People keep leaving dirty needles and other drug paraphernalia on the TTC
If ever there were a time to look up from your phone for a few seconds while choosing where to sit on public transit in Toronto, now would be it.
Disturbing images are circulating today of a TTC streetcar littered with drug paraphernalia including used needles, metal spoons, blue elastic bands that are usually used by intravenous substance users as tourniquets and (possibly unrelated) Tim Hortons cups.
"No this isn't a drug den this is the conditions on the TTC that our essential workers and TTC riders face on a daily basis #homelessness," tweeted transit activist Rocco Signorile on Saturday morning with the photos in question.
No this isn’t a drug den this is the conditions on the #ttc that our #EssentialWorkers & #ttcriders face on a daily basis #homelessness @JohnTory @fordnation needs 2 do more to help @blogTO @NarcityCanada @CTVToronto @TheTorontoSun @NEWSTALK1010 pic.twitter.com/7tUzNbQDBE— Rocco Signorile (@imthedarkknight) April 3, 2021
"Imagine walking into YOUR office like our #EssentialWorkers do and these were your working conditions," said Signorile, who often publishes anonymous photos sent to him by TTC employees, in a subsequent tweet tagging Toronto Mayor John Tory and Ontario Premier Doug Ford.
Signorile confirmed to blogTO that the photos were taken on Friday evening, April 2, on the 510 Spadina streetcar and sent to him.
"Our workers are concerned," he said of frontline TTC staff, all of whom he believes should be given immediate access to COVID-19 vaccines.
Another tweet issued on Saturday appears to show needles and other drug paraphernalia inside a public washroom on TTC property.
Everyone should know about this so PLEASE RT!@TOPublicHealth @GailVazOxlade @CP24 @thetracymoore @cityoftoronto https://t.co/Dfs6ksS0FR— MyBitsandBleeps (@MyBitsandBleeps) April 3, 2021
When asked about the photos, TTC spokesperson Stuart Green told blogTO that the commission is aware of these types of messes.
"Unfortunately we have seen some instances of this," says Green. "If this is reported to us, we immediately take the vehicle out of service and do a full and safe clean up."
The sad reality is that vulnerable people, such as those experiencing homelessness and / or addiction issues, have fewer and fewer places to go: Shelters remain at capacity, park encampments are being threatened, residential evictions are rampant and businesses of all kinds are restricting entry amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Transit officials understand this and say that their special constables have a specific community engagement unit trained to deal with individuals in crisis.
"If individuals are reported as taking part in this activity," says Green of drug use and littering, "we would work with police and the city's social services department to address."
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