Who's in the wrong in this nasty TTC fare dispute?
Transit commission investigating streetcar driver's war of words with passenger
WARNING: This story contains graphic language
The Toronto Transit Commission says it has spoken with one of its employees after video surfaced Friday of a nasty war of words between a driver and passenger on board a streetcar.
The person who shot the video says in the online description that it happened on a 501 Queen streetcar Thursday. The passenger had allegedly tried to pay her fare with non-Canadian currency, then asked for her money back.
"That one dollar is f--king Canadian," she's heard saying on the video. "Give it back to me."
WARNING: Video below contains graphic language
"It's not Canadian," the driver says. "Only one Loonie is."
"Asshole," the woman responds. "Open the f--king door."
"You know what?" the driver responds. "Kiss my ass, bitch. See you later, bye bye."
Another passenger then tells the driver she is taking down his number to report him.
"We saw the video like everyone else did — online," TTC spokesperson Stuart Green told CBC Toronto.
He says the language was unacceptable and that the transit commission has specific protocols it expects drivers to follow in these types of situations.
"Our drivers are trained not to engage in disputes with passengers, particularly over fares," Green said. "We have a fare enforcement team that will enforce fare disputes if need be."
Green confirmed the TTC received two complaints about the driver's behaviour online. That employee has been identified and interviewed, but Green says because the issue is now a personnel matter, he can't comment on what kind of discipline — if any — the driver is facing.
'That escalated quickly'
Still, TTC riders we spoke with say both people involved were in the wrong.
"Wow, that escalated quickly," said Blake Winton after watching the video. He says he's seen drivers take verbal abuse several times while taking public transit.
"They should probably do their best to not respond, but having said that, it's a really tough job," Winton said. "I don't think I could drive on these roads for eight hours a day and not get tired of this stuff."
Commuter Jeff Wood says TTC drivers should be held to a higher standard.
"He may have been right in what he was trying to do, but he needs to act more mature," Wood said. "Most of the time the TTC acts quite appropriately, but in that case, the driver went too far."
TTC rider Marisa Lex says she's seen many drivers taking verbal abuse from customers.
"Sometimes they don't know how to deal with it," she said. "Maybe they need more training."
Bobby Knauff agrees. He says instead of the driver losing his job or receiving a pay cut, he should take a mandated training course on customer relations.
"I think the TTC frustrates everybody," Knauff said. "The workers and the people riding it. Everyone's just at the point where that's how they react at the littlest thing."
With files from Nick Boisvert