The TTC’s latest strategy to fight fare evasion is to hire 71 special constables and fare enforcement officers, with an additional three supervisors. Ironically, this comes at the same time ATU Local 113 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. After releasing our stance on the matter, Antonella Artuso of the Toronto Sun interviewed President Carlos Santos. Read the full story below.
UN-FARE: MORE TTC FARE EVASION INSPECTORS BUT FEWER PAYMENT OPTION FOR RIDERS
The TTC commissioners’ decision to hire more fare evasion inspectors comes as riders have dwindling options to pay their fare, setting up increased potential for conflict between staff and the public, the union representing public transit workers says.
Many people, including tourists, don’t have a Presto card or find the machine out of order, ATU Local 113 President Carlos Santos said.
“The public should always have an ability to pay a different method,” Santos said. “We have endless problems with Presto.”
Last summer, a Customer Service Agent was disciplined by the TTC for taking cash fares at the Presto-only Pioneer Village Station, he said.
A large crowd that had arrived all at once from a nearby tennis tournament did not have Presto cards and wanted to pay cash, he said.
The pressured Agent decided to collect the money and then immediately turned it over to a supervisor, he said.
“She was suspended for two days pay and she had her probationary period extended by three months because of this,” Santos said.
Additional fare inspectors would not have helped the situation, he said.
“These people had cash,” Santos said. “So they’re put in a situation which could cause confrontations.”
TTC spokesperson Stuart Green said he could not discuss any personnel matter but noted there are protocols for handling cash and large crowds at Presto-only stations.
“We have no plans to go cash free at this time but customers showing up to a subway station with cash have options including using a lane with a secure cash collection box,” Green said. “Starting in June, the option to purchase single and return ride PRESTO tickets will be introduced in stations.”
The TTC is not responsible for the maintenance of Presto machines, he said.