Friday, December 01, 2006

TTC Picks on a Pregnant Woman

Mike Strobel - Heavy-handed behaviour by TTC officers leaves single mom convinced there has to be a better way

Say it ain't the Toronto Sun's Mike Strobel reports, a pregnant lady with her own four year old son in tow, on her way home has been picked on and threatened with being arrested by the TTC's Rent-a-Cops (a.k.a. Goon Squad).

Apparently, the pregnant woman had produced a December Metropass (monthly transit pass) while going through the turnstiles at a Toronto Subway Station at the end of November in order to show she paid her fare. The woman had mistakenly left her November Metropass at home, but did have the receipt for the November pass with her.

When asked further about her fare by Toronto's finest Transit "Fare Hosers", she easily explained what happenned and then produced a receipt for the November pass. This would seem to be a simple mistake of a pregnant woman with obviously quite a bit on her mind.

Toronto Sun columnist, Mike Strobel put it best of what any sensible person of authority would have done. Which would be to say to the lady: " 'Okay, ma'am, please be more careful next time,'... "

Then tell her four year old son, Johnny, that everyone makes a mistake and this time we will let this one slide.

But sadley this was not the case. The "Goon Squad," who obviously has nothing better to do than intimidate and harass a defenseless pregnant lady, decided to confiscate the legally paid for December Monthly Pass and issue her of a hefty ticket. The Rent a Cops did this instead of moving on to more important crime prevention matters like patrolling the stations in order to prevent something like a recent situation where someone was recently killed by a brick at the Jane Street station on the Bloor-Danforth line.

No, that would be too easy.

Here's an even better idea!...according to the TTC: First you accuse a lady, who has basically proven she has paid her fare and her son's fare, of not paying a fare. Then you let this same "fare beater" ride the subway anyway. If you believe someone hasn't paid their fare, why would you let them board the subway? This must be TTC bureacratic reasoning at its best, because who can figure out this logic? In fact, there isn't any logic in the TTC's actions in this case at all.

If the TTC, and other transit agencies, want to continue to increase ridership they must become a little more accomodating. This dooen't mean opening the fare gates to allow passengers to ride for free. This means in this pregnant woman's case to simply write her a warning for this simple mistake and let her and her son go on their merry way. If this particular lady tried to pull this stunt again, then the TTC should hand her the ticket.

The TTC needs to remember that we are all human, and humans make mistakes. But apparently at the TTC no mistakes are allowed by their customers. Especially pregnant customers who have a four year old in tow. Apparently, customer's mistakes, like this one, only provides the opportunity for the TTC's Goon Squad to pick on defensless pregnant ladies. Perhaps the TTC's should really learn which ones are the "goons" in this case, it's the ones wearing the uniforms! SHAME ON THE TTC!

UPDATE! : Mike Strobel's column today (Saturday) in the Toronto Sun provides an update on the situation. Strobel notes that Sun readers have come forward offering to pay both the fine and the new December pass. Strobel figures that with the offers from the readership be taken into account, the pregnant lady could easily ride for a couple of years on the TTC for free. Congratulations to the readers for stepping up. That is what Toronto is all about.

The TTC even stepped up to the plate and returned the December TTC back in, what they called, "an act of compassion." The TTC should do even more by waving the the fine and offering up a free January monthly pass as compensation. But that would be common sense and, as we all know, transit and government bureaucracy doesn't have a lot of common sense. If the TTC was a business and treated it's customers like this, they would be bankrupt in no time. Instead, because the TTC is a government agency they are able to still operate and be bankrupt in another sense, in this case it is morally bankrupt.

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