News / Toronto

TTC shuns popular book-sharing program

While Metrolinx embraces the Books on the Transit program, the TTC is worried about an overflowing lost and found.

Kristyn Little, 35, leaves a book at Union Station.

Eduardo Lima / Metro

Kristyn Little, 35, leaves a book at Union Station.

The TTC wants no part of a grassroots transit book sharing program that is popular around the world.

Thirty-five-year-old Kristyn Little and 25-year-old Danielle Sanders launched Books on the Transit in March, the Toronto chapter of a worldwide movement to leave books on transit for others to read. The two women have left at least 100 books on transit over the past few months, which include stickers that tell transit riders the novel is theirs to pick up. Books include recent bestsellers and literary classics, with offerings from authors like Joy Fielding, Tom Clancy and Harper Lee.

Similar grassroots-led programs exist in New York City, Montreal, Chicago, Boston and London, England with the support of their local transit agencies.

While regional transportation agency Metrolinx supports the initiative, the TTC does not. In an email to Metro, TTC spokesperson Brad Ross explained the transit agency's stance.

"We would prefer people, no matter how well-intentioned, not leave books on TTC property," he wrote.

"There is the very real possibility they could get turned in as lost articles or simply discarded and we cannot take on the additional task of trying to keep tabs on these items." He also encouraged TTC riders to use the city's extensive library system.

So far Metrolinx, which has co-operated with Books on the Transit, has not been overwhelmed with a library of books in its lost and found.

Little and Sanders have left books on GO trains, buses and the Union-Pearson Express, leaving them on seats and on top of automated ticket machines.

Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins says it's working out so far.

"People are clearly taking the books," she told Metro, adding that Metrolinx only gets a couple of the books in the lost and found each month, and that they are clearly identified by the stickers on the cover.

Aikins also said Books on the Transit fits in with the rider experience Metrolinx hopes to create.

"People want to be comfortable," she said.

Little said she's thrilled with the positive feedback they have received on their project so far, although she's disappointed that the TTC hasn't supported it.

"It's very unfortunate," she said.

"We'd love their participation and I honestly don't understand their hesitancy."

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