Friday, December 17, 2010


Toronto Transit Commission - Safety Record Dead?

I'm so old that I can remember when an accident involving the TTC was a surprising rarity. Like those industrial factories that had signs posted proudly proclaiming " 489 Days Without Accident" or some such, the old TTC boasted of its great safety record. Safety was Job #1.

However, since August 11, 1995 when there was the Russell Hill Subway Incident , the TTC's much mentioned great Safety Record has plummeted, getting much, much worse over the past year. Streetcars hitting each other, colliding with cars, cyclists and pedestrians, TTC subway workers having fatal accidents while doing maintenance work in tunnels, all sorts of delays in the subway, etc. All this happening at the same time that the other 2 governments (province, federal) were coughing up huge amounts of money to help Toronto transit improve. The latest news:

Since about 1997, we've also seen the alarming - though thankfully few - incidents of random people being pushed onto subway tracks by those with mental illness. The TTC has considered off and on adding very expensive modifications to platforms, but so far all have been too costly.

And it's not just accidents and random strangers that TTC riders have to worry about:

The TTC did get "Special Constables" in June, 1997 and there are about 90 of them that patrol the system. Prior to this, Toronto Police did very random (and few) patrols on TTC properties and veghicles.

 Backgrounder link

In June, 2009 the Police Services Board voted unanimously to take control of the TTC Special Constable. On October 21, 2010 the Police Services Board voted in favour of cancelling the TTC Special Constable program on February 1, 2011. Some of the bad press that contributed to this decision is:
TTC Constables Overstep Authority

Something that happened even after this (Dec 13, 2010) is being investigated by ward 18 Davenport City Councillor, ANA BAILAO.  Toronto Sun - Alleged TTC Beating which certainly confirms the decision to cancel the Special Constable program.

*** One thing that should be asked is why TTC Chief General Manager, Gary Webster, allowed this to happen on his watch!

Background History of the TTC:

(A full history can be found at This Link ) Some highlights (or lowlights)

1892  First electric streetcar (on Church Street)
1899  ATU (Amalgamated Transit Union) Local 113 was founded
1912  With a city of 400,000 the first studies mentioned the need for a subway
January, 1946 Citizens voted 10 to 1 to get a subway started.
September 8, 1949 Construction started on "Canada's First Subway"
1952  TTC endured 19 day strike
1954  TTC becomes sole provider of public transportation in Metro Toronto, taking over various private bus companies
1970  TTC endures  12 day strike
1974  TTC endures 23 day strike * First time province used back-to-work legislation to force end to strike
1978  TTC endures 8 day strike
1984  TTC strike during Pope Paul's Visit
1988  TTC assumes responsibility for Wheel Transportation Service
1989  TTC service disrupted during 41 day labour dispute (work to rule?)
1991  TTC endures 9 day strike
- 1998  Amalgamation of Toronto forced by Mike Harris provincial government
1999  TTC endures 2 day strike (legislated back by province)
- December, 2006 Adam Giambrone appointed TTC Chair by Mayor Miller, replacing Howard Moscoe
2006  TTC endures 1 day strike (May 29)
2007 The current TTC General Manager, Gary Webster, was appointed
2008  TTC endures 1 1/2 day strike (the wildcat illegal one that started at 12:01am)
May, 2008 Miller Council considers making TTC essential service. Motion defeated by only 1 vote.
2008 The TTC safety culture transformation was officially branded: Work Safe, Home Safe
- Nov 30, 2010 Adam Giambrone is out as TTC Chair, New TTC Chair is Karen Stintz

December 16, 2010 New Ford Council passes motion to ask province to declare the TTC an essential service by a vote of 28 to 17.

Other Points of Note:
1998-2007: 150 people committed suicide by jumping in front of subway trains. Since 1954 when first subway built, 1,200 people have attempted suicide by TTC (both failed and successful included).
More TTC information and statistics are HERE

* Update: A CBC radio special The Current on January 13, 2011 says there are 4,000 sucides a year in Canda, more than there are homicides, yet very little piublic attention is on it.

*** QUESTION: December 17, 2010 Why DOES Adam Giambrone still have his website  up saying he is ward 18 city councillor and chair of the TTC???  Arrogant disrespect, Adam, as usual.

SO.... I look forward to seeing if the new TTC powers that be recognize that passenger safety might be more important than station cleanliness or a new fare system -  Link

* Update: The TTC safety record gets worse and another great tragedy January 11,2011
... all the while Toronto Councillor and TTC Chair Karen Stintz talks about the TTC priorities as being 'cleanliness' and Torontonians wring their hands over a possible 10 cent fare increase. Where are our priorities?

Update: Pedestrian Killed by Bus Jan 21, 2011
Update:  Third Pedestrian Fatality for TTC in 2011 (Not even past January yet!)
A TTC bus fatally injured a pedestrian early Saturday morning at Bloor St. and Concord Ave.

* Update: TTC Turning Into Mass Madness System Rosie Dimanno, The Star "Forget the Summer of the Gun from 2005. This is turning into the Winter of the Killer Conveyance" Jan 31, 2011

* Update: Teen Struck by TTC bus Feb 1, 2011