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Buses are a lifeline for many residents in Scarborough yet the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) network is often a source of frustration for commuters.

Sneak peek at our transit series rolling out next week 👀

We look at the role that buses play in Scarborough, the challenges locals face in using them and possible solutions for creating a more reliable service.

I’m excited to share that after months of research, my colleagues and I will be rolling out our series on transit in Scarborough next week.

After listening to attendees at our second Story Circle and conducting interviews with community members, it became clear to me that buses in Scarborough are a lifeline for many residents. They take people from the outer reaches of this sprawling suburb to their jobs in the downtown core, or to points in between and beyond.

Given that Scarborough is home to many new immigrants, racialized communities and people living on lower incomes who may not be able to afford a car, buses are an essential way for people to navigate their day to day: getting their kids to school, attending a basketball game, shopping for groceries, meeting family and friends for dinner…the list goes on.

Although buses play a central role in the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) network, they’re also often a source of frustration for commuters. Issues such as delays, overcrowding and bunching — where two or more buses arrive at a bus stop together — can cause aggravation, especially when missing a bus throws people’s schedule into disarray.

My story will kick off our transit series by looking into the role that buses play in Scarborough, the challenges locals face in using them and possible solutions for creating a more reliable service. I look forward to sharing our transit-related stories with this community, and getting your feedback. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your anecdotes. Are buses part of your daily commute? How do you travel for work or pleasure? Let me know via email, then scroll down to see how you can share your #ScarbTransitTales via social media.  

This type of community-powered reporting takes a lot of time and resources. If you want more stories that reflect the real Scarborough, please contribute to our campaign — whether that’s a monthly, annual or one-time commitment. Help us define Scarborough on your terms.

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Since launching The Discourse’s community-powered platform, well over 300 people have contributed more than $33,000. That’s serious cash paying for journalism that makes an impact on the issues you care about most (learn how we spend your money here).

Our campaign goal is to grow our total number of supporters to 1,000 by June 15. That’s why Scarborough Discourse is asking community members who believe in what we do — like you — to pay for our journalism. Support us by contributing any amount, whether that’s a monthly, annual or one-time commitment. I’d also love if you shared this page with your friends, and told them why you ❤️ Scarborough Discourse.

Transit Summit 2019

Panelists at Transit Summit 2019, which was organized by transit advocacy group TTC Riders. From left to right: Jonathan English showing the density of the transit grid in Toronto as compared to American cities, Shannon Holness, Joe Mihevic and moderator Sean Meagher.

As part of his opening remarks at 2019 Transit Summit, an annual event organized by transit advocacy group TTC Riders and several co-sponsors, former city councillor and former TTC vice-chair Joe Mihevc presented a 10-point summary of his thoughts on the state of transit in Toronto. Even people who may not share the same political views would likely agree that transit solutions are needed to alleviate the city’s traffic gridlock issues, he said. Mihevc emphasized the roles of buses in the system, as did his co-panellists, urban planners Jonathan English and Shannon Holness. “Buses matter,” Mihevc said. “They are not sexy, but they are the workhorses of the TTC.”

Spotlight

Toronto artist and beat boxer Balu collaborated with R.I.S.E to present a performance-workshop on toxic masculinity in Scarborough.

Every Monday night, young poets, singers and other performers meet for a weekly open mic at Burrows Hall Community Centre, near Sheppard Avenue East and Progress Avenue, as part of Scarborough’s youth-led arts movement Reaching Intelligent Souls Everywhere (R.I.S.E). The theme of this week’s open mic was toxic masculinity.

Akeem Raphael acted as an emcee for the evening, leading a discussion on healthy masculinity versus toxic masculinity before the performances started.

“We feel it’s an important issue to highlight,” Jason De Mata, R.I.S.E operations director, told me over the phone. “Some men in the community, especially racialized men, don’t have appropriate outlets to have these conversations — tough conversations. [R.I.S.E is a] safe space to have conversations around topics, such as toxic masculinity and how we treat women in our lives.” 

Balu said his music helped him have a frank conversation with his father about gender roles.

After an opening conversation about what healthy masculinity looks like, the performances kicked off. The main act was Toronto artist Balu who presented something that was part performance, part talk and part mindfulness workshop. He spoke about his own personal journey, and how music gave him a way to express emotions that he didn’t have words for. “I am doing this because I didn’t have men do this for me,” Balu said.

#ScarbTransitTales

As part of Scarborough Discourse’s ongoing investigative series, we want to highlight your transit experiences. In my conversations with residents and attendees at our second Story Circle, you told us about some of the barriers you face while commuting, so my colleague Anita and I would like to reflect these challenges in our coverage.

Please send us photos of delays, crowding, bus bunching and other frustrations from your daily commutes. If you want to showcase your love for Scarborough transit, that’s cool, too! Either way, share your stories on social media using the hashtag #ScarbTransitTales, and be sure to tag @TheDiscourse.

Let’s meet up

  • June 1. T.Dot BANGERZ Brass Hip Hop Workshop. Local hip-hop brass band BANGERZ Brass is partnering with the Scarborough Museum to present a free outdoor workshop that’ll provide a behind-the-scenes look at the group’s influences, musical skills and more. The event will end with a performance by BANGERZ Brass, so attendees should bring their instruments and jam along! Scarborough Museum. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • June 1. Community Associations of North Scarborough BBQ. Described by organizer CDF Community Association as a way to celebrate Scarborough’s diverse neighbourhoods, this kid-friendly event is an opportunity to meet your neighbours, grab a bite to eat and learn more about local services. Agincourt Mall. 12 to 2 p.m.

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