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Think of TTC as free

Why not? asks Posterchild, local guerrilla artist who sees transit as an essential service

By JENNY YUEN, SUN MEDIA

They look almost official — flyers left on the TTC by Posterchild, a bashful street artist. Each day had a different theme. Tuesday was Tips on Flirting on the Subway, Wednesday a guided graffiti tour of the 510 Spadina route and Friday was TTC is Free day.

If you rode the subway this past week, you might’ve thought the TTC was giving out free rides.

But the fine print on those public service announcement flyers reveals it’s actually the work of Posterchild, a local street artist, who wants riders to dream of a world where transit is an essential service.

“The goal is to get people to think: Hey, why aren’t these changes happening?” said the 20-something guerrilla artist.

For each week day, Posterchild made up flyers for commuters and hung them on hooks on subway cars and the 510 Spadina streetcar.

Each day had a different theme:

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Monday was a subway and streetcar colouring book; Tuesday was tips on how to flirt on the subway; Wednesday was a guided graffiti tour along the 510 Spadina streetcar route; Thursday was a cryptogram, maze, connect-the-dots game, and riddles; and Friday’s was a claim that the whole system is now free.

Surprisingly, the TTC is approaching the flyers with a sense of humour.

POSITIVE MESSAGE

Transit chairman Adam Giambrone told the Sun yesterday that it’s a positive message that people think of subways, buses and streetcars as essential.

“Free transit is an exciting idea,” said Giambrone. “But we need to figure out how to keep it running at a relatively affordable price before we get to discuss things like that. The flyers reflect how important transit is and why people choose to work on issues that relate to it.”

The idea for the flyers, said Posterchild, came from the wildcat strike where it was debated that transit ought to be considered essential. The TTC should mirror the medicare system, he added.

While some people might think the message that rides are free is misleading, the artist hopes that it hasn’t hurt anyone.

“If someone calls up the TTC and finds out that it’s not fareless, I might’ve wasted their time and disappointed them, but it’s important for people to ask questions,” he said.

Posterchild encourages people to keep passing the messages around to bring out a more whimsical and humanized side to the transit commission by downloading the flyers off his website, bladediary.com.

Maybe the flirting tips could even soften the image that Toronto is often known as a “cold” city when it comes to romance.

“I’m faced with the same challenges,” laughed Posterchild.

“If two people were reading these pamphlets and their eyes meet — wouldn’t that be a great icebreaker?”




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