TTC union says pressure to stay on schedule jeopardizing road safety
Published Wednesday, January 21, 2015 7:48PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 21, 2015 8:00PM EST
The head of the Toronto Transit Commission's union says drivers are under intense pressure to stay on schedule and, as a result, are putting themselves and the public at risk.
Bob Kinnear, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113, says the TTC gives its operators unrealistic route schedules that do not take into account the increased traffic on the roads. He says because TTC buses are tracked, on-time performance can sometimes trump road safety.
"We are operating under a schedule that I drove under 20 years ago," Kinnear told reporters on Wednesday, following a regular board meeting that focused on improving safety.
But according to TTC CEO Andy Byford, drivers are not pressured to stay on schedule.
"We've always said safety first. At the end of the day, I'd rather the bus or the streetcar run late … It's important that we put safety first," he told reporters.
Wednesday's TTC meeting comes after the tragic death of 14-year-old Amaria Diljohn, who was struck by a bus last month. Officers say the 27-year-old TTC driver did not remain at the scene, but he later turned himself into police. No charges have been laid.
The tragic collision prompted the TTC to speed up its review of bus and streetcar operators. A 12-point safety plan that includes installing dashboard cameras and GPS to monitor a vehicle's speed was also proposed.
The TTC is also conducting a one-year pilot project on a west-end bus route that does not track the vehicle, eliminating any pressure for the driver to stay on schedule. If the pilot program is successful, it may be expanded to other TTC routes.