I Want A Pony

Everybody has a transit plan these days. Even if it ain’t worth the paper it’s printed on, nothing stops an endless deluge of photo ops. Look at me! Look at the wonderful things I am doing for YOU!

I am not a Mayor nor a Minister, and the likelihood of my getting a series of photo ops beyond selfies (and never mind that page in the Globe) is rather small.

My needs are simple. My demands are few.

I just want a pony.

This will bring inevitable cries that precious resources desperately needed by the horsey sector out there in suburbia are being diverted to downtown.

There will have to be a regional plan where ponies are included as a potential transit mode. Funding will be required. Environmental assessments. Business cases. Demand models.

Consultants will grow rich studying the (re-)integration of four legged motive power into our transit mix while lobbyists, indistinguishable from used car salesmen, who will show us how the byproduct of this new(old) technology can solve all of our energy needs.

Mayoral candidates will saddle up to endorse the scheme, along with their cohorts, a motley band of planners who cannot read maps, professors who grade on any curve as long as it results in an A+, and financiers who claim that equine transport will be self-financing.

There will be an election. There are always elections. Every party will jump on the bandwagon saying that swan boats are outdated. Fie on old technology that doesn’t give the voters what they need, nay, what they deserve!

Politicians will discover that well-trained ponies can be “self-guiding” and take riders to and fro without the need for a driver. A provincial agency will be created to harness this stunning new development! Its first hires will be a photographer and a publicist.

The feds might even concoct a Pony Transportation Investment Fund.

But I just want a pony, and I want it NOW.

Alas, it cannot be. It is the process, the claims, the studies and above all the photo ops on which the transport world turns, not on actual delivery. We might even see a new pony barn built, but reining in taxes will prevent any actual ponies from cluttering up the civic plans and budgets.

55 thoughts on “I Want A Pony

  1. I am saddened, but not surprised, to see this very Torontonian demand for a new form of “transit”. rather than using what we have efficiently. Undoubtedly Pony Power was invented here in Ontario but so was the wonderful Swan Boat service that once seemed so promising. All that resulted in was a few prototypes that were flown (?) into Lake Ontario and a partly built Swan Aviary built in northern Etobicoke to satisfy a vocal local councillor. (Swans, Swans, Swans)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The pony needs fuel. Every day, even on days when it is just in the stable. Which means you need real estate for that stable, and utilities to that stable aren’t free. Then there’s the waste products. Do we have enough green bins?


    Steve: There will be no waste products. This is an evergreen arrangement where Renewal Natural Gas (not to be confused with Ministerial and Mayoral announcements) will power a fleet of electric buses!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Donkeys? That’s stone age and Torontonians deserve better than what the out of touch downtown elitists want to force on us. I talk to the real people in Toronto and they all say the same thing: Ostriches! Ostriches! Ostriches!

    Steve: Your response is a typical misrepresentation of my plight! I do not want a donkey, I want a pony! They are different animals, but “real people” who embrace flightless birds as “the solution” don’t know these things.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve heard much of the so-called environmental friendliness of pony transit. People say that grass just grows everywhere, and we just pick it up and feed it to the ponies. However, maintaining an entire transit herd of ponies requires industrial-scale grass cultivation, and this requires powerful fertilizers. The best currently available are made using fossil fuels and rather environmentally questionable phosphorous mining. Sure, there are organic fertilizers but they just can’t scale yet – and using people’s green bins won’t create quality feed that will allow ponies to run briskly 14 hours per day.

    Furthermore, I’ve yet to be shown a pony who can convert food into motive power with more than 37% efficiency. I’m afraid that just doesn’t cut it, Steve. Think of all the useless energy ponies expend – like looking cute and furry and all. Not very economical, is it.

    This just proves again the folly of dismantling the swan boat network, supposedly because “the canals were expensive to rebuild”. Well, had they maintained them properly, maybe they would not have needed rebuilding.


  5. Steve said: “There will have to be a regional plan where ponies are included as a potential transit mode.”

    I will say that this does not seem appropriate, as we are supposed to be larger and sturdier horses and a return to the older streetcar form. I think this could be a great tourist draw, but I would say that ponies must be out Clydesdales or Belgians in. It would return the traditional smells to the city as well.


  6. Excellent article! Citizens are finally getting to the point where they realize the pols aren’t going to deliver those glittery, newfangled technologies they don’t need, probably won’t ride and definitely can’t afford. We just want some usable and affordable service within a reasonable time frame.

