Recently, Joan Dunn of Toronto wrote that while boarding a subway at Eglinton West station, she got partly into the car when the train doors closed.
“I fell backwards onto the platform, with my toes stuck in the door and my heel caught in the space between the car and the platform. The door opened, I got my foot out. The door closed and the train pulled out — leaving me flat on my back on the platform.
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“People helped me — I sat on one of the seats and everyone left. After about five minutes, I took the escalator up to the entrance booth and told my story to the man taking the fares. He asked if I needed an ambulance — which I did not — and then he seemed to lose interest. Of course, people are flooding in to pay their fare.
“So after about 15 minutes, when I had kind of regained my composure, I gave him my name and telephone numbers and came to the office.”
TTC spokesperson Brad Ross says, “There is a report … of an incident like this happening. The collector at the station asked for her name, and (she) wouldn’t give it and then left. That’s all we know.”
Dunn confirmed with me by e-mail and by phone that she did indeed leave the pertinent information, and I believe her.
What exactly is proper procedure?
Ross replies, “If the guard saw her falling on the platform, he would have stopped the train and offered assistance, and the proper report … would have been filed.”
What if someone feels safety protocols have not been followed?
The TTC spokesperson replies, “If the train didn’t stop and kept going, you go up to the collector booth. The collector would call Transit Control. They would call a supervisor who would attend the scene and take down all of your information and file a report.”
Ross adds, “We also have a customer service department that receives complaints daily and all of those are recorded and followed up on. So we have a fairly rigid protocol for incidents that occur on the system, both to protect the customer and ourselves.”
As for me, I continuously hear from readers who have little faith in the TTC complaint process because they never receive the substantive response they expect.
More troubling is that if events occurred as Dunn reports, this raises further concerns about the TTC’s safety procedures — an overall issue the commission is to consider at its monthly meeting this week.
It’s natural for even the most scrupulous of policies to gradually erode, especially in a large organization.
The trick is to notice and address this phenomenon before it’s too late — and someone is injured or killed.