Last week, I stated my belief that most TTC workers recognize their top priority is moving people — despite contrary appearances when riders were stranded by the transit strike of April 26. Some readers see it differently.
Michael Forest of Toronto writes, “The majority of transit workers I have encountered in my 25 odd years of taking the TTC in Toronto are discourteous. Every rider I know has many stories about how the TTC employees they encounter are unpleasant, sometimes rude, rarely helpful and, on the whole, unapproachable.
“I believe this issue stems from a couple problems in our society: One (is that) people end up in jobs they do not want. If you do not like dealing with people, do not take a job in customer service. If you have to take a job in customer service because you cannot find anything else, then deal with it … do not take out your problems on patrons.”
Tony Rauchberger of Toronto writes that after TTC employees were legislated back to work, the media “painted the response from customers as being understanding and hospitable in the aftermath. I myself am a huge supporter of workers’ rights and have been polite and respectful to compensate for recent struggles. Unfortunately, I have not received the same response from TTC staff in return.”
He worries that poor service indicates a much larger problem: “Lack of funds, lack of effort and leadership at the federal, provincial AND municipal levels have created a situation among workers that may be difficult to reverse. Coming from a long-standing customer who has a vested interest in saving the environment, I have lost faith in the TTC and I have lost faith in the government’s reputed environmental conscience.”
Krystyna Czerska of Etobicoke points out, “Common courtesy applies to everybody and every profession. Maybe we should start teaching this subject in schools.”
William LeMasurier of Scarborough sent me many examples of TTC employees serving customers in exemplary, but also unacceptable, ways. He writes, “My experience has shown that roughly 10 to 15 per cent of the drivers and employees of the TTC are well-meaning … and understand that they are in a position of customer service and do their best to greet customers, announce stops (and) drive safely.” He adds, “The remaining percentage of TTC staffers display indifference to the riders, discourtesy or out-and-out contempt for those who provide the need for their services each day.”
Debbie Saunders of Toronto agreed with my suggestion that riders be courteous to TTC workers regardless of the return treatment, but she replies, “Transit employees should also be held accountable to treat all their riders, (their customers) with genuine courtesy!”