You’re walking down the street and you’ve just finished a fine cup of coffee, life is rosy, the air smells good, now all you need is a place to ditch that damn cup. Well, if you pass a transit shelter, just keep on walking, buddy, those garbage cans are, apparently, for transit users only.
Affixed to garbage bins at bus shelters across the city, these signs popped up in the last couple of weeks. It’s hard to even write about the sheer preposterousness of them. Firstly, a garbage can anywhere on a public sidewalk is, as far as I can figure, designed to keep people from littering the streets with crap. So why does Calgary Transit, a division of City of Calgary, think your garbage isn’t their problem? How are these garbage cans different from the ones the City or business zones install? Now, I’d hazard a guess that these signs were actually installed by the company that sells advertising at bus shelters, but certainly Calgary Transit must have approved them before they were installed. Was there some issue where people were dumping their household trash at transit shelters? Is there a statute of limitations involved? If I rode the bus last Friday, am I still technically a Transit user?
Of course it’s hard not to be cynical about this, especially when thinking about enforcement. There’s been much discussion recently about the need to increase transit security and all the associated costs. Maybe we now have a better understanding about why — to keep those darn garbage bugs from throwing their trash in those bins.
It’s hard to actually pinpoint why these signs make my blood boil. Maybe it’s because they’re inherently exclusive to the general public, the same people who pay municipal taxes that fund Calgary Transit. It bothers me to the very core that we’re living in a city where on every other block there’s a bright red and white sign (Stampede colours!) saying “Don’t throw your trash in here!”