The streetcars are on track, the subways are running and the buses are bustling.
But as the T.T.C. returned from its illegal strike on Monday, many angry riders who were also forced to return to the system on Tuesday are singing that old Peggy Lee song – Is That All There Is?
After a day that cost a lot of people a lot of headaches and a lot of money, the T.T.C.’s answer is ‘no’.
The Commission has decided how it will reimburse at least some of the customers caught in the labour crossfire.
But it only applies to those who hold one of the transit system’s passes.
If you have a MetroPass for May or a weekly pass that concludes on Friday, don’t get rid of it. You’ll need it to get a small amount of compensation, if not satisfaction.
“They should be holding on to their May MetroPass and they should be holding on to their weekly pass for Week 22,” T.T.C. spokesperson Marilyn Bolton tells Pulse24.com. “The refunds will not start until June 5th.”
Beginning Monday, you can take the expired pass to any subway collector and get $4 cash back. Bus and streetcar drivers don’t carry cash and won’t be able to give you anything.
Red Rocket brass admit the real amount should be around $4.20 but add the two dimes create too much trouble.
“Doing the 20 cents is more of a bureaucratic nightmare,” Bolton outlines. “Getting two twonies out to people is enough.”
But if you are in line for the cash back, don’t wait. The pass redemption is only good until June 18th.
It’s estimated that the one day strike cost the T.T.C. around $2 million. But the refund will add to it. The Commission sold about 210,000 passes for the month of May.
If every one of them is turned in, it will force the already cash strapped system to shell out another $840,000 it can never recoup.
And that’s just for those who qualify.
The Commission knows the outage was a huge headache, and it cost many cab taking riders a lot more than four bucks.
But it doesn’t yet have any way to give money back to non-pass holders, and is trying to do what it can for those who were cheated out of a pre-paid two-way ride.
That’s not going to do much for small business owners like restaurant owner Neda Mousabi. She managed to make it into work during the stoppage. Her workers couldn’t.
That left her the impossible task of running the entire place on her own all day.
“I even thought that, you know what? I might have to close the restaurant because due to this T.T.C. strike, no employees are here. So I have to close up,” she explains.
“It was frustrating. Like how am I going to please these people? What am I going to say? There is no pizza tonight?”
The union refuses to do any mea culpas for the walkout. “We’re going to do everything we can to mend ties with the public,” vows union boss Bob Kinnear. “We want to be on their side.”
But retailers may not give them the chance. With Kinnear admitting another walkout is possible, local businesses warn it could send them over the financial brink.
And no transit ride is going to give them a return to where they once were.
“Let’s hope somebody’s heads roll for this particular situation,” a bitter Catherine Swift of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business pleads. “The fact that how much this city depends on the T.T.C. was made eminently clear.”
And at quite a cost to everyone involved.