This post is structured to be a semi-rant on the state of Canadian transportation, focusing especially on the technology industry of Canada. As you may see from the media and politicians, it has been pushing on how great the “Toronto-Waterloo Tech Corridor” also known as TWTC will be in the upcoming years. It often speaks about how many companies are part of the TWTC, and how much it will end up growing to.
The government is doing great jobs on many fronts promoting entrepreneurship, getting more people involved, and fostering a culture of technology in Canada. This post however will not be focusing on the positives, but what we could do as a whole to increase the chances of TWTC being the next big thing.
If we are treating Toronto and Waterloo in the same sentence describing a tech hub, than we must first understand the possible ways to get between the two cities. I will be focusing on public transportation, as it is a crucial part of the backbone of transportation in any developed or developing countries.
The Go Train, one of the fantastic services funded by the Government that allow Greater Toronto Area to commute into and out of Toronto without requiring a car. It offers buses as well with some that are double decker.
However, the Go Train specifically only offers 3 trains from Kitchener with last one leaving at 7:10 am and 3 trains back from Toronto to Kitchener with last one leaving Toronto at 6:50 pm. This trip takes a total of around 2 hours, a sad state of the current transportation. If you factor round trip, that means 4 hours will be spent on commuting from Waterloo to Toronto.
Furthermore, the cost of this commute is high. I currently have a student discount and it cost around $30 to commute from Guelph to Toronto round trip. $12 each way on Go Train, and another $3 each way on TTC (Toronto Subway Cost) to my office from Union Station.
The high cost, infrequency of the rides, and length of time is one of opposition on promoting a sense that Toronto-Waterloo Tech Corridor. Keep it separate until we have a transportation system that make all of us that commute feel like two places are next to each other. And yes, this could be one of the ways to keep engineers from staying in Canada rather than jump ship to the States. Toronto is expensive to live at, and if you give them options to live cheaper and commute, that is definitely a way to ensure we have the talent pool to fuel our tech growth. A poor and unreliable strategy would be to bet on the current American administration to make the environment less friendlier than ours. Invest long-term Canada, so we have a chance.