TTC chief blasts 'unacceptable' staff behaviour

The chief general manager of the Toronto Transit Commission has issued a harshly-worded message to all staff at the transit agency that decries what he calls the spread of a "culture of complacency and malaise."

The chief general manager of the Toronto Transit Commission has issued a harshly worded message to all staff at the transit agency that decries what he calls the spread of a "culture of complacency and malaise."

"I am not proud of what we have been dealing with over the last several weeks," Gary Webster said in a note sent to employees on Saturday.

"I don’t know about you, but I am becoming increasingly tired of defending the reputation of the TTC; tired of explaining what is acceptable and what is not; and tired of stating the obvious: that much of the behaviour being reported is, indeed, unacceptable," he said.

The memo was made available to the public through a Saturday media release.

The TTC has come under fire in recent days after the release of a YouTube video that showed an on-duty bus driver taking a seven-minute break.

The video purportedly showed the operator taking a washroom break and buying a coffee at a doughnut shop at 3:00 a.m. Jan. 29.

The TTC also received a barrage of negative publicity after a photograph surfaced of a subway collector napping on the job.

After the photograph went viral more than two weeks ago, TTC chair Adam Giambrone apologized for customer service "that does not live up to expectations." He said a blue-ribbon panel would be appointed to review every aspect of how the agency conducts itself.

Management at the time also urged all employees to raise the level of customer service to counter rising public frustration. Webster expressed his disappointment at the reaction from staff.

"I asked everyone to respond well. Some of you did. Clearly, some of you did not. "

In the Saturday media release, spokesman Brad Ross said the TTC will no longer comment on individual complaints against staff. But riders who have specific complaints can call 416-393-3030 or use the TTC's website.

Webster said in his memo that employees "need to be held accountable for their poor performance."

"The culture of complacency and malaise that has seeped into our organization will end. I hold all of management responsible to make this happen," he said. 

"Reviews and plans are under way to address systemic issues regarding customer service, but real change starts with you."