Three comments originally posted here were on the subject of the TTC strike on May 29th. I have moved them to the post specifically dealing with that issue. If you want to comment on the strike, please do so there as it makes my editing job simpler. If you want to talk about fare collection issues, please comment here. Thanks.
Sometimes, events unfold in unexpected ways. What seemed like a bit of late afternoon trivia has turned into front page news.
The Amalgamated Transit Union has announced that it will no longer enforce the collection of fares on the TTC because doing so places drivers and station staff in danger of assault from riders.
“It will be up to the travelling public whether they want to contribute to the box,” said Bob Kinnear, president of Local 113 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents 8,500 TTC employees.
“The union is asking its members to act in self defence the only way we can: we will no longer engage in fare disputes with customers. We will not put our safety and our incomes at risk for $2.75.”
I’m not going to get into the details of whether, how often and how serious such assaults occur because that’s not the issue here. The problem is that the TTC Commissioners want staff to be everyone’s friend and to exercise “discretion” in enforcing the fare rules, but then turn around and wring their hands about lost farebox revenue. This sort of attitude tells staff that they won’t be supported in fights with the public because they made the wrong choice.
I’m disappointed in the stance that Local 113 has taken, but I’m not surprised.
Here’s the original post from last weekend:
The regulars at TTC Commission meetings know that by late in the afternoon, people go off on tangents and the quality of debate takes a nosedive.
A recent example was a discussion of the policy of what do in the event that someone tenders fraudulent fare media, and more generally what if they have no valid fare.
Some of the Commission want a very permissive attitude where youth (with an underfined upper age) would be allowed to ride free if they had no money because it’s the TTC’s duty to provide safe transport for them. [I am paraphrasing here.]
Such an approach would mean, in effect, that anyone under the age of about 25 could board a bus or streetcar, claim penury, and ride free. Needless to say, Rick Ducharme, the TTC’s CGM is not happy with this idea because it means that operators would have no backing from the Commission in any fare disputes with such riders.
The Commission needs to recognize that it cannot expect its staff to “exercise discretion” about who they let on for free except in the most pressing cases. Staff will quickly learn that it’s not worth their while to hassle a passenger who may complain. The recent poster campaign about how the TTC supports its staff may as well be torn down if such a policy comes into effect.
Fortunately, the issue was left undecided, but it may surface at a future meeting.