Rob Ford accused of driving by open streetcar doors
City of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford wipes his forehead as he speaks at the Economic Club of Canada in Toronto on Tuesday, June 5, 2012. (The Canadian Press/Nathan Denette)
Published Friday, June 29, 2012 5:57PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, June 29, 2012 5:59PM EDT
Mayor Rob Ford allegedly drove past the open doors of a streetcar on Wednesday afternoon, causing an exchange of words with the streetcar operator, says the head of the transit union.
Bob Kinnear, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union, told reporters the details of the incident on Friday morning.
Kinnear said the incident occurred on Wednesday around 1:30 p.m. He said the mayor drove past the open doors of a streetcar on Dundas Street West near McCaul Street.
"My understanding is that Mr. Ford did pass open doors of a streetcar. And the operator counselled Mayor Ford on the serious safety violation and the potential danger of doing that," said Kinnear.
Drivers who fail to stop when the doors of a streetcar are open may be fined up to $109 if they are caught by a police officer.
Driving past the open streetcar doors is a violation of the Highway Traffic Act.
Kinnear said that TTC employees are not encouraged to get into “verbal discussions” with drivers, but that from the TTC driver’s perspective it gets “frustrating” to see this safety precaution continuously violated.
“We’re not opposed to our members advising the public of the rules in the interest of safety for our passengers,” he said.
Kinnear also said that during the summer TTC drivers are especially concerned for tourists who may not be aware of the law.
Kinnear said the mayor later contacted the TTC and TTC officials conducted an interview with the driver. The driver has since returned to work.
When asked about the details of the verbal exchange between the TTC driver and the mayor, Kinnear said he only knows that the two engaged in a conversation.
“My understanding is that he did roll down his window and had some comments for the operator but I don’t know specifically what those comments were,” Kinnear said.
Kinnear also said that while he did not know the exact nature of the mayor’s comments, he could “only imagine considering Mr. Ford’s antics.”
While passing open streetcar doors is an offence that may be ticketed, Kinnear said the city needs to do more to ensure motorists obey the law.
“Unfortunately the city has not done enough in enforcing that rule and educating the public as to the rules when it comes to streetcars and driving on those routes,” he said.