TORONTO, ONTARIO – (January 25, 2019) – The TTC announced its plan this week to hire 71 special constables and fare enforcement officers, with an additional three supervisors, in an effort to recoup lost revenue through fare evasion. Fare evasion has spiked recently due to the implementation of the unreliable Presto system, costing the system desperately needed funds for maintenance and improvements. Ironically, this comes at the same time ATU Local 113, Toronto’s transit union representing over 11,500 public transit workers, takes measures to exonerate a subway station Customer Service Agent from the TTC’s harsh and unfair punishment for collecting fares in a difficult circumstance.
Following a Rogers Cup tennis game at York University in August 2018, and in the midst of a thunderstorm, a large crowd entered the nearby Pioneer Village subway station entrance that was solely equipped for Presto. The TTC failed to have a portable crash gate at this entrance, which was initially planned to accommodate the large influx of professional tennis fans. With only cash in their pockets, the customers arriving at the Presto-only entrance were insistent they do the right thing and pay their fares. Looking to serve these customers who wished to pay, the Customer Service Agent collected the fares and allowed the riders into the station. The Customer Service Agent then gave the money directly to a supervisor.
Instead of commending this employee for their goodwill and dedication, they were punished with a two-day unpaid suspension and 10 months of probation. The probation was recently extended for an additional three months.
ATU Local 113 is asking the TTC very simple questions: how can you be serious about increasing fare inspection when you are punishing your own employees for collecting fares while failing to properly plan for large-scale events at subway stations? And why is it becoming harder to pay a fare following the elimination of the collector position?
Carlos Santos, President of ATU Local 113, is available for comment on this issue.