Ottawa mayor backs silencing singing bus driver
Mayor, transit commissioner say professionalism trumps personal expression
Ottawa mayor Jim Watson said he supports OC Transpo's decision to silence a bus driver known for crooning while transporting passengers.
Yves Roy, known as The Singing Bus Driver, was told to stop after the transit authority received a number of complaints in the last year.
The decision, made a few weeks ago, became public Wednesday and prompted criticism, including a Facebook page posted Wednesday morning — entitled Let Ottawa's Singing Bus Driver sing — that had over a 120 "likes" within an hour of its creation.
Watson said allowing the driver to continue to sing after complaints could create a free-for-all on public transit.
"If we allow a driver to start singing and entertaining how do we say no to a passenger who wants to start tap-dancing or doing stand-up comedy," said Watson.
"When I go on a bus I want some calm and a peaceful environment. If I want to go be entertained I'll go to a club or a concert," he said.
Transit commission chair Diane Deans said she also supported OC Transpo's decision and said safety and professionalism are the most important considerations.
"You don't want to squash people's enthusiasm and obviously he's a positive person and a lot of our customers have enjoyed hearing him sing, but the reality is we have to run a professional workforce and we have to have rules," said Deans.
"On balance when we have customer complaints about something like that I think that we have to focus on our core business. We hire drivers not for their singing ability but their driving ability."
The decision comes at a time when OC Transpo is dealing with a public relations backlash over a number of incidents involving its drivers.
In one instance made public over the weekend, a YouTube video showed what appears to be an OC Transpo driver swearing and threatening a young autistic man who was talking loudly.
On Tuesday another YouTube video was posted showing a driver on a cellphone while driving down the Queensway.