On the face of it, city councillor Diane Deans’s idea to drop a few coffee shops at major transit stops in Ottawa is a good one. I have no idea how many times I’m trying to get to x place, that passes right through y transit station, and my only option for coffee is to duck off to the Timmies or Starbucks down the way and miss the bus I’m trying to catch. Or leave half an hour early and flip a coin if I catch the next one. But here’s a question I wish someone talking to her would ask about this. How in the hell is it she expects your local coffee chain, like a Timmies or a Starbucks, to set up shop at one of those major transit stations, split any money that shop makes with the city, and not jack up the price of coffee–at least at that particular shop–to make up for any shavings off that are heading to the city’s wallet?
She mentions Toronto as an example. And it’s a decent one–if only because the rumour is you can stop at a connection point for a coffee, albeit not a very good one. But toronto is also, still, trying to figure out how not to bleed money out its ear–including insofar as the TTC is concerned. And Ottawa isn’t exactly known for doing things to Toronto’s level, nevermind to the best of its admitedly questionable ability. But come on, now. It’s the private sector, we’re talking about. The city, province or country puts a heel on their finances, the company just shifts it to the folks buying the goods. And since OC Transpo, like the TTC, is having a hell of a time breaking even, you can only imagine the kind of sharing the city wants to engage in–and the kind of price increase we’d be seeing for the convenience.
So yeah, good idea, in theory. In theory, I’d vote for it. As a feel-good money-maker, it works. But from the perspective of the guy what buys the coffee? Yeah, not so fast. starbucks already costs too damn much for a coffee pretty much the same size I can buy at timmies–which borders on costing too damn much. Anything that goes to making it cost that much more? Go that way, please and thanks. Unless Diane Deans knows something I don’t–which, okay, is entirely possible. I mean, she’s a city councillor, so she must know of which she speaks. Oh who am I kidding?