How Transit Planning In Toronto Is Like Lost

This is how it’s going to end, isn’t it?

I’ve been trying to piece together a post about the never-ending drama that is Toronto transit planning/funding since last week’s provincial funding announcement but every time I start to put something together, a headache kicks in.  And then yesterday, as I tried once again to write someone, I had a breakthrough: Toronto transit funding/planning/whatever is sort of like Lost.

Do you remember when you first started watching Lost? I certainly do. I was a bit late to the party (it conflicted with America’s Next Top Model, which one of my university roommates just had to watch) but once I started watching it, I quickly became hooked.

Yeah, it was complicated, unfocused and just plain weird but it was also really interesting, unlike anything else on TV and while it was all over the place, it seemed like, eventually, most would be explained.

How I feel about the first few seasons of Lost is basically how I felt about transit discussions during the Miller era. Yeah, things weren’t always clean and pretty, but they were worth listening to and we seemed to be progressing towards something that would answer our transit questions, both short-term and long-term. And in 2007, we got that something in the form of Transit City.

Lost’s Transit City came in near the end of season two, when contact with The Others was made. Sure, this plot twist added a whole other layer to the story but it seemed like this layer would, in time, answer the key questions about the island.

But then, in season 4, *spoiler* the headway we were making went sideways when several of the standard were able to make it off the island, while others were sent back in time. From then on, I felt the show was no longer progressing. Instead it was just spinning and getting sillier and more frustrating with each episode. Sure, there were some great scenes and some mysteries were solved but overall, things were a mess.

And a mess is what we currently find the state of Toronto transit in. Yes, some good stuff has happened — go Spadina subway extension, go — but ever since Ford killed Transit City in season 4, I mean in 2010, things have been as logical and well-thought out as a latter episode of Lost.

I was in New York on May 23, 2010, when the final episode of Lost aired, and so I wasn’t able to take part in the collective “WTF was that?!” that fans exclaimed as the credits rolled. Instead, I shouted out my frustrations several days later, when I was back in Toronto and able to watch what has to be one of the worse series finales of all times. I mean, really, they’re all *spoiler* dead? Actually, I could have handled that if we’d been given a few answers but no, we didn’t get any answers we —

Okay, sorry getting off track.

Now back to our analogy. Obviously, unlike Lost, the issue of transit in Toronto is nowhere near wrapped up. Sunday/Monday’s announcement of federal government money is just the latest plot twist and I’m sure it’s far from the last one.

While Lost frustrated me a lot during its last couple of seasons, I kept watching it and was very much a loyal viewer. I’m repeating this pattern with transit discussions and announcements. While they irritate me and I don’t particularly enjoy following them, I’m hooked and need to know how it all works out.

And while I’m really hoping that things don’t end up like that final episode of Lost, I do feel like we’re very much headed in that direction.


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