Ottawa

Union, Transpo officials downplay rider complaints

The union representing OC Transpo drivers does not believe there is a problem with driver distractions.

The union representing OC Transpo drivers does not believe there is a problem with driver distractions.

OC Transpo received close to 180 complaints in the past year about drivers using their cellphones. ((CBC))

That's despite documents released under an access to information request by the Ottawa Citizen that show over the course of a year the company received 178 complaints about drivers using electronic devices on the job.

None of the complaints resulted in any serious disciplinary action.

And the president of the Amalgamated Transit Union, Mike Aldrich, said the infractions are not cause for alarm.

"In a business of 1,500 people it's normal to have the odd complaint here or there," he said. "As far as I am concerned it is an issue that was just blown out of proportion. There are more important things for us to worry about than something like this."

Drivers must follow rules, commissioner says

Keith Egli, vice-chairman of the city's Transit Commission, agrees that the number of complaints is not significant, but he still wants to make sure drivers are following the rules.

"My intention is to ask staff to bring me up to date specifically as to what steps are, and will be, taken in the future to deal with drivers that are caught texting or talking on the cellphone," he said.

Egli noted that each complaint was followed up on by OC Transpo.

OC Transpo said in a statement that drivers who do not follow its policies and provincial law could be disciplined, including losing their jobs.