    I wonder how many GO station and parking lot upgrades the Wynnies are going to announce before they figure out voters don’t give a damn and all they really want to know is when they’re going to get some additional trains.


  7. Steve wrote: Fie on old technology that doesn’t give the voters what they need, nay, what they deserve!

    Love the pun (nay/neigh), even if it wasn’t intended! 🙂

    Steve: It was very much intended! I imagined reading that line out loud with the appropriate sound effect.


  8. Screw ponies! I want a unicorn! I want it now! I want a real unicorn! Don’t give me a pony with an ice cream cone glued to its forehead, I want a unicorn! Just think, with a reformed UTDC (Unicorn Transportation Development Corporation) and tons of government subsidy money, Ontario could be positioned as the world leader in the unicorn industry! We can’t afford not to do it!

    Steve: It is fortunate that the unicorn, by definition, only has one horn already. Who knows what budget cuts and political pandering might do otherwise!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Steve:

    I hope it is a one stop single seat pony. God forbid you had to change ponies.

    Steve: There’s a saying about “changing horses in midstream”, likely a common problem if the TTC still used equine power.


  10. Steve, have you factored a potential “war on the pony” into your scheme?

    Steve: Ponies have a nasty kick which could be well-utilized as a countermeasure.


  11. Will the pony support Presto at launch?

    Steve: Your question is backwards, and you should ask whether Presto will support ponies out of the gate. Metrolinx will consider the question, but will decide that it requires a complete software rewrite to incorporate Trifecta tickets into their system. The use of ponies will require yet another rebranding for which someone will be paid well into six figures to replace the Metrolinx squiggle with a stylized mane and tale (leaving aside other possibly more appropriate parts of the anatomy).


  12. Maybe you could start using the term “disaster” which the truthiness crowd keeps throwing around without any regard to evidence? It swayed public opinion about the St. Clair ROW so maybe if you use it to describe some of the other proposals going around, you might change opinions.

    Steve: I would prefer to apply it to various sitting and would-be members of Council, but if I interpret a recent ruling by the Speaker correctly, to do so by name could get me a stern talking to. Instead I will merely observe that they are overwhelmingly from Scarborough and Etobicoke with contributions from the Yorks, North, East and otherwise.


  13. PETA will now support starting up a pony union. The initial demands: Two ponies at all time. Oats only, no hay. Stainless steel horseshoes, not plain iron. Heated stables. And no barking dogs along the route.


  14. Steve: There’s a saying about “changing horses in midstream”, likely a common problem if the TTC still used equine power.

    Are you advocating running the ponies along the canals vacated by the swan boats?

    Steve: No, the swan boats will never be replaced. I just want a pony. One pony. For me. But inevitably the project gets hi-jacked.


  15. TTC Passenger wants a unicorn. Perhaps he doesn’t know that using unicorns could tie up the TTC in copyright litigation with narwhals for years, thereby creating insurmountable delays.


  16. Whatever it is that you want, you are not going to get it by publicly whining about it. Go and get a job and then you can get whatever you want.

    I am assuming that you are an unemployed loser, my apologies if you are not.

    Steve: Listen, you excuse for an intelligent life form, I am a retired senior IT manager from a Toronto School Board, and am far from a “loser”, a name with which you are undoubtedly familiar.

    You really don’t get the idea of satire, do you.

    Now piss off.

    (Yes, I know, don’t feed the trolls, but this one comes back again and again and deserves to be swatted.)


  17. If you want a pony, Steve, you’d best ask for a high-speed version. That’ll get their attention at Queen’s Park. Also remember to ask for the freight pony bypass required so you can operate your high-speed pony plus the RER and SmartTrack versions, which should also be on your demand list. And don’t forget to ask for the pony park you want built over the pony track just south of Front Street West.


  18. Trevor wrote: TTC Passenger wants a unicorn. Perhaps he doesn’t know that using unicorns could tie up the TTC in copyright litigation with narwhals for years, thereby creating insurmountable delays.

    Not to mention, the high cost of a reliable supply of glitter which, for some reason I can’t figure out, is a requirement of unicorns if I am to believe retail displays of all things unicorn.

    Steve: Unicorns are flamboyant creatures (not to be confused with Flamingos), and there is no such thing as too much glitter.


  19. MIKE says to Steve: “Whatever it is that you want, you are not going to get it by publicly whining about it.”

    Tell that to Glenn De Baeremaeker and Giorgio Mammoliti. Seems they’ve been using that tactic to great effect for years now and with considerable success.

