Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Public relations blunders in OC Transpo

Hugh Adami's "The Public Citizen" column from this past weekend outlined a disturbing trend in strong-arm enforcement of OC Transpo rules and regulations recently, despite the obvious need to improve the transit utility's image after the public relations nightmare transit strike.

Two weeks ago, I told the story of three Algonquin College students who were charged with trespassing after they were found near the transitway, snapping photos of the buses-only road. That led to two confrontations with a Transpo special constable. When one of the students, Nicole Thompson-Walker, stopped answering questions about her identity and address, she was arrested and handcuffed -- a silly and unnecessary use of force and authority.

But Transpo doesn't think so.

Then there was the story a few days later of Jackson Adeney, a 16-year-old cyclist who collided with a bus. He was still trying to understand how the operator could drive off, leaving him by a Barrhaven roadside with a separated shoulder. Was he offered an apology? They don't seem to do that at Transpo. But the city agreed Friday to pay for a new bike and some accessories.

And now there's Bryan Cook. He's a regular rider who was left wondering why he takes the bus after the treatment he received from fare-enforcement officers. As he was riding the bus to work on April 21, two officers approached him, one looked at his bus pass and then "told his buddy to, 'Come deal with Bryan'," says Cook.

The second constable took his pass and ordered him off the bus at the St. Laurent Transitway stop. He asked to see Cook's driver's licence, and then gave him a $150 ticket.


Anonymous said...

What is management to do? Saw and heard many comments during the strike from drivers that they thought is was an unfair presumption of guilt even when supervisors talked to them about complaint from the public.
If staff believe dealing with complaints creates a hostile work environment how will complaints ever be addressed?
I reported one driver last winter for refusing to let a blind man on the bus. I'm still waiting for a response from OC transpo.

Anonymous said...

Report, report, report and don't become complacent in letting OC Transpo drivers get away with bad service, non-compliance and moving violations that contravene the Highway Traffic Act. The only way change will occur is if we the public continue to hold them accountable. If you don't get a reponse the first time, escalate and then escalate some more. EVERYONE has a boss and ultimately as a service to the public, we are their bosses. If we don't continue to take a stand against the wrong-doings, clearly no one else will.

Anonymous said...

STOP Calling

What is ist about bus drivers who either refuse or merely "whisper" their stops...who do they thnki they're folling. And why doe we the public (Your clients by the way) have to endure this bad practice. Is it too much expect good service, which has also been decreed by higher authorities. Did I mention (to you, the reader) the City faces $25K fine for each instance of not calling stops.

From speaking to drivers' whom are "friends" - it's alleged that most "Operators" feel they shouldn't have to. I often ask why they did not and frequently receive "most of the time the mike doesn't work" - that's not stating it is or isn't now, is it? Do they have a voice?

This bad practice is utter ignorance on the part of Bus Operators and make the "Good ones" seem almost but forgotten about.

Oh and tail-gating....that's another story as-is fast acceleration and heavy braking.

Thanks OC for such a wonderful service...too bad your operators don't feel the loyalty to their clients.