Friday, July 25, 2014

News that will make the haters weep

Out of all the adoring fan mail I get about this site, most of the love comes from those who get a serious case of the angrys because of my distate of footriding.  One person sent me an email to rival the length of text in the Bible, start to finish, about how footriding isn't even a word.

Neither was selfie at one point in time.

Most of the emails are spent defending a person's "right" to sit how they want. The sense of entitlement displayed by these whiners would curl the hair on your toes.

I always knew I was onto something when I made it my mission to stop this social epidemic of feet on seats on public transit and it appears that people who matter do listen to the PAYING commuting public.

Since 2009, according to this CBC News report, the TTC has been allowed to fine passengers who ride with feet on seats.

Yeah, I didn't know this either. For nearly five years it's been an offence on the TTC to sit like you have no spine.

I feel vindicated.

Point: me.


Squiggles said...

Yes!!!!!!!!! Now, onto the GO Trains.

Anonymous said...

Five years and no one knows about it = fail.

Valentino Assenza said...

Nowadays there is a great percentage of society that is ignorant, and a great percentage of society that is unbelievably moronic. This is why it's so refreshing to find people that are of a somewhat sound mind, that exude things like common sense and courtesy. It's like Lewis CK's rant "everything is fine, but nobody's happy."

I think you are making an impression or a trend though CJ. I am starting to hear the odd Customer Service Ambassador nowadays go through their diatribe, and now include things like "As a courtesy to your fellow passengers please do not put your feet ont he seats." Which I guess for some people still sounds like the Peanuts gang's teacher squabble, but props to the CSA's for doing this as it could deter the odd person or two from treating the GO Train like their own "Ottoman" empire.

Everyone falls back on rights, ""I have the right to..." oh please can it! You have the right to randomly walk down Yonge St. and moon people, you have the right to put slinky's on all of the upwards escalators at the Eaton Centre, you have the right to repeatedly walk into concrete walls...but I'm thinking all of you are thinking that all of those would be pretty stupid and pointless to do....and from experience...pretty dangerous.

But I digress.

Putting your feet on the seats is just plain disrespectful. There are no arguments, it's disrespecful. If you keep your shoes on your your doing a disservice to someone else to later sit in whatever gunk is on your shoes. If you take your shoes off you're exposing other passengers to your foot odor, and I'm sorry aesthetically it looks plain ridiculous. I don't care to know what colour your socks are, or in what shape your feet are in, please put them away. As someone who has been a long time TTC rider, when I ride the GO I find it a stunningly comfortable transition as it is. Are GO passengers really this ungrateful? Are the seats not comfortable enough for you that you have to treat the space like you're living room?

As for the TTC, they may be allowed to fine people for doing this, but a) I truly wonder how often it happens that is actually done cause I see it all the time and b) if they do stop someone with enough patience to give them the fine, how likely is it that passenger will give them the correct information and actually pay it? The TTC loses millions a year in fair evasion and I ride the 501 streetcar home everyday, and if the TTC were vigilant they could probably catch a few hundred thousand on that route alone as everyday during rush hour the drivers open the back doors which many people get on, and in at least three years, I have seen no one check the fares for those passengers. The streetcar driver merely presses a button which plays a jovial recording of a someone saying "Please be aware, the proof of payment program is in effect." Whoooo....scary. At least GO checks fairs somewhat regularly, I don't have the balls to attempt a free ride.

Regardless of what transit system you ride, GO or TTC, Understand that PUBLIC transit means sharing the system with the PUBLIC, and for those of you that aren't self aware, being in PUBLIC means that other people are around. You have the "right" to put your feet on the seats? I have the right to not sit in dog shit. Keep your feet off the seats, keep your bags off the seats, sit in your seat, put up, and shut up.


Jules said...

I think that GO should also fine for foot riders, obviously public shaming isn't detering these tools.

M said...

That's good that they can fine people now but A) Who goes out and enforces it? I rarely see transit or any other type of cop/security on the TTC B) How many of these fines have they actually given out in 5 years? I feel like it's just lip service to make us feel better.

C.J. Smith said...

re: Valentino


Man, not only did you take it to church, you took it out to the parking lot, too.

Well done.

Valentino Assenza said...

:P Not known as the Loudmouth Poet for nothing,

TomW said...

