The worst PR move of all time?

TTC CultureAnother week. Another TTC driver exposed on citizen camera for shirking his duties.

In a Toronto Star article this past week, TTC spokesman Brad Ross was quoted as saying: “We ask that people not do that. We don’t require photographic evidence to discipline drivers. Cameras in the face of operators can escalate a situation that doesn’t need to be escalated.”

While I do not know Mr. Ross and I can only imagine that citizen journalism has made an already difficult job even harder in recent months (Google: TTC Sleeper), attacking the public whether intended or simply perceived is never a good idea.

His alternative suggestion to report the bus and route number makes sense in a normal functioning setting; however, as we have learned in recent months, even video and photographic evidence is not enough when trying to prove your case against government institutions (Google: G20 Toronto). So is a reasonable taxpaying citizen in Toronto honestly able to believe that the TTC will handle his or her complaint with merit? Hardly.

Before the TTC Sleeper was exposed there was little motivation from the TTC or local politicians to change the culture in an organization that needs a complete overhaul. As more of these incidents are brought to light by motivated citizens, the higher the pressure is on leaders to make a change. The ball is now firmly in their court to make lives better for the 4+ million people living in and around Toronto.

Union president Bob Kinnear told the Toronto Star that: TTC drivers are “frustrated by the ‘gotcha’” practices of riders because it creates a wrong impression that most drivers are irresponsible. “These are isolated cases,” Kinnear pointed out.

The point that Kinnear appears to be missing is that the “good guys” on the front line are being lumped in with the texters and the sleepers and that isn’t fair to the hard working people who do an outstanding job each day. I have had more than my fair share of pleasant drivers on the TTC – I make a point to say thank you whenever I exit a bus from the front door – but once in a while you get the guy or gal who ruins your day and it sucks.

These are the people we need to cleanse from the current TTC culture. With the lack of motivation from the union and the politicians to make a difference, it is going to be up to the citizens of this city to make a change and that starts by exposing the rotten eggs. It is our city and our people are finally speaking up to take it back and put it back on track to become the world class place we desire it to be.


  • Accept responsibility; don’t shift the blame to others
  • Deal with the actual problem at hand instead of clouding it by focusing on other issues

About Jaime Stein

Jaime is the Senior Manager, Social Media at Hootsuite. He is a digital marketer with expertise in social media and content marketing. His experience stems from leading the social media strategy for two national brands. Jaime holds an MBA with a focus in Marketing and Strategy from the Rotman School of Management where he was selected valedictorian by the students of the Morning MBA Class of 2011. He is the former radio voice of the Toronto Argonauts and currently lives in Vancouver with his wife and two sons.
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6 Responses to The worst PR move of all time?

  1. Mike says:

    I think this is a bigger problem for the TTC than it otherwise would have been, thanks to the sleeping ticket-taker incident.

    I also love the implied message about escalating – so what’s going to happen? Is the driver going to get violent with a passenger who uses their mobile phone?

    The other comment from the spokesman that caught my eye was when he suggested that passengers not take photos and, instead, speak to the driver: “I’d say, ‘Do you mind not texting while you’re driving from point A to point B?” That’s a ridiculous thing for a passenger to have to say to a driver.

    It’s a basic requirement that they should all just have to abide by, not some optional thing that some passengers prefer and others don’t. What else would the public need to remind drivers about if they have to remind them about not texting while driving? Maybe the TTC can provide the schedule and a list of phone numbers for all of their drivers so citizens can call them up before the driver’s shift begins and remind them to not get drunk before taking the wheel too.

    That said, the rest of the initial quotes from the TTC, as summarized in a different Star article (–ttc-driver-caught-texting-while-driving) seem fine to me.

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  3. Chris says:

    There’s also the simple fact that driving and texting or talking on a handheld phone is illegal in Ontario. Shouldn’t this guy have been charged? I guess that goes to Stein’s point: How can we be certain that the TTC will handle this complaint with merit?

  4. jaimestein says:

    An update to this story… The Toronto Star just broke news that three TTC drivers have been fired for texting while driving ––texting-ttc-drivers-fired?bn=1

    Is this a fair punishment? Your thoughts?

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