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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Your Tax Dollars At Work

What government employs, the iPhone wielding private citizen can embarrass:

There are times when harried Torontonian commuters just can't let sleeping transit employees lie.

Thursday, apparently, was one of them.

The Toronto Transit Commission is investigating after a rider posted a photo of what appears to be a ticket collector asleep in his booth. The photo depicts a mustachioed man in navy blue TTC vest and red tie, leaning back in his chair, eyes closed and mouth open.

This was the first sight that confronted Jason Wieler as he headed home around 9:30 p.m. Jan. 9 when he reached the top of the escalator at McCowan station.

“If his mouth wasn't open as much as it was and he was wiggling around, hey, I would've thought he had some life to him,” Mr. Wieler said. “But this guy was out cold.”

Now I'm sure, somewhere, in a private office building in downtown Toronto, some bored security guard is dozing off, or otherwise not paying attention to his duties. Heck, some of them might even be reading this blog. I doubt a picture of him, or her, would wind up in the papers. Why would it? It's the problem of the distracted guard's boss, not ours. The TTC being state owned, we're all subsidizing that chap's subway siesta. 

Being publicly owned the TTC belongs to everyone, and thus to no one. No one is directly responsible for it, except in a vague and nominal way the municipal political class. I say vague and nominal because every Mayor of Toronto, whatever political stripe (mostly Left), is terrified of a TTC strike. Unlike many Canadian cities, Toronto cannot function without its public transit system. It's too big and densely packed to survive by cars and kamikaze cyclists alone, of which there are already too many on a good day. This means that the TTC is in effect a kind of fourth branch of the Toronto municipal government. A power unto itself. Naturally, the peasant classes, are resentful, as they often are of the follies and indiscretions of the elite. Marie of Romania they are not, but TTC employees are certainly a class apart. Whatever their state of consciousness. Now, how to solve this problem. In the private sector bad customer service is typically solved by a curt e-mail or phone call. In government things progress in a more, well, stately fashion:

The transit commission has been bombarded with 20 per cent more complaints compared to last year, and the commission voted Wednesday to appoint a blue-ribbon panel to teach the transit system's employees how to better serve riders.

Yeah. It's kind of like the committees you have in your office, except far more useless. Which for those of us who have wasted untold hours in private sector committee meetings, is really saying something.

Posted by Richard Anderson on January 27, 2010 | Permalink


It's ironic that a city apparently committed to fighting climate change through Kyoto would lack even the basic means to do so. This is why they dump on Alberta's oil sands so much - a convenient scapegoat for their lack of action.

The TTC sucks beyond belief in every possible way.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2010-01-27 11:01:36 AM

Oh hell...who has'nt dozed off on the job at least once in their life. I have dozed off in front of the computer at work and so have some of my best employees. We dont know what caused the poor guy to pass out and if it was a one shot deal then maybe we should just let it go without judgement. Could be a medical condition for all we know. Might be worth a warning but not much more. I'm pretty sure he feels stupid enough without having his picture plastered all over.

Maybe he's from Mexico where this is accepted as normal. Or maybe this has happened too many times, in which case they should fire his sorry ass. The new work ethic.

Let's presume it will not happen again and forgive the poor guy.

Posted by: peterj | 2010-01-27 9:26:59 PM

Some people have a hard time managing their day, afternoon and graveyard shifts. It's even harder if one likes to booze.

Posted by: Agha Ali Arkhan | 2010-01-27 11:37:32 PM

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