Car without air conditioning
Mayor John Tory arrives at Kipling station this morning after riding across the Bloor-Danforth subway line during rush hour in a car without air conditioning on one of the hottest days of the summer. (Ben Spurr / Toronto Star) | Order this photo Transportation Reporter
Wed., Sept. 7, 2016
Mayor John Tory sweated through a subway ride on Wednesday morning to feel the heat that thousands of TTC customers have endured this summer.
With Environment Canada posting an early morning temperature of 24 C and the humidity making it feel like 32 C, Tory took up a Toronto transit user’s challenge and rode with her for the entire length of Line 2, or the Bloor-Danforth subway, in a car without working air conditioning.
So-called “hot cars” have been a problem for the TTC throughout the summer months and have forced commuters to suffer through sweltering conditions almost daily. The transit agency estimates that 15 to 20 per cent of the 370 cars on Line 2 don't have working air conditioning.
After arriving at Kipling station on the western end of the line, the mayor told reporters that the 90-minute ride from Kennedy was uncomfortably hot. Tory said that in addition to the high temperature, the trip was delayed several times by “a couple of passenger assistance alarms” and a medical emergency. He was 30 minutes late for his planned news conference.
“I was able to experience not only the discomfort, which was considerable, of being in a hot car, but also the experience of a transit system that was experiencing on that particular day and that particular time, delays that were causing people to fret, ” he said.
Tory said he takes public transit almost every day but his ride Wednesday was aimed at drawing attention to the air conditioning problem, and at raising awareness about the fact that the TTC is working hard to fix it.
“I will simply say this to the people who are watching, the TTC commuters — we will do better next year and going forward, ” he said.
At the mayor’s side was Bianca Spence, the subway rider who challenged him over Twitter to the ride-along after she became fed up with her stifling trips. She said her journey with Tory was as bad as any commute she’s experienced this summer, and she hoped it would be instructive to the mayor.
“It was super hot and then we got trapped in a tunnel . . . It was very, very crowded and standing room only. Lots of people sort of looking wilted and fanning themselves, ” she said.