TTC boss to distracted drivers: I will not back you
Published Friday, April 27, 2012 10:29PM EDT
Toronto transit workers got a stern warning from the Toronto Transit Commission's new CEO on Friday, telling drivers to pay attention while behind the wheel of buses or subway trains.
Andy Byford says he is not happy about a rash of recent reports about drivers caught texting or even reading the newspaper while operating transit vehicles.
In a letter to employees, Byford said he would not protect employees caught driving while distracted and endangering the lives of Toronto transit riders.
"A small minority of staff continue to wreck all of our reputations," the letter reads. "To them I say: I will not back you. In fact, I will expect you to face the consequences of your actions, especially if you put customers' safety at risk."
The warning comes after a wave of misconduct in recent days. Drivers have been caught in photos and videos text messaging and even reading newspapers while on the job.
Amalgamated Transit Union local 113 president Bob Kinnear backed up Byford's harsh words, saying that, in the past, the union has lacked clear direction from management about expectations.
"I think it's appropriate. I think it's proactive. I think it clearly will communicate to the members what the expectation from management is," Kinnear said.
Byford was named the Toronto Transit Commission's new CEO last month, promising to make fixing the system's customer service issues a priority.
A TTC spokesperson told CTV Toronto's Ashley Rowe that the extent of disciplinary action for getting caught ignoring safety rules can range from suspension to dismissal.
TTC privacy guidelines mean, however, that the public may not be informed on the extent of specific punishments.
With a report from CTV Toronto's Ashley Rowe