Toronto transit union wants to discuss "fare evasion" at public town hall
meeting this Sunday

TORONTO, April 15 /CNW/ - In the wake of assault charges against a TTC bus operator arising from a fare dispute, ATU Local 113 is hoping to engage the public this Sunday in a discussion about the growing problem of TTC fare evasion.

"This is an issue that affects not just TTC users and staff but every taxpayer in the city," says Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113 President Bob Kinnear."

"Every year there are hundreds of assaults against TTC frontline staff and 90 per cent of them are related to fare disputes. Our members have learned that following TTC management policy to collect the proper fare can be hazardous to their safety."

"Moreover, if every Operator strictly followed TTC policy about fare collection, the system would grind to a halt because of the procedures that must be followed in a fare dispute."

Kinnear says that this Sunday's Town Hall meeting provides an ideal opportunity to get feedback from the public on how they would like to see fares enforced and what should happen when a passenger refuses to pay the proper fare.

"Under current TTC policy, in a fare dispute the Operator must stop the vehicle and call transit control, thereby inconveniencing everyone else on the bus or streetcar and, of course, all the buses and streetcars behind. Many Operators have been verbally and even physically assaulted by other passengers because they followed the rules.

"We'd like the public's views on how these issues should be handled."

Kinnear stressed that audience members can raise any other transit-related issues with the union panelists, in the same way that last Sunday's town hall meeting in Downsview was conducted.

With regard to the assault charges against a bus driver on Wednesday, Kinnear said that the matter is before the courts and that the principle of "innocent until proven guilty" must prevail.

This Sunday's Town Hall meeting will be held at Stephen Leacock Collegiate Institute, 2450 Birchmount, north of Sheppard between 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. The meeting will be moderated by Diane O'Reggio, President and CEO of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund (Canada).

SOURCE Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113

For further information: For further information: Bill Reno, (416) 223-7366

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Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113

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