Toronto

TTC investigating incident between collector, customers

The Toronto Transit Commission says it is investigating, after the emergence of a new video apparently showing a ticket collector shouting obscenities at two customers.

The Toronto Transit Commission says it is investigating, after the emergence of a new video apparently showing a ticket collector shouting obscenities at two customers.

In the video the collector can be seen and heard shouting at Daniel Tekie and Bernard Gabrie, two 21-year-old York University students who were entering the subway at the Glencairn station last Friday.

What prompted the incident remains unclear, but the TTC says the collector shouldn't have engaged the students in that manner — and it is investigating.

It appears from the video that one or both of the students didn't show their Metropasses to the satisfaction of the collector.

Tekie began recording what was happening on his cellphone at one point.

The unidentified collector says, "You didn't show me your pass."

Tekie responds, "I showed you my Metropass" and then holds it up to the camera.

The exchange between the students and the collector quickly turns angry, with the collector using profanities.

At one point the collector leaves his booth and says to the men, "Why are your pants falling down?"  A reference to the clothes the men are wearing. 

The camera then goes off — but not for long.

The TTC employee then leaves his booth unattended and follows the pair down to track level.

"You cannot function in society. You will go to jail in a year," the collector says.

"Please stop judging me for who I am. And no, I will not go to jail in a year," Tekie responds.

"I don't think the colour of my skin should determine if I got to jail in a year or if I can't cope in society," Tekie told CBC News. 

"I'm a third year student at York University. This is uncalled for and it happens too much. I don't like being treated like a second-class citizen."

The students say they shot the video as evidence. 

TTC spokesman Brad Ross said he's disturbed by the collector's reaction.

"I have seen the video and it's very disappointing and clearly unacceptable the way the whole situation was handled," he said.

Ross said "the collector appears to have taken things quite too far" and the TTC will conduct a thorough investigation.