Wednesday, April 8, 2015

An Open Letter to a TTC fare inspector

from Reddit

So, this morning I was on a 502 westbound streetcar and a fare inspector got on. Many people who paid with cash or a token and had no plans to transfer to another route didn't have transfers, therefore didn't have the proof they paid. The inspector was not fining anyone, nor kicking them off the streetcar. When he came across someone without proof, he just warned them about the upcoming changes and told them even if they aren't transferring it is good to take a transfer anyway just for proof of payment so they don't risk being fined. Yes, this seems redundant for riders to do who aren't making transfers, but I don't feel it's too much to ask to just grab a transfer. It's certainly much preferable to get a transfer than to pay the fine.

Anyway, so there was probably 50 people on the streetcar and everyone nicely and politely showed their pass/transfer and those who didn't have a transfer politely said they understood and from now on will get a transfer. Well, everyone was nice and polite, except one guy who decided he was far too important to be bothered by the fare inspector. He started yelling at him, telling him his job is worthless and he is even more worthless for taking such a job that wastes resources. He said he is not happy that part of his fare is going to this inspector's pay cheques and he is garbage for fining people. He said he has been taking the TTC for 40 years and he doesn't deserve this kind of treatment, as if he was the only person asked to show his fare, and as if he was being asked to prove he didn't commit a murder or something. The inspector stayed very calm and professional and tried telling him he was just giving out warnings for when the program really starts rolling out. The inspector told this overreacting jerk (my words, not the fare inspector's) a few people didn't have proof and he wasn't fining them nor kicking them off the vehicle, he just warning them for the future. Well the guy kept freaking out and people started telling him if this bothers him so much he is free to find other methods of transportation to work, and that this inspector didn't make these rules, he is just employed to enforce them, which he wasn't even doing, he was just warning people about the POP program rolling out on all vehicles.

In the end, the dick had a metropass and could have just showed it to the fare inspector, rolled his eyes about the situation he doesn't agree with, stay silent and carry on with his day. But no, he had to make a spectacle of himself and personally insult a young man just doing the job the TTC is paying him to do, and doing it both professionally and politely. I just couldn't understand what he thought he would be achieving in doing this. He was a 50-60 year old man who was yelling at a guy who looked maybe 25 who probably just got this job a few days ago and has no pull with how the TTC is managed.

So, to that fare inspector, I'm sorry one guy was a dick to you. You are not worthless and you are not garbage, you are just doing the job you are employed to do so you can make a living, just as I do mine. And I commend you for being so polite and professional, because I likely would not have been able to keep it together like you did.

To other riders, you may feel similar to this man, but there is no reason to act in the manner this guy acted. Fare inspectors are just doing their job, they didn't make the rules, they are just enforcing these rules. They need a job just as you and I need a job to make rent or mortgage payments, buy groceries, provide for our loved ones and so on. Don't be a dick like this guy, just show your pass/transfer and go on with your day, even if you don't agree.

To that guy, if you see this, you should be completely ashamed of the childish way you reacted.

TL;DR: fare inspector came on the streetcar simply warning people to get transfers in the future even if they don't need it as the proof of payment program is rolling out on all routes. One guy took exception to being asked to show his pass and even though he had a metropass he continued to insult and berate the fare inspector, who was nothing but polite and professional in return. Don't be that guy, just show your pass/transfer and go on with your day.


Anonymous said...

Though the guy who lost his marbles is a Dick, the TTC needs to issue receipts for those who pay cash if they indeed intend on following through with this.

I don't take the TTC, but if I did and paid cash, why waste the paper in grabbing a transfer?

Seriously. I have no intention in using it, so why take one?

Bicky said...

@Anon, 4:14pm: What's the difference in getting a transfer or a receipt? Both are paper. Your comment is senseless.

Kudos to the fare inspector for keeping his cool.

Honestly, what is it about people's behaviour these days that they think they can act like rules don't apply to them and they be so rude and disrespectful to others? It's infuriating.

Skin Man said...

I think there is a difference, albeit a slight one. A receipt should be given by an employee accepting cash on behalf of his/her employer. A transfer is something one should take if its required.

I think the ttc is wrong on this one. If they want to test for payment, issue receipts, don't make it incumbent upon customers to 'find' them. Even aware of this policy, as an exceptionally infrequent user of the ttc I doubt I will remember to take a transfer, (not sure where to even find them).

TomW said...

If TTC is moving to a proof-of-payment system, they should tsrat issueing recipts/transfers to everyone who pays cash/tokens as a matter of course, not when asked.

(It's odd they are different things. On DRT your ticket is your transfer and your receipt)

C.J. Smith said...

I think the TTC operates the way it does because of job security issues.
The Union is strong with that one. The strong arm resistance to change is mind-boggling.

Anonymous said...

As I understand it only the King and Queen routes require POP because they now allow all door boarding. I support the idea and I'm glad the inspectors are being lenient. This will take a while for riders to soak in.

As for the Inspector, sadly, if you choose a job where you work with the public this sort of thing will always happen. Some people are rude, some people are unstable. I couldn't do a front line job and I applaud everyone who does.

Michael Suddard said...

These POP (Proof of Purchase) are quite common in transit.

Toronto has had this when transferring from the Subway to surface routes at many stations (i.e. the red "T" on the subway map showing where transfers are required to board surface vehicles). In the future more and more will occur as buses and streetcar routes come online.


Both York Region (VIVA buses) and Ottawa (OC Transpo) have all door boarding at major bus stops. In York Region you purchase a ticket at the road side on VIVA and in Ottawa a ticket with the bus driver. This allows you a certain amount of time to ride the system. So if you have a quick trip to grab milk you can go out and back on the same fare.

Fare inspectors are similar to GO Transit guys who ask to see proof of payment.

The irony in the Reddit posting is Toronto Councillor Gord Perk's crusade not to arm Transit Enforcement with handcuffs, pepper spray or batons for self defence purposes. York Region and Ottawa staff and, I imagine, GO Transit do this and have no issues that I'm aware of. Just wait until some passenger like our idiot Metropass card carrying friend snaps worse.

Anonymous said...

If someone wants to pay me nearly 100k plus pension, benefits, and job security, I'll gladly let passengers hurl insults at me.

George said...

What? A fare inspector makes nearly 100k?

I call bullshit of course.

A Servant of God said...

Your letter was well done, highlighting the points...some doesn't agree doesn't mean that you are wrong.. people just do not follow any rules... we need to have a system to fix this loss of approx. 20 million a year so I support this new fare inspection to make our TTC better in the future.