TTC: riders v. operators

Doubtless by now many of you have heard about the massive row going on between TTC operators and riders.

To wit, here is some of the media coverage on the topic:

Riders fed up with rude behaviour

TTC commuters can’t stand rude, crude staff

OK, so it seems only the Toronto Star has been doing stuff on this topic. Very well.

As a TTC rider, and more or less a staunch supporter of the system, I feel I am somewhat privileged to say something on this topic. I am no official voice. Nor am I someone who has no interest whatsoever. But I am a Torontonian who thinks almost everyone here is acting like a child.

So I have a list of things that may help this ‘crisis’ not escalate.

First, riders, pay your fare. The TTC is not a free service. Sorry, but that’s the fact of the matter. Do I think fares are too high? Somewhat. In Ottawa, last I checked, the fare is 3,00 $, but this is a time-based transfer. And there people complain about the high fare. Here in Toronto, the fare is 3,00 $, and when you leave the system, you have to pay again to re-enter. So in that respect the fare is too high. But that doesn’t give cheapskate riders the right, nay, the gall to try and ride for free. It’s not a free service. Get over it.

Second, operators, stop acting all high and mighty. It does pain me to rail against the operators as they have been portrayed in the media, especially because my experience with them has been 95 per cent good. But seriously, just because your job is critical to the lives of millions of other people doesn’t give you the right to hold the riders hostage. A perfect example of this is operators who will not move their vehicles until the riders have moved back. While such a power play may have some merit, such a petty reason to be petulant is, well, petty. We riders will call your bluff more often than not.

Riders, do what you’re asked to do. As in the above point, if you’re not moving back in the bus, streetcar, etc., you may be impinging on the lives of your fellow riders. Other examples of riders making the TTC less attractive are subway and SRT riders who enter a car and stop. Period. They enter the car and stop in the doorway, blocking other riders from getting in. Do you want to know why the subway is so slow some mornings and evenings? It’s because of riders who think, oh, I’m on the subway now, I can rest until my stop. Yes, you can. But only once you’ve let your fellow passengers on as well. Get out of the way.

Operators, show common courtesy to your fellow human beings. Riders, do the same. Operators, you need to remember that, above all, you’re doing your job to earn a living to support yourselves and your families (if you have one). Just like the riders you’re ferrying from point A to point B. Riders, remember that the operators are doing their jobs to earn a living. And you are likely using the TTC to get to where you earn your living. Or home again. If we all remember that we do things in order to eke out a living, and that sometimes a person can have a rough day at work, and we empathize with that, we can all get along.

Honestly, it’s all about respect. Now, show some, dammit!