Tired of terrible transit: TTC riders

A TTC town hall meeting last Sunday was meant to further dialogue between commuters and frontline TTC workers but calls for TTC Chair Adam Giambrone’s head set a different tone.

The meeting, the second held by The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113, drew a packed crowd inside the auditorium at Stephen Leacock Collegiate.

TTC users voiced concerns over buses and the behaviour of frontline workers.

Dave Witzel, 62, a retired Markham transit worker, called for garbage bins on buses to cut down on littering incidents.

“I had an incident the first time I rode the TTC. I gave the driver my transfer. The driver looked at it like I was a fool,” said Witzel who later threw his empty coffee cup and transfer on the floor when he left the bus. “If people are going to treat me like that and not have anywhere for me to put my garbage, then expect to find it on the floor.”

According to an electronic audience response system, 49 per cent of the audience were regular TTC users and the same amount took the TTC to the Sunday meeting. About 53 per cent of the audience said they saw cases of avoidable unsatisfactory customer service within the last two to three years.

The meeting did not settle the concerns of some audience members, who wanted more answers.

“Throughout this meeting your answers have been overtaking our questions,” said Ryan Endoh, a student with a prepared question about profane language. “We have one-minute questions and you’re giving us four to five minutes answers. That’s not fair.”

One panelist, Laverne Snagg, acknowledged the dissatisfaction among the audience and with commuters.

“Our major concern is about our customers and at the end of the day we want to get from point A safely and with as little drama as possible,” Snagg said.

Throughout the meeting, Kinnear and the panelists stressed many issues could be solved with an increase in funding but government would only do so if pressured by TTC users.

“Today was really a focus on funding and there are two sorts of questions, one which can be resolved internally and the second are matters like funding which are really fundamental to the operations,” said Giambrone after the meeting.

Giambrone was not a favourite among the audience. The meeting’s loudest applause came after Mai Cheng, a 72-year-old TTC rider challenged Giambrone’s position.

“He should be fired right away, on the spot,” Cheng said.

The third town hall meeting is scheduled for May 2 at Ryerson University.

Reactions following the TTC town hall meeting:

Murray Hedges, chair of the Scarborough Association of Seniors


Laverne Snagg, bus operator and panelist


Bob Kinnear, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113


Adam Giambrone, TTC chair and Ward 18 councillor