Transit union says newspaper report of TTC complaints a distortion of vast
majority of TTC frontline staff

TORONTO, April 20 /CNW/ - Toronto's transit union says today's report by the Toronto Star on TTC customer complaints last year paints a distorted picture of the daily reality of transit service and is dishearteningly unfair to the vast majority of TTC frontline staff.

"Last year there was an average of one complaint for every quarter of a million riders, and of those complaints we only have one side of the story," says Bob Kinnear, president of the 10,000-member ATU Local 113. "I suggest that this compares very favourably with other large urban transit systems in North America and, in fact, with other public services generally.

"How many complaints does the Toronto Star receive for every quarter million articles it publishes?" says Kinnear. "I'd like to see that figure."

Kinnear said that Local 113 is making unprecedented efforts to address customer service concerns by meeting directly with TTC riders in open, unscripted town hall meetings that so far have led to very constructive dialogue.

"As a union, we have already acknowledged that we're not all at our best all the time but that we want to improve in those areas over which we have some degree of control. As it happens, the town hall meetings we have had so far reveal that dissatisfaction with the TTC is far more due to factors over which workers have no control. Lack of adequate funding by the provincial and federal governments has caused deterioration of what was once regarded as the world's best transit system. Most customer complaints we have heard relate to lack of adequate vehicle service from point A to point B, not the interaction with frontline staff.

"As many town hall participants have noted, unhappy customers lash out at front line workers because they are the only face of the TTC they can complain to. If there is the occasional pushback by workers who are equally frustrated, we regret that and apologize, but we as a union are working on this.

"The Star might have more credibility if it also reported on the many acts of public service above and beyond the call of duty performed by TTC frontline workers, such as the recent saving of two women from committing suicide by union members on the job. We wonder why the Star does not consider this newsworthy."

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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