8:10am to 9am. The most reliable part is the bus but even that has its problems. The bus is supposed to come at 7am. Often it comes at 6:55am. Thus, although I only live 5 minutes away from the bus stop, I aim to make it to the stop at 6:50am. I have had far too many incidents of watching the bus blaze right past me as I am running to the stop, 5 minutes or more earlier than it should, all in -30C weather. Also, when the bus is late then this has an adverse domino effect on all the other parts of my journey. Added to this is the fact that if I miss the bus then I have to wait 20 minutes for the next one.

One would think that coming home would be easier but that would be an incorrect assumption. It might be a little less stressful because of not having to get home at a certain time. However, I can never time my return journey perfectly enough to reach the bus station in time to quickly catch a bus. Often, I arrive just as it is pulling out of the station and so have to resign myself to an extra 20 minute wait. It is heartbreaking when one arrives at the bus station and knows that one just missed the bus because the stop is empty but it is even more heartbreaking when one sees the bus just pulling out of the station. As this often happens to me, my journey home usually takes 2 hours. If there is any slight delay, it is oh so much longer.

On the way home today, I had the misfortune of sitting beside a lady who was noisily chewing gum with her mouth open and who kept popping the gum at regular intervals. I swear, while I was there trying hard to distract myself by reading the paper, all I could think about was grabbing her by the throat and telling her to stop chewing so loudly and to STOP POPPING THAT GUM!


neo sole said...

wow. that's why I moved 2 miles from where I work. I ride my bicycle to work so I am there - door to door - in 12 minutes.

Fuzze1 said...

LOL... when some one is chewing gum like that... I always like to say " you know, I thought only cows chew like that" but that is just me..