TTC bus

People have had enough of TTC drivers not opening doors at bus and streetcar stops

It's a common fate for many of Toronto's public transit commuters.

See an idling bus, right next to a stop, run up to catch said bus at the last possible moment, and then watch in confused rage as the doors remain closed before the bus drives away leaving you to wait until the next one comes along.

The question of course becomes why does this happen?

Are some bus drivers just jerks? Do they not notice the desperate passenger?

Or is this a policy decision?

According to the TTC, the reason this happens some of the time might likely be due to a safety concern.

Especially these days, with precautions being taken across the country, many drivers will not allow an additional passenger on if they think it would cause the bus to be too crowded.

"TTC operators have an incredibly difficult job that requires them to put safety above all else. If an operator sees someone arriving at a stop after the doors are closed, they will make a real-time assessment as to whether or not they can safely accommodate the customer," Stuart Green, Senior Communications Specialist at the TTC told blogTO.

"If they can, they will. In some cases, a vehicle may be too full to permit more customers to board without someone being in front of the white line, which would create a visual impediment to safe operation."

This policy, however, doesn't account for the number of times when passengers are left behind by a relatively empty vehicle.

Leaving the choice up to the driver means that the inconsistency of when the doors get opened and when they don't are sure to leave plenty of riders furious.

That's exactly the sentiment in a recent thread on Reddit. Everyone seems to have at least one experience of a driver pulling away from them when they got to the stop just a fraction of a second after the doors started to close.

Others justify the driver's actions.

"If the driver is already pulling out, then you're just too late," wrote one commenter. "If every bus actually started leaving, and then stopped for that [one] extra passenger, buses would never leave....Because there's always [one] more person showing up."

Even with winter coming to an end, no one likes to be left waiting at a bus stop and the chance of getting unlucky with a particularly driver has seems to cause some longstanding dissatifaction with the service. Many commuters simply won't let incidences like this go.

"This happened to me once about [five] years ago at Pape Station," recounted another commenter.

"The 25 bus was sitting there and me and woman kinda ran to it. We both got to the front door at the same time, and I did a brief side step to allow her on first, and then the driver, while looking right into my eyes, closed the...door and sped off, leaving me standing right there dumbfounded."

While it can be enraging to be delayed due to the decision of a bus driver, the TTC doesn't seem to do much about these sort of customer complaints.

The default response seems to deflect responsibilty from the driver and suggest commuters use real time transit tracking apps such as Rocket Man to minimize lengthy waits between busses or streetcars.

If only it were that simple.

Lead photo by

Jack Landau

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