Public Transit in the News: 1956 Version

From a May 22 1956 editorial in the Ottawa Citizen:

Toronto's Transport Commission, faced with a deficit of more than $4,000,000 this year has decided to increase the basic fare to 12 1/2 cents from 10 cents and is appealing to Metropolitan Toronto Council for a $2,000,000 subsidy. In addition, the outer zone fare will be increased. The reasons for TTC difficulties are complex but basically they are similar to those which have contributed to public transport troubles in other cities, including Ottawa, in recent years.

For one thing, the rapid expansion of urban building in lightly populated fringe' areas has forced public transport companies such as the Ottawa Transportation Commission to extend their services uneconomically. As well. civic administrations have done too little to discourage the use of the automobile in downtown areas so that public transport has to face stern competition from the private passenger car.

Yet the life of any large city depends on an efficient solvent public transport system. Without it property values in the vital central district would decline and the taxpayers would lose much of their large investment in the downtown area-sewer, water and lighting installations, for instance.

It is in the interest of any city, including Ottawa, to do everything it can to maintain an efficient transport system. Traffic regulations which would encourage the greatest possible use of public transport are required. As well, the private automobile should be allowed to impede the movements of buses and street-cars as little as possible. Finally, a stand-by charge could be leveled on all ratepayers for the benefit of the public transport system, because good public transport benefits all citizens, including those who use a bus or street-car only occasionally. Given sufficient help, there is no reason why a public transport company could not, even ln the automobile age earn enough to maintain and expand its service.

I don't know if the Citizen would write the same editorial today. As a bonus I also learned that the 1956 Citizen carried a Bible Message on the editorial page!