    GDB and GM, however, don’t seem to understand the concept of a bad joke. (Plus, they’ve produced more manure lately than Steve’s pony would produce in its lifetime….)


  20. Be sure to ask for a hydrogen-powered pony, Steve. You’ll get a daylong symposium out of Queen’s Park if you push that plan and that’ll give you the media coverage you need to win political favour and attract the attention of all those consultants, manufacturers, P3 brokers and others who are all over the current provincial government and that party that thinks they’ll form the next one. The third party’s leader will tag along so long as there’s positive media uptake, so your hydrogen-driven, high-speed pony is a cinch. Go for it!

    Steve: And we all know that “P3” stands for “Pony! Pony! Pony!”.


  21. Greg Gormick said “hydrogen-powered pony,” might I ask for bio gas powered locomotives instead. It would be more in keeping with the broad use of horses in the city.


  22. You can do anything you want with a dead horse in Toronto as long as you don’t drag it down Younge street on Sunday

    Steve: (a) I want a pony not a horse. (b) I would prefer that it be alive. (c) It’s “Yonge” Street.


  23. Steve goes for the hydrogen-powered pony and Malcolm opts for the bio-gas version. Great! Always good to have two horses in the race when public bucks are up for grabs. High-speed ponies for both you, of course.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Ohhh no you don’t! Next thing you know, people everywhere will be taking ponies all over town! It is my god given right to ride my elephant – just me on it, of course, there’s no way I’m sharing my elephant – anywhere I please, at any time, ponies be damned. And all the ponies will do is get in the way, and my top of the line elephant will sit there cr*ping all over the place, all because of your damn ponies! No sir, not on my watch – especially not if some nut job is going to start blaming *my elephant* for how slow everything is downtown…we all know it will be the fault of the ponies! And of course, if your downtown elites *are* getting ponies, I expect a full blown horsedrawn carriage to and from STC!

    Steve: You can have your carriage, but I am not sure whether the Highland Creek ravine is passable.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Naturally, as any well intentioned idea usually does in this city, the politicians have gerrymandered even the best pony plans to suit their election goals. First we had stables and trails going to places ponies simply weren’t required, that would be more than adequately served by mules. Then came the complaints about how much it would cost to buy all the ponies and to feed and keep them. Whether we can afford to have ponies outside of rush hours, let alone at night. Just when we finally start seeing our new ponies arrive, the Canadian conglomerate breeding them keeps having delays in getting us our ponies. Furious, our politicians ask a French conglomerate to breed ponies right in the cities that will use them. Really, what will come next? Ponies in dedicated pony lanes? Underground pony trails? Heaven forbid a future of autonomous ponies, uninterested in our offers of sugar cubes and apple slices. If we had only built a swanway…

    Liked by 1 person

  26. It’s interesting how Steve has managed to swoon the debate with this mention of ponies, when it’s clear that what Toronto needs are dog sleds. In the summer, the sleds can be replaced with carts (still pulled by dogs, of course). It’s obvious to any igloo-dwelling Canadian that this is the optimal choice. I demand a study and environmental assessment comparing sled dogs to ponies.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Andre S. I think we need to remind ourselves that Toronto is in the deep south, and as such we need to look at the reality of it being a near tropical area (banana belt and all, just ask anyone from Edmonton or hell even Montreal or Ottawa). I think while your assessment would be fair for areas like Barrie and Ottawa, the heavier horse will be more effective. I will say again, I think the real issue is that we need Belgians not Ponies.


  28. Steve, I do not understand how someone who claims to be an ‘expert’ continues to disregard feline powered transportation. Fleets of cats could be deployed to our streets to haul carriages in mere months. I am so disappointed in your obvious equine bias.

    Steve: The problem would be getting the cats to all run in the same direction, let alone staying interested in their task. Of course we could always have someone walk down the street with a shiny ball on a string to lure them onward.


  29. @Jonathan, Steve, re: cats

    Clearly then, we need to invest in building yarnways. In the 905 at least, where ponies (or dogs!) may not be cost-effective.


  30. Steve wrote: The problem would be getting the cats to all run in the same direction, let alone staying interested in their task. Of course we could always have someone walk down the street with a shiny ball on a string to lure them onward.

    Modern technology to the rescue: We simply strap a laser pointer to the roof of the carriage being pulled and aim it downwards onto the road about a half-metre ahead of the feline lash-up. Wire a switch for the operator to use. Turn it on, and its full steam ahead, turn it off and it immediately comes to a stop. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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