An Unhappy New Year's on the TTC
Today, Shameless Magazine blogger Catherine Hayday writes about a traumatic New Year's Eve experience she had on the Bloor/Danforth line. Early Tuesday morning, as she rode the subway home from a party, Hayday watched, terrified, as a group of increasingly aggressive young men harassed and threatened a homeless man. When someone pushed the yellow emergency alarm, here's her account of what happened:
One TTC employee shows up. One. Not a special constable, not even a team. In the early morning of New Years, one guy who looks like he either just came down from the token booth or is working maintenance, comes to see what the problem is.
He assesses the situation terribly, and though I don't blame him for being alone and intimidated, he determines (incorrectly and in about 5 seconds) that the homeless man pushed the alarm, and tells him to get off the train and go. The TTC employee leaves. The train continues on its way.
After working their way through the car, and intimidating several more passengers, the wannabe thugs finally got off the train, leaving Hayday and her fellow passengers relieved, but shaken.
According to the TTC's Web site, when the Passenger Assistance Alarm (PAA) is activated, first "the driver calls for emergency assistance," and then, "The subway guard or the RT driver will check the situation and take appropriate action."
It's hard to imagine that the TTC employee who responded to the alarm considered kicking the homeless guy off the train appropriate action, while leaving the eight rowdy perpetrators to harass other passengers. From Hayday's account, it seems like he was either too scared, too busy, or simply didn't care enough to deal properly with the situation.
Taking drunks off the road and putting them on the subway is a great idea, but the perpetually underfunded TTC appears to have skimped on the extra security necessary to make it a happy New Year's Eve for all.
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