Ottawa bus passengers sing for driver

Passengers on Ottawa buses break into song to show their support for OC Transpo's silenced Singing Bus Driver.
Ottawa transit passengers sing Friday in support of bus driver Yves Roy, who was told to stop belting out tunes on his route. (courtesy Ashley Burke) 0:54

Passengers on Ottawa buses were breaking into song Friday to show their support for OC Transpo's silenced singing bus driver.

The transit sing-song was organized by passengers who were upset when driver Yves Roy was told earlier this month to stop belting out songs along his route. OC Transpo told him the singing had provoked about a dozen complaints.

A  Facebook campaign was launched, drawing the support of nearly 1,200 people who promised to croon in support of Roy's singing when they took the bus on Friday.

They’re all just drivers

They need our sympathy

Cuz it’s no easy job that they do 

Julie Seguin said the singers were reacting to a "ridiculous" decision by the transit authority.

"For once, there's a really positive thing happening in the bus … and they shut him down," she said.

Moved by support

Roy,  62, has said his singing has brought him praise during his 11 years driving a bus but he doesn't mind giving it up. He found out about his singing supporters early Friday, when someone boarded his bus wearing a T-shirt that said, "Let him sing."

"I'm moved," Roy said. "This is unbelievable.… But I don't think this is going to get anywhere with management."

Transit commission chair Diane Deans has said management couldn't ignore complaints from people who wanted peace and quiet during their commute. Safety and professionalism were the most important considerations, she said.

The singing Friday comes after a spell of criticism of OC Transpo over its customer service. A driver was fired this week for losing his temper with a passenger in an explosion of expletives videotaped by another passenger.

On Thursday, Gary Queale, president of OC Transpo's largest union, called for a stop to a "witchhunt against drivers" and said members may take some job action. The same day, the transit authority began looking into reports a driver had left a bus full of passengers after a dispute with a customer.