It's against GO's bylaws too. By-law #2 (available at ), section 3.29 states:
"No person shall commit an act contrary to respectful and customary behaviour which may detract from the overall enjoyment of the transit system, including but not limited to:
(a) placing his or her foot or feet on a vehicle seat or laying thereon any object that may soil it;"

Section 5.1 then says "Any person who contravenes any provision of this by-law is guilty of an offence and upon conviction is liable to a fine as provided for in the Provincial Offences Act" and section 5.2 says "The provisions of this by-law shall be enforced by an officer as defined in the Metrolinx Act, 2006, S.O. 2006, c. 16 or a police officer as defined in Section 2 of the Police Services Act (Ontario)"

In simple terms: you can get fined for putting your feet on a seat.

MATT said...

I'm willing to bet the actual number of fines handed out by the TTC for footriding is right around zero.

Jules said...

amen Valentino.

Anonymous said...

I really wish you would post all the email you get. I would eat that shit up.

Subliminal said...

This is a perfect example where etiquette will always be the domain of the riders and their job will be to keep the more sluggish commuter services apprised as to whats happening on their service and then making their decisions without the appearance of being a snapping turtle as the public reporting would like them to do.

More needs to be done on the part of Transits on this issue but the first thing they need to do is announce CHANGES to the bylaws (I.E. "Observed occupying more than one seat with any part of your body or possessions AND refusing to let a paid patron occupy a seat upon request.")
and then allow a period of education for scofflaws to be educated before the hammer comes down.

I think this can work but it need a co-ordinated and concerted effort.

Anonymous said...

The TTC bylaw is toothless. You guys really think a judge will put up with a ton of bs charges like footriding, or bringing a bike on a subway car when overcrowded or during peak hours? They (court system) have better things to deal with than policing manners.

It's pretty much a free for all. As long as nobody is getting stabbed or shot, they don't care. The whole point is to transport as many people as possible safely. If a few seats gets damaged by vandals or inconsiderate assholes, the farebox covers it. Unless the bus is burning down, keep it moving.

C.J. Smith said...

No one here is expecting the courts to police something parents should have policed in the first place.

Anonymous said...

That's exactly the problem, it goes to court when you issue bylaw tickets.

C.J. Smith said...

What goes to court?
Oh wait... nothing, as it was pointed out.

You know, it would help to read all the comments.

Society is headed down the toilet because clearly many people can't police their own actions and are being enabled by others who feel they don't have to and as long as the train isn't on fire, who cares how we conduct ourselves?

I mean, why have traffic laws? Why can't I drive my car on the sidewalk or how about the next time I'm stuck on the 400, I drive on the shoulder the whole way. Why tie up the courts with me and a fine for doing so? Nobody ever died from using the shoulder as their own lane.

Right? So when if someone bitches at me for doing so I'm going to tell them no one is on fire and to ignore what I'm doing, in fact, I will encourage others to do the same.

Problem solved.

Anonymous said...

You really think that a judge in a busy court system would be impressed with the ticket for "footriding" when (s)he has a whole bunch of assault and drunk driving cases to see? The bylaw is just a tool. It's a list of stuff you aren't supposed to do, and what things are allowed at what times. It's there to limit their liability if somebody gets hurt, say by falling to track level because they were riding their bikes on the platform or something.

Here is a list of common things you see everyday that people violate:
-dogs off leash
-animals on system during peak hours (service animals are ok)
-walking/standing on the yellow strip when not boarding a train
-extending any part of the body past the edge of the platform when not boarding the train
-riding bike/skateboard/rollerblades on any ttc property
-not using designated entrances or exits
-stealing maps/ads

If you are the one committing a bylaw infraction, generally if you are caught doing it, you will be asked to stop. If you don't stop, you will be asked to leave. If you don't leave, then you could be charged under the trespass act. That's it. The more serious stuff like theft, assault, or vandalism is handled by the real cops.

C.J. Smith said...

^ How you've managed to miss the point is astounding. ASTOUNDING.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to guess. What is the point that I have missed?

That allowing (by not enforcing) somebody to dirty a seat by footriding is equivalent to turning a blind eye to a drunk driver plowing down people on a sidewalk?

C.J. Smith said...

Here's what you missed:

1. Adults should be able to police their own behaviour when it comes to etiquette
2. It is reasonable for anyone to expect a stranger to be courteous
3. It is reasonable to expect others to obey bylaws
4. It is okay to be upset when people disregard bylaws and to feel anger towards them
5. Implying that courts should only deal with Criminal Code charges and anything that contravenes a bylaw is a waste of time is a disservice to the fundamentals of democracy that make up a diplomacy

We live in a democratic society governed by a Charter, then, it trickles down to other levels of government and then down to self-governance (corporations) who enact their own Constitution, Bylaws and Guidance where an expectation of order is given.

