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article imageReport: Toronto Transit Commission complaints soar to nearly 700

By Andrew Moran     Mar 8, 2011 in Politics
Toronto - Newly accessed documents from last year show that the number of complaints over distracted Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) drivers spiked to nearly 700. This news comes as operators are facing scrutiny over cellphone use.
The TTC is facing another public relations nightmare. It seems the TTC can’t catch a break; whether it is shutting down a subway line, increasing fares, catching employees taking naps or even on their cellphones while driving their buses.
But transit riders may be more upset than just the use of cellphones. According to documents accessed by the Toronto Star, complaints submitted by customers say that operators are constantly distracted by talking, texting, reading newspapers or even working on puzzles, such as a Sudoku.
The transit commission received approximately 700 complaints from Jan. 1, 2010 to the end of the year. But the number of grumbles submitted in January 2010, 48, increased to 81 at the same time a year later.
TTC Chairwoman Karen Stintz
TTC Chairwoman Karen Stintz
“That number is clearly too high,” said Brad Ross, spokesperson for the TTC. “We’ll drive those numbers down we hope.” He added that each case is carefully investigated and if the allegations are true, disciplinary action is handed out, reports 680 News.
TTC Union President Bob Kinnear issued a letter to employees over the weekend warning them of a cellphone crackdown. It is alleged that streetcar and bus drivers could face termination if they use their cellphones on any occasion, even when the bus is not in motion or on their break.
However, according to CP24, TTC Chair Karen Stintz said the management is not doing anything than it normally does in enforcing policy. “There's nothing that management is doing to agitate the employees. This is an attempt by Mr. Kinnear to agitate his members.”
Ross also said that the cellphone policy is being implemented consistently. “You don't just lose your job.”
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