Twelve years ago on a crowded morning bus, passengers noted through the window a woman running toward an empty bus stop. A look passed among us that said "poor fool, what does she think she's doing?". When the driver stopped and waited he not only received her thanks, but a chorus of "that was so nice" and "I don't believe it" from shocked patrons. The driver laughed and said "That's my job to pick up passengers." As a 35 year lifestyle transit user this is an outstanding memory, along with the time I overheard personnel refer to patrons as "losers without cars".
On Friday, April 25th, the Amalgamated Transit Union rejected a contract and, without giving notice, walked off the job at midnight leaving tens of thousands of Torontians stranded. Earlier in negotiations union leader Bob Kinnear had said the public would be given 48 hours notice of a strike. Regarding this situation he said: "We have assessed the situation and decided that we will not expose our members to the dangers of assaults from angry and irrational members of the public." Apparently it's our fault! It is unfortunate that the leader of the union seems unaware of the routine harassment and rudeness to which the public is subjected by TTC personnel. I've seen seniors yelled at, doors slammed as people race for a bus, transfers refused under shakey circumstances and unreasonable behavior of all sorts. Like most patrons I appreciate those pleasant and exceptional service providers I have met through the years because they are so rare. The "no notice" walk out is indicative of the attitude toward the citizens who rely upon and support the TTC.
The Provincial Legislature signed a bill ordering the TTC back to work and the transit situation was back to normal by late Sunday afternoon. What did the strike prove? Was it just because they could? A power trip? I was over my irrational anger and decided against blogging on the matter until I read a newspaper headline wherein Premier McGuinty urged the citizens of Toronto to "Be Nice" to the TTC drivers. What the **#$%!!*&%!!**#? Be Nice?! Where does this attitude of the suits come from? Do they think people who use transit are a bunch of low-life hoodlums? Be Nice! Get out of your limos and take the bus once in a while you ***&^%$*&)!! and I'll show you nice!