These bylaws are expected to be followed and allow for fines as a means of enforcement and in some cases, revenue.

Writing and telling others who hold belief in these basic principles of governance that it's useless to care, that we all need to just turn a blind eye is a slap in the face to anyone who wants to live in a society where we can enjoy things like riding public transit in comfort because it's stupid to expect this.

No it is not.

Anonymous said...

de minimis non curat lex ...

C.J. Smith said...

^ Up for a judge to decide. Not us.
But just know, that when your next door neighbour decides he wants to pave over half of your front lawn to widen his driveway, there are legal means to rectify it. That's a democracy. If the judge feels the complaint is a farce, he'll have no problem voicing his opinion.

Raymond in Guelph said...

I was guilty of foot-riding aboard a (nearly empty) Dresden S-bahn about 20 years or so ago. A dignified middle-aged passenger in a business suit looked over at me and smiled and stated "Das gefaellt mir nicht." i.e. "I don't like that" or "that doesn't appeal to me." I quickly apologized and sat up properly. At the time I recall thinking, that back in North America, chances are that no one would speak up about the issue, out of concerns for their personal safety. So thanks for leading the charge for the cause of public decorum, and clean seats.

C.J. Smith said...

Hi Raymond,

You touched on something that's been on my mind.
When I was a teen, it was a big deal to take the Toronto subway to Yorkdale shopping centre from my home in the west end of Toronto. I used to feel very grown up and cool. One afternoon, with a group of my peers, we were on a Bloor Danforth train when I decided it would be cool to use profanity, and loudly, with my friends. I knew at the time I was being obnoxious but my friends were playing along - so it's cool, right?
Not really.
Suddenly I heard a familiar voice from behind me. It was the father of two kids I occasionally babysat for.
He looked so ... disappointed. He asked me if I wouldn't mind keeping it down as he found my language offensive.
I was embarrassed and mortified. I remember my face grew hot. I mumbled an apology and bolted off the train, leaving my friends behind. I remember walking down Spadina bawling because I felt awful.
Mr. B. never asked me to babysit again.

After that, I was more mindful of my language. It was a tough lesson to learn as I never earned an allowance and my spending money came from babysitting. When I saw Mr. B. a few years later, I worked up the nerve to apologize again and to admit my embarrassment. All was forgiven but again, not a good memory.

We apologize because we have integrity and are capable of remorse.

This is very much lacking today and in North America. Almost every request for courtesy is met with a challenge, either, "What are you gonna do about it?", "What's it to you"? or "Make me/Mind your own business/buy a car/fuck off and die".

Anonymous said...

Thanks C.J. for taking the time to explain it for me. I just realized that we are talking about different things. You wrote about stuff that should be done, and I wrote what I thought can be done, specifically in the case of the TTC.

I agree with you on points 1 through 4. I can't really agree with #5 because I didn't mean to imply that. Again, I am (and was) talking about the TTC here, I have no experience with GO Transit. Go Transit is a different situation since they have Special Constable status.

I don't know if you recall, a while back the TTC Transit Enforcement Unit lost their "Special Constable" status. The reason for this happening isn't important, but it had to do with overstepping authority, and possibly with the Toronto Police Chief wanting to boost his budget.

Back then, when they were Special Constables, the TTC Transit Enforcement Unit had the authority to write their own tickets. It was explained to me, I could be wrong on this, by a constable that any ByLaw infractions that weren't criminal were charged under Trespass to Property. Criminal charges were handled with criminal charges.

Now, without the Special Constable status, they are essentially well paid security guards. That's where the problem lies, and that is where my indifference to minor things comes from. The TEOs have to witness an act occurring, and if they want to charge this person, they have to hold him until the police come and investigate and write the ticket. So it's a lot more serious now, since they have to worry about false arrest. Same powers as the average mall cop, they have to make sure to have a valid reason to detain someone. They risk charges themselves if there is a mistake made.

C.J. Smith said...

Oh my! Yes, I see how we were on 2 different thought rants here. At least we managed to go at each other without name calling and flaming so that says something about both you and me!
And you got this in right at my 25 comment limit so we can end on a good note.
Let's hope society can catch up.