Monday, February 08, 2010

Social Media Gives Power to TTC Riders. Workers Don't Like.


Is it really surprising that a TTC worker created a Facebook page to diss us riders for finally making our complaints public; it's not exactly the first time drivers and workers have dissed the public. They have not felt the consequences of their dissing before; they've been able to strike, get what they want, treat passengers the way they want, force the TTC to spend millions on a stop-announcement system because if they don't want to call the stops, they won't and no one -- not TTC managers, not the courts, not City Council -- can make them do anything they don't wanna. They're entitled.

And that's why riders are whipping out their cameras.

Somewhere in the last decade or so, TTC drivers have forgotten that their job is to serve the public: the good, the bad, and the nasty. They've forgotten that most riders just want to get home quickly and safely and appreciate a job well done. They've forgotten that when they engage the public with goodwill as a service provider they make the experience good for everybody. But management and union have conspired to create a system and an attitude that push drivers and riders further and further apart, setting each against the other, until finally a rider snapped. And posted the photo.

It's not as simple as paying TTC workers so well when they huff off to strike that the people who need the TTC the most can't afford it. It's not as simple as reduced bus service or slow subway service. It's about the whole environment. If the TTC is serious about improving customer service, it's not enough to suspend a driver for taking a too-long-coffee-break or the complaint line being passionate about one's complaint (when it makes no friggin' diff; drivers ignore the memo with impunity as I've discovered too many times). They need to review how their entire system alienates riders from drivers, how bus design can make a person grumpy (I ain't kidding -- environment affects mood), how visual pollution stress already-tired people making them more edgy and liable to diss a driver, how garbage piss people off, how lack of security allow the jerks to pollute our TTC and create an unsafe atmosphere, how too-narrow platforms create tension as we wait and wait for a train, how overburdened subway lines cannot be relieved by LRT lines in the suburbs but only by new subway lines in the city, how bureaucrats don't get that people rushing to work do not like to change trains from SRT or LRT to subway, how TTC workers love to strike and work to rule (like we'd see the diff with the latter), how the TTC management don't build in humane stops on bus routes for pee breaks, how the TTC union has a culture of entitlement, and how absolutely no one -- not management, not unions, not City Council, and certainly not Mr. Giambrone -- get what riders want: an efficient, fast, safe, friendly, clean, comprehensive public transit service, a real alternative to the car.

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