TTC trespassers

People just can't stop trespassing on the TTC

"Train service has been suspended on Line 1" is one of the worst things a TTC passenger can hear (alongside "train service has been suspended on Line 2" and "Hey, blondie...")

Subway shutdowns = commuter chaos = thousands of late people all over the city.

Passengers get frustrated when they don't know why they're stuck on a cramped subway train for who knows how long – but they get really mad when it's because of a "trespasser at track level."

There were 148 service disruptions due to trespassing on subway property between January and September of this year alone, according to TTC spokesperson Stuart Green. Last year it was 167, and in 2015 it was 160.

Of course, the total number of trespassers is a lot higher when you factor in incidents that aren't reported or don't shut down service.

"If you're on the subway and someone two stations ahead of you jumps down to get a cell phone and then jumps back up, there's no power cut or having to stop service," says Green. "If someone is on the tracks we have to stop the trains."

That doesn't mean its okay to go anywhere near the tracks under any circumstances. It's still very illegal and very, very dangerous.

Who keeps going into the subway tunnels and shutting down our city? Are they looking for ghosts? Are they looking for Master Splinter? Why does this keep happening? How?

With the exception of those who have mental health problems, it's largely people who drop their belongings down into the tracks and try to retrieve them.

That, or people crossing the tracks to get to the opposite subway platform.

"We've had cases at Dundas Station, where someone was being chased out of the mall for shoplifting, who've crossed the tracks to run away," says Green.

Jumping into the potential path of a speeding train for keys or a phone might seem dumb, but it's not the dumbest.

Plenty of "thrill seekers" have also gone into the tracks, risking certain death by getting close to 600 volts of electricity running through the live power rail.

And of course, there are the YouTubers, who don't seem to mind costing local businesses countless amounts of money in lost productivity because hey, it's okay, they're cool on YouTube.

"We are forever reminding people if for any reason you drop anything at track level do not attempt to retrieve it yourself," says Green.

If you do drop your phone, your bag or anything else, you can still retrieve it without trespassing, according to Green. It's as easy as "talking to someone in uniform and asking for assistance."

Those caught trespassing on TTC grounds can face several steep fines for acts including "failure to comply with posted sign," "project body beyond platform edge or platform safety markings," and "interference with ordinary enjoyment of transit system."

If they're lucky, they'll get a $425 fee for "unauthorized crossing or entering upon subway track" – as opposed to "death by electrocution."

Lead photo by

Mandeep Flora


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